Week 11 is undoubtedly a big one for most fantasy owners. Not only is it the beginning of the stretch run toward the playoffs, but it is also the final week of byes. Winning this week is vital for many owners, so they will need to exhaust their resources on their bench and on the waiver wire.
There will be no shortage of sleeper options at every position this week, and that is especially true at running back. Several under-the-radar backs have very favorable matchups this week, so here are three such runners you should feel confident starting in Week 11.
Lance Ball - Denver Broncos
This week seems to be a perfect storm for Denver Broncos running back Lance Ball, and fantasy owners need to take advantage. With starter Willis McGahee very questionable for Thursday night's game and Knowshon Moreno on injured reserve, it seems very likely that Ball will get the start.
Not only that, but Denver certainly isn't afraid to lean on him heavily. The Broncos attempted just eight passes last week as they relied exclusively on the run. Ball was a major part of that as he received 30 carries for 96 yards in relief of both McGahee and Moreno.
The Broncos seem unwilling to pass on anyone with Tebow, and that will certainly be true this week against the New York Jets' excellent pass defense. New York has been better against the run as of late, but they have been gashed on the ground at times this season. Ball may not be particularly explosive, but if he gets the start, then another 30 carries could be in order.
Marshawn Lynch - Seattle Seahawks
Due to the fact that he's a starting running back in the league, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is a mainstay on fantasy rosters, but until the past few weeks, he hasn't been worthy of much more than a bench spot. Lynch seems to be playing better now than he ever has, though, as he has recorded two consecutive 100-yard games for the first time in his career.
While some may call it an aberration, Lynch has the perfect opponent Sunday if he hopes to keep rolling. Lynch and the Seahawks will take on the St. Louis Rams, who happen to have the worst run defense in football at the moment.
With that in mind, the Rams will most certainly see a heavy dose of Lynch. I don't think head coach Pete Carroll is entirely confident with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, meaning Lynch should be his go-to guy. As icing on the cake, Lynch has also been active in the passing game, though, with five catches last week. If he continues that, then he could explode on Sunday.
Maurice Morris - Detroit Lions
Which of these sleeper RBs will have the biggest Week 11 performance?
The Detroit Lions are a passing team first and foremost, but it was proven last week in a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears that quarterback Matthew Stafford can't do it all on his own. The Lions have scaled back the running game as Jahvid Best is out with a concussion, but this is the week to establish the run.
Detroit will face the Carolina Panthers, who rank 28th in the league against opposing ground games. Veteran Maurice Morris may not be the sexiest option at running back for the Lions or for fantasy owners, but he can be productive if given the opportunity.
Morris has averaged over four yards per carry in each of his past four games; however, he has only gotten 37 carries over that time span. Now that the Lions are clear on the fact that Stafford needs some support, I would expect Morris to receive a season-high in touches against Carolina's suspect run defense.