This week's NFL schedule really isn't appealing to many fantasy lineups, but let's see if we can dig a little deeper to help you feel at little better about your flex position on Sunday. Quick reminder that winter weather is coming, but don't get carried away with this weekend's weather reports (you're still starting Antonio Brown no matter how much wind is in Cleveland). I would caution fantasy players to use the weather as a tiebreaker, but not the main decider when setting your lineup.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers:
This game does look to be affected by some extra wind, so let's hope that lends to the Browns being able to use Crowell more than expected in a good matchup for both teams' running backs. Crowell has fallen off of the fantasy radar, with two bad games against the Cowboys and Ravens, but this week he gets to play the Steelers who are one of the league's worst against running attacks. One extra positive for Crowell is that he has gotten involved in the passing game in the last couple of weeks.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins:
Guys this one is easy: Washington versus running backs is really bad, Christine Michael isn't ready to steal snaps away from Starks, and there is going to be a lot of points in this game. If I had to bet on just one running back to score in this game I would say James Starks. After missing much of the year with injury, Starks caught a nice touchdown pass last week and is a welcome addition to the Packers' offense that needs some consistency in the backfield.
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders vs Houston Texans (in Mexico City)
This matchup reminds me of the Raiders home game against the Denver Broncos that turned into a three touchdown game for Murray. Though I don't think the Raiders' fantasy owners should be expecting the same number of scores I do believe the Oakland running game is ready for another dominant performance. The Texans boast a great passing defense, but their run stoppers have left a little more to be desired, giving up the seventh most yards per game.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals vs Buffalo Bills:
As the weather turns cold I expect the Bengals to turn to Jeremy Hill, who is already starting to get more rushing attempts and has scored in three straight games. The matchup at face value looks tough, but the Bills have been susceptible to allowing rushing touchdowns, giving up the sixth most in the league even with the Seahawks choosing to only attempt 12 rushes in the Bills last game. Pair that with the injuries to Jerry Hughes, Corbin Bryant, and Marcell Dareus in the Bills front seven and the Bengals having a healthy offensive line I am comfortable starting Jeremy Hill in a matchup I normally would be skeptical of.
Other RBs To Start:
T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions
Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans
Legarrette Blount, New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers
Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals:
Woods is the Bills number one wide receiver and has Tyrod Taylor's trust as he leads the team in first down receptions. In Woods' week nine 13 target 10 catch game, eight of his catches were for first downs. When the Bills' passing game needs to move down field, Robert Woods is the guy.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins vs Green Bay Packers:
It looks like DeSean Jackson is going to play this Sunday, but make no mistake Crowder is this team's number one wide receiver. With Jackson out over the past few games Crowder has thrived, leading the team in touchdowns and targets. I don't believe Jackson will be 100% so Crowder owners should confidently insert him into their lineup for what should be a big game for Kirk Cousins.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins:
Josh Norman should be covering the Packers number one wide out, Jordy Nelson, in this matchup making Adams the beneficiary of plenty of targets from Aaron Rodgers. For fantasy owners paying attention over the last six weeks it shouldn't have to be said, but Davante Adams is the best wide receiver to start in this matchup.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs Philadelphia Eagles
Russell Wilson is back to playing at a high level and that bodes very well for Doug Baldwin. Philadelphia has not had the same defensive success as they had early in the year and one big reason for that has been their secondary. The Eagles give up the most yards per reception in the NFL and Doug Baldwin is as good as anyone at getting open and having huge scoring days.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs Baltimore Ravens
The one apparent weakness of this Ravens' defense this season has been freak athlete wide receivers. Baltimore leads the league in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers thanks in part to Odell Beckham Jr. (2 TDs vs Baltimore), Michael Crabtree (3 TDs vs Baltimore), Allen Robinson (2 TDs vs Baltimore), and even Corey Coleman back in week two (2 TDs vs Baltimore). I feel confident that Dez will be getting more than a couple of chances to show off his athleticism in the red zone in this game.
Other WRs To Start:
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, RBs, New York Giants vs Chicago Bears:
The Bears have quietly been one of the best defenses at stopping the run this season. Maybe it is time to start paying attention as they currently rank as the number two fantasy defense against running backs. Temper your expectations for the Giants running back committee this weekend.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Rams:
Center Mike Pouncey is not expected to play and Aaron Donald is. Through the middle of the season Ajayi looked to be the fantasy MVP with a healthy and dominant offensive line. However, without Pouncey and against a Rams defense built to keep games low scoring Ajayi is difficult to trust this week.
Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews, RBs, Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks:
I have no confidence in Doug Peterson handling his backfield's touches and I have even less confidence in the Eagles being able to move the ball on the ground in Seattle. Both of these backs pose too much of a risk for me this week to justify starting them in a must-win fantasy situation to get into the playoffs.
Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens vs Dallas Cowboys:
Steve Smith Sr. is back to full health and the Dallas defense is the second best in the NFL at limiting yards per pass. Neither of those is great news for Mike Wallace's fantasy owners. I wouldn't gamble this week on the Raven's playmaking speedster to break a big touchdown.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions vs Jacksonville Jaguars:
Jalen Ramsey is good and Detroit would be smart to move Golden Tate around a bunch to get him involved while Marvin Jones battles with the talented rookie corner. Eric Ebron has also emerged along with Theo Riddick on the Detroit side of the ball leaving Jones to be the odd man out lately. It is easy to imagine Marvin Jones' second half of the season to continue on quietly even in an overall good matchup.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers:
It is touchdown or bust for Cleveland's number one wide receiver as the Browns' passing game has the low ceiling of 222 passing yards per game. With the extra wind and Cody Kessler's lack of arm strength fantasy owners shouldn't feel optimistic about starting Pryor this week.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings:
If you can stay away from this game with your Sunday flex decisions please do. Arizona is the best fantasy defense versus tight ends and running backs, and fourth against wide receivers. On the other side the Vikings come into week 11 ranked second against wide receivers, and ninth against running backs (you are starting David Johnson, don't get cute). The Vikings defense hasn't been great against tight ends, but the Cardinals don't have anyone at the position that you should place your fantasy trust in. The big storyline is going to be Larry Fitzgerald's homecoming, but I think even the hall of famer will be negatively affected by this matchup.