Players to Avoid: Week 11

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the 11th week of the NFL season.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, $11,000 – According to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), the Chiefs rank eighth in passing defense. Amazingly, they have almost intercepted as many passes (13) as they have allowed TD passes (16). To be fair, six of those interceptions came in a single game against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Over the last four weeks, only the Panthers, Seahawks and Buccaneers have sacked the QB more times than the Chiefs which is bad news for Winston because his offensive line is quite banged up; left guard Kevin Pamphile has been ruled out of Week 11 with a concussion and center Joe Hawley is doubtful with a knee injury. Winston should be under siege this week and he has thrown a combined two TDs in the three games he has been sacked three times or more. This projects as another one of those games so he can safely avoided.

Darren Sproles, Seahawks, $8,800 – Every time Coach Doug Pederson opens his mouth and declares someone a “lead back,” they inevitably end up as the less valuable commodity (and not actually the lead back). Moving forward, it is pretty clear to see how Coach Pederson envisions this situation playing out and it involves Ryan Mathews as the early down back. Darren Sproles’ skill set is simply better suited for passing downs and third down work only. His snaps have decreased each of the last three weeks from 63 to 60 to 31 last week. Yes, his time on the field was almost cut in half and that does not bode well for his prospects moving forward…especially against the Seahawks. Opposing RBs have managed a measly 39.0 yards receiving per game to the Seahawks which is a big part of why they rank ninth in DVOA against opposing backs in the passing game. With his work significantly down and facing a brutal matchup, there is no reason to roster Sproles this week.

James Starks, Packers, $8,400 – In James Starks’ first game back, he played 71-percent of the team’s offensive snaps and out-snapped Ty Montgomery 55-20 in terms in the backfield. If encouraging by these numbers, well, the situation just got a whole lot murkier. After the Seahawks released Christine Michael earlier this week, the Packers were quick to scoop him up. Since he is in game shape, it would not be surprising to throw him immediately into the fire and at least take some of the work away from the Starks/Montgomery duo. Although Starks finished with 11.90 fantasy points, more than half his output came on his receiving TD. In total, he touched the ball 10 times including just seven carries. With this sort of miniscule workload, it is difficult to project him providing value even if he finds the end zone. A sub-12.00 fantasy point output is not exactly moving the needle and that could be his ceiling. Instead of starting him because he emerged as the top dog in this backfield, fade him because his solid performance was a bit of a fluke (especially with Michael in the mix).

Stefon Diggs, Vikings, $13,300 – Following a 15 target, 13 catch performance, the outlook for Stefon Diggs should be solely optimistic, right? Wrong. Now that he has caught 26 passes on 29 targets over the last two games, there is no more element of surprise. He is clearly the best option in the Vikings passing game which means he will draw an individual matchup with Patrick Peterson…one of the game’s best cornerbacks. There is no uncertainty to this situation considering Coach Bruce Arians already came out and stated Peterson will shadow Diggs. So far this season, Peterson is Pro Football Focus’ 16th rated cover corner and he has allowed just two TDs. On the last drive alone last week, Diggs caught five passes and that just really is not even a possibility against an elite corner like Peterson. In order to provide value, he will have to find the end zone because racking up the receptions is not a realistic outcome in this matchup. With Peterson only having allowed two scores so far, it simply makes more sense to just fade Diggs for others at a similar price tag (such as Allen Robinson).

Cameron Meredith, Bears, $8,100 – The four game suspension of Alshon Jeffery should lead to a larger target share for Cameron Meredith moving forward. However, this may not be the week for this phenomenon to occur because the Giants rank second in DVOA against opposing number one WRs. Unfortunately for Meredith, he is likely to draw the matchup against Janoris Jenkins who ranks as Pro Football Focus’ sixth ranked cover corner so far. Even if he shifts to the slot, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ranks 11th in terms of cover corners this year so he should be blanketed regardless. As if that were not enough, Jay Cutler was absolutely terrible last week as he completely only slightly over 50-percent of his passes (16-30) and turned the ball over thrice. While many turn to Meredith mindlessly as the fill-in, use your brain and fade him for a different cheap option.

Jason Witten, Cowboys, $6,400 – It feels like I write about him in this article every week but this really is the week to look elsewhere at the TE position. The Ravens rank first in DVOA against opposing TEs so they are legitimately the best defense against the position. Prior to the last two weeks, Witten had only eclipsed 50 yards receiving twice. Actually, including the last two weeks, Witten has surpassed 66 yards receiving just once and he has still only scored one TD. If the Cowboys are going to beat the Ravens through the air, Dez Bryant is going to have to be the focus and not Witten. At this price tag, you may as well just spend up a little bit more for Martellus Bennett (especially if Rob Gronkowski is deemed inactive).

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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