Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Biggest Surprises in Top 10

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Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Biggest Surprises in Top 10
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

At several positions, this is an odd week of fantasy football. At quarterback, several top options have brutal matchups. At running back, the elite herd thins out quickly. At wide receiver, several surprising options should emerge among the week's top performers. 

It can be difficult to know when to trust a player's ability over a tough matchup—or when to ignore trends and take a chance on a player—but I'm here to help. I'll take a look at some of the biggest surprises set to crash the top-10 rankings at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end.

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

 

Quarterbacks

Week 11 Quarterback Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. Points
1 Robert Griffin III Washington Philadelphia Eagles 28
2 Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles Washington 25
3 Cam Newton Carolina Panthers New England Patriots 24
4 Matt Stafford Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Steelers 22
5 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers 21
6 Peyton Manning Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs 20
7 Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Minnesota Vikings 18
8 Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns 17
9 Case Keenum Houston Texans Oakland Raiders 17
10 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Nick Foles ahead of Matt Stafford, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning? Andy Dalton, Case Keenum and Matt Ryan rounding out the top 10?

Yes, there are some surprises in the top 10.

Foles has thrown for 10 touchdowns and registered 67 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in the past two weeks. He's scored 22 or more fantasy points in three of his four starts and faces a Washington defense allowing 18.2 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 26th in the NFL

So yes, Foles earns his No. 2 ranking this week, especially since Stafford takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth in pass defense), Brees faces the San Francisco 49ers (eighth in pass defense), Manning gets the Kansas City Chiefs (sixth in pass defense) and Cam Newton faces the New England Patriots (12th in pass defense).

Dalton and Ryan have been inconsistent in recent weeks, but both have solid matchups. Besides, with Colin Kaepernick playing poorly, Tom Brady facing a brutal matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Aaron Rodgers hurt and Tony Romo on a bye, the pickings are pretty slim at the position. 

That also opens up the door for Case Keenum, who has registered an impressive 60 fantasy points in his three starts and now faces an Oakland Raiders team giving up 18.1 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 24th in the NFL.

Don't be afraid to get creative at quarterback this week. 

 

Running Backs

Week 11 Running Back Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. Points
1 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles Washington 22
2 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks Minnesota Vikings 21
3 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Denver Broncos 19
4 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings Seattle Seahawks 18
5 Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers New Orleans Saints 17
6 Reggie Bush Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Steelers 17
7 Alfred Morris Washington Philadelphia Eagles 16
8 Matt Forte Chicago Bears Baltimore Ravens 15
9 Giovani Bernard Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns 14
10 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers New York Giants 13

To be honest, there aren't any major surprises on this list. All of the players included have been quite good this year.

No, the surprises come when you start looking at which players were left off. Stevan Ridley has posted four straight weeks with double-digit fantasy points, but he faces a Panthers team giving up just 11.9 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, fifth in the NFL.

Knowshon Moreno is averaging 14.4 fantasy points per week, but he faces a Chiefs defense giving up just 12.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, sixth in the NFL.

And then there is Chris Johnson facing an Indianapolis Colts defense that gives up just 13 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs, ninth in the NFL.  

So no, there aren't many surprises in the top 10. But good luck getting much production from your RB2 this week. 

 

Wide Receivers

Week 11 Wide Receiver Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. Points
1 Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Steelers 23
2 DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles Washington 20
3 Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears Baltimore Ravens 19
4 Josh Gordon Cleveland Browns Cincinnati Bengals 18
5 Vincent Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers Atlanta Falcons 16
6 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs 15
7 Andre Johnson Houston Texans Oakland Raiders 14
8 Pierre Garcon Washington Philadelphia Eagles 14
9 Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals Jacksonville Jaguars 13
10 Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers Detroit Lions 13

Without question, the biggest surprises come at the wide receiver position. No A.J. Green in the top 10? Pierre Garcon, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Brown all earning WR1 designations this week?

Let's get into it.

I broke down in further detail here why I think A.J. Green has limited upside this week, and it's due to a tough matchup against Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden. You should still be starting Green, but don't expect a huge performance. 

Garcon faces a Philadelphia Eagles defense that gives up 29.6 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week, worst in the NFL, and he had seven receptions for 64 yards against it in the first meeting, so he's a great start. 

Fitzgerald has been the picture of inconsistency thus far—though we can chalk that up to the play of Carson Palmer, not Fitz himself—but he faces a Jacksonville Jaguars team he should torch. Yes, Jacksonville has been better against the pass than the run, but the Jags don't have anyone capable of slowing down Fitzgerald. 

Finally, Antonio Brown has scored double-digit fantasy points the past two weeks and has seven or more points in seven games this season. The Detroit Lions give up 27.4 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per game, 30th in the NFL, so Brown will get his. 

 

Tight Ends

Week 11 Tight End Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. Points
1 Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers 17
2 Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots Carolina Panthers 17
3 Jordan Cameron Cleveland Browns Cincinnati Bengals 15
4 Vernon Davis* San Francisco 49ers New Orleans Saints 14
5 Jordan Reed Washington Philadelphia Eagles 13
6 Tony Gonzalez Atlanta Falcons Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
7 Julius Thomas Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs 11
8 Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers Miami Dolphins 10
9 Timothy Wright Tampa Bay Buccaneers Atlanta Falcons 9
10 Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers New England Patriots 9

*If he plays

The pickings are so slim at tight end, there really aren't any surprises here.

Perhaps people will be wary of starting Julius Thomas against a Kansas City defense that has given up just 2.9 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, best in the NFL, but are you really going to sit him for an inferior option like Rob Housler or John Carlson?

Me neither. For now, stick with your studs. 

 

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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