Number crunch: Best, worst Week 11 fantasy matchups

What truly defines a "productive fantasy player"? Math geeks know that simply considering the old industry standards of "Fantasy Points Against" and "Player Cumulative Fantasy Points" will leave way too much to error to be statistically reliable.

That's why I helped create a system that predicts player performance and provides the actual strength of an opponent and actual player production values. When used, this sytem has proven to be up to 37 percent more accurate than the metrics that everyone else in your league is using.

The system gives you a "Player Rating," "Defense Rating," and a "Matchup Rating." The ratings are based on the most advanced and accurate mathematical algorithm in fantasy football, and take into account the following factors:

» Adjusted Player scoring based on strength of their previous opponents *
*» Adjusted Defense scoring based on the strength of the players they have faced at each position *
*» Whether the player and/or defense plays better at home or away *
*» How the player compares against other players within their same position *
*» How defenses compare against other defenses against the same positions *
*» ... and many more!

Sound complicated? Don't worry -- it's simple to understand. All you need to know is that the player, defense or matchup with the higher rating is the better option. That's it. Leave the number crunching to the geeks.

Use this system as the basis for your fantasy decisions to take the guesswork out of winning in fantasy football and get the edge on the competition.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The defense ratings for this week are based on numbers from the first 10 weeks of the 2014 regular season. "Statistically" a three week data sample out of a 16 week fantasy season is enough to draw valuable conclusions. The data continues to become more accurate each week. Plan on coming back for fresh algorithm-based ratings that you cannot get anywhere else!

Weekly Matchup Ranges

This chart shows the BEST and WORST defensive ratings against each position as of Week 11. The higher the number, the better the matchup:

Legend

Here's an easy breakdown of how each player module works. When these terms are mentioned in the text (i.e. "best") they are corresponding to these ratings and colors:

Expect More:

Players who could fall short of expectations this week based on the strength of their opponent compared to their inability to overcome a strong opponent.

QB

Robert Griffin III returned from injury in Week 9 just in time to face the Vikings seventh-toughest rated defense against fantasy quarterbacks. It was the toughest matchup he had faced this year, but Griffin scored more fantasy points than the Vikings had allowed on average to all other fantasy quarterbacks this season. The Redskins offense has a lot of fantasy potential in general, as under three different quarterbacks they are sixth overall in passing yards per game, lead the NFL in yards per pass attempt (8.1) and are third in yards per completion (12.1). All these numbers show that Jay Gruden is not afraid to dial it up for his quarterbacks. Upon Griffin's return, the Redskins immediately showed some additional versatility in their play calling with plenty of read-options and rollouts. This week, Griffin gets a home game against a Buccaneers defense that is the fifth-easiest rated matchup for fantasy quarterbacks, slightly more attractive than their fantasy points against ranking. The Buccaneers allow the second-most passing yards per game to their opponents, allowing every quarterback they have faced to score double digit fantasy points. Fantasy owners who need a high upside flier this week should invest in RGIII. Forecast: Griffin is a good pickup if you are desperate for quarterback help. After this week's deluxe matchup, he does have a tough one against a "bad" rated 49ers defense, but then nothing but "better" and "best" rated matchups between Week 13 and Week 16. This schedule could really let him get hot in time for the fantasy playoffs. [Recommended Usage: QB2]

If you're looking for quarterback help off the waiver wire this week, Josh McCown could be considered as a matchup-based play. McCown was decent in his first two starts before injury this year. He has a poor player rating due to his limited performance against an easy matchup with the Falcons back in Week 3, but he vindicated himself last week with a 19 fantasy point day against the same Falcons defense. The Buccaneers are not afraid to air it out either, as the Vincent Jackson-Mike Evans combination leads the NFL in pass targets over 20 yards this season. Most of McCown's value this week comes from his opponent, the Redskins, who are the league's easiest-rated matchup for opposing fantasy quarterbacks. The Redskins have made quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater and Charlie Whitehurst look productive and McCown has more weapons on offense than either of those signal-callers. The Redskins give up 0.54 fantasy points per pass attempt (FPPA), the third-highest in the league. McCown has been producing 0.79 FPPA in limited starts, so another 43 pass attempts like he had in Week 10 could yield him his best fantasy day of the season. Forecast: No fantasy quarterback has a more favorable set of matchups in Weeks 11 and 12. After Washington this week he gets the Bears next, who are third-easiest rated matchup for fantasy quarterbacks. The Bengals (his Week 13 opponent) are a "bad" matchup on the season, but over the last five games they have been a top-15 easy matchup. [Recommended Usage: QB2]

