Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 11

The Tennessee Titans travel to Pittsburgh as they take on the Steelers to kick off Week 11 of NFL action. We’re getting down to the playoff push in fantasy football and your start-sit decisions are critical.

In the opening game of the week you should be safe starting Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. I wouldn’t be afraid of giving Ben Roethlisberger the nod either. Leave Marcus Mariota on the bench, however. The only Titan I feel comfortable starting this week is DeMarco Murray. Here’s who else you should start, and sit, in Week 11.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 11 rankings.

START THESE GUYS

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: The Patriots weren’t in as much trouble as we thought they were to start the season, but their pass defense is still the worst in the league in terms of yards allowed per game. Carr has had two weeks to prepare for the Patriots and has thrown for at least 300 yards in three straight games.

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: I’ve talked about his expected regression a lot this season, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been solid. He’s just not putting up the great numbers from last season. This week he should do well against the Seahawks as they’re without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Ryan’s thrown at least two TDs in three straight games.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) looks to throw a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game, Sunday, November 12, 2017, in Atlanta. The Falcons won 27-7. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys: If Tyron Smith returns to the field for the contest with the Eagles then Prescott should return to his QB1 status. If the Cowboys fall behind, as you may expect against the streaking Eagles, Prescott is likely to throw a lot. If he gets the protection he’s used to, he could be productive.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons: With Devonta Freeman likely out as he recovers from a concussion, Coleman should be productive against the Seahawks on Monday night. He did well in relief against the Cowboys in Week 10, rushing for 83 yards and scoring a touchdown.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: Darkwa has 30 carries and 141 yards rushing over the last two weeks. If he can find the end zone this week, he could be a solid play. He faces the Chiefs run defense which has allowed 131 yards rushing per game and nine rushing touchdowns.

Orleans Darkwa #26 of the New York Giants stiff-arms Adrian Colbert #38 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: I suggested him as a start last week and that turned out well as he rushed for 90 yards and scored against the Lions. This week he faces the Jaguars who are nearly as bad against the run as they are good against the pass. They give up 121 yards rushing per game. Game script should be in Crowell’s favor as you don’t expect the Jags to jump out to a big lead.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: The Vikings take on the Rams in an interesting matchup this week. I don’t expect either team to run away with the win, so both running games should stay relevant. The Rams allow 118 rushing yards per game, 24th in the league.

Eagles receivers: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz all have an opportunity to shine against the Cowboys Sunday night. Dallas gives up 248 yards receiving per game and will be without defensive leader Sean Lee.

Philadelphia Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery scores a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars: He’s had a nice run over the last two weeks and gets to face the Browns this week. They’ve given up 19 touchdown passes which is tied for second worst in the league.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: The last time he faced a low-ranked pass defense he broke out for 11 catches and over 200 yards receiving. That was against the Chiefs in Week 7 and the Patriots give up more receiving yards per game.

SIT THESE GUYS

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: He should sit this week as he faces the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They give up just 182 yards passing per game and have surrendered just eight touchdown passes. Without a true No. 1 wideout, Mariota will likely struggle.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: He’s currently in the concussion protocol, but even if he’s healthy enough to play, it’s not a good matchup as he faces the Bills defense. Buffalo has allowed just seven touchdowns through the air and has picked off 11 passes.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: Taylor had his worst game last week as he threw for just 56 yards. The performance was so bad the Bills have decided to give Nathan Peterman a shot. The Chargers give up 209 yards passing per game and are tied for second in the league with 29 sacks so neither Bills QB would be a solid play this week.

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball as Alex Okafor #57 of the New Orleans Saints attempts to tackle him during the fourth quarter on November 12, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins: Though Rob Kelley has been shut down, I don’t think Perine is an automatic start as he faces the Saints this week. They give up a good amount of rushing yards, but they’ve only given up five rushing touchdowns this season. Perine has had opportunities earlier in the season and didn’t do much with them.

Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys: He’ll get the start again with Ezekiel Elliott still suspended, but he shouldn’t start for your fantasy team this week. The Eagles rushing defense gives up just 66 yards per game and has surrendered just four touchdowns on the ground.

Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins: Kenyan Drake is the running back to play if you’ve got to choose between the leftover running backs in Miami now that Jay Ajayi is gone. Williams rushed nine times for just 19 yards on Monday night and the Bucs only allow 110 yards rushing per game.

