Week 11 kicks off tonight with one of the more compelling games on the NFL schedule, as the Bengals travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. It's a game with significant ramifications for both teams -- the Ravens could push the Bengals back to .500, or the Bengals could get to within a game of the AFC North lead.
It's also a game with a lot of fascinating Fantasy decisions to be made, as Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson and Ja'Marr Chase are really the only must-start Fantasy options on either side. You're probably starting Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, and Zay Flowers, but none of them are must-start options at this point.
In today's newsletter, we're looking at some of the toughest lineup decisions for every game on the Week 11 schedule, beginning with tonight's. Let's get to it:
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- Week 11 Position Previews: | | |
- Jamey, Dave, Heath's Rankings
- My Week 11 Rankings: | | |
🔍Week 11 Game Previews
There's something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. Here's a look ahead at every Week 11 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, the latest injuries, and the toughest lineup decisions:
Bengals at Ravens
- Thursday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Ravens -3.5; 45.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Ravens 24.5, Bengals 21
This Ravens defense is still playing at an absurdly high level -- last week's 33-point effort by the Browns was helped along by a pick-six, and the Browns still only averaged 4.97 yards per play, a middling mark. The Bengals are, obviously, a tougher matchup, but they've had their share of ups and downs, and with Tee Higgins out, Joe Burrow faces a tough task.
- Toughest lineup decision: Zay Flowers -- Start. Flowers' usage hasn't been quite as strong of late, with just 28 targets over the past five games after he had 40 in his first five. However, he's really only had two bad games in that stretch, with at least 11.5 points in PPR scoring in the other three. He's not a slam dunk, but I like his usage (26% target share in Week 10, which really isn't a fluke at this point), and there are still some opportunities for the Ravens to unlock more downfield hits for him. Flowers remains an intriguing WR3 for me.
Injuries to watch: Tee Higgins (hamstring) and pass-rusher Sam Hubbard (ankle) are out for the Bengals, while DB Marlon Humphrey (calf) and OT Ronnie Stanley (knee) have all be ruled out, so both teams will be missing impact players for this big matchup. Tyler Boyd is in the WR3 discussion with Higgins out, though the matchup is a very tough one.
Steelers at Browns
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Steelers -2; 33.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Steelers 17.75, Browns 15.75
With Deshaun Watson out for the season, this has the lowest over/under of the week, and one of the lowest we've seen all season. Of course, the fact that the Browns are still favored tells us a lot about the quality of their defense -- and where expectations for the Steelers offense remain. Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson is starting for the Browns, and let's just hope it goes better than his last start, a three-point effort against the Ravens in Week 4 where he was picked off three times. I don't think there's an obvious must-start player on either team here.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jaylen Warren -- Sit. There's a storyline out there that I think I need to address: The idea that the Steelers made Warren their starter last week. Warren was named as one of the starters before the game for the first time, but Najee Harris was still the actual starting running back, getting a 5-yard carry on the very first play of the game. Warren did ultimately play a season-high 51% of the snaps, but seeing as he had been at 49% three separate times prior, I'm not sure that's actually a signal. The Steelers named Warren a starter as recognition of his strong work, and he clearly has a strong role in this offense. But Harris does too, and as a member of a split backfield in bad offense against a very tough defense, neither Harris nor Warren is more than a flex play for me.
- Injuries to watch: Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) had his 21-day practice window opened Wednesday after missing the past five games, and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team hopes he can be back this week. Freiermuth has struggled to get going due to injuries this season and doesn't have a game with more than four targets, but still has some sleeper appeal if you missed out on the Dalton Kincaid and Trey McBride breakouts over the past month. The Steelers might need the extra help, because Diontae Johnson (thumb) didn't practice Wednesday, so that'll be one to keep an eye on over the next few days.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Lions -9; 47.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Lions 28.25, Bears 19.25
After missing the past four games with a dislocated thumb, Justin Fields is expected to start for the Bears, and it'll be interesting to see what it means for the Bears offense. Tyson Bagent did a nice job avoiding sacks, but the tradeoff there was a lack of explosive plays. D.J. Moore hasn't had more than 58 yards or a touchdown in a game since Fields' injury, so he's obviously helped by Fields' return.
