Wondering whether to start Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster or to bench Blaine Gabbert and Robert Meachem? Anyone can give you that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 11.
Watch ’em roll
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders vs. Saints. New Orleans’ defense is tossing out fantasy points like Mardi Gras beads, and Palmer has been blazing hot over his past three games. Outside of the elites, Palmer is as close to a sure thing for at least 300 yards and 2 TDs.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers vs. Ravens. He is listed as probable and is expected to start in Sunday’s showdown with the Ravens, who have given up more fantasy points to opposing runners than every team not named the Saints. Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman will likely receive some carries, too; but the steady Mendenhall should be leaned on heavily with a backup QB starting.
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams vs. Jets. Jackson’s strong showing against the 49ers last week was a bit of a stunner. Though he’s no sure thing — especially with Daryl Richardson sharing the load — you have to like Jackson’s chances against New York’s 30th-ranked run defense.
Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders vs. Saints. The Saints have surrendered more than 100 yards to each of the past six RBs they’ve faced. With Darren McFadden out again and Taiwan Jones relegated to spot duty, Reece has a great chance to soar, especially in PPR formats.
Steve Smith, WR, Panthers vs. Buccaneers. On the heels of his worst game since late 2011, Smith’s owners are justifiably concerned with their once-elite receiver’s disappointing season. But redemption awaits against the sieve-like Bucs defense, which is as solid against the run as it is weak against the pass.
Roll ’em back
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens at Steelers. Coming off his first multi-TD game since Week 4, it’s too bad Flacco now must head back to your bench. He can’t be trusted against the NFL’s stingiest pass defense.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars at Texans. It’s simple: Don’t start any Jaguar whose initials aren’t MJD for the rest of the season. Jennings has been a poor surrogate for Maurice Jones-Drew since assuming the injured starter’s role, and he is only worth keeping on rosters in the deepest of leagues.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions vs. Packers. Aside from his Week 9 outburst against the Jaguars, Leshoure has been fairly pedestrian as the Lions’ starter. Coming off its bye, Green Bay’s above-average run defense will be rested and ready.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers vs. Bears. Whether Alex Smith returns, Crabtree is a bad option against the stout Chicago secondary. Though he has scored three of his four TDs this year during the past two games, those highlights came against mediocre secondaries.
Josh Gordon, WR, Browns at Cowboys. The rookie has slid quite a ways from his midseason highs, and his rookie quarterback is likewise struggling mightily. On Sunday, they face arguably the most-improved secondary in the league.
Taking a flier
Chris Ivory, RB, Saints at Raiders. Even if Darren Sproles (hand) returns, Ivory is bound to get plenty of touches against the pathetic Oakland run defense. Sure, this backfield is a three- or four-headed monster, but Ivory has flashed enough game-breaking prowess to ensure a significant role in this high-scoring offense.
Don’t be the bonehead who … lets Pierre Garcon remain a free agent any longer. If you’re in need of WR help, or can make room on your bench for a high-upside player, Garcon is available in nearly half of all leagues and is close to returning from his foot injury.