7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 11
Sleeper is an ambiguous term. I'm defining anyone on less than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper in the interest of providing clarity. Typically, I'll aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters. However, this provides me some wiggle room.
Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or player on bye on your roster -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool for a sleeper.
While it should go without saying, the featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week. The honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.
Cam Newton (17%) - Newton didn't take long to endear himself to Carolina Panthers fans in his return to the team last week. In a change-of-pace role, he produced a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown on four pass attempts and three rush attempts. This week, he's getting the majority of the first-team reps in preparation to start against the Washington Football Team.
The matchup is dreamy, as the Football Team is the third-worst pass defense in our power rankings. In addition, according to Pro Football Reference, Washington's surrendered the seventh-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this year despite having had their bye already. Further, the matchup should be even cushier with Chase Young injured.
Even in an underwhelming year as a passer in 2020, Newton continued to produce value by rushing for 39.5 yards per game and 12 scores. As a result, he is the QB10 for Week 11 in our projections.
Rhamondre Stevenson (33%) - Stevenson steamrolled the Cleveland Browns last week. He toted the rock 20 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns, adding four receptions for 14 yards on five targets. Unfortunately, according to Pro Football Focus, Stevenson ran only nine routes. Therefore, there are two ways to read the situation. First, he's unlikely to maintain his pace of a 55.6 percent target per route run rate. Second, it's encouraging Mac Jones utilized him when he ran a route. So, if he runs a few more routes, he can offset a downturn in target per route run rate.
Still, I'm burying the lead. Stevenson's Week 11 outlook is chiefly tied to the availability of Damien Harris. Harris is still in the concussion protocol after sustaining one in Week 9. The third-year running back was listed as a non-participant on Monday's estimated practice report. Yet, he was reportedly in attendance at Tuesday's practice. Unfortunately, Harris has a quick turnaround to clear the NFL's concussion protocol with the New England Patriots playing on Thursday night.
If Harris is out, Stevenson is a locked-in RB2. However, Stevenson is only a fringe RB2 option if Harris is back, with Harris potentially reclaiming his spot atop the ball-carrier pecking order. Still, you can't put the genie back in the bottle after Stevenson's eye-catching performance last week. So, I expect him to have some role in the backfield from now on.
Additionally, according to our heat map, the Pats are commanding 7.0-point favorites with an implied total of 27.25 points in a plus matchup. The Atlanta Falcons are the 10th-worst rushing defense in our power rankings. For now, Stevenson is RB24 in our projections.
D'Onta Foreman (6%) - Jeff Wilson is listed below as an honorable mention. He will leapfrog Foreman for this spot if Elijah Mitchell's broken finger sidelines him this week. I harbor enough concern about the San Francisco 49ers' backfield devolving into a full-blown running-back-by-committee situation if Mitchell is out to list Foreman here instead of suggesting a stash on Wilson until there's more clarity on Mitchell's Week 11 outlook.
Unfortunately, Foreman finds himself in a committee. However, he has a more favorable layout. The Tennessee Titans are the second-biggest favorites this week, laying 10.5 points to the visiting Houston Texans. Further, the Texans own the 12th-worst run defense in our power rankings. According to Sharp Football Stats, they allow the eighth-highest average explosive run rate (13 percent) this season.
Foreman might have the speed to take advantage of Houston's inability to contain explosive runs. According to Player Profiler, Foreman had a 94th percentile speed score when he was drafted in 2017. Unfortunately, he ruptured his Achilles in his rookie year, so he might not possess the same straight-line speed. Regardless, I believe he is the best bet in Tennessee's backfield, even in potentially less explosive post-injury form.
According to our snap counts, Foreman played the highest percentage of snaps among Tennessee's running back -- albeit at an unexciting 31.34 percent snap share -- in Week 10. He also led the backfield last week in carries (11), rushing yards (30), receptions (two), and receiving yards (48). As a result, he is RB31 in our projections, making him an adequate emergency fill-in at running back.
The veteran slot wideout has played five games -- exiting early in two -- for the New York Giants this year. In those five contests, Daniel Jones attempted 187 passes, directing a team-high 42 Shepard's way for team-leading marks of 31 receptions, 305 yards, and 302 Air Yards. Shepard is fourth among qualified players with 6.4 receptions per game, producing 64.8 receiving yards per game as well.
Shepard is too widely available for a player producing at his level. He's a borderline WR2 in full-point point-per-reception (PPR) formats. However, he's also a rock-solid option in FanDuel's half-point PPR format, projecting as WR48 this week. I rank him in a tier above the other receiver sleepers for this week, with the bonus of having the best long-term outlook of the wideouts.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (28%) - Peoples-Jones is a boom-or-bust wideout in a plus matchup for his skill-set. He's a field-stretcher, as evidenced by an average depth of target of 17.5 yards downfield that's seventh-deepest among players targeted at least 15 times this year, per Sports Info Solutions. This week, he faces a defense that coughs up big passing plays in bunches. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Detroit Lions are allowing the second-highest average explosive pass rate (12%).
Peoples-Jones' vertical usage increases volatility. However, there are a few intriguing underlying numbers that might help elevate his floor a pinch. In Week 9 and Week 10, he is second on the Cleveland Browns in routes (48), tied for first in targets (eight), and first in receiving yards (102). The expansion in his offensive role could yield a few more opportunities. Still, he's a risky option, and you'd be better served using Jamal Agnew or Danny Amendola from the honorable mentions if a higher floor is a better roster fit for your matchup this week.
Marcus Johnson (1%) - Johnson appears to directly benefit from Julio Jones' absence. In Week 5, Week 8, and Week 10 without Jones, Johnson is second on the Titans in routes (65), targets (14), receptions (nine), and receiving yards (160). Further, among players on the team with more than 10 routes, he is second with 2.46 yards per route run in those games. Unsurprisingly, he also earned his highest snap shares in those weeks.
The fifth-year pro did his part to lay claim to a continued steady role in the offense with a big showing last week. He torched the Saints for five receptions and 100 receiving yards. Johnson has a much easier matchup this week, too. The opposing Texans are the seventh-worst pass defense in our power rankings. Additionally, receivers are torching them for 13.92 yards per reception.
Johnson is projected as WR49 this week, putting him just one spot behind the previously touted Shepard. He is my second-favorite sleeper at receiver this week, aligning with our projections for the receivers highlighted in this piece.
Cole Kmet (18%) - I teased Kmet when touting Tyler Conklin, Dan Arnold, and Gerald Everett in 3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 11 earlier this week. He was a tough cut with Justin Fields playing better lately, and the Chicago Bears coming off of their bye.
Fields has attempted 172 passes in his starts this year, and Kmet is third on FIelds' passes in starts for Air Yards (377) and receiving yards (242), tied for second in receptions (22), and second in targets (36). He is also third in those games for routes (174).
Kmet's in decent form lately as well. He has three or more receptions in four straight games, going over 40 yards in three of those games. Finally, he has a favorable matchup against the Baltimore Ravens this week. Baltimore's allowed the third-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends this year. He is projected as TE13 this week, putting him right on the cusp of starter territory in 12-team leagues.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.