Julian Edelman went down with a broken foot and several top fantasy wide receivers and tight ends are on bye in Week 11. So who should you start and who should you sit? Before we get to that, let’s see how some of my advice for Week 10 turned out.
Start Allen Robinson (11.1 fantasy points) – Robinson is the No. 1 target in an improving passing attack.
Sit Jeremy Maclin (1.7 FP) – Maclin has taken a back seat in the Chiefs’ offense since the emergence of Charcandrick West.
Sit Sammy Watkins (1.4 FP) – Watkins didn’t do anything last week against Darrelle Revis and the Jets on Thursday night.
Start Jordan Reed (14.9 FP) – Thank goodness he scored another two touchdowns.
Sit Martellus Bennett (1.8 FP) – It’s probably a good idea to sit Bennett for the rest of the year
Start Demaryius Thomas (7.1 FP) – Who knew Peyton Manning was going to struggle that badly against the Chiefs?
Sit Larry Fitzgerald (13 FP) - Fitzgerald is back to being the 1,400-yard Fitzgerald of old
Start Delanie Walker (5.2 FP) – As goes Marcus Mariota, so does Walker.
Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh
START THESE WRs...
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. CIN)
Fitzgerald shredded the vaunted Seahawks defense last week for 130 yards on 10 catches in a matchup that many thought the entire Cardinals offense would struggle in. If Carson Palmer is going to be matchup-proof, then you have to put his No. 1 wide receiver in the same category. This week is another tough matchup for Fitzgerald and the Cardinals against the Bengals, a team that is giving up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Both Michael Floyd and John Brown are hampered by hamstring injuries, which means plenty of targets for Fitzgerald in this one. Look for another 100-yard receiving game and Fitzgerald’s first touchdown catch since Week 8.
Amari Cooper, OAK (at DET)
You could gamble and also say that Michael Crabtree should be the must-start, but I’m going with super rookie Cooper as the Raiders travel across the country to take on the Detroit Lions. Cooper’s quarterback (Derek Carr) has been one of the most consistent and productive over the past several weeks and that’s not going to stop this week against the Lions and their 23rd-ranked pass defense. In fact, the Lions rank eighth in most fantasy points allowed to WRs. Cooper has been slumping lately, but this is the perfect game for him to break out of it. Look for him to go well over 100 yards for the first time since Week 7 and add at least one touchdown.
Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs. HOU)
While Marshall has been slowed by injuries lately, which has led to a decent drop in production, he has been a touchdown machine on the year. He’s gotten into the end zone in six of his nine games and now he should be as close to 100 percent healthy as he can be at this time of year after getting 10 days’ rest. This week the Jets travel to Houston to take on a Texans team that has allowed 16 touchdown passes in nine games this season and also is currently giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. It’s true that the Texans were able to hold down a pretty good Bengals passing attack on Monday night, but the Jets are playing for their playoff lives and this is a game where Marshall will step up and make both New York fans and his fantasy owners happy.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Davante Adams, GB (at MIN)
It appears that you never know what you are going to get with the Packers offense on a week-to-week basis. One week Aaron Rodgers throws for only 77 yards, the next week he throws for more than 300 and Randall Cobb comes back from the dead to be fantasy relevant. Then last week Cobb disappeared once again and all Rodgers did was throw the ball Adams’ way, targeting him an incredible 21 times. Adams was able to haul in 10 of those passes for 79 yards, which led to a pretty respectable 17.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues. This week the Packers have a very tough matchup as they travel to Minnesota to take on the division-leading Vikings. The Vikings are currently allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to WRs and you can bet that this is another game where Cobb will be a non-factor. Rodgers will need to throw the ball to someone, so look for Adams to have another game with 12-plus targets and if he can catch 75 percent of those, he might end up with 100 yards receiving.
SIT THESE WRs...
