Fantasy Football Sleepers
Nobody likes using the phrase “Fantasy Sleeper” anymore. For some it means a player not owned by any league member, for others, it just means a player you were not considering in your starting lineup. For the extent of this Fantasy Football Sleepers article series, I’m going to be suggesting players on your bench that could have big weeks.
Another week in the second half of the 2017 NFL season in the books, another week that the Los Angeles Rams and their simply outstanding Jared Goff-led offense showed out. Throwing for a 355-3-0 stat line while completing 67.6 percent of his passes, Goff torched the Houston Texans defense for 27.6 fantasy points, finishing Week 10 ranked fifth on the overall fantasy football scoring leaderboard. However, it wasn’t only Goff who was magnificent in the 33-7 blow-out victory. His WR1, Robert Woods, lit up the Houston defense as well. Catching 8-of-10 targets for 171 yards and two touchdowns, the emerging wideout finished the week ranked third on the overall fantasy football scoring leaderboard with 29.1 points. While the Rams’ offense is breaking out, they’ll be tested in their upcoming Week 11 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Most-Productive Players from Week 10
Sleepers Week 10: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Pos||Rank||Points||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
The following is a recap of the players from my Week 10 Fantasy Football Sleepers article. You can read that here.
Entering Week 11, some fantasy owners may be forced to shop the waiver wire due to a handful of notable injuries around the league. With players that include C.J. Prosise, Devonta Freeman, and Aaron Jones all succumbing to injuries last week, be sure to check out Andrew Erickson’s Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 11 to assist you with filling the vacant holes on your fantasy rosters. You can read that here.
- Week 11 Byes: 49ers, Colts, Jets, Panthers
Week 11 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 50.2%
Following a shaky start to the year, Derek Carr has been playing better of late. So much so that in his past three games, he’s thrown for a 1,030-5-3 stat line after tossing a 924-8-4 line in his first five. As a result, he was the QB28 with 61.6 fantasy points from Weeks 1-6 and the QB16 with 56.4 points from Weeks 7-to-10. Playing in two fewer games, he’s nearly accumulated the same amount of fantasy points. Carr and the Raiders’ offense appears to be clicking.
In Sunday’s game against the Patriots, the matchup seems great on paper. However, although they surrender the second most fantasy points to QBs at a 20.4 FPPG rate, similar to Carr, they’ve also played better of late. After surrendering at least 18.5 FPPG in each of their first six games, they’ve only surrendered 17 points (Matt Ryan) or fewer in each of their last three, including 10.5 and 10. 7 fantasy-point outings against Brock Osweiler and Philip Rivers respectively. In a game that is expected to be a high-scoring affair — currently, the game holds a 54.5 point consensus over/ under — I believe Carr will remain on fire. Throwing for at least 300 yards passing in each of his past three games including a 417-yard outing against the Chiefs in Week 7, Carr is an upside back-end QB1 for Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.4%
Similar to Derek Carr above, Blake Bortles has been playing better in his past three games. After averaging 12.6 FPPG from Weeks 1-to-6, he’s seen an uptick in his production, averaging 16.3 FPPG in his last three games, including throwing for his only 300-yard passing game of the 2017 season. Heading to his upcoming matchup against the Browns, Bortles will face one of his most favorable opponents to date. In the only other matchup that was as juicy as this one, Bortles torched the Colts for 330 yards and a touchdown while completing a season-high 69.2 percent (18) of his passes on 26 attempts back in Week 7. He finished the week as the QB15 with 16.3 points. Facing a Browns defense surrendering the seventh most fantasy points to QBs at a 19.2 FPPG pace –they’ve allowed multiple TD passes to opposing QBs in 7-of-9 games this season — Bortles is lingering in the mid-range QB2 tier for Week 11.[the_ad id=”73965″][the_ad id=”72089″]
Week 11 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 39.0%
With Aaron Jones (MCL) and Ty Montgomery (ribs) exiting last week’s game against the Bears with their respective injuries, the door is open for Jamaal Williams to emerge as the Packers’1 RB1. Let’s catch you up to speed. For Jones, he is expected to miss the next 3-to-6 weeks with an MCL injury. While Jones is out indefinitely, Montgomery is leaning toward an inactive designation for Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens. If and likely when Montomgery is officially ruled out, expect to see a bump in Williams’ fantasy projections. He will be the clear-cut Green Bay RB1 in that scenario until Montgomery’s anticipated return.
