As we approach the Fantasy playoffs, there is no more fooling around when it comes to weekly rankings. My ranks not only include a statistical nugget for each and every player, but they are also tiered in an effort to show you were I am most comfortable. You’ll notice that some highly ranked players have a “negative” nugget … that’s not to say I don’t like said player, but it helps explain why I have him ranked toward the bottom of his tier or not in the above tier.
Week 11 QB Ranks[table “1281” not found /]
Peyton Manning: At least 430 passing yards or three more touchdowns than interceptions in eight of nine games this season and 12 of his last 14 regular season games.
Aaron Rodgers: He has thrown 345 passes and 28 touchdowns since his last interception at home.
Andrew Luck: How many different ways can you say “elite”? His completion percentage has been higher at home than on the road in each of his first two professional seasons, and that is on pace to be the case once again this year (65.1 percent at home, 62.6 on the road). The three quarterbacks that the Patriots have played against on the road this season, that are currently still starting for their respective teams (Ryan Tannehill, Kyle Orton, and Alex Smith), completed 64.6 percent of their passes against New England.
Drew Brees: His success indoors is well documented, but did you know that since the beginning of last season, Brees is averaging 348 passing yards and 2.8 touchdowns following a multi-interception performance?
Tom Brady: In his last four games, Brady has amassed 1,309 passing yards while tossing 16 touchdowns and just one interception. In 2007, when he set the (then) touchdown record, his best four-game stretch included 1,313 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Matthew Stafford: Multiple touchdowns and at least 280 passing yards in three straight is nice, but a completion of 40-plus yards in eight of nine games this season is a trend worth buying into against a Cardinals’ defense that has allowed eight pass plays of at least 40 yards (seventh most in the NFL this season).
Jay Cutler: As bad as a 41-point loss looks, Cutler’s final stat line wasn’t that bad. He should be even better this weekend, as he is averaging 25.8 Fantasy points in his three games following a multi-interception effort this year.
Cam Newton: This is a strong matchup that Newton could exploit with his arm, but it is his legs that make him an elite option. He has scored a rushing touchdown in five of his six career games on a short week of rest.
Ben Roethlisberger: The two six-touchdown games happened, but don’t lose track of the fact that he has tossed just 11 in the other seven games this season.
Philip Rivers: The Raiders aren’t as vulnerable against the pass as you might assume, in large part because opponents have thrown only 294 passes against them (the third lowest total in the league). That’s not an ideal trend for a quarterback that operates a ball control offense (seventh in average time of possession), who has averaged just 31.4 pass attempts in his last five games.
Matt Ryan: Volume is rarely an issue on the road (over 41 attempts per road contest since the beginning of last season), making Ryan’s 68.6 completion percentage in his last four games against the Panthers a reason to buy in.
Robert Griffin III: I don’t want to go overboard and say he is 100 percent healthy, but Week 9 was just the seventh time in 32 career games that he threw for at least 250 yards and ran the ball seven times.
Mark Sanchez: His first start for the Eagles passed the eye test (16.6 yards per completion), but I remain concerned about his ability to stretch the field. That said, his 300-yard performance against the Panthers should not be dismissed, as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford all failed to reach that plateau versus Carolina.
Russell Wilson: Did you know that the Seahawks are averaging more points per game than the Dallas Cowboys and 24 other NFL teams? Wilson’s volume of pass attempts limits his downside, but he plays for a well above average offense and is far-and-away the most mobile quarterback in the game (68.7 percent more rushing yards than second place and one more rushing score than Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and Aaron Rodgers combined).
Colin Kaepernick: Averaged one rushing touchdown every 17.2 carries from 2012-2013. He currently has zero in 58 attempts this season. His season may seem underwhelming thus far, but all of his other metrics are right in line with what you were expecting. Look for him to potentially break the scoring seal against the league’s worst defense in terms of rushing touchdowns, making him once again the versatile producer you were hoping for.
Josh McCown: He’s a very limited quarterback on a team that lacks talent, but his focus on the play-makers he does have (Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans accounted for 91.7 percent of wide receiver targets last week) keeps him out of the basement and makes him a low-end QB2.
