Week 11 is one of only 2 Sundays all year in which the Dolphins will not have a game. For many of you that means there’s a little extra time to watch your fantasy team in action. For a preview of Week 11, the final week of the NFL season with a bye week, we turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris.
Week 11 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
Week 11 of the NFL season has more than a few fantasy starters on their bye (Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson to name a few), and that means depth and the waiver wire is all the more important as you try and win enough games to make a run at the playoffs. The problem with the waiver wire is that it is most likely picked clean at this point, and what is left is there for a reason. So, make smart trades, don’t get cute trying to start a possible sleeper over a moderately proven talent, and don’t think you are going to find something on the waiver wire that 11 other blood suckers missed all week long. Second place is just the first loser, so let’s get into some start and sit advice so you can be a leader and not a follower!
Carson Palmer – QB Raiders: There are few things better for a fantasy QB than playing the Saints atrocious pass defense. Palmer is underrated as a fantasy QB, ranking out 10th in the NFL heading into this week with 172 fantasy points in NFL.com leagues. The Saints give up 26.4 FP per-game this season, which would make Palmer a high-end QB1 this week if that holds true.
Andy Dalton – QB Bengals: Dalton doesn’t get as much respect outside of Cincinnati as he deserves, which is odd because his 18 passing TDs rank #7 in the NFL this season. The Chiefs give up 20.2 PPG to QBs (20th in NFL) and Dalton has the ability to put up big numbers with A.J. Green and crew catching the ball.
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: I truly do think this is the week we see the Patriots and Tom Brady put it all together and start gearing up for the NFL playoffs. That means the Patriots should get out to a lead and let the run take over and run the clock out. That is great news for Ridley and I fully expect RB1 numbers from the up-and-down RB this week.
Steven Jackson – RB Rams: I hate putting my faith in Jackson because he is old and broke down like a Studebaker in the back woods of Tennessee. But, the Jets do give up the 6th most points to RBs (21.3) and Jackson is riding high thanks to his 101 rushing yards last week against a stout 49ers defense.
Denarius Moore – WR Raiders: For all the same reasons I like Palmer, I like Moore this week. The Saints defense has a way of making fantasy studs and Moore is already a very solid WR2 in most formats. I have no problems starting him in any format as I think he could even be a good play in TD-only leagues.
Jordy Nelson – WR Packers: Nelson should be back in the starting line-up this week and a very good play against a Lions secondary that allows 33.7 PPG to WRs in PPR formats. We know Aaron Rodgers can throw the pigskin, and Randall Cobb can take the focus off Nelson and allow him to get his fantasy game on in week 11.
Aaron Hernandez – TE Patriots: All indications are that Hernandez will make it back on the field this week and the TE position for the Patriots is like fantasy gold. The Colts give up the fewest fantasy points to the TE (7.3) this season, but the Patriots use their TEs like other teams use their WRs.
St. Louis Rams defense: This is one of the only times in my entire fantasy football life I have ever said the words “start” and “Rams defense” in the same sentence and wasn’t trying to make a joke about starting to run away from them. The Jets offense is anemic at best, and the entire team from the owner down is in denial about Mark Sanchez being the answer at QB.
Joe Flacco – QB Ravens: After last week’s blowout win, fantasy owners are thinking they have Peyton Manning sitting on their bench instead of Joe Flacco. But, buyers beware as the Ravens are going to lock up with a Steelers team that will rely heavily on their defense with Ben Roethlisberger is out and Byron Leftwich is in. Be aware and beware with Flacco this week.
Philip Rivers – QB Chargers: I grew up in San Diego, so I have fond memories of watching LaDainian Tomlinson and Vincent Jackson go all Boss Hogg on the NFL and produce fantasy glory with their numbers. But, alas, those days are long gone and all Rivers is left with is Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander at WR, and Ryan Mathews at RB. The Broncos are playing in Beast Mode on offense and defense these days, and I don’t have enough confidence in Rivers’ weapons to think he will see QB1 numbers in week 11. He is currently ranking out as the #22 fantasy QB for the 2011 season.
Rashad Jennings – RB Jaguars: Jennings was everyone’s waiver wire darling when he took over for Maurice Jones-Drew in week 7, but has failed to live up to any kind of hype. He has only scored one TD and hasn’t topped 59 yards rushing yet this season, so why is everyone always sticking him into their starting RB situation when sending me emails, Tweets and Facebook questions? I warned you that he was a back-up for a reason, and he is proving it with his production on the field. He has some mild production in PPR leagues, but that relies on Blaine Gabbert to do his job and I have a Gabbert autographed jersey that Goodwill rejected for donation! Leave him on the bench or cut him and hope someone grabs him and he loses them some games instead of you.
Jonathan Stewart – RB Panthers: Stewart is still in the feature back role for the Panthers, but like Jennings he has failed to produce any measurable fantasy stats to go along with all the hype he gets from the big-box websites. He hasn’t put up more than 51 yards rushing or 38 yards receiving in a game this season, and the Bucs give up just 16.3 PPG to RBs. And remember, those 16.3 points get split in half with DeAngelo Williams, so that is about 8 points (maybe) for Stewart.
Mike Wallace – WR Steelers: Until Leftwich shows he is anything more than distant memory for fantasy football owners, I want absolutely no part of anyone on the Steelers this week outside of Rashard Mendenhall. He was completely inept last week as he went 7-14 passing with 73 yards. I really don’t expect too much from him this week and you shouldn’t either.
Cecil Shorts – WR Jaguars: Did you that Shorts’ 29 receptions put him in the #50 range for WRs? Because Gabbert is so wildly inconsistent, Shorts makes for a boom-or-bust play every week and I look more for a bust play this week against a Texans defense that gives up just 30.1 PPG to WRs in PPR formats (7th best in NFL).
Heath Miller – TE Steelers: TE is already a boom-or-bust play, and Miller is an even bigger boom-or-bust player. Starting anyone while Leftwich is at the helm is like backing the Titanic up and hitting the iceberg over again, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Arizona Cardinals defense: The Cardinals have allowed just 16.0 PPG to QBs this season, 6th in the NFL. But, this week they face a prolific passing attack that features Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. There are so many ways they can beat you that it is hard to think the Cardinals can continue their dominance on defense in week 11. I’d sit them down in favor of a waiver wire defense like the Rams (owned in 4.9 percent of NFL.com leagues) or even the Broncos if they are available (owned in 61.4 percent of NFL.com leagues and ranked #3 overall for fantasy defenses).
Be sure to check back here on Sunday morning for late breaking fantasy injury updates.
Also, for answers to all of your fantasy questions, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.