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Matt Starkey/Kansas City Chiefs

Week 11 Fantasy: “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down”



Thumbs Up of the Week: Carson Wentz (@ NO)

Since knocking the rust off in his season debut, Carson Wentz has thrown for 315.5 yards per game with a 14:2 touchdown-interception ratio, and he’s gone for 18+ fantasy points in each of the past six games. The wins haven’t been there like they were in 2017, but based purely on numbers, Wentz has played better than he did in last year’s MVP-worthy campaign, and you know he will need to air it out to keep up with Drew Brees in the Superdome to avoid a 4-6 start. I wouldn’t put much stock into the collapsing Bengals getting shut down by the Saints in Week 10; Wentz is a top-five play for me.


Thumbs Up: Lamar Jackson (v CIN)

This will obviously change if Joe Flacco (hip) ends up playing on Sunday (or if the Ravens decide to start Robert Griffin III), but 60 minutes of Lamar Jackson could be fantasy gold, and he’s worth a speculative add in all leagues until we have further clarity on the starter’s health. The NFL is a different game, but Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three years at Louisville, and when given the opportunity, Baltimore’s first-round pick has flashed the same speed and contact balance that we saw in college. Plus, it’s worth noting that Cincinnati allowed two rushing touchdowns to Cam Newton earlier this year.


Thumbs Up: Marcus Mariota (@ IND)

Clearly healthier since the bye, Marcus Mariota has led Tennessee to a couple huge wins in back-to-back games, and there’s no reason to believe he will slow down against the Colts, who have allowed 24.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks other than Derek Anderson (he finished with negative points) over the past seven weeks. I think Mariota vaults to the top of the Week 11 streamers for fantasy owners that don’t want to wait on the Ravens to make a call on Flacco/Jackson/RGIII, and in general, he shouldn’t be overlooked as a fantasy option down the stretch.


Thumbs Up: Dak Prescott (@ ATL)

Confidence is key for a quarterback, and Dak Prescott should have plenty after he kept Dallas in the NFC East race with a huge victory against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. I know the Cowboys were rolled last year in Atlanta, 27-7, but that came without Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup, and this season, the Falcons have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks due to injuries in the secondary. Also, Dak has taken matters into his own hands in recent weeks with a rushing touchdown in three of the past four games, so hopefully that continues as Dallas looks to set up a potential first-place matchup against the Redskins on Thanksgiving.


Others: Matt Ryan (v DAL), Russell Wilson (v GB)


Thumbs Down of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ NYG)

He’s coming off his fourth 400-yard game of the season, but Tampa Bay is in such disarray as a franchise that it’s tough to trust Ryan Fitzpatrick as a QB1 for owners fighting for a spot in the fantasy playoffs. Last week, head coach Dirk Koetter took play-calling responsibilities from offensive coordinator Todd Monken—who had been doing a standout job through eight games—so one or two early mistakes could cause Koetter to also have a quick trigger at quarterback, too, especially with a former No. 1 overall pick waiting in the wings. Besides the risk of an in-game benching, Fitzpatrick is unlikely to face a big deficit against the Giants, which means “hero ball” probably won’t be in the cards for Week 11.


Thumbs Down: Philip Rivers (v DEN)

Denver isn’t feared like they used to be, but that’s been the case over the past couple years, and Philip Rivers has still been held to 205.0 passing yards per game over the past four meetings against his AFC West rival. Teams off the bye haven’t been great this season, and I don’t have confidence in Vance Joseph implementing a masterful game plan despite the extra time to prepare, but Los Angeles is better off attacking on the ground with Melvin Gordon against the Broncos, who are allowing a healthy 4.8 yards per carry. Rivers remains a top-15 option, but just barely, and I’d rather go with someone else in 10- or 12-team leagues.


Thumbs Down: Andy Dalton (@ BAL)

Even though Andy Dalton was a “Thumbs Up” for me last week, I warned about him disappointing in any given week, and that’s exactly what happened with 153 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in a 51-14 loss—off the bye—to the vulnerable secondary of the Saints. Don’t be fooled by Dalton throwing four scores in the previous matchup against the Ravens, as it came on a fluky TNF game with all the damage being done in the first half before Baltimore woke up.


