Philip Rivers
Top Week 11 fantasy football matchups: Look to Chiefs' Smith versus Bolts
Philip Rivers

Top Week 11 fantasy football matchups: Look to Chiefs' Smith versus Bolts

Published Nov. 19, 2015 8:15 a.m. ET

Through 10 weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool is solidifying as a tool to help you find good matchups. It'll keep getting stronger as the weeks go by, and we'll have less reason to say things like, "But they played against Jeremy Langford last week - of course their numbers versus running backs are horrible. He's the best running back in fantasy history besides Charcandrick West!"

As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won't see recommendations to start Julio Jones and Rob Gronkowski, because you should always start Julio and Gronk. If a player is close to the start/sit fence, we'll push him one way or the other.

Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from standard leagues.

Week 11 byes: Browns, Saints, Giants, Steelers


Thursday game: Titans at Jaguars


Stay away: Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. Rams)

Flacco has been solid, ranking as QB11 on the season and throwing for 300-plus yards in three of his last four games. However, he's about to face a Rams' defense that ranks second with 13.8 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and has given up just eight touchdowns through the air. The over-under for Rams-Ravens is 41, which doesn't suggest lots of offense.


Jay Cutler gets a QB-suffocating Broncos' defense (10.5 FPPG allowed to opposing QBs) and might not have Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) for the game. Cutler has played pretty well lately, but isn't a good option this week.

Play, play, play: Alex Smith, Chiefs (at Chargers)

The Chargers' defense ranks 20th with 17.4 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, but they're 29th in QB rating against (102.3) and 31st in yards per attempt allowed (8.3). Smith's ceiling isn't high, but he should be able to dink, dunk and run his way to a productive performance. At 40.6 percent ownership on, he's a fill-in candidate for those who own Drew Brees, Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger.


Matthew Stafford has been a disappointment, for sure. But he's in a good spot at home against a Raiders' defense that ranks 20th against opposing quarterbacks (20 FPPG allowed).

Running backs

Stay away: Alfred Blue, Texans (vs. Jets)

Blue was shut down in Monday night's defensive struggle, carrying 12 times for 22 yards and catching one pass. However, in a bye week, you'll always be tempted by a back who's likely to get a dozen or more touches. Unfortunately, Blue will run into the Jets, who rank third with 13.1 FPPG allowed to opposing runners, and first in rushing yards per game allowed (88.1).


Even if Carlos Hyde plays, don't start him against the Seahawks' defense (13 FPPG allowed to opposing RBs).

Play, play, play: Joique Bell, Lions (vs. Raiders)

Your guess is as good as mine as to why the Lions continue to favor Bell over rookie Ameer Abdullah while they finish their terrible season. Wouldn't you want to see more of what Abdullah's got? Anyway, despite the fact that Bell posted just 17 yards on 14 carries in Green Bay last week, that kind of workload always gets your attention. Against a Raiders' defense that ranks 24th with 20.6 FPPG allowed to opposing backs, Bell is flex-worthy in a potential shootout.

Wide receivers

Stay away: Donte Moncrief, Colts (at Falcons)

Remember the beginning of the season, when Moncrief was catching touchdowns all the time? Sigh ... those were the days. In two games with Matt Hasselbeck this year, Moncrief caught seven passes for 78 yards. This week, the Colts face a Falcons' defense that has been surprisingly good against opposing wideouts, allowing just 14.9 FPPG.


No Redskins are worth your time versus the Panthers (17.9 FPPG allowed to opposing WRs). DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder ... nope, nope, nope.

Play, play, play: Stevie Johnson, Chargers (vs. Chiefs)

Johnson had seven catches for 68 yards in Week 9, and got tripped up inside the five-yard line on one of his receptions. With Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd hurt, the pass-happy Philip Rivers should keep Johnson busy. The Chargers will battle a Chiefs' defense that ranks 31st with 30.6 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers, making Johnson a solid WR2.


The Rams have gotten the ball into Tavon Austin's hands at least five times in every game this season. Even though Austin isn't used conventionally, he should get some good opportunities against a Ravens' defense that ranks dead last with 31.1 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers.

Tight ends

Stay away: Charles Clay, Bills (at Patriots)

The tight end FPPG numbers aren't as easy to parse as those at the other positions, but with the Patriots ranking seventh against opposing TEs (6.0 FPPG allowed), the inconsistent Clay is one to avoid in Week 11.

Play, play, play: Eric Ebron, Lions (vs. Raiders)

Hey, it's another Lion! Not only have the Raiders allowed more than 27 points per game on the road; they've allowed approximately 77 touchdowns to opposing tight ends (Editor's note: The number is actually 10). Ebron hasn't been great, but he has three touchdowns in seven games, and is on pace for close to 60 receptions. He's owned in just 24.9 percent of leagues, too.


The Colts' defense ranks 23rd with 9.6 FPPG allowed to opposing tight ends. More importantly, Jacob Tamme has 16 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. If you have Tamme, start him.


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