Remember when we thought 2016 was a strange and terrible year? Well, it looks like 2017 pulled the whole "hold my beer" move and is trying to outshine its predecessor. I mean, just look at the slate of quarterbacks we may have to watch in Week 11 of the NFL season:
This scenario has certainly made previewing the matchups a bit more difficult, but also fun. We could be treated to some disastrous performances, sure, but there's also the potential for some "beautifully bad shootouts" as Matt Harmon called them on the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast a few weeks back. Personally, I'm kind of pumped for this weekend's slate and hope it delivers.
As always, this is where I go game-by-game and player-by-player for every Week 11 contest. Those looking for quick-hitting start/sit/flex/stream analysis will find that listed for the main players for every team. Below that, I do my best to preview the game with additional insight, stats, and analysis to contextualize my recommendations.
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Monday)
Matt Ryan has thrown two touchdowns in three straight games, but his highest fantasy output in that span has been the QB11. On the road in Seattle, even without Richard Sherman and a limited Earl Thomas, is a tough draw for a quarterback posting average numbers. Devonta Freeman is likely out for this game with a concussion, leaving featured duties to Tevin Coleman. Coleman saw a career-high 21 touches last week after Freeman left the game, and should be in a good spot to produce. The Seahawks have been stout against the run of late, but they've faced some truly uninspiring rushing attacks (Washington, Arizona). Coleman's also a capable pass-catcher so he should offer a decent floor. With the injuries to the secondary, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu are both in play but have capped ceilings. The Seahawks are allowing 152.4 yards per game to the position, though Sherman's absence could make matters worse. Ryan had a perfect passer rating last year when targeting Jones when he was not covered by Sherman when these two teams met (six targets, six catches, one touchdown). Austin Hooper has six targets in each of the last three games, with solid stat lines of 4-47-1, 3-36-0, and 6-49-1. He's emerging as a solid contributor in this offense as it's heating up a bit, and should be a streaming candidate here. The Falcons defense dominated against Dallas last week, but that was with Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott out. Don't chase the points here as they travel on the road to face a red-hot Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson has been on fire of late, with 19-plus fantasy points in six of his last seven games. He's had multiple passing touchdowns in all but one of those and is averaging over 30 rushing yards per game. He offers one of the safest floors and highest weekly ceilings. Even in a game where he was set to get a starter's workload, Thomas Rawls still couldn't get going. He's averaging 2.6 yards per carry on the season and is losing some work to J.D. McKissic. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett both remain high-upside flex plays, but they also offer frightening floors. Lockett is the safer play from a volume standpoint, but Richardson's been the one making big plays is second on the team with five touchdowns on the year. The only person with more scores than PRich is Jimmy Graham, who the team is finally using properly. All six of his receiving touchdowns have come in the last five games, during which time he has more red-zone targets (12) than the entire rest of the team (11). Atlanta has good safeties and coverage linebackers, which is partially why they've allowed just one touchdown to a tight end this year (second-fewest in the league). Graham's increased usage, especially in the red zone, should win out here though. The Atlanta offense hasn't been kind to opposing defenses this year (six points allowed on average), but the Seahawks defense at home is always a decent play.
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC (Thursday)
In his last 13 games dating back to 2016, Marcus Mariota has thrown multiple touchdown passes just four times, and has just one 300 yard game in that span. He suffered shoulder and ankle injuries last week against the Bengals and now needs to travel to face a stout Pittsburgh defense on a short week. Look for a streamer as a replacement. While DeMarco Murray's yardage totals weren't impressive (42 yards on 14 carries, 30 yards on four catches), he found paydirt three times and was used on 61 offensive plays versus 25 for Derrick Henry. Murray is a solid RB2 play this week against a Steelers defense allowing 4.4 yards per carry on the season, though Henry carries far more risk as a deep flex option. He's cleared 50 total yards just four times this year. With Mariota banged up and struggling in general, his trio of wide receivers are finding it hard to produce. Corey Davis saw a team-high 10 targets last week, but only managed four catches for 48 yards on that volume. He did just miss a touchdown, though, and is a decent flex option for this matchup, especially with Joe Haden out for the Steelers. Rishard Matthews looks to be one of Mariota's favorite targets and is a steady-ish producer, with four-plus catches and 50 or more yards in three of his last four contests. He also had a near touchdown, though his was a drop. Eric Decker really shouldn't be rostered in fantasy at this point with 34 or fewer yards in seven of nine games this year. Delanie Walker played with an ankle injury and hauled in six of nine targets for 63 yards. Even against Steelers defense that smothers tight ends (40.5 yards per game, two touchdowns allowed) Walker's usage merits fantasy consideration. The Titans defense isn't particularly strong in fantasy and must face an elite offense on the road. Hard pass.
