Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: Smartest Matchups to Exploit, Sleeper Plays and More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 13, 2018

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) runs against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The New York Giants closed Week 10 play with a 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

While the Giants emerged victoriously, their season is effectively over as the 2-7 team plays out the string of a lost year. The same goes for the 49ers, who dropped to 2-8.

It's "wait 'til next season" for both sides, but that may not be the case for your fantasy team as people prep for the upcoming playoffs.

If you're on the fence about some fringe options or looking for waiver-wire sleepers, check out some analysis below to help make your decisions.



Start 'Em: Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (vs. Tennessee Titans)

Keep riding the hot hands and trust the Indianapolis Colts in fantasy football every week until otherwise noted, as they've won three straight games and averaged 36 points per contest during that span. Quarterback Andrew Luck is on fire in that stretch with 10 touchdowns (to just one interception) alongside a 72.3 percent completion rate. It also helps that he hasn't been sacked since Week 5.

The Titans defense may have dominated the New England Patriots, 34-10 last Sunday, but the Colts could be the source of a letdown spot.


Sit 'Em: Atlanta Falcons WR Matt Ryan (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Despite playing less than 70 percent of his team's defensive snaps, rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is tied for second in the NFL with 62 solo tackles. He's an unstoppable force for the Dallas defense, who has more often than not done well versus opposing quarterbacks (just 12 passing touchdowns allowed) even with Vander Esch off the field sometimes.

However, he got 100 percent of the snaps on Sunday, and that's bad news for the Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan, who are coming off a sluggish offensive game in a 28-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Vander Esch (and other talented Cowboys) could continue Atlanta's offensive problems.


Sleeper: New York Giants QB Eli Manning (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Yes, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has struggled all season, but he can't get a better matchup than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home.

The Bucs have allowed the league's most points per game and may encounter trouble against a talented skill-position quartet led by wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Saquon Barkley. If the Giants offensive line holds up (which did Monday in allowing just one sack), then Manning should have time to find numerous options.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (vs. Tennessee Titans)

While Colts running back Marlon Mack couldn't get much going on the ground Sunday vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars (12 carries, 29 yards), keep in mind that the second-year pro averaged 6.2 yards per carry and four touchdowns in his previous three games.

He averaged over 20 touches per game during that span, so the team isn't concerned about giving Mack a large workload. If the Colts get something more on the ground vs. the Titans, Mack should stay busy.


Sit 'Em: Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (vs. Green Bay Packers)

Good news emerged from Seattle as head coach Pete Carroll revealed that running back Chris Carson would return from a hip injury and play Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.

However, it remains to be seen whether Carson will return to his role as the team's No. 1 back or split time with Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny, which was the case earlier this year. The Penny/Davis tandem rushed for 166 yards on Sunday, so maybe a three-headed backfield could occur. That would significantly decrease Carson's fantasy outlook, so he may be best on the bench for Week 11.


Sleeper: Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Peyton Barber (at New York Giants)

While Bucs running back Peyton Barber isn't a receiving threat (just nine catches this year), he has averaged 13 carries per game. In a game with a high over/under total of 52 points, per OddsShark, Barber could find himself with a few opportunities to score.

With the game projected to be close as well (the spread is a pick 'em right now), Barber may not have to worry about the team passing more make up for a larger deficit either.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore (at Detroit Lions)

The D.J. Moore breakout game is coming, and it could happen on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, who are 3-6 after losing three straight games by a combined 84-45 score.

A talented rookie wideout out of Maryland, the Carolina Panthers' first-round pick received more playing time after wideout Torrey Smith suffered a knee injury. While his results are a bit mixed in his three starts this season (10 catches, 126 yards), Moore's increased playing time (86 percent last Thursday) is encouraging. Keep trusting Moore, and eventually, he will pull through.


Sit 'Em: Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (at Indianapolis Colts)

As excellent as Titans wideout Corey Davis was on Sunday in posting seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown vs. the New England Patriots, the ex-Western Michigan star has only broken 62 receiving yards twice in nine games.

The Titans offense has been inconsistent for most of the season and now plays a scorching-hot Colts team. Davis has the talent to break out again, but the guess is the Colts slow the Titan attack down.


Sleeper: Detroit Lions WR T.J. Jones (vs. Carolina Panthers)

This pick is contingent on the status of Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, who is day-to-day with a bone bruise, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. If Jones can't go, then Lions wideout T.J. Jones could get more looks.

The slot wideout has seen more action after the team traded away starting wide receiver Golden Tate, although that hasn't amounted to increased production (three catches, 25 yards since the deal).

Still, the Panthers have been hurt by slot wideouts, namely Adam Humphries of the Bucs (eight catches, 82 yards, two touchdowns). While accomplishing that line is a tall order, Jones can still be a sneaky play.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham (at Seattle Seahawks)

Packers tight end Jimmy Graham faces his old team when he heads back to Seattle on Thursday. Who knows if a revenge game will occur a la wideout Steve Smith against the Carolina Panthers in 2014, but fantasy players shouldn't give up on Graham even though the former Hawk and New Orleans Saint caught just one pass in two of his last three games. He averaged 8.2 targets per game over a three-contest stretch earlier this year and has 13.3 yards per reception, which is seventh among qualified tight ends.


Sit 'Em: Oakland Raiders TE Jared Cook (at Arizona Cardinals)

As Marcus Mosher of Raiders Wire noted, Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook's snaps have decreased of late. He did see nine targets on Sunday despite playing only 59 percent of the snaps, but the veteran only had two targets in two of his previous three games. At this point, his usage and field time can't be trusted, so he's best left on benches especially with his team's offense struggling (nine points in past two games).


Sleeper: Arizona Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones (vs. Oakland Raiders)

Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones hasn't enjoyed the most productive season (24 receptions, 267 yards, one touchdown), but he did just see nine targets last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The second-year pro turned that into five catches for 51 yards, which may be a sign of better things to come for the ex-Texas A&M star. A date with the Raiders, who have allowed the league's most yards per play, should help matters.