By Adam Reid (@TheReidOption)
Welcome to Week 11! With looming trade deadlines and crucial divisional match-ups on the line, it’s fantasy crunch time, so let’s get right to it! This week I continue my analysis of which wide receivers are making the most of their chances in the passing game. By using ProFootballFocus’ Points-Per-Opportunity (PPO) metric and my own Points-Per-Target (PPT) metric, I will highlight the best and the worst of five wide receiver tier groupings. For reference, PPO,= Fantasy Points / (Receptions + Routes Run), while PPT = Fantasy Points / Targets. The goal of this analysis is to highlight players who may be over or under performing in their current standing. I’ll be using Boris Chen’s Week 11 Wide Receiver ECR Tier Analysis (which is now featured by the New York Times – way to go Boris!) to create five wide receiver analysis groupings.
Week 11 – Tier 1:
As always, it’s hard to go wrong in the elite tier, but there are still over and under-performers among this grouping. Calvin Johnson (0.44 PPO, 1.58 PPT) and DeSean Jackson (0.38 PPO, 1.63 PPT) continue to be exceptional, and lead the way in terms of points-per-opportunity. On the flip side, Vincent Jackson (0.27 PPO, 0.90 PPT) has been playing a bit of fantasy whack-a-mole with his production over the season, though I expect a strong showing this week against the Falcons. Antonio Brown (0.27 PPO, 1.14 PPT) and Pierre Garcon (0.29 PPO, 1.07 PPT) are viable WR1/2 starts, but continue to struggle the most out of this upper echelon of wideouts, largely due to their lack of touchdowns. Look for them to rebound to the mean going forward.
Week 11 – Tier 2:
Riley Cooper (0.30 PPO, 2.11 PPT) has been on absolute fire these past few weeks, and has become a must-start fantasy WR2 option with monster upside. He and QB Nick Foles clearly have a rapport and are certainly making the most of the up-tempo Chip Kelly offense. Jordy Nelson (0.34 PPO, 1.73 PPT) has taken a major hit in value but the talent is obviously still there; owners will need to pay close attention to how he and new QB Scott Tolzien work together this Sunday facing a Giants defense that has been playing much better of late. Keenan Allen (0.26 PPO, 1.51 PPT) has also been making the most of his chances, though he’s also in for a tough match-up in Week 11 against a Dolphins secondary that is allowing the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers. The WR2′s struggling the most with their opportunities in this tier are Cecil Shorts (0.21 PPO, 0.76 PPT) and Torrey Smith (0.23 PPO, 1.11 PPT), which is somewhat surprising when you consider that they are the feature pass catchers of their respective teams.
Week 11 – Tier 3:
The stand-out here is fairly obvious because of his touchdown production: Golden Tate (0.30 PPO, 1.43 PPT) has been able to put together a fine string of games for fantasy owners. He will look to continue his pace with a great match-up this week at home against the Vikings, though Percy Harvin may steal some thunder facing his former team on his first game back from injury. Mike Wallace (0.16 PPO, 0.75 PPT) is the stinker in this small tier with a catch rate of only 52% and a lone TD score on the year. If Wallace can’t turn things around this week against two Chargers corners that rank among the worst in the league according to PFF, his value will continue to fall.
Week 11 – Tier 4:
Treading into deeper waters, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in starting anyone from this tier Week 11, though the potential is present for a select few. Aaron Dobson (0.28 PPO, 1.17 PPT) seems to be finally over his early season drops and was a clear benefactor to the surging Patriots offense, posting two scores in his last game. Marques Colston (0.20 PPO, 1.19 PPT) was likely on your bench when he chose to awake from the fantasy dead in Week 10, posting a 107-yard game and his first touchdown since the season opener. Owners have every reason to be cautious here, as this was likely more a function of the Cowboys terrible defensive play than a sign of a resurgence. Hakeem Nicks (0.17 PPO, 0.84 PPT) and Roddy White (0.07 PPO, 0.60 PPT) continue to be massive disappointments in fantasy land, and their chances of salvaging their dismal seasons are becoming slimmer by the minute.
Week 11 – Tier 5:
Into the deep end! Most of these players are tough to start in standard 12-team formats at this point, though as with Tier 4, there are still a handful of players at this level that are outshining their rank. Marvin Jones (0.38 PPO, 2.04 PPT) leads this group in points-per-opportunity and points-per-target by a wide margin, but his Week 11 match-up against the Browns is no cake walk. Rueben Randle (0.29 PPO, 1.51 PPT) could be another name to consider as a WR3/Flex flier; he’s facing a Packers team that has typically been generous to wideouts. Anquan Boldin (0.28 PPO, 1.08 PPT), Kenny Stills (0.25 PPO, 2.35 PPT) and Jarett Boykin (0.26 PPO, 1.32 PPT) round out the list of tier 5 players making the most of their chances to date. Conversely, Brian Hartline (0.18 PPO, 0.98 PPT) has simply been too unreliable to be started in standard formats, and while “Smokin” Dwayne Bowe (0.14 PPO, 0.87 PPT) will be playing Sunday, he shouldn’t be starting for your team in case you get a random drug test.
Keep on the look-out for Friday updates to this article as I continue to track the progress of these players through the season. As always, stay frosty and best of luck in Week 11!
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