Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 11
Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 11
Cooler temperatures are here, along with discarded leaves, shorter days, and those annoying Christmas car commercials. Who are these manufactures trying to target suggesting a pair of $60,000 trucks is an appropriate gift, anyway? Anyone who has played fantasy football long enough knows that the impending arrival of Thanksgiving also means that crunch time is here and the playoffs are just around the corner.
Whether you're battling for your very postseason life, jockeying for a better seed, or just trying to play spoiler, the 2020 season is rapidly chugging along and it's important to wrap up these key, late-season victories. One of the best ways that fantasy managers can do that is to know which players make solid starts and which regular starters might be better left on the bench ahead of Week 11.
Week 11 also has a large number of key contributors who will be unavailable due to another four teams on their bye, but those aren't yet over. Here are some players to consider as possible replacements, and others that fantasy managers may want to shy away from in Week 11.
Week 11 byes: San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears
Damien Harris (RB) New England Patriots - Harris saw his highest snap count of the season against a tough Ravens defense and took full advantage of the opportunities. Harris had a season-high 22 carries and posted his third 100-yard rushing performance of 2020. That was the highest total any player has achieved against Baltimore all year but Harris won't find things nearly as difficult this week against a Houston defense that is among the league's worst against the run. The Texans just surrendered 230 rushing yards to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and have now allowed a league-worst 1,389 rushing yards to running backs. Even though Harris is not being targeted, nor is he getting goal-line looks, he looks like a great bet to top triple-digits once again, and deliver solid RB2 numbers.
Kalen Ballage (RB) Los Angeles Chargers - It's almost as if getting away from Adam Gase can rejuvenate a career. Ballage wasn't able to gain much traction in Miami or New York but being the fourth option in Los Angeles seems to have done the trick. Ballage, fresh off the practice squad, turned 17 touches into 84 yards and a TD against the Raiders, then had a whopping 23 touches for 102 yards against his former Miami teammates. This week, Ballage gets another 'revenge game' this time against Mr. Incompetence himself, Gase and the Jets. New York has been a bottom-10 run defense all season and Ballage's new-found workhorse role makes him an instant RB2 with RB1 upside this week.
Marquise Brown (WR) Baltimore Ravens - With only two double-digit fantasy performances all season--none in the last month--nobody could fault fantasy owners for cutting ties with Hollywood Brown, who entered this season with a ton of hype coming off of a solid rookie campaign. Like the rest of Baltimore's offense, Brown has disappointed due to a severe dropoff as both a passer and rusher from QB Lamar Jackson. Allegedly, Jackson and his teammates are upset after their Week 10 loss in New England and if they can use that anger quickly, relief comes in the form of a Week 11 date with a Tennessee secondary that has been shredded by opposing quarterbacks all season. The Titans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts and have consistently been toasted by downfield burners like Brown. When these two teams met last January, Brown caught 7-of-11 for 126 yards. If Brown can muster anywhere over 6 targets in Week 11, there's a good chance that we finally see that breakout game we've long-awaited.
Jakobi Meyers (WR) New England Patriots - New England's passing game has also been quite stagnant but Meyers has been awfully productive since Julian Edelman (knee) was placed on IR. In the Patriots' last four games, Meyers has racked up 37 targets while playing over 90% of the team's offensive snaps. He's caught at least four passes in each game while averaging 87.5 receiving yards. Meyers, a former high school QB recruit, even tossed a touchdown to Rex Grossman last week. Any fantasy managers lucky enough to have snagged Meyers off the waiver wire have undoubtedly been thrilled with his production and he should be in store for another brilliant performance in Week 11 as the Patriots travel to Houston to take on a Texans' defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers over their past five games.
Logan Thomas (TE) Washington Football Team - Since Alex Smith's ascension to the starting QB job, Thomas has tallied 6 targets in both of Washington's games, which both came against teams that have played better-than-average defense against tight ends. In Week 11, Thomas gets a home matchup against one of the league's worst, a Cincinnati squad that is allowed 16.5 PPR points per week to tight ends, which is second-worst in football. Considering the absolute abysmal weekly depth at tight end, Thomas's target share and four-week run with 3-plus receptions per game make him a solid contender for top-10 fantasy numbers this week.