Ryan Tannehill: What’s the ceiling here on a Thursday? He has finished with less than 15 Fantasy points through the air in the majority of games this season, and has more games with less than 210 passing yards than over 245.
Andy Dalton: Yikes. Well, on the bright side, last week won’t hurt you this week. With a long week of preparation, it stands to reason that he can improve his chemistry with the now healthy A.J. Green and build on the fact that he has not thrown an interception in his last 18 quarters on the road.
Teddy Bridgewater: He’s toward the top of this tier not for his tremendous upside, but for his improved ability to take care of the ball and give his teammates a chance. He hasn’t turned the ball over in 84 passing attempts over his last two games after turning it over five times on 63 attempts in the two games prior.
Drew Stanton: His weekly Fantasy outlook will depend on your confidence level in him hitting a few home run plays. I trust his arm, but the Lions have given up the third-fewest 20-yard pass plays and should apply pressure. He will have his weeks; I’m just not sure this week is one of them.
Brian Hoyer: The Texans have the fourth-best pass rush and the worst run defense in the league, a statistically vulnerable spot vs. Cleveland, but not for Hoyer owners. Winning NFL games and winning Fantasy matchups are two very different things, so look almost anywhere else for upside (28.6 attempts per game over the last month).
Kyle Orton: No defense has a better combination of pass rush and pass coverage than the Dolphins, a major issue for a quarterback that is averaging one touchdown every 34.4 pass attempts in games not played against the Jets.
Eli Manning: Throwing the ball 17.6 percent more during the Giants’ current four-game losing streak than he did during their three-game winning streak. Opportunity drives production and the more opportunities for Manning, the worse his team does.
Alex Smith: Multiple touchdowns in just one of his last five games and he has still yet to find a wide receiver with a touchdown pass this season. Oo yea, and the matchup against Seattle isn’t exactly ideal.
Week 11 FLEX Ranks[table “1283” not found /]
Le’Veon Bell: For those worried about his recent production on the ground … R-E-L-A-X. He has maintained steady Fantasy value in the passing game (76 receptions in his last 16 games), managing at least 11.3 PPR points as a receiver in four straight games.
Matt Forte: Unfortunately, 41-point blowouts will change how an offense approaches a game. Subtract that performance and Forte is averaging 32 PPR Fantasy points over his last four games. Not a bad trend considering that he is facing a defense in Minnesota that has allowed the three stable running back situations that they have faced over that span to average 23.6 PPR points. Meet in the middle and you’re looking at Top 5 production in most weeks.
Antonio Brown: The opponent’s most targeted receiver is averaging 17.8 PPR points against the Titans over the last month: is there any question that Brown will lead the Steelers in targets?
Demaryius Thomas: Is it possible that he is getting better as the season progresses? He caught 48.8 percent of the passes thrown his way in the first month of the season and is catching 75.9 percent since, not a bad trend when you consider that he is seeing 7.4 percent more targets over that stretch.
Calvin Johnson: Think he’s healthy (seven catches on 15 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown)? Not a bad showing against a well above average secondary and not a bad indicator with a below average secondary on the schedule this week.
Jordy Nelson: In the three games following their bye, the Eagles have allowed the opponent’s WR1 to catch 16 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Not a bad trend for Nelson owners, as the Packers’ top option has caught at least six passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in four of his last eight games.
Arian Foster: He may be a little banged up, but a week of rest and a matchup against the only AFC defense that ranks in the bottom five of the NFL in terms of limiting opponent’s ability to move the chains via the run (26.3 percent of carries) and gain 20-plus yards on a carry (9) is enough for a healthy stat line.
Alshon Jeffery: Hasn’t been spectacular, but he has recorded double-digit PPR points in six of his last seven. While the 41-point debacle last week was enough to send Bears fans to a clinic, Jeffery was targeted on 39.1 percent of Cutler’s first half passes, a positive sign as this week’s contest figures to be more competitive for four quarters.
A.J. Green: For just the second time in his career, he has gone back-to-back weeks with fewer than five catches and zero 20-plus yard receptions.
Julio Jones: Six straight weeks without a touchdown, a stretch that doubles his longest scoreless drought since scoring his first professional TD.
