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Rank's 11 sleepers Week 11: Colin Kaepernick is back

Quarterbacks. They grow up so fast.

Just look at Marcus Mariota. Earlier this season, we were spooked to play him at home (because numbers) and only wanted to play him in certain matchups. But right now, he's a must-start quarterback every week. Maybe the best quarterback in the league as nobody has more touchdowns than him since Week 5.

That's right, nobody.

I have used a solid stream of him and Dak Prescott in my Second City League with great success. As a matter of fact, I kept Mariota on the bench in Week 10 and sulked for most of the morning as he torched the Packers. (To be honest, part of me is a fraidy cat who didn't want to suffer the double-whammy of both the Packers winning and me losing in fantasy because they shut down MM.) It was a pretty awful time at my house. The baby and wife retreated to the bedroom to go watch "Frozen" for the umpteenth time. (By the way, have you ever seen the movie "Frozen"? It's pretty dark, y'all. First [spoiler alert] the parents die. Bummer. And then Elsa freezes out her sister (pun intended) for years. That's crazy. I would like to think if I'm blessed with another girl to go along with my baby Ahsoka, they would be close enough to be all, "Hey, I have this crazy cold power. Don't tell Mom and Dad. But let's go freeze some [expletive]." I realize this happened early on and Elsa was punished for it after she nearly killed Anna. But these are kids. That punishment would last for what, a week? And then when the parents died, you don't think you could let your sister in on that little secret? Also, why doesn't Anna just leave the castle after her parents are gone? Who is holding her back? If I may take this one step further, the parents don't die immediately. They shipwreck and give birth to Tarzan. That's right, go YouTube the crazy theories out there. Fine, I'll get the link for you. Here: Watch this. Sorry, I'll get back to the original point.)

So I was bummed that Mariota was on my bench on Sunday as I fell behind by about 100 points. But then Dak scored more fantasy points than Mariota in my crazy league set up (we have yardage bonuses) and I ended up winning. It also helped that I had Dak, Le'Veon Bell, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown and Jason Witten going in the 1 p.m. game (I'm on the West Coast so I'm calling it the 1 p.m. game, deal with it). So basically every star from the Steelers and Cowboys game. Which had to be rough on my man Steve, who I was going against.

You know what I'm saying there? It's like if you're watching a game, say like Monday night's game. And you're going against Odell Beckham Jr. You at least get a break when the Giants aren't on the field. So that had to be excruciating for Steve (who also had David Johnson going in the afternoon game) who got no such relief. He had jumped on a plane and had to sit there 35,000 feet in the air as I made up points seemingly every time the ball was snapped.

I've got to say I love this league and love player performance bonuses (i.e. extra points for a player reaching 100 yards, etc). Even though my man (and editor) Alex Gelhar would disagree. He makes a good point that a 99-yard game should not be five-to-seven points worse than a 101-yard game. And that is absolutely the truth. But I'm writing from the perspective right now where I won, so to the victor go the spoils. I could end up on the other side next time and completely change my tune. It's like the fantasy version of the Electoral College in that sense. But I'm big on bonuses (this week).

And big on Mariota, too! (Yes, brought it back.) He's got a great matchup this week against the Colts who have allowed the third-most points to fantasy quarterbacks over the past month. I know, it's a lazy stat. But it's not lazy to say the Colts aren't good on defense. Plus, we've seen a lot of teams return from the bye week rather sluggish. Which is purely anecdotal right now. I'm going to really research that and get back to you soon on that. But I feel this is the case.

Oh wait. Intrepid researcher Careen looked at the numbers and I'm full of (it). Some returns were good. Some bad. Nothing to be alarmed about, so start Matthew Stafford who is coming off his bye. I was jaded because Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers were so bad in their return from the bye. So forget I said anything about that. Other than the Colts D isn't great. So I'm going to start Mariota over Dak. In fact, the only guys I would consider over Mariota right now would be Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. And even then, because Mariota is my guy, I'd happily take him over anybody. ANYBODY.

Right now you've probably said to yourself, "This guy writes a lot of nonsense." Which is true. But you probably also feel like, "Hey, I want sleepers. Mariota ain't one. So hook me up." Which is also true. So let's do that right now.

Rank's 11 Sleepers, Week 11

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
QB: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
QB: Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
RB: C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks
RB: Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions
WR: Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers
WR: Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
WR: Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens
TE: Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
TE: Will Tye, New York Giants
DEF: Miami Dolphins D/ST

The quarterback streaming options are rather thin this week. The Patriots have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last two weeks, and really seemed to have some trouble solving the running ability of Russell Wilson. As Bill Simmons pointed out to Cris Collinsworth during the game, the Patriots front seven isn't great, so there is an opportunity for Kaepernick here. I don't expect the 49ers to win, or even be competitive. But we could sneak out with a 15-point performance which is all I would ask from a QB stream. Basically, don't be Jay Cutler.

The Seahawks have officially parted ways with Christine Michael. While that's probably better news for Thomas Rawls, I'm firmly behind Prosise this week. The Eagles defense is pretty good against the run, which is why I would expect to see more of Prosise because of what he can do on the field as a runner and a receiver. He had a nice breakout this past week against the Patriots and I would be confident he's going to build on that.

Eli Rogers, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Rogers was a distant third in targets behind Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, which is to be expected. But he did have to compete with Cobi Hamilton who was on the field more than Rogers. But Eli really excelled from his slot position and has clearly moved ahead of Sammie Coates. And really, I could spend some more time here writing words for you, but I'll just let you know the Steelers play the Browns.

The Giants can't run the ball and the Bears have been pretty great against the run this season, especially lately. I expect a heavy volume of passing from the Giants this week. And Tye has received 15 targets over the last two weeks so I'm looking for another large share for him against Chicago as well.

Be sure to watch "Fantasy and Friends" at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Monday-Wednesday and Friday. (Sorry, the Thursday night game preempts us. But you can be a part of the show by going to Also follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank

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