News & Analysis

Erickson: Week 11 fantasy football rankings overview

Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) runs after a catch against Detroit Lions strong safety Duron Harmon (26) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In this week’s preview of the Week 11 NFL slate, I'm highlighting key insights for all the road teams playing this weekend. All my analysis on the home teams is featured in PFF’s huge NFL Week 11 Preview, but I'll be sure to include any updates considering all the injuries and Covid-19 cases that have occurred in the past few days.

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I'll identify sleepers, busts, DFS picks and waiver-wire options with consideration for injuries and other fantasy-relevant news and notes. It’s a behind the curtains look into my Week 11 fantasy rankings

CINCINNATI BENGALS @ WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Tee Higgins is ranked ahead of Tyler Boyd in my Week 11 wide receiver rankings because Higgins is a man on a mission to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. Overtaking A.J. Green wasn’t enough for the talented rookie — now he is starting to outproduce Boyd.

Higgins’ target share has risen to 25% over the past three weeks — higher than Boyd’s 19%. It’s a full-on reversal from Weeks 3-7 when Boyd led the team in target share (25%) followed by Higgins (19%).

The matchup is tough versus the Washington Football Team (second-fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs), but receivers targeted downfield have exposed the Washington secondary. 

On passes of 20 yards or more downfield, Washington ranks 31st in passing touchdown percentage (20.6%), 28th in yards per attempt (17.5), 22nd in passer rating (108.5), 25th in passing yards and 26th in completion percentage (47.1%).

If Marvin Hall can burn Ronald Darby, so can Higgins. 

Quarterback Joe Burrow is also due for some positive regression on his deep pass attempts. He ranks seventh in the NFL in total deep throws (43) but has an adjusted completion percentage of just 21% (33rd). Every other quarterback with at least 41 deep pass attempts has completed an average of 18 deep throws. Burrow sits at eight, five of which have been completed to Higgins.  

A.J. Green leads the team in deep targets (17) but has caught just one all season. Safe to say, he does not rank very high for me this week. 

Who knows if we will ever see Joe Mixon again, but in the meantime continue to run it back with Giovani Bernard. He saw a season-high seven targets in Week 10 and led the team in carries (eight). 

Samaje Perine was actually the more effective rusher (seven rushes for 48 yards) but Bernard did get the lone carry inside the 10-yard line. Perine could continue to work in relief of Bernard, which could hinder the satellite back’s fantasy upside, making him a low-end RB2 option. 

Washington has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to RBs (5.1 yards per carry) over the past two weeks. 

I mentioned Burrow as a candidate for positive regression when it comes to deep passing, but this could be the game when he cashes in on his end-zone throws.

The rookie quarterback ranks third in the NFL in end-zone throws (28) but has just converted six of them (1.6%) into touchdowns. Every other quarterback with at least 28 end-zone pass attempts this season has averaged 16 touchdown passes. 

This season, the WFT ranks dead last in completion percentage allowed (63.6%) on end-zone throws. 

Fire up the Burrow ($5,500) and Higgins ($5,900) stacks in GPPs on DraftKings. To complete the full game stack, I love bringing it back with Terry McLaurin, who should have his way versus a secondary that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to WRs over the past four weeks.

An additional Bengals player to add in DFS would be tight end Drew Sample. He’s only 2.7K, so even if he puts up a zero he won’t kill lineups based on the current landscape of the tight end position. But there’s a reason for optimism with him.

He finished seventh in routes run among TEs in Week 10, leads the Bengals’ tight ends in end-zone targets (three) and his two best fantasy outings this season have corresponded with the two best fantasy games from Burrow. The QB-TE combo is extremely correlated. 

ATLANTA FALCONS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

When Matt Ryan has had both a fully healthy Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones in the lineup this season, his weekly QB finishes are QB7, QB6, QB2 and QB16. 

The New Orleans Saints have allowed the fifth-highest touchdown percentage (5.8%) and faced the third-highest deep ball rate (15.2%), solidifying Ryan as a top-eight option in Week 11.

The Falcons’ quarterback has averaged 311 passing yards and 2.75 passing touchdowns in his last four games versus the Saints. 

Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) and wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrate a touchdown during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Jones has met or exceeded at least 79 receiving yards in five straight games against the Saints, and their defense has not been great against the WR position in 2020. Over the past four weeks, they have allowed the fourth-most passing yards, third-most targets and third-most receptions to wide receivers. 

Both Jones and Ridley (assuming health) should be locked-and-loaded low-end WR1 options.

In my Week 11 start em or sit ’em column, I listed running back Todd Gurley II as a “sit” and tight end Hayden Hurst as a “start.”

