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THE DIVE: Week 11 “Separate from the Pack”

With ten weeks now in the rear view mirror, you and your team have been through the thick of things. You’ve likely won some close battles, been completely blown out, and hopefully are in playoff contention as we begin the homestretch. Although a playoff bye is always an excellent goal for the end of the regular fantasy season (if your league uses that format), simply having a consistent and healthy team is also instrumental if you hope to raise your league’s fantasy trophy!

Except for Los Angeles Rams’ wide receiver Robert Woods who gained 171 receiving yards and two touchdowns last weekend, the scoring leaders for Week 10 were primarily quarterbacks. Cam Newton, Case Keenum, Tom Brady, Jared Goff were among the top scorers. However, several running backs including Mark Ingram, DeMarco Murray, Austin Ekeler, and Alvin Kamara also contributed generously for fantasy owners.

With the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers on bye this week, you likely have some open slots in your starting lineup to fill. Take a dive with me as review several players poised for strong performances in Week 11. The weather forecast appears relatively clear except for light rain expected in the Monday Night Football game in Seattle but that is still a ways off.

QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Sometimes a great football start does not translate into a productive fantasy performance. In the same respect, occasionally a player’s rough game can still be very generous to fantasy owners especially in “garbage time”. Blake Bortles’ play this season seems to have taken a step back, but he has still managed to throw for at least 241 passing yards and a score over the last four games. Bortles has also contributed 191 rushing yards this season. With an attractive matchup against the Cleveland Brown who have allowed the 7th most fantasy points and are tied for the most touchdowns allowed to opposing quarterbacks, Bortles should be a safe start as a low-end QB2 with some decent upside heading into Week 11.

Week 11 forecast: 225 passing yards; 20 rushing yards; 2 TD

RB Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

When Jay Ajayi was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams were tapped to handle the Miami Dolphins’ starting gig. Drake and Williams have split carries over the last two games, but Drake has been significantly more productive with an average of 98 total yards per game. Although the Miami Dolphins’ offense has appeared dismal, Drake still scurried for a 66-yard touchdown and has two runs of 42 yards or more in back to back games. His big play ability will be on full display when the Miami Dolphins welcome their neighbors to the north, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs.   Start Drake as a low-end RB2 or as a Flex with major upside.

Week 11 forecaster: 90 total yards; 1 TD

WR Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens’ offense has been inconsistent and even sluggish at best, but veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has stepped up over the last two games totaling 14 targets for 11 catches yielding 151 receiving yards and a touchdown. With an extra week to heal from his lingering shoulder injury, Maclin should be primed for Week 11 when the Baltimore Ravens host the Green Bay Packers’ who have surrendered the 5th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Over the last three games, Green Bay’s secondary has been extra generous by allowing an average of 15 catches, 231 receiving yards, and at least one touchdown to wideouts. Treat Maclin as a WR3 or potential Flex this weekend.

Week 11 forecaster: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD

TE Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals’ tight end Tyler Kroft has been a respectable replacement for owners that drafted Tyler Eifert this season or another injured tight end. Although he posted a dud last weekend, Kroft has been a solid TE3 option for several weeks in a row. Generally a matchup against the Denver Broncos would be avoided, but not this season. Denver has given up an average of six receptions, 100 receiving yards, and four touchdowns over the last five games to tight ends. Put Kroft on the radar this weekend!

Week 11 forecaster: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD

D/ST Houston Texans

The Houston Texans’ defense was likely one of the top five taken off your draft board. After losing Defensive End J.J. Watt, the defense lost a step. However, the real “nail in the coffin” occurred when quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending injury, which has radically slowed down the offense and resulted in the defense spending more time on the field. Thankfully, Houston’s defense should have a favorable matchup when they welcome the Arizona Cardinals’ whose offense is also in disarray. Arizona’s offense has allowed double-digit points to opposing defenses in two of the last three weeks. With Blaine Gabbert starting for Arizona, Houston should be a strong defensive play.

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.