Rank's 11 Week 11 sleepers: Rex Burkhead is back!

Print


Rex.
Burkhead.

Rex (expletive) Burkhead.

via GIPHY

Did it take him seemingly 30 weeks to break out? Sure. But it happened. Burkhead has seen his touches increase in each game he has played this season. He played in 51 percent of the snaps in Week 10, which was the highest among his teammates. And let's be honest, he looked amazing. And I'll be honest. I was glowing. Maybe still buzzed on champagne, but glowing.

Now, I feel for my friends in this situation. Because you know I was going to let them hear about this. So they did the only reasonable thing and started the preemptive text-chain in the effort to keep me silent. Good news, it did not work. And my team name might have been changed to something regarding Burkhead and some other things I can't mention in this space.

Even my co-workers tried to claim him in our pre-show meetings so I wouldn't be able to speak his name on the show. But again, this isn't going to stop me.

But look, I don't want to get too excited about this. This is the Patriots. And the running backs do kind of disappear like a jelly-filled donut when your co-worker brings in an assortment. I do like his matchup this week, though. The Raiders have allowed 21.34 fantasy points per game to running backs since Week 2, which is the third-most in the NFL. The Raiders have allowed 6.2 receptions per game to running backs this season, which is tied for the fifth-most. So I feel great about him this week for sure.

And honestly, this is all I'm going to say about it. I swear.

No, I swear. You're all good. Please, hit me up with your questions.

What happens if Drew Stanton can't go? Blaine Gabbert.

Ugly Christmas sweaters used to be funny. And then they became too ironic and now everybody makes an ugly Christmas sweater (like this) and it's too much now. You've lost the spirit of it. That's what it would be like to play Gabbert this week. While it's cool to stream quarterbacks and have some fun out there, it feels like we've gone too far. But you should know he scored 19.48 fantasy points in his last game as a starter. The Texans have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks in recent weeks. So if I was just to tell you to start the Cardinals quarterback if you get a chance, you would do that, no? (This might also be a nice contrarian play in some leagues.)

But I'm a brand name snob, who is the quarterback to go with? Eli Manning.

He ranks fourth in pass attempts this season. The Chiefs have allowed the third-most points to fantasy quarterbacks since Week 5. In fact, the Chiefs have allowed a quarterback to finish in among the top three scorers in two of the last three weeks. That seems like a convoluted way to say that they have struggled, but they clearly have. I'm looking at the volume here. If you can stack Eli and Sterling Shepard, that seems like a winning combination.

Wait, is Sterling Shepard really that good? Yes.

He's been great recently. He's averaged 11 targets with eight receptions and 106 yards in his last two games. The Chiefs have allowed the most points to fantasy receivers this year. And they have allowed 15 receiving touchdowns, which is tops in the league. So yeah, he's great. I was really big on him when he came out of Oklahoma. I thought he was good during his rookie season, too. So this isn't a huge surprise. He's got a pedigree.

I want to start a quarterback nobody would think to start: Jay Cutler.

Jay Cutler has five touchdowns and just one pick in his last two games. And sure, the Dolphins didn't look like a well-oiled machine on Monday night, but Cutler scored fantasy-wise. It's one of those things where you're probably better off if you didn't end up watching the game and instead you just look at your point total at the end of the game. The good news here, too, is the Bucs have allowed 276.8 passing yards per game this year, third-worst in the league.

Fine, Cutler. How about a Dolphins running back? Kenyan Drake.

He's averaged double-digit fantasy points over the past two games. The Bucs have allowed an average of 20.70 points per game to running backs over the past month.

Who was the guy running for the Chargers last week? Austin Ekeler.

He scored two touchdowns of more than 20 yards against the Jaguars, the first Chargers running back to do that since 1974. I would say he's more than a handcuff to Melvin Gordon and will get some looks. I mean, there could be a chance he's this week's Tarik Cohen, but there has been a buzz surrounding him for some time. The Bills have allowed the second-most fantasy point to running backs this year. It's only gotten worse since Marcell Dareus was traded.

I'm bummed about Antonio Brown; do I start JuJu Smith-Schuster over him? No.

You just don't do that (and I wanted to see if you were paying attention). But JuJu has been amazing. He leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns the last two games. I like his matchup this week. The Titans have allowed 12 receiving touchdowns this year. Obviously, it's not that impressive after I dropped that number the Chiefs have allowed this year, but it's still significant.

Show me a tight end, and not the guy who is going against the Giants: Tyler Kroft.

The Broncos have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends over the last month. What happened to the no-fly zone? They're like Maverick and they are pulling a fly-by no matter if they have permission or not. Tight ends have averaged more than nine targets per game against them, so it's easy to see why you should go with Tyler Kroft, who has scored three red zone touchdowns since Week 4.

I need one more: C.J. Fiedorowicz

He's had at least six targets in seven of his last eight games. The Cardinals have allowed five receiving touchdowns to tight ends since Week 5. That's tied for most in the league. C.J. Fiedorowicz is still making his way back, but if you need a dude in the pinch, here you go.

-- Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank

Print

Fan Discussion