Randall Cobb, GB (at MIN)
If you look under bust in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Cobb. Easily a second-round pick in many fantasy drafts this season, Cobb has only had two games where he’s scored more than 15 fantasy points. He’s more likely to hurt your fantasy team by scoring five or fewer fantasy points than help on any given Sunday. It’s just too hard to trust Cobb on a week-to-week basis and Week 11 has the Packers heading to Minnesota to take on a Vikings defense that is currently allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. You can count on Cobb to be a complete non-factor once again this week.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. CHI)
Good thing Thomas got his boat load of money before the season. Thanks to erratic and poor quarterback play, Thomas has seen his fantasy production take a decent hit in recent weeks. It’s not as if Thomas has been a bust or anything like that. He does have 68 catches for 816 yards on the season and is seeing on average at least 10 targets per game. The problem is that he’s only scored one touchdown on the year, after scoring 14 in 2013 and 11 last year. Again, that’s not his fault, but like any wide receiver, Thomas is dependent on the QB getting him the ball. This week Thomas will have Brock Osweiler throwing passes to him and no one knows what to expect. Thomas should still see his share of targets, but Osweiler is likely to struggle and Thomas will be more in line for a game with five catches for 60 yards than a game where he goes over 100 yards and scores two touchdowns.
A.J. Green, CIN (at ARI)
Would you believe that Green has only scored double-digit fantasy points in three games this season? And one of those games he only scored 10.5 fantasy points. In his last two games Green has been a complete non-factor, scoring only 5.3 and 4.7 fantasy points. He’s watched as Tyler Eifert has taken a more prominent role in the red zone and Green has even seen his targets drop to well under 10 per game. This week the Bengals travel all the way to Arizona for another prime time game. This means that Andy Dalton will struggle just like he did last week on Monday night, where he led the Bengals to only six points. Obviously if Dalton is going to struggle, Green isn’t going to do much of anything. The Cardinals have an excellent defense and are currently giving up the 10th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Another five-point fantasy game is in store for Green this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs. DEN)
In a game where the Bears scored 37 points and Jay Cutler threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns, Jeffery saw only four targets, catching three of them for a whopping 23 yards. So much for the thought that Cutler would throw the ball to Jeffery no matter the game plan. Okay, so it’s not as if Jeffery had a terrible game. He only played 35 of 65 snaps thanks to a groin injury. Who knows how his groin will feel this week, but he’s got a terrible matchup this week with the Denver Broncos paying a visit to Solider Field. Aqib Talib, Denver’s best cover cornerback, will be back from his one-game suspension and providing blanket coverage on Jeffery all game. Throw in the fact that even though the Chiefs scored 29 points on them last week, the Broncos are still allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season. Jeffery isn’t going to help your quest to make the fantasy playoffs this week.
START THESE TEs...
Tyler Eifert, CIN (at ARI)
Coming off of a three-touchdown performance, many fantasy owners were expecting another big game last week against the Houston Texans. Instead Andy Dalton once gain laid an egg in prime time and Eifert sure didn’t help with three massive drops. Eifert went from scoring 23.3 fantasy points to just 2.6. Talk about consistency issues. Now this week Eifert and the Bengals travel to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals, which on paper is a terrible matchup for Eifert. The Cardinals are fourth in terms of fewest fantasy points given up to tight ends, so you might think it best to sit him, but hold on a second. Dalton is going to have to throw the ball to keep the Bengals in the game and his go-to wide receiver A.J. Green will be a non-factor as he will see blanket coverage from Patrick Peterson. This will mean plenty of opportunities for Eifert to catch six or more passes for more than 70 yards and we already know that Dalton loves looking Eifert’s way in the red zone.
Travis Kelce, KC (at SD)
So much for Kelce being called “Little Gronk” because his size and athleticism compares very well to Gronkowski’s. As long as Kelce is on the Chiefs with Andy Reid as his head coach and Alex Smith as his quarterback, Kelce will never reach his full potential. That doesn’t mean however that Kelce can’t produce great fantasy numbers from time to time. It all depends on his matchup. As it goes so happens, this week the Chiefs get the lucky assignment of travelling to San Diego to play a Chargers defense that would struggle to stop a DIII school right now. The Chargers are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends and since the Chiefs really don’t have anyone else to throw the ball to (sorry Jeremy Maclin), look for Kelce to possibly have his best game of the season with around eight catches for close to 100 yards and a touchdown.