RB

Jonathan Stewart continues to lose the "starts" to DeAngelo Williams each week, but it's been clear all season that Stewart is the better back. Stewart has averaged 2.84 yards after contact per carry, which is fifth-best in the NFL. Last week, Stewart was able to get in the end zone for just the second time this season. This was quite a feat considering how terrible the Panthers offensive line has been recently. Stewart has averaged 53 percent of the offensive snaps when Williams is active with about 10 touches and scores 0.58 fantasy points per touch (FPPT), so he would be looking at a roughly six-point fantasy day under normal circumstances. However, this week Stewart will be running into better than normal circumstances as he gets to go against the second-easiest rated matchup for running backs -- the Falcons. The Falcons are in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed and give up 0.65 fantasy points per touch (FPPT), which is better than any defense Stewart has faced yet this year. Stewart's two best fantasy games came when he was able to score a touchdown, and the Falcons give up more rushing touchdowns per game (1.4) than any other defense in the NFL. That should increase his chances to reach paydirt again this week. Forecast: The Panthers backfield has a bye in Week 12, but both Stewart and Williams are worth holding on to due to "better" rated matchups against the Vikings in Week 13 and the Saints in Week 14. [Recommended Usage: RB3]

Trent Richardson returned from a hamstring injury in Week 10 to his normal role in the Colts' one-two punch with Ahmad Bradshaw. The Colts have been in the top 10 in rushing attempts all season and over their last three games are third in the league in yards per rush attempt. Both backs are receiving about 50 percent of the offensive snaps, yet Bradshaw has been the Colts running back getting the most fantasy recognition, averaging 12 fantasy points per game to Richardson's eight. However, Richardson should be a decent flex play this week if you are in need of a one-week plug-in. The Patriots are the algorithm's third-easiest matchup for running backs and have been a top-five easy matchup all season, allowing 27 fantasy points per game to the position. Richardson should have some opportunities to produce this week, even if they only come in his normal complementary role to Bradshaw. Forecast: Next week's matchup against the Jaguars may appear on paper to be another great one, but they are actually only the 15th-easiest rated matchup and have been getting tougher over the last five weeks. Richardson will not have any more decent matchups until Weeks 15 and 16 of the fantasy playoffs. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]

WR

It is hard not to want a piece of the action in the Packers passing game. The cheapest way to buy in is to acquire rookie wide receiver Davante Adams. The Packers run more three-wide receiver sets than any other offense and Adams had been playing in at least 75 percent of the Packers offensive snaps going into Week 10. His snap total dropped to 57 percent against the Bears last week (his lowest since Week 2), which was a big surprise after he played 96 percent in Green Bay's previous game. This is because the Packers deployed more two-tight end sets, supposedly geared toward the Bears' defensive weaknesses. This is the week to jump back in on Adams as the Eagles, the third-easiest rated matchup for fantasy receivers, come to Green Bay. The Eagles give up big pass plays and forfeit the fourth-most yards per completion. It is a dangerous matchup for the Eagles secondary as they face an unstoppable Aaron Rodgers. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will both get theirs, but the Eagles offense should do a better job of keeping up than the Bears did last week. This should keep Rodgers on the field for more than the season-low 44 snaps he had last week. Adams led the Packers in targets in Week 8 and has carved out a role in their passing game. The numbers point to Adams being a high-upside flier in this week's matchup. Forecast: If you need wideout depth or want to backup either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb, you must own Adams. The Packers receivers face three top-six rated matchups in the fantasy playoffs. Nelson and Cobb are among the rare group of receivers with such amazing matchups (and talent) that they require a handcuff, and Adams is that handcuff. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]

DeSean Jackson has given fantasy owners plenty of reasons to start him every week. But in Week 11, he has a matchup that makes him one of the top wide receivers starts of the week. The algorithm just loves Jackson this week. First, Jackson faces the Buccaneers, who are easiest-rated defense against fantasy receivers. This is the best matchup that Jackson has had all year and he is already the algorithm's ninth-best rated receiver. Curiously, Jackson only averages 9.8 fantasy points against "best" rated matchups like the Buccaneers. But his 21 fantasy point average against "worst" rated defenses is what gives him such a high player rating. This week, Jackson will likely be covered by Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (if he plays), and Verner gives up 11.9 fantasy points per game to the receivers he covers, which is the second-worst total of any starting corner. Jackson leads the NFL in yards per catch and has four 100-yard games in his last five outings. Consider him a lock to reach his fifth this week. Forecast: This week is the best matchup a receiver can have but Jackson has two more "best" rated matchups from Week 14 to Week 16. He faces one very tough matchup against the Colts in Week 13 where he should be left on your bench. [Recommended Usage: WR1]

