By: Nate Leer
Week 11 has 4 teams on byes but not a lot of fantasy starters among those teams. As the last of the bye weeks for 2017, it could be worse for teams entering the stretch run of their seasons. Lots of options means your opponent may be fielding a good lineup. When in doubt, go for upside plays as you’ll see in our list below.
3 Players to start this week:
1. Michael Crabtree – WR – Oak vs NE: You may have other good WR options this week but DO NOT put Crabtree on the bench. His matchup can’t be any better and he is close to matchup proof anyway.
2. Kenyon Drake – RB – Mia vs TB: Drake has distinguished himself since the removal of Jay Ajayi from the RB room in Miami. Expect to see more touches go his way as long as he does his job in pass protection. This matchup screams big plays!
3. Derek Carr – QB – Oak vs NE: This week Carr could put one of those monster games that skews his stats after the season. However, if you got him you don’t want to miss it when he has the big one. Plug him in unless you have one of the absolute elite QBs available.
Honorable mention: Evan Engram – TE – NYG vs KC.
3 Players to bench or cut now:
1. Mike Gillislee – RB – NE @ Oak: The NE can’t slow down opposing Os long enough to establish the power running game. That makes Gillislee a TD dependent play whichever hasn’t scored since week 2.
2. Orleans Darkwa – RB – NYG vs KC: The Darkwa Knight has been effective as the lead back in Gotham. Don’t expect much from him this week though as they face a tough run D and a tougher matchup against the KC O. Expect KC to put up a lot of points which would make the Giants have to go away from the run, and Darkwa.
3. Dak Prescott – QB – Dal vs Phi: No one is a bigger fan of Dak than I am but it is time to look critically at his situation. The Dallas O needs to figure some things out as it moves on without RB Ezekiel Elliott and it makes sense to take a wait and see approach to starting Dak if you can.
Honorable mention: Tyrod Taylor – QB – Buf @ LAC (benched), Robert Woods – WR – LAR @ Min, Tarik Cohen – RB – Chi vs Det.
4 Players to grab and stash:
1. Bruce Ellington – WR – Hou vs Ari: Ellington is unlikely to be matched up against top CB Patrick Peterson which could translate to more than the 9 targets he had last week with not much to stop him from catching said targets in the way of defenders. So, even with an underwhelming QB throwing to him, Ellington is a solid option this week and in a couple more matchups the rest of the way, especially if Will Fuller misses extended time.
2. Alex Collins – RB – Bal @ GB: Collins is being dropped in some leagues due to the impending returns of Danny Woodhead and Terrance West. Not only should you grab him if he is available but he can be started this week in a good matchup and game flow scenario.
3. Jay Cutler – QB – Mia vs TB: If you are in streaming mode at QB or need a replacement for the likes of Cam and/or Dak, Cutler makes a nice play this week. His play has been trending up, there are playmakers around him that fit the scheme and this is an ideal matchup.
4. Samaje Perine – RB – Was @ NO: Perine has been up and down this list over the course of the season. Avoid starting him this week but definitely stash him if possible. This is the time of year when young RBs can emerge and Perine is certainly a candidate to do just that.
Honorable mention: Rod Smith – RB – Dal vs Phi.