Tom Brady (QB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - As witnessed by their impressive lockdown of Russell Wilson in Week 10, the LA Rams secondary is playing at an elite level. Through 9 games, that unit has only allowed 9 touchdowns passes and 7 of those came in two games. Only one signal-caller has topped 270 passing yards on Jalen Ramsey and company, and 5-of-9 opponents have failed to record a single touchdown pass. While Brady himself is playing at a high level, he may struggle to post QB1 numbers. The only time this season Brady faced a similar defense in Chicago, he threw for 253 yards and one score.
Aaron Jones (RB) Green Bay Packers - The Packers seem content to stick with what has more-or-less worked, a 60/40 backfield split between Jones and Jamaal Williams. While this may keep Jones fresh, it also reduces his touches and caps his upside. Jones is still getting positive usage in the passing game but his effectiveness as a runner has waned. Once Allen Lazard--who nearly played last week-- returns, there could be fewer targets and if Jones isn't getting those valuable goal-line totes, his upside is rather limited. Throw in the fact that the Packers travel to Indianapolis this week to take on a fearsome Colts' defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs and Jones could once again struggle to build momentum as a runner and fail to get into the end-zone.
Todd Gurley (RB) Atlanta Falcons - Even though Todd Gurley enters Week 11 as a fantasy RB1, it looks more obvious as the season rolls along that the Rams were probably right to move on from Gurley, who simply can't create as he did earlier in his career. Looking at FantasyData's advanced RB efficiency metrics, Gurley ranks 33rd in juke rate and 29th with 1.14 yards created per attempt. Gurley has been held under 3.0 yards per carry in each of Atlanta's last three contests and has only seen 5 targets total. Brian Hill has started to eat away at Gurley's role, particularly in the passing game. With 9 touchdowns, Gurley still displays a solid nose for the end-zone but he's becoming more of a TD-dependant RB2, and facing a New Orleans defense in Week 11 that has only ceded 3 rushing TDs all season to running backs, Gurley is a rather risky start.
D.J. Chark (WR) Jacksonville Jaguars - It's hard to bench a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver but Chark is going to struggle to produce in a week where QB Jake Luton is likely to be besieged by Pittsburgh's pass rush. The Steelers, who rank second in defensive DVOA and 1st in sack rate, are going to be a major problem for a sixth-round rookie signal-caller making his third start behind the league's worst offensive line in terms of pass protection. The Steelers' secondary has actually been vulnerable of late but it's hard to forecast the Jaguars as being able to sustain drives against this opponent. Chark was held to an underwhelming 4/56/0 line at Green Bay and may struggle to command enough targets to post WR2/3 numbers in Week 11. On a positive note, garbage time could be a factor and a mid-week switch back to QB Gardner Minshew would also be a welcomed development.
Travis Fulgham (WR) Philadelphia Eagles - Fulgham has been one of the most pleasant, and surprising waiver wire heroes of the 2020 season. Until last week, he had posted double-digit fantasy outings in every game he had played but the bottom fell out in a winnable matchup against the Giants. In that game, Fulgham only snagged 1-of-5 targets for a measly 8 yards but it's that target share that is the biggest concern. The Eagles are getting healthy, as RB Miles Sanders returned, along with WR Alshon Jeffery, who played 18 snaps. Also, TE Zach Ertz could be activated to further reduce Fulgham's role. While the Eagles have an appealing matchup in Cleveland against a putrid Browns secondary, Fulgham's days as the undisputed target kind in Philadelphia appear to be over.
Jonnu Smith (TE) Tennessee Titans - Smith hasn't topped 32 receiving yards or 2 receptions in any of Tennessee's past five contests. While he did somewhat mitigate his fantasy value last week with a rushing score, Smith is the TE20 over the past five weeks, behind Anthony Firkser, Gerald Everett, and Richard Rodgers. A Week 11 date with the Ravens is unlikely to be the breakout game we've been waiting for after Smith posted double-digit fantasy points in each of the Titans' first four games.
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Jody is a member of both the Pro Football Writer's of America (PFWA) and Fantasy Sports Writer's Association (FSWA) and has been covering the NFL and fantasy football for over a decade. Jody won FantasyPro's Most Accurate Expert contest and also garnered the FSTA's accuracy award in 2012. A Houston native, Jody has covered the Texans locally since 2016 for both digital and radio audiences. Past writing stops include CBS Sportsline, Gridiron Experts, Pro Football Focus, Fanball, FantasyPro's. Jody is also a frequent guest on SiriusXM and Houston radio and his work regularly appears in print on newsstands each summer.