TE

Fantasy owners searching for a sleeper tight end this week, should take a look at Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has been sidelined since undergoing sports hernia surgery back in September and reports indicate he is doing everything he can to get back on the field in Week 11. The Vikings' backup tight end, Chase Ford, posted 11 catches for 129 receiving yards and one touchdown over the last two weeks, giving us a glimpse of the kind of upside Rudolph can have in Norv Turner's offense. If Rudolph makes it back this week as expected, he is welcomed by an excellent matchup against the Bears, who are the algorithm's easiest matchup for fantasy tight ends. The Bears have given up double digits to all green rated tight ends they have faced this year and Rudolph earned a green player rating before going out with his injury in Week 3. The Bears give up 1.52 fantasy points per touch (FPPT) to opposing tight ends and Rudolph was scoring 0.94 FPPT before his injury. Rudolph's injury situation merits watching this week, but he is worth a roster add either way. Forecast: Rudolph comes back at a good time in his schedule. Next week he gets a Green Bay defense that is among the top-15 easiest for tight ends and in Week 14 he has a nice matchup against the third-easiest rated defense for tight ends, the Jets. Even if he doesn't play this week, stash him now to give you rare waiver-wire tight end talent for the stretch run. [Recommended Usage: LOW TE1]

D/ST

SD vs. OAK: It might be surprising to see the Chargers defense as a starting option this week. After a very strong start they dropped off significantly over the last four games. Much of that lack of production had to do with their opponent strength, but mostly it was due to injuries. The Chargers are playing at home, coming out of a bye and will likely welcome back five of their defensive starters this week. They have 't been this healthy all season. Last time they played the Raiders, they were already depleted by injuries. The Raiders have been good to opposing fantasy defenses all season, averaging one sack and 1.3 interceptions per game. Their 281 yards per game and sub-17 points per game averages make them an attractive opponent. They've turned the ball over nine times in the last three weeks. Note: The Chargers also play the Rams and Shaun Hill at home next week.

WAS vs. TB: The Redskins have become known for their terrible secondary, yet few realize they have been one of the better defenses against the run all season. They have scored double digit fantasy points in two of their last three games and get to host the Buccaneers woeful offense this week. The Bucs give up 2.8 sacks and 1.3 interceptions per game and score less than 19 points per contest.

ATL at CAR: Last week, the Falcons showed that they can take advantage of a good matchup, scoring double digit fantasy points against a terrible Buccaneers offense. This week they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers offensive line that gave up nine sacks on Monday night to the Eagles. Newton has not been able to get on track and is now too banged up to take advantage of the Falcons defense.

Expect Less:

Players who could fall short of expectations this week based on the strength of their opponent.

QB

Here is one of the more compelling fantasy stats of the week: Russell Wilson leads all players in the NFL in yards per rush attempt. Week 10 was the third time Wilson has gone over 100 rushing yards this season and he now has four rushing touchdowns on the year. This versatility gives Wilson tons of scoring potential outside the passing game alone, though he does lean a bit toward the rushing-dependent side, with 36 percent of his total fantasy points this season coming from rushing yards and touchdowns. If you take a look at a combined rushing and passing defense rating, Wilson's Week 11 opponent, the Chiefs, are still one of the worst matchups for a rushing quarterback. The Chiefs are the fifth-toughest defense against running backs and are the toughest matchup for opposing quarterbacks. Even a quarterback with Wilson's talents will have a tough time in this road game at Kansas City. Seattle is 31st in the league in pass attempts per game while the Chiefs defense allows the fewest passing yards per game. Oh, and the Chiefs have yet to allow a rushing touchdown, too. Some of the highest rated fantasy quarterbacks this year have had some of their worst fantasy outputs against the Chiefs (see Tom Brady), meaning it could be a rough afternoon for Wilson on Sunday. Forecast: The Chiefs are Wilson's worst matchup of the season and he doesn't have much more to look forward to after this week. There is only one "better" rated matchup left for the season in Week 14 against the Eagles. That is a matchup worth waiting for, but the three weeks leading up to it will be difficult to survive for those counting on Wilson as their starting quarterback. [Recommended Usage: QB2]