While he only averaged 3.4 YPC last week against the Bears after both Jones and Montgomery exited the matchup, finishing the outing with 20 carries for 67 yards, adding another seven yards on one reception. Although those aren’t chart-topping numbers, the rushing attempts are enough to make me believe that they will commit to the run and commit to Williams. Perhaps if Aaron Rodgers was under center, you’d see Mike McCarthy abandoned the run altogether. However, with Brett Hundley — who isn’t exactly torching opposing defenses this season — at the helm, I’m expecting a heavy dose of Williams on Sunday. Facing a tough but beatable Ravens surrendering the 12th most fantasy points to RBs at a 19.1 FPPG rate — they’ve also allowed an opposing RB to score a TD in five of their last seven games — Williams is an opportunity-dependent Flex option for Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 36.6
Alex Collins has emerged as Baltimore’s top fantasy RB in 2017. Since taking over as the team’s RB1 following Terrance West’s Week 5 calf injury, Collins is underwhelmingly fantasy football’s RB37 with 34.8 points. However, in his past two games, he’s received 31 carries for 156 yards while catching his first three passes of the year for 33 yards. The RB26 with 18.9 points in that time span, Collins appears poised to find the end zone for the first time in 2017 in his upcoming matchup against the Packers.
While the Packers’ defense was holding up earlier in the year, that was with Aaron Rodgers on the field. Now on the injured reserve list while Brett Hundley is under center, the Packers’ offense is struggling. In scenarios like that, a defense’s weaknesses are exposed and exploited since the time of possession sways in the opposition’s favor, leaving a tired defense on the field even longer. While they are the 10th ranked unit in fantasy production allowed to RBs yielding 19.4 FPPG, the Green Bay defense has also allowed an opposing RB to find the end zone in four of their past six games since Week 4, including in three of their last four. Collins is a back-end RB2 with TD upside for Week 11.
Week 11 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 21.7%
Currently fantasy football’s WR32 with 101.8 points, Nelson Agholor has slowed down of late. Following a brilliant start to the year in which he was the WR15 with 90.6 fantasy points from Weeks 1-to-7, Agholor hit a wall from Weeks 8-to-10. He is the WR79 with 11.2 points in a two-game time span. However, in his upcoming matchup against the Cowboys, I fully expect Agholor to get back on track — and it pains me to say that as a Cowboys fan.
The Dallas defense has one player who is the glue that holds it all together. Sean Lee. Seemingly in on every play, their unit falls apart when he is not on the field. And wouldn’t you know it, the oft-injured linebacker is dealing with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the next three games as a result.
How does a linebacker’s absence effect a WR? Well, without Lee, Philadelphia’s new-look rushing attack led by Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement will likely shred the Dallas front seven, likely shifting an extra man in the box to help contain the run while exposing an already exploitable secondary. In that scenario, Agholor should flourish in the slot. Facing a Cowboys defense surrendering the ninth most fantasy points to WRs at a 22.7 FPPG rate — they’ve also allowed an opposing WR to score a TD or accumulate at least 80 yards in every game since Week 2 — Agholor is a strong TD-dependent Flex option for Week 11.[bctt tweet=”In the 2 games #Cowboys LB Sean Lee was inactive, Dallas defense surrendered 35 points” username=”GridironExperts”]
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.9
Since returning from his shoulder injury in Week 8, Jeremy Maclin has put together a pair of his most productive games of the year. Catching 11-of-14 targets for 151 yards an a TD — he is tied with Benjamin Watson for the team lead in targets (14) in two games — Maclin is fantasy’s WR25 in standard leagues with 21.1 points and the WR26 with 32.1 PPR points in that time span.