Mike Adams #29 of the Carolina Panthers tackles Damien Williams #26 of the Miami Dolphins during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks: He’s had two disappointing games in a row and the Falcons give up 219 yards receiving per game. Doug Baldwin may be the only wide receiver you want to start for the Seahawks.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams: A disappointment early on this season, he’s only been productive over the last two weeks due to scoring in each of those weeks. The volume is still lacking as he’s only had three catches in the last two games. The Vikings are a tough draw and Robert Woods seems to be the new No. 1 in Los Angeles.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: It’s probably next to impossible to sit him for those that drafted him early, but he’s been a quarter of the fantasy player he was with Aaron Rodgers. The Ravens are second-best in receiving yards allowed.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 11 recap and waiver wire suggestions

If you had a moderate lead midway through the third quarter of Sunday Night Football while facing an opponent who had Kirk Cousins in his lineup, you probably thought you were safe. Two long bombs later, Cousins probably took his owners to victory.

The Washington quarterback highlighted a nice week for signal callers in Week 11’s fantasy football action. He threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns against a terrible Packers defense. His 44-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder (102 yards, TD) late in the third quarter preceeded a 70-yard fourth quarter toss to Pierre Garcon (116, TD).

Aaron Rodgers also played well as he tried to counteract the play of his defense, throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.

Russell Wilson owners should take note of how Cousins diced up the Packers since Wilson faces them in Week 14, likely the first round of your fantasy playoffs.

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown against linebacker Najee Goode #52 of the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on November 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown against linebacker Najee Goode #52 of the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on November 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Wilson had another great week, throwing for 271 yards and a touchdown. He even caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin.

Though Baldwin took a less traditional route to a productive fantasy week with that touchdown toss, he also had four catches for 104 yards.

The Seahawks are heating up as they make a push towards the playoffs. They appear to be on a collision course with the team with the best record in the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys’ new version of the triplets all played well in their win over the Ravens. Dak Prescott, Tony Romo’s rookie replacement, threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Dez Bryant. Bryant finished with 80 yards receiving. Ezekiel Elliott displayed how high his standards have become with a ho-hum 97-yard performance. He added 30 yards receiving.

Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys dives for the end zone to score a touchdown after catching a pass from Dak Prescott during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at AT&T Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys dives for the end zone to score a touchdown after catching a pass from Dak Prescott during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at AT&T Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Ravens’ Steve Smith had a good game in the losing effort, catching eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Week 11’s top rushing performance also came from Sunday night’s game as rookie Rob Kelley solidified his place as Washington’s lead back. He rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns. If you haven’t made the waiver claim I suggested in this space after Week 8, do it now.

David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, of course, were in the top-3 of Week 11’s running back performances. Both had over 100 yards rushing and at least 50 yards receiving. Johnson scored twice and Bell found the end zone once.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) stiff arms Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jamie Collins (51) during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) stiff arms Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jamie Collins (51) during the first half of an NFL football game in Cleveland, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

C.J. Prosise’s nice week was short-lived as he suffered a shoulder injury after rushing four times for 76 yards, including a spectacular 72-yard touchdown run. Thomas Rawls will be the Seattle starter from here out, though.

The second best performance by a quarterback came from Tom Brady, who threw for 280 yards and four scores. He connected well with Julian Edelman who had eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Edelman even rushed for 12 yards. The Patriots were led on the ground by LeGarrette Blount, who benefitted from an expected game script in which he rushed 19 times for 124 yards.

Tim Hightower had over 100 yards from scrimmage on Thursday night and could be valuable if an injured Mark Ingram can’t return to action soon.

Other top performers were the Titans’ Marcus Mariota and Rishard Matthews. Tight ends Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron also impressed. The Lions and Vikings defenses also probably helped owners win their matchups this week.

Tight end Eric Ebron #85 of the Detroit Lions breaks the tackle of Paul Posluszny #51 of the Jacksonville Jaguars to score a touchdown during the second half of an NFL game at Ford Field on November 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Tight end Eric Ebron #85 of the Detroit Lions breaks the tackle of Paul Posluszny #51 of the Jacksonville Jaguars to score a touchdown during the second half of an NFL game at Ford Field on November 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Two surprising performances came from the Giants. Rashad Jennings had 85 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with 44 yards receiving. Odell Beckham Jr. disappointed with a 5-catch, 46-yard performance.

