Fantasy plays: Players to start and sit for NFL Week 11

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Anyone else play against Dak Prescott (38.9 points) in multiple leagues last week?

Just me?

Regardless of whether you had the misfortune of playing against the Dallas Cowboys or the luxury of starting them yourself (Tony Pollard notwithstanding), you did it. You made it through one of the more brutal bye weeks of the season.

Your reward? No Falcons (24th in scoring), Colts (ninth), Patriots (31st), or Saints (18th) this week.

Aside from some star running backs and a pair of WR2s, we aren’t missing a whole lot of offense. While that’s good for the overall landscape of fantasy football, it does make start/sit decisions that much more difficult.

But don’t sweat.

That’s what this piece is for.

Every week I list out every fantasy-relevant player, sorted by position and bucketed into tiers with the higher-tiered players deemed more start-worthy. For specific start/sit advice between two players in the same tier, refer to numberFire ’s projections.

These tiers are meant to reflect your typical 12-team, half-PPR scoring formats with only one starting quarterback — though the general rankings can be loosely applied to most formats.

Any player not listed can be assumed sit-worthy in most leagues.

All betting references refer to the NFL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

QUARTERBACKS

Tier 1: Lineup locks

— Patrick Mahomes (KC)

Jalen Hurts (PHI)

— Dak Prescott (DAL)

— C.J. Stroud (HOU)

— Josh Allen (BUF)

Justin Herbert (LAC)

Lamar Jackson (BAL)

Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

Tier 2: Probable starters

Jared Goff (DET) had one of his best road starts last week, totaling 21.1 fantasy points. He’s back home against the Bears — a secondary giving up the second-most adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.46) — in Week 11. It’s all systems go for Goff given Detroit’s 28.0-point implied team total.

Kyler Murray (ARI) didn’t miss a beat in his season debut. Kyler averaged 7.8 yards per attempt and ran for a touchdown last week, finishing as the QB13 with 18.3 fantasy points. The Texans have given up the eighth-highest passing EPA (0.01) and the 11th-most adjusted fantasy points (0.41) per drop-back. Murray’s only going to get better with more reps, so I’d be hard-pressed to sit him going forward.

— Sam Howell (WSH) is borderline matchup-proof at this point. Howell had his third-best fantasy output of the season in Seattle last week and he’s now thrown for more than 300 yards in three straight games. Washington ranks third in pass rate over expectation (8.9%). As long as Howell keeps chucking it, he’s start-able in fantasy, especially this week against the Giants secondary.

Joe Burrow (CIN) has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in four of his past five games. He’s a safe QB1 each and every week, but there’s a little less upside than usual this week considering the Ravens have allowed the second-fewest adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.28) and the fifth-lowest passing success rate (40.2%).

Tier 3: On the fence

Brock Purdy (SF) got back on track by dominating the Jags for 296 yards, a 148.9 passer rating, and 23.8 fantasy points. The floor is sky high with San Francisco's QB, even against a Buccaneers defense that’s had above-average marks in passing success rate (46.1%) and adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.36) allowed.

Trevor Lawrence (JAX)’s disappointing season hit a new low last week when he turned the ball over three times and totaled just 4.1 fantasy points against the 49ers. The Titans are a good matchup for QBs — they’ve allowed the second-highest passing success rate (50.5%) and the seventh-highest EPA per drop-back (0.03) — but it’s become increasingly difficult to trust Lawrence. He’s a reluctant start for me in Week 11.

— Justin Fields (CHI) is expected back this week after missing the past four games. Even with Fields’ upside, I’d rather sit him unless you’re desperate. The Lions have quietly let up quality numbers to quarterbacks, but there are a lot of good (and healthy) options in Week 11.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

Geno Smith (SEA) turned in his best fantasy outing of the season by throwing for a season-high 369 yards and avoiding a turnover for the first time since Week 4. That said, he now faces a Rams defense that not only ranks eighth in adjusted fantasy points allowed per drop-back (0.36), but is a group against whom he managed single-digit points back in Week 1. Surely you can do better this week.

— Joshua Dobbs (MIN) is awesome. He needs to be rostered everywhere and deserves a spot in lineups going forward — just not this week. The Broncos have given up the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to QBs over the past five weeks, and two of those games came against Pat Mahomes. Assuming Justin Jefferson is held out another week, keep Dobbs on benches.

