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Week 11 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Biggest Surprises in Top 10

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 27:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Falcons 27-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

At several positions, this is an odd week of fantasy football. At quarterback, several top options have brutal matchups. At running back, the elite herd thins out quickly. At wide receiver, several surprising options should emerge among the week's top performers. 

It can be difficult to know when to trust a player's ability over a tough matchup—or when to ignore trends and take a chance on a player—but I'm here to help. I'll take a look at some of the biggest surprises set to crash the top-10 rankings at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end.

Notes: Points against stats via ESPN. Point totals are for standard-scoring leagues. The St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys are on a bye. 

 

Quarterbacks

Week 11 Quarterback Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles28
2Nick FolesPhiladelphia EaglesWashington25
3Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersNew England Patriots24
4Matt StaffordDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers22
5Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ers21
6Peyton ManningDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs20
7Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings18
8Andy DaltonCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns17
9Case KeenumHouston TexansOakland Raiders17
10Matt RyanAtlanta FalconsTampa Bay Buccaneers16

Nick Foles ahead of Matt Stafford, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning? Andy Dalton, Case Keenum and Matt Ryan rounding out the top 10?

Yes, there are some surprises in the top 10.

Foles has thrown for 10 touchdowns and registered 67 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in the past two weeks. He's scored 22 or more fantasy points in three of his four starts and faces a Washington defense allowing 18.2 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 26th in the NFL

So yes, Foles earns his No. 2 ranking this week, especially since Stafford takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers (fourth in pass defense), Brees faces the San Francisco 49ers (eighth in pass defense), Manning gets the Kansas City Chiefs (sixth in pass defense) and Cam Newton faces the New England Patriots (12th in pass defense).

Dalton and Ryan have been inconsistent in recent weeks, but both have solid matchups. Besides, with Colin Kaepernick playing poorly, Tom Brady facing a brutal matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Aaron Rodgers hurt and Tony Romo on a bye, the pickings are pretty slim at the position. 

That also opens up the door for Case Keenum, who has registered an impressive 60 fantasy points in his three starts and now faces an Oakland Raiders team giving up 18.1 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 24th in the NFL.

Don't be afraid to get creative at quarterback this week. 

 

Running Backs

Week 11 Running Back Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia EaglesWashington22
2Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksMinnesota Vikings21
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsDenver Broncos19
4Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsSeattle Seahawks18
5Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersNew Orleans Saints17
6Reggie BushDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers17
7Alfred MorrisWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles16
8Matt ForteChicago BearsBaltimore Ravens15
9Giovani BernardCincinnati BengalsCleveland Browns14
10Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersNew York Giants13

To be honest, there aren't any major surprises on this list. All of the players included have been quite good this year.

No, the surprises come when you start looking at which players were left off. Stevan Ridley has posted four straight weeks with double-digit fantasy points, but he faces a Panthers team giving up just 11.9 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, fifth in the NFL.

Knowshon Moreno is averaging 14.4 fantasy points per week, but he faces a Chiefs defense giving up just 12.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, sixth in the NFL.

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Peyton Manning #18 hands the ball off to Knowshon Moreno #27 of the Denver Broncos against the San Diego Chargers during their game on November 10, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Ge

And then there is Chris Johnson facing an Indianapolis Colts defense that gives up just 13 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs, ninth in the NFL.  

So no, there aren't many surprises in the top 10. But good luck getting much production from your RB2 this week. 

 

Wide Receivers

Week 11 Wide Receiver Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsPittsburgh Steelers23
2DeSean JacksonPhiladelphia EaglesWashington20
3Brandon MarshallChicago BearsBaltimore Ravens19
4Josh GordonCleveland BrownsCincinnati Bengals18
5Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta Falcons16
6Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs15
7Andre JohnsonHouston TexansOakland Raiders14
8Pierre GarconWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles14
9Larry FitzgeraldArizona CardinalsJacksonville Jaguars13
10Antonio BrownPittsburgh SteelersDetroit Lions13

Without question, the biggest surprises come at the wide receiver position. No A.J. Green in the top 10? Pierre Garcon, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Brown all earning WR1 designations this week?

Let's get into it.

I broke down in further detail here why I think A.J. Green has limited upside this week, and it's due to a tough matchup against Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden. You should still be starting Green, but don't expect a huge performance. 

Garcon faces a Philadelphia Eagles defense that gives up 29.6 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week, worst in the NFL, and he had seven receptions for 64 yards against it in the first meeting, so he's a great start. 

Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) celebrates his touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY S

Fitzgerald has been the picture of inconsistency thus far—though we can chalk that up to the play of Carson Palmer, not Fitz himself—but he faces a Jacksonville Jaguars team he should torch. Yes, Jacksonville has been better against the pass than the run, but the Jags don't have anyone capable of slowing down Fitzgerald. 

Finally, Antonio Brown has scored double-digit fantasy points the past two weeks and has seven or more points in seven games this season. The Detroit Lions give up 27.4 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per game, 30th in the NFL, so Brown will get his. 

 

Tight Ends

Week 11 Tight End Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ers17
2Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsCarolina Panthers17
3Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsCincinnati Bengals15
4Vernon Davis*San Francisco 49ersNew Orleans Saints14
5Jordan ReedWashingtonPhiladelphia Eagles13
6Tony GonzalezAtlanta FalconsTampa Bay Buccaneers13
7Julius ThomasDenver BroncosKansas City Chiefs11
8Antonio GatesSan Diego ChargersMiami Dolphins10
9Timothy WrightTampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta Falcons9
10Greg OlsenCarolina PanthersNew England Patriots9
*If he plays

The pickings are so slim at tight end, there really aren't any surprises here.

Perhaps people will be wary of starting Julius Thomas against a Kansas City defense that has given up just 2.9 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, best in the NFL, but are you really going to sit him for an inferior option like Rob Housler or John Carlson?

Me neither. For now, stick with your studs. 

 

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and wonder how the New Orleans Saints could earn almost as many first downs (40) on Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys ran plays (43).

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