Unexpected picks for your Week 11 lineup

Rachaad White and Cole Kmet came through for us last week, if you’re willing to accept them as fantasy fractions. Your mileage will vary. We’ve all said it as well, sleeper is a vague term. I still think Pat Freiermuth’s is coming, even though the Saints’ seam coverage kept him marked in Week 10.

There is no right or wrong way to digest this column. You might use it as a start/sit guide, or to inspire a prop play. Maybe you’ll add someone to your roster for depth — we have a candidate who fits this edition — but he won’t start this week. You might get some DFS intel from the piece. Your own Council. Dealer’s choice.

We are on to Week 11.

I get it, it’s basically Isiah Pacheco week in Kansas City. He ran well last week, the Chargers run stop is abysmal, and the Chiefs seem to be soured on Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Fantasy projection becomes much simpler when a backfield can be reduced from three to two.

But Pacheco is a bit too famous to be a sleeper column (although you’re welcome to start him). And we should probably say a kind word about McKinnon.

While Pacheco is overlooked in the passing game (13 yards all year), McKinnon is handy there. McKinnon caught 6-of-8 targets for 56 yards last week, and had a useful 6-40-0 receiving line in the previous game. McKinnon’s rushing share is unlikely to rise to 50 percent, but when he’s on the field, there’s a good chance he’ll be part of the play.

The Chiefs injury report requires careful inspection this week. A handful of receivers didn’t practice Wednesday, which could mean more McKinnon on the weekend. Once again, McKinnon has a shoulder injury of his own, although he practiced on a limited basis in Wednesday’s session. You will need to check this situation before committing any Kansas City angles. Just be prepared; when the Taoiseach are in trouble or in need-to-spend mode, McKinnon is the back best suited to that purpose.

Jerick McKinnon’s role in the Kansas City running game is a viable fantasy play. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Without much fanfare, the 2022 Patriots have put together a solid defense. It ranks third in defensive DVOA, and second against the pass. New England’s run stop is below average, but generally not that big of a deal. Don’t chase the rabbits, the elephants will kill you.

Of course, when opponents enter the red zone, another problem arises. The Pats often miss the tight end.

Pat Freiermuth, Mark Andrews (two), Josh Oliver and Robert Tonyan have all spiked for the Patriots, an interesting list of characters. And Conklin had a 6-79-2 party in the previous Patriots-Jets game. I get it, it’s hard to associate yourself with Zach Wilson. And you’d think the Patriots would be determined not to let Conklin blackmail them again, but they have other issues — like Garrett Wilson hurting in deeper ways. In a tough tight end week — fantasy managers just lost Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz — Conklin makes sense as a stopgap option.

The wide receiver board is depressed in Week 11. We just lost Cooper Kupp, and most of the automatic starting receivers are gone (Christian Kirk, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin). Fantasy managers will have to throw an uncomfortable arrow in the side this weekend.

Collins may be a correct answer.

Although Collins scored a touchdown last week, it’s not normal for anyone to throw a parade for a five-catch, 49-yard game. But Collins saw a team-high 10 goals, while disgruntled teammate Brandin Cooks had seven, and a 4-37-0 line. And note that Washington’s defense is a funnel unit—it’s stingy against the run (second in DVOA) but leaky against the pass (20th in DVOA). Collins probably doesn’t have breakout potential, but the arrow is pointing in the right direction. And Davis Mills was extremely competent in last week’s respectable loss to the Giants.

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The Saints considered a quarterback change this week before deciding to stick with Andy Dalton. Maybe they are just postponing the inevitable. Dalton hasn’t been sharp in recent weeks, and the next big mistake might call the bullpen. Maybe the Rams harass Dalton this week, or maybe it comes next week against the Niners. I don’t see how the veteran can run this gauntlet unscathed.

Of course Winston brings his own limitations to the table, but he is seven years younger than Dalton, and is generally more eager to push the ball down the field. Chris Olave’s managers would probably prefer a move to Winston; Alvin Kamara managers, not so much.

If you play in a single quarterback format, Dalton and Winston are probably not a direct part of your life. But if you need multiple QBs in your league, it might be a good time to stash Winston. At some point, the Saints may play their younger quarterback and see if he provides future upside.

Dolphins or Hawks DST, week 12 eyes

Miami and Seattle obviously can’t help you on their byes, but the Dolphins host Houston next week and the Seahawks welcome the Raiders. If those sound like streaming options you might be interested in for Week 12, consider cutting the line and stashing them now.

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