Ben Roethlisberger posted his highest fantasy total of the year last week, 17.94 points, against a Colts defense decimated by injuries. Even at home this week, I find it hard to really trust Big Ben in fantasy in a run-first offense while he's also just not playing that well (12 touchdowns, 10 interceptions on the year, sub-265 passing yards in seven of nine games). Le'Veon Bell's 112 total yards felt almost pedestrian after he'd posted 180-plus in two of his last three games. He's cleared 27 touches in four straight games and must be started. As we said on Monday's episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, there's no reason to panic about Antonio Brown's recent downturn in production. The volume is still there (17 targets over the last two games) and he'll pop back up in a big way soon -- perhaps against a Titans secondary that has given up the second most touchdowns to receivers (12) this year. JuJu Smith-Schuster appears here to stay, and offers nice upside as a flex play. He has a touchdown reception in three straight games and is tied with Brown with 17 targets over their last two games. He plays in the slot 54 percent of the time this year, and the Titans just gave up 4-69-1 to Brandon LaFell in the slot on six targets. The Steelers defense is a young, athletic unit likely smarting after last week's performance. They're a great fantasy start this week at home against an ailing Marcus Mariota.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. ET on FOX
The Bears defense is a tough unit, especially at home, but Matthew Stafford is playing really well over his last five games. In that span he's averaging over 314 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. I'd be fine starting him against the Beras. While Ameer Abdullah scored a touchdown for the second straight week, he also crossed 50 rushing yards for just the second time in the last five games. Unless he gets into the end zone he's barely usable in fantasy. Same goes for Theo Riddick, who hit paydirt last week for the first time since Week 1. Golden Tate is quietly on fire right now, having hauled in 27 of his 31 targets for 392 yards and two scores over the last four games. He has six-plus catches and 86-plus yards in each of those outings, too. After three straight games with six-plus catches and 96-plus catches Marvin Jones cratered fantasy lineups with a one-catch, 22-yard outing off of two targets. This is the full Marvin Jones experience, though, as he did this to us last year too. Kenny Golladay's healthy return could eat into Jones' deep work, which depresses his weekly outlook. I'm considering Jones a volatile flex play moving forward until we see the target distribution shake out with Golladay back in the mix (who, by the way, I'm skeptical of starting for now). Eric Ebron is leap-frogging Darren Fells of late, out-targeting him 13 to five since the team's bye, but he's found the end zone just once and has barely hauled in 50 percent of those looks. I'd avoid starting him if you can. The Lions defense is an opportunistic bunch that should find plenty of opportunities against a Mitchell Trubisky-led offense that just gave up eight fantasy points to the Packers.
Mitchell Trubisky threw a career-high 35 pass attempts last week, but we're not starting him in fantasy. Nope. Week 10 was the first time Jordan Howard failed to hit 20 touches in a game Trubisky started, which shocked and disappointed plenty of fantasy owners. Hopefully, the fact that he was on the field for just one more offensive play than Benny Cunningham is a one-week aberration and not a sign of what's to come if the Bears fall behind and get knocked off their
run-first run-always game script. Howard should be able to bounce back against a Lions run defense that just allowed 144 rushing yards to the Browns backs. Tarik Cohen is strangely an afterthought in this offense and his fantasy value is now non-existent. You can start him and pray for a big play, but he's handled just 17 touches over the last three games. Dontrelle Inman was on the field for 95 percent of the Bears offensive plays and tied for the team lead with eight targets in his first game action. He won't have that volume every week, but the Lions should be able to get ahead of the Bears and potentially force Trubisky to lean on his new No. 1 target again. The Bears defense couldn't stop Brett Hundley coming out of their bye so I'm dubious over their prospects of putting up a good fantasy day against Matthew Stafford.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Those in a pinch at quarterback could turn to Blake Bortles. I know that sounds crazy at first blush, but he has 241-plus yards and a touchdown in four straight games and is set to face a Browns secondary that is bleeding passing game production. Their 19 passing touchdowns allowed are tied for the second-most in the league. Leonard Fournette disappointed last week (17 carries, 33 yards), but it's worth noting this was his first game back after a three-week absence (injury, bye, team discipline). He still led the backfield in playing time (54 percent) and should keep his volume up against a tough Cleveland run defense to put up RB2 numbers. Marqise Lee has 10-plus targets in three of his last four games, with 55-plus yards in each of those games, and two touchdowns in that span. With Allen Hurns (knee) potentially set to miss this game, Lee could see a healthy amount of volume again and is a decent WR2/flex play. Marcedes Lewis could be in the mix as a streamer this week. As Matt Harmon notes in the waiver wire deep dive, the Browns have allowed the second-most touchdowns to tight ends (seven) and Lewis has performed in good matchups before. You're starting fantasy's highest scoring defense against the offense allowing the most points to opposing fantasy defenses.
