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Rank's 11 Sleepers: Will Jordan Matthews awaken?

The Chicago Bears are in a pretty precarious predicament here in Week 11. The team is 4-5, which is awesome. They were competitive with a chance to win in two of those losses, which would have made this team 6-3. But as it stands right now (according to this handy dandy chart), the Bears are just two games out of a playoff berth.


Although the buzzkills over at FiveThiryEight say the Bears have just a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs. But to quote one of the greatest philosophers ever, "Never tell me the odds."

I'm with Kyle Long on this one. This team is in the playoff hunt. There are very winnable games against the Broncos (which is a huge trap game), Packers, 49ers, Washington, the Buccaneers and the Lions. The only game on the horizon that screams of obvious trouble is the game at Minnesota in Week 15.

I would concede 11-5 seems like a long shot. A 10-6 mark is for the hopelessly optimistic. But 9-7 seems very doable.

"So Rank, this is all wonderful. But what the (expletive) does this have to do with fantasy football."

First: Language, please. Do you set your fantasy roster with those hands that type such dirty and hurtful words?

Second: This has everything to do with fantasy football.

If the Bears were done for the season, they'd have every justification to throw in the towel and play for the future. Which means there is no doubt Jeremy Langford would be the every-down back for the Bears for the rest of the season.

But instead, the Bears are in the middle of the playoff race. Where the future doesn't matter as much and the team needs to win now. Which might still work out well for Langford.

You see, Langford has made him a pretty valuable member of this ball club. The Bears have been besieged by injuries this season (Kevin White, Eddie Royal, Alshon Jeffery missed time and of course, Matt Forte) so it's not like the team can just send a rather valuable commodity back to the bench because it suits your fantasy squad. They are going to need all the playmakers available at their disposal.

My guess is that coach John Fox will do the honorable thing for Forte, the best Bears running back since Neal Anderson. Forte will get the start when he returns. This is what Fox does. He gave Ka'Deem Carey the start in San Diego, for crying out loud. So Forte will start.

My conjecture is Langford finds his way on to the field. He's played way too well. And if Forte can't find the acceleration and explosion he had earlier in the year, Langford could end up pushing him aside. Remember, Fox and Adam Gase gave Montee Ball all the opportunities he could handle last year. But eventually, the team sided with the team's best running back C.J. Anderson.

If Forte can't get up to literal speed again, I have no doubt they will put Langford back there. So make sure he's on your roster going forward. Please don't drop him. Unless you're Scotty J. in my League of Record (the league you care the most about). Because I would be willing to scoop him right up.

Who needs some sleeper help this week?

You need to find favorable matchups for Sanchez. I think a proper platoon of Sanchez and Kirk Cousins could end up being a nice mix for you. The matchup favors Sanchez this week. The Bucs have allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.

I know, he's been a fantasy bust for you. But remember why you drafted him so high this year? Yep, it was because of Sanchez. Matthews had 100 receiving yards three times with Sanchez last season (his only three) and scored six of his eight touchdowns with the former Diablo under center. (That's Mission Viejo High School's mascot, peeps.)

I'm an idiot for going back to this guy, but hot damn, the Dolphins can't stop anybody on the ground. So I'm doing it here. But man, he would be so much better if Tony Romo plays this week.

The Chiefs have allowed the second-most points to receivers this year. I mean, the Chiefs were torn up by Brock Osweiler (more on him later) after ol' Noodle Arm Manning was mercifully pulled on Sunday. So Johnson is a great start. If he's not available to you, you might want to check out Dontrelle Inman. A Danger Zone favorite, of course.

He had 11 targets and 10 receptions against the Giants on Sunday. Julian Edelman is out for several weeks, so Amendola should assume the valuable slot receiver role in New England. The Bills have allowed seven receiving touchdowns in their last three games against the Patriots.

He's had three receptions in his last two roadies. The Ravens have allowed 31.13 fantasy points per game to receivers this year, the most in the NFL.

Tight ends against the Raiders! But beware of Brandon Pettigrew. The Raiders allowed the No. 2 tight end (not the guy you actually started) to score against them. It's been Laddy Green, Kellen Davis, Jesse James and now Rhett Ellison in the last four games. It's a trend baby, you have to believe in it. It's illegal not to.

The Raiders get all of the love. But The Colts have allowed the most fantasy points per game to tight ends over the last four weeks.

The Seahawks also have a real blind spot for the tight end position. So much so, they have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. It's been a struggle for them for quite some time.

The Lions have allowed the third-most points to kickers this year. Seabass has scored at least 12 fantasy points in two of his last four.

My researcher Careen F. wrote an email that said El Sanchito is playing, that's reason enough. And you know that you should never besmirch El Diablo to me. That's just not going to fly with me. But the Bucs defense has scored at least 10 fantasy points in two of their last three.


Keep this one on your radar if Vincent Jackson remains on the shelf. The Bucs had a bad matchup against the Cowboys last week, but this week is much more favorable. He had a nice game two weeks ago as a check-down option. And that role could grow even more in the coming weeks. Plus, he went to Clemson which has become the new WR-U.

Here's the news, Detroit. Your team isn't going anywhere. Just do the right thing and get the ball into this guy's hands. Look Jim Bob, the best way to keep your gig in the future is to get the most out of guys like this. The Raiders have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs over the last couple of weeks. If you want to play it safe and go with Joique Bell, fine. But I will be super disappointed in you.

Look at all of those weapons for the Broncos. Look, Demaryius Thomas nursed Peyton to a few great games (all right, good games) earlier this year. He's going to make it happen for Brock here.

He's thrown 10 touchdowns passes and zero picks in three career roadies. But look at the teams he's played. The only thing that pushes him into the DZ is being on the road on Thursday night. That's risky.

These players are on a bye ...

But you might want to consider having Brian Hoyer and Nate Washington on your roster for the New Orleans Saints in Week 12. What's that? The Saints changed coordinators? Yeah, that will fix the problem.

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast the gang discusses Week 11 waiver targets, and several big-name fantasy offenses that might be in trouble. Don't forget to subscribe and listen in HERE!

-- You can hit Rank up for more advice or let him know how lousy his picks are on Twitter @adamrank. Don't be thrown off by his # wars, though.

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