Heading into Week 11, Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to put up ridiculous (and unsustainable) numbers. Do you start em or sit em? Our take on FitzMagic and other top fantasy players playing this weekend.
For more start-sit advice, send a tweet to Paul at @pauliep97.
Start ‘em: Quarterbacks
Drew Brees, Saints
The hype surrounding the Rams and Chiefs and their young QBs has drawn some attention away from just how good the Saints have been this season. Drew Brees, in particular, is playing MVP-caliber football right now. So far, he’s completed a jaw-dropping 77% of his passes en route to 21 TDs and just 1 INT, and he should keep the good times rolling this week against an Eagles team that is in the bottom ten against fantasy quarterbacks. The fact that this game will be played in the Superdome only boosts Brees’ already-high potential for Week 11.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers
If you started Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 10, you were undoubtedly disappointed by the lack of FitzMagic; however, don’t be reactionary here. The odds of throwing for over 400 yards and coming away without a passing TD are astronomically low; in fact, it was the first game since the 1950’s in which a team produced over 450 yards of offense and scored only 3 points. Poorly-timed turnovers aside, Fitzpatrick is still throwing the ball a ton on an otherwise effective offense. I expect him to bounce back in a big way against a weaker Giants defense in Week 11.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Despite my frequent skepticism, Dak Prescott has managed three top-10 fantasy finishes over his past four outings. He’s also thrown for 240+ yards in three straight. Aside from the addition of Amari Cooper, I’m not sure what changed, but as long as Dallas maintains their current offensive formula Dak should have no trouble scoring against Atlanta, who ranks 4th-worst against QBs. He’s a solid streamer this week.
Other starters: Cam Newton vs. Lions; Carson Wentz vs. Saints
Sit ‘em: Quarterbacks
Andy Dalton, Bengals
If the Bengals offense was a train, A.J. Green–not Andy Dalton–would be the conductor. The offense simply doesn’t run without him, or, at least, it didn’t last Sunday when the Bengals got absolutely steamrolled by the Saints. The concerning thing is that the Bengals were trailing for the entire game, and Dalton still couldn’t manage to top 7 fantasy points. If Dalton isn’t startable against the Saints’ league-worst QB defense in a positive game script, when is he startable? Certainly not this week against a tough Ravens team. Put him back on the bench.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
In his last five games, Kirk Cousins is averaging 15.36 FPPG. That’s right between Matthew Stafford and Joe Flacco’s averages for the season, which is to say, not good. And remember, all but one of those games was without Dalvin Cook. With Cook back, the passing volume could come down a bit, which won’t help matters. In Week 11, against a stout Bears’ defense, I’d be looking elsewhere.
Other players to sit: Blake Bortles vs. Steelers; Matthew Stafford vs. Panthers
Start ‘em: Running Backs
Kerryon Johnson, Lions
The matchup is undoubtedly bad for Kerryon Johnson this week. The Panthers rank 7th against RBs this season and have limited 7 different teams to under 75 total rushing yards. However, Kerryon had an even worse matchup against the Bears last week and he came through with 89 yards on 20 total touches and 2 TDs. When push comes to shove, the volume is there for Kerryon. Given his talent, I believe that he can be productive with 20 touches per game, regardless of his opponent.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
Fun fact: Phillip Lindsay has scored 10+ points in every full game he’s played this season (he was ejected early in Week 3). That’s the definition of a safe play. His upcoming matchup with the Chargers — 15th against RBs — doesn’t really scare you, but the opportunity here might be even better than it seems. The Chargers have actually allowed the 2nd-most receiving yards to backs this season and 4.5 YPC on the ground (20th). Lindsay, for his part, has averaged a respectable 5.4 YPC on his 110 attempts. Furthermore, I expect the Broncos to be trailing in this game, so Lindsay could also make a big impact through the air. Start him with confidence.