DeShone Kizer had a nice outing last week (232 yards, TD, INT) but he shouldn't be anywhere NEAR the starting radar this week against the Jaguars. Isaiah Crowell has posted back-to-back solid fantasy outings but needs to be benched this week. Since trading for Marcell Dareus in Week 8 (their bye), the Jaguars have allowed just 99 rushing yards to opposing backs on 40 carries (2.5 ypc). In fact, the Jags have held four of their last five opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Duke Johnson could maybe be flexed thanks to his pass-catching upside, but Jacksonville has given up just 37.1 receiving yards per game to opposing backs on the season. Corey Coleman is back which is great news! But I wouldn't start him against a Jags pass defense that has allowed only two receiving touchdowns to wide receivers all years (definitely add Coleman off waivers, though). The Browns tight end committee features talented playmakers in David Njoku and Seth DeValve, but their frustrating playing time/target rotation is a nightmare for fantasy.
Baltimore Ravens at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Even against a potentially vulnerable Packers defense, I can't get behind starting Joe Flacco in fantasy. Not only does he have more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (eight), but he has more completions for negative yards (12) than completions of at least 20 yards (10) this season (h/t Zach Kruse). It looked like Alex Collins was set to take over this Ravens backfield after a dazzling performance in a Thursday night win over the Dolphins ... then the Ravens went right back to a committee approach with him and Javorius Allen splitting touches (14 apiece) and playing time (38 percent vs. 46 percent) pretty much right down the middle. Making matters worse for fantasy purposes is the potential return of Danny Woodhead from IR. The team has been noncommittal all week about Woodhead's status as he returns from a torn hamstring in Week 1. The Packers defense also stifled the last two running games it faced, allowing a combined 115 yards to the Lions and Bears running backs. Allen might have the best upside as a flex play, as the Packers have allowed 40 or more receiving yards to opposing backs in four straight games and Allen leads the Ravens with 50 targets. Over the Ravens' last two games he's caught 11 of 14 targets for 151 yards and a touchdown, and his totals would likely be higher had Flacco not suffered a concussion against the Dolphins. The rest of the pass-catching options, including Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Benjamin Watson aren't seeing consistent enough volume to merit consideration. The Ravens defense feels like a risky streamer this week. While the team is loaded with talent and coming off it's bye, the last three defenses to face the Brett Hundley-led Packers have scored a combined 11 fantasy points.
Brett Hundley flashed the ability of a starting quarterback on a few throws last week, but he's yet to throw for at least 250 yards in a game and has two touchdowns and four interceptions across his three starts and one significant relief appearances. His rushing upside could convince some to stream him. Aaron Jones (knee) is out for a few weeks, while Ty Montgomery (ribs) had a "chance" to play this week but has since been declared out, leaving most, if not all, of the work to Jamaal Williams. The fourth-round pick took over the lead duties in the Green Bay backfield last week, and while his numbers were far from eye-popping (20 carries, 67 yards), he ground out tough yards and was close to breaking off a few longer runs. His volume should keep his fantasy value afloat in a tough matchup against the Ravens stout run defense that has allowed just 90 rushing yards to opposing backs over their last two games (2.5 ypc). Davante Adams owns 26.1 percent of Hundley's targets in his three starts, making him the only semi-trustworthy option in this passing attack. He's also caught both of Hundley's touchdown passes, for what it's worth. In Hundley's three starts Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson have stat lines of 10-125-0 and 8-68-0 on 13 and 15 targets, respectively. That's a tough pill to swallow, especially against a Ravens secondary allowing the third-fewest receiving yards per game to wideouts (112.2) and third-fewest touchdowns (five) overall. Excluding the Miami game that Joe Flacco left early with a concussion, he's been sacked 10 times and thrown four interceptions over his last three games. The Packers defense is getting healthier and coming off a five-sack performance as a result (Nick Perry was a monster against the Bears). At home against a mediocre offense, the Packers will be one of the week's top streamers.
Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Drew Stanton is dealing with a knee injury will miss this game, which opens the door for ... wait for it ... Blaine Gabbert. With Gabbert getting the start, he is a potential streamer thanks to the Texans poor secondary (242.7 yards per game, 19 touchdowns allowed) and his rushing upside. When we last saw Gabbert in 2016 he averaged eight rushes and 34 rushing yards per game over his five starts, with two rushing scores in that span. Regardless of who is under center, Adrian Peterson should see loads of volume against the Texans. They've been tough on opposing runners, allowing just 76.6 yards per game on the ground and 3.6 yards per carry. In his two games without Carson Palmer this year, Larry Fitzgerald has stat lines of 5-70-0 and 10-113-0 on nine and 14 targets, respectively. His volume will keep his fantasy floor elevated, though it'll be much harder for him to hit a crazy high ceiling. The Cardinals defense has 10 sacks since its Week 8 bye and is set to face Tom Savage, who has been sacked 11 times in his three starts while posting two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Houston Texans are scoring 25.4 fewer points per game with Tom Savage under center than with Deshaun Watson. Savage is completing just 47.3 percent of his passes as the starter with two touchdowns and two picks. Don't start him. Lamar Miller has 70-plus total yards in eight of nine games this year, offering a reliable floor. However, as evidenced by the scoring stat above, his ceiling is all but nonexistent with Savage under center. DeAndre Hopkins leads the NFL with 30 targets over the last two weeks, and he's turned those into 197 yards and a touchdown. It's never pretty because the passes are coming from Tom Savage, but Nuk is at least offering a safe-ish floor thanks to outrageous volume. Will Fuller suffered cracked ribs last week and will likely miss this matchup with the Cardinals, which puts Bruce Ellington into the mix as a WR2/flex option. He saw eight targets last week and found the end zone, and so far this year No. 2 wide receivers have found tons of success against the Cardinals with Patrick Peterson shadowing top options. The Texans defense has played some good football of late, but is simply missing too many pieces to be relied upon in fantasy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Streaming Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't work out so well last week, but I'd go back to the Fitzmagic well once again in Week 11. The Dolphins secondary has allowed 10 passing touchdowns versus just two interceptions over the last four weeks, and since Week 7 rank last in touchdowns allowed. Plus, Mike Evans will be back in the fold after a one-game suspension, and I'd toss him right back into starting lineups. Miami's 6.3 touchdown rate allowed to opposing wideouts is the fifth-highest in the league. DeSean Jackson saw 10 targets in Evans' absence last week, but he hasn't scored since Week 6. Jackson has four games with 82-plus yards and/or a touchdown but has four games with three or fewer catches and under 40 yards. He remains a boom-or-bust fantasy asset. After posting four-plus catches, 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in six of his first seven games, Cameron Brate has managed just two catches for 19 yards on seven targets the last two weeks. The Dolphins are very vulnerable to tight ends though, as Ed Dickson found the end zone last week and Jared Cook went for over 100 yards against them the week before. I'd still start Brate, but if he posts one catch for the third week in a row we may need to adjust expectations. Doug Martin does not have more than 75 rushing yards in a game this season and hasn't scored since Week 6. I think it's perfectly reasonable to bench him based on recent performances, though the Dolphins do present a nice matchup as they're allowing 103.1 rushing yards per game to opposing backs and have given up nine total touchdowns on the year. Last week was just the second time the Buccaneers defense has finished as a top-10 scoring unit in fantasy. They've averaged about three fantasy points per game in their other seven games.
I could sit here and try to make a statistical case for streaming Jay Cutler, but I feel it'd be doing a disservice to you. Cutler is piloting the NFL's worst scoring offense which also ranks 29th in passing yards per game and last in big plays. Damien Williams has mustered just 100 total yards on his 24 touches over the last two weeks, and needs a touchdown to be fantasy relevant. On a low-scoring offense, that's a risky bet for fantasy. Kenyan Drake, on the other hand, can create for himself and has taken his 24 touches for 196 total yards the last two weeks. His 66-yard touchdown run against the Panthers (the team's first 50-plus yard play all year) is the type of play that makes him worth a dart throw in the flex. DeVante Parker has eight-plus targets and 66-plus yards in every game he's started and finished this year, while Jarvis Landry has 10-plus targets in seven of nine games and five-plus catches in every game this year. With Cutler averaging just 189.9 passing yards per game, the rest of the pass-catchers are fighting for scraps every week after Parker and Landry get theirs. They're the only two semi-reliable options here, and both are decent flex options this against a generous Bucs secondary that allows the fourth-most yards per game to wideouts and has conceded 10 touchdowns to the position this year. Julius Thomas has popped up on the fantasy radar of late, with two touchdowns in his last three games. Of course, his stat lines in those three contests are 2-2-0, 6-84-1, and 2-9-1. I'm still not really in on chasing this recent "run" of production. Since Week 7, the Dolphins defense ranks near the bottom of the league in points allowed, rushing yards per game, and touchdowns allowed. Oh, and they've scored a combined six fantasy points in that span as well.
