Fantasy Football Week 11: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Week 11 represents the final playoff push for the vast majority of leagues. Most regular seasons end in Week 12 or 13, so the next few weeks are critical for owners.

Many of us will be facing other teams vying for the same playoff spot, or positioning for playoff seeding. Every matchup counts the same, but a loss in the next few weeks will sting more than most others to this point in the season. It’s a much tougher pill to swallow when a player (or players) on the bench outscores one or more starters, especially when you considered starting them. We cannot control how any player performs, all we can do is maximize our lineup and hope it is enough. Many times, maximizing a lineup means making the right call in a tossup decision, or making a tough call to sit a regular starter.

Whatever the case may be, I hope this article will help in those critical decisions to give your team the best shot at winning.

Here is Week 10's recommendations in review:

Week 10 Results
YTD Results
* Recommended players vs. alternatives
YTD stats as of Week 5 (first post)

Best of the week: Larry Fitzgerald +20: Fitz had a big game against the Rams, catching nine of 10 targets for 112 yards. He outscored both Mike Wallace and Mohamed Sanu, the latter by 15+ points. Last week, I heard A LOT of people pushing Sanu and touting him as a must-start, but I just didn’t see it. Granted, his day would have been better if Andy Dalton was anywhere near respectable last week, but nevertheless Sanu disappointed owners that started him.

Runner-up: Roddy White +18: As expected, the Falcons WRs lit up the Bucs secondary. White caught all six of his targets for 72 yards and TD. While he is no longer the same player he once was, White can still produce big numbers in this offense with the right matchup.

Worst of the week: Chris Ivory -23: As I noted last week, Ivory can be inconsistent, mainly due to an abandoned run game when the Jets fall behind. I expected the Steelers offense to slow down (but not fall flat on their face) and make this game competitive, which largely played out. What’s baffling is how Marty Mornhinwig called the game for the Jets. Ivory had a total of 14 carries on the game, but six carries were on the first drive (36 yards) and six were in the last two drives during clock-killing time. So let me get this straight, the Jets have a 10-0 lead midway through the 1st quarter, and 17-0 at the end of it. In a game against one of the hottest passing offenses and with their own weak secondary, the Jets decided NOT to go to their best runner (who averaged 6 YPC in the first drive) until mid 4th quarter. That sounds like a recipe for a lot of three-and-outs without killing much clock and giving the Steelers opportunities to come back. In fact, the Jets didn’t have a drive last longer than four minutes in the 2nd half, and had four under 2 minutes and 10 seconds. You have to wonder sometimes if the Jets coaches are TRYING to get fired. Regardless, they ended up winning … so I guess it’s time to get off my soap box. Winning cures stupidity, right?

Runner-up: Joe Flacco -22: Flacco has been inconsistent this season, and I was banking on one of his good games against the Titans. It took a while for the Ravens offense to get going, and when it did, Justin Forsett did the majority of the scoring. I still don’t believe in the Titans secondary, but at least this week they lived up to the task.

Now, on to this week’s picks.


Matt RyanAtlanta Falcons
FantasyPros ECR – 11

Ryan has been a bit disappointing this season given the weapons around him, but that is largely a result of the offensive line troubles. Luckily for Ryan, the Panthers do not have a dominant defensive line and struggle significantly in the secondary. Carolina ranks 27th in Fantasy Points Allowed (FPA) to QBs and 24th in defensive pass efficiency. Carolina’s weakness is Atlanta’s strength, as the Falcons rank 10th in offensive pass efficiency, further strengthening the matchup. Both teams desperately need a win to keep close distance to the Saints. Neither defense is capable of stepping up, so I expect the offenses to carry the load in what figures to be a tight game.

Consider starting him over:
Robert Griffin III – ECR 10
Matthew Stafford – ECR 8

Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Smith has been a solid player in both real life and fantasy this season. He never blows anyone away, but he can be counted on for consistent productivity. This week he gets a good Seahawks defense, but one that isn’t nearly as dominant away from the 12th man. The Seahawks are less than average against RBs and TEs as receivers, which happen to be the two strongest areas for the Chiefs offensively. Adding to this is the fact the ‘Hawks are great against the run (3rd in efficiency), meaning KC will likely turn to the air to move the ball offensively. After all, it’s not like Andy Reid is adverse to the passing game. Both of these teams have gotten on track and are playing well, so I expect a competitive game throughout that may feature more points than you would think.

Consider starting him over:
Teddy Bridgewater – ECR 20
Josh McCown – ECR 16

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a Week 11 fantasy football contest with a $1 Million top prize.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 9

This suggestion is contingent on Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson missing another game, which is looking likely at this point. If that happens, Ingram should be plugged into lineups once again. Don’t get me wrong, Ingram is a solid play regardless, but starting him over the suggested players is harder to do with a lighter workload. Ingram has been a workhorse over the last three weeks, averaging 27 carries over that time span. Cincinnati ranks last in the league in defensive run efficiency and 27th in FPA to RBs. If Ingram gets another 20+ carries this week, he has every opportunity to exploit the Bengals run defense. And I don’t see any reason the Saints will shy away from the run, if anything, they will lean on it. The Bengals are one of the best passing defenses in the league and Sean Payton is known to exploit matchups.

Most Ingram owners likely have at least one or two other strong RB options, given his ADP. Don’t hesitate to start Ingram over other strong options if he gets the green light for another heavy workload.

Consider starting him over:
Andre Ellington – ECR 8
LeSean McCoy – ECR 7

Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
FantasyPros ECR – 31

I’m going back to the well with Stewart, as he served me well last week. Well, ok, it has a lot more to do with his matchup than anything else. Stewart gets the Falcons this week, a juicy matchup for any RB. Atlanta gives up the most FPPG than any other team, and their defensive run efficiency rank of 24 doesn’t suggest that is likely to change much. Last week, Stewart scored 15 points highlighted by a rushing TD and four receptions. All of this on 15 touches. For the 2nd straight week, Stewart out-snapped and outperformed DeAngelo Williams, and given the Panthers offensive woes, they need to focus on their most productive players. Stewart is already the passing-down back, so at least a few receptions are likely, but more carries opens up more opportunities for him. Not to mention he seems to be the goal-line back as well. Williams will still be involved, but I expect to see a little more Stewart this week in a critical matchup against the Falcons.

Consider starting him over:
Bishop Sankey – ECR 24
Darren McFadden – ECR 28

Wide Receivers

DeSean JacksonWashington Redskins
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Jackson has been on fire recently, topping 100 yards in four of his last fvie games. Regardless of which QB is throwing him the ball, he continues to produce. With RG3 back in the fold and the bye week to get re-acclimated, things line up well for Jackson to continue producing. The Bucs rank last in FPA to WRs and 31st in defensive pass efficiency. Specific to Jackson, they rank 30th against WR2s. Snap counts and targets suggest Pierre Garcon is still technically the WR1, but if you consider Jackson the No. 1, know that the Bucs rank 32nd against them. Both of these teams are sitting on lost seasons, but pride goes a long way in the NFL, and I expect the Redskins to come out firing.

Consider starting him over:
Alshon Jeffery – ECR 12
Golden Tate – ECR 13

Malcolm FloydSan Diego Chargers
FantasyPros ECR – 42

Floyd is a highly underrated player from pretty much all perspectives. Largely overlooked this season, Floyd has been as steady as the come, registering at least 8 points in every game this season. Sure, that doesn’t blow you away, but he has a high floor and can be relied on. Floyd matches up against a Raiders defense that ranks 27th in defensive pass efficiency and just got lit up for 40+ points by the Broncos. The Chargers are not on that same level offensively, but they are a strong offense in their own right. Heading into the bye, SD was reeling with three straight losses, including an embarrassing shutout against the Dolphins. But this is still the same team that looked dominant through the first five games, so we know what they can do. With two weeks to stew and correct their issues, I expect the Chargers to come out and obliterate the Raiders. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them to match the Broncos output, if not exceed it.

Consider starting him over:
Marques Colston – ECR 40
Doug Baldwin – ECR 36

Brandon LaFellNew England Patriots
FantasyPros ECR – 24

There are a number of reasons to like LaFell this week, but perhaps the best one is the expected offensive shootout with the Colts. This should be a battle of epic proportions, as both teams have outstanding offenses, and have had an extra week to prepare as both are coming off a bye. LaFell has been involved in this offense for several weeks and is a favorite of Tom Brady’s. The past two games have seen LaFell get an absurd 25 targets thrown his way. Indy is slightly above average against WR2’s, but 4th against WR1’s. Brady has made a career off taking what a defense gives him, and the matchup data suggests LaFell will be more available than Julian Edelman, sending a number of targets his way yet again. This will be a fun one to watch, full of fantasy points all around.

Consider starting him over:
Mike Wallace – ECR 22
Vincent Jackson – ECR 18

Tight Ends

Dwayne AllenIndianapolis Colts
FantasyPros ECR – 8

Allen seems like a mainstay in this article, but that is only because he continues to be underestimated. As mentioned with LaFell, this game has the makings of a shootout and all primary pass catchers have a good chance to produce big numbers. But there is more to like with Allen than a potentially high-scoring game. NE likes to focus their defense on taking away the offenses No. 1 option, in this case, T.Y. Hilton. They certainly have the firepower to do it with Darrelle Revis in tow. However, by attempting to take away one option, NE gives opportunities for others to beat them. Andrew Luck is more than capable of spreading the ball around and taking what is given to him. All that was a preface to my actual point – NE ranks 28th in defensive pass efficiency against the TE position. They rank 21st in FPA. The TE position is the weak point of this pass defense and Allen is more than capable of taking advantage. With more attention being focused on the outside, Allen could chew up the middle of the field as a chain mover and red-zone threat. I expect TE1 numbers from Allen at the least, but a line of 7 catches, 80 yards, and 2 TDs is certainly attainable if things break his way.

Consider starting him over:
Martellus Bennett – ECR 6
Jordan Reed – ECR 7

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 11! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.

DraftKings: Open an account and get a 100% deposit bonus (up to $600).

Check Out the Most Recent Posts on The Daily Blitz

Week 12 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Yanotchko Nov 23, 2014
Week 12 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Hanson Nov 23, 2014
Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Trifone Nov 23, 2014
Week 12 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Beazley Nov 22, 2014
2014 Fantasy Football Week 12 Start'em, Sit'em Nov 21, 2014
2015 NFL Mock Draft - Week 12 Update Nov 21, 2014
Fantasy Football Week 12: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues Nov 20, 2014
2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12 Nov 19, 2014
Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season (ROS) Rankings: Weeks 12 to 16 Nov 18, 2014
Updated Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 12 to 16 Nov 18, 2014


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Our FREE Week 13 Fantasy Football Contest
Want to win one of our site's t-shirts for free?

>> Enter our free Week 13 contest.

(Spots in the contest are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis up until kickoff on Sunday.)