Fantasy football Week 11 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were some hard lessons learned in Week 11 as we get ever closer to the fantasy football playoffs. Hopefully it’s not too late and the lessons learned will help you qualify for the playoffs.

If Dak Prescott is on your team and you entered Sunday night with a small lead, you probably lost this week. Prescott scored negative points as he was responsible for four turnovers and failed to score a touchdown in any capacity.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 12 rankings.

Without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup, Prescott looks like a mediocre quarterback at best. You couldn’t really blame the running game Sunday night, though. Alfred Morris rushed 17 times for 91 yards. The biggest issue facing Prescott is the lack of adequate pass protection. With Smith missing from the left tackle spot for two straight games, the Cowboys have given up 13 sacks. It was clear that Prescott was off the mark due to concern with the pass rush Sunday night.

Prescott isn’t a typical gunslinger. He needs solid protection, a good play-action game and his receivers to get clearly open. Prescott’s receivers aren’t doing that for him right now. In fact, one of his picks was off a tipped pass by Terrance Williams.

Even if Smith returns to action on Thanksgiving, Prescott may struggle against the Chargers who have a strong pass rush and intercepted five passes Sunday. Fantasy owners should not view him as an automatic start anymore with back-to-back bad games.

Dez Bryant also hasn’t had a strong game in four straight weeks. He’s been a big disappointment this season and has to be considered a weak WR2 to strong flex option from here out.

Another tough lesson learned in Week 11 was that the Patriots pass defense isn’t as bad as their numbers indicate. Derek Carr looked like a decent play this week, but he managed just 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The Patriots surrendered 350 yards passing per game in the first two weeks of the season. Since then, they’ve allowed 265 yards per game over that last eight games. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 237 yards in each of the last four weeks. You probably won’t want to start Matt Moore of Miami or whomever Buffalo throws out there to play quarterback against the Pats in the coming weeks.

One of the toughest truths to come to terms with in Week 11 is that there’s something wrong with the Chiefs offense. Alex Smith has struggled in three of the last five games, but I’m a lot more worried about Kareem Hunt.

After he started his career by gaining at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven straight games, Hunt hasn’t gained more than 77 yards in three in a row. Even more concerning, Hunt hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3.

You could say at least Tyreek Hill is playing well, but his consistency is seriously lacking. He was decent on Sunday, catching seven passes for 68 yards. Not knowing when he’ll pay off leaves owners in a pickle as the playoffs approach.

One wide receiver that’s a model of consistency this season is Adam Thielen. He’s the only receiver with at least five catches in every game this year. Thielen and the Vikings earned a big win over the upstart Rams Sunday. His 65-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter put the game away for Minnesota. Thielen finished with six catches, 123 yards and a TD. He’ll try to extend his three-game scoring streak going against the Lions in Detroit. They held him to five catches and 59 yards in Week 4.

The Lions had a strong defensive performance that week and there were some big ones in Week 11. The Ravens, Jaguars, Chargers and Eagles all had huge performances.

The Chargers had an amazing first half against the rookie quarterback for the Bills. Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions and got benched. The Chargers also scored twice to go with a forced fumble and a sack.

The Jags had five sacks, three forced fumble and a touchdown. The Ravens had six sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Defenses are an overlooked starting position and you’d do well to have a couple of options available in the final weeks of the regular season.

As you get ready for the final push, feel comfortable riding the usual suspects to big weeks. Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Roethlisberger are safe bets to keep being productive. Brady threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns while Brees topped out at 385 yards and two scores. Roethlisberger had the best performance in Week 11, throwing four touchdown passes. He has just one tough matchup the rest of the season.

Carson Wentz had a nice week as well, but it will be interesting to see how he does in the next three weeks. He faces the Bears, Seahawks and Rams, all teams in the top-10 in points allowed to quarterbacks. You have to respect what he can do at this point, however.

As for running backs, the dynamic duo in New Orleans continues to be outstanding. Mark Ingram rushed just 11 times for 134 yards and a touchdown. That’s 12.2 yards per carry. Alvin Kamara caught six passes for 74 yards and had a great juggling touchdown reception. He gained 116 yards from scrimmage.

LeSean McCoy, Latavius Murray and Jordan Howard also had big weeks. McCoy rushed for 114 yards and had both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Murray was more effective than Jerick McKinnon this week, rushing for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Howard rushed for 125 yards and scored.

Two rookies impressed in Week 11 as well, but face two different roads to end the season. D’Onta Foreman had his best game as a Texan, rushing for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he may have torn his Achilles on his final carry of the day. Samaje Perine broke out for the first time this season as he rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a big waiver wire addition this week, especially since Chris Thompson is out for the season with a broken leg.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that Antonio Brown had the best week for wideouts this week. He gained 144 yards and scored three times on Thursday night.

It probably would surprise you to hear that Keenan Allen had the next best week among receivers. It was his most productive week as he caught 12 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Another surprise came from Kenny Stills. It’s apparent that Moore likes the receiver. Stills finished with 180 yards and a touchdown.

Here are some waiver wire options to help you try to get to the postseason.

Top waiver wire picks

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins: 117 yards, TD.

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Cardinals: 257 yards passing, 3 TDs, 2 INTs. He didn’t look bad against the Texans and could serve as another option for your team if you’re weak at quarterback.