Other starters: Leonard Fournette vs. Steelers; Doug Martin vs. Cardinals
Sit ‘em: Running Backs
Tevin Coleman, Falcons
Tevin Coleman’s poor performance against Cleveland in Week 10 was largely not his fault. After the Browns got out to a huge lead, the Falcons just stopped running. However, the Browns are allowing 4.7 YPC to opposing runners on the season, and Coleman managed only 4.0 on 11 attempts. Coleman might see more touches this week against Dallas, but the matchup is much worse. In fact, Dallas is tied with Houston and Chicago for the best per-carry rush defense in the league–3.6. Unless Coleman finds his way to the end zone, he’ll likely let you down this week with another inefficient performance.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins
Adrian Peterson has finished worse than 25th amongst running backs in five of his last six games, and in two of those he finished 40th or worse. Despite being 5th in carries, Peterson just isn’t getting it done for fantasy owners. He’s been inefficient–under 4.0 YPC in five games so far–and a non-factor in the passing game. To make matters worse, Washington’s offense hasn’t provided Peterson with a ton of scoring opportunities. Against a tough Texans’ defense that’s allowing only 3.6 YPC this season, AP belongs on the bench.
Other players to sit: Mark Ingram vs. Eagles; Marlon Mack vs. Titans
Start ‘em: Wide Receivers
Sterling Shepard, Giants
Looking for a flex with six teams on a bye? Consider starting Sterling Shepard, who has received 7+ targets in seven of nine games this season. There should be plenty of passes to go around this week when the Giants face the high-powered Buccaneers’ offense. The Buccaneers are 2nd-worst against wide receivers, and they’ve been particularly bad at defending the slot, which is where Shepard lines up over 60% of the time. It’s also worth noting that Shepard has 7 red zone receptions this season, which is 11th-most in the league and more than his teammate Odell Beckham, so a touchdown is certainly not out of the question.
Golden Tate, Eagles
How about another sneaky start? Golden Tate was incredibly disappointing in his Eagles debut, playing on only 30% of the snaps and catching 2 of 4 targets; however, the Eagles gave up a 3rd-rounder for Tate in the last year of his contract–they’re going to use him. Tate could see plenty of opportunities this week as the Eagles try to keep pace with Drew Brees and friends. While Nelson Agholor will probably remain the team’s primary slot receiver, Tate is bound to take some reps inside, which means a juicy matchup against vulnerable slot corner P.J. Williams.
Sit ‘em: Wide Receivers
Allen Robinson, Bears
Paid to be the de facto “number one” receiver in Chicago, Allen Robinson is only averaging about 4 receptions and 60 yards per game so far. The problem for Robinson is really just the nature of Chicago’s offense–they like to spread the ball around. The other offensive pieces — Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, and Tarik Cohen — are playmakers who aren’t going away any time soon. The volume will continue to be an issue, which may make Robinson unusable against the Vikings’ shutdown corner, Xavier Rhodes.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons
Many were ready to crown Calvin Ridley a future hall-of-famer after his 3-TD game early in the season, but we’ve seen the rookie come back down the earth in recent weeks. He’s still playing a healthy share of the snaps, but he’s scored just 1 TD over his past five outings, and he has surpassed 50 yards just once in that span as well. While Ridley could explode in any given game, I’m not expecting much this week against the Cowboys, who rank 2nd against wideouts.
Other players to sit: Devin Funchess vs. Lions; Jordy Nelson vs. Cardinals
Start ‘em: Tight Ends
Austin Hooper, Falcons
In a wasteland of mediocre tight ends, there are very few players that are exciting or even relevant week to week. Once you get beyond the Ertzes, Kelces, and Kittles of the world, tight end is basically a toss up. So, if you have to play the odds, you could do worse than Austin Hooper. He has double-digit targets in three of his last five games, and the Cowboys, who Hooper will face on Sunday, have been more susceptible to tight ends than wide receiver. Start Hooper as a top-ten option this week.
Other starters: Evan Engram vs Buccaneers; O.J. Howard vs. Giants
Sit ‘em: Tight Ends
Benjamin Watson, Saints
For a 37-year-old, Ben Watson has done very well this season. In a season where many tight ends fell short of expectations, Watson has actually exceeded modest preseason projections. However, with Philadelphia coming to town in Week 11, I don’t view Watson as a startable asset outside of very deep leagues. Philly currently ranks 3rd against tight ends. The Eagles have allowed just 2 TDs to the position this season, and only O.J. Howard has gained more than 50 yards against them. Look for other options this week.
Other players to sit: Kyle Rudolph vs. Bears; Jared Cook vs. Cardinals