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Inside the Matchup
Week 11
11/15/17; Updated: 11/17/17

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Jake Gordon


BAL @ GB | ARI @ HOU | WAS @ NO | TB @ MIA



- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Titans @ Steelers - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: There are very few things that Philip Rivers, Trevor Siemian, and Marcus Mariota have in common. Rivers is an aging star in the twilight of his career and an immobile statue on the field, while Siemian and Mariota are young mobile quarterbacks looking to make a name in the NFL. Siemian faces an uphill battle to regain the starting job for the Broncos, while Mariota is the face of the franchise in Tennessee and will likely be under center for the Titans for years to come.

It may shock some fantasy owners to learn that the one thing these three quarterbacks do have in common is the average number of fantasy points scored per game in 2017 (19.2), not exactly what Mariota owners where hoping for in the former first-round pick’s third year in the league. Although Mariota is on pace for new career highs in passing yards, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns (He already set a new record with 3), he is also on pace for a career-worst 12 interceptions, and 14 touchdown passes.

Mariota has yet to throw for three touchdowns or 300 yards in a game despite facing off against three of the league’s worst passing defenses in Houston, Indianapolis, and Cleveland. It seems highly unlikely that he will reach either threshold this week against a Pittsburgh team that allows the second-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks.

On a positive note for Mariota, the return of first-round pick Corey Davis gives the passing offense a dynamic weapon alongside Rishard Matthews, and the revamped Steeler secondary took a hit with the loss of veteran cornerback Joe Haden to a fractured leg on Sunday against the Colts. Starting safety Mike Mitchell also left Sunday’s game hobbled with an ankle injury and was listed as a limited participant in practice on Tuesday.

The Titans are relatively healthy considering it is already Week 11, with Mariota, tight end Delanie Walker, and guard Quinton Spain as the only players listed on the injury report. All three players are expected to suit up on Thursday, with Spain’s toe injury the biggest question mark of the trio.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: A three-touchdown performance against the Bengals last week vaulted Demarco Murray back into fantasy relevance after a disappointing, injury-plagued first half of the season for the veteran running back. It was the first multi-touchdown game of the season for Murray, despite the fact that he continues to have sub-par efficiency numbers with just 42 yards on 14 carries for a 3.0 YPC average. The monster game was a pleasant surprise for Murray owners, although I suspect that a large percentage of his owners had him on the bench after his recent struggles.

Derrick Henry owners continue to wait for their young back to take over the starting duties from the aging Murray, which appears not to be something the Titan coaching staff envision happening anytime soon. Henry has been the more efficient runner of the two, yet he has not done enough to force Tennessee coaches to give him more carries.

Aside from two poor performances against Leonard Fournette and Jordan Howard, the Steeler run defense has been excellent this season, limiting the running backs for Kansas City, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Indy to well under 100 yards and no rushing touchdowns in Weeks 6 through 10. Recent injuries to Joe Haden and Mike Mitchell in the Pittsburgh secondary may open the passing game for Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee skill position players, which could provide more running room for Murray and Henry. NFL color commentators often reference the need for the run game to open up the pass, but in the case for the Titans on Thursday, an effective passing game against an injury-depleted Steeler secondary could, in turn, open up the ground attack.

Value Meter:
QB1: Marcus Mariota (Low-End)
RB2: DeMarco Murray (High-End)
RB3: Derrick Henry (High-End)
WR3: Rishard Matthews (High-End)
WR3: Corey Davis (Low-End)
TE1: Delanie Walker (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger salvaged a terrible first half against the Colts with two second-half touchdown passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Vance McDonald to end the day with 20.3 fantasy points. It was a disappointing performance considering the opponent and the fact that the Colts were limited by injuries on the defensive front.

Smith-Schuster continues to be the clear-cut No. 2 receiving option for Big Ben, although the Steelers did make a concerted effort to get disgruntled Martavis Bryant more involved. The emergence of the first-year wide receiver from USC has been a good thing for the Pittsburgh offense in that he provides Roethlisberger with more options in the passing game. But the negative for fantasy owners is Antonio Brown has seen his target share drop from 33% to 27% over the past two weeks, with two consecutive games of less than 10 fantasy points and zero receiving touchdowns.

Look for Brown to bounce back in a big way this week in a nationally televised home game against a Titans secondary that allows the 9th-most points to opposing wide receivers. No.1 receivers Doug Baldwin, DeAndre Hopkins, Jeremy Maclin, and most recently, A.J. Green, all posted solid weeks against Tennessee this season.

The chess match between former Pittsburgh and current Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be an interesting aspect of this game. Widely credited as the inventor of the zone blitz, this will be the first time LeBeau will coach against Big Ben and Antonio Brown, two players whom LeBeau knows quite well from his ten seasons coaching the Steelers from 2004 to 2014.

The majority of injuries for the Steelers are on the defensive side of the ball, with reserve tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) and No.3 wide receiver Martavis Bryant (illness) as the only two offensive players listed. Both players are expected to play, although McDonald’s ankle could make him a game-time decision (not a viable fantasy option, regardless).

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: The strength of the Tennessee defense is the run stopping ability of the front seven, led by defensive linemen Sylvester Williams and Jurrell Casey, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard. No opposing running back has rushed for more than 77 yards this season against the Titans, and only Leonard Fournette, Lamar Miller, and Joe Mixon have managed to reach the end zone on the ground.

This should not worry Le’Veon Bell owners, as Bell’s elite volume rushing the ball and catching passes out of the backfield makes him a must-start regardless of the opponent. With double-digit points in six of his last seven games, including 30.6 points against a tough Baltimore defense in Week 4, Bell will provide a solid floor of at least ten fantasy points with the ceiling of a multi-score game.

Bell may find more success in the air than on the ground against a Titans unit that has allowed the 5th-most receiving yards to opposing backs and the third-most receiving touchdowns. Bell is an elite stud every week in all formats, but this week he could have even more value in PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ben Roethlisberger (High-End)
RB1: Le’Veon Bell (Elite)
WR1: Antonio Brown (Elite)
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
TE2: Jesse James (Low-End)

Prediction: Steelers 28, Titans 17 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Browns - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jaguars continue to be a run-first, defensive-oriented team, led by a game-managing quarterback in Blake Bortles tasked with the job of providing enough of a passing threat to keep defenses somewhat honest while keeping his mistakes to a minimum. Aside from an outlier four-touchdown performance Week 3 in London against the Ravens, Bortles has not thrown for more than one touchdown in any game this season, including last week’s 273/1/2 performance in a 20-17 win over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.

A matchup against a Cleveland Browns secondary that has allowed the 9th most points to opposing quarterbacks and the second most passing touchdowns (19) could provide Bortles the right opportunity to break out of his string of single TD performances.

The blueprint for beating the winless Browns is to force turnovers on defense while attacking a suspect secondary with the pass. As the league’s number one fantasy defense, the Jags will not have much trouble achieving the first part of the winning formula. But as a power run game that struggles to find success in the passing game, the Jacksonville offense does not match up well vs. the strengths and weaknesses of Cleveland.

The Jacksonville wide receiving corps led Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee ranks 28th in fantasy points scored, with just three combined touchdowns on the year. With double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four contests, including six catches for 55 yards and a touchdown last week against the Chargers, Lee is the number one option for Bortles as the two continue to build a rapport. Expecting a multi-score game from Lee this week might be a stretch, but a third consecutive game of at least 50 yards and a score is well within reach.

Hurns is not expected to play against the Browns due to an ankle injury sustained against Los Angeles, but Bortles will likely have rookie preseason sensation Dede Westbrook on the first time this year after a 10-week absence due to a core muscle injury. Westbrook is an excellent upside play in deeper 12 and 14 team leagues and DFS, but the unknown factor of volume in the offense might be too much of a gamble in 10-team formats.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette struggled last week in his first game action after missing Week 9 due to violating team rules. The first round draft pick from LSU rushed for 33 yards on 17 carries and failed to reach the end zone for only the second time this season last week against the Chargers.

The Browns have been terrible in nearly every facet of the game, including front office moves by Sashi Brown the Cleveland Brain Trust, but the one area in which the team has not struggled is in run defense. The Browns rank 25th in fantasy points allowed to RBs in 2017, with only four rushing touchdowns allowed on 219 carries. No opposing player has rushed for more than 66 yards against Cleveland, and no opposing back has managed to post a multi-score game. Although, it is possible that the Browns run defense is weakening, as evident to the fact that both Jerick McKinnon and Ameer Abdullah scored rushing touchdowns in the last two games.

Regardless of the matchup, Fournette owners are starting the stud back due to his high floor and elite level ceiling. The Jags defensive unit is tops in the league in shutting down opposing offenses and should give Bortles and Fournette numerous short fields. But don’t be surprised if the Jags follow the blueprint of passing against the Browns, which could somewhat limit Fournette’s upside Week 11.

Value Meter:
QB2: Blake Bortles (High-End)
RB1: Leonard Fournette (Elite)
WR2: Marqise Lee (High-End)
TE2: Marcedes Lewis (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Rookie DeShone Kizer faces his difficult challenge of his young career against a Jacksonville team that allows the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Only five quarterbacks have registered a passing touchdown this season against the Jags, with Joe Flacco, Josh McCown, Ben Roethlisberger, Jacoby Brissett, and Andy Dalton all failing to throw a touchdown against a stout Jacksonville secondary.

No Cleveland wide receiver or tight end is worthy of a start this week, and Kizer’s fantasy value is limited to his ability to create fantasy points with his legs. A garbage time rushing TD for Kizer could salvage his value for owners in two-quarterback leagues, but getting benched in favor of Cody Kessler is also in play should Kizer continue to commit costly turnovers.

Duke Johnson is the only skill position player in the passing game worthy of consideration with Jacksonville allowing a modest 48 catches for 334 yards and three scores to opposing running backs. It also doesn’t hurt that Duke’s usage in the ground game has jumped from 18% to just over 30% over the past month.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: The Jets provided the blueprint of how to attack the Jacksonville defense when Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire combined for 256 yards and two touchdowns Week 4 at MetLife Stadium. The Jags responded to that blowout with the addition of Marcell Dareus via trade with Buffalo. Since the trade, the Jags have allowed only one 100-yard rusher and one rushing touchdown, while the Bills have been one of the worst teams in stopping the run.

Isaiah Crowell is finally living up to his early draft price with back-to-back double-digit performances against Minnesota and Detroit. Despite losing volume to Johnson during that span, Crow has improved his efficiency and scored a rushing touchdown in each contest. He carries decent touchdown upside this week, but a negative game script is possible with Jacksonville running away with the game early.

Value Meter:
QB2: DeShone Kizer (Low-End)
RB2: Isaiah Crowell (Low-End)
RB2: Duke Johnson (Low-End)
WR3: Kenny Britt (Low-End)
TE2: David Njoku (Low-End)

Prediction: Jags 21, Browns 7

Lions @ Bears - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford has been a model of consistency over the past four weeks with 20 or more fantasy points in each game, including a three-touchdown performance at home against Cleveland Week 10. Stafford continues to excel at spreading the ball around to his collection of skill position players, instead of peppering one target with excessive volume like he did earlier in his career with Calvin Johnson.

The return of rookie Kenny Golladay from a hamstring injury gave Stafford another deep threat opposite of Marvin Jones on the outside, while Golden Tate working on the inside in the slot continues the be his favorite target. Jones’ production fell off drastically last week with Stafford electing to avoid throwing the ball to Jason McCourty’s side of the field. With the Bears lacking an elite coverage corner on the outside Jones should once again garner the second-largest percentage of targets this week against Chicago.

The Bears rank 22nd in point allowed to opposing wide receivers and 29th against opposing quarterbacks - not exactly a great matchup for Stafford and his receiving weapons. Vic Fangio likes to employ a two-deep safety scheme to cut down on the threat of big plays, limiting opposing offenses to underneath and intermediary throws. This bodes well for Tate working in the slot but could restrict Golladay’s ability for the big play.

Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams all managed to score double-digit points this season vs. the Bears, but only Brown was able to post more than 100 yards in a game.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Ameer Abdullah reached pay dirt in each of his last two games, including an 11/52/1 performance against a stout Browns run defense Week 10. A third consecutive week with a touchdown is in play this week against a Bears team that allows the 15th-most points to opposing running backs. Eight different running backs reached the end zone this season against Chicago, including Ty Montgomery last week at a rainy Soldier Field.

Theo Riddick returned to a fantasy relevant asset with 18 combined points over his last two games, highlighted by a 10.7 game last week against Cleveland that featured a receiving touchdown. Although no opposing running back has scored a receiving touchdown this season, the Bears do rank 15th in receiving yards to opposing backs, and Riddick always carries the upside of a screen pass touchdown reception.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB2: Ameer Abdullah (Low-End)
RB3: Theo Riddick (Low-End)
WR1: Golden Tate (Low-End
WR3: Marvin Jones (High-End)
TE2: Eric Ebron (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Mitchell Trubisky set career highs in completions, attempts, completion percentage, and passing yards in a Week 10 loss at home against the Packers. With back-to-back games with over 30 pass attempts, it appears as though head coach John Fox is finally allowing his rookie quarterback to open up the offense and attack defenses downfield.

Mid-season trade acquisition Dontrell Inman was the main beneficiary of Trubisky opening up the offense with six catches for 88 yards on eight targets. Although he failed to reach the end zone, it was a promising performance by a member of the lowest scoring fantasy wide receiving corps in the NFL. With matchups against the Browns, 49ers, and Eagles in the upcoming weeks, Inman could evolve into a viable No. 3 fantasy wide receiver.

That evolution may not happen this week, as Darius Slay and the Lions pass defense have allowed only one 100-yard receiver on the season and only three receiving touchdowns since Week 6. The way to beat the Lions is on the ground, and the Bears will likely rely heavily on their three-headed rushing attack to shorten the game and keep the ball out of Matthew Stafford hands.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: The 10th-ranked Bears rushing attack disappointed last week in a loss at home against the Packers, with Jordan Howard posting 54 yards on 15 carries against a team that ranked 6th in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. To the detriment of the team, head coach John Fox went away from the run too early, and the Bears ended up losing to a struggling Brett Hundley-led Green Bay team.

Look for Fox to not make that mistake twice as the Bears will feature the run against a Detroit defense that allows the 9th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Chicago is relatively healthy on the offensive side of the ball, with offensive linemen Kyle Long and Tom Compton limited in practice on Wednesday, and tight end Dion Simms is currently out with due to an illness. All three players are likely fine for Sunday, with reserve right tackle Compton’s knee injury the most serious injury.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (Low-End)
RB1: Jordan Howard (Low-End)
RB4: Tarik Cohen (Low-End)
WR3: Dontrelle Inman (Low-End
WR4: Kendall Wright (High-End)

Prediction: Lions 28, Bears 10

Rams vs. Vikings - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Most fantasy football fans anticipated an improvement to the Los Angeles Rams passing game with the addition of first-year head coach Sean McVay joining the team this offseason. But not many people predicted the Rams becoming the third-ranked offense in the league, or that Jared Goff would become a No.1 fantasy quarterback in just the first season under McVay.

