Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 11
Let me just say I’m really glad the NFL decided on the Chiefs-Rams venue fiasco before having to write this. I’m also glad we can stop playing Le’Veon Bell games and the James Conner party can continue throughout the playoffs, making for one less start/sit decision for his owners. Rest assured, there’s plenty more to figure out!
Catering to all formats is impossible, but I’ll do my best to provide context as I go. The ECR given is for standard leagues since that’s what we are scored on. Please note that I’m using Tuesday night’s ECR and updates will surely roll in from Wednesday morning on, as well as injury news. I’ll use players that I’m higher or lower on against the consensus within a start/sit range from 10- to 14-teamers, or so. Let’s dive in.
Russell Wilson (vs. GB): Mariano Rank: 8, ECR: 10
If I told you that Wilson had attempted more than 26 passes just once in his last seven games and had yet to tally a rushing touchdown in 2018 then you’d probably think his season was lost. However, he’s rocking an elite touchdown rate through the air and he’s combined for 133 rushing yards in his last two games heading into a tilt with Aaron Rodgers at home.
The Packers secondary is in flux right now with HaHa Clinton-Dix gone and safety Kentrell Brice plus cornerback Kevin King already ruled out for Week 11 (and corner Bashaud Breeland was limited on Tuesday after leaving early in Week 10), all of which gives Russ a vulnerable defense. It’ll also help his rushing prospects if linebackers Blake Martinez (Did Not Practice Monday, limited Tuesday) or Nick Perry (DNP Monday and Tuesday) miss the game.
Mitch Trubisky (vs. MIN): MR: 10, ECR: 12
Trubisky and the Bears host a Vikings defense that is still a top-10 unit despite some lackluster performances, but Minnesota is fourth in FootballOutsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average metrics against the rush (-19.1%) and 10th against the pass (-0.2%).
As you can see, the pass value is 10th but average and should be Chicago’s avenue of attack, especially considering 2018 Jordan Howard epitomizes “below average.” And if his WR trio, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen can’t get open, Trubs has scored a rushing TD or topped 45 rush yards in six-of-nine games. His legs make for a nice floor.
Ben Roethlisberger (at JAX): MR: 13, ECR: 11
Roethlisberger is coming off of a Week 10 showing that goes up there with his career-best contests (and was a total “in your face” to me for doubting him), but now he goes from a 14:3 TD:INT ratio at home to a 7:4 ratio on the road to square off with Jacksonville. Laugh at the Jags and pick apart Jalen Ramsey’s tweets all you’d like, but they’ve still given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs on average.
Kirk Cousins (at CHI): MR: 15, ECR: 12
On the other side of Trubisky’s field, Cousins and the Vikings have to face Chicago’s No. 1 DVOA defense (second-best against the rush, fourth-best versus the pass) on their home field. The Bears have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and Khalil Mack’s Week 10 showed he’s nothing short of 100%. While Cousins has shown up in the face of pressure thus far and should get Stefon Diggs back, I don’t want to rely on him on the road in cold Chicago.
Lamar Miller (at WAS): MR: 20, ECR: 25
Through the NFL’s first 10 weeks, Washington’s rush defense ranks 28th in rush DVOA (17th in pass DVOA) but thanks to facing the third-fewest rushes per game by an RB (16.7), they’ve only surrendered the 21st-most fantasy points. Miller struggled in Week 9 against Denver, putting up just 48 total yards after shining with 232 combined yards in his previous two games. Now averaging 4.2 yards per carry, Miller could be in line for a sneaky top-15 finish in a better-than-you-think matchup.
Jalen Richard (at ARI): MR: 30, ECR: 35
Richard and Doug Martin nearly split the snaps in Week 10, with Richard’s 43% barely trailing Martin’s 48%, which leaves me feeling comfortable about his workload prospects against Arizona. The Raiders have no perimeter weapons and will need to get creative with Richard and Jared Cook over the middle if they’re to have any hope. Oakland sits as four-point road underdogs, which should play right into Richard’s game script (though Martin will get his too).
Josh Adams (at NO): MR: 37, ECR: 31
The Eagles are eight-point underdogs on the road against a Saints defense that has yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs thus far. No rusher has tallied more than 70 rush yards against them despite facing guys like Todd Gurley, Joe Mixon, and Saquon Barkley. I respect Adams and think Philly would be wise to let him get more run, but I can’t move him into trustworthy territory here after playing just 19 snaps in Week 10 compared to Wendell Smallwood’s 21 and Corey Clement’s 18. Tying your hopes to a committee in an awful matchup with a game script that shouldn’t favor running seems like a bad move.
Nyheim Hines (vs. TEN): MR: 40, ECR: 36
We’ve discussed some poor matchups here, but the only one worse than the Titans for a running back in 2018 is the Ravens (barely). Hines had some fun before Marlon Mack returned, getting snap counts around 70% from Weeks 3-5, but that has cut itself in half towards 35% in the past three weeks. He’s seen just 11 targets in the past four games as well, so even PPR owners are having a hard time leaning on him.
Michael Crabtree (vs. CIN): MR: 29, ECR: 37
Baltimore’s offense is tough to project with their QB situation in flux, but I feel comfortable giving Crabtree a square WR3 endorsement even if Lamar Jackson or Robert Griffin III is under center (more likely in shotgun). The Ravens rank second in pace of play, averaging 25.18 seconds per play.
Crabtree’s 76 targets quietly lead the team and both he and John Brown have six red zone opportunities over their last six games. He’s collected 310 air yards in the last four weeks, good for 15th among WRs, as well as a 15.5 average depth of target (aDOT) in that span that’s tied with three other wideouts for ninth-highest.
Maurice Harris (vs. HOU): MR: 40, ECR: 51
While Harris’ five targets from Week 10 fell short of his 12-target Week 9, they still paced all Washington WRs in a bizarre win over the Bucs. Alex Smith’s play doesn’t elevate anyone’s ceiling, but Harris isn’t a ceiling play. This offense needs a spark and with its line halfway into the blue medical tent already, it’s unlikely to come from Adrian Peterson and the north-south run game.
Allen Robinson (vs. MIN): MR: 32, ECR: 26
What, you mean touting a guy’s QB as a start while talking down his No. 1 WR requires explaining? Fine, I will admit I don’t like the rigidity of the words “Start” and “Sit,” but I trust the ranking values help you determine what this means for you.
I know it’s not the wisest move to fall into WR-CB matchup numbers, but FootballOutsiders’ DVOA tool goes more in depth than just “pass DVOA” if you scroll down their page. It also talks about vs. No. 1 WR, No. 2, slot, etc. Well, the Vikings are No. 1 in the league against No. 1 WRs at -28.2%. Robinson is coming off of a huge game, and I love riding momentum, but I won’t be surprised at all if Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton outperform AR.
Devin Funchess (vs. MIN): MR: 38, ECR: 33
Funchess looked to be the clear first option in the downfield passing game through Carolina’s first six games as the hulking WR averaged eight targets per game with Curtis Samuel and Greg Olsen on the shelf and D.J. Moore getting up to speed. Unfortunately, in Carolina’s last three games he’s seen just 13 targets, which is tied with Moore, behind Christian McCaffrey’s 17, Olsen’s 16 and barely ahead of Samuel’s 11. This doesn’t count Moore and Samuel’s sporadic rush attempts and ignores how Cam Newton is a huge threat to keep TDs to himself and CMC’s emergence. Funch appears to be a TD-dependent flex option now on an offense that ranks 26th in pace of play (29.16 seconds).
Jeff Heuerman (at LAC): MR: 11, ECR: 16
Despite’s Heuerman’s 71% snap share from Week 9 being his lowest figure in four games, the sizable TE posted a season-high 11 targets against Houston and caught a TD in his second straight game. While I was among the many sad to see Jake Butt lose out on a 2018 campaign, Heuerman has seized the opportunity and will look to make it three TDs in a row against a Chargers defense that has given up four TDs to TEs in their last six games.
Michael Roberts (vs. CAR): MR: 19, ECR: 32
I figured the margin between me and the ECR was worthy of commenting on, as it’s possible folks in 16- or 18-teamers are digging this week. Roberts continues to play roughly 40% of Detroit’s snaps and without Golden Tate and possibly running a hobbled Marvin Jones in Week 11, Roberts could be their best red-zone option outside of Kenny Golladay. There’s also the small fact that Carolina has surrendered nine TDs to TEs in their nine games, resulting in the most fantasy points allowed to the position thus far.
Eric Ebron (vs. TEN): MR: 12, ECR: 9
Stop it. Ebron has six targets over Indy’s last two games and has played a mere 38 snaps to Jack Doyle’s 105 in that stretch. Even Mo Alie-Cox has been in for more with 48! Don’t be that results-oriented person left holding the bag when Ebron drops his one red-zone target and suddenly you’re left with a goose egg. We touched on Tennessee’s defense being stout against rushers earlier and it gets no easier for TEs, as the Titans have given up the fewest fantasy points to them by over a full point on average.
C.J. Uzomah (at BAL): MR: 21, ECR: 16
Uzomah saw a season-high seven targets in Week 6 but has combined for just six targets in three games since then as he regularly disappoints his fantasy owners. The Bengals were a hot mess without A.J. Green in Week 10 and it won’t get any easier for the offense as Cincy hits the road to face the Ravens. Unless you believe in “special assistant” Hue Jackson being able to energize this squad with a rousing pep talk then it’s best you leave Uzomah and other complementary Cincinnati players on the bench.