In his upcoming matchup with the Packers, he’ll face a defense surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs at a 23.9 FPPG rate. The Ravens’ most-targeted and most productive WR, Maclin should maintain his recent level of success in a soft matchup. Facing a Packers defense that has allowed an opposing WR to score a TD in six of their last seven games, Maclin is bordering the WR2/ WR3 tiers with TD upside for Week 11.
Week 11 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 47.1
Following an outstanding start to the year in which he accumulated a 27-341-4 stat line in his first six games, Cameron Brate quieted down of late, only hauling in six targets for 83 yards in his last three. While his regression is likely due to the absence of Jameis Winston who was shut-down indefinitely with a shoulder injury he’s been dealing with since Week 6, I fully expect him to get back on track in his upcoming matchup against the Dolphins.
While Miami’s defense has been atrocious of late as a whole, they’ve been especially bad against opposing tight ends. So much so that through nine games, the Dolphins are surrendering the fifth most fantasy production to the position, yielding 9.1 FPPG. Moreover, they’ve allowed an opposing TE to accumulate at least 100 yards receiving or score a TD in each of their past four games.
Despite the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Buccaneers QB1 in Winston’s absence, I still believe Brate could produce top-end TE1 numbers on Sunday, especially since Mike Evans is returning from his one-game suspension, which should open up the middle of the field for Brate. Entering the game third on the team in targets with 51, Brate is a strong play at tight end for Week 11. And if you’re wondering why I’m featuring a player like Brate in my sleepers article, check out his ESPN start-percentage above. His current 47.1 start-percentage DROPPED from 51.1 percent in the past 24 hours. If you roster him, start him![the_ad id=”73518″][the_ad id=”61518″]
ESPN Start-Percentage: 1.6%
Okay, we all know Marcedes Lewis isn’t the sexiest fantasy option out there. In fact, in most weeks, he shouldn’t even be considered. However, that statement could be debated, especially in recent weeks. Although he is presently third on the Jaguars in targets with 31, at the start of the 2017 season, it looked like Lewis was an afterthought in the passing game. Why? Well, through the first six games of the year, he was only targeted 17 times, catching five of them for 76 yards and three TDs. Looking deeper into those numbers, though, he accumulated the bulk of his 5-76-3 stat line in one game, dropping a 4-62-3 line on the Ravens back in Week 3, which means he only caught one reception for 14 yards in the remaining five games, completely blanking in four of them.
So why the change of heart? Well, in his past three games, Lewis was targeted 14 times, three fewer than the before mentioned 17 targets he saw in twice as many games. While he only caught seven of them for 107 yards and a TD, he is beginning to emerge as one of Blake Bortles‘ top reads, which is why is one of the more trustworthy sleepers TEs heading into Week 11.
While Lewis’ fantasy value is trending upwards, that alone is not the only reason why I like him this week. His upcoming matchup against the Browns is an extremely favorable one. Not only has the Browns’ defense allowed an opposing TE to score at least one TD or accumulate at least 53 yards receiving in every game since Week 4 but historically, Lewis has played well against them, tallying 18 receptions for 190 yards and two TDs in four career games. Facing a Browns defense ranked third in fantasy points allowed to TEs at an 11.12 FPPG pace, Lewis is an excellent TE2 streaming option for Week 11 with strong TD upside.
A player like Lewis is labeled a tournament-buster in DFS formats, especially with the opportunity he has in his upcoming matchup. For more extensive DFS knowledge, check out Mike Hauff’s Draft Kings Primer for Week 11. You can read that here.
Week 11 Deep Fantasy Sleepers (In Case You’re Desperate)
ESPN Start-Percentage: 19.2
I said it last week, Rex Burkhead is beginning to emerge as New England’s top running back, at least for fantasy football purposes, and the facts are backing that statement up. While he is coming off of a Week 10 outing against the Broncos in which he totaled 63 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches, the stat-to-monitor from last week should be his snap count. Although Dion Lewis led all Patriot RBs in snaps with 30 while Burkhead followed him up with 27 back in Week 8 — New England had their bye in Week 9 — it would be the latter who led Patriots RBs in snaps last week. Finishing Week 10 receiving the second most offensive snaps of Patriots RBs — James Develin led the team with 45 — Burkhead out-snapped Lewis, who finished third on the club in that category, 36-to-21.
In his upcoming matchup against the Raiders, I not only believe that Burkhead will continue to lead the team’s RBs in fantasy production, but e should also proceed to lead the team’s fantasy relevant RBs in offensive snaps. Moreover, I believe Sunday’s matchup plays into Burkhead’s strengths — he’s a versatile RB who could be effective as a rusher and as a receiver while being lined up all over the field creating a matchup nightmare for the opposing defense. Why? Well, while the Raiders are allowing the fifth most fantasy points to RBs at a 19.9 FPPG rate, a good chunk of that production is yielded via the pass. They’ve allowed opposing RBs to catch 57-of-70 targets for 468 yards and three TDs against them in nine games this season. The RB25 with 20.6 standard points and the RB21 with 30.6 PPR points since Week 8, Burkhead is a quality Flex option for Week 11 with RB2 upside in PPR scoring formats.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 0.9%
After becoming non-existent with the Chargers earlier in the year — he only caught two targets for nine yards in four games — Dontrelle Inman was traded to the wide receiver-needy Bears in late-October for a seventh-round pick. Expected to make an immediate impact upon his arrival, Inman failed to disappoint. In Week 10 against the Packers, the first game he was active with the Bears, Inman caught 6-of-8 targets for 88 yards. He finished the week as fantasy football’s WR26 with 8.8 points in standard scoring and as the WR20 with 14.8 points in PPR.
While Inman’s stat line was solid, let’s take a closer look at his target-share and snap count, which could shed light on his usage moving forward. Not only did he tie Kendall Wright for the team lead in targets last week with eight, but he also led all Bears WRs in offensive snaps. He was on the field for a positional-best 95 percent of them (57), which bodes well for his ROS outlook.
For his upcoming matchup against the Lions, I expect Inman to not only maintain his recent target-share but his production as well. Facing a Lions defense ranked 14th in fantasy production allowed to WRs at a 20.9 FPPG rate, Inman is a strong desperation Flex option for Week 11, especially in PPR. And I wouldn’t too be concerned about the Bears’ lack of attention to the passing game with Mitchell Trubisky under center this season. While in his first three games he only completed 24-of-48 passes for 348 yards, one touchdown, and an interception, Trubisky has been unleashed of late, completing 35-of-67 passes for 461 yards, one touchdown, and one pick in his last two starts.
The FF Faceoff Podcast XIII – Week 11 NFL Bets and Pink Slips
Thank you for reading about my sleepers for Week 11. I hope you enjoyed it! Want more? Mike Hauff and I debate fantasy football news, notes and yes, sleepers, on our show, the Faceoff, a Gridiron Experts podcast. Check it out. Oh, and before I forget, we will answer your questions on our show! All you have to do is Tweet us with your question @FFfaceoff.
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Thanks for Reading!
Anthony Cervino is a lifelong NFL enthusiast, especially of the Dallas Cowboys. He has been infatuated with the game since childhood and was introduced to fantasy football as a young teen. Back then, the league commissioner typed out the weekly newsletter and used the Daily News to tally scores. In a statistic-driven game of fantasy football, Anthony believes that sometimes you have to rely on that good ole gut instinct. Anthony resides in New Jersey where he lives with his wife, son and a pomeranian that is named Roman (after Tony Romo). When Anthony is not immersed in the NFL or fantasy football related activities, he enjoys bodybuilding and spending time with his family. Anthony is committed to giving you his best analysis and most accurate statistics to help you win championships. Don’t hesitate to tweet Anthony @therealnflguru about anything NFL or fantasy-related topics. He will always respond in a timely fashion.