Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 11: Ravens vs. Bears

Both teams find themselves hovering around .500 and tied for second in their respective divisions. Sunday might be a "loser leaves town" sort of game.

The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears face off at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in Chicago in a game between two disappointing teams. The Ravens are 22nd in the league in points, while the Bears are fifth. On the flip side of that coin, the Bears are 25th in points allowed, while the Ravens are eighth. Either way, there's a lot of fantasy intrigue in the matchup.


Start in every league: Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker

Start if you're desperate: Ray Rice, Marlon Brown, Defense/special teams

Bench: Joe Flacco, Bernard Pierce

Few receivers are as boom-or-bust as Smith, who earlier this season had fantasy games of 22, 12, and one point in the span of three weeks. But with the struggles of the Baltimore running game, he's clearly the team's top offensive option. ... Tucker has only missed two kicks all season, and they were both 40-plus yards and came in the team's Week 2 game; since then he's been perfect.

In all reality, Rice should be benched in most leagues. He only qualifies as an "if you're desperate" play in Week 11 because the Bears are one of the NFL's worst teams against opposing running backs, giving up at least 20 points in five of their last six games. It's now or never for Rice, because if he can't produce against Chicago, it ain't happening. ... Brown was shut down last week against the Bengals with only one catch for ten yards, but he had 54 yards and two scores the week before. He's not overly reliable, but owners that need someone who could have a huge game could do worse. ... Josh McCown is good for a backup quarterback, but he's still just a backup and the Ravens' defense could punish him.

Twelve touchdowns, eleven interceptions. No more than two scores in any single game. A five-interception outing. It's hard to find much to like about Flacco this season. ... RIce's struggles have hidden the fact that his backup, Pierce, has been pretty awful this year as well, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and scoring only two touchdowns. He's still the backup and he's been bad. Stay away.


Start in every league: Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Robbie Gould

Start if you're desperate: Josh McCown

Bench: Martellus Bennett, Defense/special teams

Yeah, Forte struggled mightily last week, and no team is better against running backs than the Ravens. All true. On the other hand, Forte was averaging more than 16 points a game before Sunday, and is still third in the NFL in average scoring among running backs. He's a no-brainer. ... Marshall and Jeffery might have made themselves into the best 1-2 punch of wide receivers outside of Denver this season, with both averaging double-digit fantasy points a game. No reason to think that's going anywhere. ... Gould has only scored below seven fantasy points once all season.

In his one start, McCown had 20 fantasy points. He had 15 in relief of Cutler the game before, and even managed six last week despite only playing one drive. With the weapons he has, even a fill-in backup could have a big game.

In Weeks 1 and 2 combined, Bennett had 29 fantasy points. Since then, in seven games he has 32, less than five points a game. Jeffery developed, and Bennett was just one too many mouths to feed. ... The Bears' defense has struggled all year, and now it will be without Charles Tillman. Even against a mediocre offense like Baltimore's, they're hard to trust.

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