Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 11
It’s Week 11, and playoff pictures are starting to form in fantasy leagues if they aren’t all but decided already. What that means is you’re either already looking down the line at your player’s matchups, or you’re wistfully imagining how great your team is going to be next year.
Weeks 11, 12, and in some cases 13 are only relevant to a small handful of players, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. Seeding isn’t important for most leagues, but if you’re already out of it, you might as well play the spoiler, and maybe avoid last place in the process.
Dak Prescott (DAL): ECR – 3 / Finished – QB22 / WIN
Mark Ingram (NO): ECR – 8 / Finished – RB1 / LOSS
Demaryius Thomas (DEN): ECR – 11 / Finished – WR20 / WIN
Cameron Brate (TB): ECR – 5 / Finished – TE26 / WIN
Josh McCown (NYJ): ECR – 11 / Finished – QB23 / LOSS
James White (NE): ECR – 36 / Finished – RB23 / WIN
Marquise Goodwin (SF): ECR – 39 / Finished – WR6 / WIN
Eric Ebron (DET) ECR – 15 / Finished – TE5 / WIN
I always like to start with the bad, but for once there isn’t a whole lot to say. Josh McCown reminded us all why he’s never been able to hold a starting job, and picking Mark Ingram made me look downright silly. As far as the good is concerned, most of what I expected came to pass, with a few exceptions.
I thought Dak Prescott would struggle in Atlanta, but it wasn’t entirely his fault, as anyone who watched his left tackle can attest to. Still, the experts were crazy to rank him so high given the notable absences on offense. Demaryius Thomas managed to bail his owners out with a touchdown, but it was a week with a lot of receivers playing well.
His 10.4 points would be good for 15th best in Week 8, for instance. Marquise Goodwin carried a massive chip on his shoulder into his game that almost nobody knew about.
But it’s impossible to say how much that affected his performance, since he was used the way he usually is and his QB didn’t even know what was going on, and thus wasn’t trying to force feed him to fulfill some narrative. Tight ends are a total dart throw, and I’m not going to get too excited when I get the calls right.
On to Week 11.
Overvalued: Derek Carr (OAK): vs. NE; ECR – QB7
Carr has performed well below expectations thus far and really could have used this game against the Patriots earlier in the season. While New England did manage to make Brock Osweiler look competent in their last game, one could none the less argue that their defense has officially turned the corner. They haven’t allowed three touchdowns to an opposing QB since Week 4, and have held each of the last three opposing quarterbacks to under 250 yards passing.
Carr, meanwhile, has only broken the 20 fantasy point threshold twice this season and has thrown five interceptions to just six touchdowns in his last four appearances. Lastly but perhaps most importantly, this game takes place in Mexico City. This not only negates home field advantage but maybe even makes the rest detrimental when comparing the teams as the Raiders are coming off of a vacation, and the Patriots have been preparing at comparably high elevation for the past week, including their last game.
Undervalued: Matt Ryan (ATL): @ SEA; ECR – QB13
“Are the Falcons back?” Every headline involving Atlanta this past week has included this sentiment in some way, shape, or form. The answer can be both yes and no. Yes, because that last performance could be what the team needed to get them out of a mental rut that had been plaguing them all year. No, because they took advantage of a Cowboys team that was depleted on both sides of the ball.
Basically, the momentum could mean big things going forward, but their latest performance itself isn’t indicative of the team figuring things out. Seattle, however, isn’t exactly the picture of health on defense either. They just lost Richard Sherman for the year, and his replacement, Byron Maxwell, was just signed off of his couch after being cut by the Dolphins in October.
That’s not a tremendous amount of time to be out of the game by any stretch, but his ability to remain unsigned for nearly a month is still an indictment on his value as perceived around the league. Kam Chancellor found himself on the injury report as well, but he might benefit from the fact that this game is being played on Monday. Either way, Ryan’s Falcons will be heading into Seattle with renewed confidence against a secondary struggling to make ends meet.
Overvalued: Jay Ajayi (PHI): @ DAL; ECR – RB11
Ajayi’s efficiency in Denver was a major surprise, but some people might be overreacting to his role going forward. Let’s not forget that 46 of his 77 yards came on one play and that he still only received eight carries in a blowout win. Philly loves to throw in the red zone, and Ajayi will still be competing for touches to some extent with Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and LeGarrette Blount.