Corey Coleman, WR, Browns: 6 rec., 80 yards. He returned to action and looks pretty good if you’re in desperate need for an outside option.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals: 3 rec., 54 yards, 2TDs. The converted wide receiver seems to be a decent target for Gabbert.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 11

The Tennessee Titans travel to Pittsburgh as they take on the Steelers to kick off Week 11 of NFL action. We’re getting down to the playoff push in fantasy football and your start-sit decisions are critical.

In the opening game of the week you should be safe starting Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. I wouldn’t be afraid of giving Ben Roethlisberger the nod either. Leave Marcus Mariota on the bench, however. The only Titan I feel comfortable starting this week is DeMarco Murray. Here’s who else you should start, and sit, in Week 11.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 11 rankings.

START THESE GUYS

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: The Patriots weren’t in as much trouble as we thought they were to start the season, but their pass defense is still the worst in the league in terms of yards allowed per game. Carr has had two weeks to prepare for the Patriots and has thrown for at least 300 yards in three straight games.

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: I’ve talked about his expected regression a lot this season, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been solid. He’s just not putting up the great numbers from last season. This week he should do well against the Seahawks as they’re without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Ryan’s thrown at least two TDs in three straight games.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) looks to throw a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game, Sunday, November 12, 2017, in Atlanta. The Falcons won 27-7. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys: If Tyron Smith returns to the field for the contest with the Eagles then Prescott should return to his QB1 status. If the Cowboys fall behind, as you may expect against the streaking Eagles, Prescott is likely to throw a lot. If he gets the protection he’s used to, he could be productive.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons: With Devonta Freeman likely out as he recovers from a concussion, Coleman should be productive against the Seahawks on Monday night. He did well in relief against the Cowboys in Week 10, rushing for 83 yards and scoring a touchdown.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: Darkwa has 30 carries and 141 yards rushing over the last two weeks. If he can find the end zone this week, he could be a solid play. He faces the Chiefs run defense which has allowed 131 yards rushing per game and nine rushing touchdowns.

Orleans Darkwa #26 of the New York Giants stiff-arms Adrian Colbert #38 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: I suggested him as a start last week and that turned out well as he rushed for 90 yards and scored against the Lions. This week he faces the Jaguars who are nearly as bad against the run as they are good against the pass. They give up 121 yards rushing per game. Game script should be in Crowell’s favor as you don’t expect the Jags to jump out to a big lead.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: The Vikings take on the Rams in an interesting matchup this week. I don’t expect either team to run away with the win, so both running games should stay relevant. The Rams allow 118 rushing yards per game, 24th in the league.

Eagles receivers: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz all have an opportunity to shine against the Cowboys Sunday night. Dallas gives up 248 yards receiving per game and will be without defensive leader Sean Lee.

Philadelphia Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery scores a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars: He’s had a nice run over the last two weeks and gets to face the Browns this week. They’ve given up 19 touchdown passes which is tied for second worst in the league.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: The last time he faced a low-ranked pass defense he broke out for 11 catches and over 200 yards receiving. That was against the Chiefs in Week 7 and the Patriots give up more receiving yards per game.

SIT THESE GUYS

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: He should sit this week as he faces the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They give up just 182 yards passing per game and have surrendered just eight touchdown passes. Without a true No. 1 wideout, Mariota will likely struggle.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: He’s currently in the concussion protocol, but even if he’s healthy enough to play, it’s not a good matchup as he faces the Bills defense. Buffalo has allowed just seven touchdowns through the air and has picked off 11 passes.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: Taylor had his worst game last week as he threw for just 56 yards. The performance was so bad the Bills have decided to give Nathan Peterman a shot. The Chargers give up 209 yards passing per game and are tied for second in the league with 29 sacks so neither Bills QB would be a solid play this week.

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball as Alex Okafor #57 of the New Orleans Saints attempts to tackle him during the fourth quarter on November 12, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins: Though Rob Kelley has been shut down, I don’t think Perine is an automatic start as he faces the Saints this week. They give up a good amount of rushing yards, but they’ve only given up five rushing touchdowns this season. Perine has had opportunities earlier in the season and didn’t do much with them.

Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys: He’ll get the start again with Ezekiel Elliott still suspended, but he shouldn’t start for your fantasy team this week. The Eagles rushing defense gives up just 66 yards per game and has surrendered just four touchdowns on the ground.

Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins: Kenyan Drake is the running back to play if you’ve got to choose between the leftover running backs in Miami now that Jay Ajayi is gone. Williams rushed nine times for just 19 yards on Monday night and the Bucs only allow 110 yards rushing per game.

Mike Adams #29 of the Carolina Panthers tackles Damien Williams #26 of the Miami Dolphins during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks: He’s had two disappointing games in a row and the Falcons give up 219 yards receiving per game. Doug Baldwin may be the only wide receiver you want to start for the Seahawks.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams: A disappointment early on this season, he’s only been productive over the last two weeks due to scoring in each of those weeks. The volume is still lacking as he’s only had three catches in the last two games. The Vikings are a tough draw and Robert Woods seems to be the new No. 1 in Los Angeles.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: It’s probably next to impossible to sit him for those that drafted him early, but he’s been a quarter of the fantasy player he was with Aaron Rodgers. The Ravens are second-best in receiving yards allowed.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Week 11 rankings

After Monday night’s performance, fantasy football owners are probably disappointed Cam Newton is off next week. The Jets, Colts and 49ers are also off in Week 11. With that in mind, here are my early Week 11 fantasy football rankings.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 10 recap and top waiver wire picks.

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Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.