Marshawn Lynch: Not in the top class despite six touchdowns over his last two games and four multi-score games this season? He has yet to score a rushing touchdown on the road (nine at home) and the Chiefs have yet to allow a single rushing score. He can provide value in other ways, but with just two 100-plus yard rushing performances in his last 15 games, counting on a big yardage day is risky.
Jamaal Charles: “But Seattle has a great run D” … Charles has faced three defenses this year (minimum of five carries) that are holding opponents to fewer than 4.0 yards per carry and still managed to average 5.12 yards per carry.
Kelvin Benjamin: The garbage time touchdowns last week sustained his Week 10 value, but he is far from unlucky. Players tend to produce with consistency when they are targeted with nearly 29 percent of their quarterback’s passes. The rookie is the real deal and should once again rank among the elite at the WR position.
Randall Cobb: You can’t spell “elite” without Randall … err … you can spell most of it, but not the entire word. Either way, the Packers’ “secondary” option has tallied 78 catches for 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns in his last 16 regular season games (80-1,207-15) that he didn’t leave with an injury, and the Eagles are giving up the third most points to receivers this season. Think Green Bay reaches double figures this weekend? Cobb is averaging 78 yards and has scored 10 touchdowns in the eight contests in which the Pack has tallied at least 10 points.
Andre Ellington: The 3.5 yards per carry is a bit concerning (although I’d bet on a spike sooner rather than later, as he somehow doesn’t have a run of more than 22 yards this season), but the fact that he has totaled at least 93 yards or scored a touchdown in six straight should calm the nerves.
Mark Ingram: The list of running backs more involved over the last three weeks is short, and by “short” I mean no existent. Ingram has 22.5 percent more rushing yards and 30.6 percent more carries than any other RB in football over that stretch and opposes a defense that has allowed the second most rushing yards this season.
Brandon Marshall: His ankle injury isn’t considered serious and he has accounted for 60 percent of all touchdowns thrown to Bears’ receivers this year. On the plus side, if you feel that the Chicago ship is sinking, there is no need to jump off the Marshall bandwagon. Jay Cutler continues to look his way when he needs it the most, as 90.5 percent of his receptions have come with the Bears even or behind on the scoreboard.
Emmanuel Sanders: Remember when we all said he couldn’t possibly replicate the success of 2013 Eric Decker? He is on pace for the exact same number of touchdowns (11) … and 500 more yards!
LeSean McCoy: Patience is wearing thin, but the fact that he was on the field for 72 percent of plays last week is keeping me on board maybe a week too long. The lack of ground production is one thing, but 11 catches for 28 yards over his last seven games? Entering this season, he was averaging 28.7 receiving yards per game.
T.Y. Hilton: In the last three games on normal rest, the Patriots have held the opponent’s number one receiver to 12 catches for 189 yards and zero touchdowns. Furthermore, those elite talents (Sammy Watkins, Brandon Marshall, and Demaryius Thomas) have accounted for just 19.2 percent of their receiving yards (Hilton currently accounting for 30.2 percent of receiving yards) in those three games. (#RevisIsland)
Jeremy Hill: With Giovani Bernard (groin) slated to miss yet another game, it would be difficult to overstate Hill’s value. After Bernard and Hill, the Bengals next three leaders in rushing yards are a quarterback and two receivers … safe to assume a heavy workload for the rookie this week against a Saints defense that owns the fifth highest rushing touchdown percentage against.
Jerick McKinnon: Relax. We know that McKinnon is better than Matt Asiata, and the Vikings do too. Vultured touchdowns happen to all running backs, but McKinnon continues to get consistent work (at least 17 touches in four straight) and should continue to be the focal point of an offense that needs to establish the run. Ideally, he’d get the short yardage work, but his role is stable and the odds are against Asiata finishing three drives like he did in Week 9.
Ahmad Bradshaw: Don’t fret the low two-week carry total (13 carries, compared to 21 for Trent Richardson), as Bradshaw’s snap percentage is sitting at 64.3 percent over that stretch (47.7 percent in Weeks 1-7).
Mike Evans: He has scored five times in his last five games and has at least four catches in every game this season. For a rookie, he comes with limited downside and tremendous upside (the Redskins have given up 15 more touchdown passes than interceptions, second highest mark in the NFL, and are allowing 16.1 percent of completions to go for at least 20 yards).
