The Flexpert: Your featured Flex plays for Week 11
Week 11 is the second of the two six-team bye week hells. Luckily for Fantasy owners, the pain of six teams on a bye is mitigated by the quality of said teams. Of the six, only the Patriots and Browns—a wonderfully weird pairing—will cost you must-start players. The other four teams—the Bills, Dolphins, Jets and 49ers—have about one and a half startable Fantasy players combined.
Week 11 has another fun quirk. Well, it’s fun if you’re deep at wide receiver: a plethora of potential shootouts are expected. The marquee matchup is obviously Rams-Chiefs, but there are plenty others scattered throughout the schedule. Matchups will make more wide receivers good starts. However, as you’ll see based on the running backs on this list, there are a lot of rough rushing matchups this week that will severely limit the quality of Flex running backs.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Sterling Shepard has become a friend of the column with his second straight appearance on the list. He salvaged an incredibly quiet day against the 49ers last week—three targets, two catches for nine yards—with a touchdown and a 27-yard rush, getting him to double-digit fantasy points for the sixth time in nine games. He is the beneficiary of a shootout matchup against the porous’ Buccaneers defense, which is giving up the second-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Eli Manning looked shockingly competent last week, so expect him to throw more in Week 11 as well.
Golden Tate, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles’ newest receiver was fully involved in his first week on the job, seeing just four targets, pulling in two for 19 yards. But he gets the only matchup that could possibly better than Shepard’s: the Saints, who give up the most Fantasy points per game to receivers. The Saints’ DVOA against receivers as a whole is atrocious, but gets even worse against second receivers, which will be Tate thanks to Alshon Jeffery on the other side. They are in dead last by 15 percentage points. They also give up over 100 yards per game to the second receiver. Golden Tate could easily finish with WR1 numbers in this matchup, especially since the Saints’ defense should bottle up the run.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs definitely have the shorter end of the stick of their matchup against the Giants, as New York’s secondary has actually done a good job this season limiting Fantasy points to receivers, allowing the fifth-fewest points per game. However, FitzMagic and Co. are constantly playing from behind, and a stout secondary isn’t going to keep them from passing. At the very least, they certainly aren’t going to try and run their way out of it.
Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions
There really aren’t any sexy Flex plays amongst running backs this week. It’s purely utilitarian. Riddick has been serviceable in PPR leagues the past two weeks, putting up double digits in games against the tough Vikings’ and Bears’ defenses. He is heavily targeted out of the backfield, seeing 15 targets his way over those two games. That shouldn’t change this week in yet another tough defensive matchup against the Panthers, especially if Marvin Jones can’t play.
Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
A more surprisingly unsexy play considering the hype around him to start the season, but Freeman’s ankle sprain was a sad period at the end of a lackluster paragraph. But now that he’s back, he should still at least get some carries to spell Philip Lindsay. Plus, he’s been successful as a goal line back for Denver, punching in four red zone touchdowns this season. He will probably end up touchdown-dependent on eight to 10 carries, but you can do worse at the Flex, especially this week.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
I’d understand if you sold your Christian Kirk stock after a horrid three-point performance against the Chiefs last week. But hear me out: The Cardinals play the Raiders this week. The totally dysfunctional, no offense or defense-having Raiders. While there has been and added emphasis on getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson more in the passing game, a matchup against a Raiders team that allows 14.5 yards per catch to receivers is mighty juicy. Kirk has the speed to get loose for a big play, and this is a golden opportunity for one.
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Washington
With Chris Thompson expected to sit once again, it will be Bibbs spelling Adrian Peterson for the fifth game in a row. While there’s no guarantee that it turns into targets for Bibbs, they aren’t afraid to throw it to him in the red zone, as evidenced by his touchdown in Week Nine against Atlanta. And while Houston has been good against the run this season, they are susceptible to passes out of the backfield to the tune of 7.1 pass attempts and 50.9 yards per game. The floor is low, but there’s a decently high ceiling for Bibbs in Week 11.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Houston Texans
Coming off the bye week, Bill O’Brien and the Texans should have hopefully had enough time to work Thomas into the offense. Washington’s secondary, while populated with big names like Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, has disappointed this season, much to the glee of Fantasy owners. Even if you may still want to think twice about lesser receivers matched up with Norman, that shouldn’t be a problem with Thomas thanks to DeAndre Hopkins being lined up on the other side. Washington is allowing almost 40 Fantasy points per game to the position, and DeShaun Watson is going to throw enough to exploit that deficiency.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
This could come back to bite you at any point, but in Leonard Fournette’s first game back, Yeldon was still involved in the passing game, especially late as the Jaguars tried to claw their way back into the game. He managed to get up to 11 points on the day, extending his streak of double-digits PPR days to seven. Pittsburgh poses a threat to that streak, as they are one of the best defenses in the league at shutting down passes to running backs. However, if the Jaguars are still looking to pace Fournette, it looks like Yeldon will be the back they do it with. It’s a risky play, but could be worth it in PPR leagues.
Deep League Plays
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
I know I just wrote why Golden Tate is going to have a breakout game this week, but there will be plenty of opportunities for momma bird Carson Wentz to feed his hatchlings against the Saints. Agholor surprised last week—as he is wont to randomly do—picking up 83 on five catches (seven targets), easily out-pacing Tate. If you’re desperate for a Flex, you can do worse than “literally any receiver playing the Saints.”
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints
This is Smith’s last chance from me, I swear. He went from “capably filling in for Ted Ginn” to “the Saints need to sign another receiver ASAP” in a hurry, bottoming out last week when he didn’t see a single target. And while the Saints did sign Dez Bryant Brandon Marshall, he won’t be ready for this week and may not do much more than become a red zone threat once he is. Smith will get another chance to prove his worth against a kind of quietly ragged Eagles secondary that is giving up the fifth-most Fantasy points to wide receivers. If there’s any bounce back opportunity for Smith, it’s Week 11, where both sides should be throwing a lot.
Maurice Harris, WR, Washington
A took a stand against Harris last week, suggesting Josh Doctson instead. While that wasn’t a horrible call on my part—Doctson caught all four of his targets for 46 yards and a score—Harris had another solid week, though not to his Week Nine levels. He caught all five of his targets for 52 yards. Doctson’s value over the past two weeks has been tied to his ability to get into the end zone, but Houston has only allowed six touchdown receptions to receivers. Harris is more of a threat to have a big game without needed to score. If you’re stuck choosing between Washington receivers for a Flex this week, first off I’m sorry, and second I would go with Harris.