There are no sure things in fantasy football, but Week 11 of the NFL season could create more fantasy head-scratchers than we've seen all year. Plenty of owners will be tested by some of their top players who could find themselves locked up in less-than-favorable matchups. Set your lineups wisely this weekend.
Analysis: The Bills have been mediocre at stopping quarterbacks, but that's not enough to trust Geno Smith in your lineup. You'll also be hard-pressed to start Chris Ivory against a quality Buffalo defensive front. Similarly, EJ Manuel picked a tough time to return to the lineup -- especially with injuries to his two key receivers. The only Bills you'd think to start (C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson) could have depressed totals against Gang Green. If fantasy owners are starting anyone in this matchup, it could be either of the defenses.
Analysis:Ray Rice owners have been waiting for a good matchup for some time now. On paper this is it. But Baltimore's questionable offensive line means Rice remains a cautious start. You could have better luck rolling with Torrey Smith as WR2 or a flex option in this one. It's hard to trust Josh McCown, despite his quality play in relief of Jay Cutler. Temper any expectations you have for Matt Forte this week as well. However, enthusiasts should feel relatively confident starting Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery.
Analysis: At this point, only two Browns offensive players are worth weekly consideration -- Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. This week, both of them are cautious starts against a tough Bengals defense. Andy Dalton should provide his typical production, which means you can probably find a better option. While most receivers are tough calls against Joe Haden, A.J. Green has typically had success against the cornerback. Besides, Green is a weekly must-start nowadays anyway. Proceed as you normally would with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio Bernard. The latter is a quality flex option. The former comes with tempered expectations.
Analysis:Terrelle Pryor's knee has been an issue in practice this week, so starting him against the Texans isn't recommended. Rashad Jennings has run well in the past couple of weeks, but he should only be in your lineup if you're short of any other options. The same goes for Denarius Moore. Case Keenum remains a nice sleeper play this week, which means Andre Johnson's value remains high. Beware of a banged-up Ben Tate with Dennis Johnson lurking to take carries. The Texans defense is a quality start, especially if Pryor can't play.
Analysis: The Jaguars surprised people by clamping down on the Titans last week, but they're still a good matchup for fantasy owners. Andre Ellington has nice flex potential as Arizona's most productive back. Andre Roberts could provide WR help in deeper leagues. Maurice Jones-Drew could find tough sledding against the Cardinals defense and owners should be wary of starting Cecil Shorts against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona secondary.
Analysis: If there's any game that looks like a fantasy bonanza, it's this one. Feel confident starting any of the offensive players on either side of this contest, though you should temper expectations for Alfred Morris. It won't be Shanahanigans that slows him down, rather an Eagles run defense that has been much improved recently. If you haven't gotten on board the Riley Cooper Express, there's no time like the present. His connection with Nick Foles should continue this week.
Analysis: This Steelers defense isn't what it used to be, which bodes well for Reggie Bush. On paper, the matchup isn't good for Matthew Stafford, but as long as Calvin Johnson is still running pass routes, the Lions QB will be a quality option. Le'Veon Bell has been a good option, but he could have lower numbers this week. Both Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are solid WR options against Detroit's secondary. Consider Shaun Suisham if you're streaming kickers.
Analysis: Don't look for Matt Ryan's recent struggles to abate this week. The matchup is better than he's had over the past few contests, but having nicked-up pass catchers isn't doing him any favors. Similarly, Steven Jackson's frustrations have made him hard to trust. Consider Mike Glennon if you are missing a QB due to injury and Vincent Jackson is once again a quality play against Atlanta's porous secondary. Keep an eye on the rotation between Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey, but avoid playing either unless you're desperate for RB help.
Analysis: Good QBs with bad matchups is a theme this week and Philip Rivers is no exception. Expect the Dolphins to make it tough on San Diego's passing game, which should negatively impact Rivers, Keenan Allen and possibly Antonio Gates. However the Bolts run game should find success and that's good news for Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. Ryan Tannehill has sleeper potential and it should make both Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline respectable WR2 options. You might be forced to start Lamar Miller, but consider him as nothing more than a flex pick.
Analysis: There's very littl about this matchup to like if you have any 49ers. Vernon Davis has become a must-start tight end as long as he's on the field and Frank Gore could see a heavy workload this week, but both come with reduced expectations. Avoid Colin Kaepernick if you can. There's no way to advocate sitting Drew Brees and the rest of the red-hot Saints offensive players. Just keep in mind that this Niners defense is significantly tougher than the Cowboys unit New Orleans trounced last week.
Analysis:Scott Tolzien could have a tough time against a resurgent Giants defense. However, keep an eye on Jarrett Boykin, who has built a rapport with the Packers reserve QB. Eddie Lacy has forced his way into your lineups every week, but things could be tough for him against Big Blue. This matchup holds good potential for Eli Manning to succeed. Rueben Randle has sleeper potential as he has been the only Giants WR to catch a TD pass over the past month. Look for Andre Brown to see the bulk of carries again this week.
Analysis: Start Adrian Peterson. Avoid every other Vikings offensive option. There's little reason to expect Minnesota to have any significant success in Seattle against arguably the league's toughest defense. However, you can expect the Seahawks offense to find plenty of room to move the ball against the Vikes defense. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are both excellent options. Percy Harvin makes his return this week, but beware of any potential "pitch count" he could be on.
Analysis: One week after Tom Brady scored big, he now faces a stiff test against the Panthers. If you have an option with a better matchup, go with it. In fact, be wary of any Patriots you might want to start this week. New England's defense should also pose some challenges for Cam Newton and company. You might want to roll with Carolina's QB and one of its running backs, but do so with caution.