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Start or Bench
Week 11 Start‘em and Sit’em

Always start your studs unless they are definite sits on this list!!!!  You have to look at the big picture and ride your horses to glory!  Use this guide if you are on the fence about two guys with comparable skills to make the best possible lineup decisions.  This is a supplement to the rankings (which came out yesterday and will be updated continually) that highlights players that I expect to over/under perform based on their match-ups in week one.  REMEMBER:  HOU, IND, NO and PIT are all on Byes this week

QB Starts

Matt Ryan (vs. Tennessee) - Matty Ice is thawing out and is starting to post the kind of fantasy numbers we expected at the beginning of the year.   Ryan has posted back to back big games and is averaging 313 yards and 2.5 scores per game over the last two.  Now he gets a matchup against a team that is prone to allowing big multiple passing scores games.  The Tennessee Titans defense was lockdown against the Carolina Panthers in week 10, but they will have their hands full with all of the weapons in the Atlanta attack.   The Titans have allowed three of the last five quarterbacks who have faced them (and in reality it was the last three pass oriented quarterbacks) to top 23 points against them and four of the last six have been at 19 or higher.  Those big three averaged 28.67 points per game against the Titans and threw a combined total of 10 touchdown passes.   Every one of those quarterbacks who shredded the Titans all had good pass catching tight ends and Ryan has one of the best in the ageless wonder, Tony Gonzalez, who has already hauled in six scores this year.   The Titans have been a hot and cold defense all year and I expect Ryan to continue to thrive with some home cooking in the Georgia Dome.   He makes for a solid start who should net you 275 plus yards and multiple touchdowns in week 11. (Projection Snapshot: 276 yards passing and two TDs)

Carson Palmer (at MIN) -  QBs have topped 30 in 3 straight against the Vikings, who are giving up 22.44 points per game to opposing QBs, 2nd most in the NFL.   Palmer himself is averaging 315.5 yards and 2.5 TDs per game as the starter in Oakland.

Others to start: Flacco, Newton, Romo, Stafford, Rodgers, Brady, Manning, Sanchez, Rivers,  Freeman Sleepers: Skelton, Fitzpatrick, Cutler, Moore, TJAX, Bradford, Vince Young if he starts,  Hasselbeck, Ponder

QB’s Bench’em

Tim Tebow (vs. New York Jets) -  I am huge believer in Tim Tebow for fantasy purposes as you all well know, but I am not sure I want to take the gamble on him this week against a pissed off New York Jets team.  I know he does not need any kind of passing game to produce fantasy points, as his two completions, 18 Fantasy point game against Kansas City showed in week 10.  However, he did throw a touchdown in that game and could struggle to do that against the Jets.   In fact, he could struggle to complete a pass against the Jets, which sounds crazy at first, but is really not all that absurd seeing as he is averaging only six completions per game over the last two weeks.  If the Broncos have to play with a less than 100 percent Willis McGahee or Lance Ball at running back, it could be a long day all around, because first downs will be hard to come by.   I do think he will score 10 to 12 points just as a runner, but I could see a couple turnovers and very little passing production from him.  The scarier prospect is that the Jets get out to a big lead and then Tebow could be in all kinds of trouble.  With numerous quarterbacks having very good matchups this week, I would not hope that his 12 to 14 points do enough to finish in the top 12.  He is an amazing athlete and the kid is a winner, but this week, I would play the odds that he struggles against the Jets and keep him reserved because you never want to have to count on 100 yards rushing and a touchdown from your quarterback.   (Projection Snapshot: 73 yards passing with one INT and 60 yards rushing with one TD and one fumble)
Others starter level QBs to sit/ have tougher matchups: Dalton, McCoy, Alex Smith, Grossman, Vick if he starts

