Start’Em Sit’Em Week 11
We have now progressed beyond 10 weeks of the regular season, and many of you have just three contests remaining before your fantasy playoffs will begin. If your teams have already reached the threshold of clinching a coveted spot in the postseason, then you are to be congratulated for navigating your roster through the various obstacles that can suddenly arise during the regular season. But many of you are still expending unwavering dedication toward guiding your teams into the playoffs. Which requires continual decision making and persistent roster modifications.
While planning lineups for Week 11 should remain your primary focus, it is advisable that you also examine the matchups in Weeks 14-16 for the players that are most critical to your success. Because it will be advantageous for you to begin planning now, if you discover multiple performers on your team that will be contending with formidable run or pass defenses when they take the field for those season-defining weeks.
With that recommendation now firmly delivered, this Gridiron Experts Week 11 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em column will shift focus back to the more immediate goal of making roster decisions that are specific to Week 11. This includes the final installment of bye weeks for the 2017 regular season, which is an unwanted nuisance that will be not be missed. During this final bye week, for 2017, owners of any Jets, Panthers, Colts, and 49ers will not have those players available for their lineups.
- Week 11 Byes: Jets, Panthers, Colts, 49ers
Regardless of the specific challenges that you are encountering this week, this Gridiron Experts Start’Em Week 11 Sit’Em column will assist with the critical decision-making process that is involved with finalizing your lineups. As it is designed to provide a strategic approach toward recommending your best starts, along with the players that should be excluded this week. Since you are already depending upon the performers that you selected at the onset of your drafts, along with the consistent leaders in fantasy points, this column will not confiscate your precious time by discussing them here. Unless the recommendation is that you need to sit any off those players. Kickoffs are approaching, so let’s examine the players that are featured in this Gridiron Experts Week 11 Start’em Sit’em column. Enjoy the games, and good luck in Week 11.
The Final Call Podcast: Start’Em Sit’Em Week 11
Alex Smith at Giants
Start’em QB Week 11
Smith returns this week to continue his progression toward establishing new career highs in both yardage, and touchdowns. As he entered his Week 10 bye with 2,444 passing yards, which was second among all signal callers, and he had constructed an exceptional touchdown to interception ratio of 18:1. His current 271.6 YPG average also resides well beyond his previous best of 233.5. A highly productive outing appears imminent on Sunday, when he spearheads a Kansas City offense that has prepared two weeks for this encounter. Not only has Andy Reid fashioned a remarkable 16-2 career record in games following bye weeks, but an enticing matchup versus now awaits Smith and the Chiefs. The Giants only allowed 15 touchdowns through the air in 2016, but this year’s 30th ranked unit has already eclipsed that number (20). As New York’s unexpected degeneration from a formidable pass defense to a unit that has been shredded for significant yardage, multiple touchdowns, and highlight reel worthy big plays, has been swift and borderline shocking. Since Week 5, the Giants have surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing signal callers, as Jameis Winston (332 yards/3 touchdowns), Philip Rivers (258 yards/3 touchdowns), Russell Wilson 334 yards/3 touchdowns), Trevor Siemian (376 yards/1 touchdown), Jared Goff (311 yards/4 touchdowns), and even C.J. Beathard (288 yards/2 touchdowns), have tortured this suddenly burnable secondary. Smith should be armed with an effective game plan from Reid, and will be facing a unit that appears to contain players who are not 100% mentally invested. All of which should inspire owners to trust Smith in their lineups.
Also Start: Philip Rivers vs. Bills, Matthew Stafford at Bears
Jared Goff at Vikings
Sit’Em QB Week 11
During a week in which several of the league’s most formidable pass defenses will be matched up against signal callers that should not be contained in anyone’s starting lineups, the focus now shifts to Goff. Who has transitioned impressively from a quarterback that appeared totally incapable of functioning efficiently as an NFL starter last season, to a highly competent performer for the Rams. For most of his upcoming matchups, he also deserves consideration as a borderline QB1 for his owners. As he has now generated the eighth best YPG average (265), has produced the seventh most yards among all signal callers (2,385), and his 16 touchdowns also place him seventh overall. But while it may be tempting for owners to leave him affixed in their lineups this week, it is important to recognize the imposing nature of his Week 11 matchup. Because he must contend with a Minnesota pass defense that has yielded the fifth fewest touchdowns through the air (10). The Vikings have also surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers since Week 5, have not allowed a quarterback to generate multiple touchdowns since Week 3, and have only permitted two signal callers to reach 300 yards. Golf’s most productive outings this season have occurred against substandard pass defenses (Colts/49ers/Giants/ Texans), which is not a criticism. However, it is cautionary advice not to expect his output against Minnesota, to replicate the production that he has attained when attacking vulnerable units. Which should prompt owners to reduce their expectations if they start him this week.
