Congratulations! You survived the fantasy bye week gauntlet!
Only four NFL teams have byes in Week 11, and two of them are the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets. But before you start patting yourself on the back, remember this: More active players on your roster means more tough lineup decisions come Sunday.
Week 11 features several marquee matchups, from a battle between the surprising Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals to a Sunday night showdown between Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts.
But this is fantasy football, and you’re not worried about who wins and who loses. There are plenty of opportunities to be had this week as you make your playoff push, as well as a few situations you should avoid like the plague. Let’s break it down.
Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers: Kaepernick has been subpar lately, but this is the perfect matchup for him to return to form. The New York Giants’ defense has struggled against the pass this season and let Russell Wilson run wild for 107 rushing yards last week. If Kaepernick’s on your roster, start him.
Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints: Don’t let the return of Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson deter you. Ingram has run the ball extremely well this year, and the Saints will continue to give him touches against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that’s ranked 31st against the run this season. Barring an unforeseen dip in carries, Ingram should stay in your starting lineup.
Terrance West, Running Back, Cleveland Browns: Like Ingram, West has proven he’s the best option in a crowded backfield. After rushing for 94 yards and a score on 26 carries last week, he gets the mediocre Houston Texans run defense at home. Expect the high volume and high numbers to continue this weekend.
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins: Jackson is having himself quite the season in Washington. The speedster has racked up 115 receiving yards or more in four of his last five games, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers in standard-scoring leagues this season. Start D-Jax with confidence.
Kyle Rudolph, Tight End, Minnesota Vikings: Need a tight end on the cheap? Rudolph is your guy. Still available in many leagues, he returns to action against the Chicago Bears, who have allowed seven (!) touchdowns to opposing tight ends in their last three games. If that isn’t enough to start Rudolph, we don’t know what is.
Andy Dalton, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals: It might be time to pull the plug on the Red Rifle. After an abysmal showing against the Cleveland Browns last Thursday, Dalton has to travel to New Orleans to take on an improving Saints defense with a solid pass rush. No, thanks.
Branden Oliver, Running Back, San Diego Chargers: The matchup against the Oakland Raiders is great, but it’s impossible to know what role Oliver will play with Ryan Mathews back in the mix. If you can, stash Oliver on your bench and see how his touches play out before deciding what to do with him going forward.
C.J. Anderson, Running Back, Denver Broncos: OK, hear us out. Anderson was awesome last week, but Montee Ball’s return figures to create a cluster of epic proportions in Denver’s backfield. The Broncos have a million weapons, and it’s impossible to know where the production will come from on a week-to-week basis.
Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers: It’s been a tough year for Niners pass-catchers, and Crabtree is the latest player to underperform. He’s caught just one touchdown in his last six games, while the Giants have surrendered just three touchdowns to wide receivers in that span. Look elsewhere for production this week.
Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans: Johnson has caught 975 passes in his career. None of them have come from Ryan Mallett, who will make his first NFL start Sunday against a Cleveland Browns defense that’s allowed four touchdowns and eight interceptions in its last three games. Avoid the Texans’ entire receiving corps if you can.
Have a fantasy/NFL question for Darren? Send it to him via Twitter at @darren_hartwell
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
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