Week 11 Offensive Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar starts in Week 11

Quarterback

Colin Kaepernick (vs NE) - Kaepernick might not belong on the sleeper list after back-to-back top ten fantasy weeks, but he is probably still regarded very lightly in fantasy circles. The Patriots should be able to make short work of the 49ers, leaving Kaepernick plenty of garbage time to rack up stats like Ryan Tannehill in Week 2. Kaepernick’s running ability gives him a high floor, and the Patriots have allowed rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks twice in the last four weeks. He’s a borderline QB1 this week.

Blake Bortles (at DET) - Bortles comes with a bust risk, but he also has a high ceiling. If he falters early as he did last week against Houston, he could get a quick hook, but Bortles has been a top 12 fantasy play each of the last two weeks despite his poor play because of the leads he gives the opponents. Detroit has allowed at least 238 passing yards and one score to every quarterback they have faced this year except Brock Osweiler. That includes the likes of Carson Wentz, Brian Hoyer, and Case Keenum. Bortles should be a good play as long as he finishes the game.

Joe Flacco (at DAL) - Flacco has been quiet for most of the season except when he faced Cleveland, notching five of his nine passing scores to date against them. He also hasn’t had a healthy Steve Smith for most of the season. Smith is back and it’s important to point out that once he hit his stride in Week 4, Flacco had 298 passing yards, a passing score, and a rushing score. This week he faces a Dallas defenses that has given up a passing score in every game, including games against Blaine Gabbert and Cody Kessler. A healthy Smith plus a solid matchup means Flacco is a high floor streamer this week.

Running Back

C.J. Prosise (vs PHI) - Thomas Rawls is back this week, but Prosise will probably still lead the team in touches, just as Christine Michael did in Week 1 when Rawls returned from offseason ankle surgery. Prosise showed impressive abilities as a receiver out of the backfield, and he should get plenty of opportunities to do that again this week against a sometimes stout Eagles run defense. They did get gouged by Washington’s running game, and both Dallas and even Minnesota had some success against them, so don’t let the cumulative year to date stats fool you. The Seattle offense is clicking, and Prosise could be lifted by that tide, especially if the Seahawks defense makes Carson Wentz look like a rookie.

James White (vs SF) - Watch to see whether Dion Lewis is expected to be active this week, but assume that he won’t be as the Patriots are likely looking further down the road for his impact. White. The 49ers have given up 15 touchdowns to running backs over the last seven games, including receiving scores to backs in each of the last two games. Number two backs had a three-game scoring streak against them before the surprising close game with Arizona last week. White is a solid bet to score this week and a multi-score game is within his range of possibilities.

Isaiah Crowell (vs PIT) - The Browns have expressed a desire to return to basics on offense this week with Crowell and the running game. As of this writing, high winds (26 mph) are in the forecast, so Cleveland could be given a reprieve as the conditions neutralize the Steelers passing game and keep this one close. Pittsburgh has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of the last four games and all three had two rushing touchdowns. Crowell is still good even though his team isn’t. If he gets a full workload in this one, it will pay off for anyone who starts him. He has at least 79 rushing yards in every game that has included at least 15 carries for him, and Crowell has at least 30 receiving yards in the last three games to enhance his floor in case the Steelers do jump out to a lead and limit his workload.

Ryan Mathews (at SEA) - Mathews might seem like an obvious play coming off of a 108-yard, two touchdown performance, but the road matchup at Seattle is intimidating on its face. A quick look at recent games against Seattle reveals that they have given up over 100 yards in three of the last four games, and in the one that they didn’t, they allowed three rushing scores to the starting running back. Mathews has actually scored in three straight games, so as long as the Eagles can move the ball with some success and call his number on goal-to-go downs again, he’ll be a relatively safe play, in addition to a newly opened up penthouse at his ceiling.

Duke Johnson Jr (vs PIT) - Johnson joins Crowell among the sleepers this week in part because of the conditions that might include high winds and encourage more short passing. The other ingredient is a Steelers pass defense that has struggled with Darren Sproles, Giovani Bernard, and Ezekiel Elliott as receivers out of the backfield. James White also scored as a receiver against them and Bilal Powell had six catches for 41 yards against the Steelers, so as long as Cody Kessler can find Johnson and Hue Jackson schemes to take advantage of this weakness, Johnson should have one of his better PPR games of the season.

Kenneth Dixon (at DAL) - Dallas has built one of the better run defenses in the league, but that doesn’t preclude a good game from Dixon, who was running hotter than Terrance West last week while West was not able to convert the plum matchup against the Browns. Dixon was very productive as a receiver, and five different running backs have had at least 46 receiving yards against Dallas this year. Dixon is poised to move ahead of West in the pecking order of the backfield unless trends reverse, and that could happen as early as this week if the Ravens fall into the pass-heavy game script that most Cowboys opponents have followed this season.