Also Sit: Dak Prescott vs. Eagles, Derek Carr vs. Patriots
Alex Collins at Packers
RB Start’em Week 11
The Ravens’ return from their Week 10 bye, also delivers the reemergence of Collins as a viable starting option. The second-year back had averaged 14 carries, 63 YPG, and 4.4 YPC between Weeks 5-9. While his decisiveness and burst during a 113-yard performance in Week 8, appeared to solidify his role as the team’s early-down back. While also increasing the likelihood that he will garner more red zone opportunities. He also has an opportunity to accumulate significant yardage this week, during an appealing matchup with Green Bay. The Packers have allowed 111 YPG on the ground, and have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Devonta Freeman (84 rushing yards/2 touchdowns), Joe Mixon (101 total yards), Jordan Howard (53 rushing yards/1 touchdown), Ezekiel Elliott (116 rushing yards), Jerick McKinnon (99 total yards/2 touchdowns), Mark Ingram (105 rushing yards/ 1 touchdown), Alvin Kamara (107 total yards), Theo Riddick (73 total yards), and Ameer Abdullah (57 total yards/1 touchdown), have all generated success for their owners when facing this vulnerable run defense. While conversation will escalate concerning the potential return of Danny Woodhead, the well-rested Collins should not be forgotten. As Woodhead presents a threat to the workload of Buck Allen, while Collins should thrive as the Ravens’ primary ball carrier. Owners can confidently utilize him as a low-end RB2/high end RB3 this week.
Austin Ekeler vs. Bills
RB Start’em Week 11
This recommendation is not based on chasing Week 10 results. either from the perspective of utilizing Ekeler, or of deploying a running back who has the opportunity to exploit Buffalo’s suddenly porous run defense. Because even though the undrafted free agent from Western State delivered an eye-opening performance last Sunday in Jacksonville – when he parlayed 15 touches into 191 total yards, generated two receiving touchdowns of 20+ yards, and thoroughly outperformed the currently unimpressive Melvin Gordon – it was not the first time this season that Ekeler has delivered a spark to the Chargers’ ground game, while functioning as the team’s most effective back. As Gordon, who could only manage 27 yards with his 16 carries against the Jaguars, has now failed to exceed 2.2 YPC in four different contests, and has only surpassed 3.3 YPC in three games all season. As a result, Ekeler has earned consideration as a legitimate RB3/flex, particularly when he will be the beneficiary of an enticing matchup. That is certainly the case this week when he faces a Buffalo run defense that is suddenly in tatters. After being gashed for 151 yards and two scores by Matt Forte and Bilal Powell in Week 10. Then being soundly thrashed in Week 11 by Mark Ingram (131 rushing yards/3 touchdowns), Alvin Kamara (138 total yards/1 touchdown), and Trey Edmunds (48 rushing yards/1 touchdown). While Gordon will remain the Chargers’ RB1, Ekeler will continue to pilfer touches, and it is easy to envision him operating more efficiently with his opportunities against the Bills. The Los Angeles offense desperately needs him, and owners can utilize Ekeler as an RB 3/Flex this week.