Antonio Gates, SD (vs. KC)
Gates’ knee injury should be as close to 100 percent as it can be given his age and the time of year coming off his bye week. On paper, this week’s matchup against the Chiefs isn’t a favorable one. The Chiefs have been one of the toughest defenses in the league against tight ends, currently giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. However, you need to consider what Gates has done against the Chiefs in his career. In his last five home games against Kansas City, Gates has scored a touchdown six times, meaning he’s scored at least once in all five of those games. The Chargers’ wide receiver corps is decimated with injuries so look for Gates to be targeted heavily and end up with at least one touchdown.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. TB)
Last week Ertz set season highs in yards, catches and targets in the Eagles’ loss to the Dolphins, but unfortunately, Ertz still has yet to find the end zone on the season. What makes Ertz an intriguing play this week is the fact that he has seen a steady dose of targets over his last five games, which means he is a solid part of Chip Kelly’s game plan and is starting to get some opportunities in the red zone. This week the Eagles play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their defense that is middle of the road against tight ends. The Bucs are 16th in the league in most fantasy points allowed to the position. Look for Ertz to see another seven-plus targets and this is the week he finally scores a touchdown.
SIT THESE TEs...
Vernon Davis/Owen Daniels, DEN (at CHI)
Stay away from the Broncos’ tight ends this week because of the huge unknown that is Brock Osweiler. Other than a couple of games when Daniels was able to get into the end zone, Broncos tight ends have been an afterthought this year in the passing attack with Peyton Manning under center. Now with Osweiler set to make his first career NFL start, you know that the Broncos are going to lean heavily on their running game (which sucks), and when he goes back to throw, he’s going to be looking in the direction of Demaryius Thomas. Plus, the Broncos travel to play in Chicago against a Bears defense that is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs. Stay away from Davis and Daniels moving forward.
Charles Clay, BUF (at NE, Mon.)
Other than in Weeks 3 and 4, where Clay scored 14.2 and 11.1 fantasy points, he really hasn’t done anything. He’s been injured, completely ineffective and not even fantasy relevant for most of the season. This week the Bills travel to New England where they consistently struggle to score points. Throw in the fact that while the Patriots do allow a lot of yards through the air (around 250 per game), they are currently allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. It will be a good game for Sammy Watkins, not Clay.
Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs. DEN)
Bennett has been one of the most disappointing players from a fantasy perspective so far this season. Many thought that he would have a breakout season where he became one of the elite tight ends, especially when the Bears started the season with Alshon Jeffery sidelined by injury. Who else was Jay Cutler going to throw the ball to? As it turns out, Cutler likes throwing to anyone but Bennett. Just look at last week when Zach Miller (5-107-2) did most of the damage. This week the Bears play host to the Broncos, whose only chance of winning is to lean on the defense. The Broncos are allowing an average of 6.61 fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, so put Bennett on your bench this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jordan Reed, WAS (at CAR)
Normally Reed is a must-start because he is easily Kirk Cousins’ favorite target, but the two don’t really seem to be on the same page as of late and the game flow has gone away from Reed and more towards using Matt Jones out of the backfield to catch screens and balls in the flat. Reed has caught five touchdown passes in his last three games, which is outstanding. But touchdowns are fickle and it’s highly unlikely that Reed keeps finding the end zone at his current rate. What is much more alarming is that Reed has a total of six catches in his last two games and this week the Redskins travel to play the undefeated Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have given up the 15th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, which isn’t good or bad, but the problem is that Cousins might not have the time he needs in the pocket to get Reed the ball. Be cautious with using Reed this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.