Week 11 Stocks & Stories: Raiders trounce Cowboys, Fournette leads Bucs past Colts
While the games on Thanksgiving were less than spectacular this game was far from a snooze fest. Coming into the game both teams were desperate for a win.
The Raiders entered on a losing streak and had to find a way to stop the bleeding. After failing to meet projections the last three weeks Derek Carr (6%, $6.96) found a way to lead his team to a much-needed win. While Carr didn’t wow us with a multiple touchdown performance, he did throw the rock almost 40 times and racked up ~400 yards through the air.
If you read the pregame report, you know I was curious how the team would handle Josh Jacobs (10%, $1.53). Jacobs is a volume runner and needs more opportunities to reach his projections, and in this game, he got 22 carries. While it’s concerning that he only managed to get 88 yards, it was encouraging that he was given the ball so many times. Perhaps the strategy down the stretch is going to get Jacobs more involved in this offense instead of being a pass-first offense. While Jacobs hasn’t been able to post a game over 100 yards this season, I still believe he is a bargain the rest of the way.
As for the Raiders receiving core, Darren Waller (-15%, $3.36) has returned to his seemingly quiet role this season as Hunter Renfrows’ (17%, $1.66) usage exceeds our expectations. Unless the Raiders can go on a winning streak it will be interesting to see if Renfrow is a long-term value or if we’re hitting his peak usage. I tend to believe now is the time to sell on Renfrow with the uncertainty surrounding this team.
As for the Dallas Cowboys, it was yet another Thanksgiving meltdown, as they’ve gone 1-4 over the last 5 years on the holiday. However, the loss can’t be attributed to the offense in this game as they were able to put up 30 points and took the Raiders down to the wire.
Ezekiel Elliott (-1%, $8.04) was out-touched by Tony Pollard (5%, $1.70) in this game, and I fear that is going to be the case going forward, at least until the postseason. If you followed the Cowboys at all this off-season Mike Mccarthy hinted that he wanted to utilize Elliott less this season to keep him fresh for the playoffs but that didn’t exactly come to fruition. However, due to a recent injury that he was playing through Elliott is now likely going to miss some time which opens a window for Tony Pollard to be the bell-cow rusher for this offense down the stretch. Thus creating intrigue for a short-term investment.
As for the Cowboys
pass-catchers, Michael Gallup (3%, $2.65) got the
start for the Cowboys as the alpha with COVID hitting this team hard in Amari Cooper ($5.67) and Ceedee Lamb ($5.42). While Gallup
didn’t post a Calvin Johnson type performance, he did haul in 5 catches for
over 100 yards which isn’t a bad performance for a starting wide receiver.
Entering the final year of his rookie deal, and with little cap space for the
Cowboys, Gallup is a good investment entering the off-season as he will likely
end up on a new team with fewer mouths to feed. This also makes Ceedee Lamb and
Amari Cooper as good investments for next season as well. As for Dalton Shultz (6%, $5.25), he seems
to be getting better. While the stat line doesn’t look sexy, he had a touchdown
called back and appeared to be a reliable target for Dak.
Another game that offered plenty of intrigue and ended in a thriller was one of our previewed games as well. As predicted this was a game script that favored the Colts passing offense as opposed to force-feeding Jonathan Taylor (-2%, $14.46).
Carson Wentz (5%, $4.72) threw the ball 44 times on Sunday and that still wasn’t enough to unseat the reigning Super Bowl Champions. While Wentz threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns he still coughed the ball up in crunch time. I believe Wentz has cannon for an arm and is a gifted passer. However, it’s quite concerning to see a player of his caliber continue to struggle to get things figured out between the ears. Outside of his MVP season, Carson Wentz has never won a game where he has had to throw the ball 35 times or more in his career. Wentz is going to have to find a way to throw the ball away or check down if this team is going to make a run.
With Wentz throwing seemingly all day this meant limited carries for Jonathan Taylor. While Taylor didn’t get much run in this game he still managed to hit pay dirt and run for over 5 yards per attempt on the ground. Even in a game where Jonathan Taylor got limited work he delivered almost 20 points of production while just missing his projections. Taylor is hands down the best running back in football at this point and is going to have better games as we go forward, but on Sunday Leonard Fournette (46%, $9.29) out-performed him.
Playoff Lenny has now turned into regular season Lenny as he was able to dice up this Colts defense for 4 total touchdowns and over 130 all-purpose yards. Fournette has almost delivered investors a 100% return on their investment since the start of the season. While it’s tempting to let it ride all season one has to wonder if he has hit his ceiling or if we’re going ride the hot hand of Leonard until the wheels fall off.
While I wouldn’t consider
the wheels to be falling off Tom Brady (-11%, $17.05) it’s
quite interesting to see him enter next week missing projections for 3 straight
weeks. While Brady has slowed down in recent weeks it’s fair to wonder if he’s
losing his battle against father time. I for one don’t believe that’s the case
as the team juggles around their wide receiver core. Should Antonio Brown ($9.25) suit up for
the Tampa this week I suspect we’ll get a vintage Tom Brady and Antonio Brown
Other storylines from the week we should follow:
- D’Andre Swift (-15%, $6.25) was left with a shoulder injury that was not deemed serious against the Bears on Thanksgiving. While the injury appears to be minor it’s worth following to see how the team handles the injury. I’d hope he isn’t done for the season since the team is out of the playoffs, but in either case, Jamaal Williams (20%, $2.72) is a good short-term investment in his absence.
- With the Bills losing Tre White on Thanksgiving to an ACL I think Josh Allen (8%, $16.49) might be worth a good investment the rest of the way. Considering he’s one of the best corners in the league, losing him is going to require the offense to step up their game by way of more points. I think that Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs (4%, $10.61), and Dawson Knox (20%, $1.70) are going to need to have a big December to lock up a playoff birth.
- I’m not sure what was more disheartening for the Panthers? Was Cam Newton (-16%, $5.71) completing 5 of his 21 passes or Christian McCaffrey (-16%, $14.96) suffering a season-ending ankle injury the lowlight of the game?
- We may be witnessing the end of Ben Roethlisberger (-11%, $3.59). A week after throwing 3 touchdown passes Ben looked like his arm was tired from the week before. As a fan of Pro Football Talk Mike Florio has often said this offseason that the Steelers and Ben will ultimately regret running it back this season. This prediction is sadly coming to fruition.
- While the San Francisco 49’ers beat the Vikings this week the major storyline is the injury to Dalvin Cook (-6%, $6.63) who has sustained another shoulder injury. Thankfully the injury hasn’t been deemed a season-ender but again we get to see Alexander Mattison (17%, $1.47) fill in for Cook, and is another exceptional short-term investment.
- Baker Mayfield (-4%, $4.32) looks dreadful for the Browns. As I mentioned in the preview I don’t understand why an injured Mayfield is continually starting for a team with legitimate playoff aspirations. I do believe Mayfield is a buy low at this moment headed into the bye, but I also believe Case Keenum ($2.05) is a bargain considering the circumstances.
- Lastly, the matchup of Taylor Heinicke and Russell Wilson (2%, $10.60) didn’t look great Monday night but I was surprised at what I saw. Wilson looks like he still might be suffering from his finger injury. With the season seemingly over after their loss one has to wonder if this offense gets yet another makeover should Pete Carrol decide to "retire."
- On the other side Taylor Heinicke (-8%, $1.11) is quietly putting together a winning streak for Washington and could be targeting a run for the 7th seed. If Taylor can finish the season strong perhaps we’re witnessing Washington’s future quarterback emerge out of nowhere.