Fantasy Football Week 11 Rankings: An Early Look Ahead

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 7: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins calls  a play against the Minnesota Vikings on November 7, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Some performances in Week 10 weren't surprising. We're not going to bat an eyelash when Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning, Brandon Marshall or Marshawn Lynch have huge games.

Some players we should have perhaps seen coming. Nick Foles and Riley Cooper have been trending upward, while Pierre Thomas has seen his usage increase significantly over the past several weeks.

And, of course, some performances we never saw coming. Tavon Austin scoring three touchdowns? Ryan Fitzpatrick notching 23 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in relief duty? Mark freaking Ingram rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown?

Never saw them coming. Here, of course, we are interested in those players we should see coming, and those players that, based on their talent and the matchups they face, grade out as top-10 players at their position this week. 

Let's take an early look at this week's rankings.

Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats via ESPN. The Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams are on bye.



Week 11 Quarterback Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles28
2Nick FolesPhiladelphia EaglesWashington25
3Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersNew England Patriots24
4Matt StaffordDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers22
5Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ers21
6Peyton Manning*Denver BroncosKansas City Chiefs20
7Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings18
8Andy DaltonCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns17
9Case KeenumHouston TexansOakland Raiders17
10Matt RyanAtlanta FalconsTampa Bay Buccaneers16
*If he plays


Quarterback Notes

No position is trickier than quarterback this week, as several of the game's top options all have brutal matchups.

Matt Stafford takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth in pass defense). Drew Brees faces the San Francisco 49ers (ninth in pass defense). Peyton Manning gets to match wits with the Kansas City Chiefs (sixth in pass defense). Cam Newton will try to throw and run past the New England Patriots (12th in pass defense). 

All are players who are still worthy of being started given their talent, but all could all see their usual production dampened by tough matchups. 

Robert Griffin III faces a Philadelphia Eagles team that is 31st in pass defense and has allowed opposing quarterbacks in standard-scoring leagues to score 15 or more fantasy points six times this year, so he tops this list for good reason. 

But the impressive Nick Foles (16 touchdowns, no interceptions this season) is also an amazing play against Washington's defense, currently 26th in pass defense and allowing opposing quarterbacks to score 18 or more fantasy points five times. 

Finally, Case Keenum sneaks into the top 10 this week. He may not be winning, but he's registered an impressive 60 fantasy points in his three starts and has a very promising matchup against the Oakland Raiders.


Running Backs

Week 11 Running Back Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia EaglesWashington22
2Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings21
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsDenver Broncos19
4Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsSeattle Seahawks18
5Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersNew Orleans Saints17
6Reggie BushDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers17
7Alfred MorrisWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles16
8Matt ForteChicago BearsBaltimore Ravens15
9Giovani BernardCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns14
10Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersNew York Giants13


Running Back Notes

Nov 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens won 20-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

LeSean McCoy has seen his fantasy value take a slight hit with Nick Foles under center, but he's fresh off rushing for 155 yards against the Green Bay Packers and faces a Washington defense that has given up 18 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs eight times this season. 

There aren't too many surprises in the top 10—trust your studs this week—but Giovani Bernard's ascension into the rankings might turn some heads.

Bernard had 22 touches to BenJarvus Green-Ellis' nine on Sunday and turned that usage into 95 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. The Cleveland Browns give up an average of 15.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs, so Bernard should post solid numbers again this week.

The bigger questions at running back will be what to do with the top options that didn't make this list. Do you trust Stevan Ridley against the Carolina Panthers, Knowshon Moreno against the Kansas City Chiefs or Chris Johnson against the Indianapolis Colts? At this point, can you trust Ray Rice or C.J. Spiller at all?

There aren't many pressing questions at RB1, but RB2 is a bit of a minefield this week. 


Wide Receivers 

Week 11 Wide Receiver Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers23
2DeSean JacksonPhiladelphia EaglesWashington20
3Brandon MarshallChicago BearsBaltimore Ravens19
4Josh GordonCleveland BrownsCincinnati Bengals18
5Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta Falcons16
6Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs15
7A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns15
8Andre JohnsonHouston TexansOakland Raiders14
9Pierre GarconWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles14
10Larry FitzgeraldArizona CardinalsJacksonville Jaguars13


Wide Receiver Notes

Larry Fitzgerald? Larry freaking Fitzgerald? The same player that has reached double-digit fantasy points just four times this season but has scored six or fewer fantasy points the other five weeks makes this list?

