Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 11
While the Steelers lost to the Browns last night on Thursday Night Football, they entered the game very much in the playoff race, something most counted them out of following the Ben Roethlisberger season-ending Week 2 injury. Rather than trying to acquire a veteran quarterback to replace Big Ben, the Steelers elected to trust in Mason Rudolph’s development and instead, they traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick, who dramatically change the landscape of their defense as well as their season. In last week’s article, I praised the Ravens for bringing in Marcus Peters, now, I will do the same for the Steelers and Fitzpatrick.
The impact Fitzpatrick had had for Pittsburgh is glaring. While Fitzpatrick had two career interceptions during his 18-game tenure with the Dolphins, he already has five in eight games with the Steelers. What’s more, during his five-game stretch with the Steelers, the second-year defensive back already has eight passes defended, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pair of touchdowns to go along with his five picks. Needless to say, the Steelers would not be in the Wild Card conversation if they did not trade for Fitzpatrick.
From a fantasy football perspective, since dealing for Fitzpatrick in Week 3, the Steelers D/ST had accumulated at least 11 fantasy points in seven straight games leading up to last night’s loss to the Browns, in which they only finished with one point. While the run had to come to an end, it wouldn’t surprise me if it picked right back up next week against the Bengals.
Most-Productive Players from Week 10
Fantasy Sleepers Week 10: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Position||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
- Ryan Tannehill continues his run as one of the hottest QBs in the NFL. Not only is he 3-1 as a starter, but he’s finished as a fantasy QB1 in three of his past four games including last week’s QB1 finish with a win over the Chiefs.
- In Kareem Hunt’s 2019 season debut, he was heavily active in the passing game, which was the expected outcome and finished as the RB12 in PPR. Expect Hunt’s role as a pass-catcher to increase as the season grows older.
- J.D. McKissic could be operating as the Lions’ top running back to own in fantasy if Ty Johnson misses time with his concussion. McKissic had a solid Week 10 outing finishing as the RB19 with 11.5 points.
- Jamison Crowder continues to impress and operate as Sam Darnold’s top receiving threat. He finished Week 10 as the WR11 with 19.1 points.
- Cole Beasley continues his high-floor run with yet another game with double-digit PPR points. This time, his 11.4 PPR points had his Week 10 finish as the WR32.
- For the first time this season, O.J. Howard did not put up a dud. In a cake matchup with the Cardinals, Howard scored his first touchdown of the year and finished as the TE7 with 14.7 PPR points.
Have some tough start/ sit decisions for Week 11? Don’t sweat! My co-host at the FF Faceoff Podcast, Mike Hauff, has you covered with his weekly Start’em/ Sit’em column featured exclusively at Gridiron Experts. You can read that here.
Week 11 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 16.0
Many NFL and fantasy enthusiasts have differing opinions on the Kyle Allen and Cam Newton debate. I, for one, believe Newton’s time in Carolina has come to an end if not for the reason of being stale, while Allen has played well at times after being thrust into the starting job. No, he isn’t putting up monster fantasy numbers, but he is 6-2 as a starter dating back to Week 17 of the 2018 campaign. Not only did he post that aforementioned record, but he also won five consecutive starts and did not post an interception in 2019 until Week 8. All things considered, Allen has earned his time to start, at least for the remainder of the year. Who the Panthers’ QB1 in 2020 will be determined by how Allen finishes the year.
In his upcoming matchup with the Falcons, Allen will enter it coming off of his first 300-yard passing game of the year, posting that in last week;’s loss at Green Bay. I believe Allen could put together his best statistical game of the season this week in a home game facing a Falcons defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs at a 22.6 FPPG rate.
While the Falcons have played well in each of the past two games, holding both Russell Wilson and Drew Brees to fewer than 17.5 fantasy points in those matchups, they can still be exploited, especially on the road. The Falcons have given u the most fantasy points this season in road games, allowing both Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray to post at least 32.2 fantasy points against them earlier in the year. While Allen is not Watson or Muray, he has the weapons around him to make up for it. Posting at least 19.2 fantasy points in three of his past four games, Allen is a high-end QB2 with back-end QB1 upside for Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 5.3
With the Jets’ schedule opening up, Sam Darnold is beginning to play well. While in four of his past five starts, Darnold has accumulated at least 17.2 fantasy points, he is coming off of his second-best game of the year, posting 24.0 points on a 230/1/2 stat line while adding another 25 yards and a TD as a rusher in Week 10’s win over the Giants. Last week’s win was also the first game this season in which he did not throw a pick since the season opener. Darnold is trending in the right direction and will look to build on his good fortunes in a favorable Sunday matchup at the Redskins.