RBs to Start

Start all the usual suspects

Marshawn Lynch (at St. Louis) -  The man with one of the best profile pictures in NFL history is in full on beast mode and has posted back to back games of 140 plus total yards and a touchdown against two very good defenses in the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens.  Lynch and more importantly, his offensive line’s ability to impose its will on the Ravens in week 10 as he carried the ball 32 times for 109 yards and a score was incredibly impressive.   Lynch has now scored in five straight games and has topped 120 total yards in three of his last four.  Interestingly enough, Lynch is also becoming a big factor in the Seattle passing game, topping 30 yards receiving in three of the five games during the touchdown streak and averaging a very solid  26.4 yards receiving per game.  He has gotten it done against four top 10 run defenses (Dallas is now number 11, but was top 10 entering his game) during his excellent streak  and finally will get to feast on a weak run defense.  No team allows more rushing yards per game than the St. Louis Rams, who give up 150.6 yards per game on 5.1 yards per carry.   The Rams even just allowed Chris Ogbonnaya to run for 90 yards on 19 carries against them last week, which is the equivalent of allowing 250 yards rushing to a legit running back.  Lynch loves to be the workhorse back, toting the rock at least 20 times per game and he should get that again this week as he has clearly become the focus of the Seattle offense over the last couple of weeks.  I was 100 percent wrong about him against the Ravens last week and after watching every snap of that game, I am convinced that Lynch, who was a top sleeper before drafts, is going to have a huge second half for fantasy owners because his physical style works very well later in the year.  Look for him to keep on streaking through the quad and into the end zone in week 11 against the Rams, so get him in your lineups.      (Projection Snapshot: 103 yards rushing, 22 yards receiving and one TD)

Reggie Bush (vs. Buffalo) -  For those of you like me who love Zoolander, you have to admit that Reggie Bush is like Hansel because he is just so hot right now (even if Michael Bush is a just a little hotter!).   Bush is in the midst of the most productive three game streak of his career as a real running back and that should continue against the suddenly reeling Buffalo Bills.   Bush is coming off of his first two touchdown game since 2009 and it was his first game with two rushing scores since 2008 and he will hope to keep rolling in week 11.   Over the last three weeks, Bush has produced at least 12 fantasy points in ever game and has produced a grand total of 313 total yards and the three scores.   Now he faces a Buffalo Bills team that is incapable of stopping the run, entering week 11 giving up 125.4 yards and 1.22 touchdowns per game on the ground.  The Bills have allowed 52 points to opposing runners in their last two games and they have given up at least 25 running back points in three of their last four games.  The surging Dolphins will keep Reggie fresh by mixing in Daniel Thomas (who I also think is a solid flex Bye Week Broski) and I am expecting another efficient day with good total yardage and a score for one of the many former Mr. Kardashian’s in week 11, so keep on starting him.     (Projection Snapshot: 52 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving and a TD)

Others to start: Turner, Rice, FJAX, Forte, DeMarco Murray, Mo Morris, James Starks,  MJD, Daniel Thomas, AP, BJGE, Jacobs if Bradshaw is out or limited, Greene, Michael Bush, McCoy, Kendall Hunter if Gore is out or limited,  Steve Jackson, Chris Johnson  Sleepers:  JSTEW,  Ball if McGahee is out

RBs to SIT

LeGarrette Blount (at Green Bay)- I think Blount is a solid running back and if he was playing on a team that was winning or taking early leads in games, he would be just fine.  Unfortunately the Tampa Buccaneers are doing neither, which is really limiting the upside and dramatically increasing the risk of starting Blount for your fantasy teams right now.   In their last two games, the Bucs have fallen behind both the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans early, which meant that Blount spent a lot of time on the sidelines as the team went into its hurry up attack.  As a result, Blount was held to 13 carries for a solid 72 yards against the weak run defense of the Saints and just 10 carries for 34 yards against the tough Texans.  For the year, Blount has now only topped 13 carries twice all season because they have struggled to get off to fast starts and have been trailing way more often than they’d like.  Unfortunately they will likely be behind week 11’s opponent, the Green Bay Packers, and will be in their passing, hurry up offense a ton.  That means Blount, who averages less than a point per game receiving will likely end up with only a handful of carries and will need to either score or break a long run to reach double digit fantasy points.  Seeing as he has not scored in three straight games and has only one run of 20 plus yards during that span, I’d bet against a big day for Blount.  It is not all his fault as I said earlier, because in a different situation he would be playing much better, but you cannot risk having your starting runner on the sideline for much of the game when we would all agree that the Buccaneers are going to have to score a lot to keep up with the Packers.   To me, the risk is not worth the potential reward with Blount this week and I would keep him reserved.    (Projection Snapshot: 42 yards rushing and 9 yards receiving)

