Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 11
Now that 10 weeks of the regular season have been completed, many of you have just three contests remaining before your fantasy playoffs will commence. If your teams are favorably positioned for a postseason run, then congratulations are in order. But a large percentage of you are still attempting to guide your ever evolving lineups into the playoffs. Which compels you to diligently scrutinize your rosters, and continue making modifications based upon your best judgments.
But even as you strive to win your remaining regular season encounters, it is advisable that you also examine the Week 14-16 matchups for the players that you are planning to rely on. Because now is the optimal time to determine if you have the most favorable roster components that will provide you with a sizable number of fantasy points throughout the playoffs. If you have been depending upon players who must contend with daunting matchups during that span, you should decide whether or not you are sufficiently confident in their ability to remain matchup proof in Week 14 and beyond, when you are faced with your most critical contests.
With that recommendation now firmly established, we will transfer our attention toward decisions that are specific to Week 11. Including the fact that bye weeks will soon dissipate, and will be sorely missed by essentially no one. However, we still have six teams that will be impacted before this year’s process is complete, including four this week. Those of you who own any Falcons, Broncos, Jets or Chargers will not have those players available. To help all owners remain prepared for the final installments of these aforementioned bye weeks, you can locate which teams are included directly below.
- Week 11 Byes: Atlanta, Denver, New York Jets, San Diego
- Week 12 Byes: NONE
- Week 13 Byes: Cleveland, Tennessee
Now, let’s progress to my Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em recommendations for Week 11. As always, no space will be devoted to elite players that you should already be planning to deploy. Instead, the focus will remain on the Start and Sit options that are more uncertain. Enjoy the games, and good luck this week.
Start QB Marcus Mariota at Colts
Mariota’s season began in disappointing fashion, as he manufactured an unattractive 4:5 touchdown to interception ratio, and averaged just 18 YPG on the ground in Weeks 1-4. But since that inauspicious sequence, his production soared, and he has yet to deliver a disappointing performance during his last six contests. All of which has significantly elevated his value within the fantasy landscape. In Weeks 5-10, the second-year signal caller generated an impressive 17 touchdowns through the air, tossed only three interceptions and rushed for 60+ yards twice. All of which has enabled his owners to utilize him unfailingly as a weekly QB1. Contained within his current succession of favorable outings was the 232-yard, two-touchdown performance that he delivered in Week 7 against Indianapolis. He should generate favorable numbers again during this week’s rematch with Tennessee’s division rival, as the Colts’ 31st ranked pass defense is allowing 288 YPG, and has surrendered 17 touchdowns.
This unit has also permitted the fifth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks while yielding multiple touchdowns to seven signal callers and allowing at least 265 yards in six different contests. Mariota can be deployed without hesitation again this week.
Sit QB Derek Carr vs. Texans[the_ad id=”66786″]This column has been a consistent proponent of utilizing Carr throughout the season. He enters Week 11 with a highly favorable 17:3 touchdown to interception ratio, and has fortified his status as a trustworthy QB1, who combines largely mistake-free performances with the ability to locate and connect with primary weapons Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Plus, he has delivered big plays repeatedly, and in critical game situations. This assemblage of accolades might have you wondering why he is listed as a sit this week. The concern for Carr is that his statistical ceiling will be lowered during this matchup for two reasons. First, he must contend with a third-ranked pass defense that is yielding 197 YPG, and had surrendered only six touchdowns through the air before allowing two scores to Blake Bortles in Week 10.
The Texans are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing signal callers, have not yielded a 300-yard passing performance, and have permitted multiple touchdowns in just two contests all season. Also, the Raiders were extremely successful against Denver in Week 9, by employing additional blockers, and relentlessly pounding the ball 43 times. That strategy prohibited the Bronco defense from operating within their strength defensively, and limited Carr to a season-low 31 passing attempts. Oakland should attack Houston’s vulnerable run defense in similar fashion, which will diminish Carr’s opportunities to launch an aerial assault. He should approach 200 yards and could generate a touchdown, but you should be striving for more from your starter this week.
Start RB LeGarrette Blount at 49ers
Even though Tom Brady and the Patriot passing game will produce sizable for owners this week, Blount will have an opportunity to supplement his league-leading touchdown total, while assembling more dubious numbers onto San Francisco’s dreadful defensive resume. The 49ers remain anchored to the bottom of NFL rush defense rankings while yielding 180.4 YPG. That is a mammoth 36.7 yards more than the second-worst unit. They are also allowing an enormous 5.1 YPC, and have surrendered 13 touchdowns. This deficient unit has also yielded the most fantasy points to opposing backs (29 PPG), and had been gashed for 100+ yards by an opposing rusher in seven straight games, prior to Week 10.
Blount’s workload has remained extensive since Brady’s return, as he has averaged 19 carries per game in the last five contests). Plus, six of his NFL-best 12 touchdowns have been generated during New England’s last three games. Do not overthink the potential roles of James White and Dion Lewis, and make sure to insert Blount into your lineups. As he is destined for a highly productive performance.