Not only is the Washington defense yielding the 17th-most fantasy points to QBs at a 17.9 FPPG pace — they are middle of the pack — but they are coming off of a Week 9 outing — they had their bye in Week 10 — in which they let Josh Allen drop 19.2 fantasy points on them, the most they have given up since Week 5. Sure, the Redskins have vastly improved since their woes in Weeks 1-5, but they can still be exploited by the enemy QB, Allen proved that two weeks ago.
With Darnold finding his rhythm with Jamison Crowder — it’s a Jamison Crowder revenge game — he has also shown a rapport with TE Ryan Griffin and most recently Demaryius Thomas, the second-year signal-caller has sufficient enough weapons around him to be productive. Darnold is not going to light the world on fire this week, but he should still bring fringe QB1 upside with a middling QB2 floor for Week 11.
Week 11 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 9.2
I’m rolling with J.D. McKissic for the second-straight week in my sleepers article whether or not Ty Johnson, who is questionable with a concussion, plays. In each of the past two games, McKissic has accumulated at least 11.5 fantasy points and is emerging as the Lions running back to own for the remainder of the season. In that two-game time period, McKissic has carried the ball 14 times for 68 yards while securing 9-of-11 targets for 59 yards and a TD. And now with Jeff Driskel likely under center for the second-straight game, I am even more comfortable employing McKissic this week due to his high pass-catching floor with the back-up QB. Driskel targeted McKissic seven times last week. And although he caught six of them for only 19 yards, in PPR scoring formats, the receptions are gold.
While McKissic’s matchup facing a Cowboys defense surrendering 15th-most fantasy points to RBs at an 18.9 FPPG rate isn’t the greatest, they can be gashed by the enemy rusher at times, especially in the passing game. In fact, in the past two games, the Dallas defense has allowed Saquon Barkley and Dalvin Cook to combine for 13 receptions and 153 yards on 15 targets. No, McKissic isn’t Cook or Barkley, but their production as receivers proves the Cowboys defense struggles to contain pass-catching backs, which is what McKissic does best. McKissic is a high-floor flex option with back-end RB2 upside if he scores in Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 5.2
Derrius Guice has been activated from the injured reserve list and is poised to return in Sunday’s matchup at home against the Jets. However, while he is a notable name, he is only being started in 5.2 percent of leagues at ESPN, making him a surprising sleeper. Although he can’t be trusted to stay healthy, I do expect the Redskins to see what they have in their oft-injured second-year rusher. With only Adrian Peterson there to seriously challenge Guice for touches — Chris Thompson has yet again been ruled out — Guice should be busy in his return, even if it is in a change-up role to Peterson.
If Guice gets the opportunity, he will have the chance to show-out facing a Jets defense only allowing the 23rd-most fantasy points to enemy backs at a 16.8 FPPG rate. And although the matchup isn’t the greatest on paper, let’s dig into the Jets’ run defense for a second. While in the past two games, the Jets have held the challenger’s top-scoring back to single-digit fantasy points, those rushers were Mark Walton and a likely banged-up Saquon Barkley. However, in the seven games leading up to Week 9, the Jets have allowed at least 12.2 fantasy points to every top-scoring back they have faced, including a three games stretch of allowing at least 20 fantasy points to the lead-rusher. Guice should be in play as a middling Flex option for Week 11 who could return back-end RB2 production if he can get going and show why the Redskins selected him in the second round of the 2018 draft.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 3.6
With Matt Breida doubtful with an ankle injury, Raheem Mostert is in play for your fantasy lineups this week. Not only is Mostert getting a terrific matchup facing a Cardinals defense yielding the 19.6 FPPG rate, but when he is granted the opportunity, he has delivered more times than not in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Sure, Tevin Coleman will be the 49ers’ lead back, but Mostert will pick up the workload usually handled by Breida, which equates to roughly 13.9 touches per game.
While the Arizona defense opened the year playing well versus the enemy running back, they have been gashed in nearly every game since, especially in the past five weeks in which they have allowed 26.5 percent more fantasy points above the 23.3 league average while giving up 44.4 percent more fantasy points above the 23.8-point NFL average in the past three weeks. With George Kittle out, plus, the fact the Emmanuel Sanders is highly questionable, the 49ers may have to rely on Tevin Coleman and Mostert more often to protect Jimmy Garoppolo from throwing a lot which could put him in trouble in the turnover department. Mostert is a high-upside Flex play with an RB2 ceiling if he balls out in Week 11.
Week 11 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 27.4
While Terry McLaurin got off to a tremendous start to his rookie campaign, he has quieted down of late. In fact, after opening the year putting up at least 17.2 fantasy points in four of the first five games of the season, he has failed to accumulate double-digit points in each of his past three games since Week 6. With an extremely favorable matchup upcoming facing a Jets defense surrendering the second-most fantasy points to enemy WRs at a 28.5 FPPG pace, McLaurin should get back on track and could even go off for the first time with Dwayne Haskins under center.