I’ve seen the Saints DST floating around some waiver wires, and this has me puzzled. They rank fifth in points per game among DSTs playing this week and No. 1 in the NFL in pressure rate since Week 5.

In two games last season versus Atlanta, NO DST averaged 7.5 fantasy points per game.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Over the past four weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the WR position, making Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster all great starts this week. On DraftKings, Johnson continues to be under-appreciated with the lowest salary of the Steelers’ trio at 5.9K.

Johnson has averaged 12 targets in all but one of his healthy games this year, making him the safest option of the bunch. Claypool will always have the most weekly upside; over the past two weeks, he ranks first in the NFL in air yards (393), second in targets (27) and 12th in fantasy points scored (33.6).

His fantasy points over that timespan is actually under expectation because he has seen a whopping nine deep targets from Ben Roethlisberger, but only two have been deemed catchable. His deep catch rate is going to regress positively based on Claypool catching four of first 11 deep targets earlier in the season. 

Eric Ebron still remains a top-10 option at tight end even after a dud last week. He ended up being the odd-man-out with all Steelers’ wide receivers scoring over 20 PPR fantasy points. That feat is difficult to replicate, so I would expect Ebron to be more involved in Week 11.

The matchup is there for him to make an impact — the Jags have allowed the second-most touchdown receptions and end-zone targets to tight ends this season. They have also allowed the highest depth of target (10.8) to tight ends, so don’t be surprised if Ebron makes a splash downfield. 

James Conner has struggled to get going in back-to-back weeks in absolute smash spots. Concerns about the Steelers’ running back are real, but the matchup is too good to not go back to him in this game. 

The Jaguars rank 28th in fantasy points allowed to running backs this season. 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

I labeled Cam Newton and Damien Harris as “starts” in the Week 11 start em or sit em’ column, so there’s no need to review their fantasy outlooks. Newton ranks inside my top-10 QBs and Harris inside my top-24 RBs. 

The one player worth discussing is wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who ranks fifth in targets and second in PFF receiving grade (93.9) since Week 7.

He has commanded a 41% target share (no joke), which ranks No. 1 in the league. The matchup is also great for him this week, as the Houston Texans have allowed the third-highest passer rating (115.5) on targets to WRs this season. 

The Patriots don’t throw often (51.2%, 32nd), but when they do, it’s almost always to Meyers. He is a great cheap option on DraftKings at just $4,900. 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ CLEVELAND BROWNS

Fantasy football analysts can often be just a week too early on a specific player breakout. Jalen Reagor looked like a prime candidate to be the next rookie breakout, but Carson Wentz’s horrific play held him back last week.

Still, the rookie has led the Philadelphia Eagles in targets back-to-back weeks (14) and could finally blow up versus the Cleveland Browns.

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (18) makes a touchdown catch against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (27) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position. PFF’s Jarad Evans is also on the Reagor Week 11 breakout train, pointing specifically to his underpriced salary on DraftKings at $4,300.

He is clearly the superior option in DFS to Travis Fulgham and probably in redraft leagues as well. I am confidently ranking Reagor ahead of Fulgham heading into Week 11 — when Reagor and other Eagles pass-catchers are active, they are seeing the volume.

It’s no coincidence that since Reagor and Dallas Goedert returned to action in Week 8 that Fulgham’s target share has fallen from 29% the three weeks prior to 18%. 

Goedert played 92% of the team’s snaps, ran 34 routes and saw six targets in Week 10, which is a rare usage for a tight end. He is a sure-fire top TE play for Week 11; Richard Rodgers won’t see five targets every week with Goedert in the fold. 

The Browns have allowed the sixth-most targets and receptions to tight ends this season. They also have allowed the second-most targets to tight ends inside the 10-yard line. 

Goedert ranks as a top-five tight end for Week 11, assuming Zach Ertz remains sidelined — a great option on DraftKings at a bottom-dollar price of $3,800. 

Miles Sanders ranks as my No. 3 overall running back on the week. He looked spry last week with 85 rushing yards (5.6 yards per carry) on 15 carries in addition to five targets. Sanders played 73% of the snaps, which is exactly the type of usage we want for stud RBs.

The OL/DL matchup also favors Philly when they decide to run the football. Since Week 3, the Browns have allowed the fourth-highest rushing yards before contact per attempt (1.7). 

DETROIT LIONS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

Matthew Stafford should have his way versus a Carolina Panthers’ pass defense that has been exposed over the last four weeks. Over that time span, they have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. I have him as a low-end QB1 based on the plus-matchup, but if he gets Kenny Golladay back his ranking will rise. 

D’Andre Swift seems like a no-brainer at just 6.4K on DraftKings against an atrocious Panthers’ run defense that has been beaten by RBs all year on the ground and through the air. They have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (4.9 yards per attempt) and fifth-most receiving yards on the season. 

