Top Draftstreet Football Values for Week 11
If you started Rishard Matthews, Tavon Austin and Ryan Fitzpatrick in your Draftstreet lineup last week, can I please borrow the crystal ball you used? The 2013 fantasy football season has been what I would call an exercise in futility for those of us who spent countless hours coming up with preseason rankings. It’s also left many of us feeling a bit like Taco from The League when Sunday night rolls around.
Either way you put up, one of the funnest aspects of this part of the season is starting anew with daily leagues. Here at Pro Football Focus this season, it has been our ultimate goal to help you work out the kinks and find value in all fantasy formats. This weekly article is no different.
In what has been a weekly article here at Pro Football Focus, we will be providing readers with the top Draftstreet football values in weekly leagues.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
If you want a chance to win $2.5 million in guaranteed prizes on Draftstreet this year, you are going to have to get creative. The idea here is to find values up and down the board to fill out your weekly rosters so that you are able to actually pick up a couple of the elite fantasy options that remain in Week 8.
As a reminder, check out their qualifier league that enables 40 Players qualify for the Championship Event.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs ($11,657)
Smith is on pace to tally less than 20 touchdowns and has only put up QB1 numbers once in his last six starts. Heck, he’s gone without a passing touchdown five times this season. With all that being said, he’s the 16th-ranked fantasy quarterback through 10 weeks. Just think about that for a second. It’s called being consistently mediocre from a fantasy standpoint.
At under 12 percent of your total cap and going up against a Denver Broncos defense that has yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Smith represents pretty decent upside here. The most intriguing aspect of his matchup against Peyton Manning and the Broncos is that he will be put in the situation of having to throw for more yards than we have seen in Kansas City’s first nine games. While this might not translate to tremendous success on the field, it does indicate that he’s going to put up top-10 fantasy numbers.
Draftreet guarantees 2-3 qualifiers per week. Week 1 through Week 14 of the NFL season. While Smith hasn’t been a consistently great fantasy option this season, our suggestion here is that you ride him and take a shot at qualifying.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals ($10,795)
Palmer is yet another veteran quarterback who might fly under the fantasy radar. The fact that he’s on pace to throw 27 interceptions this season doesn’t seem to indicate that he’s anywhere near a decent fantasy option on a given week.
That’s just on the surface.
Arizona is going up against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that we grade out as the 24th-best pass defense in the NFL and has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. With Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts to throw to, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Palmer cannot put up QB1 numbers. Since Andre Ellington (more on him later) started seeing more playing time at running back, Palmer’s numbers have been on the upswing. He’s completing 66 percent of his passes for 413 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions over the last two games.
Scott Tolzien, QB, Green Bay Packers ($10,217)
Fun Fact: Tolzien threw for more yards last week than either Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson have thrown for in a single game since Week 1. Let that soak in while I advise that you rely on the young quarterback as a starting option this week. Despite throwing two interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, Tolzien played darn good football in a pinch. With a week of practice reps under his belt, he should be even more comfortable going up against the New York Giants this week.
Speaking of the Giants, they rank in the bottom 12 of the NFL against fantasy quarterbacks but have been deadly against the ground game. We grade them out as the sixth-best run defense in the entire NFL. This seems to indicate that Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy will have his hands full come Sunday. If so, Tolzien will be put in a position to rack up a lot of yards and accumulate a few different scoring opportunities. As the 26th-most expensive quarterback in Draftstreet leagues, this is a no brainer.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($9,116)
This rookie from Clemson ranks sixth among running backs in fantasy points per opportunity and is averaging a whopping 7.7 yards per touch this season. He’s also tallied 235 yards 30 touches over the past two games. Needless to say, Bruce Arians and Co. are finding a way to get him the ball more often recently, and it has paid off.
