The 2016 fantasy football season is quickly approaching its end. That (hopefully) means playoff aspirations for your team. If not, then you’re most likely trying to save face and not end up last in rankings amongst your buddies. Well good news: You’ve come to the right place regardless.
Starting Week 11 and after, we will take care of the dirty statistic work and nitty-gritty matchup probabilities for most of your players, along with providing waiver wire sleepers to fortify your team to its max potential. All of this and more on this week’s edition of Fantasy Sports Island!
All following speculations will be based off standard scoring strategies, not points per reception. That being said, you can still get a good idea of who’s hot and who’s not. Matchup-proof players (e.g. Julio Jones, Ezekiel Elliot, etc.) will not be listed because — duh — they should forever be locked into your starting lineup.
MARCUS MARIOTA @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
The Titans have definitely found their franchise quarterback in Mariota. Totaling 2,482 passing yards and 21 touchdowns altogether is no simple feat. Taking advantage of his solid receiving corps, reinforced offensive line and mobile quarterback status, Mariota has our best bet to shine once again. This time going up against a battered Colts secondary that is one of the league’s worst in defending air yardage.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER @ CLEVELAND BROWNS
This is by far the juiciest matchup for the Steelers all season. Future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger, partnered with the productive weapons of Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell, completes arguably the league’s best offensive trio. Their opponent … the 0-10 Cleveland Browns [[needs more to it]]. Upon further analysis, we conclude that the Browns will not only extend their losing streak to 11 but also surrender plenty of points to Roethlisberger fantasy owners.
CAM NEWTON vs. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
After passing for 261 yards and a touchdown, along with rushing for 54 yards and another touchdown, Dab Newton is back. We also anticipate his return to an elite QB status upon recently becoming the Carolina Panthers’ franchise leader in passing yards and rushing touchdowns. Cam is doing Cam things; the league’s best mobile QB will continue to do so at home versus a New Orleans Saints secondary that just can’t find their rhythm. Expect Newton to put up back to back fantasy explosions this Thursday, whether he’s throwing long balls or running through defensive lines.
CARSON PALMER @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The playoff caliber defense for the Vikings is at home this week. This does not bode well for Carson Palmer and the visiting Cardinals receivers. Don’t get me wrong, a veteran offense should still be feared, but that same veteran offense has taken a backseat to the promising youth that is halfback David Johnson. So unless Palmer gets fantasy points for every snap he hands off to Johnson, which he won’t, we recommend that you leave him on the bench for the time being.
RYAN TANNEHILL @ LOS ANGELES RAMS
Tannehill will look to lead the Dolphins to their fifth-straight victory on Sunday. Facing a fierce Rams defense, this will definitely cause worry for his fantasy point output. Coming off a solid game of 240 passing yards and two touchdowns, don’t assume he’ll repeat results while Jay Ajayi is (literally) running the show in Miami. Look to start or stream another quarterback for now.
JOE FLACCO @ DALLAS COWBOYS
Flacco and the Ravens will be on the road for week 11, going up against a concrete Cowboys defense that has recently defied expectations. Morale may be high after posting 296 passing yards for three touchdowns against Cleveland on Thursday Night Football, but Joe Flacco and his receiving corps will have their work cut out for them this Sunday. We suggest a no-start for both quarterbacks in what will be one of this week’s closest matchups.
MICHAEL THOMAS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS
This rookie is looking more and more promising as the weeks go by. Eating up targets and receptions, especially in red-zone work, Michael Thomas is quickly becoming a preferred weapon in Drew Brees’ arsenal. Facing the inexperience that has manifested itself in the Panthers’ secondary, Thomas will definitely be in the WR2 conversation.
ALLEN ROBINSON @ DETROIT LIONS
Normally this start would be a no-brainer, but Allen Robinson has faced lots of critique this year for not being able to replicate his stellar previous season. As far as quality goes, Robinson is still a phenomenal athlete and currently riding a two-game touchdown streak for the past two weeks. We estimate he will find yet another one as he continues to be the most targeted player in the Jaguars’ receiving corps.
JAMISON CROWDER vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Jamison Crowder is on a roll with three touchdowns in his last five games. As Kirk Cousins’ current most productive target, he will look to continue to outperform both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson on Sunday Night Football. Especially since Jackson’s shoulder is keeping him questionable while Crowder is profitable.
LARRY FITZGERALD @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Yes, Fitz is still a legendary receiver. No, you shouldn’t start him week 11 away versus the Minnesota Vikings. Over the years it seems like Larry Fitzgerald has been matchup-proof as cornerbacks usually fail in their attempts to stop him. Keyword: years. The dynamic duo of Palmer and Fitzgerald has still performed above average all year, but a tough matchup against an even tougher Vikings defense can put a halt to that. Besides this week, you can still have faith in starting Fitz for the rest of the season.
COLE BEASLEY vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS
The return of Dez Bryant and the downfall of Cole Beasley has simultaneously begun. As the initial leader in targets, he now stands second to Bryant as the slot receiver. Now being primarily targeted in short yardage plays, Beasley will face a Ravens defense that has been sneaky good.
MIKE WALLACE @ DALLAS COWBOYS
We know what you’re thinking. You have to start Joe Flacco’s number one receiver. Well don’t, at least not for this week. Wallace will mostly draw CB1 coverage while visiting the Dallas Cowboys. It will be a hard-fought shootout, but the defense with an eight-game winning streak will only prevail by mainly focusing on the air game. Especially since no one can figure out the Ravens’ running committee.
JEREMY HILL vs. BUFFALO BILLS
Hill or Bernard, Bernard or Hill? This question must be asked by the coaching staff several times before a matchup. Both players excel in their own way depending on the particular halfback situation, but for now it’s safe to say that Jeremy Hill is the starter. In the past three weeks he’s scored both double digit fantasy points and a touchdown a game. Whether charging down the gap or catching screen passes, Hill will be productive. Especially against the Bills’ run defense that hasn’t recently lived up to expectations.
LATAVIUS MURRAY vs. HOUSTON TEXANS
Since coming off his week 5 through 6 injuries, Murray has been on fire. Excluding the bye week, in his last three weeks alone he has rushed for a total of 221 yards and five touchdowns. We see no reason for decline, even when going up against the venerable Texans rush defense for Monday Night Football. What makes matters even worse for the Texans, J.J. Watt is still on injured reserved. Houston, we have a problem— and his name is Latavius Murray.
ISAIAH CROWELL vs. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
You shouldn’t be worried about Crowell being a Browns halfback, you should be worried about Crowell being a Browns halfback going up against a poor Steelers run defense. If the Crow manages to find his rhythm in week 11, rest assured he will find the majority of handoffs and goal line work as well. We can definitely see him as an RB2 with a higher roof, so make sure you lock him in.
CARLOS HYDE vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Since his week 5 injury, Hyde has remained a nonfactor in the 49ers’ rushing offense. Upon his return last week, he also managed a meager 14 yards on 13 carries. The horizon doesn’t look much better either as Hyde and the 49ers will try to bounce back against the Patriots’ rugged defense that has been great against the run.
RYAN MATHEWS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
The Eagles’ organization is one of the few teams in the NFL that employ a running back committee. However, it may also be the toughest one to predict with Darren Sproles outplaying Ryan Mathews whilst the youth core of Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood bites into everyone’s playtime. Occasionally, Ryan Mathews will see a start and good production, although this is not one of those times as he will go up against the Seahawks’ super defensive line away at Seattle.
JAMES WHITE @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Honestly, LeGarrette Blount is too good. Also taking into consideration that Dion Lewis will soon return for the patriots, you can ultimately recognize that James White will become obsolete once again. He was a great pass-catching halfback, but all signs point to his reduction of snaps and overall playtime. His decline begins now and fantasy owners should look to replace him through the waiver wire.
Waiver Wire Pickups
QB, COLIN KAEPERNICK, 49ERS (12 percent OWNED IN YAHOO! FORMAT)
Kaepernick has surpassed expectations since taking the reins at quarterback in week 6. Averaging about 20 fantasy points each game, he is a must own while his excellent form exists.
WR, ROBERT WOODS, BILLS (16 percent OWNED)
Woods remains the number one receiver in Buffalo. After putting up 162 yards on thirteen targets in week 9 against the Seahawks — yes, the Seahawks — he is worth a shot and should be picked up off the waiver wire.
RB, JAMES STARKS, PACKERS (28 percent OWNED)
With Eddie Lacy sidelined and Ty Montgomery dealing with illness, James Starks found himself with a whopping 71 percent off all snaps last Sunday for Green Bay. After a good overall performance, Starks may have earned himself the starter role once more. If not, his potential must not be overlooked, and he should be owned in all leagues.
Thus concludes this week’s FSI preview for week 11 of the NFL. Check back in next week for more analysis and suggestions concerning your fantasy lineup. Until then, make sure you follow the Daily Nexus and Daily Nexus Sports on Twitter. Cheers!