Although McLaurin has been invisible in each of his past three games, he had matchups facing the 49ers, Vikings, and Bills, three of the best secondaries in the NFL. The Jets are clearly not on the same level as those defensive powerhouses. In fact, they are on a whole other planet, giving up 60.9 percent more fantasy points above the 34.3-point league average to WRs in the past three weeks. If McLaurin receives the opportunity — he has drawn at least six targets in 7-of-8 games played this season — he should produce double-digit fantasy points for the first time since Week 6 against the Dolphins. McLaurin is a safe-floor WR3 with WR2 upside if he gets going in Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.7
Since Dede Westbrook set to return from his shoulder injury in Sunday’s matchup with the Colts, I expect him to pick up where he left off before going down with the injury back in Week 8. In four of his past six games — I included Week 8’s matchup with the Jets in this even though he exited the game in the first quarter with his injury — Westbrook has drawn at least six targets in five games and at least eight targets in four games. Needless to say, Westbrook was getting the opportunity. And when Westbrook received the opportunity, he returned at least 10 PPR points in four of the aforementioned six outings.
With Nick Foles back under center for the Jaguars, Westbrook could finally begin to reach the upside we thought he could have entered the season. If you remember, Westbrook was Foles’ top preseason target and was though to have a breakout year with his new signal-caller. And although he didn’t play terribly with Gardner Minshew, it is safe to say that Foles should be an upgrade for all parties involved.
While his matchup with the Colts isn’t exactly a favorable one — the Indianapolis defense is surrendering the 24th most fantasy points to WRs at a 20.2 FPPG rate — it is one that Westbrook should be able to exploit. Why? Well, look at the Colts’ past three games. Facing Mason Rudolph, Joe Flacco and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Colts were able to shut down the enemy wideout and hold the top-scoring receiver to fewer than 11.9 fantasy points in each game. However, form Weeks 1-7, the Colts’ secondary allowed the opponent’s top-scoring receiver to accumulate at least 13.4 fantasy points in 5-of-6 games and at least 22.3 fantasy points in 4-of-6 games. Assuming Foles is an upgrade over Rudolph, Flacco, and Fitzpatrick — he is — you could make the case that Foles, Westbrook, and Jaguars wideouts should be productive in a must-win game. Westbrook is a high-floor WR3 with WR2 upside if he scores or goes for north of 100-yards receiving in Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 0.4
With Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper both out this week and perhaps the foreseeable future, Russell Gage should be busy. Since the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots in Week 8, Gage has flashed in the slot. Not only has he accumulated 12.8 fantasy points in Week 8, his first game without Sanu, but he’s also drawn 14 targets, securing 11 of them for 81 yards in a two-game timespan from Weeks 8-10 — the Falcons had their bye in Week 9. In his upcoming matchup facing a Panthers defense yielding the 18th-most fantasy points to WRs at a 22.4 FPPG pace, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gage emerged as Matt Ryan’s No. 3 option in the passing attack behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. In that scenario, Gage would be set up for ample targets and a shot to return a double-digit PPR floor for the second time in three games since Sanu’s departure. Gage is a desperation play in the Flex spot in PPR leagues for Week 11.
Week 11 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 8.4
With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery out. Plus, the fact that Jordan Howard is trending in the wrong direction for an active designation for Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots, the Eagles are hurting for weapons around Carson Wentz, especially pass-catching weapons. Cue in Dallas Goedert, who is expected to be busy in the passing game, as a result, has shown in recent weeks with Jackson out. In four of his past six games, Goedert has accumulated at least 9.6 fantasy points. What’s more, Goedert has drawn at least four targets in three of his past four games. Now with Jeffery out, Goedert’s target share could surely increase, especially if the Patriots elect to put their top coverage on Zach Ertz. While the matchup facing a Patriots defense surrendering the third-fewest fantasy points to TEs at a 4.6 FPG rate is not a favorable one, Goedert has the presumed opportunity to finish with double-digit fantasy point for the third time in his past four games, making him a quality TE2 with TE1 upside if he scores in Week 11.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 7.8
In a year in which Tyler Eifert finally managed to stay healthy, he has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments at the tight end position. However, in his past two games, Eifert has accumulated at least 10.0 PPR points, which were also his first two games with double-digit fantasy points this season. In that two-game time period, Eifert has been targeted 13 times, catching eight of them for 94 yards and a TD. Eifert will look to build on his recent success in an outstanding matchup with the Raiders, who are giving up the third-most fantasy points to the TE position at a 10.7 FPPG pace. What’s more, the Raiders have allowed 37.9 percent more fantasy points above the 12.6-point NFL average in the past three weeks. And in three of the past four games, the Raiders have allowed the opposition’s top-scoring tight end to finish with at least 13.0 points in PPR, allowing a touchdown or 56 yards receiving in that time period. Eifert is a high-end TE2 with TE1 upside if he scores in Week 11.