Week 11 is upon us and many teams face challenging bye-week issues regarding who to start and sit. This week is not about being too finicky or trying to start the perfect lineup. I recommend focusing on your strengths. Then fill the holes with players in expected high-scoring games such as Saints-Bucs, Raiders-Bengals and Chiefs-Chargers to name a few.
QB Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Fire up Carr, who’s playing with more confidence and will be facing the winless Bengals at the friendly confines of the Black Hole. The Bengals’ defense is allowing 23.05 FPPG (fantasy points per game) to opposing QBs, which is third most in the NFL. The Raiders are hot and should score 25-plus with an offense on the rise at home.
QB Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers
Allen may not be perfect but he does a few things very well. Week 11 is a great opportunity to start him at home against the 2-8 Falcons. Atlanta, although coming off an impressive performance against the Saints, has surrendered 22.52 FPPG to QBs, fourth most in the league. Start Allen with confidence as the Carolina skill position players could mop up on the Falcon defense.
RBs Melvin Gordon & Austin Ekler, Los Angeles Chargers
Don’t stress about who to play from the Chargers’ backfield as both will get their opportunities on Monday Night Football against the Chiefs. Titans RB Derrick Henry pulverized the Chiefs last week and that weakness should be exposed by the Chargers’ RB duo. Both Ekeler and Gordon will eat in a game that could be a potential shootout. The Chiefs are allowing a league-worst 30.76 FPPG to RBs.
RB Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons
If you spent your entire FAAB wad to land Hill, now is the time to deploy him in your starting lineup. Every fantasy football season, an obscure running back plays a crucial role late in the year. Hill has this opportunity in front of him to be that guy. He is an excellent play against a Panther defense allowing 28.79 FPPG to RBs, fourth most in the NFL. It’s go time for Hill in Week 11. In other words, smoke ’em if you got ’em.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Of course you’re going to start OBJ, but I’d like to endorse a breakout game for Beckham in primetime. In my opinion, this is a now-or-never opportunity for the talented receiver. The Browns don’t want to get into a slugfest with the Steelers in a must-win game for Cleveland, and would prefer a high-scoring affair. Patient OBJ owners will be rewarded against a Steelers secondary that is susceptible to the pass.
WR Mohammad Sanu, New England Patriots
I’ve received many questions early in the week from owners asking, “should I play Sanu?“ You should insert Sanu into your lineup, especially after a bye week that afforded him additional time to learn the Patriots’ offense. The loss to Baltimore and timely bye week overshadowed Sanu’s monster game in Week 9: 10 receptions on 14 targets and 1 TD. I believe Sanu will be a fantasy closer and difference maker as Philadelphia’s defense is allowing 39.2 FPPG to WRs, eighth most in the league.
TE Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
In a difficult week for tight ends due to bye weeks, you can grab Eifert off the waiver wire in most leagues. A rookie quarterback’s best friend can be the TE and Eifert’s momentum from Week 10 should carry over in Cincinnati’s matchup against Oakland. The Raiders are allowing 15.22 FPPG to TEs, fourth most in the NFL. Eifert’s 17.4 touch-percentage in Week 10 should not go unnoticed.
TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
Lion home games are underrated fantasy gold and the matchup looks solid for the rookie first-round draft pick from Iowa. The Cowboys struggle against opposing tight ends, allowing 16.14 FPPG to the position, third most in the NFL. You might find Hockenson deep in national rankings, but don’t overthink it and start him.
Given the bye week challenges many fantasy teams are facing this week, I’m not endorsing any sits this weekend at the QB position. The data says sit Kyler Murray, but the last two quarterbacks the 49ers played would say to start Kyler Murray. This week, don’t worry about quarterbacks too much if you have bye week blues at the position. My advice is to find a QB on the wire who can get you 15-plus and focus your energy elsewhere.
RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Once a fantasy darling, DJ was roasted on Twitter this week for his lack of effort. There was a time DJ looked like a man amongst boys, but many are wondering where that player is now. Maybe Johnson is hiding an injury more than we know or perhaps it just wasn’t his day last week? It hurts to sit your first-round pick, but the data and effort point to sitting the Arizona RB.
RBs Phillip Lindsay & Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
Although Denver is heavily committed to establishing the run, the data says to sit your RBs when facing the Vikings. The Vikings can control the tempo with their stout running game and that may limit the opportunities Denver gets on offense. The Vikings bottled up Zeke last week and could thrive against Denver. The Broncos allow 17.95 FPPG to RBs, fourth best in the NFL. That data equates to eight-point fantasy games for the Broncos duo, who generally split the RB duties equally.
WR Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
Strictly a data play here, the Patriots are the best in the NFL against opposing WRs, allowing a league-low 23.47 FPPG to the position. Expect the Patriots to focus on shutting down the veteran wideout who’s averaged a meager 7.93 FPPG over the last three weeks.