- Toughest lineup decision: D'Onta Foreman - Sit. It's not clear yet whether Khalil Herbert is going to make his return from IR this week, but with Foreman reportedly walking with a noticeable limp in recent days, I wouldn't be surprised. Even if Foreman plays, it could be a three-way split -- four-way, when you consider Fields' role in the rushing game. Foreman's been a really nice fill-in option since Herbert's injury, but I'm a little worried that's going to come to an end.
- Injuries to watch: Fields practiced in full Wednesday, while both Foreman and Herbert were both limited, so this could be a murky situation until Friday. If Roschon Johnson is available in your league, add him just in case he gets a chance to be the lead back here.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Chargers -3; 44.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Chargers 23.75, Packers 20.75
The Packers defense has been solid, but they've had a lot of trouble with turnovers, coughing it up at least once in seven straight games, with multiple turnovers in their past two. If they could just cut that out, this team might be getting somewhere, with 390-plus yards of offense in their past two games.
- Toughest lineup decision: Any Packers WR -- Sit. There have been flashes from several different guys in this passing game, with Jayden Reed topping 80 yards in two of his past three games and Romeo Doubs scoring a touchdown in three of four. However, Doubs and Reed each have more than five targets just once the past five games, and Christian Watson still has a role to play here despite his disappointing season. There's talent here, but Jordan Love hasn't been consistent enough, and the Packers are spreading the ball around too much for anyone here to be viewed as more than just a TD-or-bust WR4.
- Injuries to watch: We've got a big one to watch here, as Keenan Allen didn't practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury. The Chargers can ill afford to lose Allen, and for what it's worth, Brandon Staley did tell reporters he hopes Allen will be able to play this week. We'll definitely need to watch this one over the next few days.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Dolphins -12; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Dolphins 29.25, Raiders 17.25
The vibes are vastly improved for the Raiders, but this is still an offense that has 335 passing yards over the two games since Josh McDaniels' firing. They might try to play a conservative, keep-away approach against an explosive Dolphins offense, but I'm not sure Aidan O'Connell has the chops to keep up if Miami opens up an early lead, as expected. In fact, I'm pretty sure he doesn't.
- Toughest lineup decision: De'Von Achane -- Start if he plays. I mean, obviously I can't say with confidence that you're starting Achane this week until he's cleared to play, which is why I haven't listed him in my RB rankings for Week 11 yet. But, nothing happened in the four games since Achane's injury to suggest he won't still be a vital part of Miami's offense. Jeff Wilson has returned to log 13 touches in three games, while Salvon Ahmed looks like a role player and nothing more. The Dolphins are going to stick with a commitee approach at RB, with Raheem Mostert as the 1a, but if Achane's ready to play, there's no reason to think he won't immediately come back to a dozen or so touches, and given his big-play abilities and the way the Dolphins prioritized him in high-value areas of the field, he should be a must-start RB.
- Injuries to watch: Achane was limited at practice Wednesday, so he'll likely need to get up to a full practice to have a chance to play. Otherwise, there really aren't any significant injuries worth watching for these two teams, assuming Raheem Mostert (ankle/knee) was limited Wednesday for his typical de facto rest day.
Giants at Commanders
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Commanders -9.5; 37.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Commanders 23.5, Giants 14
It doesn't necessarily feel great to see the Commanders as 9.5-point favorites, especially against a team they lost to just a few weeks ago. But the Commanders offense has been really strong since then, with over 430 yards in two of their past three games; the Giants, by comparison, have 449 yards combined over their past two games.
- Toughest lineup decision: Saquon Barkley -- Start. You probably don't have much of a choice but to start Barkley, who does at least seem like a safe bet for a lot of opportunities -- he had 13 carries and three targets last week in a game the Giants trailed the entire way. There won't be a ton of touchdown opportunities, and Tommy DeVito hasn't exactly been peppering him with targets, but Barkley remains a threat for a big play every time he touches the ball (he has a 20-plus yard carry in three consecutive games) and should get enough volume to be playable, even if there isn't as much upside as we'd like in this offense.
