Polak’s Picks: NFL Week 11 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle carries the football following a catch in a home matchup. Photo courtesy of Sam Navarro.
Last week was very confusing. The teams who have struggled all season long suddenly became good again. There were loads of upsets from the Miami Dolphins knocking off the Baltimore Ravens, Panthers destroying the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers embarrassing the Los Angeles Rams on national television.
Nothing compares to the fact that for the first time this season, the Detroit Lions didn’t lose — they tied. Leave it to the Lions to end their losing streak not by winning a game, but by tying with none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With all this insanity and inconsistency each week, the fantasy managers will try to regroup after an upset-filled week. Here are the key players to start and sit for Week 11 of the NFL season.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks. A broken finger can’t hold back Seattle’s savior. Six weeks after hitting his finger on Aaron Donald’s helmet and getting the pin removed from his finger, Wilson is ready to help revive the Seahawks season. Even though Wilson failed to score a point in his first game back, the gritty quarterback should have an opportunity to get back on track against the Arizona Cardinals defense that just allowed 34 points to the seventh worst efficient offense in Carolina Panthers. Wilson will be ready to let it fly this Sunday against an inconsistent Cardinals defense.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants. Death, taxes and Daniel Jones losing on primetime. Jones’s record is quite embarrassing as he is 0-7 against opposing teams in games after dark. Unfortunately for Jones, the Giants are scheduled to play another game against none other than Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. Even if the Bucs defense has the 11th most passing yards in the league, it is not worth taking the risk with a Giants quarterback. Fantasy managers should steer clear of Jones this week as the odds are against him to win his first primetime game of his career.
Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs. While Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have been very inconsistent all season long, Williams has shown some promise of being a reliable option. Ever since taking over the leading role after Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured his knee, Williams has only gotten better each week. In his latest game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Williams finished with 144 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. This week the Chief’s face the Dallas Cowboys in what is looking to be another shootout in Jerry’s World. Williams is a must start this week as his potential to score big is through the roof.
David Johnson, Houston Texans. One of the biggest disappointments this season has been Johnson. After Johnson was traded from the Cardinals in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, his performance as the lead back has been very underwhelming. He has failed to eclipse 30 yards rushing the entire season, and will have an even harder time doing so this week against a Tennessee Titans defense that holds the seventh best rushing defense in the league. Unless fantasy managers are that desperate for a running back, there is no reason Johnson should still be rostered on a team.
Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins. The Crimson Tide connection between Tua Tagovailoa and Waddle is the real deal. While the Dolphins offense has struggled to move the ball downfield all season long, Waddle has secretly been putting up one of the better seasons as a rookie. Waddle currently ranks sixth among wide receivers in the entire league for most receptions with 60. The Alabama product will have the chance to continue to move up in the rankings this week against the New York Jets defense who have allowed second most receiving yards in the league. Waddle should have no issues putting up big numbers against a favorable matchup.
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers. Congratulations Steelers for ruining the opportunity at another 0-17 team this season for the rest of the NFL. The fact that the Steelers not only broke the losing streak for the Detroit Lions, but somehow tied is absolutely embarrassing. While Johnson still finished with a decent day with 83 receiving yards, he should feel ashamed for letting it happen. Steelers fans will continue to suffer as they travel to Inglewood to face the Los Angeles Chargers defense that has allowed the fourth least receiving yards in the league. This week’s matchup and morale surrounding the team is enough for fantasy managers to steer clear of thinking to move Johnson into the starting lineup.
Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints. Since Jared Cook left in the offseason, the Saints have been looking for a new tight end, and they might have found a diamond in the rough with the Dayton University product. Trautman is beginning to receive more attention after battling to stay healthy all season long. In his last three games, Trautman has been targeted a total of 19 times. This week, the Saints will take on the Philadelphia Eagles who just let the Denver Broncos tight ends combine for 136 receiving yards last week. Trautman’s chances to score big — including getting his first touchdown of the season — are very promising.
John Bates, Washington Football Team. With injuries to Logan Thomas and now Ricky Seals-Jones, Washington has no choice but to turn to Bates. While the victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is still shocking, Washington will have to get back to reality when they face head coach Ron Rivera’s former team in the Carolina Panthers. The issue with this matchup is that the Panthers have allowed the least receiving yards in the entire league. There is no reason fantasy managers should be picking up Bates this week under any circumstances.
Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens. Big Truss — in losing to the Dolphins? The Ravens were humiliated on Thursday in every aspect against Miami. Lamar Jackson never had an answer for the Dolphins blitzing him on almost every play the entire game. Despite the loss, Tucker and the Ravens should have no issues bouncing back against a Chicago Bears defense that has allowed the 10th most points in the league and just lost Khalil Mack for the rest of the season. Barring any injuries, Tucker should never leave the starting lineups of any fantasy manager the rest of the season.
Michael Badgley, Indianapolis Colts. When the Colts are the latest team to be featured on Hard Knocks, it is usually never a good sign. After starting the season 0-3, the Colts have worked their way back to 5-5 and are looking to have a winning record for the first time this season. However, there is one team standing in their way this week — the Buffalo Bills. The Bills defense has allowed the least points in the entire league thus far. Surrounded by the Bills Mafia, the Colts don’t stand much of a chance, meaning Badgley will have a rough time finding an opportunity to get involved on offense.
Cleveland Browns Defense. Talk about showing up flat. The Browns went from knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals in the Queen City to getting their butts whooped by the New England Patriots the following week. However, this week the Browns will have the opportunity to redeem themselves against the Detroit Lions offense who rank third in least points scored per game in the league. Myles Garrett is hungry, and the Lions are on his menu this week.
Las Vegas Raiders Defense. The Raiders are a mess. One minute they look like playoff contenders and the next minute they are losing to the New York Giants. With so many off-the-field issues, it is hard for this team to build any momentum or chemistry going forward. This week, the Raiders face the Cincinnati Bengals offense that have scored the ninth most points per game in the league. Until the Raiders can start to focus on the actual sport of football itself, their defense is not worth the effort in any fantasy football leagues.