Other duds were Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor and Ben Roethlisberger. Kelvin Benjamin, Golden Tate, Stefon Diggs and Michael Floyd were the week’s worst receivers.

Tight ends had a tough week as Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert and Martellus Bennett all disappointed.

Though not his fault, A.J. Green’s hamstring injury has to have put a serious dent in many owners’ playoff chances.

Waiver wire suggestions:

Running backs

Wendell Smallwood, Eagles

Kenneth Dixon, Ravens

Dion Lewis, Patriots

Wide receivers

Tyler Boyd, Bengals

Tajae Sharpe, Titans

Tight ends

Eric Ebron, Lions

Fantasy football Week 11 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to identifying whom you should start or sit for your upcoming fantasy matchups.

Start

Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins passes the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at FedExField on November 13, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins passes the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at FedExField on November 13, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins — Cousins had a tough start to the season, throwing just one TD and three picks in the first two weeks. He’s been pretty solid since then, and he’ll face the Packers, the 21st-ranked defense in limiting quarterbacks.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks — Wilson finally looked like himself in the win over the Patriots last week. Wilson and Doug Baldwin made a nice fantasy run at the end of last season and could do it again.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions — He’s finally playing back at home after three weeks, and he should play well against the Jaguars. They’re not bad at limiting yardage through the air, but they’ve given up 14 passing TDs this year.

Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs — Not only should Ware have a great week against the Bucs, who are 28th in points allowed to running backs, but his schedule looks great for the fantasy playoffs.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots — Blount gets to face a dismal 49ers run defense, so he should feast. Expect the Patriots to get ahead early and then hand the reins over to Blount.

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions — It should be a high-scoring game, and that’s good news for a running back who catches passes out of the backfield. The Jags are 20th in points allowed to running backs.

C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks — ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that C.J. Prosise will be the starter despite Thomas Rawls returning to action this week. The rookie has been impressive and should start against the Eagles as Rawls gets back into the swing.

Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise (22) catches a pass between New England Patriots defenders Elandon Roberts, left, and Devin McCourty (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise (22) catches a pass between New England Patriots defenders Elandon Roberts, left, and Devin McCourty (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts — Hilton has literally been good every other game. He had a nice outing against the Packers in his last game, but hopefully the bye week helps him continue the success against the Titans, who are 27th in points allowed to wideouts.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars — He’s trending in a positive direction, scoring a touchdown in two consecutive games. The Lions have given up 20 touchdown passes this season.

Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass against the Houston Texans during the game at EverBank Field on November 13, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass against the Houston Texans during the game at EverBank Field on November 13, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans — The Colts give up the second-most receiving yards per game, and Matthews has four touchdowns in the last three weeks. It should be a high-scoring game as well.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders — His floor is so high, and he’s had only two bad games all year. Don’t fear the Texans’ defense too much.

Sit

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals — He’s been a disappointment so far this season. Against the poor 49ers defense last week he was just OK. This week he has to face a Vikings defense on the road that is third in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers — He has a tough draw in this matchup with the Chiefs on the road. Justin Houston is back for the Chiefs, and they’ve given up no more than 21 points in the last five games.

Harold Jones-Quartey #29 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball after intercepting a pass from Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Harold Jones-Quartey #29 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball after intercepting a pass from Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals — Dalton got roughed up against the Giants last week. This week he has to take on the Bills, who are in the top-10 in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Jaguars running backs — There’s no point in flipping a coin on these two. Even if you pick the right one, you’ll be only moderately satisfied.

Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles — He ran the ball just twice after his head coach called him the No. 1 running back last week. He faces a tough Seahawks defense this week, and Ryan Mathews looks as if he’s back in the mix.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) in action during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) in action during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Ty Montgomery, WR, Packers — His value took a tumble when it became apparent James Starks would take most of the running back snaps.

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals — He faces the Vikings, who are second-best in limiting wideouts. That’s not encouraging for a guy who has scored a goose egg twice this year.

Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys — I keep doubting him, but it’s very possible the Cowboys could run to a win without throwing that much. The Ravens’ run D isn’t as good as the numbers, as they’ve played the Browns twice and the Jaguars once. Dez Bryant should be your only Cowboys WR starter.