- Injuries to watch: Saquon Barkley (ankle) was limited Wednesday, though that's been the norm this season, so I'm not too concerned. On the other side, Antonio Gibson (toe) didn't practice, which could make Brian Robinson an even better option in a dream matchup.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Cowboys -10.5; 42.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Cowboys 26.5, Panthers 16
It's been a weird season for the Cowboys, who are 6-3 with two games decided by fewer than 12 points. This one figures to be another blowout, and life just isn't getting any easier for Bryce Young, who has been under near-constant pressure even against teams with significantly worse pass rushes than the Cowboys.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chuba Hubbard -- Sit. I find the Panthers' RB usage pretty baffling so far this season. It's fine to use Hubbard as the lead back, given Miles Sanders' struggles, but what doesn't make sense is then using Sanders primarily as a pass-catcher, a role he has just never been comfortable with in the NFL. He ran more routes than Hubbard last week, and in a game where the Panthers figure to be trailing, that just really doesn't bode well for Hubbard's chances of putting in a good game. I'd be steering clear of both, with Adam Thielen being the only player on this offense I'd be willing to start this week.
- Injuries to watch: As of Wednesday, neither team has any injury questions worth worrying about.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Jaguars -6.5; 39.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Jaguars 23, Titans 16.5
This feels like a get-right spot for the Jaguars coming off their embarrassing home loss to the 49ers last week that ended a five-game winning streak. Will Levis is similarly hoping for a bounceback game after two very poor showings since his big debut.
- Toughest lineup decision: Trevor Lawrence -- Sit. The Titans defense isn't particularly good against the pass, allowing the fourth-highest yards per attempt against the pass of any team. However, they're middle of the pack in terms of total yardage and bottom-10 in touchdowns allowed, as teams generally don't need to be particularly aggressive against them. A get-right game for Lawrence would be welcome, but the Jaguars just haven't gotten much out of him, and they might not need to in this one if Levis can't bounce back. Lawrence is just a QB2 at this point.
- Injuries to watch: Treylon Burks (concussion) continues to miss practice, while multiple offensive linemen for the Titans are dealing with injuries, which is all less than ideal. On the Jaguars side, Zay Jones (knee) remains limited, though what's not known is if he'll play after being arrested for a misdemeanor domestic battery charge Monday.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Texans -5.5; 47.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Texans 26.5, Cardinals 21
The Cardinals have been surprisingly feisty all season long, and with Kyler Murray back, they might be even more than that now. I feel like there could be a let-down game coming for the Texans after a big win over the Bengals, but I'm not fading this Texans offense in a good matchup, either.
- Toughest lineup decision: Marquise Brown -- Start. Brown had a disappointing showing in Murray's first game back, catching just one pass for 28 yards on four targets. However, he was about an inch and a half away from scoring a long-ish touchdown, and more importantly, Murray just looked good in his first game back. It didn't immediately lead to huge volume for Brown, but given how often Murray looked his way last season, I expect much better days ahead.
- Injuries to watch: Noah Brown didn't practice Wednesday with a knee injury, a new issue for him. With Nico Collins (calf) limited, there's a lot up in the air for the Texans right now. We'll need to keep a close eye on this one through the rest of the week, because Brown is in the WR3 range if he plays, while Collins remains a high-upside WR2/3.
Buccaneers at 49ers
- Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
- Line: 49ers-11.5; 41.5 O/U
- Implied totals: 49ers 26.5, Buccaneers 15
The 49ers defense looked absolutely dominant in their first game with Chase Young playing opposite of Nick Bosa, sacking Trevor Lawrence five times and only allowing three points against what is supposed to be a good Jaguars offense. Baker Mayfield has been a pleasant surprise for the Buccaneers, but it might be asking a lot for him to thrive against this defense, hence the second-lowest implied total of any team this week.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chris Godwin -- Start. It's a dice roll, but I do think Godwin should see solid volume in a trail script, especially if Mayfield has to get the ball out earlier against this pass rush. Godwin hasn't been great this season, but he's still on a 83-catch, 986-yard pace, with the biggest issue so far the lack of touchdowns -- he has one on 66 targets. Better days are ahead for Godwin, and I'm still using him as a WR3 in PPR even in a tough matchup.
- Injuries to watch: The 49ers are dealing with some injuries along the offensive line, but their skill players are healthy, at least. And no starting OL are out for them yet, which is a good sign.
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Bills 23.75; 40.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bills 23.75, Jets 16.75
The Bills offense has been the focal point of much of the talk around what's gone wrong with this team, culminating in Ken Dorsey's firing as offensive coordinator. In an ideal world, I'd say this is definitely a bounce-back spot for Josh Allen, but he's actually struggled a bit against the Jets under Robert Saleh, with one or zero touchdowns in three of five games and six interceptions in that span. I'm not sitting Allen, but there's some concern here.
