Fantasy Football Week 11: Players to start or sit

Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 11 lineups.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns

Start in DFS: Miles Sanders ($25)

Start: Rashard Higgins

Boston Scott had a long TD run last week, but Sanders was mostly treated as a feature back during his return and is worth targeting in DFS in a week with few elite RB options (and his matchup got easier with Myles Garrett ruled out).

This should be Higgins’ first time starting without Odell Beckham Jr. in a game without extreme wind conditions. Jarvis Landry is seeing a bunch of targets, but Higgins led Cleveland in air yards last week and is a sleeper Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

Start: Hayden Hurst, Taysom Hill

Hurst has seen 7+ targets in three straight games and should stay busy this week with Calvin Ridley banged up and facing a Saints defense that’s allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.

Hill gets the surprising start in Drew Brees’ place, and while it’s entirely unclear how effective he’ll be for New Orleans, he’s immediately in the fantasy conversation as a QB who will run frequently. This week he gets a funnel Atlanta defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season (and Michael Thomas is ostensibly getting healthier).

Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers

Sit: Matthew Stafford, Curtis Samuel

Stafford will be playing through a partially torn thumb in his throwing hand, and if Kenny Golladay returns, he also likely won’t be close to 100%. In fact, T.J. Hockenson (toe), Marvin Jones (knee) and Danny Amendola (hip) are also banged up, and pass-catching back D’Andre Swift (concussion) looks likely to miss the game just when he was emerging as a top-10 fantasy back, so Stafford should be benched with Detroit’s offense so compromised in an outdoor matchup.

The Panthers are dealing with injuries as well, with Teddy Bridgewater’s status the big question. Assuming P.J. Walker gets the start at quarterback (or a severely limited Bridgewater), Samuel becomes a tough start, while DJ Moore and Robby Anderson also deserve downgrades even in the favorable matchup.

New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans

Start: Jakobi Meyers

Start in DFS: Duke Johnson ($16)

The Pats don’t throw a ton, but Meyers is dominating New England’s target share, as he ranks #1 in WOPR over the last three weeks by a wide margin. Meyers passes the eye test (he also ranks third in yards per route run this season, sandwiched between Davante Adams and Julio Jones), and Sunday’s game could be high-scoring against a Texans team that ranks top-six in yards per play on offense and ranks bottom-six in YPP allowed on defense. Meyers should be treated as a top-15 WR this week, while Damien Harris is a top-15 RB in this matchup (Harris remarkably is getting 5.5 YPC despite facing the highest average number of defenders in the box this season).

Johnson didn’t have a big game during his start last week, but weather was a big factor (17 total points scored in the game), and he actually led all Week 10 running backs in snap share (95%). Given his expected workload, Johnson is a bargain while facing DVOA’s last(!) ranked defense.

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16)
Jakobi Meyers has emerged as the top receiver in New England. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Start in DFS: Diontae Johnson ($18)

Start: DJ Chark

Johnson is admittedly at greater risk of leaving with a mid-game injury than most, but his DFS salary hasn’t caught up to the healthy version. He’ll also benefit from C.J. Henderson going on IR this week, as Johnson should see plenty of Sidney Jones, who’s allowed the third-most fantasy points per route this season.

Chark is coming off a quiet performance thanks in large part to extreme winds (that limited opportunities and worse yet, knocked down a would-be long touchdown) but ranks top-10 in WOPR over two games with Jake Luton at quarterback. Pittsburgh isn’t an easy matchup, but the Steelers should score points on offense and are tough to run against, so targets should be there. In fact, Pittsburgh has surprisingly ceded the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Washington Football Team

Start: Alex Smith, Joe Burrow

Washington isn’t the easiest defense, but this game should feature a bunch of plays, and the rookie QB easily leads the NFL in pass attempts per game (also ranking #3 in CPAE and #1 in Agg%). Joe Mixon looks likely to sit again, leaving Burrow to continue carrying Cincinnati’s offense.

Alex Smith has remarkably thrown for 715 yards over the last two games despite coming off 17 surgeries, and he’s a fantasy sleeper in Week 11. This game projects to be one of the fastest-paced this week, and the Bengals have been tough to run against yet the friendliest to fantasy quarterbacks over the last five games. The Cincy defense also enters with the second-lowest pressure rate in the league, so Smith is a sneaky bet to finish as a top-12 fantasy QB this week.