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Since his Week 8 bye, Jared Goff has thrown for 666 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Those performances came against suspect secondaries though (Giants, Texans), and Goff will face one of his toughest matchups to date when he travels to face the Vikings. The cross-country travel and defense are worrisome for Goff, but I'd still consider starting him. He has been one of the league's better deep ball passers (tied for fourth-most 50-plus air yards completions, 119.3 passer rating on passes of 20-plus air yards, fifth-best), and the Vikings allow a passer rating of 98.5 (eighth-worst) on deep passes this season. Todd Gurley currently leads the NFL in scrimmage yards (1,160) and touchdowns (10) this year and is impossible to sit, even in a tough matchup. He's the engine that moves this whole offense. At wide receiver, this feels like a let-down spot for the position. Xavier Rhodes has been one of the NFL's best cornerbacks all year, but it's unclear if he'll shadow anyone or stick to one side of the field. My guess is he sticks predominantly to the defensive right side of the field, which would match him up against Sammy Watkins most frequently, as Watkins lines up at left wide receiver 53 percent of the time. Cooper Kupp draws a tough matchup as well in the slot, as the Vikings have allowed just one touchdown versus four interceptions against slot receivers this year. Robert Woods has been on fire with four touchdowns and 241 yards over the last two weeks, but he's also the most consistent option in this passing attack. He has four-plus catches and 59-plus yards in six of his last seven games. The Vikings offense is at home and has been playing extremely well, but so has the Rams defense. Aaron Donald has a sack in four straight games and the Rams lead the NFL in takeaways with 19. They're still a solid start on the road.
Case Keenum got the official nod from head coach Mike Zimmer as the starter this week, and I think he's a fine streamer. Plenty will probably overlook Keenum as the Rams defense has been stifling opposing offenses over the last few weeks, but they've played Drew Stanton, Eli Manning and Tom Savage. Not exactly a murderer's row. With a healthy Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Keenum just carved up the formidable Washington secondary to the tune of 304 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. That was just his third multi-touchdown game of the year, but his second in a row. Last week, I was wrong on the backfield, expecting a Jerick McKinnon week and getting a Latavius Murray week. They split playing time evenly with 30 offensive plays a piece, but Murray received the touchdown and more touches (17 to 12). It's worth noting that nine of Murray's 17 carries came in the second half, during which the Vikings held leads of 18 and 15 points. In what figures to be a highly competitive game, I like McKinnon's upside more this week. Back to Diggs and Thielen quick, these two are every-week starters. I don't care that the Rams allow the 12th-fewest yards per game to wideouts this year or that they've only given up five touchdowns to the position. Diggs and Thielen are a secondary-wrecking duo. Kyle Rudolph has seven-plus targets and five-plus catches in five straight games. He hasn't crossed 50 receiving yards and has just two touchdowns in that span, but as I say every week tight end is a fantasy wasteland and we must take what we can get. The Vikings defense has six-plus fantasy points in six of its last seven games, and at home is a solid floor play against the high-flying Rams offense.
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET on CBS
It's worth noting off the top that Andy Reid has the highest winning percentage among active coaches coming out of a bye as he's 16-2 in his career. Over the Giants' last six games, they allow 316.5 passing yards, 2.7 touchdowns, and .7 interceptions per game to opposing passers. Every quarterback to face them in that span has finished as a top-10 scorer that week. So yeah, I think things are lining up pretty well for Alex Smith. After gaining 100-plus scrimmage yards in each of his first seven games Kareem Hunt failed to hit that mark his last two contests. Since their Week 8 bye the Giants have allowed 350 total yards and three touchdowns to opposing backs. Their defense looks listless, and this is a prime spot for Hunt to get back on track. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce account for 51 percent of Smth's yards, 43 percent of his targets, and 50 percent of his passing touchdowns. They're both great starts this week. Kelce especially so, because as I'm sure you've heard the Giants have allowed a receiving touchdown to a tight end in every game this year. The Chiefs defense should be well-rested after their bye, and Eli Manning has been sacked two-plus times in four of his last five games. The Chiefs would be a better play at home, but they'll offer a decent floor on the road here.