- Toughest lineup decision: James Cook -- Start. After Cook was benched for a spell for his second career fumble last week, I can't say you should start Cook with a ton of confidence, especially since he doesn't necessarily have much touchdown equity in this offense to make up for any possible loss of opportunities might come. And it's a tough matchup against the Jets, which isn't great. But Cook is a dynamic playmaker who nearly won the game for them last week, and I have to think one of the lessons learned here was that they need to give Cook more touches. He's not a sure thing by any means, but I'm learning toward starting Cook where I have him.
- Injuries to watch: Garrett Wilson (elbow) was limited Wednesday, so we'll keep an eye on that one over the next few days. As of now, it doesn't seem too concerning.
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Seahawks -1; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Seahawks 23.75, Rams 22.75
Ideally, this one would turn into a shootout, but there's definitely no guarantee there. Matthew Stafford was struggling to finish off drives even before his thumb injury, while Geno Smith just hasn't been nearly as sharp as he was last season. I generally want to start at least the top two pass-catchers on each offense here, but none are as much of a slum dunk as I'd like.
- Toughest lineup decision: Darrell Henderson -- Sit. The Seahawks have been pretty vulnerable against the run, allowing the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but Henderson just doesn't look particularly well equipped to take advantage. Since his 18-carry debut in Week 7, Henderson has just 50 rushing yards, and only reached double-digits in Fantasy points in Week 8 thanks to a long reception -- he had 11.5 PPR points, and followed it up with 7.6. Royce Freeman still has a role here, and while Henderson is the lead back, it isn't a clear edge. If you're desperate, Henderson is RB28, so he's not a horrible pick. But I'm trying to avoid him where I can.
- Injuries to watch: Stafford is a full participant in practice as he's expected to make his return. Puka Nacua (knee) was limited, but he played through the same designation without issue in Week 9, and I'm assuming the same will hold here.
- Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Broncos -2.5; 43.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Broncos 23, Vikings 20.5
The Broncos have won three straight despite averaging 293 yards of total offense. I just don't know how sustainable this is, especially against an equally hot Vikings team that looks a whole lot more sustainable -- and might be getting Justin Jefferson back this week.
- Toughest lineup decision: Russell Wilson -- Sit. Wilson has really slipped the script from last season, when he was one of the worst quarterbacks in red zone passing -- he was 28th in passer rating in the red zone, compared to 21st outside of it. This season? He's second in passer rating in the red zone, compared to 14th outside. That's impressive, but I'm not sure how sustainable it is, and the overall lack of production otherwise has left him incredibly TD-dependent. Wilson hasn't even thrown for 200 yards since Week 4. Even with Wilson doing more as a passer lately, you can find better options.
- Injuries to watch: Jefferson (hamstring) was limited Wednesday, so he still seemingly has some work to do to get back -- I'd bet we don't see him play until he gets at least one full practice in. Alexander Mattison (concussion) didn't practice Wednesday, and I'm viewing him as a long shot to play this week. We'll know his status before Sunday, but if he can't go, Ty Chandler is in the RB2 range.
- Monday, 8:15 p.m.
- Line: Chiefs -3; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Chiefs 24.75, Eagles 21.75
This is maybe the marquee matchup of the entire season, though if you're hoping for fireworks, look back at the Chiefs-Dolphins game. I think these Chiefs are still capable of winning shootouts, but it isn't necessarily the only way they need to win now thanks to that elite defense. Until the Chiefs have some pass-catchers step up, this offense may continue to be a bit less explosive than we're used to.
- Toughest lineup decision: Rashee Rice -- Start. I've got Rice as my WR37 right now, so I can't say he's an obvious, must-start option -- how could a guy with a career-high of five catches be a must-start option, after all. But Rice is clearly a valuable and important part of this Chiefs offense, and there's some upside in a game that could end up a shootout. The bet there is that, coming out of the Chiefs' bye, Rice sees a bump in playing time that leads to more volume and a more stable projection. He's definitely a second-half breakout candidate.
- Injuries to watch: As of early Thursday afternoon, neither team has unveiled a practice report for Week 11, but it doesn't sound like there's much to keep an eye out for on either side coming out of the bye week.