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Under-the-Radar Booms/Busts: Week 11

For those fantasy footballers looking to make a playoff push in standard leagues or make a million dollars in daily fantasy leagues, Week 11 is going to test their ability to set a winning lineup.

Fantasy football owners have to combat glaring gaps in their lineups caused by a half-dozen NFL teams being on bye this week. The trading deadline in many fantasy leagues has probably passed, so the only option to fill those lineup holes is picking players off the league waiver wire. For those trying to carve out the perfect DFS lineup, there will be fewer nominees to be bombastic booms this week with so many players sitting on the sidelines thanks to their teams being off.

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the 11th week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 11 Under-the-Radar Booms

Golden Tate (WR, PHI) at NOR

Tate’s debut with Philadelphia went over as badly as a cheesesteak with a stale hoagie roll. He was only targeted four times and caught just a pair of passes for 19 yards against Dallas this past Sunday night. He was not even on the field during most of the crucial fourth quarter when quarterback Carson Wentz was throwing on every down as the Eagles attempted to play catch up. Fantasy owners were probably wishing Tate was never traded since he was an above-average receiver in Detroit, especially in PPR leagues.

Tate will surely be more comfortable in Philadelphia’s offense with another week of playbook learning under his belt. The more he knows the plays and formations, the more he will be on the field and injury-prone Jordan Matthews will be back on the bench. New Orleans might be 8-1, but the Saints still have the 31st-best pass defense in the NFL. Tate has also torched the Saints in an ungodly way in recent years. He has 31 receptions for 440 yards and five touchdowns in his last four outings against New Orleans. Tate is the perfect under-the-radar play this weekend.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL) vs. DAL

Ridley has been quieter than a mouse with a miniature muzzle over his face in the last month-plus. The ultra-talented rookie had five touchdowns over a scintillating three-game span during the opening month of the campaign, but he has become a secondary receiver to top target Julio Jones and tight end Austin Hooper in recent weeks. In four of his past five games Ridley has failed to score a touchdown and failed to break the 50-yard barrier.

Ridley is overdue for a monster game and should get it this week against Dallas. His numbers are far superior at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (23-354-6) than on the road (13-146-1), so he should be happy to be on his favorite fast track this weekend. Dallas’ ninth-ranked pass defense has not faced a passing attack like the Falcons this season and should have matchup nightmares to deal with all game long if they don’t put pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan. Look for Ridley to bounce back big time on Sunday.

Benjamin Watson (TE, NOR) vs. PHI

Sorry for being pass-catcher heavy with the booms this week. It is just shaping up to be the perfect week to be a receiver or tight end. Watson has been getting some more looks in the wake of No. 2 WR Ted Ginn’s knee injury, and now that the Dez Bryant experiment lasted all of a couple practices it appears that Watson will still be one of Drew Brees’ top targets to throw to this upcoming week.

Philadelphia’s defensive backs have been savaged and ravaged by injuries, the worst coming this Sunday night when top cover corner Ronald Darby tore his ACL. The Eagles will have a skeleton crew for a secondary this Sunday, and Brees and Watson will take full advantage. Do not be shocked to see 75 yards and a TD from Watson, especially since in recent weeks he had been great every other week and last week he only had one catch for one yard.


Week 11 Under-the-Radar Busts

Donte Moncrief (WR, JAC) vs. PIT

Moncrief has done the unthinkable. His fantasy value has gone up even though he went from having Andrew Luck as his quarterback to Blake Bortles. Moncrief could have the best year of his brief career despite having to haul in the haphazard heaves of Bortles. He leads the Jaguars with 477 receiving yards, 60 targets and a 14.9 yards per catch average.

Pittsburgh has a lot going for it these days, though. After playing as poorly as a cellar-dwelling Division III college team during the first month, the Steelers pass defense did not allow their past four opposing quarterbacks to throw for more than 230 yards against them. The Steelers also have revenge on their minds after the way the Jaguars defeated them in the playoffs and regular season in 2017. Look for Pittsburgh to lock down Moncrief and not allow Jacksonville to beat them for the third time in two seasons.

Wendell Smallwood (RB, PHI) at NOR

Philadelphia misses not having a dependable runner like Jay Ajayi in the backfield. Ever since Ajayi was placed on injured reserve, the Eagles have been trotting out a trio of backs that do a little bit of everything but are masters of nothing. Smallwood has been the best of the mediocre backfield bunch, but his fantasy value has fluctuated between “worthless” and “worth a flyer”.

Smallwood will not be padding his stats much this weekend. New Orleans has the top-ranked run defense in the NFL, and Smallwood is losing more and more early-down rushing attempts to up-and-comer Josh Adams. Smallwood will give fantasy owners small stats this week, somewhere in the 60-yards-and zero-touchdowns range.

Seth Roberts (WR, OAK) at ARI

Here is the scenario where fantasy players can argue that Roberts will be an under-the-radar boom this week:  Oakland might be without both Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant, so Roberts and Brandon LaFell could very well line up as David Carr’s top two targets outside while tight end Jared Cook holds down the routes in the middle of the field. Plus Roberts will be running patterns against a 2-7 Arizona team that is 20th in total defense and 18th in scoring defense. There you go! Sounds like a boom…to some.

Couple problems. One is that while Arizona’s defense has been terrible at times, it’s been mostly terrible against the run. The Cards are fourth against the pass in the league, believe it or not, Mr. Ripley! Another problem is that David Carr and the Raiders offense cannot be trusted against any defense. Carr, Cook, and Doug Martin cannot be relied on by fantasy players, so how can you possibly bank on Roberts when he has been a run-of-the-mill No. 4 WR for much of his four-year career?


That’s it for another week. Follow me on Twitter @craigrondinone!

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