The rookie looks primed to finish as a top-five running back for a second-straight week. Just pay attention to his injury status. If he can’t go, Adrian Peterson becomes the pivot. 

The Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends over the past four weeks, so just throw T.J. Hockenson’s game from last week out the window. 

Marvin Jones Jr. ranks just outside my top-36 WRs this week because I'm concerned about some regression coming his way. Over the last three weeks, he has exceeded expectations by 13.4 fantasy points — fifth-most at the WR position. 

That’s usually a tell-tale sign that a player might be due for a down game, especially as a complimentary piece in their offense. Golladay’s return would make it extremely difficult to trust Jones.

TENNESSEE TITANS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

Ryan Tannehill is QB22 in my rankings because he has shown that he can’t post solid fantasy numbers in tough matchups. He hasn’t exceeded 17 fantasy points in the past two weeks, and Baltimore has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past four weeks.

A.J. Brown WR1 szn got slightly off course last week, but don’t think about benching an absolute stud. He dropped what would have been a 70-yard touchdown, and that would have easily made his fantasy day. 

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) runs in a touchdown past Houston Texans strong safety Justin Reid (20) during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

His WR/CB matchup is tough, so I understand avoiding him in DFS outside Ravens’ stacks, but Brown has a knack for bouncing back after poor games. In the 2019 regular season, he had three games with one catch. 

After those games, his following statlines were: 3-94-2, 4-135-1, 4-124-1. Tis the season to start Brown in Week 11. 

Corey Davis has scored fewer than nine fantasy points just once all season, but all of his good performances have come in plus-matchups. 

Davis isn’t held in a high enough regard to confidently play him even as a WR3 option versus the Baltimore Ravens, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to WRs over the past four weeks. 

With Jonnu Smith, fantasy managers are hoping for either a touchdown or a huge YAC play. Unfortunately, the Ravens rank above average in defending tight ends in both of those categories, relegating Smith to low-end TE1 status. 

NEW YORK JETS @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Hopefully, Joe Flacco’s performance against the New England Patriots can carry over to Week 11 and we can get fantasy value out of some of these Jets skill players. 

La’Mical Perine is a desperation RB3 play solely based on the rumors swirling around that he could see more work in this game. The matchup helps, as the Bolts have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to running backs (5.6 yards per attempt) over the past four weeks.

As for the Jets’ wide receivers, Jamison Crowder is the only player who needs to be started. He averaged 16.0 fantasy points per game in the three starts with Flacco under center. The Chargers have also been one of the worst teams defending the slot all season — they rank 31st in passer rating allowed (125.7) and 30th in yards per target to slot WRs. 

Tevaughn Campbell is going to man the slot for L.A. on Sunday, and he has allowed the most fantasy points per route (0.40) this season among slot CBs. 

MIAMI DOLPHINS @ DENVER BRONCOS

It’s been a full reversal for the Denver Broncos’ defense in recent weeks, as they have gone from one of the league’s best run defenses to one of the worst. They have lost multiple pieces across the defensive line and their defensive coordinator Ed Donatell had been hospitalized due to Covid-19. 

This has caused a trickle-down effect — they've allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs over the past four weeks. 

Rookie Salvon Ahmed is in play as a strong RB2 even with the knowledge that Matt Breida is going to return from injury. Breida has one game this season with double-digit touches and has yet to play more than 32% of the team’s offensive snaps. Ahmed had seven touches and saw a 44% snap share in his first game. Last week, that jumped up to a 75% snap share and 22 touches.

Miami has run a one-back system all season, so I would expect the same to be true this week. 

Ahmed is a great pay-down option among running backs at just $4,800 on DraftKings. He also leads the team in routes and has split time with Patrick Laird on third downs, ensuring ta least some passing usage.

While Denver has struggled up front, they have improved on the back-end with the return of their two best cornerbacks, A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan. That could hinder DeVante Parker’s ceiling, but he should still be viewed as a low-end WR2 because of the high-value opportunities he is seeing in the offense.

Parker led Miami in deep targets and air yards in Week 10, further bolstering his fantasy outlook for future weeks. Preston Williams’ absence left a huge chunk of air yards up for grabs, and Parker has taken it head-on. 

Mike Gesicki‘s stock is down after a third-straight stinker, but tight ends are such a vast wasteland of hopelessness for fantasy, we can’t hold grudges. The athletic tight end saw most of his targets downfield (15.8 aDOT), and we wouldn’t be complaining if Adam Shaheen hadn’t caught the TD in Week 11 instead of Gesicki.

Denver ranks 30th in the league in the highest depth of target allowed to TEs from the slot this season (10.5) and third-worst in yards per reception (15.8), so try to throw Gesicki in at least one DFS lineup this week because of his upside as a downfield threat. 

