Week 11 marks the last of the NFL's bye weeks, meaning the fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner. Plenty of offensive firepower is on the shelf this week, as fantasy owners are without Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Victor Cruz and Marshawn Lynch.
A steadfast rule of thumb in fantasy thus far has been to play offensive stars against the New Orleans Saints and defenses against the Kansas City Chiefs. Other matchups in Week 11 dictate that fantasy players may have better (or worse) days than they’re used to as well.
Carson Palmer, Marcel Reece, Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey (if he plays) could all have big days against the porous New Orleans Saints defense. Palmer has thrown for 782 yards and six touchdowns in the past two weeks without facing a historically bad defense.
New Orleans has surrendered a league-worst 469.3 yards per game.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
A season summary of fantasy points allowed to running backs will showcase the San Francisco 49ers, Matt Forte’s Week 11 opponent, as the most difficult defense for fantasy RBs to face. In three of their last four games, however, the 49ers have allowed a 100-yard rusher.
They have also given up two touchdowns in that time.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Don’t let Nick Foles scare you away from starting Jeremy Maclin in his favorable matchup with the Washington Redskins. He caught eight passes from Foles for 93 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas is a much tougher matchup than Washington.
Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers
San Diego’s No. 1 receiver, Malcom Floyd, should command the attention of Denver Broncos star cornerback Champ Bailey. On the other side, Danario Alexander (6’5”) is a mismatch for the Broncos’ sub-six-foot cornerbacks. Tracy Porter is also out for this contest.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates tore up the Broncos defense to the tune of six catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6. Including that game, he has scored in three of his last four.
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
As a desperation play in Week 11, you could do worse than Tony Moeaki. He hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, but the Cincinnati Bengals have allowed three scores to tight ends in their last four games. Moeaki had a season-high 68 yards on three catches against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10.
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
The Bengals are playing the Kansas City Chiefs—also known as the most favorable offense for fantasy D/STs to face.
St. Louis Rams D/ST
Fantasy D/STs facing the New York Jets have had double-digit fantasy performances in five of the last six weeks (ESPN standard scoring). The St. Louis Rams have the Jets at home in Week 11.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco’s road averages this season (four games): 179.75 passing yards, 0.75 touchdowns, 1.25 turnovers. He hasn’t faced the absolute toughest of fantasy defenses on the road, either. Flacco and the Ravens have taken on the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns away from home this year.
Flacco will be facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in Week 11.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rashad Jennings’ touches and fantasy production have dwindled in his last few weeks as the Jacksonville Jaguars starter. He has totaled 131 rushing yards on 40 carries in his last three games, adding nine catches for 63 yards.
Jacksonville’s entire offense stalled against the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos
Wills McGahee’s averages against top-seven RB-friendly fantasy defenses: 21.3 carries, 115.7 rushing yards, 1.3 rushing touchdowns, 3.3 receptions and 22.3 receiving yards. His numbers against the rest of the league: 16 carries, 54.8 rushing yards, zero touchdowns, 2.5 catches and 22.7 receiving yards.
The San Diego Chargers are No. 20 in terms of favorable matchups for fantasy running backs.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
There’s a reason the New England Patriots went out and got cornerback Aqib Talib. New England has had problems in its secondary and hopes that Talib can address those in a way that their other corners have not. He’ll be eligible to play his first game in a Patriots uniform on Sunday, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may use him to help take Reggie Wayne out of the game.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans proved in Week 2 that they don’t have to throw the football to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a result, Andre Johnson totaled three catches for 21 yards.
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans
The Jaguars are the only team in the NFL that has not allowed a touchdown to a tight end all season.
San Diego Chargers D/ST
San Diego’s Week 11 opponent enters its divisional matchup with a four-game streak of putting more than 30 points on the board. That’s problematic for a fantasy defense, despite the fact that the Denver Broncos have turned the ball over multiple times in three of their last four games.
Follow Jamal on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ.