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Start/Sit PLUS: Joe Burrow, Myles Gaskin, Terry McLaurin (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Ben Wasley | @FantasyFirstDwn | Featured Writer
Nov 17, 2021


It’s Week 11, and that means it’s time to get serious! As the winter months close in, it’s also time to start considering the weather and the possibility some of the struggling franchises start going full tank. On the upside, several big names are returning to full health as others go down. Hopefully, you’ve had some injury luck, but regardless, it’s important to start the right guys and nail your roster.  Let’s get into some Start/Sit plus: We’ll be looking at six categories (which are described in detail here in our Week 1 article). And to ensure total transparency, I’ll also note at the bottom of each section how I went in last week’s article (I’ve logged it as 53 hits and 21 misses, meaning a 70% success rate so far this season, but you be the judge). If you disagree or have start/sit questions, hit me up on Instagram or Twitter.

Editor’s Note: Ben finished No. 24 overall in 2020 in-season fantasy football accuracy and No. 3 overall in Rest of Season accuracy for 2020. He’s currently No. 40 overall in the 2021 in-season accuracy competition.

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Every-week starters, regardless of matchup

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN)
He’s coming off a shocker against the Browns followed by a bye week, but it feels about time for a Bengals rebound game. Burrow has been very efficient this season in the style of 2019-20 Ryan Tannehill, and his stats are similar. He’s not a top-end starter, but it’s totally fine to roll him out every week.

AJ Dillon (RB – GB)
I’ve been shouting as loudly as possible since the start of the season that you should pick up the Packers’ backup. With Aaron Jones likely out for a couple of weeks, Dillon now becomes a must-start as the Packers’ lead back. Patrick Taylor is the desperation backup.

Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA)
He’s been poor for a couple of weeks, but with the Dolphins giving Myles Gaskin nearly all of the early-down work, he’s a must-start, especially this week against the awful Jets’ run defense.

Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
He hasn’t been as good as earlier in the season, but with Tyrod Taylor back, you can expect low-end starting performance out of Cooks most weeks, especially against the Titans this weekend.

Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA)
He’s been a bit inconsistent, but with Tua Tagovailoa returning, it’s reasonable to suggest Waddle should get good volume and have more chances of converting that into fantasy-relevant performances. With DeVante Parker and Will Fuller still weeks away and the Jets up this week, you can confidently lock Waddle in from now on.

Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
Keep starting Dalton Schultz. He’s had a few down weeks recently, but he’s still running more routes than most at the position. He’s just not been getting the targets of late. This week he gets a good Chiefs matchup and should bounce back.

Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN)
The Vikings have started to phase Kj Osborn out of the offense, with Conklin running over 30 routes most weeks, a very solid number. The last time the big tight end failed to top double-digit PPR points in a game was Week 5 and he gets a solid matchup this week against the Packers who love leaving the middle of the field open.


Last Week

Hits: Derek Carr, James Conner, Devin Singletary, Elijah Mitchell

OK: Melvin Gordon, Robert Woods (INJ), DeAndre Hopkins (INJ), Rob Gronkowski (INJ)

Misses: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Devonta Freeman, DJ Moore, Pat Freiermuth, Dalton Schultz


Consider benching if you have a viable alternative

Russell Wilson (QB – SEA)
Last week was always likely to be tough, but it was so much worse than expected. With a tough Cardinals defense up next, it looks like Wilson is a guy to hold off on for now.

Carson Wentz (QB – IND)
Wentz has had some lucky performances of late, and he is certainly outdoing expectations, but you really can’t start him against the Bills.

Zack Moss (RB – BUF), Devin Singletary (RB – BUF), and Matt Breida (RB – BUF)
It was risky starting Zack Moss when he was the main man, and he had limited competition for goal-line work and early down work. While he maintains most of the valuable goal-line work, this could become a three-man committee after Matt Breida‘s impressive Week 10 cameo. With the Colts up this week, none of these guys is a viable option against their brutal run defense. Sit them all and watch out for a drop in value for Moss and Singletary.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
Darrel Williams has been very impressive while filling in for the former 1st round pick. CEH could be back this week, but even if he is, I’m not starting him. His role is a total unknown, and Andy Reid may ease him back in. Tread very carefully.

Mike Davis (RB – ATL) and Wayne Gallman (RB – ATL)
If Cordarrelle Patterson is out, I’m not starting any Falcons running backs. This run offense is barely functional at the best of times, but against the Patriots, I’d be very nervous. Add to that the inability to discern the roles of each player, and this should be a fantasy nightmare.

Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)
I’m finding it very hard to justify starting Scary Terry this week. McLaurin has only reached double-digit half-PPR points three times this season, and this week he gets the strong Panthers defense. I’d sit him if I have other viable options.

Cole Beasley (WR – BUF)
Last week, Beasley played only nine snaps, clearly hindered by a rib injury. With the Bills in a good playoff situation and Dawson Knox now back, Beasley may be quieter until he’s sufficiently recovered. Carefully monitor practice reports and don’t start Beasley unless he’s back to full practice designations.

Zach Ertz (TE – ARI)
I don’t like this situation at all. Kyler Murray is injured and may not start, there’s a pile of receiving options and a great running back available, and the offense is struggling to really fire at the moment. It’s hard to see Ertz being a guy you can rely on this week.

Hunter Henry (TE – NE)
If he gets a touchdown, Henry will be fine. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a total dud. Do you really need that trouble in your life? Maybe you don’t have an option, but if you do, go elsewhere.


Last Week

Hits: Mike White, Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker, Adrian Peterson, Jeremy McNichols, Alex Collins, Kenyan Drake, Eno Benjamin, Brandon Aiyuk, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Marvin Jones, Zach Ertz

OK: Damien Harris (INJ), Chase Claypool (INJ)

Misses: Kirk Cousins, Antonio Gibson, Elijah Moore (what a lucky late TD), Noah Fant, Tyler Higbee, Hunter Henry


Players you wouldn’t normally start who should have a good week

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
The Titans play the Texans. Need I say more? Maybe I should because the Titans have maintained their run-heavy approach despite the Derrick Henry injury. Tannehill has been a solid fantasy option of late though, with at least two touchdowns in each of his last four games and a great matchup on the books, this should be a solid week to start him.

Cam Newton (QB – CAR)
This is a big risk. Newton looked fantastic in his Panthers return, but there’s still no guarantee he’s the starter. Coaches do whacky stuff. And if he starts, will he play every down? There’s huge upside here but plenty of risk too. If you’re desperate, though, this is a viable option.

Mark Ingram (RB – NO)
With the mediocre Eagles’ run defense up this week, Ingram is an intriguing option, even if Alvin Kamara is back. AK clearly isn’t fully healthy, and the matchup should be pretty run-heavy, so I’d be inclined to start Ingram as an RB3/flex with Kamara playing and a high RB2 if Kamara is out.

Adrian Peterson (RB – TEN)
Surely the Titans get some goal-line looks against the Texans, and surely Peterson takes those carries. He’s very risky as he’s unlikely to do much else, but the TD upside is there if you’re short on options.

Robby Anderson (WR – CAR)
You’d need to be in a pretty deep league to consider starting Robby Anderson after one solid week, but he has a great matchup against the WFT, and clearly Cam Newton likes him, so he may just be worth the gamble.

Corey Davis (WR – NYJ)
He’s back, and he’s the WR1 in NYC again. Start Davis this week in a great matchup against the Dolphins.

C.J. Uzomah (TE – CIN)
This is a bit of a gamble, as I don’t like Uzomah at all, but I know that he’s likely available out of his bye, and he has a great matchup against the Raiders, so he’s an option if you need him.

Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT)
This is the perfect bounce back for the Muth against a Chargers defense you can attack up the seam.


Last Week

Hits: Ryan Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Taylor Heinicke, D’Ernest Johnson, Jordan Howard, Hunter Renfrow, Rashod Bateman, Jakobi Meyers, Chris Boswell, Greg Joseph, Dallas Cowboys DST

OK: Javonte Williams, Julio Jones (INJ), Logan Thomas (INJ), Adam Trautman, Geoff Swaim

Misses: Zach Pascal, Ryan Griffin, Las Vegas Raiders DST


Pick up and bench

Cam Newton (QB – CAR)
I rarely double up, but in this case, I think it’s necessary. Newton has a great matchup this week, but there are a million reasons to be wary. If you’re in that camp, I still suggest stashing him for next week and seeing what happens.

Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
If you have Patrick Mahomes or Kyler Murray, you’re going to need a QB for next week. My favorite low-end streamer is Fields, though if anyone like Russell Wilson or Tua Tagovailoa is available, they’re a preferable choice. Ideally, of course, you just wait until next week to pick them up.

Backup Running Backs
Welcome back to my own private Told-You-So section. If you’re not rostering backup running backs, are you even trying? This week it was AJ Dillon who became an immediate starter, while Mark Ingram, Rhamondre Stevenson, D’Ernest Johnson, Darrel Williams, and James Conner all showed the importance of rostering backups last week. Here’s my updated list of guys who may not be rostered: Tony Pollard, Alexander Mattison, Jamaal Williams, Mark Ingram, Sony Michel, Devontae Booker, Chuba Hubbard, Khalil Herbert, Jeff Wilson, Carlos Hyde, Nyheim Hines, Ronald Jones, and Samaje Perine.

Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF)
We know the Bills’ starting receivers are good for fantasy, and we know Cole Beasley has a rib injury. For that reason, it’s worth stashing Gabriel Davis just in case Beasley goes down. As we saw last week, when Beasley is out, Davis gets a solid snap share.

Tre’Quan Smith (WR – NO)
It’s been subtle, but Smith seems to be emerging as the main target in New Orleans. He’s worth stashing just in case this turns into a sizeable role.

Adam Trautman (TE – NO)
The 19 targets in the last three weeks make Trautman a guy worth popping on your bench.

Gerald Everett (TE – SEA)
I talked early in the season about Everett’s upside. He’s been very poor but got eight receptions last week for 63 yards. Can he back it up? Probably not, but it’s worth finding out.


Last Week:

Hits: Backup Running Backs (AJ Dillon!), D’Onta Foreman, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Tyler Conklin

TBD: Taysom Hill, Justin Fields, Chris Carson, Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham Jr, Dawson Knox, Cole Kmet, Ryan Griffin,

Misses: Zay Jones, Donald Parham


Players who will likely lose value in the future to sell now

Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
This may be your last chance to sell high on Mahomes with an awkward Cowboys matchup followed by a bye. You’d want to be getting a solid option like Lamar Jackson or an upgrade elsewhere, but he’s worth casting off now if you’re in danger of missing the playoffs.

Mac Jones (QB – NE)
The Patriots QB had a great game last week and has some on-paper solid matchups coming up. Still, I’d imagine Bill Belichick attacks the Falcons on the ground, and with the Bills Week 13 and a bye after that, he’s not a player you want heading into the latter part of the regular season. Sell if you can.

Damien Harris (RB – NE) and Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE)
Damien Harris will be back this week and this is headed for a committee situation. Now is the time to sell if you can find someone in your league who believes your guy is the clear starter.

Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)
Gibson was very much back this week, but you can’t expect the youngster to get 26 touches and two touchdowns every week. Now is the time to sell high.

Kendrick Bourne (WR – NE) and Jakobi Meyers (WR – NE)
The Patriots have started cycling their receivers a lot, with Bourne running only 19 routes last week and Meyers running just 23. Meyers scored his first career touchdown but couldn’t surpass 50 yards for the fifth week in a row, while Bourne had a boom game but hasn’t topped four receptions since Week 4. This is a situation to avoid, so I’d sell high if I could.

Mike Evans (WR – TB)
On the back of two high-scoring games despite just four total receptions in the last fortnight, it’s time to trade away big Mike. AB is back soon, and Gronk won’t be out forever, so take the value while you can.

Hunter Henry (TE – NE)
He’s been touchdown-or-bust all season. He’s just scored a lot of touchdowns. Coming off a two-score game and with Jonnu Smith likely to return, see if you can get a better option like Mike Gesicki in return.

Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
He went OK in an easy matchup last week, but I wouldn’t anticipate that continuing. If you can get anything resembling a starter for him, take it.


Last Week

Hits: Carson Wentz, Justin Herbert, Alvin Kamara, Tim Patrick, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Christian Kirk, Pat Freiermuth, Jared Cook

TBD: Jonathan Taylor, Darnell Mooney, Evan Engram

Misses: DeVonta Smith


Drop, assuming a viable alternative is available

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – WAS)
It’s starting to look like the beginning of the end for Fitzmagic. It seems he may miss the rest of the season so in redraft he’s easily droppable but even in dynasty, it’s hard to see him locking in a starting job next year without a fair bit of luck. There’s likely better options available.

Larry Rountree (RB – LAC)
Don’t roster Chargers backs not named Austin. I’m sure I’ve said that before but I’ll say it again just in case you got excited by the Rountree touchdown. He doesn’t have a reliable workload and won’t become a clear starter if Austin Ekeler goes down.

Le’Veon Bell (RB – FA)
If Bell couldn’t make it happen at the injury-struck Ravens, he’s not magically going to become fantasy-relevant elsewhere. Don’t get distracted by the name.

Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
The Chiefs have started phasing Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson out of the offense while utilising a heavy receiver rotation. Amazingly, on the weekend, the depth chart read Hill, Pringle, Robinson, Gordon, Hardman. But it’s been an ever-changing Ferris Wheel. I’d try to get off while I can.

Chargers Tight Ends
This tight end room remains a mess. I’d avoid it at all costs.

Mo Alie-Cox (TE – IND)
I know I’ve been down on Mo for weeks, but if you’re still holding on, please Frozen him out and let it go.


Last Week

Hits: Trevor Lawrence, Sam Darnold, Tua Tagovailoa, Derrick Gore, Marlon Mack, Ty’Son Williams, Malik Turner, Quez Watkins, Packers Tight Ends, Greg Zuerlein, Brandon McManus, Cleveland Browns DST

TBD: Jakobi Meyers (as I said, if you’re not starting him, are you starting him now?), CJ Uzomah, Tennessee Titans DST

Misses: Robby Anderson, Albert Okwuegbunam, Harrison Butker

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Ben Wasley is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Ben, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyFirstDwn.

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