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Fantasy Football: Week 11 start/sit, waiver targets, surprises, disappointments

Dennis M. Esser takes a look at Week 11 in the NFL from a fantasy football perspective.

Trent Richardson has disappointed Fantasy Football owners this season
Trent Richardson has disappointed Fantasy Football owners this season
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 is traditionally where I begin to narrow my focus for a Fantasy Football playoff run. The bulk of the fantasy season is behind us, but the real work is just beginning. We should start by looking to make trades for players that have favorable match-ups in the playoffs. Then make the small trades that help protect our rosters. Like trading a fifth wide receiver for Joique Bell so you don't get stuck with Reggie Bush standing in street clothes come Week 15. Those types of trades should only happen if the handcuff can produce similar fantasy points and the player has a clear history of injuries.

Before we look forward to Week 11 we must take a look back at what happened in Week 10.

Nice Surprises

First and foremost, our very own Andre Brown made his claim for more fantasy attention with a fantastic game against the Oakland Raiders. He touched the ball 31 times producing over 100 yards and scored a touchdown. What many saw as a cloudy running back situation for the Giants, including me, has become a beacon of hope for fantasy owners. Brown was clearly what the Giants have been looking for and should be a solid RB2 going forward.

Tavon Austin finally looked like a top 10 pick as he broke out for a three touchdown game. While waiver wire darling Zac Stacy was mostly bottled up on the day, Austin exploded. Austin still didn't see the field as much as he should, but at least it was a very encouraging sign for those that own him in dynasty formats. I still don't see him as much more than a WR4 for the fantasy playoffs.

Golden Tate took advantage of a beautiful match-up against the Atlanta Falcons and scored well above his weekly average. Tate's 6 receptions for 106 yards and touchdown saw him as a perfect bye week filler for guys like Josh Gordon and Danny Amendola. He should be a high end WR4 going down the stretch.

Three New Orleans Saints who were either headed towards, or were firmly in the fantasy football abyss finally broke out. Marques Colston was borderline dropable heading into this week. He was right there with Dwayne Bowe as far as usefulness for a fantasy owner. The only difference is that Colston has Drew Brees throwing him the ball.  Brees finally decided to look Colston's way and he delivered with 7 receptions for 107 yards and 1 TD.  Mark Ingram was so forgotten that he was even being dropped in dynasty leagues. The former Alabama star, who is just now fully healthy, ran like a man possessed against the Dallas Cowboys defense. He racked up 145 yards and a touch down on just 14 carries and added 2 receptions for 15 yards for good measure. Darren Sproles came into the game on a long string of disappointing fantasy returns. The Cowboys were the ideal remedy to get him going. He scored on the ground and through the air as he looked like his old elusive self. The Cowboys sixth-string linebackers only made him look that much more amazing.


Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, and C.J. Spiller.

Richardson has just not been able to get going since being traded to the Indianapolis Colts. The fact that fantasy owners are now looking to start Donald Brown over him makes him border-line dropable at this point. I am holding out hope, but I am literally starting a ball boy over him at this point. Ray Rice is not the same player he used to be at this point. The hip injury has sapped some of his elusiveness and power and he is running behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Joe Flacco is still looking to him in the passing game, but he can't make the first guy miss at this point, so his yardage suffers. I would look to trade him for anything that could help me down the road, because Ray Rice is still a name and sometimes you can make a deal on that alone. C.J. Spiller's ankle was finally healed and he was coming off a 100 yard performance, so naturally the Bills were going to feature him....right? Nope, Spiller basically saw a third of the snaps in the backfield for the Bills and he was once again a fantasy disappointment.

The Mike James injury! Mike James was fast becoming a big-time fantasy running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.    He was the answer to all the prayers of Doug Martin and David Wilson owners as the Buccaneers had decided to feature James going forward in a more balanced attack. The Buccaneers had finally decided to put Doug Martin on injured reserve early on the weekend making Mike James rest of the season outlook look that much better.  Well a fractured ankle on a run that came up just inches short of a touchdown may have cost some of us a fantasy championship.

Ben Tate [Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports]

Week 11 Start/Sit

With only Dallas and St. Louis on a bye in Week 11 most fantasy teams will be fully stocked for battle.

The Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles game looks like an explosive fantasy match up on paper, but these two teams are division rivals who have already played each other once. I still think there should be some nice fantasy points scored in this game, but I don't really trust Robert Griffin III just yet. If Griffin is erratic throwing the ball then the Redskins offense will stall and The Eagles will take the air out of the ball with LeSean McCoy. The one good thing for the Redskin's run defense is that Nick Foles is under center and he is much less of a threat in a zone-read situation. The Redskins have been gashed all year by mobile quarterbacks running zone-read.

While Marshawn Lynch has a great match-up against the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson will see his name slide down some fantasy experts' lists. I am not one of those experts. I think Peterson is just finally getting healthy and that the Seahawks defense can be run on. I have Peterson as my number four overall running back this week.

We saw what Andre Brown and the Giants were able to do against the Oakland Raiders last week. Well now Ben Tate and the Houston Texans get those same Raiders in Houston. I feel like Tate is going to have a very big day, but his injured ribs are my only concern. High upside RB2 for me this week.

Alfred Morris was having a huge game last Thursday before the Redskins forgot to call running plays in the second half. This week they'll stick to the running game against the Eagles and Morris will finally get back into the end zone.

Because of injuries and a bye week for Tony Romo you may need to use the waiver wire for your quarterback this week. While early in the year I may have had to recommend any quarterback that was facing the New York Giants, that is no longer the case. The Giants have improved dramatically in recent weeks and make starting the newest Green Bay quarter back Scott Tolzien a real reach. I would instead look to Case Keenum against the Oakland Raiders or Ben Roethlisberger against the Detroit Lions.

The wide receiver match ups are very interesting. Andre Johnson gets a huge bump with Case Keenum now slinging the ball in Houston and looks to have the best match up of all the wide receiver ones. DeSean Jackson ran through the Redskin's secondary at will the last time they played and he should still find room this week to make him a top play. The Eagles' other wide receiver, Riley Cooper, has seen his fantasy statistics sky-rocket with Nick Foles at the helm and looks to be a WR3 and flex option going forward. Huge disparity in numbers for Cooper with Foles under center than with Michael Vick.

Two guys that would usually be at the top of any wide receiver list, in Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green actually face very tough match-ups this week. Calvin Johnson faces the always tough Ike Taylor, while A.J. Green gets the Joe Haden. I expect Johnson to still put up representative numbers, but Haden is a real tough draw for A.J. Green.

A man that may have been forgotten and that the Dolphins' owner, general manager, and fans would probably like to forget so far this season, Mike Wallace, actually has a very nice match up this week against the San Diego Chargers. The only issue is if Wallace decides to actually try for a change.

Two of my top tight end plays this week happen to share the same first name.  Jordan Reed and Jordan Cameron both have pretty good match ups this week. Reed faces the Eagles and is in the enviable position of being the number two target on a team that may have to play catch up on Sunday. Cameron is the Browns number two target and should have been working during the bye week with Jason Campbell to get on the same page. Cameron is an unbelievable talent as a pass catcher and I expect Campbell and the Browns to do everything they can to get him the ball going forward.

Top Fantasy Waiver Targets

Michael Crabtree -- it looks like he could be back soon as the 49ers have let go of Kyle Williams

Brian Leonard, Mark Ingram, Bobby Rainey, Shonn Greene, Rishard Mathews, Nate Burleson, Tyler Eifert, Coby Fleener, Rob Housler

Who has been your biggest fantasy football disappointment and surprise to this point?

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