Like the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh, the Rams are a testament to the idea that a fresh new head coach and a commitment to improving an offensive line can go a long way in making a bad team into a playoff contender.

Goff and McVay face off this week against arguably their most difficult opponent when they head north to take on Mike Zimmer’s Vikings at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings allow the 25th-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this season and have not allowed a multi-touchdown week to an opposing QB since Week 3 vs. Jameis Winston. Kirk Cousins found excellent fantasy success last week with 33 points on 327/1/1 passing vs. the Vikings, but that was at FedEx Field, and he bolstered his stats with two rushing touchdowns.

Only two quarterbacks have thrown for over 300 yards vs. Zimmer’s defense and no quarterback has managed to throw for three touchdowns. The Vikings will be tested by Goff, who took advantage of two of the worst passing defenses in New York and Houston over the last two weeks with seven touchdowns and 666 yards. If forced to wager on who will have more success this week, I fall on the side of the veteran defensive minded coach in Zimmer playing at home.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley leads the NFL in fantasy points at the running back position with 176 through nine games, with at least 100 total yards and/or a touchdown in all but one of his nine games. A lopsided 33-7 win over the Houston Texans last week limited Gurley to just 17 touches, his lowest total on the season, but he still came through with 136 yards for 13.6 fantasy points.

He will likely find it difficult sledding this week against the Vikings run defense, a unit that ranks dead last in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. Only Ameer Abdullah and Isaiah Crowell have scored rushing touchdowns vs. Minnesota, and no running back, including Le’Veon Bell, has reached the century mark on the ground.

Injuries to hard-hitting safety Andrew Sendejo and pass rush specialist Everson Griffen are important factors for the success of the Vikings defense this week, as both players missed practice on Wednesday. Griffen told reporters that he intends on playing after missing last week with a foot injury. His matchup against veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth will be one of the better battles to watch on Sunday.

Sendejo is critical to providing run support with fellow safety Harrison Smith, and his absence due to groin and hamstring injuries dramatically improves the outlook for Gurley and the ground game. As of today, Sendejo is questionable, and it is not looking likely that he will suit up on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (Low-End)
RB1: Todd Gurley (Elite)
WR2: Robert Woods (Low-End)
WR3: Cooper Kupp (High-End
WR3: Sammy Watkins (High-End)
TE2: Tyler Higbee (Low-End

Passing Game Thoughts: With Teddy Two-Gloves Bridgwater breathing down his neck and close to regain the starting quarterback role for Mike Zimmer, Case Keenum is one bad quarter away from once again holding the clipboard. It is an unfortunate situation for Keenum, a journeyman backup in the midst of his best season in the NFL. The former record-setting QB from the University of Houston threw for 304 yards and a career-best four touchdown last week against the Redskins, yet his time as the starting QB for the Vikings is clearly short lived.

For Keenum to match his impressive performance from Week 10, he will need to light up a Rams defense that allows the 27th-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Although those stats are somewhat skewed by cakewalk games against the who’s who’s of terrible quarterback play in Tom Savage, Eli Manning, Drew Stanton, Blake Bortles, Bryan Hoyer, and Scott Tolzien, The Rams have only allowed one quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards or three passing touchdowns.

If you like to buy into nonsense like the revenge narrative, Keenum facing off against his old team in a personal must-win game is interesting. I personally do not, but Keenum could be a fun contrarian play on DFS.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: One area in which the Rams have taken a step back under McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is run defense. L.A. allows the fourth-most fantasy points per game in 2017 after finishing in the middle of the pack last year. This change is someone surprising with a stout D-line led by All-Pro Aaron Donald and linebacking corp led by Alec Ogletree.

With only New Orleans, Jacksonville, and the Rams scoring more points this season at the running back position than the Vikings, running the ball on Sunday will be a point of emphasis for Minnesota. The running back tandem of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon has been on fire over the past month, with one of the two backs scoring a rushing touchdown since Dalvin Cook went down with a knee injury Week 4. McKinnon continues to be the primary receiving back while Murray works in on first and second down, and in short-yardage situations. Both players are strong plays this week, especially Murray as he has scored a rushing touchdown in back to back games.

QB2: Case Keenum (High-End)
RB1: Jerick McKinnon (Low-End)
RB3: Latavius Murray (High-End)
WR2: Stefon Diggs (High-End
WR3: Adam Thielen (High-End)
TE2: Kyle Rudolph (High-End)

Prediction: Vikings 30, Rams 24

Ravens @ Packers - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco was quoted over the break stating that he would like for the Baltimore offense to “open up” in the final stretch of the season. More aggressive play calling would be a nice change for the skill position players for the Ravens, as Flacco ranks 39th in fantasy points per game and 27th in passing yard this year. Only the wide receiving corps of the killer B’s (Bills, Bears, and Browns) have fewer combined fantasy points than the Ravens.

Free-agent addition Jeremy Maclin is starting to come on after a slow start to an injury-riddled season. The former Eagle and Chief has been a top-15 WR in each of the last two weeks, with 11 catches for 151 yards and a score. Fellow veteran wideout Mike Wallace caught a touchdown last week against Tennessee and could be a sneaky flex play against a Packers unit that allows the 28th-most points to receivers.

The return of Danny Woodhead will give Flacco another receiving threat out of the backfield and will be heavily used in screens, and dump offs against Dom Caper’s blitz-happy defense. It remains to be seen how many snaps Woodhead will receive, as it would make sense to ease-in the veteran running back.

For a team decimated by injuries this season, the Ravens enter this Week 11 tilt relatively healthy on both sides of the ball. Running back Terrance West was a full participant in practice after missing the last few weeks with a calf injury, while wide receiver Michael Campanaro and tight end Nick Boyle were full participants despite shoulder and toe ailments.

Safety Morgan Burnett missed last week’s game against the Bears and has yet to practice this week due to a groin injury. His absence in the middle of the Packers secondary would be a boost to the value of Maclin, Wallace, and the Raven running backs.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: The returns of Terrance West from a calf injury and Danny Woodhead from a severe hamstring strain will add depth to the Baltimore ground attack that ranks 13th in fantasy points scored. How the Ravens use their stable of tailbacks remains to be seen, although offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg confirmed on Wednesday that Alex Collins will continue to be the first and second down back.

The assumption is that Woodhead and Buck Allen will both work in as the change of pace and receiving options, but it is not clear how the distribution of touches will be divided. Until we have more information, avoiding both Allen and Woodhead might be prudent options, although I anticipate that with four teams on bye many owners will be forced to play one of the receiving backs.

The lack of clarity surrounding the Baltimore ground game comes at a bad time for fantasy owners, as the Packers are a juicy matchup as at the 8th-worst team in terms of points allowed to RBs. Nine opposing running backs have reached double-digit points against the Packers, highlighted by Devonta Freeman’s 22-point game Week 2.

QB2: Joe Flacco (Low-End)
RB2: Alex Collins (Low-End)
RB3: Javorius Allen (High-End)
RB3: Danny Woodhead (Low-End)
WR2: Jeremy Maclin (Low-End)
WR5: Mike Wallace (High-End)
TE2: Ben Watson (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Brett Hundley posted the most efficient game of his young NFL career in a 23-16 win over Chicago last week, completing 18-of-25 passes for 212 yards and a score. After throwing four interceptions in his first 58 pass attempts, Hundley has now gone two full games without throwing a pick.

