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Speaking of atrocities, Week 11 rolled out the red carpet of injuries, yet again, and your fantasy lineups are now thinner than ever. For that reason, I’m going to throw in a deep sleeper pick this week. Good luck, keep your heads up, and lock your lineups down!
Wendell Smallwood (RB - PHI) VS. GB ($4,000 - FantasyAces)
This one has a big asterisk by it, because the master of illusion (particularly disappearing then reappearing when least convenient), Ryan Mathews, is nursing a sprained MCL. While I believe he will get enough of a market share of touches to put up at least decent flex numbers, he should be a high level RB2/ borderline RB1 if Mathews doesn’t suit up. This poses a bit of a quandary, as this is the Monday night game, so grab James Starks off the waiver wire if he isn’t already gone, or have another option from the Eagles or Packers to plug in. Keep your eyes on the NFL Inactives Report prior to game time.
RANKING: ALESMITH SPEEDWAY STOUT BOURBON BARREL AGED
Rashad Jennings (RB - NYG) @ CLE ($5,000 - FantasyAces)
The Browns ineptitude at defending against the rush only pales in comparison to that of the 49ers. Also, head coach Ben McAdoo has definitely stated that the job now belongs to Jennings, who has recently distanced himself from newcomer Paul Perkins. A Giants’ head coach making a definitive statement about a starting running back is rarer than a win for San Francisco or even Cleveland. Until he hurts himself again, Rashad is likely to be “the guy” for the G-Men.
RANKING: 3FLOYDS DREADNAUGHT IIPA
Rishard Matthews (WR - TEN) @ CHI ($4,800 - FantasyAces)
This guy just keeps getting it done, so I’m boarding the train. Chicago’s secondary leaves much to be desired, while Rishard’s play has been more than desirable. Also, the Titans' passing game continues to be a target rich environment with Marcus Mariota playing top level football. Start him confidently as a WR2 with high potential upside.
RANKING: HILL FARMSTEAD BREWERY ABNER IIPA
Zach Ertz (TE - PHI) VS. GB ($4,200 - FantasyAces)
Ertz has finally shown some consistency. He has been targeted 26 times in the last three weeks, and has amassed 20 receptions for 187 yards and and 1 touchdown. Following a very respectable stat line at Seattle (6-35-1), Zach gets three cream puff match ups in a row, starting with Green Bay this week, who’s secondary has left the building, literally. They’ve lost half their starting corners and a few safeties, as well. I’m expecting good things from Ertz over the next few outings.
RANKING: BELL'S HOPSLAM
Derek Carr (QB - OAK) VS. CAR ($6,500 - FantasyAces)
I am definitely “in the Carr” for this week’s ride against a middling Panthers defense. Carolina is a mess, and Carr should take advantage of that in front of an extremely charged up fan base. The Raiders are good again, and they seem to be supplanting the Broncos as the best team in the AFC West division.
RANKING: EVIL TWIN DOUBLE BARREL JESUS
Colin Kaepernick (QB - SF) @ MIA ($6,300 - FantasyAces)
Put away the smelling salts, you heard me right. I am picking a 49er. Why? I’ve always liked Kaep. Plus, he has a cause now that’s bigger than football. Causes light fires under people's asses. Many people do not understand his position, much like with the team he’s on. But Colin has been working his ass off with some of the best names in recent NFL QB coaching history. He’s matured and his mechanics have improved. Moreover, any quarterback who can put up the numbers Kaep has in the last few weeks, with such a craphole team around him, definitely deserves to be in the starter conversation, pending a good matchup. His legs are as good as they’ve ever been, and he’s passing way better. Start him as a solid QB2 this week.
RANKING: SURLY DARKNESS
Terrance West (RB - BAL) VS. CIN ($4,550 - FantasyAces)
West is a perfect example of “chasing the points” while ignoring a key fact: He’s just not that good. Put any mediocre back in a decent system with a “lead back” philosophy (as opposed to a “running back by committee), and you’re bound to get some decent production. And with Kenneth Dixon nipping at his heels, he’s just not a trustable option from week to week.
RANKING: MILLER LITE ICE
Isaiah Crowell (RB - CLE) VS. NYG ($4,100 - FantasyAces)
Here, again, we have the same phenomenon that we have experienced with Terrance West. He’s just not that good. His stats weren’t impressive the last two years, so why would we expect more now from him, as he festers away with a team that’s even worse this year? I may “eat crow” on this one, but I doubt it.
RANKING: DARK HORSE BREWING LAMBEAK WANTS BLOOD ORANGE
Travis Kelce (TE - KC) VS. DEN ($4,600 - FantasyAces)
While he has definitely had a better season, he’s in the wrong system for tight ends to show off their true talent, and Kelce has talent for days. But, given a healthy Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward, Denver’s secondary should prove a big obstacle for the athletic footballer.
RANKING: OLD MILWAUKEE
New York Jets (DEF) VS. NE ($2,700 - FantasyAces)
This may seem like a no brainer, but the Jets have had a pretty decent fantasy defense up until recently, and Angry Tom Brady is visiting their house with a mission to destroy. I imagine Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium is going to look something like this.
RANKING: HARBOE YELLOW
Jeffrey Gray is a fire spinner, actor, fitness consultant, and works with M.D. and Osteopathic students on clinical skills. Fantasy Football has ruined his life, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Unless, squirrel! You can reach him on Twitter @graydog or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff "The Guru" Gray owns Gray Area Fitness, has a BA in Biology from Whittier College, works with osteopathic and medical students at 2 universities, is an avid shooter, acts, writes, and spins fire. Animal lover, Burner, traveller, fantasy football analyst, he's just your typical Tourette's/A.D.D. kid from the suburbs. He currently looks after his codependent dog and neurotic cat. Passion and experience sums it up for The Guru, and new destinations, great shows, cars, and crazy animal adventures are always within his purvey.