Russell Wilson (DEN) hasn’t eclipsed 200 passing yards since Week 4, yet has averaged 15.6 points per game over that span. A league-leading 6.9% touchdown rate will do that. Still, a lack of volume (Denver has a -4.4% pass rate over expectation; seventh lowest) limits Wilson's upside and relegates him to fantasy benches against a Vikings defense that’s allowed the sixth-fewest adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.34).

RUNNING BACKS

Tier 1: Lineup locks

Christian McCaffrey (SF)

Austin Ekeler (LAC)

— De’Von Achane (MIA)

Breece Hall (NYJ)

Travis Etienne (JAX)

— Josh Jacobs (LV)

— Saquon Barkley (NYG)

Joe Mixon (CIN)

— Aaron Jones (GB)

— D’Andre Swift (PHI)

— Jahmyr Gibbs (DET)

— David Montgomery (DET)

— Raheem Mostert (MIA)

Derrick Henry (TEN)

— Rachaad White (TB)

— Tony Pollard (DAL)

— Javonte Williams (DEN)

Isiah Pacheco (KC)

— Kenneth Walker III (SEA)

— Brian Robinson (WSH)

Tier 2: Probable starters

— James Conner (ARI) had a quiet fantasy outing in his return, but the utilization was highly encouraging. Conner had 16 of Arizona’s 19 RB rush attempts, while his 38.2% route rate was his third-highest of the season. The Texans have given up 0.59 adjusted fantasy points per carry, and this game has the highest total (47.5) of the week. He’s a pretty easy start.

— Devin Singletary (HOU) had the third-best fantasy game of his career last week. He had 30 carries and turned that into 150 yards and a score. Even if Dameon Pierce returns, I don’t see Houston turning away from Singletary. He should benefit from the same offense-friendly environment as Conner and needs to be in lineups.

— Jerome Ford & Kareem Hunt (CLE) keep on producing, totaling 11.4 and 9.2 fantasy points, respectively, against one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Ford’s volume (20.2 adjusted opportunities per game) makes him the safer weekly play, but Hunt’s goal-line role (six touchdowns; 66.7% red zone rush share since Week 6) keeps him in the mix. They’re both capable starts against a Steelers D that Ford already handled with 131 total yards in Week 2.

— Ty Chandler (MIN) took over as the RB1 in Minnesota after Alexander Mattison went down with a concussion and looked good. He had 14 carries on just 29 snaps, finishing with 42 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos are a good matchup for RBs — they rank 32nd in success rate (50%) and 31st in adjusted fantasy points allowed (0.71) — so it would take a lot to keep Chandler out of my lineup assuming Mattison is ruled out.

— Jaylen Warren (PIT) had a stellar Week 10 and set career highs in carries (15), rushing yards (101), and fantasy points (18). I wouldn’t put much stock in his status as a starter, but it was encouraging to have Warren eclipse a 50% snap share for the first time this season. The matchup this week is brutal, but Warren’s involvement in the passing game gives him a relatively stable floor.

Tier 3: On the fence

— Gus Edwards & Keaton Mitchell (BAL) are interesting to me. Edwards continues to be a red zone star (seven touchdowns in his past four games), but he hasn’t played more than 55% of snaps since Week 6. Mitchell clearly has something to his game, but he’s had snap shares of only 17.3% and 22% in the past two weeks. They’re difficult to trust, but both are flex-worthy against a Bengals defense that’s allowed the third-highest running back rush success rate (45.4%).

— James Cook (BUF) fumbled twice (lost one) last week, but he otherwise turned in one of his best games of the season. A season-high 9.1 yards per carry hopefully earns him some more work going forward, but his snap share has notably ticked down each of the past three weeks. As long as Latavious Murray is getting touchdowns, Cook will be a low-upside fantasy option.

— Darrell Henderson (LAR) has at least one more week of fantasy relevance before Kyren Williams returns, though the Seahawks have been solid against the run. He’s likely a touchdown-or-bust fantasy option this week, so I’m really only interested in starting him assuming Matt Stafford is active.

Zach Charbonnet (SEA) has out-snapped Kenneth Walker in three straight games, notably running a route on 53.4% of drop-backs over that span (compared to Walker’s 27.1%). Walker is averaging nearly six more adjusted opportunities in those three games, but Charbonnet's stellar efficiency (50% success rate) makes him a decent dart throw if you’re in a pinch.