Eddie Lacy: The running efficiency hasn’t dipped as much as you think (4.1 yards per carry last year, 4.0 this year) and his 14 catches over his last three games are a career-high for a three-game stretch.
DeAndre Hopkins: He’s gone not one, not two, not three, but four consecutive weeks with an increasing average of yards per catch. Look for Houston to continue using him in this fashion (his aDOT is up 16.3 percent over his last four games), even with a new quarterback, against a Browns’ defense that has allowed 32 pass plays of at least 20 yards (Hopkins is averaging 1.33 per game).
Shane Vereen: In Week 9, the Patriots opposed Peyton Manning and needed to be efficient on the offensive end, something that resulted in a season-high in snaps played for Vereen. Difficult to imagine that they stray from that game plan, as they travel to Indianapolis to face the league’s top offense in terms of yards and points.
Golden Tate: The last time Tate caught fewer than seven passes, the Cincinnati Bengals were undefeated and atop most power rankings … yea, it’s been a while.
Terrance West: Say what you will about the three running back scheme, but West ranks third in the NFL in carries over the last two weeks and gets to face a Texans’ defensive line that features the well-known J.J. Watt … and the second lowest grade against the run this season.
Julian Edelman: Admittedly, a small sample size, but the Colts have surrendered a total of 289 yards and two touchdowns to two sub-six foot receivers on 18 catches (24 targets) in their last two games.
Larry Fitzgerald: In their last five games played in the United States, the strong Lions’ defense has allowed the opponent’s WR1 to total at least 85 yards or a touchdown four times.
Andre Johnson: He has caught 100 passes on five different occasions, with Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, and Sage Rosenfels being responsible for getting him the rock. He’s struggling a bit, but his track record would indicate that a quarterback change shouldn’t result in a blind lowering of his value.
Anquan Boldin: The low (9.4) aDOT is nice, as it raises his floor, and the 25-plus yard reception in four of his last five raises the ceiling a bit. To give you an idea of how valuable he is to this offense, he has the same number of targets over the last four games that Stevie Johnson has all season.
Jeremy Maclin: Hard to imagine you benching him and I’ll give him a pass for now with Mark Sanchez acclimating himself, but I’ll admit I’m worried. As I addressed last week, The Sanchize may be capable of winning games, but he is a long shot to maintain Maclin’s status as a no-brainer WR1 on a weekly basis. The Packers have only allowed 27 pass plays of over 20 yards this season and rank among the best (ahead of the Cardinals for example) in yards allowed per completion.
Steven Jackson: He is getting the bulk of the work in Atlanta and they’ve found team success when feeding the veteran (21.7 percent more carries in victories this season). Look for him to continue his quietly solid season against a Panthers’ defense that he averaged 5.0 yards per touch against last season … when they were the second-best defense against Fantasy backs (currently the fifth-worst).
Rueben Randle: Some bumps in the road are to be expected as he adjusts to being the Giants’ number one receiver, but it is important to note that his two highest route run totals have come in the past two weeks. With at least nine targets in seven straight, it is only a matter of time until he offers consistent Fantasy production.
Sammy Watkins: Since the beginning of October, the rookie has five receptions on nine targets in two divisional games and 20 catches on 36 targets in three non-divisional games. There’s something to be said for familiarity with divisional offenses, and the Dolphins should have that in this the second meeting of the season.
Brandon LaFell: Antonio Brown and Golden Tate are the only two WRs with more targets and more catches in their last two games. The volume of looks isn’t going anywhere, as LaFell is a staple in the short passing game with 72.2 percent of his receptions coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Jordan Matthews: His Week 10 explosion (7-138-2) came in a game in which he was on the field for only 37 snaps, his third-lowest of the season. He may not always produce WR1 numbers, but the snap count should only increase, and the connection with Mark Sanchez is a major plus.
Joique Bell: Still concerned about his role in this offense? While the Lions may lean on the pass game a bit more with Calvin Johnson healthy, Bell was responsible for 60 percent of running back touches and 73 percent of yards gained by running backs against Miami. SNAP PERCENTAGE.