Jackie Battle (at New England) -  In his three wins as a featured member of the Kansas City backfield, Battle averaged 18 carries, 88.33 yards and 0.33 touchdowns per game.  He was never below 16 carries or 70 yards rushing in those games and was a solid 2nd running back for your teams during that span.  However, in the two losses (and the last two games) Battle averages only 12.5 carries and 50.5 yards rushing per game with no scores.  Let’s see, the struggling Chiefs are taking on the New England Patriots in New England this week, sounds like a loss to me.  I expect the Patriots to be able to score on Kansas City, which means we may actually see a lot more of Dexter McCluster in this game because he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.   Over the last five weeks, Jackie Battle has just 30 yards receiving, so he is not a factor in the passing game and like the aforementioned LeGarrette Blount, he will be on the sidelines when KC goes to its hurry up offense.  I do not think I am going out on a limb to suggest that the Chiefs will be struggling to keep up with the Patriots in week 12 with Tyler Palko at quarterback.  So even with Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Rashard Mendenhall, and the New Orleans runners off this week, I am staying away from Mr. Battle because he will not help you win the war.   I am also sitting Beanie Wells against the ridiculously good San Francisco 49ers this week, in case you were wondering.    (Projection Snapshot: 42 yards rushing)

Others to Sit: DeAngelo Williams, BEANIE WELLS, WAS RBs, CLE RBs 

WRs to Start

Start your studs every week UNLESS THEY ARE ON A BYE OR HURT: (AJ, Calvin, Nicks, VJax, Jennings, Wallace, Roddy White, Welker)

Denarius Moore (at Minnesota) - We thought the hyped rookie was on his way to becoming a fantasy stud after he caught 5 passes for 146 yards and a score in week 2 against the Buffalo Bills.  Unfortunately it was a short lived stint at the top for Moore, who quickly trailed off.  Yes, he did score in each of the next two weeks, but failed to reach 50 yards in a game from weeks 3 through 8 and totaled just nine catches for 66 yards in those five games.  It seemed like his run at fantasy relevance was over, but then Jason Campbell got hurt and Moore became the golden child for the new quarterback in town. Enter Carson Palmer, who clearly loves thinks of Moore as his top receiver.   In week 9, Palmer targeted Moore a team high 12 times, which led to four catches for 61 yards.  Then in week 10, Moore once again saw a team high seven targets and caught five of them for 123 yards and 2 scores on national TV against the San Diego Chargers. It certainly looks like it is Moore’s time to be the top dog in Oakland right now with Darrius Heyward-Bey on a milk carton and Jacoby Ford banged up.  In his post game interview, Carson Palmer identified Moore as the top receiver on the team and said he can be one of the elite receivers in the entire NFL if he wants it. “Expect more”, Palmer said. “He made some really nice plays, but he’s capable of even more. He’s super talented. He’s got a great head on his shoulders. I’m going to be hard on him. I’m going to keep working with him.” Palmer has played with some very good receivers during his career and is not one to throw praise around lightly. Palmer can still get the ball down the field and with the Vikings certainly concerned with slowing down the potent Oakland running attack, look for a few big play attempts to Denarius in week 11.   Moore will once again be the top option for Palmer against the Minnesota Vikings, who have allowed 26 or more fantasy points to receivers in four straight games.   For the year, the Vikings are allowing 24.89 points per game to opposing receivers, tied for third, so not only is Moore on the rise, he has an ideal matchup for another big game.  (Projection Snapshot; 82 yards receiving, one TD)