Tyjae Spears (TEN), like Charbonnet, continues to quietly out-snap the back ahead of him on the depth chart. Spears played a season-high 61% of snaps last week and has now had at least a 13% target share in all three of Will Levis’ starts. The Jags have allowed the highest RB target rate (29.3%) over the past five weeks, so Spears is a formidable fill-in.

— Rico Dowdle (DAL) is the latest backup running back to tease standalone value. Dowdle set season-high marks in carries (12) and yards (79) en route to scoring his first rushing touchdown. The Cowboys are big favorites this week, so Dowdle could produce against a Panthers D that’s allowed the fourth-highest rush success rate (45.2%) and the most adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.76) to running backs.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

Najee Harris (PIT) isn’t someone I’m looking to start this week. The Browns have allowed the lowest RB rush success rate (33.5%) and the third-fewest adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.45). Easy sit.

— Chuba Hubbard & Miles Sanders (CAR) are a headache I want no part of. Hubbard did little with his 69.3% snap share from Weeks 6-9, so the team promptly reverted back to a split backfield. That’s unappetizing enough given Carolina’s offense, but even more so this week against the Cowboys. Don’t bother.

— D’Onta Foreman & Khalil Herbert (CHI) actually have a decent matchup with Detroit (18th in adjusted fantasy points per carry), but I have no clue what the workload distribution is going to look like with both Herbert and (likely) Justin Fields back. It’s best to let both sit on your bench this week.

— Antonio Gibson (WSH) has turned in his two best performances of the season over the past two weeks, but both have come primarily through the air. Despite Washington throwing at the third-highest rate over expectation (8.9%), they could hit the ground early as big favorites against the Giants. That would sap up most of Gibson’s value, so he’s safest on the bench.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Tier 1: Lineup locks

Tyreek Hill (MIA)

Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET)

CeeDee Lamb (DAL)

A.J. Brown (PHI)

Keenan Allen (LAC)

— Ja’Marr Chase (CIN)

Stefon Diggs (BUF)

— Mike Evans (TB)

— Brandon Aiyuk (SF)

Cooper Kupp (LAR)

DeVonta Smith (PHI)

— Davante Adams (LV)

— Puka Nacua (LAR)

— Garrett Wilson (NYJ)

— Adam Thielen (CAR)

Jaylen Waddle (MIA)

— Tank Dell (HOU)

Christian Kirk (JAX)

— D.K. Metcalf (SEA)

— Deebo Samuel (SF)

DeAndre Hopkins (TEN)

Tier 2: Probable starters

— Terry McLaurin (WSH) had only 5.3 points in Week 10 and finished outside the top 26 wide receivers for just the second time in the past seven weeks. Still, he had a stellar 89.4% route participation and led the team with a 19% target share. He can be safely plugged back into starting lineups against a Giants defense that was just dominated by the Cowboys.

— D.J. Moore (CHI) got past his stint with Tyson Bagent and could quickly return to fantasy stardom with Justin Fields returning. Moore averaged 23.3 fantasy points per game and had a 30.5% target share from Weeks 2-5 with Fields fully healthy, so he’s an easy start against a Lions defense that’s given up the second-highest target rate (23.3%) and the eighth-most yards per route run (1.82) to wide receivers over the past five weeks.

Marquise Brown (ARI) didn’t have the breakout I expected in Kyler Murray’s season debut, but he came close. Brown had just a 12.9% target share, but last year’s sample is probably more indicative of what we’ll see going forward. The Texans have given up the eighth-most yards per route run (1.87) to wide receivers since their bye, so keep Brown in lineups.

Courtland Sutton (DEN) is tied for second in the NFL with seven receiving touchdowns this season. He ranks ninth with 12 red zone targets and leads Denver with a 23.8% target share. That’s more than enough to warrant starting him against a Vikings D that’s allowed the fourth-highest target rate (22.3%) to receivers.

— Nico Collins′ (HOU) status is up in the air after he didn’t practice at all last week, but if he’s able to go, I’d have a difficult time not starting him. Collins has averaged 17.5 yards per reception, and he’d face a Cardinals defense allowing the fifth-most yards per route run (1.85).

— Zay Flowers (BAL) has finished as a top-24 receiver just once since Week 1. He continues to get a heavy dose of targets (24.5%), but Baltimore’s -0.8% pass rate over expectation has limited his ceiling. Still, there’s upside against a Bengals secondary that was just dominated by CJ Stroud.

