Week 11 fantasy sleeper candidates and guys who could exceed expectations

Looking for some guys to break out? Tyler Loechner combs through the data to find some names primed for big numbers.

| 7 months ago
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Week 11 fantasy sleeper candidates and guys who could exceed expectations

Opportunity is king, and here at PFF, we’ve been counting each and every chance players have had to score fantasy points. With 10 weeks of the season in the rearview, we’ve compiled a host of fresh data to help us spot who has been making the most of their opportunities. And, subsequently, which defenses have been making the least of theirs.

An opportunity is defined as a rush attempt or a pass route run, so PPO is calculated by dividing total points scored by carries plus routes run. This stat can help you uncover which players are too reliant on volume, and which players could become fantasy studs if they get more opportunities.

We’ll look to use our unique PPO data to attempt to identify some players who will break out in Week 11. Below are some of the players who have been making the most of their opportunities or who have great matchups.

Wide receivers

Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints

Cooks has scored 0.31 PPO so far this year, which ranks tied for 14th among all qualifying wideouts, and on Thursday night, he draws the Carolina Panthers’ secondary, which has given up the ninth-most PPO to opposing wideouts so far this year. It’s a road game for Cooks — and he’s much better at home — but the last time these two teams played, he caught seven of nine targets for 173 yards and a score, all of which were season highs.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Hopkins has been a major disappointment so far this season, but he’s fixing for a huge game soon, and it could come in Week 11 against the Oakland Raiders, who have given up the fifth-most PPO to wideouts this year. After seeing an average of eight targets per game from Weeks 1 to 5, Hopkins has jumped to nearly 11 targets per game from Weeks 6 to 10. This has not translated into big numbers yet, but that type of sustained volume against a burnable Raiders defense could pay dividends.

Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

With Rob Gronkowski expected to miss Week 11, the Patriots figure to look to Hogan to stretch the field. Hogan’s average depth of target is 18.5 yards, fifth among all wideouts and easily the most among New England receivers. The Patriots play the San Francisco 49ers this week, who have given up the second-most PPO to opposing wideouts this year.

Running backs

James Starks, Green Bay Packers

Is Christine Michael going to get 35 carries for 250 yards and six touchdowns just a few days after joining the Packers? Obviously. (Yes, that’s sarcasm, but would anyone be surprised?) But Starks should also find success against the Redskins, who have given up the seventh-most PPO to running backs this year. Starks played 70.5 percent of Green Bay’s snaps last week and managed 10 touches in a blowout loss. This should be a more competitive game, putting Starks in line for 15-plus touches.

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

Crowell is perhaps the least exciting running back in fantasy, but he’s a breakout candidate in Week 11 nonetheless. The Steelers had been giving away fantasy points like candy to running backs long before Ezekiel Elliott roasted them in Week 10. Crowell has scored 0.43 PPO so far this year, which ranks 15th among qualifying running backs — just behind DeMarco Murray’s 0.44.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders

Murray should find success against the Houston Texans on Monday night. The Texans have given up the 11th-most PPO to running backs so far this year — not awful, but well below average. Meanwhile, they have only given up the fourth-least PPO to wide receivers. This sets up well for Murray, who ranks ninth among all qualifying running backs with 0.48 PPO scored this year.

Tight ends

Jesse James and Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers

James could lose some more snaps to Green this week, although Green only played 12 snaps in his return last week. However, the matchup is excellent for both of them, as the Cleveland Browns have given up the most PPO to tight ends so far this season. I’d be willing to stream James in season-long leagues this week, while Green is more of a deep tournament sleeper on DFS sites.

Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

Clay is an uninspiring fantasy tight end who has yet to score a touchdown this year, but he does usually put together one or two strong games each year. His big game in 2016 could come this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have given up the second-most PPO to tight ends on the year.

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert has been fantastic since returning to full health in Week 8. Over the past two games, he has caught 12 passes for 198 yards and a score. So he’s more of a “will continue to breakout” candidate. Eifert takes on the Buffalo Bills, who have given up the eighth-most PPO to tight ends this year. He’s in a great spot to stay hot.

Below is a chart showing the top 20 players at each position in terms of fantasy PPO scored so far this season (minimum 25 percent snaps).

2016 Season PPO Leaders (min. 25% snaps)
WR   RB   TE
Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO
Russell Shepard WR 0.68 Damien Williams RB 0.75 Rob Gronkowski TE 0.44
Arrelious Benn WR 0.56 Ryan Mathews RB 0.64 Martellus Bennett TE 0.42
Tyreek Hill WR 0.53 Tevin Coleman RB 0.59 Vernon Davis TE 0.38
Julio Jones WR 0.42 Mike Gillislee RB 0.55 Levine Toilolo TE 0.35
Taylor Gabriel WR 0.4 LeGarrette Blount RB 0.54 Delanie Walker TE 0.34
Mike Evans WR 0.38 John Kuhn RB 0.53 Hunter Henry TE 0.34
A.J. Green WR 0.36 Ezekiel Elliott RB 0.51 Anthony Fasano TE 0.34
Kendall Wright WR 0.36 Jay Ajayi RB 0.51 Austin Hooper TE 0.33
Antonio Brown WR 0.34 Latavius Murray RB 0.48 Vance McDonald TE 0.32
Rishard Matthews WR 0.34 Jeremy Hill RB 0.47 C.J. Fiedorowicz TE 0.3
Cole Beasley WR 0.34 LeSean McCoy RB 0.46 Greg Olsen TE 0.29
Danny Amendola WR 0.33 Kapri Bibbs RB 0.46 Jimmy Graham TE 0.29
Odell Beckham Jr. WR 0.32 Rob Kelley RB 0.45 Jack Doyle TE 0.28
Brandin Cooks WR 0.31 DeMarco Murray RB 0.44 Ed Dickson TE 0.27
Andre Holmes WR 0.31 Isaiah Crowell RB 0.43 Cameron Brate TE 0.26
Jordan Taylor WR 0.31 Wendell Smallwood RB 0.43 Jordan Reed TE 0.26
Kelvin Benjamin WR 0.3 Mark Ingram RB 0.41 Antonio Gates TE 0.26
Sammie Coates WR 0.3 Matt Forte RB 0.4 Trey Burton TE 0.26
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR 0.3 Jalen Richard RB 0.4 Erik Swoope TE 0.25
Demaryius Thomas WR 0.29 Melvin Gordon RB 0.39 Kyle Rudolph TE 0.24
Michael Crabtree WR 0.29 Spencer Ware RB 0.39 Mychal Rivera TE 0.24
Doug Baldwin WR 0.29
Jamison Crowder WR 0.29
Willie Snead WR 0.29

Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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