Bonus deep sleeper: Cam Sims, who’s emerged as Washington’s #2 WR with Dontrelle Inman out. He should benefit from the favorable matchup while seeing more targets than usual with William Jackson likely shadowing Terry McLaurin. Sims is a nice DFS ($11) punt this week.

Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens

Start: Jonnu Smith

Start in DFS: Mark Andrews ($20)

With the Ravens tough to run against (and with strong corners) and the Titans five-point underdogs, Smith could be looking at more volume than usual in Week 11. That makes him a viable starting option in a highly disappointing tight end class this season.

Andrews is part of that disappointing TE group thanks to an underperforming Baltimore passing attack, but the schedule eases up now after a rough three-game stretch that included two defenses that rank top-four in DVOA (Pit, Ind) and playing through a monsoon last week in New England. Expect Baltimore’s offense to get back on track against a beatable Tennessee defense, and Andrews could also see extra work with Nick Boyle placed on IR.

Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos

Start: Salvon Ahmed

Sit: Phillip Lindsay

Denver has been a highly favorable matchup for fantasy backs over the last five games, and Ahmed has emerged as Miami’s lead back. Matt Breida may return Sunday, but he’s been a non-factor since joining the Dolphins, and Ahmed was #5 in snap share% among running backs last week.

Lindsay saw just four touches last week, with his snap share falling to 30%. Since he’s not involved as a receiver, he’s tough to start in Week 11 with the Broncos underdogs against a Dolphins team that’s defended the run much better lately.

New York Jets vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Start: La’Mical Perine

Start in DFS: Kalen Ballage ($16)

Obviously it shouldn’t be fully expected with Adam Gase, but a reasonable coach would use the bye to turn to the younger Perine for an audition down the stretch. Perine and Denzel Mims are sleepers moving forward.

Ballage dominated LA’s backfield last week, and coach Anthony Lynn recently said he’ll be the primary back and that he wants to give Ballage more looks. In a game that projects to be fast-paced and with the Chargers as near double-digit home favorites, treat Ballage as a top-10 RB and a bargain option in DFS this week.

Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sit: Robert Tonyan

Start: Michael Pittman Jr.

Tonyan has averaged 24.9 PPR points when Davante Adams sits and just 7.0 when he plays, and Green Bay should be getting Allen Lazard back this week. There’s a chance Adams sits with his ankle injury, but Tonyan is also banged up, and the Colts have yielded the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.

Pittman Jr. is emerging as the Colts’ #1 wideout, and Indy could be throwing more than usual in a game with an over/under of 51 points. Even better if Jaire Alexander shadows T.Y. Hilton as expected.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Start: Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins

Minnesota’s defense has played better of late, but they are fielding a beatable secondary and the Cowboys should be improved coming out of the bye and with a healthy Dalton. At home indoors with a poor defense and facing a Minnesota team that leads the NFL in yards per play, Dalton should be forced to throw plenty and finally will be able to take advantage of Dallas’ three talented wideouts.

Cousins has gotten a whopping 9.6 YPA over the last four games (while taking just four sacks), and that includes a tough matchup in Chicago on Monday night. While Dalvin Cook will no doubt have another big game in Week 11, Cousins should also put up nice numbers while continuing to benefit from having two star wideouts (rookie Justin Jefferson impressively leads the NFL in yards per route run).

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Start in DFS: Travis Kelce ($33)

Sit: Derek Carr

No player has likely been declined in more trade offers than Kelce this season, as he’s dominating his position unlike any other this year. Kansas City might drop a 40-burger Sunday night indoors against a Raiders defense allowing 6.0 yards per play at home this season and with Andy Reid coming off a bye and game-planning with vengeance in mind. Kelce may be even more involved than usual too, with Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire all banged up.

A depleted Las Vegas team missing members along its offensive line will make it a tough task for Carr against a KC squad that ranks #7 in pass defense DVOA, is fourth in pressure rate, and is coming off a bye. The Chiefs have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sit: Darrell Henderson, Tom Brady

Henderson isn’t the worst flex option given his upside and the rest of the running back landscape throughout the league, but he’s ideally on your bench this week with Cam Akers expected to continue to get more work, making it a three-way committee in a road matchup (without LT Andrew Whitworth) versus a Bucs run defense allowing an NFL-low 3.3 YPC and ranks #2 in DVOA.

Tom Brady has struggled in games past his bedtime and will be facing a Rams defense that’s allowed the fewest yards per play and the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, so temper expectations for the GOAT on Monday night.

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