Quick story before we get into the fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11 suggestions for running backs and wide receivers. In my favorite league this summer, when Marquez Callaway was put on the block, that owner failed to mention his first name. Another owner jokingly asked, "You mean Cab Calloway? Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee ho..."
So thank you "Todd" for not letting me hear Callaway's name without hearing about Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" in my head. The interesting part about that infamous lyric is that Cab sang it because he forgot a lyric and just threw it in to improvise.
And that brings us back to the start/sit for this week. Sometimes you just have to improvise with your weekly lineup. Do you think anyone projected Titans wide receiver Marcus Johnson to have a 100-yard day last week? But he did just that. It might not always work out, but sometimes a little improvising does.
It is now time for my little reminder that I will not be suggesting any RB or WR to "start" here that is typically in the top dozen for this week, nor will I be recommending you to "sit" any player outside of the top two dozen for this week.
So relax at your table and let's see if I can make some suggestions that really "sing." (See what I did there? Oh, never mind...)
Teams on bye: Denver, Los Angeles Rams
START These RBs
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
If you have two viable starting RBs this week, start them. However, if I'm starting a non-starting RB this week (I'm looking at you Darrell Henderson Jr. and Denver RB owners), Pollard is the guy.
The Kansas City defense has improved after getting gashed in the first half of the season but has still allowed more than 17 PPR fantasy points to RBs each of the last three games. And how good has Pollard been? Check this out:
See Pollard up there in the upper right-hand corner, just slightly below Jonathan Taylor? Need I say more?
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Right now, Mitchell is listed as doubtful for Sunday, meaning at best he's the dreaded game-time decision. He had a pin inserted into his broken finger earlier this week but the 49ers expressed some hope that he would be able to play. So obviously take this recommendation with a grain of salt. If he sits, you should wisely do the same in fantasy. But if he does start, I'd fire him up.
Mitchell has been a stud. He's averaging more than 92 rushing yards a game over his last four and that excludes the five targets he turned into five catches for 43 yards against the Cardinals two weeks ago.
The Jaguars are allowing more than 23 RB PPR points a game this season and that's against all teams. As we know, the 49ers love to run the ball. As Robert Mays said after the 49ers pounded the Rams...
So yeah, if Mitchell plays, start him. But if you need to pivot before the games kick off on Sunday, consider Devonta Freeman, who I've seen outside the top two dozen RBs. Khalil Mack was just placed on IR. The Bears are in the bottom 10 in preventing rushing yards to RBs. Do you really need more given I recommend Mitchell first? (Don't completely ignore Jeff Wilson, who could benefit greatly from a Mitchell absence, although Trey Sermon is still in the picture and could just muddy everything up.)
SIT These RBs
James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers
Robinson hasn't broken the 100-yard barrier on the ground since before Columbus Day. However, that's not for lack of talent or even competition. Even though he's dealing with a heel injury, he still saw 84 percent of the Jaguars' backfield touches last week. The good news is it appears he made it out of that game no worse for the wear.
The bad news however is he's facing the 49ers, who absolutely shut down Darrell Henderson Jr. and the Rams this past Monday night. And let's just say the Jags are not the Rams. You might not have better choices, but if you do, I wouldn't force Robinson into your lineup this week.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (MNF)
Do you know how many rushing touchdowns the Buccaneers have allowed this year? Four.
That's minuscule and it's actually kind of amazing that three teams have allowed fewer. The point is I wouldn't bank on Barkley scoring this week. I would even be surprised if he sees many carries. The Buccaneers have seen by far the fewest rushing attempts in the league.
I think Daniel Jones can have a surprisingly good game, and as much as the Tampa Bay defense is reeling right now, I don't see them giving up big days to both Jones and Barkley.
START These WRs
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
I like teams coming off a bye, even if it's the lowly Texans. Maybe even more so as if any team needed a "week off," it was Houston. Regardless, Cooks has not been the issue for Houston. He brings a decent floor, having caught at least five passes in all but one of his eight games this year.
But don't be surprised if we see one of Cooks' better games this week. Despite all the discussion about how strong this Titans team is, they have tons of issues covering wide receivers. They have allowed the most fantasy points per game to the position this year, especially when it comes to touchdowns. They have allowed 14 to WRs this season, the second-highest total in the league.
Cooks has an excellent chance of being a top-20 WR this week.
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team
I'm not sure I believe in the Cam Newton rejuvenation machine, but the biggest beneficiary is clearly Anderson, who caught Newton's lone touchdown pass this past Sunday.
Furthermore, Anderson can still juke a man like few others...
The other good news is that Ron Rivera returns to Carolina this week with Washington. Well, it's not so much Rivera returning, but he brings with him the Washington secondary. WFT is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to WRs.
If you are an Anderson owner who has been holding onto him in hopes that things get better, your wait is over.
SIT These WRs
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (SNF)
Let's not make this complicated. The best way to beat the Chargers' defense is to run on them. It is part of the reason why the Chargers are giving up the second-fewest points to opposing WRs this season.
Johnson hasn't crossed the century mark since Week 2. I don't see it happening this week either.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
And you know who has allowed even fewer fantasy points to WRs than the Chargers? That's right the Bills. Aren't you the smart one?
They are also pretty gosh darn good against the run. The Bills have allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs too. So the question becomes how do you think Frank Reich and the Colts try to attack the Bills?
Well, given that the Colts rank 21st in passing percentage and do have this guy named Jonathan Taylor, I think Pittman is going to have far fewer catches this week than he usually does.
This is a great week to test if Pittman is "matchup-proof." He's getting there, but something tells me this week will show us he's not quite there yet.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.