Davante Adams continues to be the target of choice for Hundley, as former stud wide receiver Jordy Nelson has faded into must-bench territory since the collarbone injury to Aaron Rodgers Week 6. Nelson has yet to score a touchdown in the post A-Rod era of Packers football, with seven catches for 68 yards combined in the last three games.

With Baltimore allowing the second-fewest points to opposing wide receivers and the 14th-most points to running backs, it is safe to say that Nelson will continue to struggle as head coach Mike McCarthy focuses on moving the ball on the ground against the Ravens.

The bye week proved to be a savior for the Ravens as the only injured player still unable to practice after the break is cornerback Jimmy Smith. Smith’s absence due to a lingering Achilles injury would improve the chances of Nelson scoring his first touchdown from Hundley, but the chance of another single-digit performance seems more likely.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Jamaal Williams looks primed to make the first start of his NFL career with Aaron Jones out with a knee injury and Ty Montgomery limited with fractured ribs. Montgomery has played through the pain since injuring his ribs three weeks ago, but he was unable to finish last week’s game against the Bears and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

Williams rushed for a pedestrian 67 yards on 20 carries, while Montgomery was more effective with 54 yards and a score on just six totes. Williams owners will want to start the first year back from BYU as he will most likely at least 20 carries against the Ravens, but he will need to improve his efficiency to provide top-24 numbers.

The Ravens rank 14th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, but it should be noted that they have improved significantly as of late now that DT Brandon Williams is back and healthy. Baltimore has allowed 96 combined yards in their last three games, limiting Jay Ajayi (With Miami), Derrick Henry, and DeMarco Murray to less than 30 yards.

QB2: Brett Hundley (Low-End)
RB2: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
WR2: Davante Adams (Low-End)
WR4: Jordy Nelson (High-End)

Prediction: Ravens 21, Packers 17

Cardinals @ Texans - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Arizona continues to deal with injuries coming into their Week 11 showdown with the Texans. The Cardinals may need to use third-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert under center this week after Drew Stanton suffered a sprained knee last Thursday night. Stanton hasn’t officially been ruled out yet and the Cardinals continue to hold out hope that he may still play this weekend. A decision is expected to come after Friday’s practice but I’m not sure it will sway any fantasy decisions. If Gabbert plays, the team will want to limit his ability to lose the football game (13 interceptions thrown in previous 14 games played) and consequently yield more work to the running game. If the Cardinals roll with a less than 100-percent healthy Stanton, he will have limited mobility and less accuracy stepping into deep throws. A more efficient game plan would result in less stats for Stanton, but keep the receivers involved early and often.

Houston has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the past three weeks so there is optimism that this unit can still be productive for fantasy owners. While I wouldn’t advise starting the quarterbacks due to limited upside, I do think Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown are potential fantasy starts this week. Fitzgerald becomes far riskier with Gabbert under center, but still has the ability to post double-digit targets against a team having issues defending the pass so keep him locked into your lineup. Both John and Jaron Brown will suffer from low catch rates simply because the quarterbacks are not as accurate down the field but both should fare better in a favorable matchup. The Texans offense simply isn’t moving the chains with ease and there should be enough offensive series to take advantage of Houston’s shortcomings against the pass. Jermaine Gresham has become a go-to guy near the goal but remains an afterthought everywhere else on the field. He belongs in the boom or bust bin this week but his boom isn’t that big to justify the risk.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson’s trade is looking better each week. With the quarterback situation looking less threatening, Head Coach Bruce Arians will be best served by feeding his running backs as much as they can take. That being said it is pretty clear that Arizona struggles against good run defenses. Peterson posted a YPC average of less than two against the Dolphins, Rams and Seahawks but had no issues against the 49ers and Bucs. Arizona enters this week ranked 31st on the season in rushing yards per game so they are far from a sure thing when the match up isn’t favorable. Houston has given up the seventh fewest rushing yards this season and an NFL-best three rushing touchdowns. It’s pretty safe to say that this wouldn’t qualify as a great matchup for Peterson. Despite the team’s need for the running game to step up, I’d try to find somebody else to start in place of Peterson this week.

Value Meter:
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald
TE1: Jermaine Gresham
Flex: John Brown, Jaron Brown
Bench: Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, Adrian Peterson

Passing Game Thoughts: In his two games since returning as the starter, Tom Savage is averaging 40 passes (good), 220 passing yards (no so good) with at least one touchdown (could be worse) and the ever-present danger of interceptions (really not good). Houston simply can’t afford to become one-dimensional so it is good to see Bill O’Brien allowing his younger quarterback to try and keep them in games via the pass. Unfortunately, Savage simply lacks the ability to make the same big plays that helped this offense take off with Deshaun Watson leading the way. Savage is lucky to complete half his passes which puts more pressure on every third down attempt to keep drives alive where Houston has gone 8 for 26 (or 15.4 percent) over the past two games. The lack of sustainable drives puts a damper on the fantasy prospects for everyone in the passing game.

That being said, the Texans’ inability to keep teams from scoring has forced them into more passing situations. This is a huge score for DeAndre Hopkins owners as he remains a viable starter in these conditions (unlike last season with a more dominate defense). Will Fuller has been ruled out for this game with cracked ribs. That will give more opportunity to Bruce Ellington but he remains a low upside risk in the fantasy realm. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz saw six targets in his first game back from a concussion. He should see a bit more work in this game and is a sneaky TE1 play if your other options aren’t too inspiring.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller has been fine on the ground, he just isn’t getting enough work to push him into the upper crust of fantasy running backs. Nor is he getting many red zone carries to help boost his overall fantasy numbers. He’s a frustrating own at this point and remains a low end RB2 this week going up against the Cardinals. Arizona is one of eight teams allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game in the NFL this season. Adding to Miller’s deflated expectations is the presence of D’Onta Foreman. Miller saw only 59-percent of the offensive carries last week due with the team trailing big in the second half. This trend may continue if Houston cannot figure out a way to shore up its defense. These current conditions have lowered Miller’s ceiling and his floor making him a borderline starter in the Tom-Savage led offense.

Value Meter:
RB2: Lamar Miller
WR2: DeAndre Hopkins
TE1: C.J. Fiedorowicz
Bench: Tom Savage, D’Onta Foreman, Will Fuller (out), Bruce Ellington

Prediction: Cardinals 16, Texans 12

Redskins @ Saints - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Jordan Reed was not able to practice Wednesday and Thursday and it isn’t looking good for him to play in Week 11. That means Vernon Davis will be a viable fantasy starter once again. The veteran tight end caught seven passes in last week’s loss for 76 yards. Jamison Crowder missed practice Wednesday for personal reasons but the team expects him to play against the Saints. When healthy, Crowder has steadily risen to become a preferred fantasy option amidst this group of receivers. Terrelle Pryor has hit rock bottom. One of the team’s big free agent signings, failed to see a ball thrown to him last week and is now losing playing time to Maurice Harris. He can be safely dropped in all formats. The aforementioned Harris is yet another member of the carousel of players in this passing attack making it tough to figure out who will be the guy to start. Josh Doctson should carve out a role as the second-best fantasy receiver opposite Crowder this week but he needs to be more involved to be considered anything more than a WR4/5 for fantasy purposes. Washington’s quarterback continues to do what he does best: put up solid fantasy football point totals despite being less than stellar in real life. The Saints will force the Redskins into plenty of passing situations throughout this game so look for another QB1 outing for Cousins.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Washington’s rushing attack has continued to evolve over the year. News of Rob Kelley officially being placed on IR this week creates a permanent backfield tandem of Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine. Thompson has quietly emerged as a quality PPR fantasy runner but carries a little less upside in the standard scoring league. With the team failing to keep opponents of the scoreboard, his skill set fits better into an offense playing from behind. I suspect the team will be in the same mode this weekend so do not be afraid to plug Thompson in as a RB2 in all formats. Meanwhile, Perine should begin to see more carries in the coming weeks. Thus far, the rookie’s workload has been capped between 10-12 touches per game. He represents solid depth to fantasy benches and could start to see a few goal line carries but this might not be the week to bet on him.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins
RB2: Chris Thompson
WR1: Jamison Crowder
TE1: Vernon Davis
Flex: Josh Doctson
Bench: Samaje Perine, Maurice Harris, Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed

Passing Game Thoughts: The rushing attack has taken the air out of the passing attack in recent weeks. New Orleans hasn’t lost since Week 2 so they may not mind the results but fantasy owners are expecting a lot more. Drew Brees has only two touchdown passes in three games and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns against the Redskins in his career. It’s not surprising to find out New Orleans’ receivers have scored the seventh fewest fantasy points over the same period. I wouldn’t write off New Orleans’ passing game just yet but it is concerning.

