Fantasy Football Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 11

Week 11 Upgrades & Downgrades

Week 10 is in the books and like I said last week, now is the time to check your players’ upcoming schedules, specifically their playoff schedules.  Your average fantasy football player will be content with a team that has been doing well all season and ride them out.  A savvy fantasy football player will make trades that may seem odd at the surface, but are geared toward favorable matchups for their players.  Don’t go crazy with this, a stud is a stud and can perform no matter the matchup, but if you can trade one player for another that has similar value but a much better matchup, that is how you win championships.  Also, look to start adding backup RBs (handcuffs) who could be put in a very favorable position if the starter were to go down and drop some players you won’t be starting on your bench.

As I’ve said before, with the current setup, keep in mind that for players I have listed as “downgrades”, I simply mean you should expect less than their statistical average given the current matchup.  They may still start for you and of course, they still may have a good week, but you shouldn’t expect as much from them.  For “upgrades”, you can expect them to score more than they typically do but they may not be a starter in your league or for your team.  Let’s get started!

 

Position: Quarterback

Upgrades –

  • Tom Brady, Good matchup overall and it’s Tom Brady.
  • Alex Smith, Giants have been absolutely abhorrent at stopping the pass recently, so good matchup here, but apparently there may be some weather issues, keep an eye on that.
  • Derek Carr, Pats D has been getting better every week, but they still aren’t great and Carr is going to need to throw a ton to keep up.
  • Jay Cutler, Insert QB playing Tampa Bay here.
  • Eli Manning, Keep an eye on the weather, but great matchup by the numbers and hopefully it can turn into a shootout.

Downgrades –

  • Kirk Cousins, He always seems to come through, but with a tougher matchup against New Orleans and still very few viable targets, he’s on this list this week.
  • Matt Ryan, Seattle is obviously a tough matchup AND they are playing in Seattle, less than ideal.
  • Jared Goff, Yeah, he’s gone bananas against 2 awful defenses the past 2 weeks, but now he plays in Minnesota. I doubt he breaks 25 points, honestly.
  • Dak Prescott, He was pretty terrible last week and now they have Philly who has done much better defending against the pass the last few games. No Zeke is an issue here.
  • Andy Dalton, The Red Rifle is playing Denver. Need I say more?

 

Position: Running Back

Upgrades –

  • Kareem Hunt, Even though he’s averaging under 50 yards on the ground in the last 4, he’s going to come out of the bye hungry and against the Giants’ defense.
  • Melvin Gordon, The Bills have been pounded like ground beef over the past few weeks by opposing running backs and the Chargers are content handing him the ball 20 times to win.
  • Tevin Coleman, No Freeman means more work for Coleman. Even though Seattle is tough to run on this is what you drafted him for, to be the #1 in this rushing attack.
  • Marshawn Lynch, Patriots run D is not good and he is coming off his best game of the season, scoring twice.
  • Duke Johnson Jr., Gameflow baby! Jags are tough to run on, but when they go up early on the Browns, Dukie here is going to be catching a lot of passes.
  • Jamaal Williams, With Jones out, Williams gets the nod here against a defense that gets run on seemingly 35 times every week. We love players who get the ball.
  • Kenyan Drake, Had a long TD run last week and now he gets Tampa who is equally as bad at defending the run as they are at defending the pass.
  • Jerick McKinnon, Rams are easier to run on than to pass on and I think this game should remain close, which means he should catch the ball too.

Downgrades –

  • Todd Gurley, Minnesota is one of the best, if not THE best at stopping the run. He needs to score.
  • Mark Ingram, He’s been on an absolute roll, but Washington is pretty good against the run and more vulnerable to the pass.
  • Leonard Fournette, Pathetic showing last week and now he gets Cleveland which you have all read many times that they can stop the run.
  • Isaiah Crowell, Gameflow baby. They are going to be down early and that means it’s Johnson time.
  • Adrian Peterson, Under 1.5 YPC last week and Houston is the 2nd stingiest run defense when it comes to fantasy production.
  • Samaje Perine, Even though his workload will get a massive uptick with Kelley out, he’s on this list because New Orleans has been tough to run on and Chris Thompson will probably have a larger workload.
  • Ameer Abdullah, Not a great matchup by the numbers and his recent fumbling issues still have me worried.
  • All Dallas RBs, Philly allows the lowest YPC average to opposing RBs in the NFL and Zeke is gone so this is an RBBC. Don’t even bother.

 

Position: Wide Receiver

Upgrades –

  • Julio Jones, Yes, he is playing Seattle, but Richard Sherman is out so this has to be Ryan’s outlet this week.
  • Tyreek Hill, The Giants have been ridiculously bad the last few weeks against the pass and he’s got the speed to hit them where it hurts most.
  • All Patriot WRs, Oakland’s defense is still bad, especially against the pass.
  • Sterling Shepard, KC is still getting beat through the air like a red-headed step-child and there aren’t many other options here.
  • Michael Crabtree/Amari Cooper, Like I said for Carr, even though the Patriot defense is improving every week this will likely be a shootout.
  • Jarvis Landry/DeVante Parker, They play Tampa.
  • Dez Bryant, He’s got to be the monster he acts like he is if they have any chance to keep this game competitive.
  • Marqise Lee, Cleveland is still vulnerable through the air last time I checked.

Downgrades –

  • Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs, The Ram’s pass D is pretty good and can be run on so, yeah.
  • Mike Evans, QB situation for him is, well, bad, and Miami’s pass D is alright.
  • AJ Green, Not going to enjoy his stay in Denver, I hope he sees the horse with the red eyes at the airport at least.
  • DeAndre Hopkins, Patrick Peterson is going to be in his pocket all game and his QB situation is just as bad as Evans’.
  • Robert Woods, Went bonkers last week (your welcome those of you who saw him on the upgrade list and played him), but Minnesota is infinitely better than Houston at defending the pass.
  • Golden Tate/Marvin Jones Jr., The Bears’ pass D is better and they may just try to run the ball in a hostile environment (and the cold, it’s cold in Chicago in case you didn’t know, believe me).
  • All Packers WRs, Hundley has looked better as of late but Baltimore’s D is no joke.
  • Mohamed Sanu, It’s Seattle’s pass D; Matty Ice is going to have to go through Julio and Hooper (spoiler alert).

 

Position: Tight End

Upgrades –

  • Travis Kelce, The Giants have given up a TD to a TE EVERY WEEK THIS SEASON. Go ahead, call my bluff.
  • Vernon Davis, No Reed is a good thing for Davis.
  • Tyler Kroft, Pretty much the only weak spot for the Denver defense is in defending TEs. He burned me last week, but he’s worth a shot if you’re desperate.
  • Austin Hooper, As I said above, the passing game is going to have to go through Jones and this guy.
  • Jason Witten, Philly isn’t good at defending TEs and it’s going to be a lot of Dez and Witten if you watch the game.

Downgrades –

  • Evan Engram, Still a good option, but KC is better than most against defending opposing TEs.
  • Jimmy Graham, Atlanta is very good at defending opposing TEs, but obviously he’s good and on a hot streak so keep using him, just temper expectations.
  • Kyle Rudolph, In his last meeting with them he was 2/30/0 on 2 targets and they’ve been pretty good against the position this year.
  • Jared Cook, He’s been doing very well over the last 3 games with 2 of them going for over 100 yards on 6 or more catches, but NE hasn’t allowed more than 4/36/0 over the past 3 weeks.
  • Eric Ebron, Bears are pretty good against TEs too.