Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 11: Underrated Players Who Will Have Huge Impact
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
It's crunch time in fantasy football. The playoffs are approaching and your chance of winning a league title could be decided by the critical waiver-wire pickup who helps you win by one point.
Week 11 is the part of the season that is one of the hardest to navigate. Injuries abound, and several teams start packing it in to either blow the season and land a good draft pick or rest players before the playoffs. It's fantasy chaos, and general managers and armchair quarterbacks around the country are wondering how to make sense of it all.
We all know the big names that grace the leader boards week in and week out. It's time to forget about them. All that matters now is how effectively you can scan the waiver wire and how well your lesser-known pick-ups can acclimate to your lineup.
The five players on this list have been irrelevant so far this season, but are poised for strong showings this week. A couple of them are great plays for the rest of the season.
It's your choice. It's do or die time in fantasy football.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been a massive disappointment in 2012, but a game against Kansas City could be just what he needs.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Prior to 2012, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was being discussed as a running back on the brink of being a legitimate week-to-week starter. It was logical to assume so: He had a solid career in New England and had landed in a good situation as the starting running back on a Cincinnati team with a good defense and passing game.
The results haven't materialized. Despite being the unquestioned starter for the Bengals all season, the Law Firm has yet to top 100 yards in a game and has only scored one touchdown in his last six.
That's about to change. The Bengals are coming off of a big win against the New York Giants that revitalized their playoff hopes. If Cincinnati wants to win, they will have to run the ball and this week's match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs is the perfect time to start. The Chiefs allow 122.6 yards per game on the ground so Green-Ellis should find some lanes and make some plays.
In addition, the Chiefs rarely lead during a game. This week's battle with the Steelers yielded the first lead of the season for Kansas City, so it can be assumed that the Bengals will be on top for most of the afternoon. If that's the case, Green-Ellis will get a lot of stat-padding carries in the fourth quarter as CIncy tries to run out the clock.
The Law Firm has been in the doghouse for most of the year, but he should enjoy a coming out party in Week 11.
With Pierre Garcon still sidelined, Santana Moss has been decent for the Redskins in relief. Never doubt Moss' ability to dominate an NFC East game.
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Pierre Garcon was the biggest pickup for the Redskins in the offseason and he was supposed to take pressure off of the young wide receivers that are on Washington's roster. Santana Moss, the elder statesman of that corps, was relegated to slot duty and played pretty well in a limited role.
But Garcon has been out for essentially the entire season and Moss will now be relied on more heavily as a No. 1 option. He has been on the fantasy radar for a few weeks now, but has yet to break out with a big game.
This could be his week. Moss always seems to show up in games within the NFC East, torturing the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys for years. Moss faces Philadelphia at home this week and the Eagles are a battered team that looks to have given up several weeks ago.
The Redskins defense can't stop anybody, so it should be a high scoring affair. Moss should get plenty of looks and could gain upwards of 100 yards. The main thing is that he'll be a No. 1 receiver against a suspect secondary and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III will look his way often.
Garcon is still a question mark, so Moss has value beyond Week 11. Keep him on the roster as the Redskins close out the season. It could pay huge dividends.
Quietly, Scott Chandler has put together a productive season for the Buffalo Bills.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Nobody thought Scott Chandler would be one of the more productive tight ends in football before the season began. He hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but he has steadily improved as the season has progressed and will go up against a suspect Miami defense in Week 11.
If you're in a PPR league, stay away. Chandler doesn't do much in terms of catches. He does get yards, though, because the Bills employ a downfield passing offense where he can get open over the middle. Chandler has come on strong in the last two weeks, catching eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.
The Bills will throw the ball early and often to establish a good rhythm against Miami and Chandler figures to be the benefactor. Expect him to grab six or seven balls for 70 yards and a couple of scores. He should probably have a few more touchdowns than he does, but drops have killed him.
Still, he has a respectable set of hands and will have a good week. If you need a tight end badly, you can do worse than Scott Chandler. Pick him up now, he won't be on waivers for long.
Nick Foles will inevitably struggle at some point, but he has solid weapons on the outside and the Redskins can't stop anybody.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Nick Foles is your "knee-jerk sleeper of the week." He's a new starting quarterback in an offense with a wealth of weapons, going up against a defense that can't stop the pass.
Don't think Foles will win you your league, he won't. But with several starting quarterbacks going down with injuries the past two weeks, his services could be critical as the season draws to a close. There are few guys out there who are backups and are virtually guaranteed to start for the rest of the year. If your quarterback is out with an injury it's time to scoop Foles up.
He won't throw for 300 yards per game, but he's mobile and plays in an offense that likely caters to a rookie's inexperience. He has the option to throw to DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek could be his best friend as a legitimate tight end. LeSean McCoy anchors a solid running game. The pieces are in place.
Foles will throw interceptions and make mistakes. But if you need a quarterback immediately, he's easily the best option that will be on the waiver wire.
Despite splitting time with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas could be primed for a big week against the horrendous Buffalo Bills run defense.
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Daniel Thomas has been a massive disappointment so far in 2012, mostly because Reggie Bush has re-emerged as a legitimate starting running back. But his workload has increased steadily and he is starting to make the most of his opportunities. With Bush being a perpetual threat to sit out with an injury, it might be smart to take notice of Thomas.
He hasn't gained more than 69 yards in any game this year, but he has put together 100 in the last three weeks. That may not seem very impressive, but Thomas is still an option. He will break out eventually, especially with Bush constantly on the mend.
In addition, the Dolphins face the Bills this week. Always start running backs against the Bills. Buffalo can't stop anyone on the ground and Thomas could have his best performance of the season.
If anything, the Dolphins will rely on him as the season progresses. Miami has legitimate playoff hopes and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill will need help from the ground game. His numbers may not astound you, but he may be the perfect pickup for a flex play and could make a game-changing run that wins you your league. Keep him throughout the rest of the season if you pick him up.