Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 11 Rankings

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Updated 11/17/2013 at 3:10 PM ET. Peyon Hillis removed from ranks and Brandon Jacobs inserted at Hillis' No. 55 spot. Greg Jennings removed from ranks. 

Here’s what you might know about Alfred Morris’ 2013: Roy Helu scored three touchdowns in Week 7, and Darrel Young scored three touchdowns in Week 9. What you might not know is that only LeSean McCoy is averaging more yards per game, and that Morris’ 5.2 yards per carry leads all running backs.

Morris is the RB1 nobody seems to be talking about, though more are taking notice each week. That tends to happen when you clear 120 yards rushing in back-to-back games. Not that Morris had been slacking before that. Morris has totaled at least 90 yards on the ground in four straight contests, 80 in five straight and fewer than 70 only once all season. That happened all the way back in Week 1, where the Redskins got ambushed by the Eagles.

So perhaps it’s fitting that Morris is getting his second crack at Philly right as people finally seem to be realizing just how good he still is. This is, after all, a player who finished as the No. 5 fantasy running back as a sixth-round rookie last season. How does a player who ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and fell to No. 173 overall in the draft manage 2,438 yards rushing and 4.93 yards per carry through his first 25 career games? By maximizing his ability in a system he’s perfect for.       

Morris is quick, but doesn’t hurry. He hits the hole the very second it’s created, but is patient enough not to slam into brick walls. Particularly on Washington’s zone-blocking runs, Morris follows his blockers like he’s connected at the hip, but uses his quick feet to separate at the exact right moment — the one cut in a one-cut system. Morris leans forward when he runs, but does so with remarkable balance. This is one of the reasons he creates so many missed tackles, and grades out third in Pro Football Focus’ “Elusive Rating” despite having limited long speed. Only Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch shed more tacklers in 2012, while Morris is fifth in the statistic this season.

Morris follows his blockers, doesn’t leave yards on the field, gains some extra ones and stays both within the system and within himself as a runner. As a one-cut virtuoso for the one-cut master Mike Shanahan, Morris is in the right place at the right time. It’s why the concept of “Shananigans” is little more than nostalgia when it seemed like it would be a permanent nightmare in 2011, and why Morris is piling up more yards than almost anyone else in the NFL. The Helu and Young three-touchdown games? Just minor absurdities along Morris' path to what will quite likely be another top-five finish.  

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $7,500 Fantasy Football league for Week 11. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $1,500. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Week 11 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Drew Brees vs. SF -
2 Peyton Manning vs. KC Probable (ankle)
3 Matthew Stafford at PIT -
4 Philip Rivers at MIA -
5 Russell Wilson vs. MIN -
6 Andrew Luck at TEN -
7 Robert Griffin III at PHI -
8 Nick Foles vs. WAS -
9 Cam Newton vs. NE -
10 Tom Brady at CAR Probable (shoulder)
11 Case Keenum vs. OAK -
12 Andy Dalton vs. CLE -
13 Colin Kaepernick at NO -
14 Ben Roethlisberger vs. DET -
15 Matt Ryan at TB -
16 Ryan Tannehill vs. SD -
17 Josh McCown vs. BAL -
18 Jason Campbell at CIN Probable (ribs)
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. IND -
20 Carson Palmer at JAC -
21 Alex Smith at DEN -
22 Eli Manning vs. GB -
23 Joe Flacco at CHI -
24 Mike Glennon vs. ATL -
25 Geno Smith at BUF -
26 Christian Ponder at SEA Probable (shoulder)
27 E.J. Manuel vs. NYJ -
28 Chad Henne vs. ARZ -
29 Scott Tolzien at NYG -
30 Matt McGloin at HOU -

QB Notes: Drew Brees has a tough matchup, but so does nearly the entire top 10. Besides, there’s really no such thing as a “tough matchup” for Brees in the Superdome, where he’s averaging 367 yards, and has posted an 18:2 TD:INT ratio and 74.4 completion percentage over five games. It’s perhaps worth noting that Brees got the Niners in New Orleans a season ago, going 26-of-41 for 267 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. This is an entirely different team, however, while it’s never worth betting against Brees on his home turf. … Peyton Manning’s right ankle is the most scrutinized body part in America this week, but all signs point toward him suiting up against undefeated Kansas City. The Chiefs represent easily Manning’s toughest defensive challenge of the season thus far, but to illustrate how matchup proof Manning has been in 2013, consider: He’s yet to be held below 295 yards. He’s thrown for at least three touchdowns in seven of nine games. The two times he didn’t, he still managed two scores. Maybe this will be the week someone finally cracks the code — Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a famously good game-planner coming off of bye weeks — but the reasons to start Manning as you normally would far outweigh the reasons to worry.

