Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below. We had some valuable hits last week, steering you to Marquise Goodwin, Sterling Shepard, and Corey Davis (the future is bright).
Among players under 50 percent started in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM from Week 11 comes from ________.
Dalton – MARQISE LEE. Looking fully healthy after Jacksonville’s bye, Lee has seen 23 targets and scored twice over the last two games. While the Jags will stick with their formula of winning with their defense this week, they face a Browns team that’s allowed an NFL-low 3.1 YPC while ceding the second-most passing touchdowns (19) this season, so Jacksonville may throw more than usual. Lee has seen as many targets (six) inside the 10-yard line as Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones and more inside the 5-yard line (four) than the former two, so his touchdown production should continue to regress toward the mean.
Liz – ALEX SMITH. With the fifth most passing yards on the season (2,444) and averaging the sixth most passing yards per game (271.6), Smith has become a legit fantasy commodity. In fact, he’s posting an average over 20 fake football points per contest and is the virtual game’s fourth most productive player at the position. This Sunday, he’ll face a listless Giants’ defense that’s allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing signal callers over the last month. Heck, they gave up top-five FF numbers to C.J. Beathard last weekend. Smith is a lock for top-eight production in Week 11.
Scott – Respect has been a slow earn for VERNON DAVIS; perhaps fantasy owners can’t believe he’s still this relevant at age 33. Davis’s 11.0 yards per target is best among qualified tight ends, and only three regular wide receivers are above that mark (Ginn, JuJu, Richardson). In a year where most of the Washington wideouts have been frustrating busts and the starting tight end has been an injury mess (gee, who saw that coming), Davis has been a life-saver. The New Orleans pass defense is outstanding on the flanks, but ordinary down the seam.
Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 11 BUST will be ______.
Liz – DEZ BRYANT. There’s no doubting his toughness. Despite a knee injury, the physical wideout plans to see the field on Sunday. But with LT Tyron Smith (groin) less than 100 percent, Dak Prescott’s ability to get Dez the ball will be severely limited, especially when facing the Eagles’ top-rated and well-rested pass rush. It’s also worth noting that CB Ronald Darby is expected to return this Sunday, further hampering Bryant’s chances at a big game.
Dalton — JOE MIXON. He’s scored in back-to-back games and now Jeremy Hill is on IR, but Mixon has gotten a paltry 3.0 YPC this season, including an embarrassingly low 2.4 against base fronts. Of course, it’s not all his fault, but Cincy’s porous offensive line has to travel to Denver to face a Broncos defense that’s been stingy against the run all season in a game with an Over/Under of just 39 points. It’s not a recipe for fantasy success for Mixon in Week 11.
Scott – If you’re someone who sets a fantasy lineup by name-brand only, you’re never going to look past DREW BREES. He’s already Hall of Fame validated and a Super Bowl winner, and he should have an MVP, too (the starry-eyed voters gave the 2009 hardware to Peyton Manning, despite Brees posting clearly-better statistics). But the 2017 Saints are a ground-and-pound machine; Brees is still superb on an efficiency basis, but he’s not asked to do nearly as much.
The numbers best tell the story. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson five games ago, tidying up their backfield, Brees is 18th in fantasy points-per-game at quarterback. Heck, two unlikely Brees rushing touchdowns have partially cushioned the fall. If you’d rather focus on the recent games, note Brees has just 746 passing yards and three TD passes over the last three weeks. The Saints have a seven-game winning streak, so there’s no incentive to change anything. Brees still does well on a per-pass and efficiency basis, but those aren’t fantasy stats. With New Orleans running over teams — and finally playing quality defense on the other end — the Superdome pinball machine is on tilt.
We just want the numbers. It’s not all about the names. I can’t guarantee you have a better quarterback option than Brees, but at least be open-minded to that possibility.
Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 11 is ______.
Scott – No one wants to go near this Tom Savage offense in Houston. Fair enough. But Savage and BRUCE ELLINGTON show some of that JV rapport — Ellington had four catches and a score last week, and he’s collected 16 targets over two weeks. And with Will Fuller hurt, Ellington’s opportunity appears safe. With cover ace Patrick Peterson likely to follow DeAndre Hopkins this week, perhaps Ellington can clean up some of the scraps. I’m not asking you to watch this game, but Ellington could be your ticket out of a Week 11 injury or bye-week fix. We’re not grabbing low-hanging fruit with this selection; Ellington is owned in just two percent of Yahoo leagues.
Liz – DEDE WESTBROOK. The rookie has a massive opportunity this Sunday. Sure, he’ll be on a limited snap count, but with Allen Hurns expected to sit (ankle), the speedster WILL get looks. After all, Blake Bortles is throwing the ball more, managing 51 attempts (with Leonard Fournette on the field) in Week 10. The matchup is solid too, as he’ll face a Browns defense that’s allowed the third most receiving scores (19) in 2017. Westbrook is boom or bust dart throw at $12 in DFS. FF: 5-69-1
Dalton – REX BURKHEAD: He saw a season-high 36 snaps last week (leading all New England backs by a wide margin), totaling 63 yards and a score on 13 touches. Burkhead remains in a committee, but he’s becoming a big part of it for a team that’s averaged an NFL-high 423.9 Yds/G. The Patriots get a Raiders front seven that’s yielded the third-most fantasy points to running backs on a neutral field this week in a game with the highest Over/Under (53.5 points), so Burkhead is a fine flex option.