If you drafted wisely and have a strong bench, you will likely face lineup decisions on a weekly basis. Those decisions can often make or break fantasy seasons. For example, owners who started Daniel Jones or Sam Darnold over Jared Goff may have won in Week 10 due to a risky or bold call. However, if you decided to play Cooper Kupp or
David Johnson over Christian Kirk or Golden Tate, the decision may have cost you a victory. It’s small lineup decisions like those that can leave fantasy owners saying the dreaded words: “My bench outscored my starters.” Well in order for that not to happen, it’s vital to be aware of players drawing tough matchups who pose a significant risk to your fantasy success. Let’s take a look at several players who check that box in Week 11.
As always, I’m not telling you to sit all of these players. I am telling you to examine your bench to consider whether or not you have a better option.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (at SF)
Murray, owned in 97% of leagues, has been solid with back-to-back multiple touchdown games but owners should not trust the rookie signal-caller this Sunday. The 2019 first overall draft pick has turned it around recently and that may lead owners to feel optimistic about his chances to make it three straight. However, let’s not forget that he is still only a few weeks removed from a stretch where he failed to throw a single touchdown pass in four of five games. In Week 11, Murray will face an angry San Francisco team coming off its first loss of the season, at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The talented rookie’s stats against the 49ers back in Week 9 are a bit skewed. Although he threw for 241 yards and two scores, a big chunk of that success came on the 88-yard hook-up with Andy Isabella. My model has Murray as a complete fade versus the best pass defense in the NFL that is only allowing an average of 143.8 passing yards per game.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots (at PHI)
Following three consecutive double-digit PPR fantasy point performances, Michel has disappointed over his last two games with just just 11.4 points combined against the Browns and Ravens. With the extra rest afforded from their bye, the Patriots are expected to have a healthier Rex Burkhead, and that has proven to be Michel’s fantasy kryptonite. When the veteran back is active, Michel has only averaged single digit fantasy point production. Combine that with losing passing work to the versatile James White and a road game against the fourth-best Philadelphia run defense, and my model has Michel outside RB2 status for Week 11. The second-year back, owned in 99% of leagues, is a desperation flex start at best against an Eagles defense that has held all but one opposing running back (Ezekiel Elliott) to fewer than 63 yards on the ground all season. With Aaron Jones, Chris Carson, Saquon Barkley and Derek Henry all on bye, I understand owners will be forced to use Michel but expectations should be tempered.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at SF)
For the first six weeks of the season, Johnson (owned in 99% of leagues) was the player that fantasy owners envisioned when they invested high draft capital in him. The star running back posted 18-plus PPR fantasy points in five of six games. However, after sustaining an ankle injury, Johnson has burned his fantasy owners with 0.2 PPR fantasy points in Week 7 against the Giants and 1 point in Week 10 against Tampa Bay, while also sitting in Weeks 8 and 9. In Week 10 against Tampa Bay, Johnson was out-snapped 64% to 43% by Kenyan Drake. Back in Week 9, Drake was sensational in his first game after being acquired in a trade from Miami, accounting for 162 total yards and a score against the 49ers. The fifth-year back is a serious risk heading into a brutal matchup against a 49ers’ defense that has only allowed three rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs.
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles (vs NE)
It appears that the veteran wideout, despite getting an extra week to rest following the Eagles’ bye, is still not fully recovered from an ankle injury he sustained in Week 9 against the Bears. Jeffery, even when healthy, has been inconsistent, only hauling in 10 of 19 targets with no touchdown receptions over his last three games. Playing at less than 100% against the best defense in the NFL is not a formula for success. New England is the best defense against the pass, only allowing an astounding three passing touchdowns in nine games. Jeffery is a huge bust candidate with the expected draw of Patriots shutdown CB Stephon Gillmore. The top corner, while playing 89% of the defensive snaps, has held opposing wideouts to an average of 6.5 PPR fantasy points per game. He has not allowed a touchdown reception, and made three interceptions with 13 pass break-ups. Jeffery tops the list for Week 11 as the riskiest play of wide receivers owned in over 94% of leagues.
Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams (at LAR)
Robinson’s production has been, great posting 11-plus PPR fantasy points in seven-of-nine games this season. The sixth-year veteran, who has five-plus receptions in six of his last seven games, has been a steady source of fantasy production, ranking as the overall WR17 in PPR formats. In Week 11, the star wide receiver ceiling is severely limited as he is expected to draw Rams CB Jalen Ramey who just helped hold Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster to just three catches for 44 yards in Week 10. Trusting inconsistent Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky to effectively locate his top wideout on the road against a Rams defense that has only surrendered one passing touchdown to opposing wide receivers in the last four games is a risky proposition.
OJ Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs NO)
The star tight end, who has been listed in this very spot several several times already this season, finds himself back once again in Week 11 against the Saints. Many fantasy owners will look at his performance last week against the Cardinals, where he had a season-high seven targets and scored his first touchdown of the season, as a reason for optimism. However, remember that a formula for fantasy success in 2019 is to employ any starting tight end facing the Arizona defense. The Cardinals lead the league with an NFL-worst 10 touchdowns allowed to opposing tight ends. However, in Week 11, he has a matchup against a Saints defense that has only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends all season. It should also be noted that New Orleans held the underwhelming Howard to only one reception for 10 yards back in Week 5.
More Advice from SI Fantasy:
—Dr. Roto’s Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for your tougher lineup decisions
—Frank Taddeo’s streaming options if you’re dealing with injuries or bye weeks
—Tuesday’s Bull Market Fantasy show with Jim Cramer
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Brian Hill, Darius Slayton and suggestions for deeper leagues
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Jaime Eisner’s stock watch can help you win a trade
—Bill Enright’s injury report has the impact on everyone who got hurt in Week 10