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Fantasy Football Volatility Index: Risky & Safe Starts for Week 11

Rhamondre Stevenson is proving to be matchup-proof. Using NECC consistency rating to identify the riskiest and safest starts for Week 11 fantasy football.

There’s always risk in fantasy football. You’re never certain in the performance you’re going to get from a certain player when you start them. In order to help you make the best start/sit decisions for your fantasy team this week, I’ve used our NECC consistency rating to chart the safest and riskiest starts for Week 11.

What Is NECC Rating?

NECC stands for NerdBall Efficiency and Consistency Coefficient. It is a glorious stat, developed by our stats man Paddi Cooper, to help gage both a player’s consistency and efficiency with each touch in fantasy football. Here’s a full breakdown of what goes into the calculation.

The rating is a great way to help make determinations when it comes to weekly starts and sits as you have a clearer image of how volatile a player’s fantasy production has been this season. A player with a high NECC rating who’s in a bad matchup isn’t likely to be a great start. The reverse is likely to be a great start. Feel free to do your own digging with the stat and use it when making your own start sit decisions.

Let’s get it!

High-Risk Starts

Kenny Pickett (QB25 in NECC rating)

While I believe Pickett has rest of season fantasy value—he was one of my top-5 QB waiver targets this week—he’s not an add-and-start this week. Pickett is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season, finishing a QB1 against the Saints. Outside of that, he’s been a middling QB2 with multiple QB3 performances. His efficiency leaves a lot to be desired, currently ranking dead last among QBs in PER rating (0.20 points per attempt).

The Bengals have been excellent against opposing QBs this season. They’re allowing the fourth-fewest points per game to the position, just over 12. The Steelers have one of the easiest pass defense schedules rest of the way, so I do like Pickett long term, like I said. This week, not so much.

Brian Robinson (RB57)

A matchup against the Texans abysmal run defense is often too good to pass up but be cautious starting Robinson. The Commanders’ rookie back has not had the season that many expected him to have given his offseason hype. He’s only pieced together two double-digit performances and ranks last among RBs in PER rating, averaging a paltry 0.47 points per touch. Meanwhile, Antonio Gibson has been one of the most efficient and consistent backs in fantasy this year.

The Texans’ run defense ranks 28th in NEFF rating and is allowing a league high 32.4 PPG to opposing backs. The next closest is Cleveland who’re allowing 30.4 PPG. There’s a real chance both Gibson and Robinson go off this game. Houston is just that bad. This might be the week you can get away with starting Robinson somewhat confidently, but there’s still inherent risk.

Allen Robinson (WR53)

With Cooper Kupp hitting IR, fantasy managers are scrambling to figure out who will be the Rams’ new No. 1 wide receiver. Robinson feels like the clear and obvious choice, but who knows given the way this offense has looked. (Our own Nic Bodiford is calling his shot on Ben Skowronek.) Only once this season has Robinson gone over 55 yards receiving and it wasn’t last week when Kupp got injured. He’s finished outside the top-45 WRs more times than he’s finished in. You know playing him is a risky proposition.

It’s not a cushy matchup either as the Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest WR PPG over the last four weeks (23.2). Their secondary has been exceptionally good at limiting scoring opportunities, giving up just one touchdown during that time. Maybe Robinson will emerge as the Rams’ new WR1, but I’m not starting him this week to find out.

Mid-Risk Starts

Josh Jacobs (RB31)

Jacobs is a perfect example of why NECC rating can be so useful. Jacobs is currently the RB6 in .5PPR. Why would you ever think of not starting the RB6 in all of football? Well, because Jacobs has finished outside of RB15 in over 50% of his games this season. He’s had four games of RB1 production (top 12 or better) and five games which he’s finished worse than RB15. He’s a rollercoaster of a start.

The Broncos’ run defense has been above league average this season. They rank 13th in NEFF rating and on the season have allowed the 14th-fewest RB PPG (21.5). However, they’re coming off a dominate performance vs Derrick Henry. Denver held Henry to under 10 .5PPR points and 2.8 yards per carry last week.

Justin Herbert (QB20)

We’ve seen some vintage Herbert performances this year, but they haven’t come with the frequency they did last year. It doesn’t help when your two top wide receivers are both injured. Similarly to Josh Jacobs, Herbert has had more non-QB1 performances this season than QB1. It’s been a tough two weeks for him as he’s failed to finish a top-15 QB in each of his last two games.

After starting the year rough, the Chiefs’ defense has turned it around recently limiting opposing QB play. Over the last four weeks, Kansas City is allowing 15.1 QB PPG which is a far cry from the 22.1 PPG they allowed from weeks 1 through 6. It’s a divisional matchup, one which Herbert will need to throw to stay in, but it won’t be easy for him to post a big fantasy outing.

CeeDee Lamb (WR30)

Lamb’s volatility comes not from consistency but rather efficiency. Lamb is second only to DeAndre Hopkins in WR target share this season, seeing over 31% of the Cowboys’ pass attempts. He’s only seen fewer than eight targets twice this season. His efficiency isn’t terrible either as he ranks middle of the pack in PER rating, averaging 1.44 points per target.

I know I have Lamb as a “mid-risk start” for this week, but you should be starting him with confidence this week. The Vikings have given up the most WR PPG over the last four weeks (51). During that time, they’ve given up the fourth-most receptions (54), fourth-most yards (666), and second-most touchdowns (5). Lamb is a lock to finish a WR1 this week.

Low-Risk Starts

Tee Higgins (WR6)

Higgins has been extremely consistent this season, but over the last three weeks in particular. In those games, he’s finished the WR22, WR24, and WR23 in .5PPR. Not a lot of variation there. He’s proven to have elite WR1 upside this season (WR3 finish in Week 4) and only twice has finished well short of a WR2 spot (WR77 in Week 1, WR41 in Week 6). He’s a locked-and-loaded WR2, no questions asked.

This has the potential to be another elite WR1 week for Higgins as he faces a struggling Steelers’ secondary. On the season, Pittsburgh has given up the second-most WR PPG (42.5), third-most yards (1,792), and the most touchdowns (T-13). Since Ja’Marr Chase’s injury in Week 7, Higgins has led the Bengals in target share, seeing 22% of Joe Burrow’s pass attempts. A target hog in a plus matchup makes for a tasty start.

George Kittle (TE9)

After a slow start to the season, Kittle has been the TE4 in .5PPR since Week 6. He’s scored a touchdown or had 80-plus yards in three of his last four games. Now he gets to face the Cardinals who have been dreadful against opposing tight ends. They’re giving up over 20 PPG to the position on the season, which ranks last in the league. They’ve somehow have been even worse over the last four weeks, giving up 23.8 points and 88.5 yards per game. Monday night will be a Kittle-fest.

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB11)

Since Week 2, Stevenson has finished outside RB14 in .5PPR once. That was Week 4 against the Packers where he still finished a RB2. The second-year back has taken over the reigns of the Patriots’ backfield and isn’t letting go. His 61.9% opportunity share ranks 12th among running backs.

While the Jets aren’t an easy opponent on paper, Stevenson is proving himself to be matchup-proof. That being said, the Jets have given up the 6th-most targets and 10th-most receiving yards to opposing backs over the last four weeks. Stevenson’s 16.2% target share is third to only Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey this season. Stevenson is a set-it-and-forget-it RB1 this week.

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