Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: What to Do with Risky Under-the-Radar Players

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Bye weeks and injuries force fantasy football owners to look at starting under-the-radar players, and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is one of the players who some owners will think long and hard about.

For those who have Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers or other banged-up stars, players like Dalton are starting in more and more fantasy leagues.

The players on this list have the potential to go off. However, they can still be very risky starts. Overlooked players should get starts based on how they are playing and who their opponent is.

Take a look at some of the top under-the-radar players and what you should do with them in Week 11.


Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the first half Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The third-year quarterback was on fire for most of October, but he has struggled mightily as of late. His numbers last month had many fantasy owners starting him. Is he worth the risk against the Cleveland Browns this week?

Fantasy owners should love the fact that he has attempted 104 passes in the last two games, thanks to both games going to overtime. However, he completed only 53.8 percent of his passes with only two touchdowns to six interceptions in the two losses.

These aren't the Browns of old. Their offense isn't very good, but their defense is for real. Cleveland's defense ranks fifth overall and 10th against the pass. The Browns have allowed only 217.4 yards through the air and have allowed only 13 passing touchdowns, with the latter tied for ninth in the NFL.

Cleveland is tied for fifth with 31 sacks. The Baltimore Ravens sacked Dalton five times last week and had constant pressure on him. If the Browns defense continues to get to the quarterback, it could be a long day for him.

Dalton struggled mightily against the Browns in Week 4. He completed only 54.8 percent of his passes and threw for only 206 yards. The 26-year-old didn't record a touchdown but threw an interception in a 17-6 loss. In fact, he has lost two straight meetings to the Browns, with both coming in Cleveland. 

A few weeks ago, Dalton was probably starting in many leagues. He was putting up spectacular numbers, and he's ranked eighth in scoring in ESPN leagues. He had a three-game stretch that outscored his other seven games combined.

Many of the quarterbacks ranked below him, like Robert Griffin III and Tom Brady, still get more attention than him. Dalton isn't elite by any standards and makes many mistakes, which hurts his stock. That is why he is still an under-the-radar player.

Verdict: Sit 'em


Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Running back Andre Ellington #38 of the Arizona Cardinals carries the ball against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

This is a tough call because nobody knows how many touches Andre Ellington will get. There are some games in which he has only a couple of carries, but he also has a few games with at least 10 touches.

When he touches the ball, he makes plays. On 54 rushing attempts this year, he is averaging 7.2 yards per carryHe is averaging an additional nine yards per reception, so he gets yards in bunches. The speedster has three total touchdowns this year.

Ellington has become a dangerous weapon. Quarterback Carson Palmer can give him the ball and let him work in the open field.

The rookie should be involved in the offense this week. Arizona will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, so it should be a good day for the Cardinals offense. Jacksonville ranks 21st against the pass and 31st against the run, so Ellington should have his chances to make plays. The Jaguars also rank last in scoring defense by allowing an average of 32.3 points per game.

Starting a back who doesn't get the majority of the carries is risky. When looking at Ellington's skills and his opponent, this looks like a good week to give him a start.

Verdict: Start 'Em  


Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 20:  Harry Douglas #83 of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this touchdown reception against Johnthan Banks #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on October 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Many fans don't realize how productive Harry Douglas has been for the Atlanta Falcons this season. At 2-7, the team has been a major disappointment. Injuries to wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones have made it tough for the team to do much, but Douglas has stepped up recently.

The 29-year-old had only 219 receiving yards through five games, and 93 of those yards came in the opening game. He has turned it around quickly.

Douglas has 401 yards and a touchdown over the last four games. He has averaged 13.8 yards per reception during that stretch, so he is moving the ball when he gets it.

The receiver is beginning to pile up the yards, but fantasy owners are cautious about starting a wideout who doesn't find the end zone very often.

If his past is any indication, don't expect him to find the end zone again this season. He has scored only one touchdown in each of his first four seasons, and he already has one this year. However, he is setting new highs in nearly every category this season.

Atlanta will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the 1-8 Buccaneers. Tampa Bay ranks 14th against the pass and is tied for 22nd with 17 passing touchdowns allowed.

Although it has been a tough season in Atlanta, the Falcons beat the Buccaneers in Week 7. That was when Douglas broke out with 149 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons put up 31 points.

Quarterback Matt Ryan is going to throw the ball a lot, so Douglas will get his looks. White returned to the field last week, which should help Douglas get open. It's a tough call considering he doesn't find the end zone, but Douglas is on a roll right now.

Verdict: Start 'em 


*All stats are courtesy of