I’m not going to sugarcoat it the way my friend Nicholas did in his Top-50 Flex Rankings for Week 11; my advice last week was unacceptable. If you listened to me about quarterbacks, then you probably started Eli Manning (QB14) or Matt Ryan (QB20) over Drew Brees (QB8) or Joe Flacco (QB7).
Although there were some gems in there, like starting Antonio Gates (TE5) over Jordan Reed (TE23) and putting your faith in Allen Robinson (WR3) while giving up on Christine Michael (RB47), I’m not satisfied with what I put on the table. If it makes you feel any better, Mr. Ferris also kindly pointed out that he beat me (by half-a-point) in fantasy this week; so know I suffered, too.
That’s enough talk, though. I have a relationship to repair and some trust to win back. I hope you can find it in your heart to accept this fantasy wisdom as an apology …
An Unwavering Seven Fantasy Tips for Week 11
1. Start Jonathan Stewart
If you’re a Stewart owner, you’ve probably been very disappointed in his numbers this season. The Panthers back has yet to surpass 100 yards on the ground in any game this year, and has rushed for less than 45 yards in three of his six games.
However, he did put up 20.50 fantasy points the last time he played the Saints, and will up a similar output in this meeting; New Orleans is allowing 23.57 PPG to running backs this year (fourth-most). Stewart will be a top-15 running back play.
2. Thanks to matchups, start…
Blake Bortles – Over the last three weeks, Bortles is averaging 22.95 PPG and will get the Lions defense this week, which is giving up an average of 21.20 PPG to quarterbacks (second-most). Bortles has looked more comfortable under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and will be a top-eight QB this week. Make sure you start Allen Robinson, too.
Isaiah Crowell – He hasn’t been great lately (12.00 points combined in the last two games), but he has an opportunity to get back on track against a Steelers defense that’s allowing 24.36 PPG to running backs (third-most). View him as a low-end RB1 this week.
Julian Edelman – As Rob Gronkowski’s status for Week 11 continues to trend downwards, Brady’s other options head in the other direction. If Gronk’s out, Edelman’s targets will jump. In a soft matchup against the 49ers, who are allowing 26.69 PPG to wide receivers (second-most), Edelman becomes a solid WR2. Martellus Bennett is a low-end TE1, as well.
3. Thanks to matchups, bench…
Derek Carr – The Texans are only allowing 13.55 PPG to quarterbacks, and Oakland proved in Week 9 against Denver that they’ll employ whatever offense gives them the best chance to win. Just like that game against Denver, Oakland will be able to run the ball this week. Carr will be in the QB12-15 region.
Jason Witten – The Ravens are only allowing 3.28 PPG to tight ends (second-fewest) and will be keying on Witten over the middle. Coby Fleener is a much better option.
Mark Ingram – This is not a reaction to him letting me down last week, but a response to him facing the Panthers defense, which is only allowing 13.57 PPG to running backs (third-fewest).
4. Colin Kaepernick has earned our trust
The polarizing quarterback has now put up at least 22 points in back-to-back weeks, and although it’s not translating into team wins, he’s proving to be a solid fantasy option. (I’m sure that’s what Chip cares about.)
His big-game against the Saints two weeks ago was one I saw coming, but I did not believe he would put up similar numbers against a tough Arizona defense. Kaepernick should be considered a QB1 this week against the Patriots, who are allowing 18.30 PPG to quarterbacks (ninth-most), and will be hard to remove from your lineup moving forward.
5. Stash Christine Michael for now
In spite of the success he had early in the season with the Seahawks, Thomas Rawls’ return resulted in the team parting ways with leading rusher Christine Michael. However, it didn’t take long for him to be scooped up by another team.
Now with the Packers, Michael is going to have an opportunity to get carries again. Eddie Lacy is hoping to return before the end of the season, but all Green Bay has in the backfield right now is James Starks and possibly Ty Montgomery. Don’t expect Michael to play this week, but he’ll be ready to handle carries for a high-powered offense that’s desperately searching for a running game in Week 12.
6. Despite tough matchups, stick with…
Russell Wilson – He may be playing an Eagles defense that’s limiting QBs to 14.06 PPG (sixth-fewest) and just held Matt Ryan to 12.68 points, but Wilson is playing at an elite level right now (52.80 points over the last two weeks) and should remain in your lineup.
Ezekiel Elliott – I doubt I had to tell you this, but I wanted to be sure. While the Ravens are only allowing 12.49 PPG to running backs (fewest), Elliott won’t have any issues putting up 15.
Larry Fitzgerald – The Vikings are giving up a measly 16.07 PPG to wide receivers (second-fewest), but don’t let that scare you away from Fitzgerald. The Cardinals receiver is far too talented to be completely taken out of the game. He may not be a WR1 this week, but he’ll be a top-25 play still.
7. Do not be fooled into starting…
Brock Osweiler – I don’t care how good his matchup is against Oakland, just don’t do it. Bill O’Brien wants to win games (weird) and knows the best way to do that is to take the ball out of Osweiler’s hands.
A Bucs receiver not named Mike Evans – They may be playing a Chiefs defense that’s giving up 25.30 PPG to wide receivers (ninth-most), but Evans is the only Tampa wideout that can be trusted. Adam Humphries is the only other active receiver with more than 125 receiving yards on the season (383). Don’t start anyone other than Evans.