Week 11 is like a Thursday night road game against the No. 1 team in the league: Your chances of winning are slim, but you just hope to come out of it further unscathed.
The last wave of bye weeks are killer, with players like Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Gary Barnidge and Drew Brees all missing. Add injuries that brought a wave of inactives, including a last-minute Emmanuel Sanders benching, and you’ve probably found yourself in a pickle.
We’ve sifted through what’s out there and tried to pick some tough matchups to help out with, but be sure to keep an eye on our Week 11 injury tracker before, during and after kickoff to make the best decisions.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Despite popping up on the injury report with a shoulder ailment this week, Rodgers is likely to play Sunday. While the Vikings have been sneaky-good defensively this season, this is a battle for first in the NFC North. Yes, Rodgers and Co. are on the road, but it’s not like Minnesota’s frigid temperatures are any different than Green Bay’s. It’s a must-win game for the Packers, so expect Rodgers to do whatever it takes to get there.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles: Sanchez has experience in this offense, and while saying he thrived last season following Nick Foles’ injury would be a stretch, he certainly wasn’t terrible. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a terrific run defense, which means the Eagles could rely on Sanchez’s arm to make plays. He’s not a terrible streaming fill-in.
Other quarterbacks to start: Derek Carr, Matt Stafford
Quarterbacks to sit: Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: Lynch has been declared “good to go” by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. He has a favorable matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, who are just downright terrible. Play Lynch with confidence.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears: The Broncos have the best defense in the NFL, but Langford has shown in Matt Forte’s absence that he’s a borderline must-play. Forte will sit again Sunday, and with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out as well, Langford could well be Chicago’s best option. He should see plenty of touches in Week 11.
Other running backs to start: Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart,
Running backs to sit: James Starks, Matt Jones, Justin Forsett
Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers: With Malcolm Floyd’s shoulder injury last week, Inman steps into the No. 2 receiver slot in a pass-heavy offense and a very good quarterback in Philip Rivers. Kansas City’s defense is really hit or miss, but with Keenan Allen, Floyd and Ladarius Green all out this week, the volume of targets alone should vault Inman up the list.
Wes Welker, St. Louis Rams: Welker was second on the team in targets in his first game in St. Louis and led the team in catches with three. He’s the best receiver they have (which says more about the Rams than Welker at this point), and Case Keenum might actually be a better option than Foles this week. Add a terrible Baltimore Ravens defense, and Welker could be a decent streaming fill-in this week.
Other wide receivers to start: Vincent Jackson, Michael Crabtree, Calvin Johnson
Wide receivers to sit: Michael Floyd, A.J. Green, Emmanuel Sanders, Alshon Jeffrey
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts: Fleener might be Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite target. He went for 83 yards on nine catches and a touchdown in Week 4 with Hasselbeck throwing him the ball, so don’t be shocked at a similar outcome following a bye week against a mediocre Falcons defense.
Crockett Gilmore, Ravens: Despite two straight games with a touchdown, Gilmore is far from a sure thing this week against a stingy Rams defense.
Other tight ends to start: Eric Ebron
Other tight ends to sit: Richard Rodgers
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders