4 Things You Need to Know, Week 11

Graphic by Erin Wade

We’re quickly approaching fantasy football playoff season! Some of you will only have this week and next to get your team prepped and ready to go for your championship run. Others might have an extra week. It’s safe to say that now is the time to be making big, splashy moves if your record isn’t great overall but there aren’t clear favorites for the playoffs in your league.

1 Speaking of big, splashy moves: Pay attention to your trade deadline! In most leagues, you can’t make trades after a certain date, to avoid any playoff-induced lopsided trade-y weirdness. So, that means a lot of leagues have trade deadlines set for Wednesday of next week. If you haven’t been paying attention to your trade deadline, then you probably have less time than you think to make any last-minute moves. Make them now!! And if you need help figuring out how to make a solid trade, check out our episode on the topic.

2 I’m delighted to say that this is close to the last time this season that I’ll be writing about Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. After sitting out last weekend’s game, Elliott has officially dropped the appeal of his six-game suspension, ESPN reports. This means Elliott is out for six consecutive games, including last week’s matchup, and he won’t be back in again until Dec. 24 — just in time for Week 16 fantasy championship games. (But, hopefully the people who were relying on Elliott to carry them to the dance won’t make it that far without him, and you’ll be able to boogie on past them to a metaphorical championship ring.)

3 Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is going to be warming the bench in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills will start rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman instead. So I asked official When Pigskins Fly fantasy football analyst Rob Carter what this means for the fantasy outlook this week. Long story short, his message was simple: Trust no Bill. But here’s all of what he said:

“While the Bills coaching staff hopes Peterman will do a better job of getting the ball to his [wide] receivers, building that chemistry takes time. Fantasy owners with Bills players on their teams shouldn’t expect the same level of production from any of their guys. Mobile quarterbacks like Tyrod [Taylor] also give the opponent’s defense an extra thing to worry about in the running game. Historically speaking, switching away from a mobile quarterback has actually reduced the production of a team’s running backs, so it wouldn’t be surprising if LeSean McCoy struggled this week, relative to his normal production.”

Not to overstate the obvious, but the Bills aren’t the only thing to consider when you’re setting your lineups this week. Don’t forget about injuries, suspensions, matchups … you get the point. Here’s your weekly list of inactives, brought to you by the NFL — and, of course, check our weekly rankings before you tinker with your starters.

4 In non-fantasy-but-still-important NFL news, researchers say they think they’ve figured out a way to identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in living people. The researchers — including Dr. Bennett Omalu, the man who discovered CTE in 2002 — say in a study published in Neurology that brain scans of a former football player showed a distinctive pattern of damage that mirrored the pattern of damage researchers found during examinations of his brain after the man died, four years later. It’s not yet a definitive means of diagnosing CTE in living people, but it could go a long way toward creating one. [USA Today]

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