Even if he receives more carries than any of them, that number could still end up being in the 13-16 range, which isn’t ideal for a player who has based his success on wearing down defenses for late-game bursts. It seems like a lot of things need to roll just the right way for Ajayi to hit his current ECR.
Undervalued: Alex Collins (BAL): @ GB; ECR – RB29
The only thing holding back Alex Collins from a statistical standpoint has been touchdowns. He’s the team’s lead back (and his role shouldn’t bee too affected by Danny Woodhead’s return), and he’s capable of putting up some big numbers in the right situations.
This matchup with Green Bay should be one such situation, especially since they’re the 10th-most generous defense to opposing fantasy RBs, and all of the scores they’ve allowed to backs have come on the ground. Baltimore should be able to keep this game close enough to allow Collins enough opportunities, as they’re a team with a good defense coming off of a bye playing against a backup QB who has been up and down so far this season.
Overvalued: Sterling Shepard (NYG): vs. KC; ECR – WR13
Look, nobody can blame you Shepard owners for seeing that the Chiefs are the worst defense against receivers in the NFL and getting a little giddy, but the story is a little bit more complex than that. See, the Chiefs have one of the better cornerbacks in the league in Marcus Peters, but across the field from him is one of the worst in Terrance Mitchell.
While Peters isn’t necessarily a shadow corner, there’s been a definite pattern in most Chiefs’ games of #2 and #3 receivers outperforming the #1 guys. Amari Cooper over Michael Crabtree in Week 7, Terrance Williams over Dez Bryant in Week 9, Travis Benjamin over Keenan Allen in Week 3, etc. Again, this hasn’t been a constant: Antonio Brown was the clear-cut means of production in Week 6, and DeAndre Hopkins somehow outperformed Will Fuller’s two touchdowns in Week 5 with three of his own.
The point here is that Sterling Shepard, who is not only the top receiver but the only receiver on the Giants, could end up commanding a whole lot of attention that will limit his upside. It would help if Evan Engram, the team’s other premier pass-catcher, lined up at receiver instead of tight end, but as it stands, he probably won’t draw enough attention from the secondary to substantially aid Shepard.
Undervalued: Marqise Lee (JAC): @ CLE; ECR – WR27
Lee is one of the main reason the Jags beat the Chargers on Sunday, but he also would have been the first person to blame if they lost. While electric down the stretch, a stupid taunting penalty on his behalf made the game much closer than it needed to be. Jacksonville, however, is far too depleted at the position to even begin dreaming of punishing him in any way.
Allen Hurns will miss this upcoming game, leaving Lee the only one left standing from last year’s core trio of wideouts. The team is planning on giving rookie receiver Dede Westbrook his first action of the season, but Lee should still be the feature pass-catcher for this team. The Browns are still one of the best run defenses in the league, and one of the few teams that will be able to force the Jaguars to throw the ball more than they’d like.
Overvalued: Jared Cook (OAK): vs. NE; ECR – TE6
Just as I gave up picking Cook as an undervalued tight end, the guy starts balling out. But my sentiments here are similar to the ones I expressed back when discussing Derek Carr, so rather than reiterate; I’d like to expand. Oakland’s offense is favorably composed from New England’s perspective. Malcolm Butler covers Amari Cooper, Stephon Gilmore handles Michael Crabtree, Devin McCourty helps one of these two (probably Butler, given the Patriots’ disdain for allowing big plays), and Patrick Chung shadows Cook.
One or more of these assignments could certainly fall apart for New England given their defensive woes this season, but the pieces fit so nicely that it’s tough to imagine this not working out in their favor. Oakland would be wise to lean on a guy like Jalen Richard, who can exploit some terrible matchups out of the backfield, but whether they do that remains to be seen. It’s worth mentioning that the Patriots are top six in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs, RBs, and WRs, but ranked 13th against opposing fantasy tight ends.
Undervalued: David Njoku (CLE): vs. JAC; ECR – TE24
Njoku couldn’t connect with his quarterback but one time, yet he’s received at least five targets in each of the last four games played by the Browns. They’re looking for him often, and he’s being used as a deep threat to boot. He came inches from having a touchdown against Detroit but was unable to keep his second foot in bounds.
The opportunity has been there and should be again this week as Jacksonville will likely face minimal resistance locking down any Browns receivers with their elite secondary. The Jaguars may be perfectly average against fantasy tight ends this season, but the talent they’ve faced has been incredibly mediocre, having gone up against one, maybe two legitimate weapons at the position through all of 2017.