Vincent Jackson: His 51 routes run in Week 10 were his most in more than a year, and his 13 targets matched his greatest number of looks since that point in time. Josh McCown may not be a great quarterback, but he knows who his most talented receivers are and tries to get them the rock.
Mike Wallace: The Bills have given up the fewest 20-plus yard pass plays in the NFL this season and Mike Wallace is averaging just 30.4 yards as a member of the Dolphins in games in which he doesn’t record a reception of at least 20 yards. In those 11 games, 56 yards is his best performance.
DeSean Jackson: We all know the story here and this game projects as one of those “inaction Jackson” weeks. The Buccaneers have allowed just three pass plays of at least 40 yards this season, a serious hit to DJax’s ceiling, as 47.9 percent of his Fantasy production this season has come on 40-plus yard receptions.
Pierre Garcon: He has been targeted 30 times in his last six games after seeing 32 looks in the first three games of 2014 and averaging 11.5 targets per game last year.
Alfred Morris: Since the beginning of last season, Morris is averaging a touchdown every 24.6 carries at home and 46.2 carries on the road. Handing him the ball is a good way to keep RGIII healthy and not a bad way to run an offense
Bishop Sankey: He hasn’t averaged even 4.0 yards per carry in any of his last five games, but with at least 16 carries in three of his last four (a claim that Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore, both of whom rank inside the Top 10 in carries this season, cannot make), sheer volume makes the rookie a reasonable option against a below average run defense.
Frank Gore: What a difference a bye week makes for a veteran running back. Prior to the Week 8 bye, Gore had seen his snap percentage decline in three straight weeks (bottoming out at 37.3 percent). His snap percentage is back on the uptick, as he was on the field for a season-high 72.9 percent of snaps last week against the Saints.
Reggie Wayne: Andrew Luck is averaging nearly four more drop backs than any other quarterback in the league, so if you’re buying my hate for T.Y. Hilton this week, Wayne is the favorite to absorb targets (at least eight targets in five straight).
Martavis Bryant: Critics will point to a late Hail Mary boosting his Week 10 Fantasy value, but his snap percentage increased for a third consecutive week and the upside is there, as the Titans own a well below average defense in terms of pass coverage.
Lamar Miller: The shoulder injury isn’t expected to sideline him for Thursday Night Football and he is still averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season. The upside isn’t significant, but the lack of a reliable second option should keep Miller involved.
Brandin Cooks: The volatile nature of his production is maddening, but maybe he is just trying to fit in? Like most of his Saint teammates, the rookie is thriving at home, catching eight more passes for 128 more yards and twice as many touchdowns in front of the New Orleans faithful as on the road despite playing one fewer home game.
Fred Jackson: Even with a nagging groin injury and a physical opponent, Jackson was as featured as any running back on the Bills’ roster. Look for that trend to continue (for what it’s worth, Bryce Brown is my second option) in a must-win game for Buffalo in Miami. He is well on pace to record a career-high in receptions, a nice bonus given his workhorse role between the tackles.
Michael Crabtree: Why am I marinating more faith in him than you? Well, in addition to believing in the talent, he has accounted for 23 percent of Kaepernick’s targets over the last month. He hasn’t done much with them (178 receiving yards, 51 of which came on that game-saving play against the Saints), but the target count is worth buying low on and should result in an uptick in production in the near future.
Odell Beckham Jr.: How good did this kid look last week? While you can’t help but be impressed with back-to-back-to-back weeks with more than 18 PPR points (21.1 point average), there should be concerns about his high aDOT (14.3) against a 49ers defense that has allowed a league-low 21 pass plays of at least 20 yards and is allowing just 6.3 yards per pass attempt this season. Love the talent here, but don’t chase the numbers we’ve seen in past weeks.
Doug Baldwin: Don’t confuse “upside” with “role”. Sure, Baldwin is the Seahawks top option in the passing game, but the receiver role is not the same in Seattle as it is in other offenses. Baldwin has been asked to block on just as many plays as run a pass route over the last two weeks. That trend may not continue, but the Seahawks success and devotion to the ground game is nothing new.
Bobby Rainey: He is narrowly the Bucs back to own, but with a touch count equal to Charles Sims’, despite holding a 44-25 edge in snaps, the writing is on the wall and it’s just a matter of time until the rookie surpasses him.
