The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 11 (Fantasy Football)

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“We accumulate all the information that we can accumulate, wherever that information comes from, and try to analyze it and make the best decision we can make for our football team on a case-by-case basis.

It’s the same for every single player; the process is the same.”

– Bill Belichick

Willkommen, Footclan! Welcome to Week 11 of the Start/Sit series where we’ll identify and discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.

The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created the Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle.

Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.

So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 11:

QB:
Cam Newton (CAR) or Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)?
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Cam Newton

  • CAR
  • QB
  • vs WAS
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST

Tua Tagovailoa

  • MIA
  • QB
  • @ NYJ
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 19.6 17
Andy Rank QB #11 QB #17
Mike Rank QB #11 QB #15
Jason Rank QB #14 QB #15
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 32 22
Home/Away Home Away
Over/Under 43 45
Line -3 -3.5

If you haven’t heard by now, Cam Newton is back! And with him comes a lackluster passing game that’s forgiven because of his tremendous rushing upside. He literally scored a rushing TD on his first snap back as a Panther, then threw for another score.

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From just 12% of snaps (three carries, four passes), he managed to outscore both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson in fantasy. Now he faces his former head coach’s new team, who also happens to be the EASIEST matchup for opposing QBs and is now missing standout DE Chase Young? You couldn’t write a better scenario for the former MVP. While it’ll be ugly to watch at times, Cam is set for a strong fantasy performance, but be wary as there’s always a nonzero chance he’ll fall apart and be benched for PJ Walker.

Speaking of ugly play, it hasn’t always been pretty for Tua Tagovailoa. He’s had weeks where he’s balled out, and others where he struggled to get anything going. But here’s the thing: he’s faced some pretty elite competition. Tagovailoa’s already battled — and struggled to produce — against the stout defenses of New England, Baltimore, and Buffalo TWICE. Yet he’s been outstanding versus Jacksonville and Atlanta, both teams notably weak against QBs… and pretty much all offensive positions, really. Simply put, he’s heavily matchup dependent.

Luckily for Tua, he gets to go to MetLife Stadium this Sunday.

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Not to be mean, but the Jets’ defense is deplorable. They have allowed opposing offenses to score in a whopping 51.9% of drives. Basically, if you’re facing the Jets and currently have the ball, then you have better than a coinflip’s chance of scoring a TD or FG. The stats are on Tua’s side, making him a fun DFS play and Mike’s QB Start of the Week.

The Verdict
All three Ballers have Newton ranked higher and I agree, but both are great options.

WR3/FLEX:
Kadarius Toney (NYG) or Brandon Aiyuk (SF)?

Kadarius Toney

  • NYG
  • WR
  • @ TB
  • Mon, 11/22
  • 8:15pm EST

Brandon Aiyuk

  • SF
  • WR
  • @ JAX
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 10.5 11.1
Andy Rank WR #38 WR #35
Mike Rank WR #39 WR #35
Jason Rank WR #39 WR #35
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 18 16
Home/Away Away Away
Over/Under 49.5 45.5
Line +11 -6.5

It’s the battle of the post-hype receivers! Both have only three games with five or more targets and just a single top-10 finish this season. Both are products of high-octane hypetrains that have led managers to defeat rather than victory. Both have extremely frustrating coaching staffs that head-scratchingly insist on limiting their workload.

Kadarius Toney has been the ultimate tease. Toney followed a Week 5 explosion with an ankle injury in the first drive of his next game. Managers have been chasing that high ever since. But Toney’s only had six targets in two games played since returning from injury, with just one target in his last match. However, he’s also been limited at practice while dealing with nagging injuries, something that has presumably remedied itself with an extra week of rest during the bye. Finally logging in a full practice could mean that OC Jason Garrett will hopefully unleash Toney and utilize him as the dynamic wideout he was drafted to be. He’ll benefit from Sterling Shepard’s likely absence, but Kenny Golladay could also spoil the party.

In Brandon Aiyuk’s case, he’s been largely ignored as the second-fiddle to Deebo Samuel’s phenomenal playmaking abilities. Actually, he’s more like the third option behind TE George Kittle. But his increasing usage has been a positive sign of things to come, averaging 2.7 targets from Weeks 1-7 to 6.3 targets in Weeks 8-10. This includes last week’s four-target blunder, but that’s due to a surprisingly lopsided game script where Jimmy Garoppolo only had to throw it 19 times — his lowest number of pass attempts so far. Aiyuk should see enough passes to establish a WR3 floor and should benefit from lining up against rookie CB Tyson Campbell (while Samuel deals with Shaquill Griffin). But trusting Aiyuk is trusting Kyle Shanahan, which is easier said than done.

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The Verdict
The gang unanimously prefers Aiyuk, and while there’s a chance he could be a discount Deebo, I’m personally taking one last ride on the Toney train.

RB2/FLEX:
Devonta Freeman (BAL) or D’Onta Foreman (TEN)?

