Week 11 Fantasy Football Flex Rankings With Friday Five

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Top 75 Fantasy Football Flex Rankings

It’s Friday, again, and with it, time to address five of the most pressing items facing fantasy owners headed into the weekend. Up against the trade deadline and with the playoffs just around the corner, now more than ever fantasy owners need to look out not only for their own teams, but for options, matchups, and trends that pave the path ahead.

1. The Quarterback Roulette, Part One: Chicago
It’s unlikely anyone outside the deepest of leagues will need to use Jason Campbell, Byron Leftwich, or Nick Foles this weekend, but the larger question looms: what happens to the rest of the fantasy-relevant players on their respective teams? Let’s start in Chicago. Brandon Marshall remains a number one, in my book. As Campbell said it himself, both he and Cutler “move around” and have a “big arm,” so in some regards, not much changes. Moreover, let us not forget last season in Miami. That is to say: Marshall has shown he can be productive with sub-par quarterback play. Aside from the Bears Defense, the only other fantasy-relevant player on the team is Matt Forte. Let’s be honest: the Bears should have used him more before the Cutler injury. If they can’t figure out to do so after, then rookie offensive coordinator Mike Tice should go the way of ex-Laker Mike Brown.

2. The Quarterback Roulette, Part Two: Philadelphia
...Actually perhaps I was too hasty on Foles. The Redskins are 3rd-worst against the quarterback in terms of fantasy points allowed, but here’s the kicker: in nine games this season they have given up double-digit fantasy points to opposing passers in every single game, with a season-low of 13 points (allowed twice). I could actually see using him in 12-team leagues, especially if you’re suffering because you lost Cutler, Michael Vick, or Ben Roethlisberger. While the matchup this week couldn’t get any better for Foles, how about moving forward? The Eagles, to me, are an interesting case this season because they’ve already been underperforming significantly on offense. Lesean McCoy hasn’t found the endzone as frequently while Jeremy Maclin has been banged up and inconsistent. In a limited sample size (last week), Foles looked Maclin’s way fairly frequently. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see McCoy receiving a few added touches to keep the pressure off of the rookie. Another argument, which I will admit is not the strongest, is simply this: can they honestly get much worse (in terms of fantasy production)? I doubt it. In the case of the Eagles, I think the forced game of quarterback roulette most hurts Desean Jackson, who was actually turning in a fairly solid season (tied for 25th in most standard-scoring formats). Until we see what Foles can do down the field and more of his accuracy (Jackson isn’t a big target who can go up and get an errant pass), I’m wary of his impact on Jackson. Though, for the record, am still playing D-Jax this week against a terrible ‘Skins secondary. One blown coverage most certainly DOES a fantasy day make.

3. The Quarterback Roulette, Part Three: Pittsburgh
It is in Pittsburgh where I think the loss of their quarterback stings the most. I have listened to and read other fantasy analysts who believe the loss of Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t signal “the end” and “doom” for the value of Pittsburgh’s passing game’s fantasy stars, but despite their arguments I categorically disagree. This season, Pittsburgh has seen some success on the ground, and I believe they want to win that way: with Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall, and Isaac Redman pounding it out. Especially now that Roethlisberger is out, I would expect a renewed focus on the run game. Last week, after Big Ben went out, Heath Miller stayed in to give the slow-moving, slow-delivering Byron Leftwich added time to find his target. While Leftwich still has a big arm with which to find Mike Wallace, he’s simply not Big Ben. I don’t know what adjustments the Steelers make to their playbook (if any), but I do expect Wallace’s value to take a significant hit until Roethlisberger is able to return. Everything I said about Wallace also applies to the still-injured Antonio Brown, who isn’t due back for a week or two (at the earliest), anyway.

4. The Green Bay Packers
Fantasy Nation would be wise to turn it’s collective head towards Detroit this weekend, where the Packers take on the Lions in what many are predicting to be a shootout. But, game aside, the Packers alone have many questions surrounding their team which could have serious impacts on the fantasy stretch. Namely:
1) Is Jordy Nelson “back?” Even if he plays, how fast does he look? Are the hamstring issues fully behind him? We all know Nelson has top-10 potential, and owners would love to have him back in their lineups moving forward.
2) What does the split look like this week between James Starks and Alex Green? In week nine, Starks had 17 carries to Green’s 11. Green remains the better pass-catcher and quicker back, but if he reverts to his week 6-8 form (where he averaged 2.49 YPC), Starks could gain fantasy value in a hurry.
3) How far away is Greg Jennings? I’m already curious about what Nelson’s return does to the value of Randall Cobb and James Jones. If Jennings can also make it back onto the field within the next couple weeks, we may be talking about dropping one of the productive Packer WR backups before the start of December.