Wide Receiver

Robert Woods (at CIN) - Woods had a massive 10-162 line going into the bye, and he should be ready to pick up where he left off with a week of rest and a terrific Week 11 matchup. The Bengals pass defense has been vulnerable this year, allowing multiple pass touchdowns in six of nine games, and at least three scores through the air in four games. The only passing attacks to not hit multiple scores were Cleveland the week Kevin Hogan played half of the game, Dallas (24 attempts) and Miami (25 attempts). Tyrod Taylor had one of his best games as a passer of his career in Week 9 and he should be ready to exploit the Bengals slumping defense. When he looks downfield, Woods will be the likely target.

Sterling Shepard (vs CHI) - Shepard started hot and then had a midseason slump. He has now scored in two straight games, and while Victor Cruz looks to be on track to return this week, Shepard has emerged as the clear #2 receiver. Against Chicago, he could benefit from an approach for Chicago that has muted numbers from #1 receivers like Mike Evans, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, and Allen Robinson, only for secondary receivers to outperform them. Shepard is set up to succeed and Eli Manning is coming in with the momentum of two of his best games this season.

Ted Ginn Jr (vs NO) **Thursday** - Ginn has strangely been consistent and living on a relatively high PPR floor over the last four games, with five catches in each game and no less than 40 receiving yards in any of them. He rose to prominence last year with his deep ball prowess, and he could supplement that short range game with a big play or two in what promises to be a high-scoring game against the Saints. New Orleans has given up multiple passing scores in six of the last seven games they’ve played, so Ginn has a decent shot to get in the scoring column this week.

Cameron Meredith, Eddie Royal (at NYG) - Meredith and Royal will step into the vacuum left by Alshon Jeffery with a lot of targets up for grabs in the Bears pass offense. The Giants have faced the most pass attempts in the league this year, and if that trend continues in Week 11, Meredith could benefit big in PPR leagues. An opposing receiver has hauled in at least six passes in six of nine games against the Giants this season, and in the three games without a leading receiver, the opponent has had two receivers with at least four receptions. As long as Jay Cutler is at least mediocre, there will be a solid PPR play at wide receiver for the Bears this week.

Jamison Crowder (vs GB) - Green Bay’s pass defense has been in trouble since they lost Sam Shields to a concussion in Week 1. Even though they have faced the third least pass attempts in the league, they have given up the fourth most passing touchdowns. Fourteen of their 19 passing scores allowed have gone to wide receivers, and Crowder is obvious choice to be the recipient of any touchdown from Kirk Cousins to wide receiver this week. He has five on the season with no other Washington wideout posting more than one. Crowder also has two 100-yard games in his last three outings, so the slot receiver has more than one way to pay out this week.

Tyreek Hill (vs TB) - Counting on Alex Smith to be successful throwing deep is not necessarily a recipe for fantasy success, but Hill has the speed to exploit the problems in the Week 11 opponent Bucs’ secondary. They have given up big weeks to wide receivers except when they faced Derek Anderson, Colin Kaepernick, and Jay Cutler, including five games where more than one wide receiver scored. Hill also carved out a role last week as Smith’s favorite short range target, and with Jeremy Maclin looking dicey for Week 11, he could resume that role against a Bucs defense that has allowed long gains to the likes of Mohamed Sanu, Jaron Brown, and Tavon Austin this season.

Tight End

Ladarius Green (at CLE) - Green only played 12 snaps last week, but he still got four targets and caught three of them. His role is likely to increase in his second week back and it’s clear that the Steelers are making a point of targeting him when he is on the field. The weather could limit downfield passing in Cleveland on Sunday, so check back on gameday to see what the wind conditions are, but if it at all hospitable for passing, Ben Roethlisberger might lean on Green in the red zone against a defense that has already allowed nine touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.

Coby Fleener (at CAR) **Thursday** - Fleener hasn’t come through for us for a while. In fact, his last solid fantasy line was a 6-74 with a score against the Panthers in Week 6. Carolina is up again this week. Five other tight ends have scored against the Panthers, and this week’s matchup has the promise of a combination of teams that has produced two different 41-38 games in the last three matchups. Fleener should be on your waiver wire, but he offers a ceiling as high as all but the elite options this week.

Julius Thomas (at DET) - Thomas hasn’t gone over 28 receiving yards since Week 2, but he has also scored in three of the last four games. Unless Blake Bortles craters this week, he is likely to make it four (or more) in five weeks against a Lions defense that has allowed nine tight end touchdowns. Those stats haven’t been padded by any games against the Patriots duo, Greg Olsen, or Jimmy Graham. If Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers can find paydirt against Detroit, Thomas has a good chance of joining them.

Jack Doyle (vs TEN) - Doyle could see his role reduced by a healthier Dwayne Allen coming out of the bye, but he has established great chemistry with Andrew Luck and he is revisiting a matchup that he put up a 9-78-1 line against back in Week 7, although Allen was out. Allen might be used more to block the strong edge rush of Tennessee while Doyle attempts to have similar success to his career high catch and yardage game against the Titans the first time around. The Titans have given up tight end touchdowns in three of the last four weeks, so if Andrew Luck looks Doyle’s way in the red zone, he has a reasonable chance of success.