Rashee Rice (KC) was the WR18 across his final five games before KC’s bye, during which he had the second-highest target share (12%) on the team. Coming out of the bye, I’m bullish on Rice. Philly has allowed the second-highest target rate (22.4%), 11th-most yards per route run (1.66), and most receiving touchdowns (14) to wide receivers. He needs to be started given the Chiefs’ 24.5-point implied team total.

— Tyler Boyd (CIN) had a season-high 30.8% target share last week, and he’ll likely be busy again with Tee Higgins out. Baltimore has strong numbers against wide receivers, but they gave up a pair of top-20 finishes to Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore last week. Start Boyd with confidence.

Tier 3: On the fence

— Amari Cooper (CLE) had one of his most impressive games of the season last week, securing six of nine targets (28.1% share) for 98 yards against the Ravens. However, Cooper's value takes a hit with Deshaun Watson out for the season. He had a pair of top-30 finishes without Watson earlier in the season, but also a pair of sub-four-point games. The ceiling is undoubtedly lower this week, but he’s still a fine flex at home against the Steelers secondary.

Tyler Lockett & Jaxon Smith-Njigba (SEA) continue to operate in the same tier for me. Lockett has more upside — evidenced by his trio of 18-point outings — but Smith-Njigba has been more consistent over the past month. The Rams shut down this Seattle passing attack in Week 1, but they’re both running enough routes and getting enough targets to have some flex appeal.

— Jordan Addison (MIN) has had at least a 20% target share in each of his past four games. Still, the touchdowns have dried up, and he’s clearly the No. 2 option to TJ Hockenson, making Addison a low-upside start against a Broncos secondary that’s given up the ninth-fewest fantasy points per target (1.28) across their past five games.

— Calvin Ridley (JAX) is almost difficult to trust in tough matchups at this point. His target share continues to fluctuate dramatically, but the Jags — as a whole — don’t look fluid on offense. There’s hope for a bounce back this week. The Titans have given up the second-highest passing success rate (50.5%) and the fifth-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.52). Despite that, Riley is not someone you should feel confident in.

Chris Godwin (TB) is coming off two of his three worst fantasy performances of the season and now draws the 49ers. That caps his upside, but there’s still a decent floor given his 23.1% target share in a potentially negative game script.

— Diontae Johnson (PIT) had only an 18.2% target share last week — his lowest since returning from injury. Expect that number to inch closer to his 24.5% season average, but there’s not a ton of upside against this Browns defense.

— Noah Brown & Robert Woods (HOU) are in a weird spot. CJ Stroud is on a roll right now, and he’s established himself as a fantasy floor-raiser, but if Nico Collins comes back, it’s unclear how this Houston receiving room shakes out. There’s room for everyone against a Cardinals defense that’s allowed the highest catch rate (72.2%) and the second-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.62) to wideouts.

— Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, & Jayden Reed (GB) are a lot to consider fantasy-wise, but they’re up against a Chargers defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in yards per route run (1.72), average depth of target (12.2), and adjusted fantasy points per target (1.51) allowed to wideouts. That should give at least one, if not multiple, of Green Bay’s pass catchers value this week. I’d go Doubs, Watson, and then Reed based on recent route rates, but they’re all decent dart throws.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

— George Pickens (PIT) needs one play to have a start-able fantasy outing — just look at his line the most recent time they played Cleveland — but I’m pessimistic he gets there against a Browns defense that allows the lowest catch rate (51.7%) and the eighth-fewest adjusted fantasy points per target (1.33) to receivers.

— Jahan Dotson (WSH) needs to be kept on benches until he proves more consistent. Despite leading the team with a 93.6% route rate last week, Dotson had zero receptions on two targets. Even against a porous Giants secondary, he’s an easy sit.

— Gabriel Davis (BUF) quietly had his second-highest target share (24%) of the season last week, but it led to only a pair of receptions. Davis finished as the WR15 in Buffalo’s early bout with the Jets, but their secondary is too strong to trust him given the uncertainty with Buffalo’s offense.

— Jakobi Meyers (LV) had just a 12.6% target share in Aidan O’Connell’s three starts, so he can be confidently sat against an improving Miami secondary.

TIGHT END

Tier 1: Lineup locks

Travis Kelce (KC)

— T.J. Hockenson (MIN)

— Mark Andrews (BAL)

Dalton Kincaid (BUF)

Sam LaPorta (DET)

Trey McBride (ARI)

George Kittle (SF)

Evan Engram (JAX)

— Jake Ferguson (DAL)

Tier 2: Probable starters

Dalton Schultz (HOU) is a borderline lineup lock at this