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Fantasy football 2023 Week 11 sleepers: Breakout time for rookie wide receiver?

We've reached Week 11. That means there's one month left in the fantasy football regular season. That also means every decision becomes increasingly more important. The good news is that if you survived last week with seemingly every good offense on a bye, then things get (a little) better.

But we're not out of the woods yet. Injuries, underperformers and bad matchups still lurk around every corner. To combat this, the sleepers column is here to offer alternatives to potential lineup duds. The floors might be low. But the rewards can often outweigh the risks.

Is that enough clichés for one open? I hope so, because here come some names.


Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers GB · QB
Los Angeles Chargers
2023 · 4-5-0

Love got off to a hot start this season, but the last month was a vastly different story. He went five straight games with fewer than 250 passing yards. He struggled to move the offense and turned the ball over. Then Week 10 happened. No, his 16.66 fantasy points weren’t earth-shattering. But it was his best fantasy output since Week 4. That’s reason enough to be optimistic heading to Week 11. 

That’s when the Chargers come to town. More importantly, the Chargers defense comes to town. It’s the same defense that looked hapless and helpless against the Lions last week. It’s a unit that has allowed four quarterbacks to throw for at least 300 yards -- including a pair of 400-yard performances. The ceiling on Love isn’t nearly that high, but he should have a good enough opportunity to be a high-end QB2 this week.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers SF · QB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2023 · 4-5-0

It seems like the bye week did the 49ers some good. The defense (now with 100 percent more Chase Young!) got back to its game-wrecking ways, and Purdy looked more like the guy who was essentially unbeatable early in his career. Purdy threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Jacksonville. Just as impressive, he didn’t turn the ball over against a defense that has thrived on takeaways. 

Yes, it’s only one week. But the Niners offense looks to be back on track. Now it comes home to face the Buccaneers. Tampa shut down the Titans passing game in Week 10, but the Titans are not the 49ers. Four quarterbacks have had 300-plus passing yards with multiple touchdowns against the Bucs. With a full arsenal available and Kyle Shanahan pulling the strings, Purdy has strong QB1 potential against the Bucs this week. 

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks SEA · QB
Los Angeles Rams
2023 · 3-6-0

After a solid week against the Washington Commanders, we’re going to double down on Geno in Week 11. He’s coming off his best fantasy performance of the year in a season that has otherwise been unremarkable. Here’s to hoping that another good outing gets Smith and the Seahawks passing attack kickstarted for the remainder of the year. 

The first game of the rest of their season (lives?) is a road trip to face the Rams. Los Angeles has decent numbers against the pass, but it has also faced some lackluster pass offenses. When Sean McVay’s crew did see some good aerial attacks, the results weren’t superb (SEE: Week 5 versus Philly and Week 8 at Dallas). Seattle’s passing game falls somewhere below those other offenses, but it has enough weapons to challenge L.A.’s secondary. Smith should be a high-end QB2.

Running backs

Darrell Henderson
Los Angeles Rams LAR · RB
Seattle Seahawks
2023 · 6-3-0

We have at least one more week without Kyren Williams, which means at least one more week with Henderson at the head of the Rams' backfield. In two of his last three games, he registered over double-digit fantasy points. The one game he struggled the most was also the game started by Brett Rypien. The Rams were, shall we say ... ungood on offense that day. It feels fair to give him a pass. 

This week, the Rams are expecting Matthew Stafford to return from his thumb injury. While the veteran quarterback has been a tough start in fantasy, his impact on the rest of the offense is undeniable. Starting from that vantage point, we sprinkle in a Seahawks run defense that has consistently been soft for fantasy running backs. Those numbers are slightly inflated by the Ravens running for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns in Week 9. But that also came after allowing 282 total yards on the ground in the previous two weeks combined. All of that bodes well for Henderson’s value as a low-end WR2 this week.

Devin Singletary
Houston Texans HOU · RB
Arizona Cardinals
2023 · 2-8-0

The Texans' run game has been bad all season. None of the faith we placed in Dameon Pierce has been rewarded. As the year progressed, Singletary has cut into Pierce’s snaps and touches. Then in Week 10, with Pierce out of action, Singletary made his play to take over. He ran for 150 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries -- the yards and attempts were team season-highs and career-bests for Singletary. 

We’ll see if Pierce is able to return for Week 11, but it’s looking more and more like Singletary is forcing his way into an RB1 role. He’ll get his shot against a Cardinals defense that gave up 184 rushing yards to the Falcons in Week 10 and has allowed four games with multiple rushing scores in 2023. Starting any Texans running back is a risk-reward proposition, but Singletary has flex value in Week 11.

(EDITOR'S UPDATE: The Texans have ruled out Dameon Pierce for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.)

AJ Dillon
Green Bay Packers GB · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
2023 · 4-5-0

Dillon -- along with a lot of his Packers teammates -- has been a disappointment this year. But in the past couple of weeks, “Quadzilla” has done more with less. In Week 9, he ran for 40 yards on nine carries. In Week 10, Dillon again had nine rushing attempts and took them for 70 yards. Green Bay hasn’t run the ball well this year (21st-ranked rushing offense), but Dillon has been the better of the two backs. 