Also Start: Jordan Howard vs. Lions, James White / Rex Burkhead at Raiders
Adrian Peterson at Texans
RB Sit’EM Week 11
Anyone who owns AP has experienced massively divergent results during his last four contests. As he has bolted for 134+ plus in Weeks 6 and 9 while failing to exceed 29 yards in Weeks 7 and 10. The primary consistency within this four-game sequence is that Peterson successfully exploited two highly substandard run defenses (Buccaneers/49ers), but his two matchups with more imposing units (Rams/Seahawks) resulted in extremely lackluster output. The expectation from here, is that this pattern will be sustained this week, which should compel owners to examine other options before starting Peterson. Even though Houston has endured a seemingly endless succession of devastating injuries, the Texan run defense has remained formidable. This unit ranks eighth, allows 96.9 YPG, and has yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs since Week 7. In their last eight contests, only Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley have accrued more than 58 yards on the ground, as Joe Mixon (36) Mike Gillislee (31), DeMarco Murray (31), Derrick Henry (7 yards on 6 carries), Duke Johnson (40), Eddie Lacy (0 yards – 6 carries), and Thomas Rawls (-1 yards – 6 carries), are among the more notable runners that have failed to surpass 40 yards. The Texans have also repeatedly limited the receiving yardage of opposing backs, as Mixon (5), James White (11), Murray (4), Hunt (9), and Johnson (- 1) have collectively been contained. Even if game script favors the deployment of Peterson by Arizona, it is unlikely that he can accrue sizable yardage against the Texans. Making this an excellent week to avoid starting him.
Lamar Miller vs. Cardinals
RB Sit’em Week 11
Prior to Week 9, owners could remain comfortable about starting him, due to the unfailing nature of his extensive weekly workloads. Which enabled him to mask inefficiencies with adequate yardage output. Through his first seven games, Miller had averaged 17 carries and 19.5 touches per contest, while functioning within an offense that had ignited under the navigation of Deshaun Watson. But once the electric rookie signal-caller exited the lineup, Houston’s ability to overpower opposing defenses vanished. The resulting transition to a Tom Savage led attack has demolished that favorable weekly scenario, while creating an additional hurdle for Miller. As opponents have no legitimate reason to respect Houston’s passing attack, which allows them to deploy more resources toward containing the run. Owners must now combine concerns regarding the massive shortcomings of Houston’s offense, with trepidation about the potential for D’Onta Foreman to commandeer touches, and the reality of Miller’s daunting task this week. When he contends with an Arizona run defense that ranks ninth, yields the fourth lowest YPC average (3.6), and has surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. The Cardinals have stifled Ameer Abdullah (30 yards/ 2.0 YPC), Frank Gore (46 yards/3.3 YPC), Doug Martin (53 yards/3.8 YPC), and Carlos Hyde (41 yards/3.4 YPC), while only allowing one runner not named Todd Gurley or Ezekiel Elliott to exceed 68 yards. Owners who start Miller should only use him as an RB3 or flex.
Also Sit: Alfred Morris vs. Eagles, Samaje Perine / Chris Thompson at Saints
Sterling Shepard vs. Chiefs
WR Start’em Week 11
Since returning to New York’s lineup in Week 9, Shepard has functioned proficiently as the Giants’ WR 1, while establishing himself as a dependable WR2 for his owners. He has collected 16 of his 22 targets for 212 yards, after gashing the San Francisco secondary for 142 yards, and garnering 11 of his team-high 13 targets last Sunday. He should deliver another excellent performance this week, when he lines up against a 28th ranked Kansas City pass defense that has already surrendered 16 touchdowns, which is largely why they have yielded the most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Chiefs have been shredded by Danny Amendola (100 yards), Brandin Cooks (88 yards), Alshon Jeffery (92 yards/1 touchdown), Travis Benjamin (105 yards), Terrelle Pryor (70 yards/1 touchdown), DeAndre Hopkins (52 yards/3 touchdowns), Will Fuller (57 yards/2 touchdowns), Antonio Brown (155 yards /1 touchdown), Amari Cooper (210 yards /2 touchdowns) and Terrance Williams (141 yards). Even though Marcus Peters presents one of the league’s more difficult matchups, the Chiefs have been attempting to locate reliable options at their other cornerback positions, after benching Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines. However, coverage issues have persisted amid the team’s experimentation at the position, which allows the Giants to simply deploy Shepard in various formations. That will enable him to avoid running routes against Peters’ stationary coverage, while amassing another mammoth yardage total when facing KC’s more overmatched defensive backs. Owners can utilize him with conviction again this week.
