Just because a player is listed as a “fade” doesn’t mean they are automatic sits. As the adage goes, “Always start your stars.” What a “bust” designation does mean, however, is that you’ll want to consider higher-upside options in the flex.
The league’s best offenses have returned from their Week 10 byes, and now, with more options on the slate, start/sit decisions will be as crucial as ever as fantasy football managers hope to secure a trip to the playoffs. The key to making those decisions is identifying the potential for a down week from either your starters or potential flex plays. That’s where we come in!
Here’s a look at six fades and busts for Week 11 fantasy football.
Bust: Joshua Dobbs, QB, Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have found themselves a gem trading for QB Joshua Dobbs, and so have fantasy managers that bought in early, as he ranks as the overall QB13 in fantasy points per game. That’s come in big part due to his production on the ground, having notched 110 rushing yards and two scores on the ground over just two games with the Vikings, which has led to back-to-back finishes as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
All of that might just come to an end for the “Passtronaut” this week, however. The Denver Broncos have logged at least one interception in each of their past six games, including six over the past four weeks that have come against Patrick Mahomes, Jordan Love and Josh Allen. They’ve held that same cohort to just four total passing touchdowns and 225 passing yards per game. Though the “Passtronaut” has exceeded expectations to date this season, this Broncos defense is vibing in a way that could crush the hopes of QB streamers in Week 11.
Bust: Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite having “lead back” duties under lock for the Kansas City Chiefs with just under 55% of the team’s rush attempts this season, it hasn’t translated to a particularly high ceiling for fantasy. Pacheco enters Week 11 as the overall RB19 in fantasy points per game — a solid RB2 — but having posted just a single game with 15 or more fantasy points this season, fantasy managers have likely been left wanting more. Unfortunately, with a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles this week, that could continue.
This Philly defense has allowed just 3.7 yards per rush attempt this season, including a league-low 2.1 rushing yards after contact per attempt and the sixth-lowest explosive run percentage. The Eagles have allowed a league-low 11.33 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and the fourth-fewest broken tackles, limiting Pacheco’s upside this week.
Fade: David Montgomery, RB Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions RB David Montgomery returned to the lineup in Week 10 after a two-game absence due to injury and immediately made his presence felt with a 17-point fantasy outing. Despite leading the team with 116 rushing yards on two fewer carries than rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, fantasy managers may want to proceed with caution moving forward.
A couple of things worth noting about Montgomery’s return: 13.5 of those fantasy points came on a single carry: a 75-yard rushing touchdown. There was also a shift in Gibbs’ favor in terms of red-zone usage, with Montgomery having handled nearly 3/4 of red-zone and goal-line rush attempts prior to his injury. In Week 10, however, it was Gibbs who saw more than 50% of such touches, further limiting Montgomery’s upside. In Week 11, the Lions are set to face the Chicago Bears, whose run defense has steadily been heating up throughout the season.
Dating back to Week 5, the Bears have allowed a league-low 2.38 yards per carry for just under 35 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. They’re one of three teams in that span that haven’t given up a rushing touchdown in that span, having forced the 10th most negative rush attempts and a league-low 77 rushing yards after contact.
Bust: Jakobi Meyers, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
The post-Josh McDaniels era has been a pleasant one for the Las Vegas Raiders, who have notched two straight victories under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The passing game has remained a big question mark, however, with rookie Aidan O’Connell looking like, well, a rookie. So far this season, O’Connell has averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt with a 1.9% touchdown rate — generally limiting the upside of his pass catchers for fantasy. Though All-Pro WR Davante Adams has managed to just barely squeak by with O’Connell’s inefficiency thanks to a 33% target share from the quarterback, Meyers hasn’t been quite so lucky at just 13%.
This week, the Raiders will face the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed just four wide receivers to notch 90+ receiving yards in a single week, including just three performances of 15+ points in a single week. Two of those three came against Stefon Diggs and A.J. Brown, two of the best receivers in the league with two of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to them, so even those performances might not be the best comparisons for what kind of damage Meyers might do.
With the addition of CB Jalen Ramsey back into the mix after returning from injury paired with Jevon Holland and Xavien Howard (and Bradley Chubb on the defensive line), this isn’t the week to count on a big Meyers outing.
Bust: Gabe Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills
The Gabe Davis roller coaster isn’t for the faint of heart, but the upside for this Buffalo Bills offense (when it’s working correctly) is enough to keep fantasy managers coming back for more. After the team announced the move to fire OC Ken Dorsey earlier this week, fantasy managers might have hopes that the team’s problems have been solved and the offense will be ready to roll (and turnover-free) moving forward. However, folks may want to temper those expectations — at least for another week. Davis is set to face the New York Jets in Week 11, the league’s most daunting matchup for opposing wide receivers with cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed keeping the secondary under lock.
Through the first 10 weeks of the season, the Jets have allowed a league-low 102.7 receiving yards per game to opposing wide receivers, having allowed just a single touchdown to them this season — three fewer than any other defense has given up to the position. Davis is a familiar opponent for this defense, too, having played seven games against the Jets in his career and exceeding 5.5 fantasy points in just a single one of those outings; he's averaged 4.96 fantasy points per game against the Jets since being drafted in 2020.
Given that Davis is already prone to bust games, a matchup against New York isn’t going to provide fantasy managers the recipe for success in Week 11.
Fade: Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Second-year tight end Jake Ferguson has been one of the most delightful surprises of the season, carving out a secure role within the Dallas Cowboys offense. It seems he’s earned the trust of QB Dak Prescott in a big way, with 19 red zone targets through nine games — the second-most among tight ends — six of which came in the end zone (tied for third-most at the position). That kind of usage will make it difficult to sit Ferguson in most leagues unless he’s been playing backup to one of the elite options at the position like Travis Kelce or T.J. Hockenson, but fantasy managers should look to temper expectations up against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11.
The Panthers have allowed tight ends an average of just 35.4 receiving yards per game and have yet to allow a single tight end to exceed 50 receiving yards in a single game this season. They’ve allowed just two touchdowns to the position in all of 2023 — both came from rookie Sam LaPorta in Week 5. Potentially contributing to the lack of production against the pass is just how bad the Panthers' rushing defense has been, putting them in a position where they've faced the second-fewest pass attempts in the league this season.
This isn’t the ideal matchup to chase Ferguson’s upside, no matter how productive he’s been to date.