Outliers, Week 11

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could either have unexpected good or poor fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who are either undervalued or overvalued each week. The outlier value players offer is calculated by a comparison between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the initial weekly Footballguys rankings. Both sources are from the Footballguys.com subscriber content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation.  Now, let's look at this week's outlier players. 


Drew Stanton

  • Top 200 ranking: 28
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +17

Stanton is a big step down from Carson Palmer but is startable this week in Houston.  The Texans are yielding the most quarterback fantasy points in the NFL.  Stanton was nicked up last Thursday night.  There is a chance that Stanton will not be healthy and miss the Houston game. If that is the case, Blaine Gabbert will get the nod.  Given the matchup, whichever Cardinals starter is on the field will have the chance to be a low-end fantasy QB1. 

Derek Carr

  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +4

The Raiders and Patriots face off in what could be a high scoring affair.  This game has the highest Vegas total points at 52.  With the expectation that New England jumps out to a healthy lead, Carr and the Raiders passing game should have ample garbage-time statistics.  The Patriots are the third-worst pass defense in defending fantasy quarterbacks.  Even Brock Osweiler threw for 221 yards and a touchdown last week.  Carr could have 300 yards and multiple scores.

Marcus Mariota


  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: -5


Even with trying to cover bye weeks, Mariota is not a good fantasy option this Thursday night.  He and the Tennessee offense travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.  Pittsburgh is the third-best defense in holding opposing quarterbacks in check.  Further, the Titans quarterback suffered shoulder and ankle injuries last Sunday.  This is not the week to rely heavily on Mariota.

Matt Ryan


  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: -7


Ryan has not played particularly well this season.  It may be due to the loss of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.  The Falcons travel to Seattle to meet the Seahawks in a huge Monday night game for both squads.  We expect Seattle to bring much more pressure than Dallas was able to bring last Sunday.  Further, Devonta Freeman is unlikely to play due to a concussion, allowing the Seahawks pass rush to blitz without a large threat of the running attack.

Running Back

Jamaal Williams


  • Top 200 ranking: 80
  • Weekly ranking: 31
  • Difference: +49


With Aaron Jones out of action for a few weeks after suffering a knee injury and Ty Montgomery iffy with a rib injury, Williams may be the primary ball carrier against Baltimore this week.  This looks to be a close, low-scoring matchup and one the rookie tailback sees ample carries between the tackles.  If needing a desperation RB2/flex this week, Williams makes a solid dart throw … especially if Montgomery does not suit up. 

Dion Lewis


  • Top 200 ranking: 34
  • Weekly ranking: 20
  • Difference: +14


Lewis has played very well the past few weeks and should get touches against Oakland this week.  With the likelihood that this game is high scoring, Lewis’ receiving ability will be useful against the Raiders defense that is allowing an average of 27 PPR points per game to the position.  This is good for the fourth-worst defense in the league against running backs.  He makes a solid RB2 from the waiver wide. 

Todd Gurley


  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: -3


Gurley and the Rams travel to the Twin Cities to face the Vikings.  Both teams look to be playoff bound and we could see a rematch in a few weeks.  Minnesota is the second-best defense in stopping opposing running backs.  Coach Zimmer will look to stop Gurley from getting into the open field.  While we do not advocate benching the young back, he could have a lower ceiling than most weeks. 

Joe Mixon


  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 17
  • Difference: -5


Mixon has seized the lead back role and should garner the most touches this week against the Denver Broncos.  The Denver rush defense is vastly improved and will stop the run, making Andy Dalton beat the Broncos through the air.  Denver only allows an average of 22 PPR points each week to running backs so Mixon and Giovani Bernard splitting those points will leave their respective fantasy owners wanting more production. 

Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks


  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +12


We expect Cooks to break open big plays against a Raiders secondary that has allowed a few big games of late.  As noted above, the oddsmakers think this will be a high-scoring game and we agree.  Oakland has yielded 88 points the past three weeks, to the likes of Kansas City, Buffalo, and Miami.  Imagine what Brady will look to accomplish.  The game is in Mexico at high altitude, so the speedy receiver may be able to break open a big play against a tired defender. 

Sterling Shepard


  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: +8


Shepard had his coming-out party last week versus San Francisco.  This Sunday, he faces the defense – the Kansas City Chiefs – which yields the most fantasy points to opposing receivers.  The Chiefs give up an average of 42 PPR fantasy points per game.  Given the void of weapons on the Giants, Shepard has a high ceiling this Sunday. 

A.J. Green


  • Top 200 ranking: 2
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -8


Green has been feisty this season, getting tossed from the Jaguars game for going Mike Tyson on Jalen Ramsey.  This week, Green will face another top secondary in the Denver Broncos.  The Broncos’ pass defense has not played well recently but should rebound against the Bengals.  Denver has the size and speed to limit the star receiver’s big plays, especially with Andy Dalton throwing the ball.

Doug Baldwin


  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: -3


Baldwin and the Seahawks host the Falcons this week.  Atlanta has a solid pass defense, the seventh-best at limiting fantasy points to opposing receivers.  We expect Seattle to jump out to a lead and run the ball frequently in the second half.  Atlanta held Dez Bryant in check a week ago and should limit the upside of Baldwin. 

Tight End

Marcedes Lewis


  • Top 200 ranking: 31
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: +12


The Cleveland Browns are one of the three teams (with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos being the other two) which yield huge production to opposing tight ends.  Even though Lewis is far past his prime, he could easily score in the game and catch five passes.  In addition, with Allen Hurns looking like he may miss the contest, Lewis could see more targets than expected.

Jason Witten


  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +7


The Cowboys host the Eagles this week in a tough matchup of division rivals.  Last Sunday, Dallas showed that the offense struggles to run the football without Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup.  With a positive game script, one which has Dallas playing from behind and passing to keep pace, Witten should have plenty of targets in garbage time. 

Kyle Rudolph


  • Top 200 ranking: 7
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: -9


Rudolph is a red-zone weapon for the Vikings.  He does not get enough targets to score well most weeks if failing to catch a pass in the end zone.  Against the Rams this week, we see the Minnesota wide receivers making the plays at the expense of Rudolph.

Feel free to (email me) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.

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