5. Mr. Charles-In-Charge (Maybe?)
Last week, the Chiefs gave the ball to Jamaal Charles and good things happened. In the second half, they shifted away from Charles (why?) and lost to a Roethlisberger-less Steelers team that couldn’t move the ball or string together significant drives. I don’t get it. No one does. Feed. Charles. The. Rock. Why is that such a difficult winning formula? Kansas City’s defense actually looked quite strong (another reason I don’t trust the Leftwich era in Pittsburgh), but they decided to get Peyton Hillis and Matt Cassel more involved in the second half which, ultimately, led to the Chiefs’ demise at the hands of an overtime interception. To date, the Kansas City coaches and, most notably, OC Brian Dabol, haven’t proven they are competent enough to recognize a good thing when they have it. But that has to change if they value their jobs, right? Right?

Week 11 Top 75
Updated with the latest news we have through Friday.

1. Arian Foster
2. Doug Martin
3. Ray Rice
4. Calvin Johnson
5. Jimmy Graham
6. AJ Green
7. Jamaal Charles
8. Reggie Wayne
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Trent Richardson
11. Stevan Ridley
12. Lesean McCoy
13. Alfred Morris
14. Demaryius Thomas
15. Roddy White

The Big Boys
The name I’m most nervous about on this list? Stevan Ridley. This game has the makings of a shootout, and Danny Woodhead is the Patriots passing-down back. Ray Rice has been mildly disappointing thus far, but I have a feeling he turns it on sooner or later. Reggie Wayne has a dream matchup, and that plus targets plus talent equals fantasy awesome. Trent Richardson should continue to be a workhorse. I am very excited to see what Martin does this week against an awful Panthers defense, but still doubt he can repeat weeks eight and nine. Roddy White’s value may increase if Julio Jones is inactive.

16. Marques Colston
17. Wes Welker
18. Frank Gore
19. Matt Forte
20. Denarius Moore
21. Eric Decker
22. Brandon Marshall
23. Tony Gonzalez
24. Jordy Nelson
25. Vincent Jackson
26. Steve Smith
27. Miles Austin
28. Steven Jackson
29. Willis McGahee
30. Julio Jones

Yeah, I think I’d play Eric Decker over Brandon Marshall this week. Every choice depends on situation, we know that, but consider this choice: Peyton Manning versus the Chargers or Jason Campbell versus the 49ers. It may be the wrong call, but I’ll live with it. Julio Jones comes in at 30 because of, obviously, injury concerns. If I had to make a guess now, I’d say he doesn’t play. Miles Austin seems a bit high until we recognize that the Browns are 4th-worst against wide receivers, allowing 25 points per game in standard scoring to the position. Steve Smith is the winner of the contest, “Who gets to play the Bucs secondary this week?”

31. Marcel Reece
32. Steven Jackson
33. Dez Bryant
34. Randall Cobb
35. Andre Johnson
36. Antonio Gates
37. Jason Witten
38. Ryan Matthews
39. Larry Fitzgerald
40. Mike Wallace
41. Michael Turner
42. Darren Sproles
43. Mikel Leshoure
44. LaRod Stephens-Howling
45. Jeremy Maclin

And The Winner Is?
...and Marcel Reece is the winner of the contest, “Who gets to play New Orleans?” Also, Antonio Gates wins the category, “Which tight end plays the Broncos?” I’ve seen multiple reports that suggest Darren Sproles is fine and will return to his normal role this weekend, but... wow? He is two weeks removed from having surgery on a broken hand and Chris Ivory has emerged as a viable option in Sproles’ absence. I don’t think the Saints need to rush him back and am a bit surprised to see him designated as probable this weekend. The line above pertaining to Miles Austin also works for Dez Bryant and, to a lesser extent, Jason Witten, who the Cowboys use in the passing game like a receiver, anyway. I really loathe ranking Michael Turner this high, though he does have a nice matchup and also still wears a Falcons jersey.

46. Jonathan Dwyer
47. Rashard Mendenhall
48. Danny Amendola
49. Jonathan Stewart
50. Desean Jackson
51. Torrey Smith
52. Dwayne Bowe
53. James Jones
54. Donald Brown
55. Brandon Myers
56. Brandon Lloyd
57. Owen Daniels
58. Cecil Shorts
59. Greg Olsen
60. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
61. Chris Ivory
62. Lance Moore
63. Mike Williams
64. Jermaine Gresham
65. Danario Alexander
66. Titus Young
67. Malcom Floyd
68. Felix Jones
69. Alex Green
70. Brandon Pettigrew
71. Darrius Heyward-Bey
72. Jacquizz Rodgers
73. Michael Crabtree
74. Andre Roberts
75. Heath Miller

Final Thoughts
Yes, I think I prefer Danario Alexander this week and until he gets hurt. I like the Lions better than most in what should be another high-scoring affair. Cecil Shorts has talent and gets open and deep and, surprisingly, the Jaguars let Blaine Gabbert throw the ball more than 30 times/game. I think the year of the Quizz is coming. Andre Roberts may be way too low, especially with the Cardinals likely playing catchup. If Darrius Heyward-Bey plays, he may be too low as well. Remember: play everyone against the Saints.

Best of luck in week 11! As always you can tweet me @petethegreekff or check out my new blog: mindofpetros.blogspot.com.