Devonta Freeman

  • BAL
  • RB
  • @ CHI
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST

D’Onta Foreman

  • TEN
  • RB
  • vs HOU
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 11.6 10.9
Andy Rank RB #24 RB #26
Mike Rank RB #23 RB #27
Jason Rank RB #25 RB #29
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 18 27
Home/Away Away Home
Over/Under 45 44.5
Line -5 -10

Devonta Freeman finds himself on the Start/Sit list after decent fantasy outputs in his last four games. His workload improved from 2.8 opportunities per game to 12, consequently boosting his fantasy production from 2.3 points to 11.3. They also happened to be games where “lead” back Latavius Murray was out (ankle). He has a decent matchup against a middling Bears front, but there’s a chance Murray suits up after logging limited practices this week. If Murray is in, then the crowded backfield becomes even less appealing, not that it was attractive to begin with.

The winner of the Derrick Henry injury fallout? It’s a Jeremy McNichols, it’s an Adrian Peterson, its… D’Onta Foreman? It’s true that he’s looked the best among the three, something the coaching staff also noticed as he saw his usage jump from five rushes in Week 9 to 11 carries and two targets in Week 10. He also led the team in red zone carries (3). With McNichols sidelined (concussion) and an imaginary Texans defense on deck, this could be a smash spot for Foreman.

This could also easily be a nasty timeshare where neither Foreman nor Peterson finds success. But with what Vegas projects to be a huge lead, the team could run up the scoreboards quickly and rely on their RBs to close out the game, potentially gifting Foreman with even more touches. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a “revenge game” for him, which might motivate him enough to not fall down so quickly upon contact.

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The Verdict
While Freeman is the favorite (and the clear choice if Murray is ruled out), I’d rather roll the dice on Foreman.

TE:
Pat Freiermuth (PIT) or Dawson Knox (BUF)?

Pat Freiermuth

  • PIT
  • TE
  • @ LAC
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 8:20pm EST

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Dawson Knox

  • BUF
  • TE
  • vs IND
  • Sun, 11/21
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 8.6 9
Andy Rank TE #11 TE #10
Mike Rank TE #11 TE #10
Jason Rank TE #9 TE #10
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 28 27
Home/Away Away Home
Over/Under 47 49.5
Line +6.5 -7

The Muth was… tight? After dominating performances in the absence of JuJu Smith Schuster and Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth was on fire as a top-tier player in a difficult skill position. But with Ben Roethlisberger out and Ebron back, Muth couldn’t produce anything viable for fantasy and plummeted in rankings and perception. However, we can blame that one on QB Mason Rudolph, and it’s encouraging that Muth was still a major part of the offense. In fact, the nine targets he saw against Detroit were the MOST he’s seen in his NFL career. With Big Ben back, Freiermuth should resume his campaign as a premier TE. Ebron is clearly not a factor as he saw limited touches and barely any red zone work.

Dawson Knox’s long-awaited Week 10 return was like ordering a pepperoni pizza and finding pineapples on them: gross and disappointing. Despite playing in 84% of snaps — which was higher than his season average prior to injury (78%) — he only received ONE target that went for 17 scoreless yards. But the encouraging part was that he was nearly always on the field. He also wasn’t needed that much as the Bills completely embarrassed the Jets to a 45-17 landslide win. Against a more competitive opponent that allows the highest pass success rate, Knox should reemerge as a high-end fantasy TE.

The Verdict
It’s Jason’s TE Start of the Week (Freiermuth) versus Andy’s (Knox). If Big Ben is back, then I’m with Team Hefty Boys! Let’s go, Muth!

DST:
Cleveland Browns or Miami Dolphins?
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Cleveland Browns

  • CLE
  • D
  • @ DET

Miami Dolphins

  • MIA
  • D
  • @ NYJ
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points
Andy Rank D #6 D #4
Mike Rank D #5 D #2
Jason Rank D #5 D #4
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 27 31
Home/Away Away Away
Over/Under
Line

Defenses matter! This week, the Footclan is conflicted between two strong DST options that were likely grabbed off waivers.

In the blue corner, we have the formerly intimidating and currently perplexing Cleveland Browns DST, who boasts the fifth WORST percentage of drives ending in an offensive turnover. They’ve somehow run the fantasy gamut this season, notching three top-five AND bottom-five finishes with the remaining games falling somewhere in between. Like most DSTs, they’re extremely matchup dependent. But guess what? They get a favorable top-five opponent this week in the Detroit Lions. Even better, mediocre QB Jared Goff might be inactive (oblique), meaning Tim Boyle might be in charge. You know, that Tim Boyle, who hasn’t been a starter since college in 2017 where he threw more interceptions (13) than TDs (11). A bad defense is in play when their opposing offense is JV-level bad, especially when you have current sack leader Myles Garrett ready to rumble.

In the red corner stands a resurging Miami Dolphins DST that’s heating up after back-to-back strong performances. While it was expected against the Texans, the outcome was shocking against a prolific Ravens offense. They’ll have the perfect chance to catch fire against a dismal Jets team. But with veteran QB Joe Flacco declared the starter, it’s possible that his experience and conservative gameplay will subdue any momentum that the Dolphins’ defense might have otherwise generated. He’ll certainly have his hands filled against a defensive front that is tied for the second MOST QB pressures and blitzes per dropback.

The Verdict
The Dolphins are the consensus winner, but I’d gamble on the Browns if you need upside.

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