Brandon Lloyd (vs. Seattle) -  Wide receivers need targets to produce and no one gets them more consistently than Brandon Lloyd.  Since joining the Rams, Lloyd is averaging nearly 12 targets per game and he has produced at least seven fantasy points in every single game.    He has a score in two of his last three games and has been heavily targeted inside the 20 with five red zone looks with the Rams.   The Seahawks completely shut down the receivers of the Baltimore Ravens last week, but Lloyd has been productive in every game since joining the Rams and this one will be no different.   The Hawks have allowed 20 plus receiver points in six of their last eight games with the Ravens last week and the anemic Cleveland Browns being the only exceptions.  During that stretch, opposing top receivers have scored four touchdowns and have a 67 percent consistency rate.  Anytime a receiver is a lock for 10 targets in a game, they are definitely worth starting in my opinion because their odds for at least a very solid game are very high.  Lloyd is one of only a handful of receivers that is true of and that is why I will keep preaching that he needs to be started week in and week out.(Projection Snapshot; 82 yards receiving, six catches and one TD)

Percy Harvin played a significantly higher percentage of snaps than he had all season in week 10 and I think he is a fine WR3 against Oakland in week 11.

Others to start: STUDS:  Fitz, White, Harry Douglas if Jones is out,  Boldin, Steve Smith,  AJ Green if he goes, Dez Bryant, Robinson, Calvin Johnson, Jennings, Jordy, Bowe, Marshall, Welker, Branch, Nicks (if he goes), Cruz, Manningham, Holmes, Plax,  DJAX, VJAX, Vincent Brown if Floyd is out,  Sidney Rice, Damian Williams
Sleepers: Torrey Smith, TD Steve Johsnon if healthy, David Nelson, Early Doucet, Earl Bennett, Jerome Simpson if AJ Green is out, Nate B, Titus Young, Avant, Steve Smith, Mike Williams TB, Benn, Parker, Gaffney

WR Bench’Em

Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis (vs. Arizona) - Believe it or not, the once suspect Arizona pass defense has turned into a pretty darn good group over the last three weeks.  During that span, the Cardinals have not allowed a single passing touchdown and have held opposing quarterbacks to just 9.3 points per game despite facing Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia.   During this span only one wide receiver, Anquan Boldin, has reached double digit points against Arizona and no tight end has even produced six points.   Crabtree has been playing well, with five or more catches in three of his last four games, but I am expecting a lot of running and defense from the 49ers this week and I don’t see a ton of upside with him.  Braylon Edwards should also be reserved, but we don’t need a lot of analysis on that one.  As for tight end Vernon Davis, who is probably the highest profile 49er pass catcher and who is coming off of his first double digit game in a month, the trends say to sit him down as well.  I know he scored last week, but 31 of his 40 yards and the touchdown came on a completely blown coverage by the New York Giants.  Davis has seen just 16 targets in his last 4 games combined and has a grand total of 116 yards and the one touchdown during that span.  That’s an average of just 29 yards per game folks and that does not pay the fantasy bills.  In fact, Vernon has not seen 50 yards receiving in a game since September 25th and while he is catching a very robust 81 percent of his targets, he is just not getting enough chances.  With the proliferation of productive, and very involved tight ends, I’d keep Vernon reserved against a suddenly very good Arizona pass defense and start the 49ers defense and the running backs instead if you want a piece of the gold rush.    Also, while Eric Decker has a score in three straight games, I am not going near him against the Jets in week 11.  (Projection Snapshot: 53 and 32 yards receiving)