Nelson Agholor at Cowboys
WR Start’EM Week 11
The gargantuan year-three development of Agholor, who has evolved from a massive disappointment into a WR3/flex option, has been significant. The former first-round selection has delivered production that far exceeds the anemic results of his initial two seasons (59 receptions/648 yards/23 YPG/3 touchdowns), while establishing career highs in yardage (428), and touchdowns (5). He commandeered a place within the fantasy landscape during a four-game sequence (Weeks 4-7) in which he averaged 63 YPG, garnered 15 receptions, and generated three touchdowns. While he only averaged 31 YPG on just five catches in Weeks 8-9, Agholor should deliver more inspiring numbers this week, while taking advantage of an enticing matchup. The Cowboys have yielded the eighth most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and have demonstrated the propensity to surrender yardage in slot coverage. As Larry Fitzgerald (13 receptions/149 yards/1 touchdown), Cooper Kupp (60 yards/1 touchdown), Jamison Crowder (9 receptions/123 yards) – after manufacturing only 25 YPG during his other matchups – have all flourished while operating in the slot. Owners may be hesitant to trust Aguilar in the aftermath of his recent statistical cool down, but it is wise to anticipate Carson Wentz locating him repeatedly this week. Which will enable Agholor to reward anyone who opts to start him.
Also Start: Jeremy Maclin vs. Packers, Marvin Jones vs. Bears
Kelvin Benjamin at Chargers
WR Sit’em Week 11
10 days after his shocking trade to Buffalo, the 6’5″ Benjamin made his debut as a Bill. He played nearly every snap, while functioning as the team’s primary receiver. Unfortunately, this occurred on a day in which Buffalo’s suddenly beleaguered run defense allowed New Orleans to stockpile nearly 500 total yards (482) and run 73 plays. Which rendered Buffalo’s offense as a distinct non-factor during their Week 10 matchup. However, Benjamin owners can take solace in the fact that he led the Bills with six targets, procured a 24% target share, and accumulated three receptions for 42 yards during his debut with the team. While Buffalo’s passing attack is undergoing a transition with Benjamin’s insertion, and the return of Charles Clay, owners can rely upon Benjamin as a WR3 during many of his upcoming games. But this week’s daunting matchup should diminish any lofty expectations. As he will encounter an 11th ranked Charger pass defense that has permitted the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers since Week 7. Worse, Benjamin should run the majority of his routes against Casey Hayward which is destined to reduce his statistical ceiling significantly. There will be more appealing matchups that owners can exploit with Benjamin. But he will not be presented with a favorable situation this week.
Jordy Nelson / Davante Adams vs. Ravens
WR Sit’EM Week 11
Also Sit: Sammy Watkins at Vikings, Ted Ginn vs. Redskins
Marcedes Lewis at Browns
TE Start’EM Week 11
The season-long experience of many owners who have relentlessly attempted to locate either temporary or more sustained solutions to their tight end dilemmas, has concluded far too often with dissatisfying excursions through the waiver wire, or unsuccessful results from what has largely been an inconsistent and unreliable collection of options. But the weekly journey through this quagmire could result in a one-week hiatus from discouragement, for anyone who is willing to use Lewis as their Week 11 starter. Because he is this week’s recipient of the always coveted matchup with Cleveland. Prolonged struggles of the same team that surrendered a league-worst 13 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards to opposing tight ends in 2016, has resulted in the Browns currently allowing the third most fantasy points this season, while also yielding the fourth highest number of yards to the positon (597). The previous success of Jesse James (41 yards /2 touchdowns) Ben Watson (91 yards), Tyler Kroft (68 yards/2 touchdowns), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (29 yards/1 touchdown), Ryan Griffin (52 yards), Delanie Walker (63 yards), and even Eric Ebron (39 yards/1 touchdown), should make a compelling case toward elevating Lewis into lineups. While three of his four touchdowns this season were generated during Jacksonville’s Week 3 thrashing of Baltimore, he has been allotted at least four targets in four of the Jaguars’ last seven contests. While that does not compare to the some of the high-end TE1s, his usage should expand during this appealing matchup. Making him a viable streamer for anyone who is searching for a Week 11 option.
Also Start: Tyler Kroft at Broncos, Coby Fleener vs. Redskins
Jordan Reed / Vernon Davis at Saints
TE Sit’EM Week 11
Also Sit: Hunter Henry vs. Bills, Ben Watson vs. Packers