Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: Fantasy Advice for the Week's Prime-Time Games
Both prime-time games in Week 11 of the NFL season feature tricky situations at the quarterback position, which usually means a trickle-down effect on the rest of the fantasy production.
In the following slides, we'll break down the starts and sits you should make for the prime-time games on both Sunday and Monday night for Week 11.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers: Start 'Em
TE Heath Miller, Steelers
Miller is the No. 4-ranked tight end this season, so he's quickly become a must-start in any week. But considering Ben Roethlisberger is out and Byron Leftwich is in, you can expect more checkdowns to the security blanket against the Ravens. Outside of Miller and Mike Wallace, there are just too many unknowns to feel comfortable starting any other player on Pittsburgh's offense.
WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
If there's one asset Leftwich possesses, it's a big arm that can deliver the football downfield. The Ravens will know that, and Wallace may get bracket coverage on most snaps, but it only takes one deep connection for Wallace to be productive fantasy-wise.
RB Ray Rice, Ravens
Rice has scored four times in four games, and he also found paydirt three times against the Steelers in two games last season. Pittsburgh's run defense, usually stout against opponents finding the end zone, has allowed at least one touchdown to opposing running backs in four of the last five weeks. Add in the fact that Rice also contributes yards in the receiving game, and you have another must-start week for the Ravens running back.
QB Joe Flacco, Ravens
The Steelers are the fourth-best fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks this season, but Flacco has enjoyed a nice run against Pittsburgh lately. In two games last season, Flacco threw for 524 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions—including one game with three touchdowns and another with 300 yards. Flacco is in the teens for quarterback rankings this week, but he's still startable, especially with some of the injuries on the Steelers defense.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers: Sit 'Em
WR Torrey Smith, Ravens
Baltimore's go-to vertical threat is a high-risk, high-reward fantasy play, and he scored in Pittsburgh late last season. But you're either getting big-time production from Smith or nothing, and the Steelers should have the focus of their secondary on the second-year receiver. Anquan Boldin might be a better option.
Which of the three do you start and have confidence in? Rashard Mendenhall is back, and he's likely to get the first crack. But Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are both healthy, and each offers the offense something different. More than likely, all three will see a number of snaps. Ranking the options probably goes Dwyer (goal-line potential), Mendenhall (most carries?) and Redman, but who really knows?
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers: Start 'Em
RB Matt Forte, Bears
While still a top run defense, the 49ers have shown some leaks lately. If you take away the Cardinals game, San Francisco has allowed almost 150 rushing yards and over 14 fantasy points a game to opposing receivers. Without Jay Cutler, Forte should see plenty of touches in the run and pass games.
WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
One thing Jason Campbell's second half Sunday taught us is that he's not afraid to force the football to Marshall. He led the team with 13 targets, catching seven for 107 yards—including a 45-yarder from Campbell. The 49ers are a tough matchup, but Marshall has six straight games with 80 or more yards receiving.
Every week, the Bears defense is a must-start. It simply doesn't matter who the opposing offense is. In every week this season, the Bears defense has scored at least nine points, with an average of almost 17. Both numbers are almost unheard of fantasy-wise.
RB Frank Gore, 49ers
Gore might be the shakiest of the "start" options here, but with Alex Smith laboring through a concussion, the running game should be even more heavily featured. If Gore gets 20 carries—even against Chicago's run defense—fantasy production should follow.
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers: Sit 'Em
QB Jason Campbell, Bears
If you picked up Campbell as either a bye-week add or Cutler replacement, you're in for a big disappointment Monday night. He was mostly a train wreck against the Texans, and the 49ers are an equally talented fantasy defense. Cracking double-digit fantasy points would be a huge win for Campbell.
TE Vernon Davis, 49ers
Davis has gone from the top of the tight-end totem pole to a guy you have to consider sitting some weeks. This is one of the sit weeks. The Bears are the fourth-best defense against tight ends this season, including five straight weeks allowing less than five points to the position.
WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Crabtree has been on fire the last two games, with three of his 10 catches going for scores. But the Bears represent a tricky matchup, especially considering Chicago has allowed less than 200 total yards to receivers over the last two weeks. We'll take Charles Tillman over Crabtree this week.