UPDATE: Sterling Shepard has been ruled out, which diminishes the upside of Eli Manning as a starter. Ignore the subsequent analysis. And be sure to take Shepard OUT of your lineups. The Chiefs defense has crumbled over the last month-plus, presenting fantasy managers with a usable week for Eli Manning. Three of the last five quarterbacks to face the Chiefs have posted top-three scoring weeks. In that span, they've allowed 12 passing touchdowns and intercepted four passes, though three of those picks came via Trevor Siemian. Manning has two touchdown passes in each of his last two games, and will offer a decent floor with some upside. Orleans Darkwa still doesn't have enough respect in many fantasy leagues. He's the RB14 over the last two weeks (standard scoring) and he hasn't found the end zone in that span. He's also facing a Chiefs defense that is allowing 147.5 rushing yards per game over their last four. Darkwa has a reliable floor with upside if he finds his way into the paint. Since returning from an ankle injury, Sterling Shepard owns 31 percent of Manning's targets and 43 percent of his passing yards. The Chiefs allow the fifth-most yards to slot receivers in the league (579) and have conceded six scores to the position, tied for the most in the league. Shepard has accumulated 75 percent of his yards the last two weeks from the slot and is set up nicely here. Evan Engram has been a revelation for the Giants and is smashing the narrative that rookie tight ends can't perform in fantasy. Since Week 4 he leads the Giants in every receiving category and has been a top-12 tight end in four of six games in that span. Should you start a Giants defense that just gave up 474 yards and 31 points to the 49ers? Nooooooooooooooooooooo!
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. ET on FOX
In three years as Washington's starter, Kirk Cousins has only two games without a passing touchdown and ranks second in rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks with 12. I wouldn't fear the Saints defense this week if you have Cousins, as they've had an interesting string of opponents (Brett Hundley in his first start, injured Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor/Nathan Peterman). Cousins and his offense should be able to stay strong against the Saints after throwing for over 300 yards against the Vikings. Rob Kelley has landed on injured reserve with numerous injuries, which leaves the early-down work to Samaje Perine. The volume could be there for Perine and he absolutely should be added in leagues, but thus far he's been horribly inefficient with his touches thus far (66 carries, 210 yards, 3.2 yards per carry). Granted, Kelley was averaging 3.1 ypc on his 62 totes, so it's not as if Perine has massive shoes to fill here. The Saints defense is tough on running games, though, allowing just 84.9 yards per game on the ground with three touchdowns all season. I'd sit Perine this week. Chris Thompson went for 100-plus scrimmage yards in three of his first five games, but hasn't hit that threshold in four straight since. He is still averaging the same touches per game (10.8 per in first five vs. 11 per in last four), but the big plays have dried up. He's still worth a flex play, though, as if the big-plays return he has week-winning upside. The Jamison Crowder who was a near-ubiquitous offseason sleeper finally decided to show up. In his last two healthy weeks he's garnered 28.6 percent of Cousins' pass attempts and turned those into 13 catches and 199 yards. He's at least worth a flex play, especially in PPR. Josh Doctson has flashed his playmaking ability of late, but a date with rookie phenom Marshon Lattimore doesn't foretell much success. Sit Doctson this week. With Jordan Reed remaining sidelined this week with a hamstring injury, Vernon Davis is a great tight end play. He's had 6-plus catches for 72-plus yards in each of the last two weeks. There's a zero percent chance I start the Washington defense on the road against the Saints ball-control offense.
The Saints have won seven games in a row, but Drew Brees has taken a bit of a back seat. His highest fantasy finish in that run is QB10, and he's averaging just 250 passing yards per game. He's thrown zero touchdowns in two of his last three games, too. Still, he's at home and this game could skew more high-scoring, potentially turning to a more favorable script for Brees. I'd consider him a low-end QB1 here. Over their last five games the Saints average 36.6 rush attempts and 180.8 rushing yards per game and have scored 13 times. They've run the ball on 54.6 percent of their plays, too. So yes, you should start Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara if you have them. Michael Thomas has stayed relevant during this run-focused streak, averaging just under 10 targets per game. Since the team's bye in Week 5, he's seen 31 percent of the team targets and is a safe WR2. After four consistent performances, Ted Ginn pulled a disappearing act in the team's blowout win over the Bills, catching his lone target for three yards. These ghost performances are in Ginn's range of outcomes on this run-oriented team, so if forced to flex him prepare yourself mentally. The Saints defense has held opposing passers to three touchdowns and 10 interceptions during their seven-game winning streak, and has 22 sacks in that span as well. They're a fine low-end play against a tough Washington offense.
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX
After giving up 475 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to opposing running backs over the last two weeks, the Bills did the right thing and made a switch at quarterback from Tyrod Taylor to rookie Nathan Peterman. I want to start exactly zero parts of this struggling offense making a quarterback change against a sneakily good defense. Even LeSean McCoy looks to be in a bad spot, as the Chargers front seven held Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory to a combined 45 yards on 21 carries last week. Over their last two games, the Chargers have allowed just 2.7 yards per carry. Kelvin Benjamin is not only adjusting to a new team, but now a new quarterback as well. Pass. Sometimes tight ends are a young quarterback's best friend, but Clay is still working his way back from a knee injury that sidelined him for about a month. There are streamers with more upside available. The Bills defense has been demolished in consecutive games by the Jets and Saints and shouldn't be trusted in fantasy.