Kyle Orton has provided steady QB2 production ever since becoming the Bills' starter. He has not had great matchups during this run, but ran into his first "worst" rated matchup last week. This week he faces a similarly rated defense in the Dolphins, but has to play in Miami. Orton has only played two games on the road this season, and one was against the Lions, another "worst" rated defense. Orton averages 14 fantasy points per game against "worst" rated matchups and struggled to move the offense last week against the Chiefs, averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt and taking six sacks. Orton gets a tough matchup on Thursday Night Football this week against the Dolphins pass defense that allows the second-fewest passing yards per game to opposing offenses and the second-fewest yards per pass attempt. The Dolphins allow the league's lowest fantasy points per attempt to quarterbacks (0.33), and Orton has averaged just 0.88 per attempt thus far. Add all of this together and it amounts to a week in which Orton should be on the fantasy bench. Forecast: The stretch of brutal matchups is not over yet for Orton. He has one more meeting with the "worst" rated Browns defense in Week 13. The Jets matchup in Week 12 is one to wait for, but it's worth noting that the Jets have been trending toward the middle of the pack against fantasy quarterbacks over the last five weeks. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]

RB

Fantasy owners have been eagerly awaiting the return of Rashad Jennings after four weeks without him, and it seems the Giants feel confident in Jennings' ability to play in Week 11. Peyton Hillis is likely out this week, so Andre Williams should go back to a short-yardage role, while Jennings returns as the featured back. Jennings was seeing at least 15 carries per game earlier this season and sometimes as many as 34 touches. He averages 0.60 fantasy points per touch (FPPT), which is above average for a fantasy back. Jennings is welcomed back with a home game against a tough 49ers defense that is the algorithm's second-toughest rated matchup for fantasy running backs this season. The 49ers rating has been dented in the last couple weeks, giving up double digits to Mark Ingram and Ronnie Hillman. However, Jennings is not as highly rated as those two backs. Prior to those two games, only DeMarco Murray was able to score double digit fantasy points against the 49ers run defense. Add to that, the return of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Jennings owners have reason to temper their expectations for his Week 11 return. Forecast: Jennings' timing for his return could have been better. He made it back just in time for his toughest matchup of the season. The good news is that he gets to face three straight "better" rated matchups in Weeks 12 through 14 before more difficult matchups arrive.  [Recommended Usage: FLEX]

Joique Bell owners have been looking forward to seeing what Bell could do with Reggie Bush on the sideline, but Bush's ankle tweak last week instead led to more work for Theo Riddick. Bell was still able to average his most yards per carry (4.4) of any game this season, but only scored eight fantasy points. Bell has enjoyed a very soft schedule so far this year and has turned that into a 37th-overall algorithm rating among running backs. Detroit gained only 3.3 yards per carry against the Dolphins in Week 10 and the Lions have a much tougher matchup this week. The Lions could also be without right guard Larry Warford and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle this week, making it tough to expect much from any of the Lions rushers. Even worse news for Bell this week is that the Lions travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals run defense that is third in the NFL in yards per game allowed (78.5) and fourth in yards per rush (3.35). The Cardinals are currently the algorithm's toughest-rated matchup for fantasy running backs and have been one of the toughest all season. Forecast: Bell's matchup gets easier next week as he faces the Patriots third-easiest rated run defense, followed by a Week 13 matchup against a Bears defense that is rated around the middle of the pack.  [Recommended Usage: LOW RB3]

WR

Larry Fitzgerald has been picking up steam with three double digit fantasy games over the last month. Fitzgerald was targeted a team-high 10 times last week and dominated the middle of the field. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald lost his starting quarterback in that game and that loss will have a huge impact on his production moving forward. Three of Fitzgerald's worst games this season came while playing with Drew Stanton. The real cause for concern this week is Fitzgerald's Week 11 opponent, the Lions. Detroit allows the second-fewest yards per completion to opposing offenses and is the algorithm's fourth-toughest rated matchup for fantasy receivers. Although the Lions have been a slightly easier matchup lately, they still only allow 0.86 fantasy points per attempt (FPPA) to opposing receivers, the fifth-lowest in the league. Fitzgerald should see a lot of Lions' stud cornerback Darius Slay, who only allows four fantasy points per game to the receivers he covers. The algorithm gives the Lions such a tough rating due to their ability to contain top rated receivers like Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Fitzgerald is no longer in the same tier as those receivers and the combination of his opponent and quarterback situation should cap his fantasy scoring upside. Forecast: This week is only the first of four "worst" rated matchups for Cardinals receivers. Two games against Seattle and one against the Chiefs adds up to one of the worst remaining schedules among fantasy receivers. There are a couple good matchups during dates with the Falcons in Week 13 and the Rams in Week 15, though.  [Recommended Usage: FLEX]