Just one touchdown shy of his 2012 total of 20, Matthew Stafford enters Week 11 as fantasy’s No. 3 quarterback. The matchup is tough, but throwing to Calvin Johnson has a way of mitigating forbidding foes. A poor man’s Kurt Warner in the way he’s willing to attempt — and usually make — any throw, Stafford should hold steady behind Manning and Brees going forward. … Philip Rivers has posted fewer than 18.7 fantasy points in just two of nine starts this season. That’s a number he cleared only seven times in all of 2012. Playing exceptional on the road, Rivers is going to present major problems for a Dolphins team that’s in disarray. … Only the Cowboys are allowing more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Vikings. That’s good news for Russell Wilson, who’s gunning for his fifth straight two-touchdown afternoon, and fifth in six games. Wilson’s slow start is a distant memory. … Quietly fantasy’s No. 6 quarterback on the season, Andrew Luck is coming off a nightmarish performance where he still managed to post 23.4 points. Nevermind the Colts’ talk of running the ball more. Luck is simply too good not to be in your lineup every single week. … Robert Griffin III has been up-and-down this season, but it’s easy to envision him remaining “up” in what will almost certainly be a shootout with the Eagles. Philly has allowed the fourth most rushing yards to enemy quarterbacks.     

Much has been made of Nick Foles’ 16:0 TD:INT ratio, but let’s not kid ourselves: There’s been a little luck involved. Not one, but two of Foles’ Week 10 scores should have been intercepted, while he benefitted from some truly horrific Raiders defense in Week 9. Foles deserves credit for taking advantage of his matchups and opportunity, but this is not a player who’s suddenly figured it all out. Nevertheless, he has another plus matchup in the Redskins, while the two players nipping at him in the ranks — Cam Newton and Tom Brady — have prohibitive ones. Foles is obviously capable of monster games, and could very well have another one on Sunday, but don’t be surprised if he eventually settles into the 12-14 range. … Coming off his worst fantasy effort of the season, Cam Newton gets a Patriots defense allowing the 12th fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Newton’s upside is as immense as ever, but he’s unlikely to tap it against Bill Belichick and company. … As for the man Newton is facing, Tom Brady, he’s coming off by far his best fantasy performance of the season, a four-score, 432-yard dismantling of the Steelers. Brady appeared more than ready to move on from his slow start before the Pats’ Week 10 bye, but is returning to a road matchup against the league’s stingiest defense. Brady very well might be back, but it could be hard to tell on Sunday.     

Case Keenum is fantasy’s No. 7 quarterback since bursting onto the scene in Week 7, but it hasn’t been all roses. Keenum is completing just 55.9 percent of his passes, and is coming off a game where he averaged only 4.67 yards per attempt. He’s had a tendency to fade after halftime. Then again, he’s thrown for seven touchdowns in three games, five of which have gone to Andre Johnson over the past two weeks. The rest of the league is formulating a book on the swashbuckling first-year starter, but it’s unlikely to matter much against a Raiders team allowing a 67.6 completion percentage and 7.8 YPA. … The real Andy Dalton has stood up after going into hiding for Weeks 6-8, but this is still a player averaging 286 yards per game. Dalton has thrown for multiple scores in four of his past five starts. A better fantasy than real-life quarterback, Dalton is on the QB1 borderline for Week 11. … One of the reasons Colin Kaepernick’s fantasy output has been so sporadic this season? The 49ers haven’t had a shootout since Week 1, where Kaep carved up the Pack. They might finally have another one Sunday in the Superdome, but there’s also the matter of the Saints’ stingy pass defense, which is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to enemy passers. Rob Ryan’s unit is fresh off holding Tony Romo to 124 yards. As usual, Kaep’s upside is high for Week 11, but so is the downside.

Ben Roethlisberger has a decent matchup in the Lions, but has thrown for more than one touchdown exactly twice all season. Through and through, he’s a QB2. … Matt Ryan is getting a bit of a break in a Bucs defense he carved up in Week 7, but the owner of a 3:7 TD:INT ratio over his past three starts, No. 16 might be a bit generous. Ryan could fall further if Tony Gonzalez (toe) can’t suit up. … Line problems and all, Ryan Tannehill is a perfectly-fine QB2 against a Chargers defense allowing a league-worst 68.4 completion percentage. … Nothing if not a gamer, Ryan Fitzpatrick should be able to generate some points against a Colts pass defense that’s shown signs of slippage in recent weeks. … There’s no matchup that makes Alex Smith inviting, even a potential shootout with the Broncos. … Playing horrendous football of late, Terrelle Pryor (knee) is going to have a rough go of it against the league’s top pass defense (by yards) if he’s active for Week 11. … Scott Tolzien performed admirably in Week 10, but as a No. 3 quarterback making his first NFL start, he’s as risky as it gets for a fantasy option.  

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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