Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 11
You ever eat a banana dipped in ketchup? If you answered "yes" to that question, you might want to get yourself checked out -- however, I will say this, it certainly is a bold meal choice.
Not to be confused with baldness, boldness would be sporting a mohawk at the ripe young age of 75. In an unrealistic football analogy, boldness would be trading the best receiver in football for a washed-up running back with a huge contract. Ehhh, no one would be that stup...oh, nevermind.
For this article, we'll focus the boldness on fantasy football. Think of this piece like Taco Tuesday -- it's better when it's spicy, but the spiciness is not what it's all about; it's there to add flavor. The point here is not to hit on 100% of the predictions. After all, I'm not a vomiting hippo. The goal here is to uncover insights that can help us win some dough in fantasy. The idea is to uncover some players that might either have an amazing week or post a complete dud.
Now, let's eat a serving of ketchup banana (yuck).
(All predictions are for half-PPR and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks.)
1. Ben Roethlisberger Finishes as a Top-3 Quarterback
In his first seven games of the season, Ben Roethlisberger ($8,000) didn't top 22.1 FanDuel points once. However, in his last two games, Big Ben has recorded totals of 25.0 and 29.3 on 42 and 46 pass attempts, respectively.
Week 11 brings about a perfect storm for Ben to continue his hot streak, as the Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars while having the highest implied total on the main slate. To date, Jacksonville is tied for the third-worst mark in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, and they've yielded the third-most fantasy points to opposing passers. In fact, six quarterbacks have managed to amass at least 24.2 fantasy points against the Jags this season.
Look for Ben's production to keep trending up en route to a high-end QB1 finish this week.
2. Mike Davis Totals 110+ Yards and a Touchdown
After Christian McCaffrey went down with an injury in Week 2, Mike Davis ($7,400) knocked off three consecutive 19-plus half-PPR (point per reception) performances. However, things went downhill pretty fast after that, as he averaged just 8.9 fantasy points in the three outings following that hot streak. CMC is out again after suffering a shoulder injury in his return, which puts Davis in a mouth-watering spot for Week 11.
After facing the league's second-rank adjusted run defense last week, Davis gets to square off against the league's worst run defense in the Detroit Lions. On the season, Detroit is surrendering 3.6 more half-PPR points per game to opposing backfields than any other team in the league. To date, a whopping 10 different running backs have already recorded 13.3 or more fantasy points against Detroit, and 7 of those runners topped 19 half-PPR points. Four backs have totaled at least 110 yards against the Lions, and six runners have scored multiple times against this defense. Yikes. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that teams facing the Lions are running at the sixth-highest clip.
Davis accumulated at least 110 yards and a tuddy in two of his outings in McCaffrey's stead, and this is the perfect matchup for him to post gaudy numbers again.
3. Damien Harris Finishes as a Top-10 Running Back
Speaking of defenses you can run against, let me introduce you to the Houston Texans. This season, only the New England Patriots have seen their opponents run at a higher rate than Houston. In fact, teams are running the ball at nearly a 50% clip against the Texans. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why -- the Texans rank third-worst in adjusted run defense. Oh, and they've allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position.
Damien Harris ($5,800) has toted the rock at least 14 times in four of his six outings this season. Of the eight backs to record at least 10 carries against Houston this season, seven of them have scored at least 14.7 half-PPR points.
After accruing 121 yards on 22 carries against Baltimore's top-ranked run-defense last week, Harris should find this week's matchup to be a breeze.
4. Diontae Johnson Scores 18+ Fantasy Points
Ten, 13, 15, 10, and 11 -- that's the number of targets Diontae Johnson ($6,400) has been garnished with in his five fully healthy games this season. In those five contests, Diontae has posted at least 19.2 half-PPR points three times. Could he make it a fourth this week? It's certainly possible.
As I mentioned in the Big Ben blurb, the Jaguars are not very good against the pass...at all. And a number of wideouts have benefitted from their defensive shortcomings. Since Week 5, seven receivers have racked up 15.4 or more fantasy points. Again, that's over a five-game span. Jacksonville has surrendered at least 80 yards to a receiver seven times during that stretch. And to make matters worse, they'll be without rookie first-round cornerback C.J. Henderson for the foreseeable future.
Look for Diontae to take advantage of the great spot he's in this week.
5. Rob Gronkowski Outscores All of Tampa Bay's Receivers (MNF)
Let's face it -- the Los Angeles Rams are a brutal matchup for opposing receivers. On the season, Los Angeles is ceding fewer fantasy points, receiving yards, and touchdowns to wideouts than any other team in the league. Only one wide receiver has amassed more than 13 half-PPR points against the Rams since way back in Week 1.
It's worth noting that the Rams have been nowhere near as stingy against tight ends. As Mike Tagliere notes in his weekly primer, only two teams have faced a higher target share from tight ends than the Rams. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski ($6,200) has been balling of late. Gronk has posted 50 yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six games. He's also third among tight ends in red zone targets since Week 5, which bodes well against a team that's allowed as many scores to tight ends as they have to receivers.
The combination of this being a tough matchup for Tampa's wideouts and a somewhat-friendly one for Gronk increases the possibility of this prediction coming true.