Michael Floyd: An obvious boom-or-bust option, but should Carson Palmer miss extended time, Floyd can’t lose value with Drew Stanton (NFL leader in percentage of passes thrown at least 20 yards down the field).
C.J. Anderson: How the Broncos bring back Montee Ball is anyone’s guess, but he totaled 163 yards and a touchdown against a defense in Oakland that is statistically better than the Rams. Counting on a full workload in Denver this week is dangerous, but he should be the touch leader in a favorable spot.
Darren McFadden: His job is safe for now and with four catches in four consecutive games, his involvement is worth a look if you lack FLEX depth. Nothing spectacular here, but he does stand to gain some value if the Raiders’ offense regresses from their four week spike in passing attempts.
Keenan Allen: The numbers haven’t been there, but he does own the role it takes to be successful in a low-volume offense. Over the last three weeks, Allen has been the target of33.7 percent of Philip Rivers’ passes and the Raiders are allowing opponents to complete 67 percent of passes this season.
Rashad Jennings: As a result of Andre Williams averaging fewer than 3.0 yards per carry over his last five games, Jennings should assume his workhorse role soon and will be an asset down the stretch. That, however, starts next week, as he faces the sixth best run defense this week (not to mention the return of Aldon Smith) and runs behind the fifth worst run-blocking offensive line in all of football.
Week 11 TE Ranks[table “1284” not found /]
Rob Gronkowski: Safe to say he’s back. During the Pats’ five-game win streak, Gronk has been targeted at least nine times in every game and has found the end zone five times.
Jimmy Graham: He has more receptions over the last three weeks (22) than all but one tight end has targets.
Julius Thomas: The multi-touchdown upside is nice (four instances this season), but the fact that Thomas is averaging just 9.4 PPR points this season in non-multi touchdown games gives him a lower floor than the other elite options.
Antonio Gates: The Chargers’ offensive line has a difficult time run-blocking, a trend that has actually helped Gates’ Fantasy value, as he has become a vulture of sorts. He has six touchdowns inside the 10-yard line this season and has scored on 64.3 percent of his receptions that take place on the opponents’ half of the field.
Dwayne Allen: The talent is obvious and the opportunity is growing. After playing fewer snaps and running fewer routes than Coby Fleener in back-to-back weeks, Allen was on the field for 40 percent more snaps in Week 9, and scored for the third consecutive week.
Delanie Walker: There is a health risk here (concussion), but no tight end with a higher aDOT has more catches than the Titans’ chain-mover.
Greg Olsen: Tight end might be the most touchdown dependent position in Fantasy Football, so the four straight games without a score (his longest since 2010) and the matchup with a Falcons’ defense that has allowed only two tight end scores this season is less than ideal.
Travis Kelce: He was on the field for a season-high 66.1 percent of the Chiefs snaps last week and opposes another stout run defense this week.
Martellus Bennett: The Vikings have given up the second-fewest points to tight ends this season, as they have made a concentrated effort to limit their potential. Opposing tight ends are averaging less than seven targets per game against Minnesota, a concern for Bennett owners, as he has totaled just 62 yards in his two games with fewer than seven targets this season.
Vernon Davis: Subtract two catches on opening day and he has totaled 28.8 PPR points this season.
Jordan Reed: Saw his second-highest percentage of snaps played in Week 9 prior to the Week 10 bye (hinting at health), and is catching 85 percent of passes thrown his way.
Larry Donnell: When he was having success, volume of targets was his calling card. Only two defenses have seen tight ends record more targets than the Niners.
Jared Cook: He might be the Rams top receiver and his 14.3 yards per catch is worth considering in a matchup with the fifth-most vulnerable deep ball defense.
Kyle Rudolph: The health risk here is obvious, but the Bears are the worst defense in terms of defending tight ends and have allowed them to catch 71.1 percent of passes thrown their way.
Zach Ertz: It’s worth noting that he played his highest percentage of snaps since Week 4 in Sanchez’s first start, but it resulted in just three targets and nothing but a garbage time reception. Brent Celek was more involved and could be the primary tight end with the new quarterback, but Ertz still maintains more upside.
Heath Miller: If not for his big day against the Colts, the veteran has totaled just seven catches and 75 yards over the last month.