As we enter the final installment of bye weeks for the 2012 season, it is officially time to examine the Week 11 Fantasy Football Sleepers.
As always, this week’s sleepers were either selected toward the latter half of your fantasy drafts, or spent time residing on your leagues’ waiver wires until this week. Either way, a combination of their ability and their specific matchups, has propelled them into a position to enhance your scoring total should you decide to start them.
With that, here are the sleepers for Week 11.
For a comprehensive look at this week’s rankings just click here: http://fantasyknuckleheads.com/fantasy-football-rankings/
Andy Dalton @ Chiefs
Dalton is an excellent option this week if your normal signal caller is on bye, or is among those who suffered an injury in Week 10. He is now tied for fifth among all QBs with 18 TD passes, after throwing a season high four against the Giants last Sunday. It was his fifth game with multiple scoring passes this season, and he improved his season yardage total to 2,329 in the process. He should take advantage of the of this week’s opportunity to launch an assault against a Kansas City unit that ranks 28th in scoring defense, while permitting over 28 points per game. They have also yielded eight TDs through the air in the past four contests, and have surrendered a total of 18 for the season. That total is going to increase, as owners can expect multiple TDs from Dalton.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Dolphins
You should only employ Fitzpatrick when the matchup is right, and that will certainly apply this week. His production has been streaky, as he threw multiple TD passes in the first four games of the season, then failed to produce a score in his next two. But friendly matchups with Tennessee and New England in Weeks 8 and 10 enabled him to generate five more TDs, and expand his season total 17. That is the NFL’s eighth highest total, and he should add to it this week. Even though the normally stingy Miami rush defense was gouged for 126 yards by Chris Johnson in Week 10, they still rank fifth overall in that category. Success will come much easier for Buffalo if they attack Miami’s 28th ranked pass defense (278 YPG). That includes simple tosses to C. J. Spiller, who can generate massive points for Fitzpatrick owners with yards after the catch. Fitzpatrick should produce three TDs, and approach 300 yards.
Chris Ivory @ Raiders
Fantasy owners should monitor the health of Darren Sproles as Sunday approaches, as his quick recovery from injury has added to an already complicated situation regarding New Orleans RBs. If Sproles is able to perform, it will impact Ivory's workload. But it is still possible that Ivory will remain in the mix, since he possesses a level of explosiveness that Oakland's run defense will have extreme difficulty containing throughout four full quarters. The Raiders of course were rather infamously manhandled by Doug Martin in Week 9, as the rookie exploded for 251 yards and four TDs. Ivory has the ability to break at least one big play against that same unit, and could accomplish it multiple times. Since being inserted into the lineup for the first time in Week 9, Ivory has managed to assemble 120 yards and two scores with just 17 carries. That includes his 56-yard TD in Week 10, which propelled him to a total of 72 yards on just seven carries. If you can handle the potential of watching Ivory share the workload with Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, then Ivory could deliver sufficiently for you.
It had been a statistical roller coaster ride for Thomas throughout much of the season, but he has recently captured a sufficient percentage of touches to warrant consideration as a flex option. His YPC has vaulted from 2.8 after Week 8 to 5.2 in the past two games, as he has amassed 117 total yards on 18 touches. That includes his production as a receiver. Thomas garnered just five receptions prior to Week 9, but has collected seven in the Dolphins’ two most recent games. As a result, 59 of his 119 receiving yards this season have been amassed during that span. Plus, he is also capturing more carries near the goal line. All of which times perfectly with his matchup against the NFL’s worst run defense, as the Bills are permitting 163.7 YPG. Plus, Thomas could easily score his fourth TD of the year, since Buffalo has also surrendered more scores on the ground than any other team (16).
Danario Alexander @ Broncos
He has teased fantasy owners in the past with his extreme athleticism, but a relentless series of injuries have prohibited him from making an impact since he joined the league in 2010. He wasn’t even on a roster until the Chargers signed him on October 18, and his season debut occurred in Week 9. That is most likely why he was not seized by owners in numerous leagues despite proven success during his initial game as a Charger. In that contest he caught all three of his targets, while accumulating a team high 61 yards. Some savvy owners did secure him last week, and he delivered exceptional production to anyone who chose to start him. Alexander tied for the team lead with seven targets, collected five receptions, and produced a career best 134 yards with an 80-yard TD. He has now vaulted above the disappointing Robert Meachem on San Diego’s depth chart, and should remain both a starter and a dynamic weapon if he can maintain his health. While this week’s matchup will not be easy, Alexander has earned the trust of Philip Rivers and will be his primary option among wideouts.
Donald Jones vs. Dolphins
Jones was included in this column last week after he was targeted nine times, and collected six passes for 65 yards in Week 9. But many fantasy owners failed to heed the suggestion, and subsequently did not reap the rewards when Jones’ targets increased to 10 last Sunday, as he garnered six catches for 74 yards and a TD. Therefore, Jones has now earned sleeper status once again in his matchup with the same vulnerable Miami pass defense that was discussed previously. Buffalo needs to throw in order to win the contest, and Jones will remain an integral part of their offensive strategy. His recent production should continue, as he delivers 65+ yards for the third consecutive game, and scores for the third time in four weeks.
The collection of shortcomings that have engulfed Kansas City when attempting to defend the pass were discussed earlier, and those elements should help Gresham’s production this week. He has amassed 60 + yards in four of the past seven contests, delivered a 100-yard performance on Week 9, and even salvaged an otherwise disappointing Week 10 encounter with the Giants by scoring for the third time this season. He also received a season high eight targets in Week 9, and has become Dalton’s second option behind A. J. Green. He will have a chance to produce sizable yardage this week against a defensive unit that has been extremely hospitable. Only four teams are surrendering more points than the 28 that the Chiefs are allowing in each game, and Gresham could easily generate a TD for the second consecutive game.
Falcons vs. Cardinals
Atlanta will return home for an appealing matchup with the NFL's second worst offense this week. The Cardinals have failed to produce 300 yards per game (295 YPG) and are also 31st in scoring with a paltry 16 PPG average. And, Arizona has the league's most anemic rushing attack, averaging a horrific 76.2 YPG. That essentially assures that Arizona will need to pass in order to move the ball, and the Falcons should feast upon this opportunity, regardless of who lines up under center. Atlanta has already pilfered 11 passes, which is the NFL's fourth highest total. Plus, their pass rush has generated 21 sacks. They should expand the numbers in both categories, and deliver sufficient production to anyone who starts them.