That could make a difference this week against the Chargers. While L.A.’s run defense has been better this season than in past years, it was just gashed by the Lions for 200 yards on the ground. Admittedly, the duo of Dillon and Aaron Jones isn’t as dynamic as that of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery, but Green Bay should also be able to find some running room. Dillon gets the bump because of his touchdown upside, but he shouldn’t be thought of as anything more than an RB3 this week.

Wide Receivers

Rashee Rice
Kansas City Chiefs KC · WR
Philadelphia Eagles
2023 · 8-1-0

We’ve established that Rice is Kansas City’s WR1. That doesn’t mean he’s an overall WR1. We still need some actual spike weeks before we can declare that. Even in the weeks where Rice has found the end zone, he still hasn’t reached the 20-point threshold. However, he is getting looks from Patrick Mahomes. That’s all we can ask for in the Chiefs offense. 

Rice needs to continue earning targets -- and make the most of them -- if Kansas City is going to get past the Eagles this week. The good news is that Philly’s secondary continues to be a soft spot in the defense. No team allows more fantasy points per week to receivers. No team has allowed more receiving touchdowns to the position. With plenty of focus going to Travis Kelce, Rice could cook in Week 11. Think of him as a WR3 with flex appeal.

Deebo Samuel
San Francisco 49ers SF · WR
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2023 · 4-5-0

Deebo probably hasn’t had the season a lot of fantasy managers would have expected. But apart from his massive 2021 season, these numbers have been the norm. Samuel is better at real life football than fantasy. He’s second fiddle to Brandon Aiyuk in the passing game, and he won’t see the same number of carries with Christian McCaffrey in town. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid fantasy asset in the right situations. 

A Week 11 matchup against the Buccaneers could be the right situation. Tampa has the NFL’s 29th-ranked pass defense and is giving up the fourth-most points per game to the receiver position. After missing a couple of games, Samuel is getting healthy at the right time. While his target share has dwindled in recent weeks, he had 28 passes thrown his way over the first three. If the Bucs spend a lot of resources trying to slow down Aiyuk, it should open things up for Samuel. Consider him a flex option in Week 11.

Deep sleeper ...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Seattle Seahawks SEA · WR
Los Angeles Rams
2023 · 3-6-0

We’re still waiting for a true breakout game from JSN, but there are positive signs coming. His route participation has increased from the start of the year. His average depth of target has also increased steadily from the early part of the season. Seattle’s passing game has sputtered for long stretches, but last week appeared to be the start of something better. 

This week, the ‘Hawks will try to continue that momentum against a young Rams secondary. Los Angeles hasn’t been the worst defense against slot receivers, but they haven’t been great, either. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 107.3 and are completing passes at a rate of 5.1 percent over expectation when targeting the slot versus the Rams, per Next Gen Stats. JSN’s ceiling isn’t super high, but the floor is getting more stable. That makes him a flex candidate in deeper leagues.

Tight ends

Trey McBride
Arizona Cardinals ARI · TE
Houston Texans
2023 · 5-4-0

Last week, I marveled at the number of leagues in which McBride was dropped. Apparently one bad game with Clayton Tune at quarterback was all it took for fantasy managers to get spooked and move off McBride. Forget that he’s been heavily targeted since Zach Ertz’s injury, claiming the TE1 role the Cardinals envisioned when they spent a second-round pick on him in 2022. 

The volume alone should be enough to start McBride this week -- he’s had five or more targets in five straight games. He seems certain to see a solid target number this week against a Houston team that has been involved in high-scoring games in back-to-back weeks. If that’s still not enough reason, how about facing a defense that has surrendered the second-most receptions and second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends? If that doesn’t work, I’m out of ideas. McBride is a TE1 this week ... and likely for the rest of the season.

Deep sleeper ...

Luke Musgrave
Green Bay Packers GB · TE
Los Angeles Chargers
2023 · 4-5-0

Am I setting myself up for failure by riding so hard with the Packers this week? Maybe. Will that stop me? Nope. There are some interesting pieces on this offense, even if they haven’t played up to expectations this year. The fundamental elements for success have been there for Musgrave, even if they haven’t always translated to fantasy production. 

This is a week where things could go his way. The Chargers will be able to score points against a suspect Packers defense. That should force Jordan Love to throw the football. He’ll be doing so against a Bolts defense that has given up 40 (!!!) receptions to tight ends over the past four weeks. If you’re of a mind to stream at tight end, Musgrave could be your man in Week 11. 


Washington Commanders
2023 · 4-6-0
New York Giants
2023 · 2-8-0

There’s no need to beat around the bush here. The Giants are bad. Their offense is bad. The quarterback situation is bad. Give Tommy DeVito credit for going out and fighting last week against the Cowboys. But he’s not good enough. And the supporting cast around him isn’t good enough. A “not good enough” offense (which is being kind) is a perfect target for streaming defenses. 

In some ways, this is a case of Stoppable Force vs. Movable Object. We’ve been targeting the Commanders defense for several weeks now. This week could be Commanders’ Revenge. Until the Giants show any signs of life on offense, it’s worth streaming defenses against them.

_Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who should have done a better job of hiding the leftover Halloween candy. Send him your snack failures or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or TikTok at marcasgrant. _

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