Fantasy Football: Week 11 Starters & Benchwarmers

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By Ladd Biro

Special to the Sun-Times

Wondering whether to start Adrian Peterson and Julio Jones, or to bench Case Keenum and Quinton Patton? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 11 of the 2015 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons vs. Colts. Coming off their bye, Ryan and his receivers are rested and ready to exploit the generous Indy secondary. At home in the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome, Ryan should have little trouble rebounding from a disappointing Week 9 performance against the 49ers.

Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys at Dolphins. Tony Romo will be back, which will force the opponents to respect the pass again. Meanwhile, the Dolphins sport a Swiss cheese run defense, so McFadden should have plenty of lanes to run through. Add in the possibility of rainy, windy conditions putting a damper on the aerial game, and Run DMC is a great start, assuming his sudden groin issue proves to be inconsequential.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins vs. Cowboys. Yes, this looks like a game for the runners. While Dallas usually doesn’t surrender huge yardage, they have been generous at the goal-line (with 10 rushing TDs yielded to date). Miller has scored at least once in each of his last five games, so look for that positive trend to continue.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders at Lions. Crabtree has resurrected his career in Oakland, thanks to a QB who is exceeding expectations and the relief of playing second fiddle to a budding superstar, Amari Cooper. The veteran made little impact last week against the Vikings, but he should return to prominence against the suspect Detroit secondary.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions vs. Raiders. Detroit returns home with renewed confidence after upsetting the Packers last weekend. Now, Matt Stafford & Co. face one of the league’s true passing doormats. Tate should prosper while the Raiders desperately attempt to keep Megatron contained. Look for Tate to double his disappointing season TD total of one on Sunday, while seeing double-digit targets.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Derek Carr; RBs Jonathan Stewart, Charcandick West, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Chris Ivory, Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount, Doug Martin; WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Jeremy Maclin, Dez Bryant, Amari Cooper, T.Y. Hilton, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Sammy Watkins, Demaryius Thomas, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Jarvis Landry, Eric Decker, Mike Evans, Stevie Johnson, Jordan Matthews, Kamar Aiken.

Roll ‘em back

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers vs. Chiefs. It’s hard to bench a Top 5 fantasy QB, especially at home. But Rivers’ cupboard is getting bare, with both Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd sidelined. Factor in a solid Chiefs secondary that loves to bring the pressure, and it could be a long day for Rivers & Co.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals at Cardinals. His committee arrangement with Jeremy Hill is limiting both backs’ values, especially when facing a stingy defense like Arizona’s that has allowed only five rushing scores this season. Though the Seahawks fared well against them last week, the matchup remains poor for Cincinnati’s duo.

Matt Jones, RB, Redskins at Panthers. The rookie soared against the sorry Saints defense last weekend, but he’ll be smacked with a dose of reality in Carolina on Sunday. It doesn’t help that Alfred Morris is healthy again, meaning both backs will likely fall flat in this tough matchup.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Dolphins vs. Cowboys. Dallas is playing solid pass defense, and they could get a big assist from the weather on Sunday. Matthews has some value in PPR leagues this week due to the sheer volume of targets he typically sees, but don’t expect him to rack up meaningful yardage or break free on any long scores.

Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals at Cardinals. Andy Dalton is coming off his worst game of the season on Monday night, and he’ll face an even stiffer challenge in the desert. You can’t sit A.J. Green, but his sidekick comes with too much risk.

More thumbs down: QBs Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater; RBs Ryan Mathews, Alfred Morris, Eddie Lacy, Alfred Blue, Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson; WRs Vincent Jackson, James Jones, Mike Wallace, Tavon Austin, Torrey Smith, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Dontrelle Inman, Kenny Stills.


Mark Sanchez, QB, Eagles vs. Buccaneers. I’ve never been a fan, but there’s no denying that Sanchez has performed well, more often than not, when given the reins to Chip Kelly’s offense. Sure, he’ll throw a pick or two, but he’ll also move his team and register a couple of scoring passes along the way. If you have injury or bye-week issues like me this weekend, Sanchez could come through in a pinch.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO … continues to insert a gimpy John Brown in your starting lineup. Despite being active and even playing, Brown has been no better than a decoy in his last two games, registering big fat goose eggs thanks to a pair of bum hamstrings and the wealth of lethal options at Carson Palmer’s disposal. Brown should remain on your bench until he proves he’s fully healthy and able to contribute.

Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and four-time finalist of the Football Writer of the YearAward by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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