Thumbs Down: Derek Carr (@ ARI)

At the start of the season, it looked like Derek Carr was a potential QB1 in Jon Gruden’s offense with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Martavis Bryant at receiver and Marshawn Lynch at running back, but Oakland’s signal-caller is suddenly the last man standing with Cooper traded, Lynch on IR, and Nelson/Bryant both facing missed time with knee injuries. Oakland has just nine points over the past two weeks, so Carr should be avoided as the triggerman of one of the league’s worst attacks.


Others: Matthew Stafford (v CAR), Josh Rosen (v OAK)


Running Back


Thumbs Up of the Week: Leonard Fournette (v PIT)

The Jaguars wisely didn’t wait to feed Leonard Fournette in his return from a four-game absence, as he handled 29 touches for 109 yards and two scores in last week’s loss. The formula should be the same as it was in two meetings with the Steelers last year when he rushed 28 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a regular season victory before knocking off Pittsburgh in the playoffs with 109 yards and three scores on 25 attempts. I would be surprised if Mike Tomlin’s squad didn’t tighten up as they seek vengeance, but Fournette is undoubtedly back on the RB1 map.


Thumbs Up: Doug Martin (@ ARI)

For as bad as the Raiders have looked offensively, Doug Martin has been a bright spot since taking over for Marshawn Lynch, rushing 39 times for 182 yards (4.7 YPC) in three starts. The former All-Pro has yet to find the end zone, but I think that will change soon enough—perhaps this week against a Cardinals team that has allowed the most rushing touchdowns per game (1.44) and the third most fantasy points per game to the position in standard leagues. Based on the burst Martin has shown as a runner, he looks like a high-floor RB2/FLEX option.


Thumbs Up: Peyton Barber (@ NYG)

Peyton Barber has been about as inconsistent as possible this year, including over the past five weeks while alternating solid showings with disappointments (13/82 > 11/30 > 19/85/1 > 11/31 > 13/61). But encouragingly, the Auburn product appears to be locked into at least 12-15 touches per game over that span, and the workload should remain stable as second-round pick Ronald Jones recovers from his hamstring injury. This weekend, the Bucs might finally get a chance to establish the run against the Giants, who have been shredded by the Redskins (29/162/1) and 49ers (27/123/1) in back-to-back games. Barber is a solid FLEX with six teams out of action.


Thumbs Up: Chris Thompson (v HOU)

Chris Thompson hasn’t played this month as he recovers from a rib injury, but as the 6-3 Redskins look to maintain their lead in the NFC East, I think Jay Gruden will immediately give his dynamic receiving back plenty of work to offset the injuries on the offensive line. Remember, Thompson was a legitimate RB1 (even in standard leagues) last year before getting hurt, and he started 2018 with 11 touches for 128 yards and a score in the opener, and then 17 touches for 93 yards in Week 2. Against Houston’s stout front, Thompson should be an immediate FLEX in all formats if he returns as an extension of the running game. [Update: Thompson is expected be out for Week 11, so Kapri Bibbs becomes an intriguing FLEX option in PPR leagues.]


Others: Tevin Coleman (v DAL), Josh Adams (@ NO)


Thumbs Down of the Week: Jordan Howard (v MIN)

Jordan Howard came into last week’s matchup against the Lions having totaled four touchdowns over the previous three games, but he was limited to just 21 yards on 11 carries, dropping his yards-per-carry average to 3.4 for the season. An offensive centerpiece to start his career, Howard is now just a complimentary player in Matt Nagy’s offense with barely 50.0 rushing yards per game through ten weeks. I’m buying low in dynasty leagues (Howard turned 24 at the start of the month), but Sunday night is a shy-away spot with the Vikings coming to town, as cold weather (24 degrees at kickoff) is really the only reason to be optimistic about Howard’s chances of being featured.


Thumbs Down: Lamar Miller (@ WAS)

It looked like Lamar Miller was finally turning the corner after a couple 100-yard games in a row, but he followed it up with a 12-carry, 21-yard outing that saw him out-carried and out-gained by Alfred Blue (15 attempts for 39 yards). Fantasy owners can hope that Houston’s starter was just being rested before the bye week, but even if that’s the case, Washington is an imposing matchup as the No. 5 run defense in the league led by former Alabama standouts Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. Miller is just a decent FLEX option for Week 11.


