The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 11 New England Patriots at Houston Texans Sunday afternoon game.

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New EnglandRank@HoustonRank
25.25Implied Total22.75
23.411Points All./Gm2826
57.81Opp. Plays/Gm67.326
50.4%32Opp. Rush %48.0%31
49.6%1Opp. Pass %52.0%2
  • The five passing touchdowns by the Patriots are their fewest through nine games of a season since 1995 (four).
  • 31.3% of Cam Newton’s rushing attempts have come from inside of the red zone, the highest rate for any player in the league.
  • Newton leads all quarterbacks with 12 rushing attempts from inside of the 5-yard line, and is just one behind the league-leader (Ezekiel Elliott).
  • New England is second in the league in expected points added via rushing (43.9) while Houston is 30th in the league in EPA as a rushing defense (-38.7).
  • Houston is averaging 79.6 fewer rushing yards per game than their opponent, the worst differential in the league. The next closest team (Dallas) is at 47.0 fewer. 
  • The Texans are averaging 1.3 fewer yards per rushing play than their opponent, the worst differential in the league.
  • New England running backs lead the league with 2.1 yards before contact per rushing attempt.



Deshaun Watson: Watson was mushed by another windy game in Cleveland last week, throwing for a season-low 5.4 yards per pass attempt with an average depth of target of just 6.8 yards, which was 9.3 yards entering the game last week. Back indoors at home, Watson gets a Patriots team that has allowed over 20 fantasy points to Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson in their past two games.

The Patriots are allowing 7.8 yards per passing play, 31st in the league, but have only allowed two top-12 scoring quarterbacks. Watson is second in the league with 12.4 yards per completion. Watson has had some success versus the Patriots, scoring 20.1, 11.0, and 28.9 fantasy points in his three games against them. Look for Watson to bounce back as a QB1.

Cam Newton: Newton has now made eight starts and has been a QB1 scorer in six of those games. Just two of those have been higher than QB8, but his rushing performance is giving him a QB1 floor more weeks than not. 58.5% of Newton’s fantasy points have come via rushing, the only passer over 50% on the season. Houston is 27th in pressure rate (17.3%) and 30th in passing points allowed per attempt (0.55) to give Newton some added viability passing. Keep pushing out Newton as a floor-based QB1.

Running Back

Duke Johnson: Johnson managed just 54 yards in his first start of the season. The positive news is that Johnson played 95% of the offensive snaps and the other Houston backs behind him totaled just one touch in the game. Added disappointment is that all of his touches came in the rushing game and Johnson had just one target after nine targets the previous two weeks.

Getting targets was a problem that David Johnson had as well, being targeted on just 12.1% of his routes. The Patriots are 21st in allowing 139.8 total yards per game to backfields to offer some upside, but Johnson is in a similar bucket that David Johnson was in as a weekly RB2 based on team backfield share over all else.

Damien Harris: Harris has rushed for 100 yards in three of his six games this season, rushing for over 5.0 yards per carry in all but one of those games. 74.7% of the touches Harris has have come on first down, the highest rate in the league for all running backs. He is averaging 5.1 yards per carry on those attempts. Houston is allowing a league-high 5.7 yards on first down rushing attempts.

The bugaboo for Harris is that he is all rushing yardage for fantasy output, catching just two passes all season and he does not have a third down touch. He also carries soft scoring potential as he has just one rushing attempt inside of the 5-yard line as Newton has 12-of-16 team carries from that area of the field. His lone rushing score came from 22 yards out. Harris has been a RB3 or better in four of his games and this matchup is strong for him to retain rushing efficiency, but due to the lack of receptions and lower scoring chances, he is a rushing-dependent RB2.

Patriots RBs: Outside of the lead back role, Rex Burkhead has played more snaps than James White in four consecutive games. White has been a top-40 scorer in just two games this season with the last one coming in Week 6. Burkhead has done that in three of his past four games. Burkhead also offers some touchdown equity as the only Patriot outside of Newton to have more than one touchdown on the season with six. The Patriots have just five passing scores, but Burkhead has three of them. But in his six games without a touchdown, Burkhead has been the RB34 or lower in every game. White is a deep RB5 option at this stage that is only playing in limited passing situations while Burkhead is a touchdown-dependent FLEX.

Wide Receiver

Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks: With just five catches for 38 yards due to the conditions last week, it was Fuller’s first game since Week 2 with fewer than double-digit PPR points. Fuller has still had at least five receptions in four of his past six games played to offer a usable floor. 

Cooks leads the Texans in targets (66) and receptions (43) on the season while over the past five games Cooks has out-targeted Fuller 47-to-38 and has 33 receptions to Fuller’s 23 over that stretch. 

The Patriots face the fewest targets per game to opposing wideouts (15.9), but are 31st in yards per target (9.8) and 27th in points allowed per target (2.05) to the position. Houston targets their wideouts 68% of the time, fifth in the league. Both Fuller and Cooks are WR2/WR3 options in a matchup that should feature passing volume for the Texans and a matchup that is not as daunting under the surface as the Patriots top-10 ranking versus opposing wideouts.

Jakobi Meyers: Pressed into action due to injuries, Meyers has easily become the most effective wideout this season for New England. Over the past four weeks, Meyers is second among all NFL wideouts in team target share (38%) and is first in weighted opportunity. Meyers has now been targeted on 30.5% of his routes, which trails only Davante Adams (32.8%).

Newton has not thrown a touchdown pass this season to a wide receiver, so Meyers has been more of a volume-based floor option, but is a top-30 option in reception-centric formats. 

Tight End

Texans TEs: In the six games that both Darren Fells and Jordan Akins have played together, Akins has received 21 targets (17-192-1) and Fells 13 (9-104-1) with neither producing a TE1 scoring week in those games. Outside of chasing a touchdown, no Houston TE is above TE2 dart status.

This article is normally behind a members-only paywall, but is 100% free this week as part of Sharp Football’s 2020 Free Week.

Don’t miss out: Join Free Week, where anyone can get total access to Warren Sharp’s NFL betting recommendations and our premium fantasy football for all of Week 11.

More Week 11 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet:

ARI at SEA | ATL at NO | PIT at JAX | DET at CAR | CIN at WFT | NE at HOU | PHI at CLE | TEN at BAL | MIA at DEN | NYJ at LAC | GB at IND | DAL at MIN | KC at LVR | LAR at TB