Well, yes, mostly because he has a tasty matchup against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has given up 20 or more fantasy points six times to opposing wide receivers. Fitzgerald has been all or nothing this year, but against the Jags he'll shine. 

Now on to the usual suspects.

In his past three games, Calvin Johnson has 29 receptions for 567 yards and five touchdowns. That's a full season's worth of production for a lot of wide receivers. Until further notice, Megatron tops these rankings by default.

DeSean Jackson torched Washington for seven receptions, 104 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Don't be surprised if he reprises that performance and then some. His teammate, Riley Cooper, should be owned and started in all formats as long as Nick Foles is under center, but it seems hasty to inject him into the top 10 for the moment.  

Should A.J. Green owners be worried about the Joe Haden factor? Perhaps—Green was held to seven receptions for 51 yards in their first meeting this season. Then again, he's also scored double-digit fantasy points in five straight weeks.

Green's upside is capped by the matchup with Haden, but expect him to still produce solid numbers. 


Tight End

Week 11 Tight End Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ers17
2Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsCarolina Panthers17
3Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsCincinnati Bengals15
4Vernon Davis*San Francisco 49ersNew Orleans Saints14
5Jordan ReedWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles13
6Tony GonzalezAtlanta FalconsTampa Bay Buccaneers13
7Julius ThomasDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs11
8Antonio GatesSan Diego ChargersMiami Dolphins10
9Timothy WrightTampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta Falcons9
10Greg OlsenCarolina PanthersNew England Patriots9
*If he plays


Tight End Notes

Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Even when Jimmy Graham has a down game, he still produces. Now, he didn't score a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys and seemed to be on a limited snap count, but he still caught five passes for 59 yards. Even injured, he remains one of the safest options in fantasy. 

The Patriots have a tough matchup against a very good Panthers defense, but that shouldn't slow Rob Gronkowski down. Gronk now has three games and a bye week under his belt, so expect him to have a very nice afternoon against Carolina. 

Julius Thomas owners might be concerned about a matchup with a Chiefs defense allowing just 2.9 fantasy points per week to opposing tight ends, tops in the NFL. But Thomas has been a red-zone dynamo, with nine total touchdowns on the year. 

He probably won't do much in the yardage department, but don't be shocked if he finds the end zone. 


Defense/Special Teams

Week 11 Defense/Special Teams Rankings
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Seattle SeahwksMinnesota Vikings18
2Cincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns16
3New York JetsBuffalo Bills15
4Arizona CardinalsJacksonville Jaguars14
5Detroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers12
6New England PatriotsCarolina Panthers11
7Green Bay PackersNew York Giants10
8New York GiantsGreen Bay Packers10
9Carolina PanthersNew England Patriots9
10Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans8


Defense/Special Team Notes

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Keith Rivers #55 of the New York Giants tackles  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 10, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bel
Al Bello/Getty Images

Yes, the New York Giants make this list.

They've now scored 12 or more fantasy points in three straight weeks, and next up is a Green Bay Packers team led by Scott Tolzien. It's a very, very risky play, but given the way this defense has produced in fantasy over the past three games and how terrible the Packers are on offense without Aaron Rodgers, it's a play with a lot of upside.

You will notice one very prominent fantasy defense, the Kansas City Chiefs, doesn't make this list at all. If for any reason Peyton Manning can't play, then obviously the Chiefs become a top-five option; but if Manning is playing, you would be wise to bet on the Denver offense winning that battle. 



Week 11 Kicker Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Steven HauschkaSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings16
2Alex HeneryPhiladelphia EaglesWashington15
3Kai ForbathWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles15
4Nick FolkNew York JetsBuffalo Bills14
5Adam VinatieriIndianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans13
6Matt PraterDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs12
7Robbie GouldChicago BearsBaltimore Ravens11
8Justin TuckerBaltimore RavensChicago Bears10
9Mike NugentCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns9
10Stephen GostkowskiNew England PatriotsCarolina Panthers9


Kicker Notes

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 07:  Nick Folk #2 of the New York Jets runs off the field after kicking the game-winning field goal in their 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Ima
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Just six kickers reached double-digit points this past week, meaning if you had one of those players, you earned a nice little advantage over the competition. As always, target a consistent performer with a quality matchup and you should earn a few easy points for your team. 


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and wonder how the New Orleans Saints could earn almost as many first downs (40) on Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys ran plays (43).

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