News & Analysis

Fantasy risers and fallers from Week 11 of the season

Sep 17, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine (32) runs the ball past the Los Angeles Rams defense in the fourth quarter of the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In our weekly fantasy stock market report, we examine some players on the rise, some sliding down and a couple to keep on the radar. Week 11 had some explosive performances and some many of us would like soon to forget.

With the fantasy playoffs just a couple of weeks away, getting a player that is heating up in your lineup and a cold player out of it could be the difference between you moving on or falling out. Here are a few players to think about.

Rising up

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger turned in his best game of the season Thursday night at home versus the Titans as he completed 30-of-45 passes for 299 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs, including eight deep-ball throws. It was his best fantasy output since Week 5 of 2016 versus Kansas City.

Big Ben and the Steelers’ passing attack has benefited greatly from the rise of rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. It has helped to open things for Antonio Brown as we saw by his blow-up performance in Week 11. Playing in Pittsburgh was also a factor. It generally leads to being fantasy gold for Roethlisberger. Three of his next four games in the friendly confines of Heinz Field.

Over the last four weeks, Roethlisberger is the QB10 and given the landscape of the position in the wake of all the injuries and disappointments he seems to have one of the safer fantasy floors right now for the rest of the season with upside to boot.

Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins

Just a week after Rob Kelley (ankle, knee) headed to the IR, the Redskins lost Chris Thompson (broken fibula) to a season-ending injury in Week 11’s loss to the Saints. It is now Perine Time in D.C.

After 11 weeks of action Thompson was RB12 in standard formats and RB9 in PPR leagues. His 39 catches on 51 targets to go with six touchdowns and 804 total yards were clutch for an offense that lacked a true No. 1 receiver or running back. Thompson averaged 13.1 YPR and posted to a 2.5-yard average depth of target.

Perine will not slide into that exact role. Look for the ascending Josh Docston and Jamison Crowder to eat up some of those targets. However, Perine has looked better as the season has progressed and over the past two weeks he has registered 152 yards and a TD on 32 carries (4.8 YPC/3.8 YAC). He has high RB2 potential heading down the stretch.

Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots

Cooks was a popular pick versus the Raiders in Mexico City and those that rolled with him were rewarded. He had six catches on nine targets for 149 yards and a TD.

Many argued Cooks was overrated coming into the season and his campaign certainly started slow. However, he has had at least five receptions and/or a TD in every game since Week 3. Over the past two weeks Cooks has seen 18 targets while registering 11.7 YPT and he appears to be ascending.

Cooks is getting into sync with Tom Brady. Add in to the fact that Chris Hogan (shoulder) can’t get healthy and that durability is always a concern with Rob Gronkowksi and Danny Amendola and Cooks seems to be the safer bet for targets. When you consider four of the Patriots’ next five games are against the Dolphins and Bills it gets even better.

Sliding down

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Life without Ezekiel Elliott has not gone well for Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense with a whole. Dallas has also been without left tackle Tyron Smith, and that has perhaps had an even bigger impact.

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Over the past two weeks the team has scored one touchdown and mustered just 16 points. During that span Prescott has been sacked 12 times while completing just 38-of-61 (77 drop backs) passes for 321 yards and no touchdowns and he has thrown three interceptions. Prescott did pick up 52 yards and a score on eight carries.

He currently sits as the QB7 for the season in fantasy points, but over the last two weeks only the Cowboy comes in at QB22. With Elliott out of the mix, Dez Bryant battling nagging injuries and questions surrounding the offensive line there are definitely reasons for concerns about the second-year signal caller.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins

The first couple weeks without Jay Ajayi went nicely for Drake and fantasy owners that were bold enough to put him in their lineups. He tallied 104 and 92 total yards with a touchdown in the first couple of games, but in Sunday’s loss to the Bucs there was a much different outcome.

He rushed seven times for only four yards and one reception for 10 yards. While he out-snapped Damien Williams 38-to-27, but he had three less touches (8). Since the Ajayi deal he’s had 32 touches, but 15 of those came the first week. That volume is concerning.

Add to it Miami’s offense doesn’t score at a high rate and game flow is always likely to work against him and it’s hard to justify Drake as a starting option in most formats now that bye weeks are out of the way. He’ll be a low-end flex option at best heading to New England in Week 12.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

Sanders had his worst outing of the season in Week 11. He was targeted seven times, but finished with two catches for 15 yards. It marked the fourth time this season where Sanders has failed to eclipse 30 receiving yards.

The Broncos wideout got back on the radar in Week 10 when he was targeted 10 times and turned that into six catches for 137 yards. With Brock Osweiler at quarterback his ceiling is lower than owners are accustomed to though. He has scored less than five PPR points in two of his last three outings.

In addition, the veteran has only found the end zone in one of his eight games this year and five of his last 23 contests overall. Sanders has had eight or more targets in five of his eight contests, but to this point that volume has yet to lead to sustainable production.

On the radar

Zay Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills

While the quarterback situation is a huge mess right now in Buffalo, it does look like the future is bright for Jones. The rookie wide receiver pulled in four of his seven targets for 68 yards, including two deep-ball targets and an end zone target.

He’s more appealing with Tyrod Taylor under center. With Kelvin Benjamin sustaining a knee injury in Week 11, Jones will be counted on in the Bills’ passing game and the game flow should be in favor of him getting plenty of garbage-time production ahead.

Adam Shaheen, TE, Chicago Bears

Another rookie to keep your eyes on down the stretch is Shaheen. With Dion Sims (illness) held out, Shaheen took advantage of his 46 snaps against the Lions. He finished with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.

The tight end position has been tough sledding, so Shaheen could be worth adding in deeper redraft leagues. He’s a very intriguing dynasty option given his athletic build. He could very well keep the TE1 job for the Bears for good at this point.

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