Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: Reviewing Fantasy Football's Top Fringe Starters

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 14, 2018

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass as he is pressured by Washington Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith (94) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Week 11 of the NFL season kicks off with the Green Bay Packers facing the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Thursday evening. Eleven games will take place on Sunday, with the main event occurring Monday evening as the Los Angeles Rams play the Kansas City Chiefs.

If past weeks are any indication, we'll be sure to see plenty of fantasy fireworks as the NFL continues its record scoring pace.

Here's a look at some fringe starters for quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end, alongside start and sit calls for each position.



Start 'Em: Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (at New York Giants)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got in the neighborhood of around 16 fantasy points (minus any bonus) on Sunday versus the Washington Redskins. The exact total varies depending on your league scoring setting for turnovers, as he had two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Remarkably, Fitzpatrick somehow hit that 16-point area without scoring a touchdown, and that's because he threw for 406 passing yards and rushed for 35 more yards.

The day symbolized Fitzpatrick's season as a whole: It hasn't always been pretty in reality, but the 35-year-old veteran can always come through in fantasy because of his massive volume of throws.

Expect more of the same against the New York Giants in a potential shootout in the Meadowlands. If the Giants happen to jump out in front and the Bucs run game stalls, Fitzpatrick could be throwing 50-plus times to get his team back in the game.


Sit 'Em: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars are reeling after losing five straight games, but they've allowed the fewest passing yards per game (200.6) and are tied for the third fewest passing touchdowns allowed (12).

Furthermore, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn't do as well away from Heinz Field. Of note, he's had a better quarterback rating at home than on the road every year this decade.

The 6-2-1 Steelers have the edge on the 3-6 Jags overall, but this might be an ugly win where points are at a premium. The only players deserving of surefire start nods are Steelers running back James Conner and wideout Antonio Brown.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis (at Indianapolis Colts)

Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis has averaged 21.3 touches per game over his last three contests. Of note, he's an adept pass-catcher, with 35 catches for 270 yards and a touchdown. That may be a problem for the Indianapolis Colts, who have allowed the second-most receiving yards in the league to running backs, per Football Outsiders. Lewis is a clear start option in all formats and could even be your top running back option in full point-per-reception leagues.


Sit 'Em: Oakland Raiders RB Doug Martin (at Arizona Cardinals)

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin has been efficient ever since taking over as the team's starter in Week 8, but the Silver and Black have scored an average of just 10 points per game in their past five outings. Martin isn't a consistent pass-catcher (six receptions, 68 yards during that span), so unless he goes off or finds the end zone, he's not a great option.

Given how poorly the Raiders have done and how well the Arizona Cardinals defense has performed (sixth in defense-adjusted value over average, per Football Outsiders), Martin should be on the bench.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Giants wideout Sterling Shepard may have only caught two passes (on three targets) for nine yards on Monday against the San Francisco 49ers, but prior to that game, he had seven targets minimum in his previous six outings.

Shepard is the team's third option behind running back Saquon Barkley and wideout Odell Beckham Jr., but at home against a Bucs team that has allowed the most points per game, he should be able to regain his previous fantasy form and perhaps engineer a breakout fantasy day.


Sit 'Em: Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess (at Detroit Lions)

For whatever reason, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess has been quiet of late, catching just 10 passes for 103 yards and no touchdowns in his past three games. 

While the 3-6 Detroit Lions aren't a tough matchup and have allowed the second-most adjusted passing yards per attempt, the lack of targets for the team's No. 1 wide receiver is concerning, especially considering the Panthers have scored an average of 33 points per game during that span.

Until further notice, Funchess should be left on the bench unless he starts seeing more looks.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Let's see if we can figure out Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper's peculiar target usage. In six of nine games, Hooper has seen five or fewer targets. But in the three others, the ex-Stanford star has amassed an average of 11 targets.

The common thread may be the opponent's vulnerability to tight ends. Hooper has amassed 10 or more targets against the Buccaneers, Steelers and Cleveland Browns. Per Football Outsiders, the Bucs and Steelers rank first and third in most receiving yards allowed per game to tight ends, while the Browns are just above average at 16th.

Hooper's next opponent (the Dallas Cowboys) sits at 12th after allowing 145 yards to Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, so maybe there's room for another double-digit target day.


Sit 'Em: Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (at Houston Texans)

At this point, Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed should be on most fantasy benches unless you don't have better options. He and quarterback Alex Smith clearly aren't clicking this season, as Reed has a career-low catch rate of 62.7 percent. For context, his low before 2018 was 74.2 percent.

Reed had one of the best matchups for tight ends on Sunday in a road tilt with the Bucs, but he had a so-so day of four catches for 51 yards and no scores. The Houston Texans present a much stiffer challenge as they've allowed just 15.2 points per game in their last five outings (all wins).