The Saints will be playing a Washington team that just allowed a career journeyman quarterback, Case Keenum, to throw four touchdowns against them. Sean Peyton isn’t likely to stop using his running game to win games, but there is a glimmer of hope that the passing attack will get back to being at least average this weekend. The reduced need to air it out has hurt the secondary receivers more than Michael Thomas. The team’s best wideout has averaged eight receptions a game in the team’s most recent three victories and continues to be a quality fantasy asset. However, the lack of typical 300 passing yard performances and the team’s success at scoring rushing touchdowns makes it tougher for Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman to increase their fantasy output. Washington’s offense has been good at keeping the game close enough to allow opposing passing attacks to accrue fantasy points so I might lean towards giving Ginn a spot start.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The Saints rushing attack plowed over the Bills in Week 10 paving the way for many fantasy wins for owners of the Saints dominating duo. In fact, last week’s big numbers have vaulted Mark Ingram into the top 5 and Alvin Kamara into the top 10 of all fantasy running backs for the season to date (standard scoring). There isn’t much to discuss as both players are must starts in all formats this week. Ingram is tied for the league lead in touchdowns with 7 scores but Alvin Kamara has six total touchdowns of his own. The Redskins have been exploited through the air in recent weeks but they figure to be the next victim of the Saints’ running ways in Week 11.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees
RB1: Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
Flex: Ted Ginn Jr.
Bench: Coby Fleener, Brandon Coleman, Willie Snead

Prediction: Saints 33, Redskins 24

Buccaneers at Dolphins - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Bucs won ugly against the Jets last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t slinging it around like we’re used to seeing. He did just enough, throwing for just 187 yards. To be fair, he was operating without Mike Evans, who now returns from his one-game suspension. Fitzpatrick has a history of locking in on his top target(s). He did it in New York with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and he did last week with DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin (10 targets each). Godwin is a very good wideout and is going to have fantasy value in future seasons. With Evans back and Jackson still playing well, Godwin will return to his role as the third WR, at best (he’s better than Adam Humphries but Humphries is more suited for the slot right now). Fitzpatrick targeted the rest of the Bucs’ pass catchers a combined 11 times. Included in that bunch is Cameron Brate, who now has just one catch in each of his last two games. There was some thought he would be featured more with Evans out, but he was actually featured less. Brate hasn’t scored in four straight games and is one week away from being completely out of the circle of trust. After what Devin Funchess did to the Dolphins last week, I think Evans returns with a vengeance.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: While the Bucs have a nice group of pass catchers that have been working well, the running game has been a complete disaster. Doug Martin has been absent the last two weeks. He followed up his eight carry, seven-yard effort with 20 carries for 51 yards. He hasn’t caught a pass since October. He is still the feature back and dominating both snaps and touches relative to the other RBs on the team, but he simply needs to play better. The Dolphins just allowed over 100 yards to the ghost of Jonathan Stewart. If Martin can’t get things going this week, I don’t know that he ever will.

Value Meter:
RB2: Doug Martin (mid-range)
WR1: Mike Evans (mid-range)
WR3: DeSean Jackson
TE1: Cameron Brate (one more chance)
Bench: Chris Godwin, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Charles Sims

Passing Game Thoughts: Jay Cutler had a quietly usable fantasy day last week with 213 yards and two touchdowns. It marked his fourth consecutive game with multiple touchdown passes. Watching him play, I’m not quite sure when it happens, but Cutler gets it done…somehow. It would be nice if Jarvis Landry could post a single splash play, just once in a while. Landry is the only player other than Adam Thielen to catch at least five passes in every game this season. The difference for Landry, though, is he doesn’t really go anywhere. Landry has 16 catches over his last three games for a total of 107 yards. That’s quite inefficient. DeVante Parker has been stretching the field a bit. Since his return from injury, he’s seen 17 targets, catching 11 balls for 142 yards over two games. He looks the best he has over his entire career. He should be matched up against Vernon Hargreaves this week and Hargreaves is not good at preventing passes from being caught so Parker has the most upside on this team. The touchdowns have been going to Julius Thomas, but, to be honest, I don’t really care. Thomas looks incredibly slow and these last two weeks are flukes as far as I’m concerned. Maybe if he does it again, I will start to pay attention, but from what I’ve seen, there’s nothing here.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: What a godsend trading away Jay Ajayi has been for the Dolphins. I can’t believe the reports after that trade were what a good deal the Eagles got. Do people think Jay Ajayi is special? He’s not a bad football player, but he’s not a difference maker. He’s a better version of LeGarrette Blount. Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake, in tandem, have been better than Ajayi was by himself. Williams has been the main back and I expect him to continue in that role, but Drake is the more explosive player. Credit to Adam Gase for using these guys correctly. Drake absolutely cannot handle a full workload, but what Drake can do is take 10-15 touches and hopefully break one, like he did last week for 66 yards. Williams has been awful on the ground, but effective through the air. He is quite adept as a pass catcher, giving him weekly PPR value. With one trade, the Dolphins backfield went from having one overrated underperforming RB to two underrated PPR flex guys.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jay Cutler
WR2: DeVante Parker (low end)
WR3: Jarvis Landry
Flex: Damien Williams, Kenyan Drake
Bench: Julius Thomas, Kenny Stills

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Bucs 20

Chiefs at Giants - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: Here’s an interesting observation – Alex Smith has alternated multi-touchdown pass games with single touchdown pass games the entire season. He threw two against Dallas and did not play last week. It’s obviously just random, but it’s something fun to consider. Smith could be in for a huge game against the hapless G-Men. The New York Football Giants are the laughingstock of the NFL and fresh off a blowout loss to the previously winless 49ers. C.J. Beathard scored three touchdowns against them. Smith is fully capable of lighting up the Giants, which should bode well for Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. I said “should” because Andy Reid has shown an affinity for using his best players as decoys. Kelce has a touchdown in three straight and seven receptions in two straight. Any way you slice it, he’s an elite TE1 option. As for Hill, it’s a complete crapshoot. There is no way to predict what Reid is going to do with his most explosive player. After Hill’s tremendous display of athleticism at the end of the first half against Dallas, Reid decided that Hill only needed one more target the rest of the game. There is no deliberate effort to get Hill the ball. He’s still been a very useful fantasy asset, but predicting his blowup games has been impossible. In a game that should be a blowout, Hill and the passing game in general could be removed from this game by halftime. However, in the process of turning the game into a lopsided affair, Hill could also burn the Giants secondary that’s been giving up splash plays for weeks.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Kareem Hunt is not an RB1, but I fully expect him to be one this week. This is an ideal spot for Hunt to see close to 30 touches in Andy Reid’s favorite type of game – build a lead and sit on it. Hunt hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3 and hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards rushing since Week 5. The Chiefs won their first five games. During the four games Hunt failed to reach 100 yards, the Chiefs lost three and faced Denver in the lone win. Carlos Hyde averaged 5.8 ypc against the Giants last week and the 49ers rushed for 186 yards as a team. Hunt has had a week off to rest and will be ready to go out of the bye to crush this joke of a Giants defense.

Value Meter:
QB1: Alex Smith (mid-range)
RB1: Kareem Hunt (high end)
WR2: Tyreek Hill (you know the deal – need a splash play)
TE1: Travis Kelce (high end)
Bench: Charcandrick West, DeMarcus Robinson

Passing Game Thoughts: Eli Manning was having a boring fantasy day last week until his garbage time touchdown to Roger Lewis. There could be a lot of garbage time this week as well, which makes Manning a potential streaming option, but not necessarily an appealing one. Relying on garbage time is always tricky. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram continue to dominate targets as Shepard saw 13 last week and Engram saw nine. Engram now has a touchdown in four straight games while Shepard has 22 targets since returning from his ankle injury. Both are strong fantasy options, especially on a team facing a lot of negative game script. The Chiefs have not been a defensive stalwart this season so this matchup is not one to fear. Neither Lewis nor Tavarres King are seeing enough usage to be worth rostering or starting.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: With the football world finally having rid itself of Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa has capitalized on his opportunity to be the main back for the Giants. Darkwa rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries while adding a two-point conversion as well as 18 yards through the air. He dominated backfield touches ahead of Wayne Gallman and Shane Vereen and has the looks of a volume based RB2 going forward. Game script will be a problem for the Giants all year, but it was a problem last week against the 49ers and Darkwa handled himself just fine. Darkwa is averaging 5.1 ypc this season.

Value Meter:
RB2: Orleans Darkwa (low end)
WR2: Sterling Shepard (high end)
TE1: Evan Engram (mid-range)
Bench: Eli Manning, Wayne Gallman, Shane Vereen, Roger Lewis

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Giants 17

Eagles at Cowboys - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: Andy Reid worked wonders off a bye for years with the Eagles. Now we will see how Doug Pederson fares with extra time to prepare. He’s done a great job with the offense this season. Carson Wentz is probably the frontrunner for MVP. He’s elevated his play and actually become a legitimate dual threat QB. The last time Wentz failed to throw for multiple touchdowns was in Week 4. His yardage numbers have been relatively low recently, but he’s been remarkably efficient even with a low completion percentage. He still throws the ball into danger far too often, but for fantasy purposes, not only do we not care, we actually encourage it – we want Wentz taking shots downfield. After being ridiculed by me for weeks, Alshon Jeffery made it a point to put me in my place with his play two weeks ago. Jeffery caught six passes on 11 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. Wentz is slowly beginning to treat Jeffery as the primary option. Jeffery did pop up on the injury report Thursday and said he is playing through an ankle injury. He is not expected to miss time or be limited, but it’s clear he is operating at suboptimal capacity.

To the surprise of no one (or at least not me), Nelson Agholor is not a viable fantasy option. He hasn’t scored in his last two games and is completely nonviable when he doesn’t score. Even with Zach Ertz out, Agholor only posted 36 yards on two catches. Ertz is fully healed up following the bye and ready to return to his elite TE1 ways. Ertz has 81 yards or a touchdown in every game he’s played this season. There’s nothing more to say. He’s the best TE in fantasy.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: In his first game with the Eagles, Jay Ajayi rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. If you’re an Ajayi owner, you absolutely should not be encouraged by what you saw and would’ve been best off trying to trade Ajayi off the big game. The Eagles do not care about your fantasy team or about having a feature back. They rotate RBs as they see fit. In that same game, Corey Clement had 12 carries, LeGarrette Blount had eight, and Wendell Smallwood had five. Smallwood’s carries came in garbage time so we can dismiss him, but Ajayi, Blount, and Clement are a three man committee. Ajayi is not going to see the volume and his touchdown run wasn’t all that impressive. Just about every RB not named Rob Kelley, Eddie Lacy, or Paul Perkins would’ve scored on that play. It was just incredibly well blocked. With Sean Lee out for the Cowboys, the Eagles will be able to run the ball well. Their backfield will produce strong fantasy numbers. Which guys put up those numbers is a complete guessing game and one I would want no part of.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (high end)
WR2: Alshon Jeffery (low end)
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
Bench: Nelson Agholor, Eagles RBs

Passing Game Thoughts: Ugh. Last week’s game was painful to watch. Jason Garrett said at Wednesday’s press conference that he probably should’ve had a TE or someone help Chaz Green last week. You think? I’m not here to say the Cowboys win that game if Tyron Smith plays. I’m just here to say that Chaz Green single handedly lost the game for the Cowboys. Smith’s absence is by far the biggest problem for the Cowboys offense – far greater than Ezekiel Elliott’s absence. If Smith can’t play this week, I expect Garrett to have a plan to prevent what happened last week from happening again, but it still won’t be good enough. Dak Prescott took a beating last week and it scares me to think what would’ve happened to a non mobile QB in the same situation.

This week’s game should feature a lot of points and Prescott will have to throw to keep up with Wentz. If the Cowboys can get their blocking in order, Prescott should bounce back nicely and post his usual elite QB1 numbers. He should continue to scramble a lot as well. I feel like I say this every week, but Dez Bryant isn’t good anymore. Just four catches on eight targets for 39 yards last week. He’s catching just 50% of balls thrown his way from a QB with a 63% completion percentage. It’s not a scheme or offense problem. It’s on Dez. Terrance Williams bounced back to reality after his explosion against Kansas City. Williams also is not good. He can continue to be ignored. Jason Witten caught all seven of his targets last week for 59 yards. He’s the most reliable of this pass catching unit.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: The only thing we know for sure is that it’s not Darren McFadden. Rod Smith led the backfield in snaps while Alfred Morris led in touches and yards. Morris is going to be the first and second down guy while Smith will be the passing down back. That’s the split. Game script is going to dictate a lot of what happens in this backfield. If you are a Zeke owner that protected yourself with one or three of these guys, regrettably, it didn’t work. Morris and Smith are desperation flex plays. I’m sure one of them will score a touchdown sooner rather than later, but neither is reliable. Sometimes you take away one player and two fantasy viable players emerge, like with Ajayi. Other times, you take away one player and he’s just gone. The Cowboys once great offense is now down to pretty much just Dak Prescott as a reliable fantasy option.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (mid-range)
WR3: Dez Bryant
TE1: Jason Witten (low end)
Bench: Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Cowboys RBs

Prediction: Eagles 30, Cowboys 27

Bills @ Chargers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: After publicly claiming that the team would stick with Tyrod Taylor earlier this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott has now announced that his team will move rookie Nathen Peterman into the starting quarterback role heading into Week 11’s matchup against the Chargers. Peterman played minimally in garbage time against the Saints this past week but put together better fantasy numbers in less than one quarter than Taylor had to start the game. Peterman himself does not possess nearly the mobility that Taylor does which obviously limits his own upside for fantasy purposes but he is likely a better pure passer, which should help his weapons.

Unfortunately, his weapons are banged up and really aren’t all that great to begin with. Kelvin Benjamin is really the only wideout worth considering for fantasy purposes in this matchup against the Chargers and even that is just a hopeful speculation that he’ll be the team’s top option should they make it into the red zone. Tight end Charles Clay does play a role that many would classify as a “safety valve” for his young quarterback but the Chargers have been excellent against opposing tight ends this season, limiting the position to the second-fewest fantasy points per game of any team this season. There may be better days ahead for the Buffalo passing game but it’d be wise to go with a “wait-and-see” approach instead of inserting any of these players into your lineup at the moment.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: With back-to-back games with fewer than 50 rushing yards, fantasy owners of LeSean McCoy are beginning to panic – and rightfully so. With the Bills struggling to move the ball or stop opposing offenses, the game script has simply been terrible for the Buffalo running game. McCoy himself is still one of the shiftiest players in the league who is capable of breaking long runs at any time so there’s still hope here, but the upside of him being a high-end, every week stud at the position is simply not realistic at this point.

Thankfully, this could be a “get right” game for McCoy as he will almost certainly be relied upon heavily to take the pressure off of his rookie quarterback, and he’ll be running against a San Diego defense that has been absolutely abused by opposing running games this season, especially in the passing game where McCoy is one of the league’s best assets at the running back position. Look for McCoy to be utilized heavily out of the backfield as a receiver, making him one of the strongest PPR plays on the board and still a solid RB1 even in standard scoring formats.

Value Meter:
RB1: LeSean McCoy
TE1: Charles Clay (low-end)
Flex: Kelvin Benjamin
Bench: Nathan Peterman, Mike Tolbert, Deonte Thompson, Jordan Matthews, Nick O’Leary

Passing Game Thoughts: There are always excuses that can be made but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Philip Rivers just doesn’t have “it” anymore. His decision making has always been questionable but his arm is no longer making up for those poor decisions. Rivers’ struggles have, of course, spilled over onto his receivers, most of which have become essentially non-factors for fantasy purposes. Keenan Allen is still by far the team’s top target in the passing game but he hasn’t been over 70 receiving yards in a game since Week 4 and he’s only scored one touchdown all season – all the way back in Week 1. Travis Benjamin remains a deep threat but is fully capable of giving fantasy owners a goose egg every week while rookie Mike Williams simply has not lived up to the billing, even now that he’s healthy. Tight ends Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates continue to be extraordinarily inconsistent and neither is a reliable option at tight end, although Henry is likely a fantasy starter most weeks just due to the low scoring at the position overall this season. The Bills have been beaten up quite a bit over the past few weeks but it’s mostly been on the ground, so look for the Chargers to try to protect their struggling passing game by relying heavily on the run, which could lead to a lower-than-expected day for Rivers and his receivers.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Melvin Gordon owners are baffled right now at the sudden emergence of running back Austin Ekeler who has seen his snaps increase significantly over the past few weeks, particularly playing quite a bit down the stretch in last week’s close loss to the Jaguars. Ekeler huge fantasy performance was primarily due to the two receiving touchdowns he scored, which is obviously not easily repeatable, so don’t jump the gun on him quite yet. But Gordon owners need to take notice of Ekeler, who will likely continue to take snaps away from Gordon for the time being and could be a major piece of the offense should Gordon suffer another late-season injury. Gordon does make for a great fantasy option this week, however, as he’ll be running against a Buffalo run defense that put up one of the most embarrassing performance we’ve seen in recent memory against New Orleans in Week 10. Buffalo is using a rookie quarterback in his first start while traveling across the country for a road game. That’s not exactly the recipe for a high point total, which should give the Chargers the opportunity to run the ball heavily in this game. That could even mean that Ekeler has some upside as a Flex option, especially in PPR formats, in this potential blowout victory.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers (low-end)
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen
TE1: Hunter Henry (low-end)
Flex: Austin Ekeler
Bench: Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates

Prediction: Chargers 24, Bills 16

Bengals @ Broncos - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: After being an elite pass defense once again to start the season, the Broncos have simply fallen apart over the past two weeks, having given up a shocking seven passing touchdowns over that span. Of course, it’s worth noting that they gave those scores up to Carson Wentz and Tom Brady – arguably the league’s top two contenders for Most Valuable Player – but there’s plenty of reason to be concerned if you’re a Broncos fan and optimistic if you’re a fantasy owner of Andy Dalton or A.J. Green. Dalton himself has been off more than he’s been on this season and the Broncos pass rush will likely make things difficult on him this week but Green has been red hot, scoring touchdowns in five of his past seven contests, including a five catch, 115-yard day with a touchdown against the Titans in Week 10. Green is a locked and loaded WR1 even in what could be a fairly difficult matchup, simply due to the fact that he’s so heavily targeted in this Cincinnati offense.

The other receiver out wide for the Bengals is Brandon LaFell who has been off-and-on but did well this past week against a weak Tennessee secondary. You could give him a look if you’re desperate but it would probably be wise to find someone else to start. Another player to keep an eye on as a sleeper, especially in DFS, is tight end Tyler Kroft. Kroft was a non-factor in Week 10 which could keep his ownership low as he heads into one of the best possible matchups for a tight end – a home matchup against the Broncos and their 31st-ranked fantasy defense against the position. The Broncos have given up touchdowns to opposing tight ends in six of their previous eight contests and five or more receptions to the position in all but one game this season. Needless to say, Kroft has some serious potential for a breakout performance in this game.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: He’s salvaged otherwise terrible fantasy days over the past few weeks with touchdowns, but it’s beginning to look like it’s just not going to happen for Joe Mixon this season. Jeremy Hill’s placement on IR certainly opens things up for the rookie, especially at the goal line, but it’s risky to trust a player who hasn’t rushed for more than 62 yards in any game this season and who has only exceeded more than three receptions in one contest. He’s getting some decent volume in the grand scheme of the running back position but he’s also not a particularly high-upside option. This week he’ll face a Denver run defense that had been extremely stout against the position for the majority of the season but struggled over the past two weeks to shut down the Philadelphia and New England running games, giving up a combined four rushing scores over those two contests. Obviously the Bengals’ offense is not nearly as good as the Eagles or Patriots but there is some hope here for Mixon owners who will likely be banking on another goal line rushing touchdown to save an otherwise bland fantasy day for the rookie back.

Value Meter:
RB2: Joe Mixon
WR1: A.J. Green
TE1: Tyler Kroft
Bench: Andy Dalton, Giovani Bernard, Brandon LaFell

Passing Game Thoughts: With the Broncos still starting Brock Osweiler, there’s just not much to like about the Denver passing game or really the team as a whole. Osweiler brings practically no upside, is terrible under pressure and could very well be in for another one of his signature, single-digit fantasy performances. The one positive that Osweiler has brought back to the Denver offense is his insistence on targeting his top two weapons, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has actually scored a touchdown in each of his past two games after a long stretch of not getting into the end zone with Siemian behind center. Meanwhile, Sanders had by far his biggest yardage game of the season this past week, catching six passes for 137 yards against the Patriots. Even if Osweiler throws a number of interceptions in this game and the Broncos end up getting blown out, there’s a real possibility that Sanders and Thomas – or at least one of the two – performs well enough to be a solid fantasy play this week. Because of that, we’re back to listing both of them as WR2s even in what could be a fairly tough matchup against a solid Cincinnati defense.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: The Denver running game has been a head scratcher all season and it’s getting to the point where it’s barely worth discussing as none of the players are doing much and the team is playing poorly enough that they really don’t even touch the ball late in contests. C.J. Anderson is probably the player to go with if you absolutely have to start a Denver running back but avoiding this situation altogether is probably the optimal move. The Bengals have been beaten down on the ground lately but even that shouldn’t inspire any confidence out of a backfield where three different running backs are all getting between a half-dozen to a dozen touches per week.

Value Meter:
WR2: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders
Bench: Brock Osweiler, C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker, A.J. Derby, Bennie Fowler
Prediction: Broncos 20, Bengals 17

Patriots @ Raiders (Mexico) - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Just when there was concern that perhaps Tom Brady was running into a tough matchup, he reminded everyone that he is indeed the best quarterback on the planet. Brady torched an excellent Denver secondary in Week 10 and has now thrown 19 touchdowns on the season with just two interceptions. The Patriots’ offense is absolutely rolling and while Brady is a master of spreading the ball around, he does such a good job of it that multiple receivers are typically viable for fantasy purposes every week in this New England offense. Obviously Rob Gronkowski remains perhaps the most no-brainer starter in all of fantasy football and he’ll be against a Raiders defense that got torched by Julius Thomas the last time we saw them.

Aside from Gronk, the next best option in the passing game continues to be Brandin Cooks who has undoubtedly been a disappointment for those who were selecting him early in the second round of fantasy drafts this summer, but Cooks has been a consistent enough producer to give his fantasy owners a high floor with upside – something that is quite difficult to come by, especially this season. Cooks may not finish as a WR1 this week but he’s still a WR1 in the rankings because he’s unlikely to finish lower than a WR2 which makes him one of the safer plays on the board. With Chris Hogan still out, the Patriots’ other weapons, including Danny Amendola and Martellus Bennett, become potential bye week replacement-level options in this offense if they’re on the field. They’re both risky due to low volume but the Raiders’ pass defense isn’t very good and we know that Brady is going to be slinging the rock all around the field.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: With Mike Gillislee recently being a healthy scratch last week, the New England backfield has turned from a four-headed tragedy to a three-headed ball of confusion. A case could be made for starting Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis or James White, but the truth is that it’s anyone’s guess as to which one of these backs is going to see significant enough touches to be viable for fantasy purposes. The positive is that we’re pretty sure that at least one of them will do so – we just don’t know which. Typically it’s been James White who has been the most consistent player, at least for PPR purposes, but he’s practically a non-factor as a runner so be sure to know your scoring system before you place him in your lineup. Rex Burkhead has caught 10 passes over the past two weeks and also got 10 carries this past week so he’s been a much bigger factor as of late and could be worth consideration. However, the player who I personally like the best out of this backfield at the moment is actually Dion Lewis, who has seen double-digit carries in four straight contests and seems to be getting the bulk of the work near the goal line.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady
RB2: Dion Lewis
WR1: Brandin Cooks
TE1: Rob Gronkowski
Flex: James White (PPR), Rex Burkhead, Danny Amendola
Bench: Martellus Bennett

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s no secret that Derek Carr has struggled mightily this season after being one of the true MVP candidates of the 2016 season. Carr has finished with fewer than 14 fantasy points in five of his past six starts and it has hurt his receivers badly. Amari Cooper has just three double-digit PPR fantasy days on the season and while Michael Crabtree has been significantly more consistent because of his high red zone usage, he has also failed to exceed 83 receiving yards or six receptions in any game this season. Thankfully, this struggling unit is now coming off of a bye, everyone’s getting healthy, and they’re going to be up against a New England pass defense that has been one of the worst in the league this season. Even after facing some struggling opposing passing games in recent weeks, the Patriots still rank second-to-worst in fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks on the season. The potential of a New England blowout could lend itself to some garbage time production for Carr and the weapons in this passing game so strongly consider getting Carr, Crabtree and Cooper into your lineup. Jared Cook is also a great play this weekend as he’s been over 100 receiving yards in two of his past three contests and should get plenty of looks in this game.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: A two-touchdown performance against the Dolphins is the last thing we saw from Marshawn Lynch prior to the Raiders’ bye week but don’t let that game fool you – this running game is absolutely terrible right now. Lynch himself has not exceeded 76 rushing yards in any game this season, he’s failed to reach even 50 rushing yards in all but three games this season, he’s still a non-factor in the passing game and this game could get out of hand fairly early. All of those factors play into why Lynch is a Flex option at best this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Derek Carr
WR1: Michael Crabtree
WR2: Amari Cooper
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Marshawn Lynch
Bench: Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson

Prediction: Patriots 34, Raiders 24

Falcons @ Seahawks - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Reigning NFL MVP award winner Matt Ryan was believed to be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks heading into the 2017 but that simply has not panned out on the field. While he’s been turning things up a bit as of late, Ryan has still not exceeded even 20 fantasy points in any game so far in 2017 and this week he heads to Seattle to play in one of the loudest, most difficult to play in stadiums in all of sports. The positive, from a fantasy standpoint, is that the Seahawks will be without two of the league’s best defenders, safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Richard Sherman. Not only that, but the team’s other safety, Earl Thomas, is banged up and could be exploitable in this contest. Unfortunately for the Falcons, their top receiving option, Julio Jones, is also nursing an ankle injury and while he’s expected to play, he will be unlikely to be at 100 percent on Monday night. Jones himself has been disappointing this season as he’s only scored one touchdown on the year, but he still narrowly ranks within the top 12 at his position and he’s been in double-digits in PPR formats in all but one game. Jones is a locked-and-loaded WR1 in this matchup with a seriously high upside even if he’s not at full strength. Even Mohamed Sanu should be considered a WR3/Flex play this week against this banged up Seattle secondary.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: With the Seahawks defense being nowhere near full strength, look for Atlanta to get more scoring opportunities than they normally would against a lockdown defense like Seattle’s. That plays right into why Tevin Coleman should be considered a RB1 even though the Seahawks have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season. With Devonta Freeman doubtful to play as he recovers from a concussion, Coleman is expected to get the lion’s share of the backfield touches. Coleman has been the more efficient player of the two this season as it is and the potential for him to touch the ball 20 times is there, thus making him a big time potential breakout player in this game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low-end)
RB1: Tevin Coleman
WR1: Julio Jones
WR2: Mohamed Sanu
Bench: Taylor Gabriel, Austin Hooper

Passing Game Thoughts: With 19 total touchdowns over his past seven games, Russell Wilson has now reestablished himself as one of the league’s premiere fantasy weapons. The Seahawks have practically completely abandoned the run, leaving Wilson to throw the ball constantly throughout the game, which has led to some monstrous fantasy performances. Even when he’s not passing, Wilson has gotten back to taking off and running with the ball, which fantasy owners always love to see. With Jimmy Graham fully back and dominating opposing defenses, there’s little reason to believe that Wilson won’t be one of the top three fantasy quarterbacks in the league this season. There’s some concern that he might struggle against the Falcons this week after Atlanta held Dak Prescott and Cam Newton without passing touchdowns in back-to-back games but Wilson’s volume should allow him to avoid the same struggles that Newton and Prescott faced. This might be a time to bench the depth receivers in this offense like Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett, but Graham, Doug Baldwin and of course Wilson himself should be considered premiere fantasy must-starts this week.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: The duo of Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic didn’t do much even in a win over the Cardinals so with Eddie Lacy expected to return, this already pathetic backfield becomes even less fantasy relevant. If you have to pick one player, make it Rawls who has at least seen double-digit touches in back-to-back games, but the best solution is just to look elsewhere. No Seattle back has seen even 10 fantasy points (PPR) in a game since Week 3. The Falcons have given up just 66 rushing yards per game over their past three contests and that trend seems likely to continue this week against the Seahawks’ ugly rushing attack.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
WR1: Doug Baldwin
TE1: Jimmy Graham
Flex: Thomas Rawls
Bench: Eddie Lacy, J.D. McKissic, Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Falcons 21