Ellington faces a Jaguars’ defense that is giving up over 160 total yards per game and the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. We also grade them out second-to-last in the NFL against the run. At barely over nine percent of your Draftstreet cap, Ellington represents tremendous upside. He’s their 17th-most expensive running back in Week 11. Qualifiers range from $22 to $420 in Draftstreet’s Championship Leagues. Why not take a shot on Ellington to put you over the top?
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers ($7,684)
When given an opportunity this season, Mathews has played darn good football. As surprising as this might sound to the fantasy football community, it’s the honest truth. He’s averaging over four yards per carry and has tallied 305 rushing yards over the course of San Diego’s last four games. Even as San Diego’s second-most expensive runing back in Draftstreet leagues this week, Mathews represents both upside and value. It definitely doesn’t hurt that he’s going up against a Miami Dolphins defense that is giving up the second-most fantasy points to running backs in 2013.
Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens ($4,409)
Good news for Pierce’ fans. Baltimore’s coaching staff has indicated that it plans to share carries between the young running back and Ray Rice moving forward this season. What might be cause for alarm for those who own Rice in standard fantasy leagues could end up being a goldmine in daily leagues. Pierce hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot in the running game this year, but all the indicators are there for him to have success against a Chicago Bears defense that ranks 26th in the NFL against fantasy running backs and grades out as our worst run defense in the league through 10 weeks. Just think about that for a second, guys. At under 4.5 percent of your cap, Pierce is only valued as a back-end FLEX option. With that said, he provides mid-tier RB2 upside.
Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($10,344)
Were Cooper’s last two performances nothing more than a fluke? After all, they represent the two-best fantasy performances of his career. The former Florida standout has tallied eight receptions for 241 yards and five scores in those two games. It can’t be a coincidence that this uptick in performance from Cooper happened right when Nick Foles decided it was time to break out. With these two new backfield mates at the top of their game, a disastrous Washington Redskins defense doesn’t really stand much of a chance in Week 11.
Washington is yielding an average of over 29 fantasy points to starting receivers this season. It also boasts a cornerback trio that has received a -14.2 grade in coverage this season. That’s not exactly going to get it done. Cooper will likely be facing Josh Wilson, who has given up a 114.2 quarterback rating when targeted in 2013. In addition, Foles has a 153.3 quarterback rating when targeting Cooper this season. At just over 10 percent of your cap and as the 16th-most expensive Draftstreet receiver this week, Cooper’s upside is just plain ridiculous.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins ($4,237)
Prior to last week, Matthews had put up less than 100 receiving yards and zero scores in eight games of action. He was wasting away on a suddenly deep group of wide receivers in Miami, tallying just 16 targets and coming away with 10 catches. This all changed when Miami’s normal slot receiver Brandon Gibson went down with a season-ending injury against the New England Patriots in late October.
Matthews recorded a ridiculous 11 catches for 120 yards and two scores, all career highs. The most interesting dynamic here was that the Nevada product was targeted a total of 14 times. Matthews and the Dolphins now go up against a San Diego Chargers defense that has allowed the seventh-most points to fantasy receivers this season. At just over four percent of your cap, Matthews could be bought as a FLEX guy in Drafstreet league and provide WR2 upside. That’s pretty solid value right there.
Qualifier winners receive flight and accommodations to Las Vegas on December 15th for Championship Event. I am pretty sure that none of you had Matthews on the radar prior to the season. Heck, I didn’t. Now just imagine if he helps you win a trip to Vegas around Christmas time.
Zach Miller, TE, Seattle Seahawks ($4,281)
Miller might have been held to zero catches against the Atlanta Falcons last week, but he’s been a target of Russell Wilson’s in the red zone and will be going up against a Minnesota Vikings defense that is yielding an averaging of 55 yards and one score to opposing tight ends this season. Some seem to believe that the veteran might be handcuffed by rookie Luke Willson, who has 15 targets compared to Miller’s 25 this season, I really like his matchup against a Vikings’ secondary without the services of Harrison Smith. At barely over four percent of your cap room, Miller could provide solid FLEX upside, especially in PPR formats.