This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 11 of the 2014 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, or LeSean McCoy. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em - Robert Griffin III (WAS, QB)
If someone in your league dropped RGIII after his injury, now would be a good time to put a claim in for him. He has looked good and has a sweet matchup against the Buccaneers this week who bleed fantasy points to QB's.
Start 'em - Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
We were expecting more than 219 yards and a score from Matt Ryan last week. He was good - not great. Don't give up on him just yet. A matchup with the Panthers can turn this boat around. Surely, if Mark Sanchez can burn Carolina for 332 yards and 2 scores, Ryan can hit that magic 300 yards. Only two other teams give up more scores than Carolina, so expect Ryan to find the endzone.
Start 'em - Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
There's a good chance that Philip Rivers was responsible for your loss in Week 9 finishing for negative points. He's fresh off a bye week and should rebound nicely against an Oakland team that he embarrassed earlier this year. Don't write him off yet - he'll redeem himself this week.
Start 'em - Ryan Mathews (SD, RB)
The San Diego backfield has been in disarray this year after Mathews went out with a knee injury in Week 3, but he's back this week and has a great matchup with the Raiders who give up the fifth-most fantasy points to RB's this year. The only question mark we have is how much of the workload the Chargers will give him in his first game back. If the opportunities are there, he'll make the most of them.
Start 'em - Frank Gore (SF, RB)
There's no denying that Frank Gore outperformed expectations last week. His workload finally went up (20+ carries) which was a nice surprise and he rewarded the Niners with a score. Hopefully this keeps up as the matchup this week against the Giants is fantastic. Nobody gives up more fantasy points to RB's than New York.
Start 'em - Alfred Morris (WAS, RB)
Alfred Morris makes for a great play this week for the same reasons that RGIII does. They're playing the Bucs who have difficulty stopping the fantasy points from piling up. In fact, it wouldn't surprise us to see Morris with 20+ points this week.
Start 'em - Martavis Bryant (PIT, WR)
You have to ride the hot hand when it comes along, and Martavis Bryant certainly fits that bill. This is a guy that is basically a TD-magnet scoring six of them in his last four games. Big Ben seems to like him and so do we.
Start 'em - DeSean Jackson (WAS, WR)
He's fresh, healthy, and one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. He's also facing a Bucs defense that gives up the third most fantasy points to opposing WR's. DeSean Jackson could easily be in for another 100+ yards this week.
Start 'em - Travis Kelce (KC, TE)
One of the nicest surprises this year at the TE position has been Travis Kelce. He's become a popular target, and should be started this week based upon his matchup with the Seahawks who, believe it or not, give up the 2nd-most fantasy points to the position (ppr) this year.
Start 'em - Dwayne Allen (IND, TE)
Another guy who seems to be an endzone TD magnet is Dwayne Allen who has hauled in seven so far this year. It would not surprise us to see Allen in the endzone again this week against the Patriots who are giving up the 3rd-most fantasy points to TE's this year.
Start 'em - Phil Dawson (SF, K)
Several kickers flirt with ten or more fantasy points each week - Phil Dawson is one of those kickers. When he faces off against New York, he'll have an opportunity to continue that trend as the Giants all an average of 11 points to fantasy kickers this year.
Start 'em - Detroit Lions (DET, DEF)
If Carson Palmer were suiting up, we'd have some reservations about the Lions, but Drew Stanton will be under center making Detroit a great option at DST this week. The NFC Central leaders have been a Top 5 fantasy defense this year and should finish in the Top 5 this week.
Sit 'em - Andy Dalton (CIN, QB)
Who knows what you're going to get out of Andy Dalton this week. He couldn't play worse than he did last Thursday night, but that's what makes us nervous. He's talented with great receivers in Green and Sanu, but the meltdown combined with the fact that New Orleans has only allowed an average of 1 passing TD at home this year doesn't inspire much confidence.
Sit 'em - Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
Another guy who makes us wonder what we're going to get is Eli Manning. The Niners have been stingy to QB's giving up less than 15 fantasy points a game to them this year. The Niners also have Aldon Smith back this week which will put additional pressure on Manning. He could turn in a nice day, but understand the risk.
Sit 'em - Andre Williams (NYG, RB)
It looks like Rashad Jennings will be back this week and that hurts the fantasy value of Andre Williams. Williams will be relegated to backup duties and change of pace. With a reduced workload and a tough Niners defense, Williams belongs on your bench.
Sit 'em - Reggie Bush (DET, RB)
We're putting Reggie Bush here but you can also lump Joique Bell here as well. Neither runner is going to do much against a stout Cardinals defense - bad ankles and shared workloads only make the fantasy situation worse. We expect the Lions to win this one through the air.
Sit 'em - Marques Colston (NO, WR)
It would appear that the passing of the torch in New Orleans is complete with Brandin Cooks the 'go-to' guy for Drew Brees. Marques Colston has been a shell of himself this year frequently failing to see double digits even in PPR formats. The Bengals have been brutal to WR's giving up the 3rd-fewest points to them. Tough matchup.
Sit 'em - Michael Crabtree (SF, WR)
It's become ridiculously difficult to predict what kind of day Michael Crabtree is going to have. He's inconsistent both in targets and production. If we take away his one big play from last week, Crabtree would have turned in another terrible fantasy day. He's a risky play and will likely end the day as a WR3/4.
Sit 'em - Zach Ertz (PHI, TE)
Does Zach Ertz still play for the Eagles? If he does, that doesn't mean that he should play for your fantasy team anymore. He's facing a Packers defense that has been tough on TE's and Ertz has been largely absent from the Philly gameplan this year.
Sit 'em - Larry Donnell (NYG, TE)
I'm pretty sure the local casino has a slot machine with Larry Donnell on it - great for pumping quarters into but it doesn't pay off anymore. When we combine his tendency to put up low single digits in fantasy production with a matchup against a tough Niners defense, there's no reason to start Donnell this week.
Sit 'em - Steven Hauschka (SEA, K)
Steven Hauschka is one of those fantasy kickers that we really like - a guy on a dynamic team that consistently makes field goals when called upon. That's why it's tough to sit him this week, but the Kansas City Chiefs are no slouches on defense. In fact, they regularly give up some of the fewest points to kickers this year.
Sit 'em - Philadelphia Eagles (PHI, DEF)
The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been hot this year making them a Top 5 DST in virtually all scoring formats, but this isn't the week to plug them into your lineups. A matchup with the Packers rarely leads to big fantasy points. While the Eagles will certainly fare better than the Bears did last Sunday night, Green Bay is going to put numbers up on the board.
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