DALLAS COWBOYS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Finally, a game where Dallas Cowboys players can be played with some semblance of confidence. Ezekiel Elliot finally gets back into the RB1 territory because the matchup won’t nuke his fantasy value

Minnesota has been middle of the pack against RBs all season (16th in fantasy points allowed), but they've been exposed by RBs in the passing game. They have faced the fifth-most targets/receptions to running backs this season.

Elliott’s pass-game usage is crucial for him to provide fantasy value, and he leads the NFL in routes run among running backs this season. With Andy Dalton under center, I anticipate Elliott to see a higher share of the Cowboys’ passing attack.

In Dalton’s only full game this season, Elliott saw nine targets. He’s an intriguing option in DFS for that reason — his ownership is going to be suppressed despite the fact that he has high-end touchdown equity.

He owns 100% of his team’s carries inside the 5-yard line this season. 

Dallas “should” be able to move the ball through the air against a Minnesota Vikings’ defense that is ranked 30th in PFF pass-rush grade. With enough time, Dalton will be able to distribute the ball to his talented trio of WRs versus a banged-up secondary.

Sep 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs with the ball after a reception against Atlanta Falcons linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. (56) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Amari Cooper gains high-end WR2 status — he saw 11 targets in Dalton’s first start and operates as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. 

CeeDee Lamb also saw 11 targets from the Red Rifle back in Week 7, so he should also demand WR2 status. The rookie wide receiver leads the team in end-zone target percentage over the past four weeks, so I expect him to find paydirt. 

The Vikings have allowed the league’s second-highest touchdown percentage to slot WRs (10.1%). Whispers *just 5K on DraftKings*

GREEN BAY PACKERS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The usual suspects from the Green Bay Packers remain safely in starting lineups, so don’t even think about benching Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams or Aaron Jones.

I fully expect Rodgers to shred this Colts defense because they don’t rush the passer well. Their pressure rate ranks 21st in the league (29.2%), which is just a tick below the Texans’ pressure rate (29.7%). 

When Rodgers played the Texans, he was pressured on just 17.6% of his dropbacks and finished the game with 35.3 fantasy points. He’s a top-five quarterback for Week 11.

Jones could be leaned on more in the passing game with injuries to Adams and Allen Lazard, making him a great contrarian play in DFS after he failed to hit as the chalk last week. 

The Colts have allowed the fourth-highest passing touchdown percentage to opposing RBs this season.

Jones leads the NFL in end-zone targets among running backs (four) but has yet to score on any of those targets. 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Nearly the entire Las Vegas Raiders defense was placed on the Covid-19 list this week, which can’t help their chances of slowing down my No. 1 ranked quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has underperformed ever since the team acquired Le’Veon Bell, as the rookie hasn’t seen more than eight carries since Week 6. Even so, he still is the lead running back on a team that is projected to score a plethora of points.

The Raiders have allowed the sixth-most rushing touchdowns to running backs this season, so I’d bet CEH finds the end zone. It will be one of many scores that the Chiefs will enjoy on Sunday night.

The other reason why CEH is a solid play this week is the Raiders’ lack of stacked boxes on defense. They have faced the second-fewest rushing plays this season with eight-plus box defenders. 

Edwards-Helaire only has two rushing touchdowns this season, but both have come on plays when the defense had fewer than eight box defenders. Giddy up. 

It’s been almost six weeks since we have seen Sammy Watkins on the field in 2020, but during his four healthy games, it’s important to note that he was averaging nearly 13.3 fantasy points per game and saw an equal target share in the offense (17%) to Tyreek Hill.

Coming off the team’s bye week, Watkins should be ready to go in an excellent matchup versus the Las Vegas Raiders. He’s ranked inside my top 40 WRs for Week 11. 

LOS ANGELES RAMS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the tight end position this season, so Tyler Higbee could be a great option to go to in Week 11. He’s coming off his highest target total of the year (six) and in Week 10 was used as a vertical threat (11.3 aDOT). 

Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB31), Malcolm Brown (RB35) and Cam Akers (RB48) all rank outside my top 30 RBs for Week 11. This backfield has become too muddled to trust any part of it in a matchup versus the Buccaneers, who have allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs this season. 

Only in a full-point PPR format would I feel comfortable playing Brown, who has seen the most use as a pass-catcher this year. Even then it’s nothing more than an RB3/FLEX play.

The Buccaneers’ coverage unit also requires that we downgrade the Rams’ wideouts, most notably Robert Woods. He is ranked outside of the top-40 WRs — he has just 18 targets (14%) over the past three games. Cooper Kupp has seen 35 targets (28%) and pseudo WR3 Josh Reynolds has 26 targets (21%). 

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