Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league’s settings).
As an example, Kirk Cousins is listed below as a “start” for Week 11. And I’d feel comfortable going into Week 11 with him as my starting quarterback.
That said, he may be a sit for your team.
In other words, if you owned both Andrew Luck and Cousins, you should start Luck — and in turn, bench Cousins.
So while you won’t find absolute start-sit recommendations below, the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).
FANTASY FOOTBALL START’EM FOR WEEK 11
QB – Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (at IND)
Not only did Mariota extend his streak of weekly top-12 fantasy performances to six consecutive weeks, but the second-year quarterback scored more fantasy points than any other quarterback in Week 10. In fact, Mariota has finished as a top-four weekly producer four times during that six-game span.
Even though he has thrown less than 30 pass attempts in four of those six games, Mariota has accounted for multiple touchdowns in all six of those games. With a total of 19 scores (17 passing and two rushing), Mariota has thrown a touchdown every 10.65 pass attempts during that stretch.
The Colts have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position and Mariota threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns in his first matchup against the Colts this season. Even though that was his worst game during his recent hot stretch, Mariota still finished that week as fantasy’s QB11.
After running for 60-plus yards in back-to-back games (Weeks 5 and 6), Mariota hasn’t run the ball much (14 rushing yards or less in four straight). That said, few quarterbacks have as much upside as Mariota does due to his TD efficiency and dual-threat abilities in a potential shootout (highest over/under of week).
QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. BAL)
Playing beyond his years, Prescott and the Cowboys are the only remaining one-loss team this season and their lone loss was by one point in Week 1. Even though the Cowboys are a run-first team, Prescott has multiple touchdowns — both passing and rushing — in seven consecutive games.
Atypical for a rookie, Prescott has been incredibly consistent with a minimum of 17.48 fantasy points in every game since Week 2. While he threw for a career-high 319 yards last week against the Steelers, he has yet to throw for fewer than 227 in any game.
Even though the Ravens have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Prescott has finished as the weekly QB12 (or better) in all but one game over his past seven. In fact, the one exception was a QB13 performance and I expect another top-12 performance from him this week.
RB – LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at SF)
No player has more rushing touchdowns this season than Blount (12), who has scored in every game other than their Week 4 shutout with Tom Brady suspended. With the highest implied total from Vegas odds, there could very well be multiple scoring opportunities for Blount this week.
Perhaps atypical for a Belichick-coached team, Blount has been the recipient of a consistent workload this season. Not only does he have a minimum of 15 touches in every game, but he has averaged 20.89 per contest even though he is little-used as a receiver.
This week’s matchup for Blount is as good as it gets. While their streak of 100-yard rushers allowed ended at seven last week, the 49ers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and no team has allowed more yards per carry (5.26) or rushing scores (13) to the position.
RB – Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins (vs. GB)
Emerging as the team’s lead back over the past two games, Kelley carried it 21 times for 87 yards and a touchdown in Week 8 and 22 times for 97 yards in Week 10. (The team had its bye in Week 9.) With 69.84 percent of the running back touches in those two games, Kelley should once again approach 20 carries as the team is a home favorite against the Packers in Week 11.
Even though the matchup appears tough on paper, as the Packers have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to running backs, they have been more generous lately. In their past three games, they have allowed three consecutive top-six fantasy performances — Devonta Freeman (Week 8), Frank Gore (Week 9) and DeMarco Murray (Week 10).
RB – Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (vs. JAX)
No longer just a change-of-pace option due to injuries, Riddick has a minimum of 15 touches in his past six games. On the season, he has averaged 81.4 yards from scrimmage and 5.0 receptions per game with a total of five touchdowns.
In his past three games, Riddick has finished as fantasy’s weekly RB6, RB4 and RB17 against the Eagles, Texans and Vikings, respectively. Against the Jags this week, the Lions are projected to score the fourth-most points according to implied totals from Vegas odds.