Also sit Eric Decker and your DEN WRs

TEs to Start

Tony Gonzalez (vs. Tennessee) -  Did you know that Tony Gonzalez is started about 20 percent less than Jermichael Finley every single week?  Is it the Aaron Rodgers factor? Is it ageism?  It certainly is not based on production because if it were, Gonzo should be started in 100 percent of leagues.   After nine games, the man who must have the fountain of youth in his house, is sixth among all tight ends with 68 targets, fifth with 45 catches, fifth with 487 yards, second with six touchdowns, second with an 89 percent consistency rate, second with five games of 60 plus yards, tied for first with five games with a score, tied for first with 16 red zone targets, second with six red zone touchdowns and most importantly, is the third overall tight end with 81 points behind only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski and 11 points ahead of Finley.   All he does is produce week in and week out, yet he is not getting the nod every single week in every single league.  I do not get it and I am urging you to make sure you go with Gonzalez, even as flex if you have Gronkowski or Antonio Gates, because the guy is giving you nine points per game on average.   He should do that or even exceed it against the Tennessee Titans who are giving up 11.33 points per game to tight ends over their last six games.  This is more of a case for Gonzo than a matchup play and I hope you keep the ageless wonder active this Sunday.  (Projection Snapshot: 62 yards receiving and one TD)
Others to start: Witten, Olsen, Finley, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Gates, Ballard, Celek, Fred Davis Sleepers: Dickson, Keller, Winslow, Scheffler, Pettigrew,   DEEP SLEEPER: Marcedes Lewis


SF vs. ARI
NE vs. KC
GB vs.  TB


Mark Sanchez (NYJ) - He was only 17 of 35 for 180 yards against the Bills, but 4 of those 17 completions were TDs for Sanchez!  That helps a lot and as bad as he has been, he now has multiple TDs in 8 of his 11 games in 2012.  

Rex Grossman (WAS) – That’s back to back big games for Rex, who threw for 314 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs on 26 of 35 passing.   He is playing great the last two weeks and you have to wonder why he was ever benched in the first place.  Not a great option next week vs. the Jets, but he is playing excellent football right now.  

Matt Moore (MIA) - He had the bad fumble, but Moore played well again on Thursday, completing 19 of his 32 passes for 288 yards and a TD. He is getting the ball to his star WR and that is opening up the whole passing game.  Moore has 3 TDs in 2 of his last 4 games and is worth a look if you need a QB in one or two QB leagues.

Kyle Orton (KC) - He has some talent at WR and will take over the starting job.


Roy Helu (WAS) - HELUUUUUUU SHANAHAN! THANKS FOR LISTENING AND STARTING HELU.  Finally!  Helu got the start and was the main man for the Skins as well he should be. DUH WINNING.  He ran it 23 times for 108 yards and his first TD.   He also added 7 catches for 54 yards to finish with 162 total yards and the score for Helu who was the clear starter (no one else got more than 1 carry) and HOPEFULLY Shanahan does not screw with us and go back to Torain next week.  This kid will be a solid RB2 (and a great one in PPR leagues) if he remains the starter -hope you all held onto him through the non-sense. 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE) - Welcome back to the end zone big fella! Green-Ellis scored for the first time in 6 weeks and liked it so much he did it twice.  He finished with 44 yards and the scores on 14 carries against the Eagles and is a GREAT start next week against the Colts.

Peyton Hillis (CLE) - he was back as the starter and ran 19 times for 65 yards against the Bengals.  He will be the starter going forward and the hammy did not appear to be an issue.   He has Baltimore next week, so don’t get too excited.

Mark Ingram (NO) - I know it came in garbage time, but Ingram showed some real burst that had been lacking on his 35 yard TD run against the GMEN.  He finished with 13 carries for 80 yards and the score in his best fantasy day of the year that also featured 2 catches for 14 yards.  Hopefully they use him a little more down the stretch and he can become a weekly RB3 for your teams.

CJ Spiller (BUF) - He did not produce much, but he was clearly the main man in the Buf backfield.  He ran 19 times for 55 yards and added 3 catches for 15 yards.  No other runner had even 3 carries, so it seems like Spiller will get his shot. Definitely worth a grab and he should be a solid flex going forward.

DeAngelo Williams (CAR) - Williams had his best game of the year with 69 yards and 2 TDs rushing on 15 carries.   He saw his first goal line carry of the year and punched in a 2 yard TD to go with a 25 yard scoring run earlier.  He has been over 10 points in back to back weeks and is a solid flex again against the Bucs in week 12.

