Google defines contrarian as “opposing or rejecting popular opinion; going against current practice.” Popular plays are going to emerge throughout the course of the week, as they do every week, based on talented players squaring off against forgiving defenses. Of course in a nutshell the concept makes sense because using players against a weak opponent increases their chances of success. Nevertheless, this is the NFL and all sorts of outcomes are possible regardless of how juicy the matchup is. Heading into Week 11, here are some players that the masses may be off but have a high enough probability to succeed that they are worthy of your consideration:
Blake Bortles, Jaguars, $10,600 – Only one team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Lions so starting their opponent is quite often a solid play. No QB has been more frustrating to watch this year than Blake Bortles due to his long delivery and measly 64.6 completion percentage often leading to extended droughts for the offense. By the time he recovers, the team is so far in a hole that the game is not even worth watching. While I am not suggesting you watch the game this week, the final results are likely to be solid for Bortles who is finally getting on the same page with his young star receiver Allen Robinson. The past two weeks have literally ended as two of the three most productive in terms of fantasy points for Robinson this season and those have correlated with two solid weeks for Bortles as well. This game possesses the sixth highest over/under of the slate so it could go under the radar and yet could prove to be a shootout. As long as the Jaguars are playing from behind, Bortles should prove to compete for the fantasy-point-per-dollar lead at the position at a basement $10,600 price tag.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns, $7,700 – At this price tag, Isaiah Crowell will essentially provide his owners will value as long as he finds the end zone. Well, only five teams have allowed more rushing TDs than the Steelers so clearly Crowell has a better than average chance to find paydirt in this game. Furthermore, the Steelers have surrendered 4.3 yards per carry (YPC) as a whole which ranks 21st in the NFL. This season’s Steelers defense is nothing like their defense from year’s past when they were an extremely formidable group. According to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic, they rate below average in terms of passing defense and right around netural as a rushing defense. Crowell’s touches have been down lately, as he has not exceeded 12 in the past two weeks, but he still has received 100-percent of the team’s red zone carries during that stretch. He just needs one catch to come through and he is obviously being rostered as a pure punt.
C.J. Prosise, Seahawks, $8,400 – Apparently Coach Pete Carroll saw all he needed to see from the youngster on Sunday because the team went ahead and cut Christine Michael on Tuesday. With Thomas Rawls returning to the team, the organization is clearly comfortable with the Rawls/Prosise duo and this bodes well for the rookie’s prospects moving forward. If last week is at all indicative of the way things will be handled moving forward, he played 77-percent of the team’s offensive snaps and gained 153 yards from scrimmage. At worst, Prosise regresses back to his third down receiving role which is still conducive to the PPR scoring format. Hell, Darren Sproles, Theo Riddick and players of that skill set are viable on most weeks they are priced around this cost so Prosise certainly should warrant consideration…especially because that role is his floor. It is quite reasonable to infer Carroll could stick with the hot hand and continue to ride Prosise as well against a middle of the road Eagles rushing defense. At this price tag, there is nothing to lose.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts, $14,600 – Donte Moncrief was not active the last time the Colts squared off against the Titans but T.Y. Hilton torched them to the tune of seven receptions (RECs) for 133 yards and a TD (on 12 targets). According to Pro Football Focus, Brice McCain, the Titans’ nickel corner, has graded outside of the top 60 at the position this season…and he is actually playing better this year than he has in recent years. In other words, Hilton draws one of the most favorable individual matchups of the week and should be in a great spot to explode once again. In fact, the presence of Moncrief should only deflect attention away from him and could open up space for him to create a big play. His skill set and size makes him volatile in nature but the matchup is conducive to his style especially considering the game possesses the highest over/under of the week. With a week off to help heal his ailing hamstring, Hilton has WR1 upside this week.
Julian Edelman, Patriots, $12,600 – Everyone is going to focus on rostering LeGarrette Blount this week against a 49ers team that has surrendered seven straight 100-plus yard rushers. The price increase has been steep as Blount will now cost you $12,000 in Week 11. He is a fine play as well but do not forget about Julian Edelman who has yet to really get it going in 2016 so far. If there is any saving grace, Edelman has still been targeted at least seven times in each of his last five games including eight-plus times thrice during that span. Eventually, that sort of volume is going to lead to production and the 49ers’ defense still only rank 19th in passing DVOA. Both the passing game and rushing game could prove to be productive in a game where the Patriots likely blow out their opponent. One of these weeks Edelman is going to bust out for one of the 9-97-1 type lines and this awful defense certainly gives him a chance.
Zach Miller, Bears, – After burning everyone last week, the masses are going to be afraid to go back to the well. However, his situation as a whole has improved due to the injury to Alshon Jeffery. In tune, his target share in the offense should only increase without the top option. With his volume set to increase, that does not necessarily mean his efficiency will increase, especially in an offense led by the volatile Jay Cutler. Even with Cutler under center, he has managed a respectable 75-percent catch rate which ranks 13th and is tied with such names as Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Jimmy Graham. The Giants just allowed Tyler Eifert to gain 96 yards on just three RECs against them on Monday Night Football and they only rank 19th in DVOA against TEs. If looking for a player in a solid spot whose ownership percentage should be depreciated, look no further than Miller.