Thumbs Down: Adrian Peterson (v HOU)

The first game for Adrian Peterson without left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Shawn Lauvao, and right guard Brandon Scherff was respectable with 19 carries for 68 yards, but it’s important to note that it came against the soft Tampa Bay front as the Redskins played from ahead in a defensive battle. The script could flip this week—especially if Chris Thompson is active—and AD might find running room hard to come by against the Texans, who are second in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.6) and rushing touchdowns allowed (three). The upside will still be there, but Peterson is best treated as a low-floor RB2.


Thumbs Down: Seattle RBs (v GB)

Chris Carson (hip) is going to play on Thursday night, but Seattle’s backfield is as muddled as ever following a breakout game from first-round pick Rashaad Penny (12 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown) combined with an under-the-radar 80 yards and a score by Mike Davis in Week 10. I still think Carson is the best talent of the group, and the Seahawks are unlikely to cast him aside with 100+ rushing yards in three of his past five appearances, so this has the makings of a three-way committee that will—probably in a best-case scenario—have two guys end up being worth a start while the other disappoints. I’m not trying to guess who the odd-man-out will be.


Others: Corey Clement (@ NO), Wendell Smallwood (@ NO)


Wide Receiver


Thumbs Up of the Week: Sammy Watkins (@ LAR)

I don’t think this is a “revenge game” for Sammy Watkins considering the Rams had interest in bringing him back earlier this year, but the former first-round pick would probably like to prove he is capable of more than what his role was for Los Angeles in 2017, and the burnable secondary led by Marcus Peters presents a perfect opportunity for that to happen. Since Aqib Talib went down, the Rams have allowed big games to Adam Thielen (8/135/1) and Stefon Diggs (11/123), Tyler Lockett twice (3/98/1 and 5/67/1), Emmanuel Sanders (7/115/1), Davante Adams (5/133), and Michael Thomas (12/211/1). Watkins has as much talent as anyone and should be viewed as a high-upside, top-15 option in a high-scoring affair.


Thumbs Up: Courtland Sutton (@ LAC)

On paper, the Chargers have drastically improved their coverage against opposing receivers over the past four weeks (11.8 standard fantasy points per game allowed), but look at their opponents over that span (Cleveland, Tennessee, Seattle, Oakland). Before that, Los Angeles was on the hook for 30.3 fantasy points per game allowed to the position (only the Saints would be worse), and Courtland Sutton has the talent to take advantage of some favorable coverage with Emmanuel Sanders likely to be occupied by Casey Hayward. The second-round pick has shown a solid floor with 5.1 standard fantasy points in every game since Week 4, and I think we’ll see his upside this weekend. Sutton is a top-20 play for me.


Thumbs Up: Devin Funchess (@ DET)

Devin Funchess was contained last week as a “Thumbs Up” with just three receptions for 32 yards, but I think we can call Carolina’s 52-21 loss a throwaway game for everyone other than Christian McCaffrey. Looking ahead to this week’s opponent, Detroit got stung by Allen Robinson for a 6/133/2 line last Sunday, and cornerback Darius Slay not practicing at all leading up to Week 10 would seem to indicate that he’s on the wrong side of questionable once again for the 3-6 Lions. Funchess is a big-bodied wideout similar to Robinson, so he could give Detroit fits on the perimeter as Carolina looks to get back on track with a few extra days to think about their blowout loss.


Thumbs Up: Chris Godwin (@ NYG)

As stated, Dirk Koetter impulsively took play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Todd Monken last week, and that was probably part of the reason for Chris Godwin dropping down to 49% of the snaps after it looked like he and Adam Humphries had pulled away from DeSean Jackson. However, that didn’t stop the Penn State product from leading the team in receiving as he caught all seven of his targets for 103 yards, and maybe it’s a mistake, but I don’t think the Bucs are will keep him off the field against New York’s patchwork cornerback cornerback group.


Others: Tre’Quan Smith (v PHI), Josh Reynolds (v KC)


Thumbs Down of the Week: Emmanuel Sanders (@ LAC)

With lines of 4/40, 4/68, and last year’s 3/26 over the past two seasons against LA’s Casey Hayward-led secondary, Emmanuel Sanders is someone to keep out of lineups if possible, as there’s no where to escape with Hayward on the perimeter and Desmond King in the slot. Again, this weekend sets up a lot better for Courtland Sutton against backup boundary corner Michael Davis, and the Broncos should know that with an extra week to prepare. Sanders is more of a FLEX than low-end WR2 for Week 11.


