Bye weeks in the NFL are starting to wrap up, with just six teams on bye over the next three weeks, which is music to the ears of many fantasy owners. For quarterback purposes, the only relevant players that are off in Week 11 are Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers. If you don't have a backup, now is the time to go grab one.
As to which QBs and defense/special teams (DSTs) you should start or sit in Week 11, let’s first take a quick look at my Week 10 advice.
Start Marcus Mariota (28.6 fantasy points) – Mariota and the Titans laid a big-time beating on the hapless Packers last week.
Start Jameis Winston (18.48 FP) – It takes Winston a while to get going, but you’ll take 300 passing yards and three TDs every week.
Sit Kirk Cousins (18.38 FP) – Cousins did a great job against what used to be the best defense in the league in the Vikings.
I warned you against starting Drew Brees (21.02 FP) against the Broncos and while it wasn’t easy, he still produced and you probably started him regardless.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Denver, New York Jets, San Diego
START THESE QBS...
Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. GB)
Quietly performing like a QB1, Cousins ranks 10th at the position in fantasy points per game over the last five weeks (standard Yahoo! scoring) and that includes difficult matchups against the Cowboys, Steelers and Vikings, all of whom are top-11 defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs. Now, Cousins is at home against a Packers defense that was just torched by Marcus Mariota for 216 passing yards and three touchdowns – in the first half – and he should continue his strong play.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (at IND)
It’s time to run him back out there again. The Titans are playing their “exotic smashmouth football” to perfection and they’re tearing up weak defenses. Now they’re traveling to Indianapolis to face one of the worst defenses in the league, so it’s a lock that Mariota continues his high-scoring ways. He’s also surprisingly cheap in DFS.
Tyrod Talyor, BUF (at CIN)
Taylor has been one of the most underrated quarterbacks in fantasy land this season. He's scored no fewer than 18.1 fantasy points in four straight weeks, and a matchup against the Bengals makes him a solid option once again. Their defense has allowed about 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so Taylor has a terrific shot to succeed.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Colin Kaepernick, SF (vs. NE)
Don't look now, but the often-maligned Kaepernick has turned in two top-10 fantasy QB finishes in a row, most recently throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown and adding 55 rushing yards and a score in what appeared to be a brutal matchup at Arizona. He's still not going to impress many people as a passer, but his rushing ability (57 ypg since taking over as the starter) increases his floor, and the Patriots have been inconsistent on defense.
SIT THESE QBs...
Carson Palmer, ARI (at MIN)
Palmer's weekly QB finishes since Week 3: 29th, 23rd, 19th, 17th, 8th, 17th. He's hard to trust even in a favorable matchup (as we saw last week), let alone one on the road against a Vikings defense that has yet to allow a 300-yard passer and has given up multiple TD passes just three times all year.
Joe Flacco, BAL (at DAL)
Flacco, listed as a sleeper last week, finished with 22.1 fantasy points in a win over the Browns. Before you get too excited, however, look at his numbers on the road. In four games outside of Baltimore, Flacco has thrown two touchdown passes with six interceptions and has averaged 11.6 fantasy points. He needs to be on the fantasy bench this week.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (at LA)
Tannehill put up a 9.6-point stinker against a bad Jets pass defense two weeks ago, and then he traveled across the country and had almost 20 fantasy points in San Diego. Go figure. Regardless, I still don't trust him for another California contest, this time against a Los Angeles defense that's given up 14.9 fantasy points per game to QBs.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jameis Winston, TB (at KC)
The Chiefs are around the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, but that number is slightly skewed by Ben Roethlisberger’s five TD passes back in Week 4. This defense is actually ninth in the NFL in passing yards per attempt allowed, and that's despite having to play the likes of Big Ben, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. Winston is playing well as of late, but facing a tough matchup in what will be the Bucs' first road game since Oct. 23 is a recipe for a letdown.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Miami Dolphins (at LA)
Jared Goff is making his first NFL start, so owners with the Dolphins DST should be excited about their prospects this week. Opposing DSTs had averaged the second-most fantasy points (10.6 ppg) when facing Los Angeles with Case Keenum at QB, and a lot of NFL folks don't think Goff is ready to handle the rigors of the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs (vs. TB)
Kansas City has once again become the class of fantasy DSTs. Over the last four weeks, no unit has scored more fantasy points than the Chiefs (46). Their streak of solid production should continue against the Buccaneers, who rank in the top 10 in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to DSTs this season.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Baltimore Ravens (at DAL)
The Ravens DST, listed as a start 'em last week, put up a solid 14 fantasy points in a win over the Browns. This week, however, Baltimore travels to Dallas to face Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and an explosive Cowboys offense that grinds defenses down and doesn't turn the ball over. Put the Ravens back on the waiver wire.
Philadelphia Eagles (at SEA)
The Eagles DST has cooled off in recent weeks, scoring a combined 12 fantasy points over the last three games. This comes after producing a combined 38 points in the previous two weeks. Philadelphia doesn't figure to reverse this trend in Seattle, as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have been pretty tough on DSTs.
— 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.