WR – Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. JAX)
Things could not have started much worse for Tate as he totaled only 17 catches for 134 yards and no touchdowns on 31 targets in his first five games this season. That’s a per-game average of 3.4/26.8 on 6.2 targets. Since then, however, Tate has a total of 32 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns on 43 targets — or 8.0/94.75/0.5 on 10.75 targets per game.
The matchup against the Jags isn’t great as they allow the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers and both Amukamara and Ramsey shadow, but Tate’s recent usage keeps him in the WR2 mix. Not only are the Lions projected to score the fourth-most points this week, according to Vegas odds, but Tate has double-digit targets in three of his past four games.
WR – Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
With this week’s highest over/under, this game should be a shootout and the Colts are favored by a field goal. With a rare combination of size and athleticism, Moncrief has scored in three of four games played this season. The lone exception was Week 2 against the Broncos when he left early due to injury.
In fact, Moncrief has now scored in eight of 11 games that both he and Andrew Luck have played together. It’s a favorable matchup for Moncrief, T.Y. Hilton and the Colts receivers as the Titans have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Only the Patriots are projected to score more points than the Colts this weekend.
WR – Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (at WAS)
Even with a traditional running back returning last week, Adams had nine targets that resulted in six catches for 156 yards last week. Over his past four games, he has a total of 35 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns on 47 targets. With a minimum of eight targets in each game, Adams has 100-plus yards in two of his past four.
With Josh Norman likely to shadow Jordy Nelson, it bodes well for both Adams and Randall Cobb. So far this season, Adams has been targeted six times inside the 10-yard line and only six players have more such targets. In fact, Nelson is tied with Emmanuel Sanders for the NFL lead (10).
TE – Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots (at SF)
The only concern with Bennett this week is that the Patriots use him more as a blocker than a receiver, which is something that we’ve seen at points this season. In other words, it has led to some boom or bust weeks.
Bennett has as many 100-yard games (three) as he has games with less than 15 receiving yards. With Rob Gronkowski ruled out this week and no team projected to score more points this week, however, Bennett’s upside is huge. He’s a top-four fantasy tight end for me.
TE – C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (at OAK)
Barely used as a receiver in the team’s first three games, Fiedorowicz has become much more involved in the passing offense since then. Even though he had just three catches for 26 yards in Week 10, the third-year tight end now has five targets in six consecutive games.
Over that six-game span, Fiedorowicz has averaged 6.5 targets per game and has posted a 27/298/3 line during that stretch. Brock Osweiler has been awful and last week was no different (14/27 passing, 99 yards and two touchdowns). While Fiedorowicz had five targets, the team’s other tight ends also had five targets total and caught both of Osweiler’s touchdowns.
In other words, I feel much more confident in starting a Texans tight end like Fiedorowicz than I do in starting one of the team’s wide receivers, even one as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. Considering the Raiders have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, Fiedorowicz is a top-10 option at the position for me this week.
FANTASY FOOTBALL SIT’EM FOR WEEK 11
QB – Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at MIN)
Good news first: Palmer has thrown for more than 340 passing yards in three consecutive games. Not only is it the longest such streak this season, but only four other quarterbacks have done it in back-to-back games this year — Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Andy Dalton.
So, why is he listed on the Sit’em side of this post?
Despite averaging 360.3 yards over his past three games, he has scored 15-plus fantasy points in only one of those outings. In addition, he has more than one touchdown in just one of his past six games.
While Cousins finished as fantasy’s QB12 last week against the Vikings, it was the first time this season that the Vikings have allowed a top-12 weekly quarterback. On the season, they have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
QB – Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at KC)
In terms of fantasy production, Winston has been productive with a 10:2 TD-INT ratio and average of 19.95 fantasy points over his past four games. During that span, he has finished as the weekly QB13 or better each week.
