By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
For most of us, there are three weeks left in our regular season. Your trade deadline has likely passed and your team is who they are at this point. All you want is to get yourself into the playoffs. Once there, you offer up a few sacrifices to the Fantasy Gods — a first born child, your lucky jersey, perhaps even sacrificing your favorite NFL team’s success for your own fantasy success — and away you go.
If you’re like us at Club Fantasy, we head into the last three weeks facing our division rivals. These games mean the most heading into the playoffs because they can affect your seeding so much. If you can still swing a trade, you’re likely to try and do so now. Otherwise, strap in and let the games begin!
Below are my Confidence Plays for Week 11. To refresh what this column is, these are my confidence plays in a Start/Play/Bench format. “Start” represents your studs and numbers twos that will overachieve. Get them in your lineup, stat! “Play” represents some bench or FLEX plays that should outperform their draft position based on matchup. “Bench” presents your studs that you should temper expectations for or FLEX plays you should swap out with a bench player. And really, it’s based off my rankings. Check them out and use them as a guide!
QB Drew Brees & WR Brandin Cooks (NO) – Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? It was Week 6, the Saints were fresh off a bye week and into town come the Panthers. Brees says, “Not in my house!” or something to that effect, and lights up the Panthers with 465 yards passing and 4 TDs, with 173 yards and 1 TD going in the direction of Brandin Cooks. Brees is the number one QB in fantasy on a points per game basis and the Panthers pass defense allows the sixth most fantasy points to QBs and the fifth most to WRs. I will take “Who’s the Saints’ bitch?” for $400, Alex.
QB Marcus Mariota & RB DeMarco Murray (TEN) – You’ve been watching football since Week 1 so I can only assume you’ve been introduced to the terror the Titans offense is bestowing upon NFL defenses this season. Their next victim is the Colts, who haven’t allowed less than 2 passing TDs in a game since Week 3 and give up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs. Murray himself has already destroyed the Colts defense on the ground (107 yards and 1 TD) in Week 7 and he’s riding a 4 game steak of more than 21 fantasy points, averaging 25.1 over that span. The Titans are for real, folks.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell & WR Antonio Brown (PIT) – Insert team/players facing the Browns this week. Big Ben is my number 1 QB, while Brown and Bell are number two at WR and RB, respectively. It just felt too obvious to put them at number 1.
QB Tyrod Taylor (BUF) – Don’t look now, but Taylor is a top 12 QB on the season. Last we saw him, he had 333 total yards and 2 TDs against the Seahawks. If that doesn’t convince you he’ll be fine against the hapless Bengals pass defense — allowing the fourth most fantasy points to QBs, by the way — he’s also coming off a bye and his running game is operating at full speed. LeSean McCoy will dazzle and Taylor can find Robert Woods to keep the Bengals off balance. A great streamer this week with Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers on a bye.
RB Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – The one thing the Saints defense is awful at — actually, they’re cumulatively awful, but hear me out — is stopping the run. They’ve been pressuring the quarterback better in recent weeks, with 8 sacks in their last 3 weeks, but they still allow the fifth most fantasy points to RBs this season. And Stewart already has 85 yards and 2 TDs against them this year. This game could be as high scoring as their first meeting.
RB C.J. Prosise (SEA) – The Seahawks jettisoned their starting running back Christine Michael this week, leaving Prosise and what will no doubt be a limited Thomas Rawls for their matchup against the Eagles. The Eagles perform very well against the run, allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points, so this is likely to cause you to scratch your head. But if you listened to our podcast this week, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Prosise. I watched all of the Seahawks-Patriots game, and the way the Seahawks used Prosise was a lot like the way the Steelers use Le’Veon Bell. They run him between the tackles, they line him up in the slot, and even split him out wide, the latter which netted Prosise a 38-yard reception. If there is a type of back that gives the Eagles defense fits, it’s pass-catching backs. Prosise is emerging and will be a big contributor for the Seahawks down the stretch. Make sure he’s in your lineup this week. He’s certainly in mine.
WR Donte Moncrief (IND) – The Titans-Colts matchup will undoubtedly feature minimal defense, so this column could easily be filled with a whole bunch of players from both teams. But I’m highlighting Moncrief because of all the rankings I have seen, I’m the highest on him. If you’ve been with us since the beginning — and if you have, sincerely, thank you! — you know I love Moncrief. He has a great rapport with Andrew Luck that is productive, if unspectacular. He missed five games early this season, but in the two games he’s been back, he’s caught a touchdown in both. Luck finds him, and the Titans allow the seventh most fantasy points to WRs. A solid FLEX play that will easily put up WR2 numbers this week.
WR Mike Wallace (BAL) – Most people still view Steve Smith Sr. as the the number one WR on this team. While that may be the case, Wallace has been the most productive this season. Joe Flacco and the Ravens have taken advantage of Wallace’s speed and are getting him the ball downfield. The Cowboys allow the 13th most yards on deep passes this year so I expect Flacco to take some shots downfield and give Wallace a chance to earn his paycheck, and his spot in your lineup.
TE Zach Miller (CHI) – Did you miss the news that WR Alshon Jeffrey will miss the next four games due to suspension? Who will Cutler throw the ball to now? If you said the other team, you’re likely correct. But of those on his own team, Miller stands to benefit greatly. The Bears get the Giants on a short week and will look to exploit their shoddy coverage against TEs. They’ve allowed Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert over 12 points the last two weeks.
Dolphins D/ST (MIA) – They travel across the country to take on the Rams, who just appointed rookie Jared Goff as their new starting quarterback. If that doesn’t make you salivate at point potential, read it again.
QB Dak Prescott (DAL) – I actually really like his game. I hate that he plays for the Cowboys, but he’s been an absolute stud this year. The Ravens play great defense and allow the eleventh fewest points to QBs this year. And although Prescott has had only three games this season where he’s yet to break 20 points, this is more about the amount of great matchups other QBs have than his overall performance. There are better options this week, even though I think he still scores more than 20 points.
RB Todd Gurley (LA) – In case you haven’t been following his awful season, he’s now running with a rookie starting at QB. He’s 41st among qualified runners in yards per carry. Jared Goff won’t fix that this week.
WR DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) – He actually has a great matchup this week against a Raiders secondary that has been unable to stop a nose bleed this season. This is more about the lack of confidence I have in his quarterback. He had a prime matchup last week against the woeful Jaguars, and scored less than 10 points. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5 and hasn’t topped 50 yards receiving in the last three weeks. Show me something Hopkins! Show me ANYTHING!
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. (CLE) – This kid has been fantastic this year. I’ve actually enjoyed watching the Browns play this year. They have fight in them. They’re sloppy a lot of the time, but they never give up. Pryor is one of their leaders but he has a tough matchup this week against the Steelers, who are the 7th stingiest to WRs in fantasy. The plus side? They allow almost 100 yards a game to #1 WRs. I’ll bet on the stingy in this game as the Browns continue to search for that elusive first win.
QB Tony Romo (DAL) – Sorry, I had to.