Start RB Latavius Murray vs. Texans
Oakland chose to place greater emphasis on their ground game in Week 9, out of deference to a Denver pass defense that remained formidable despite being depleted by injury. The strategy was a success, as the Raiders ran the ball 43 times, and thoroughly controlled the game flow. A similar scenario should develop this week, as navigating through Houston’s pass defense is a far more daunting task than attacking the unit on the ground. Which will provide Murray with another prominent role, to emulate what occurred during that Week 9 encounter. Murray was allotted 20 carries in that contest, received a massive boost from his highly dominant offensive line, and rumbled for a season-high 117 yards and three touchdowns. While the trio of scores all were generated on one-yard runs, owners certainly embraced of the fantasy points that resulted, along with the elimination of questions concerning Murray’s role as Oakland’s primary ball carrier. He will supply a desirable output again this week, versus a Houston run defense that has allowed 10 touchdowns, yielded 120.7 YPG, and has been gashed for 95+ yards by four opposing runners. Their vulnerability, combined with Murray’s favorable volume, elevates him into high-end RB2 status.[the_ad id=”67766″]
Sit RB Todd Gurley vs. Dolphins
Owners need no reminder that they invested a first draft selection in Gurley, or that they are continuing to receive an annoyingly underwhelming production in exchange for their exorbitant investment. He is currently averaging 57 YPG, and an alarming 3.1 YPC. He has failed to attain 60 yards in six of his eight contests and has exceeded 72 yards only once. While his deployment in the passing game had increased in Weeks 6-9 (14 receptions), he only caught one pass in Week 10 versus the Jets. The process of owning Gurley becomes even more excruciating as Benny Cunningham continues to pilfer touches, and the Ram coaching staff persists in constructing hurdles for their best offensive player, in the form of head-scratching offensive strategy on a repeated basis.
This week, Gurley will face a Miami run defense that has recently performed better than their ranking of 30th would make it appear. In their last five contests, the Dolphins have yielded the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing rushers (15.6 PPG), and have surrendered just two touchdowns on the ground. If Jeff Fisher finally opts to dispatch Jared Goff under center, that will only entice the Dolphins to intensify their focus on smothering Gurley.
Sit RB Terrance West / Kenneth Dixon at Cowboys
Baltimore has possessed one of the fantasy landscapes’ most ambiguous RB situations this season, and the current time share between West and Dixon will continue to impede any chance for the clarity that is so greatly desired by the fantasy community. West appeared capable of securing a feature back role after he averaged 18 carries, 98 YPG, and also scored three times in Weeks 4-6. But his workload was reduced to just eight carries in Week 7, and Dixon has commandeered a reasonable percentage of the workload allocation moving forward after the rookie assembled 80 total yards with his 11 touches in Week 10.
While it is becoming easier to envision him ultimately emerging as the Ravens’ most utilized backfield weapon in the aftermath of that performance, it is risky to place your confidence in either Baltimore back this week. The Cowboys now rank third in run defense, are allowing 82.6 YPG, and have yielded a league-low four touchdowns on the ground. This unit has also permitted the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing rushers (14.9 PPG), and has only permitted one back to exceed 75 yards this season. West and Dixon should be rostered, but neither should be utilized this week.[the_ad id=”67766″]
Start WR Donte Moncrief vs. Titans
Both primary receivers for the Colts should overwhelm a Tennessee secondary that has surrendered 16 touchdowns this season, including seven in their last five contests. Of course, T.Y. Hilton owners should already be starting him every week and can do so with additional incentive heading into this matchup. As they should be acutely aware that he scorched the Titans during their Week 7 encounter, generating 133 yards and a touchdown. While Hilton will wreak havoc in the slot once again, Moncrief should also accumulate a desirable collection of fantasy points on the perimeter, regardless of which corner he contends with. He should easily procure receptions whenever he matches up against the eminently beatable Parrish Cox. Plus, he has the size and talent to prevail if he contends with Jason McCourty. Moncrief has already assembled three touchdowns despite performing in just four contests this season and should increase that total on Sunday.
Start WR Kenny Britt at Dolphins
Tavon Austin entered the year with a new contract, along with the premise that he was the Rams’ most critical playmaker at the wide receiver position. But he enters Week 11 having reached 60 yards in just one contest while failing to attain 20 yards in four different games. Meanwhile, Britt has functioned consistently as the team’s most effective weapon at the position. The eight-year veteran collected seven of his team-high ten targets for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last Sunday and has averaged 82 YPG in his last six contests. Britt has also exceeded 100 yards twice in the last four games and has scored three times since Week 6. He also presents owners with a viable option against Miami this week. The Dolphins have surrendered at least one touchdown through the air in six straight matchups, and there is no reason to be overly concerned with corners Tony Lippett and Bryon Maxwell. As Britt is capable of delivering another productive outing regardless of which vulnerable defensive back is drawn in coverage. Owners should start him confidently this week.
Sit WR J.J. Nelson/John Brown/Michael Floyd at Vikings[the_ad id=”63198″]This trio of Cardinal receivers have taken turns demonstrating their collective talent. However, they have all failed to deliver high-quality production with any shred of consistency. Making it virtually impossible to trust any of them in your lineups. Nelson appeared to be an enticing roster addition, who could provide a boost to teams that were fighting for the postseason after he generated 163 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions in Weeks 8-9. But a massive letdown ensued in Week 10 when he manufactured a meager 29 yards on two catches. Brown amassed a season-high 144 yards on 10 receptions in Week 4, but has caught a grand total of 12 passes, and averaged 36 YPG since that contest. Meanwhile, Floyd accumulated a season-high 101 yards in Week 10, but the list of owners who have been burned by inconsistent production during his career is immense.
Blend in the reality that Palmer has often performed like a quarterback that may have arrived at the unwanted yet inevitable phase of his career in which his capabilities have degenerated beyond recovery, and you are left with an undesirable mix entering this week’s encounter with Minnesota. While this unit was burned by Alshon Jeffery (4-63-1) and Golden Tate (11-79-1) in Weeks 8-9, they still rank a stingy sixth against the pass, have allowed 212 YPG, and have given up seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers all season. The Vikings are yielding the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, and remain a challenging matchup for any aerial attack. There are no Cardinal receivers beyond Larry Fitzgerald who should be entrusted in lineups this week.
Sit WR Sammie Coates at Browns
If you are dissatisfied with your current situation at wide receiver or have been starting wideouts that are unavailable due to this week’s bye, it might be tempting to utilize Coates. Or, to seize him from your waiver wires for use as a temporary WR3. However, here is a word of advice – don’t. In Weeks 9-10, his numbers correctly match any wideouts who did not see the field. As he has failed to register a catch. Of course, that would have been quite the achievement last Sunday, considering that he was allotted only two snaps. Even with Darrius – Heyward-Bey out of the lineup, eight teammates garnered targets, while Coates was utterly insignificant. Since his 139-yard, two touchdown performance in Week 5, Coates has been a complete non-entity within the Steeler passing attack. It is unfortunate, as he would be the beneficiary of an excellent matchup against the Browns 25th ranked pass defense this week. While Eli Rogers owners should elevate him into their lineups, Coates should be benched, and can even be dropped for a more promising option.
Start TE Julius Thomas at Lions[the_ad id=”58837″]Thomas has delivered one of the most disappointing seasons among tight ends, and has been dropped in over 45% of all leagues. But this week, he is a viable streaming option for owners in need, and the reason is enormously simple. Until Detroit stops surrendering touchdowns to opposing tight ends, they will be appearing in this column frequently as a favorable matchup for whoever they are facing in that particular week. The Lions yielded the most touchdowns to tight ends on 2015, and are on pace to replicate that dubious feat this year. As they have surrendered a league-worst nine touchdowns to the position during their first nine contests. On Sunday, Thomas will have the opportunity to add his name to the ever-growing list of tight ends who have located the end zone – Jack Doyle, Dwayne Allen, Delanie Walker, Richard Rodgers, Zach Miller, Lance Kendricks, CJ Federowicz, and Kyle Rudolph. Even though he garnered a season-high six catches in Week 10, he has failed to accumulate 30 yards in six consecutive contests. However, he did produce a touchdown last Sunday, which was his third in the last four weeks. Considering the track record of his opponent, Thomas is a legitimate candidate to amass another score this week.
Sit TE Kyle Rudolph vs. Cardinals
Prior to Week 10, Rudolph had not been able to sustain the level of production that he had attained earlier this season when he averaged 55 YPG and scored three times during Minnesota’s initial four contests. However, he collected five receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown last Sunday, which was his highest yardage total since Week 3. While that output was certainly beneficial to his owners, it would be unwise to expect continued success this week. Accumulating yardage against Arizona’s second-ranked pass defense has been a particularly daunting task for opposing tight ends this season. As the Cardinals are permitting the fewest fantasy points to the position, yielding a microscopic 2.7 PPG. They have not allowed a tight end to exceed 53 yards this season, and are the only team that has not allowed a touchdown to the position. While a dearth of enticing options might make it difficult for owners to jettison Rudolph to their benches, it is realistic to anticipate a very low statistical ceiling this week.
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Phil is a proud Hoosier, who relocated in Nebraska, and began playing fantasy football nearly 20 years ago. In his first ever draft, he had the third overall pick and selected Barry Sanders. That choice was instantly mocked by several other owners, but Sanders ultimately scored 14 touchdowns and generated 2,358 total yards during an exceptional season. That instantly taught Phil a very important lesson – even though none of us will forecast with 100% accuracy, you should follow your gut instincts whenever you truly believe in a player. Phil began his writing career with RotoWire, later joined Fanball, and has since returned home to the Gridiron Experts. He remains firmly convinced that the key to happiness can be found through a subscription to the Sunday Ticket.