On the year, Winston has been better at home (19.14 fantasy points per game) than he has on the road (16.05/G) and the Bucs head to the difficult road environment at Arrowhead this week. Based on implied totals from Vegas odds, the Buccaneers are projected to score the fifth-fewest points (18.5) this week.
RB – James Starks, Green Bay Packers (at WAS)
In the first game back from his knee injury, Starks had a total of 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 total touches. The workload and efficiency weren’t great, but the score led to a productive fantasy outing.
With Ty Montgomery still an option to steal a couple of carries and the addition of Christine Michael off waivers, it’s unclear how much Starks will see his workload expand this week. Even though he has a favorable matchup against the Redskins, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, Starks is more of a flex option than a solid RB2 this week.
RB – Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars (at DET)
How many touches will Ivory get this week? Who knows? One week after getting 19 touches and having his most productive outing of the season, Ivory saw only 11 touches last week. On the year, here are his weekly touches: 13, eight, 13, seven, five, 19 and 11.
With the exception of his 19-touch outing, Ivory has less than 50 rushing yards in every game played. As underdogs to the Lions, who allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position, it’s hard to trust that Ivory will get a sufficient workload to allow him to finish as a top-24 fantasy running back this week.
RB – Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (vs. PHI)
There are a few different reports on how Rawls will be used in his first game back from injury. Considering how well C.J. Prosise played last week, however, it would make sense to ease Rawls back in. Prosise turned 24 touches into 153 yards from scrimmage last week and he is the preferred Seahawks running back to start — at least, for Week 11.
WR – Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (at WAS)
With James Starks returning in Week 10, Montgomery was relegated to a secondary role last week. Getting only five touches (three carries and two receptions), he finished with 20 yards from scrimmage as fantasy’s WR65. Not only is Starks now one more game removed from his knee injury, the team claimed Christine Michael off waivers. I still expect Montgomery to get a few carries and a few targets, but it’s difficult to envision him being a significant factor in the team’s offensive game plan on Sunday.
WR – Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (vs. JAX)
In a bit of a role reversal with Tate, Jones has seen his major role over the first four games turn into a bit role over the past five. With a minimum of 74 receiving yards in each of his first four games, Jones racked up a 23/482/2 statistical line in the first month of the season.
Since then, however, Jones has a total of only 14 catches in five games for 179 yards and two touchdowns. His only top-24 weekly performances occurred in Weeks 2 and 3 of the season. With a lesser role in a not-so-favorable matchup, Jones is outside of my top-24 fantasy receivers once again.
WR – Will Fuller, Houston Texans (at OAK)
Fuller began his career with a bang — back-to-back 100-yard games to start the season. In Houston’s inefficient passing offense, it’s been all downhill from there. He has 31 receiving yards or less in four of five games since Week 3 and hasn’t played since Week 8. He’s expected to return this week, but he’s a game-time decision and plays on Monday Night Football. Even with a soft matchup against the Raiders, Fuller isn’t worth the risk this week.
TE – Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (at DAL)
Here’s the good news: Pitta has averaged 7.33 targets per game this season and has three games with double-digit targets. Here’s the bad news: Pitta has 42 yards or less in all but one game (Week 2). In fact, Week 2 was the only time that Pitta finished a week as a top-12 fantasy tight end.
Even though he has the second-most targets (66) amongst tight ends behind only Greg Olsen (78), he ranks just 25th in fantasy points scored. (Due to volume, he’s more productive in PPR formats, TE15.) Pitta has yet to score a touchdown and is averaging just 8.15 Y/R.
TE – Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)
Barnidge had a five-game streak with at least 57 receiving yards, but he has failed to reach that level of production in each of his past three games. In fact, he has just three catches for 23 yards and one catch for eight yards in his past two games with a total of just seven targets in those two outings.
In addition, Barnidge has yet to score a touchdown this season. Of course, he’s going to score a touchdown at some point this season and perhaps that’s this week, but until he’s more involved in the offense again, he’s nothing more than a roll of the dice.
Good luck in your Week 11 matchup(s)!