Mo Morris (DET) - Morris is back in the mix potentially as Kevin Smith had to leave this game early with an ankle sprain and his week 13 status is in doubt.  Mo ran for 39 yards on 7 carries and added 9 catches for 81 yards to finish with a solid 120 total on the day.  The Lions get NO next week and if Smith is out, he is a good flex, especially in PPR leagues.

Donald Brown (IND) - Brown was the main man against Carolina and paced the Colts with 80 yards and a TD on 14 carries. He also had 1 catch for 17 yards to produced a total of 97 yards and a score.  He is averaging about 9 points per game over the last 4 and is a solid flex if he keeps starting.
Toby Gerhart (MIN) – He was the do it all back and while he was held to just 44 yards on 17 carries, he did find the End Zone and scored from 1 yard out.  He finished with 63 total yards and the score and is a decent flex if AP misses one more game.

John Kuhn (GB) - The guy now has 6 TDs on the year after punching in another GL score and is always a viable flex option if your waiver wire is bare.   He has 5 more TDs on the year than Starks and Grant combined. Wow.



Mike Williams (TB) - He picked up 50 yards on the last drive, but they all count the same.  He had his 2nd straight good game with 6 catches for 84 yards and a TD on 11 targets this Sunday.  Maybe he is starting to round into form and you have to be excited to finally get something from him at this point in the year.   

Deion Branch (NE) - Branch had a huge game and the fact that Tom Brady is throwing him the ball is why he is always a reasonable WR3 option for your teams. This week he took advantage of a beaten up Philly secondary to catch 6 of his 10 targets for 125 yards (and he just missed a TD).  

Johnny Knox (CHI) - Sean Jensen told me on my radio show that Caleb Hanie likes Knox a lot and that he would likely be his go to guy.  That proved to be the case on Sunday as he saw a team high 10 targets and paced the Bears with 4 catches for 145 yards and a TD (for the 2nd straight game).  He made an unbelievable one handed catch to keep the Bears in the game that went for 81 yards.   Go ahead and grab him off the wire folks as a potential WR3 because he is the main man for Hanie.  

Reggie Wayne (IND) - Wayne scored for the 1st time since week 1 as he hauled in 5 of his 7 targets for 122 yards and a TD (56 yarder).  I am not overly optimistic that this is the start of a turnaround, but Wayne gets a good matchup with NE in week 12.   

Lance Moore (NO) - Moore, like Branch, plays with one of the best QBs in the NFL and that leads to good production at times.  This was one of those weeks as Moore caught 5 of his 7 targets for 54 yards and 2 TDs. 

Damian Williams (TEN) -he remains the WR in TEN to give a shot as a WR3 after catching his 3rd TD in the last 4 games against the Bucs in week 12.   He saw only 4 targets, but caught 3 of them for 33 yards and a TD.

Greg Little (CLE) -  he had the drops early, but caught some big passes at the end to finish with 5 catches (on 13 targets) for 57 yards and his first NFL TD.  He has been playing very solid of late and is a fine PPR WR3.

James Jones (GB) -  Jones does not do a ton, but he is making plays when given the chance in 2011. This week he saw 4 targets and caught 3 of them for a team high 94 yards and a TD.   He now has 5 TDs on the year and is quietly becoming a good plug and play WR when you are in a pinch.

Brent Celek (PHI) - Celek continues to impress with 5 catches for 75 yards on 6 targets. He has an 83% consistency rate in his last 6 games’ keep rolling with him.

Jermaine Gresham (CIN) - He is at must start status as far as I am concerned these days.  He saw a team high 9 targets and caught 5 for 68 yards and a TD on Sunday.  He has a TD in 2 of his last 3 games and it really should have been 3 in a row.


NE DEF - They host INDY this week
CHI DEF - They host KC this week
ATL DEF - At HOU this week
DEN DEF -They are surging and play the Vikes in week 13


Billy Cundiff (BAL) - 3 more FGs for Cundiff, who now has multiple FGs in 8 of his 11 games.
David Akers (SF) – That’s now 7 games in a row with mult FGs for Akers, who booted 2 more in the loss to the Ravens.
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