Fantasy Football Rankings Week 11: Highlighting Most Trustworthy Stars

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 10:  Drew Brees #9 and Kenny Stills #84 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 10, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Every week, I get a lot of questions from people on Twitter asking me if they should trust their stars despite tough upcoming matchups. And depending on the player—some guys should never, ever be doubted—their fears are generally warranted.

That said, there are plenty of stars with favorable matchups this week whom you absolutely, positively should trust. You'll find them in my top-10 rankings, and we'll break a few of them down, along with providing an overall look at each position this week.

 

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
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 ManningDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs20
7Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings18
8Andy DaltonCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns17
9Case KeenumHouston TexansOakland Raiders17
10Matt RyanAtlanta FalconsTampa Bay Buccaneers16

Despite both players having tough matchups, you simply don't sit Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, ever. They are so good—and their offenses so potent—that they get started regardless of their opponent. 

That said, it doesn't mean either one is the top option this week. They remain in the QB1 grouping, but matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, limit their upside somewhat. 

Generally speaking, I think you trust your studs at quarterback this week. A few players have emerged in the later weeks—well hello there, Nick Foles and Case Keenum—but don't get too fancy at quarterback.

And don't trust Tom Brady just yet—the Carolina Panthers give up just 8.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per game, best in the NFL

 

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

Much like the quarterback position, you trust your studs at running back this week.

Yes, the questions get interesting in the RB2 ranks—can you trust Stevan Ridley against the Carolina Panthers? Can we trust Ray Rice or C.J. Spiller again this season? Will Knowshon Moreno disappear against Kansas City? How much will Chris Johnson produce against the Indianapolis Colts—but the RB1 group is pretty much par for the course this week. 

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 10:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Lions defeated the Bears 21-19.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Forte isn't a tough call to start given how good he has been this year, but his upside seems limited by a Baltimore Ravens defense giving up just 10.4 points to opposing running backs per week, best in the NFL. Still, Giovani Bernard managed 14 points against them last weekend, so Forte should produce as well. 

LeSean McCoy is still a steady RB1, but he probably won't be one of the top two or three options very often the rest of the way. With Foles starting, McCoy is averaging 12.2 points. When Foles hasn't started this year, McCoy averaged 14.8 points and exceeded 20 points twice. 

Still, a matchup against Washington is tantalizing to put him atop the rankings 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
7Andre JohnsonHouston TexansOakland Raiders14
8Pierre GarconWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles14
9Larry FitzgeraldArizona CardinalsJacksonville Jaguars13
10Antonio BrownPittsburgh SteelersDetroit Lions13

Welcome back to the land of the WR1, Andre Johnson—you were sorely missed. Sixty-three fantasy points in his past three games with Keenum under center will do that. This week, he replaces Jordy Nelson, who has exactly nine receptions for 96 yards since Aaron Rodgers went down to injury in the Green Bay Packers' first drive against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago. 

A lot of folks have questioned why I have Josh Gordon so high, and the answer is two-fold. First, the Cincinnati Bengals are without their top cover corner, Leon Hall. Second, Gordon has reached seven or more fantasy points in five of seven games and has hit double-digit points four times. 

I think he's locked and loaded as a WR1, barring truly tough matchups.

A.J. Green also drops out of the top 10 this week with a tough assignment lining up across from Joe Haden, making it a tough week for elite receiving options considering Dez Bryant is on bye and Wes Welker could have a tough week against a good Kansas City offense.

Still, mainstays of the WR1 group—Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas—aren't going anywhere and seem matchup-proof at this point. And look for Vincent Jackson to break his string of three-straight games with seven fantasy points or less against the same Atlanta Falcons defense he torched in Week 7 to the tune of 10 receptions, 138 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Tight Ends

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 Gonzalez*Atlanta 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

In general, this position is so thin that you have no choice but to trust your studs.

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Julius Thomas #80 of the Denver Broncos walks out of the tunnel prior to the start of the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers football game at Qualcomm Stadium November 10, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork D
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

And honestly, players like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas have done nothing to make you doubt them. Jordan Cameron torched the Bengals for 10 receptions, 91 yards and a touchdown in Week 4, so he should get back on track after having just one reception for four yards last week.

The only real concern among the top 10 is the health of Vernon Davis and Tony Gonzalez. Davis practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday, so he should be good to go, though Gonzalez didn't practice and looks like a game-time decision.

If he starts, you start him. But have a backup plan in place.

 

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

Surprisingly, two of the top four fantasy defenses—the Chiefs and Niners—don't even make this list, while starting the Panthers is absolutely terrifying against a rejuvenated Brady and New England Patriots offense coming off a bye.

I like the Panthers enough to keep them in the top 10, but they're a risky selection nonetheless. 

So, trust the Seattle Seahawks or Bengals, but after that, don't be afraid to go with an unorthodox choice for your defense this week. 

 

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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