Thumbs Down: Tyler Lockett (v GB)

Saved by seven touchdowns in nine games, Tyler Lockett runs the risk of being chased by Jaire Alexander on Thursday night, and with the fantasy playoffs in reach for owners, I wouldn’t bank on him finding the end zone again. Lockett’s chemistry with Russell Wilson helps, but he’s been below 35 receiving yards in three of the past four games, and the Seahawks will probably want to pound the ball at home to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. I have the 26-year-old ranked as a volatile FLEX option.


Thumbs Down: Mike Williams (v DEN)

I thought Mike Williams was well on his way to weekly WR2 value after lines of 5/81, 2/27/1, and 4/81/2 to start the season, but he’s combined for just seven receptions, 149 yards, and two scores in six games since then, and Tyrell Williams has regained his No. 2 receiver role behind Keenan Allen. In what shouldn’t be a high-volume passing attack against Denver, the Clemson product is plummeting towards borderline top-50 status coming off a game in which he wasn’t targeted.


Thumbs Down: Golden Tate (@ NO)

Last week seemed like a good opportunity to get Golden Tate immediately involved because the Eagles were a) coming off the bye, b) in a huge divisional game, and c) facing a Dallas defense that the veteran destroyed for an 8/132/2 line in September. That wasn’t to be, though, as Tate played 29% of the team’s offensive snaps behind Alshon Jeffery (97%), Nelson Agholor (89%), and—surprisingly—Jordan Matthews (61%). Just as concerning for Week 11 and beyond is Carson Wentz’s desire to lock onto Jeffery and Zach Ertz, so even against another defense Tate has had success against (97 yards per game and five touchdowns in five matchups), there’s risk.


Others: Tyler Boyd (@ BAL), DeSean Jackson (@ NYG)


Tight End


Thumbs Up of the Week: Gerald Everett (v KC)

Tight end is basically a crapshoot—especially with Rob Gronkowski, George Kittle, and David Njoku on a bye—so Gerald Everett is as good a lottery ticket as there is in a game that should finish in the 30s or 40s. And while the circumstances are unfortunate with Cooper Kupp (knee) done for the season, Everett will likely have an extended role down the stretch, including this week against the Chiefs, who have allowed at least 5.1 standard fantasy points to the position in every game this year.


Thumbs Up: Ricky Seals-Jones (v OAK)

The Raiders have shown all kinds of issues in coverage, so Ricky Seals-Jones is a good bet to take advantage of any busted assignments by the linebackers and safeties as he seeks to regain the big-play ability we saw last year when he averaged 16.8 yards per reception. RSJ does have receptions of 21 yards, 31 yards, 35 yards, and 40 yards this year already, so we’ll see if he can create some chunk plays on Sunday.


Thumbs Up: Michael Roberts (v CAR)

Carolina has allowed the most fantasy points (12.4 per game in standard leagues) and touchdowns (nine) to tight ends this year, so Michael Roberts has the makings of a home-run streamer if he can get cleared from his shoulder injury. Over the past five weeks in particular, the Panthers have been destroyed by lines of 8/84/1, 13/181/1, 7/67/1, 7/68/2, and 5/52/2 from the position.


Thumbs Down of the Week: Evan Engram (v TB)

Evan Engram is always worth considering because of his unique, 4.42 speed for a tight end, but in a week with several quality streaming options, I would rather not trust a guy who hasn’t been a priority a struggling offense centered around two mega stars. The Ole Miss product is a fine TE2, but 10- or 12-team leagues can probably do better.


Thumbs Down: Cameron Brate (@ NYG)

He’s done nothing to deserve it, but Cameron Brate has been a common appearance here because he’s still being slightly overvalued behind O.J. Howard. The 27-year-old has been held to 15 or fewer yards in each of the past three games, and he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 6. I would feel better about Brate as a touchdown flier if Jameis Winston was under center because of the chemistry the pair has shown in the past.


Thumbs Down: Antonio Gates (v DEN)

It was obvious that Antonio Gates would be a touchdown-or-bust option after signing with the Chargers late in the summer, but I’m still a little surprised that he’s only scored once (back in September) as Philip Rivers enjoys perhaps his best season yet. Gates, who is hanging on the fringe of the rankings, is unlikely to come alive against the Broncos after they held him to 21 scoreless yards in two 2017 meetings.


For defense and kicker advice—and all your start/sit decisions—check out our full Week 11 rankings, or also consider Fantasy Consigliere to finally “Be The Boss Of Your Fantasy League.” 


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