Copestick’s Picks Week 11

New Orleans Saints Mark Ingram (22) rushes past Buffalo Bills Jordan Poyer (21) and Micah Hyde (23) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


New Orleans Saints’ Mark Ingram (22) rushes past Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer (21) and Micah Hyde (23) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Start em’

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs – Alex Smith has struggled as of late, but if you own him in fantasy, fear not. The Chiefs are on the road against a Giants team in complete disarray. They just lost to the previously winless 49ers and surrendered 51 points to the Rams at home. The Giants also rank 27th in points allowed and give up the third-most passing yards per game. That bodes well for Smith, who has the fifth-most passing yards in the league and has thrown just one interception all year. Smith will be well rested, as the Chiefs come off a bye.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints – The Saints are known for being a team that likes to throw the ball around, but that narrative has changed. Running the ball seems to be the team’s new identity, evident by a 47-10 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills when the team collectively ran for six touchdowns. The catalyst of the Saints’ ground game has been Mark Ingram, who leads his team with seven touchdowns, three of them coming in last weeks game. Ingram sees a fair amount of volume, but even if there’s a slight dip in his touches, he’s still efficient. Ingram averages 4.9 yards per carry, and against a Redskins defense that ranks 13th in rushing yards allowed, Ingram should be able to put up numbers.

Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars – Here we go again. Another receiver going against the Browns. That always will, and always has been a reason to give a starting nod to a player in fantasy. The Browns are just that bad. However, Marqise Lee has been anything but bad lately, providing some stability in an otherwise shaky passing offense led by Blake Bortles. While the Jags’ running game has stalled, Lee has helped the offense pick up the slack, scoring touchdowns in the Jags last two games and being targeted 23 times combined in those games. Couple Lee’s production with the uncertain game status of starting receiver Allen Hurns, the Jags will opt for Lee more often when they decide to throw.

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – When a player has as much talent and production as Antonio Brown, he should start every week regardless of who his opponent is. Brown has everything you want in a fantasy receiver. He currently leads the NFL in receiving yards and is the second-most targeted receiver in the league. The only knock on Brown is that he’s on a short week, playing on Thursday. But I don’t see Logan Ryan, rookie Adoree’ Jackson, or anyone in the Titans’ secondary giving Brown a hard time adding to his league-leading stats.


Sit em’

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans – Injuries, inconsistent play, and emphasis on the running game have left fantasy owners upset with Marcus Mariota. He’s completing just over 62 percent of his passes and has nearly as many interceptions (6) as he does touchdowns (7). Mariota is on a short week against the NFL’s second best pass defense, which isn’t promising for Mariota, the 21st ranked quarterback in fantasy.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks backfield is an absolute mess. Rookie Chris Carson started out the year as the lead back, but he broke his leg early in the season. Since then, an ever changing rotation of Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic, and Rawls have been called upon to fill the role. Running behind a poor offensive line, yards don’t come easy, evident by Rawls’ abysmal 2.6 yards per carry thus far. In fact, in a 41-38 win over the Houston Texans, Rawls finished with six carries for negative one yard. Rawls is not the guy to own in fantasy from the crowded Seahawks backfield, but instead try the receiver-turned-running back J.D. McKissic.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills – There’s a lot of things to not like about Kelvin Benjamin this week. He’ll be playing in only his second game with the Bills after he was dealt from the Panthers at the eleventh hour during the trade deadline. Benjamin will also be playing with his second different quarterback, as the Bills swapped out Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman. Add in that the Bills are headed cross-country to Los Angeles against the Chargers defense, there’s not a whole lot of promise. Benjamin’s fantasy outlook takes a hit when the Chargers pass rush is factored in, eager to frustrate the Bills rookie quarterback.

Play of the Week

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers – Ekeler played well against the Jaguars, one of the best defenses in football. His two touchdowns kept the Chargers in the game, and he saw a lot of action, keeping Melvin Gordon off the field. Although Ekeler’s touchdowns came through the air, it’s worth noting his success on the ground, averaging over four yards per carry on ten attempts. Melvin Gordon may be on the field more often, but Ekeler should still be able to make an impact against a Bills team that was just gashed for six rushing touchdowns.