Philip Rivers is in a decent spot here, as the Bills defense is showing plenty of cracks. Two of the last four quarterbacks to face them have thrown for over 300 yards (Jameis Winston, Derek Carr) and the other two didn't need to because their ground attacks dominated (Josh McCown, Drew Brees). There are more enticing plays on the slate, but Rivers should offer a decent floor at worst ... if he plays, as he's in the concussion protocol. If Rivers is out, wooo boy I'm going to have to edit this section a lot. Melvin Gordon was a fantasy disaster last week with 27 yards on 16 carries and no scores, though this could be a prime bounce-back spot. In the two games they've played since trading Marcell Dareus the Bills have allowed 495 rushing yards to running backs on the ground at over six yards per carry. Oh, and they've conceded seven rushing touchdowns to the position in those games as well. Austin Ekeler provided an immediate spark to this backfield last week, but a costly fourth-quarter fumble could reduce his opportunities here. Still, he's an upside flex play who could carve out a bigger role if he produces again in this plus matchup. Keenan Allen hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1 and has just two weeks with over 68 receiving yards. This could be the spot for him to correct both of those negative trends, as the Bills defense has struggled of late and just gave up a season-best performance to Michael Thomas (9-117-0 on 10 targets). Hunter Henry has just three catches for 18 yards over the last two weeks after posting 12 catches for 205 yards and a touchdown in the three weeks prior. Hopefully his larger role returns, but it's not like there are many better tight end options available. With rookie Nathan Peterman making his first start of the season the Chargers have quickly become one of the week's best streaming options. They're tied for second in the NFL in sacks this season with 29 and could feast on the unproven passer.
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
The "No Fly Zone" has been open for business the last month, allowing 10 passing touchdowns without an interception over their most recent four games. Since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator in Week 3, Andy Dalton has been a steady producer in decent matchups, posting 17-plus points in five of seven games, with two duds coming against the Jaguars and Steelers. Being in Denver lowers Dalton's outlook some, though, so I'd consider him a low-end streamer. Joe Mixon has found the end zone in back-to-back games, but hasn't hit 40 rushing yards in three weeks. So ... sure, flex him if you'd like. A.J. Green bounced back in a big way after getting ejected from his Week 9 game, posting a 5-115-1 line on seven targets. He's the only trustworthy player in this offense from a fantasy perspective. Last week was the first time all season Brandon LaFell has posted more than 45 receiving yards in a game. Don't chase that production, especially against the Broncos' talented secondary. Since Week five Tyler Kroft has played 97 percent of the Bengals offensive plays, a massive total. He's only scored once in that span but has seen four-plus targets in four of those five games, which keeps him on the low-end of the streaming radar. He's also in a great matchup as the Broncos six receiving touchdowns allowed to tight ends are tied for third-most in the league. The Bengals defense has posted four sacks in two of their last three games. Brock Osweiler wasn't sacked last week, but went down three times in his first start and owns a 2-3 TD-INT ratio so far. The Bengals are a solid streaming option even on the road.
As mentioned above, Brock Osweiler currently owns a 2-3 TD-INT ratio, is averaging 214 yards per game, and is completing just 52.1 percent of his passes. Don't play Osweiler in fantasy. Only one Broncos running back has seen more than 10 carries in the last four weeks. This has become a full-blown committee between C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker, and none of the three can be trusted in fantasy. With Osweiler under center, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas saw 57.6 percent of Osweiler's targets, both posting solid stat lines (6-137-0 for Sanders, 5-44-1 for Thomas). The Bengals secondary will likely put up more of a fight than the Patriots, as Cincy currently allows the fourth-fewest yards per game to the position (117.6). Still, that insane level of volume gives both a decent floor with a chance for a big day if they can find the end zone. A.J. Derby's target totals have dropped in four straight weeks. The Broncos have had 92 points scored against them over the last two weeks and have just 20 sacks on the year. There's little upside for them from a fantasy perspective unless we see the really, really bad version of Andy Dalton show up, which feels unlikely.
New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS (Mexico City)
Tom Brady is averaging 311.9 passing yards per game and is about to face a defense that doesn't have an interception this year. You don't need me to tell you to start Brady. The backfield Thunderdome in New England claimed its first victim, as Mike Gillislee was a healthy scratch last week. This is good news for fantasy purposes (sorry, Mike) as Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White all have weekly flex upside. All three found the end zone last week and have the potential to do so again here. The Raiders have allowed the third-most catches to opposing running backs (56) to go along with an 81.2 percent catch rate and three receiving touchdowns. They also allow 109.3 yards per game on the ground to opposing backs. With this game figuring to be among the highest scoring of the week, all three are viable options. Chris Hogan will miss this game with a shoulder injury, which opens up more targets for the backs as well. Danny Amendola only saw four looks last week with the versatile backs getting into the mix, and is tough to start. Brandin Cooks garnered 11 looks with Hogan out and brought in six for 74 yards. He could be a handful for a Raiders secondary that ranks dead last completion percentage allowed (71.2) and passer rating allowed (110.5). Rob Gronkowski is healthy and will be starting for every fantasy team that has him rostered. The Patriots defense struggles to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks and Oakland allows the lowest pressure rate in the league (17.7). Unless Derek Carr hurls some awful pick-sixes, the Patriots defense will struggle to score in fantasy. I'd look elsewhere.
Prior to his teams' Week 10 bye, Derek Carr posted three consecutive 300-plus yard performances, with five touchdowns and three interceptions. With more time to heal his back over the bye, he should be ready to rock against a suspect Patriots secondary in Mexico City. Marshawn Lynch has three touchdowns in his last three full games played and is averaging 4.2 yards per carry over that span. If this game turns into a shootout BeastMode will likely be relegated to the bench as the team favors DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard in those situations, but I think Lynch can be a fine flex play as the Pats allow five yards per carry on the season. The Patriots defense has not been fixed, as they still allow the most yards per game to the wide receiver position with 196.1 per game to go along with nine touchdowns. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have both been up-and-down performers in 2017, but this is a week to trust both of them in what could be a shootout. Jared Cook has two 100-plus yard outings in his last three games, and he caught four passes for 57 yards in the other. The Patriots have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends, so there are multiple reasons to like Cook as a streamer this week. Yeah, we're not going to even consider the 32nd fantasy scoring defense against the Patriots.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Carson Wentz has been on fire since Week 5. In that span, he has 17 touchdowns (most in the NFL) with just three interceptions and a low fantasy output of 17.14 points. He should be able to get over on a Dallas defense that could be without Sean Lee. This season, Dallas allows over 14 more points per game without Lee in the lineup. Dallas also allows 73 more rushing yards per game without Lee this season, which is good news for the suddenly crowded stable of Eagles runners. Corey Clement led the way in playing time and scores back in Week 9, but that was also partially due to the blowout the Eagles were handing the Broncos. Jay Ajayi, who the team traded for a few weeks back, should now be acclimated to the offense and has some really nice upside in this game. LeGarrette Blount could be worth a dart throw as a hope for late-game, clock-killing carries, but Ajayi is the back to roll with in my eyes. He offers the most upside and the team likely wants a better picture of how he fits into their offense. Both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor should be in the mix for starting consideration, as they're Wentz' top two targets at wideout. Zach Ertz is Wentz' main man, though, and should return to his dominant ways after missing Week 9 with a hamstring injury. The Eagles defense leads the league in pressures with 142 pressures, per Next Gen Stats, and the second-place team (Rams) has 121. With Tyron Smith out last week, Dallas allowed eight sacks to Dak Prescott, far and away the most of his career (previous high was four). So, yeah, start the Eagles.
Dak Prescott had to endure a harsh new reality last week with no Tyron Smith protecting his blind side (leading to eight sacks) and no Ezekiel Elliott to spark the running game. Still, even in what amounted to a disastrous setting, Prescott delivered 13.24 fantasy points. Smith might miss this game again, and Zeke is now in the middle of his six-game suspension, but I'd still trust Prescott to put up reasonable totals. He's at home this time around and the team will have more time to prepare if Smith does miss another game. Alfred Morris shouldered almost the entire load on the ground, receiving 11 of 15 carries, which he took for 53 yards. The Eagles have been brutal on opposing running games this year, allowing a league-low 42.6 yards per game. The volume could be there for Morris, but his upside will be limited if he can't get into the end zone. The potential game script could mean portend a solid outing for Rod Smith, who was the primary pass-catching option out of the backfield for Dallas last week (six targets, four catches, 15 yards). The Eagles actually allow more receiving yards per game to backs (46.7) than rushing yards, so if Smith gets several targets in this contest he could offer a decent floor in the flex. Despite playing through ankle and knee injuries Dez Bryant still led the team with eight targets last week. His touchdown-upside makes him hard to sit. He's been resting through practice this week again and should start on Sunday night, but have a backup option just in case. I'd avoid the rest of the pass-catchers, though, as their usage has been too tough to predict these past few weeks. Jason Witten popped back up with seven targets last week, while Cole Beasley saw just three. The Dallas defense may be at home but is about to face one of the league's best offenses. Look elsewhere.