Fantasy Football Sleepers
Nick Foles (QB)- It’s hard to recommend starting an inexperienced rookie signal-caller, but if you’re one of the many QB-needy owners out there devastated by this final bye week or injuries, Foles might be a good fill-in. The rookie looked fairly poised last week, showing strong awareness and the patience to stand in the pocket and let plays develop. Andy Reid will attempt to show that he can be the man to rebuild his squad by developing Foles and altering the playbook to take advantage of his different skill-set. For Week 11, the Eagles have an appealing match-up against Washington’s second-worst fantasy pass defense. The Redskins allow 25.4 points-per-game to opposing quarterbacks, including a league-high 20 touchdowns.
Andrew Luck (QB)- Ranked just behind Washington’s pass defense is New England’s leaky secondary, which surrenders 25.2 fantasy points-per-game QB’s. Vegas sees this game as being a high-scoring shoot-out; the 54.5 over/under for this contest is the highest on the board. If that holds true, Luck and the Colts offense could be playing from behind all day, and that often leads to valuable fantasy garbage-time points.
Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram (RB)- Joe Vitt’s arrival has meant great things for the under-utilized New Orleans rushing attack. While Drew Brees is down 100 yards per game under Vitt, the Saints tailbacks have looked downright dominant. Ivory has scored in each of the two games he’s been active in, and Mark Ingram leads the team in carries during Vitt’s reign, including a season-high 16 last week. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders have fantasy football’s fifth-worst run defense and have allowed five rushing touchdowns over their last two games.
Steven Jackson (RB)- Jackson’s 29 carry, 101 yard performance against the vaunted 49ers defense was a a shock last week, as the Rams had looked fully committed to a time share between Jackson and Daryl Richardson. Maybe Jackson’s season-best game opened some eyes and he’ll become a bigger part of the Rams offense moving forward. Week 11 will be a great opportunity to test that theory, as St. Louis hosts a New York Jets defense ranked 27th, allowing 21.7 fantasy points-per-game to opposing running backs, including nine touchdown runs in nine games.
Steve Smith (WR)- As predicted in our Weekly rankings, Champ Bailey shut-down Smith last week, limiting him to a season-low single catch for 19 yards. Fortunately, Tampa Bay has no such cornerback on their team and in fact, have the NFL’s worst pass defense. Before the run-in with Denver, Smith had been heating up, so look for him to approach 100 yards and a touchdown.
Laurent Robinson (WR)- Since his return from injury, Robinson has had a very nice rapport with Blaine Gabbert. In those two games, Gabbert has targeted L-Rob 24 times for 15 receptions and 118 yards. Jacksonville has a tough match-up this week, traveling to Houston. The Jags won’t necessarily win this game, but if they’re playing from behind throughout the second half, there’s a good chance Robinson will continue to rack-up targets and receptions.
Derek Hagan (WR)- When a team plays the terrible New Orleans defense, the tendency is to plug in as many opposing skill-position players as possible. As an added bonus, the Raiders passing attack has been red-hot over the last five games, averaging 328 yards and two touchdowns a game. Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) is looking doubtful to play, so Derek Hagan would step-in and get the start. Rod Streater is also a candidate for an increased role if DHB sits. This game is a late kick-off, so monitor the situation as you’re enjoying the eight early games. Savvy fantasy owners willing to stay informed could take advantage of a nice opportunity for a sneaky flex-play.