Week 11: Run into playoff contention

Graphic by: Charlie Zitta | Production Assistant

The NFL season is winding down. As NFL teams try to buckle down and lock up a playoff spot, fantasy players are desperate to win games as the playoffs begin in ESPN standard leagues in just two weeks. As such, your start/sit decisions are more important now than ever, especially if you are currently on the edge of the playoffs.  

This week, we will help you decide between James Conner and D’andre Swift for your starting lineup. 


Brody Keiser: 

James Conner and his Pittsburgh Steelers travel south to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars rank 27th in the league against opposing fantasy backs, meaning Conner has one of the most favorable matchups this week. A talented player awarded high volume in a powerful offense, Conner will feast in this matchup. 

Jacksonville’s defense has struggled mightily this season, giving up at least 27 points in every game but one. Pittsburgh should be able to move the ball easily and score. That will result in a lot of touches for James Conner, and I can see him falling into the end zone at least once.  

Swift and the Lions take on the Carolina Panthers, a defense who a year ago was the most favorable running back matchup in the league. They are still a soft run defense but are improved. Still, the Lions running backs just do not provide much confidence for fantasy managers plugging them into their starting lineups.  

Swift has had multiple productive outings this season, but he has also laid some duds. With Adrian Peterson still the lead back, Swift does not have a path to high volume in any week and thus is difficult to trust in fantasy, even against a favorable matchup. I just do not see Swift getting the volume to outscore James Conner this week. 


Two players who will boom this week: 

  • Dalvin Cook – This may seem obvious, but I’m putting him here because I think he comes close to scoring a record number of points this week (by the way, the record is 52.5 by Jerry Rice). This is a monster week for Cook. 
  • Travis Fulgham – He plays the Browns, a difficult matchup for receivers. However, I think the rapport he established with Carson Wentz in his stint as WR1 in Philly makes him a reliable fantasy starter even in a tough matchup. 

Two players who will bust this week: 

  • Adam Thielen – This might be crazy because he plays the Cowboys, but I do not think the Vikings go away from Cook in this game. I can see Kirk Cousins attempting 20 passes and Thielen flopping in a very favorable matchup. 
  • Davante Adams – The Colts are in no way an unfavorable matchup, but they are a good defense. I think this is the week Adams is finally slowed down.  



Austin Arquette: 

D’andre Swift has developed into a pass-catcher back in the Lions offense as Detroit has struggled all season. However, with these struggles all around they have to right the ship eventually and I believe that it starts now. With Carolina only able to get to the quarterback on average one time a game I firmly believe whether Swift is the lead back or not he will get touches and make them worthwhile.  

The Panthers so far this season have allowed teams to score 16 points or more while they have given up 30 plus points to five teams. The Panthers only average two to three points on defense in fantasy and rely on their offense to win games. Regardless of Adrian Peterson being the lead back in Detroit, Swift will be easily able to get his touches and capitalize on them 

The Steelers against Jacksonville is honestly a joke of a game. The Steelers will enter this game against Jake Luton who took over for Minshew after injury. Either way, whatever quarterback starts for Jacksonville it will be ugly for them and the whole team. I think that the Steelers defense has a field day and makes the offense unneeded.  

Swift to me has more upside this week regardless of matchups simply due to the fact that Pittsburgh will control Jacksonville and Detroit has only given more trust to Swift and developed him more and more as the season goes on.  

Two players who will boom this week: 

  • Alvin Kamara – What more can I say other than Kamara is phenomenal. No matter who they play he is an automatic starter. 
  • Tee Higgins – Ever since week three after a two-touchdown game Higgins has only improved. Even against good defenses Higgins still produces and has built a solid connection with Joe Burrow. 

Two players who will bust this week: 

  • Amari Cooper – One of the most disappointing receivers this season and it’s not even his fault, the Cowboys have no quarterback and that doesn’t help pass catchers at all. 
  • Julio Jones – The Saints shut down Tom Brady easily twice. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore had shut down Mike Evan with no yards or catches, I believe he can do the same to Julio.