Thursday, November 19, 2009

Week 11 Starters & Benchwarmers

You don’t need me advising you to start Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson, or to bench Bruce Gradkowski and Mike Furrey. So I’ll leave the obvious recommendations to the network bozos and focus instead on players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 11.

Watch ‘em roll

Eli Manning, QB, Giants vs. Falcons. Coming off a solid performance against the Chargers and a week of rest and preparation, Manning faces an Atlanta defense that has given up tons of yards and 29 points per game over the last four weeks. He and his receivers should torch this secondary in the friendly confines of the Meadowlands.

Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals at Raiders. Assuming Cedric Benson (hip) sits this one out, the explosive rookie will shoulder the load against a defense that just made Jamaal Charles look like Eric Dickerson. Scott has the speed to take any carry to the house, and a strong offensive line to smooth his way.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals at Rams. Sure, this would have been a bolder pick last week. But the rookie has finally established himself as a red-zone threat, and will be facing a defense that’s given up 13 rushing TDs to date. Look for the first 100-yard game of his career, with at least one score.

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints at Buccaneers. Over the last four games, no Saint has caught more balls (15) for more yards (282) than the speedy Henderson. The problem is that he hasn’t scored since Week 1. That should change against a secondary that has given up a whopping 19 passing TDs to date.

Donnie Avery, WR, Rams vs. Cardinals. Though little-known Brandon Gibson led the team in receiving last week, Avery was the scoring machine (67 yards, 2 TDs). Look for another strong outing against the NFL’s 30th-ranked pass defense, as Marc Bulger tries to keep pace with Kurt Warner & Co.

More thumbs up: QBs Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck; RBs Ricky Williams, Jason Snelling, Pierre Thomas, Rashard Mendenhall, Kevin Smith; WRs Steve Breaston, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Maclin, Mike Sims-Walker.

Roll ‘em back

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals at Raiders. Oakland’s pass defense is better than you think, having given up only eight TDs through the air all season (3rd best in the NFL). That’s partly because they have a decent secondary, and partly because teams run so easily against them. Palmer won’t hurt you if you start him; but he probably won’t help much, either.

Joseph Addai, RB, Colts at Ravens. It’s hard to sit a player who’s racked up four TDs over the last two games, but the Ravens have surrendered just five rushing (and 15 total) TDs all season and are among the toughest run defenders in the business. Addai has managed to boost his fantasy value despite anchoring one of the NFL’s worst rushing attacks, but the road gets much tougher this week.

Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks at Vikings. Though he will have some value in PPR leagues due to his receiving abilities, Julius Jones’ understudy will be facing the Williams Wall, which has held opposing runners to just 76 yards per game and only a pair of rushing TDs all season. Not what you want to see in your first start.

Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets at Patriots. New England is fairly stout against the pass, allowing fewer than 200 yards per game through the air. What’s more, they’re playing at home following a devastating loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts. They’ll take out their frustration on Cotchery and his rookie quarterback.

Roy Williams, WR, Cowboys vs. Redskins. Facing the league’s stingiest pass defense, Williams will have trouble getting separation and is unlikely to out-shine Miles Austin again. Though he and Tony Romo have looked better together lately, Williams is a bad bet to excel in this tough matchup.

More thumbs down: QBs Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton, Mark Sanchez; RBs Jamaal Charles, Justin Fargas, Ladell Betts, Marshawn Lynch, Steve Slaton; WRs Michael Crabtree, Chris Chambers, Santana Moss.


Lee Evans, WR, Bills at Jaguars. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return to the starting QB job is good news for Evans, and probably no one else. It also helps that only the Titans have given up more fantasy points to opposing wideouts than the Jags, and their best corner (Rashean Mathis, groin) won’t be on the field.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…sits Marques Colston following a poor two-week stretch in which he has caught just three passes for 62 yards. He gets a partial pass for playing with the flu last week, and now he lines up against a Tampa Bay secondary that has coughed up 19 TD passes this season. As much as I like Henderson’s chances (see above), I wouldn’t dream of starting him over Colston.


  1. Ladd,

    Do I dare start Beanie over Ryan Grant this week? Also, if you could start 2 of these 3 WR's (Hester, Maclin, Harvin) who would they be? Thanks!


  2. Sorry to ask again, which 2 RB's and 2 WR's should I play: Ryan Grant, Beanie Wells, Betts, Jennings, Housh, Calvin Johnson, and Donnie Avery? I am in a PPR league too.

  3. rjfrank,

    I'd take Beanie over Grant.

    Hester and Maclin.

  4. craig,

    Grant, Beanie, Jennings and Megatron

  5. LB,
    I have WRs Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Mike Sims-Walker and TJ Houshmanzadeh. I'm thinking TJ over Sims-Walker. Do you agree?