Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: Philip Rivers and 5 Other Tough Fantasy QB Decisions
With four teams on byes each week and the injury bug of an NFL season starting to take its toll, your fantasy football quarterback situation might not be as cut and dry as you once thought it was.
Unless you’ve got the luxury of owning one of the few truly elite fantasy quarterbacks this season, chances are you’re spending a lot of Sunday mornings struggling with the decision of who to start. Which Tony Romo will take the field in any given week? Will Michael Vick even be given a chance to succeed?
Here are six tough quarterback decisions—three to start, three to sit—to help you make it through Week 11.
Philip Rivers: Sit
Season stats: 2,203 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: Denver Broncos
Last week, I wrote a column on why Philip Rivers no longer deserves a spot on your fantasy team.
He did throw a pair of interceptions, however, one of which was returned for a touchdown and eliminated any chance the Chargers had of winning the game. Though his fantasy point total was very good on Sunday, Rivers simply cannot be trusted.
In Week 11, he faces a Denver Broncos team that is sixth-best in the NFL in terms of total defense and has grabbed 10 interceptions through nine games. The Chargers are in a low place right now, and starting Rivers is not a chance you want to take.
Tony Romo: Start
Season stats: 2,603 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: Cleveland Browns
Even in Week 8 against the New York Giants, when Romo was intercepted four times, he posted a great fantasy score thanks to a rushing touchdown and 437 passing yards. Aside from that game, in the Cowboys’ other four games since their bye week, Romo has committed just one turnover.
Week 11 brings a home matchup against the Cleveland Browns, who possess just the 21st-best pass defense in the league. Romo is a good start here.
Michael Vick: Sit
Season stats: 2,165 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: Washington Redskins
It’s not that just that the Redskins pass defense is particularly good—in fact, it’s awful—or even that Michael Vick suffered a concussion on Sunday. Vick should be passed on this week and for the foreseeable future simply because the Philadelphia Eagles are an absolute mess.
Andy Reid’s job is on the thinnest of ice, the offensive line probably wouldn’t be able to stop a one-man rush and Vick himself has a concussion that his coach called “pretty significant.” There’s a good chance that Nick Foles will be getting the snaps against Washington, but don’t even bother monitoring the developments.
In no way is the once elite fantasy option that Vick was worth a start in Week 11, and it’s debatable if he’s even worth a spot on your bench right now.
Andrew Luck: Start
Season stats: 2,631 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: New England Patriots
It’s always tough to start a rookie quarterback who can’t bail himself out of a bad passing performance by rushing the way Robert Griffin III can. By now, however, it’s clear that Andrew Luck is a different kind of rookie.
Everything is going in Luck’s favor in Week 11 against the Patriots. For one thing, the New England secondary is an extremely vulnerable unit that ranks among the worst pass defenses in the league. While they do force a good number of turnovers, quarterbacks much less talented than Luck have had their way with the Patriots’ poor coverage this season.
On top of that, however, is the fact that the Patriots score so much themselves. Even if the Colts wanted to focus on running the ball—unlikely in any case—the score of the game will probably force them to let Luck fire away in order to keep the game close.
If you’ve got him, give Luck the start this week.
Jay Cutler: Sit
Season stats: 1,814 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: San Francisco 49ers
Hopefully, you weren’t relying too much on the inconsistent Cutler to this point. While the Bears are among the NFL’s best teams this season, it’s impossible to know what to expect out of their quarterback.
In the event that you were, however, Week 11 is definitely time to look elsewhere.
Cutler suffered a concussion against the Houston Texans on Sunday, and his status is in question for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if he plays, Cutler is not worth a start—the Bears struggled mightily against Houston’s defense, and the only team that allows fewer points per game than the Texans (other than the Bears themselves) is the league-best 49ers.
Stay away from Cutler in Week 11, but do monitor his health in future weeks, as his chemistry with Brandon Marshall has been as good as any quarterback/wide receiver duo in the NFL this season.
Andy Dalton: Start
Season stats: 2,329 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
Week 11 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
Dalton tossed a career-high four touchdowns in the Cincinnati Bengals’ impressive win over the Giants on Sunday, including a 56-yard connection with A.J. Green that marked the eighth time the pair has hooked up for a score this season.
Though Dalton has not been perfectly consistent and has thrown his fair share of interceptions, he now has four games with three or more touchdowns. Benjarvus Green-Ellis has been quite ineffective running the ball for the Bengals, so there’s no question that Dalton and the passing game is the offense’s first option right now.
Week 11 should see Dalton continue his success, as he goes against a Kansas City defense that is among the worst in the NFL in points allowed. The Chiefs also have not recorded more than one interception in a single game this season, so turnovers aren’t a huge concern.
A touchdown pass to A.J. Green is all but a guarantee on a weekly basis now, and Cincinnati has plenty of other options for Dalton to spread the ball around to. Give him the start in Week 11.