Brandon LaFell has been a solid fantasy producer since joining the Patriots this season. He has already achieved the best statistical season of his career after just nine games. He had a decent day against a very tough Broncos secondary in Week 9, scoring for the fifth time in six games. However, LaFell is a regression candidate because 37 percent of his fantasy points so far this season came from touchdowns. This week he faces his third "worst" rated wide receiver matchup of the season as the Patriots travel to Indianapolis. The Colts defense appears to have a middle of the pack ranking in fantasy points against, but the algorithm adjusts them to the fifth-toughest rated matchup for fantasy receivers. Even though Ben Roehtlisberger destroyed the Colts pass defense in Week 8 (without their top cornerback, Vontae Davis), the Colts still allow the sixth-lowest completion percentage to opposing offenses on the season. Vontae Davis is a major factor in the Colts' effectiveness against fantasy receivers. This week, LaFell will see a ton of Davis, and Davis allows only 7.2 fantasy points to the receivers that he covers. LaFell averages a nice 2.25 fantasy points per touch (FPPT), but the Colts only allow 0.88 FPPT to opposing receivers on the season. Forecast: The Colts are the first in a pair of "worst" rated matchups for LaFell. Next week the Patriots host the Lions stout pass defense. After these two matchups, LaFell faces "better" rated matchups in Weeks 13 and 14 against the Packers and Chargers. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]

TE

Martellus Bennett has unfairly been tagged as a player who is only productive for fantasy purposes in the month of September. But in reality, he is just a very matchup-dependent player. For example, Bennett averages 12 fantasy points per game against good matchups and only seven fantasy points per game against tough ones. He is still involved in the Bears offensive game plan, playing nearly all of the Bears' offensive snaps. Last week he was behind only Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall with six targets. Unfortunately for Bennett owners, he gets his toughest matchup of the season this week as the Bears host the Vikings. The Vikings are the second-toughest rated matchup for fantasy tight ends. Their defense rating spiked a bit after holding both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham to eight total fantasy points in games earlier this season. The Vikings have been trending toward being an easier matchup recently, but only because they have been facing very poorly rated tight ends over the last four games. Only the Saints backup tight end, Josh Hill, has scored more than nine fantasy points against the Vikings all season and he did so with a late game score. For a player who has historically needed a good matchup to produce for fantasy, this matchup will likely keep Bennett well below his average fantasy point production. Forecast: Including this week, Bennett has three "bad" and two "worst" rated matchups left on his schedule. It is not the type of schedule that will likely lead to the Bears passing game suddenly finding it's groove again. [Recommended Usage: TE2]

D/ST

IND vs. NE: The Colts have been a matchup-dependent fantasy defense all season. They have five games with double digits fantasy points, but those have all come against offenses in the bottom half of the league in production. This week, they host the Patriots who will likely continue their 30-plus points per game average. The Pats do not give up many turnovers either, averaging just 0.3 interceptions per game.

PHI at GB: How excited are you to have plucked the Eagles fantasy defense off waivers this week after they destroyed the Panthers on Monday night? Well, unfortunately there was another blowout in primetime this week and it showcased the offense of the Eagles' Week 11 opponent, the Packers. The Packers will give up a couple sacks per game, but they average over 350 yards, score 30 points per contest and will likely be too much for the Eagles defense to contain this week.

Week 12 Forecast:

Want to get the jump on the Week 12 byes? Don't wait until next week's waivers, grab these guys now and enjoy their tasty matchups before they are even on your opponents' radar:

QB:Josh McCown at CHI, Shaun Hill at SD, Kyle Orton vs. NYJ
RB:Charles Sims at CHI, Trent Richardson vs. JAC
WR:Andrew Hawkins at ATL, Justin Hunter at PHI, Keenan Allen vs. STL
TE:Scott Chandler vs. NYJ, Levine Toilolo vs. CLE
DST: BUF vs. NYJ, IND vs. JAC, GB at MIN

-- Chris Anthony is a guest contributor to NFL.com, hailing from Fantasy Omatic. You can follow him on Twitter @FantasyOmatic. Be sure to check back each week for more analytics-based analysis as the algorithm will only get more accurate over time!

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