- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

The bad news this week is you’ll miss top players like Julio Jones and Melvin Gordon. The good news? It’s the last week fantasy players will likely face significant, widespread bye challenges.

The fantasy playoffs are getting closer, intensifying each lineup move and roster decision. Even when the pressure is on, you’ll have your best shot this week by being properly informed and not overthinking your strategies and choices.

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RAWLS RETURNS

Thomas Rawls is finally returning for the Seahawks this week, but rookie C.J. Prosise will start for the second consecutive game and appears to be more of an ideal fit in an offense that is more built around the passing game than it was in the past. Rawls may be eased back into an eventual time share, but Prosise is the preferred starter this week amd you should only use Rawls if you are scraping hard for a running back option for Week 11. His role is very uncertain.

WINLESS BROWNS

The Browns are still winless, and will be extra hungry to get their first win at home against the archrival Steelers. Isaiah Crowell will be a key perfomer for Cleveland as the offense tries to control the clock as much as possible against a defense that is the third-worst in the league in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs (24.4). Start Crowell confidently at least as a flex, and use him as one of your two starting RBs if you must.

GREEN FOR GATES, GRONK

Antonio Gates is on a bye and Rob Gronkowski is looking very uncertain for Week 11. If you need some tight end help, be daring and go with Pittsburgh’s Ladarius Green, who will go against the Browns in his second game back from a long injury layoff. Cleveland allows the most FFPG to the tight end position (13.1). The Lions allow the most among NFC teams (12.7) and draw Jacksonville, so you can utilize the services of Julius Thomas, who has caught TD passes in three of his past four games.

TAYLOR AT QB

Tyrod Taylor delivered the best performance of his career before last week’s bye, as he scored 25 fantasy points in the process of taking the Seahawks down to the wire at home on Monday night. Taylor lacks high profile receivers, but he is verstaile as a runner and thrower and has not scored less than 17 points in any of his last four starts. The guy with the best nickname in the game (T-Mobile) takes on a Bengals defense that allows the fifth-most FFPG to quarterbacks (19.8). He is a very viable start this week, arguably top 10 at the QB position.

DOLPHINS D, RUSHING

The Dolphins are on a four-game winning streak, and they are getting it done with an impressive ground game and improved defensive play. Jay Ajayi has become an obvious must-start, yet in the meantime, the defense has six interceptions in the past two games and 10 sacks in its past three. The Miami unit may be the top start of the week against rookie Jared Goff and the Rams. Wide receiver Devante Parker is looking healthy again and totaled 103 yards receiving last week. He should get strong consideration for your starting lineup as a third wide receiver or flex option.

HOPKINS BOUNCEBACK?

DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments of the year so far, and he has failed to score 10 fantasy points in point-per-reception formats in his past three games. But you can start him with a lot of hope this week. The Texans face the Raiders, who allow 25.5 FFPG to opposing WRs, third-most among AFC teams. Houston will likely have to throw frequently to keep pace with Oakland.

JEFFERY SUSPENSION

Alshon Jeffery is suspended, and many fantasy owners picked up WR Cameron Meredith this past week. Meredith had 20 catches for 243 yards in Weeks 5 and 6, so the general thinking seems to be he might be able to rise again with a new opportunity. But those outings came with Brian Hoyer at QB, and current starter Jay Cutler has not shown much of a rapport with Meredith yet. He could prefer throwing to veteran Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson is back from the PUP list. Only use Meredith if you absolutely must, as we have to see him produce with Cutler.

WINSTON VS. KC

Jameis Winston has come through with four consecutive 20-point outings, but he could be in for a down outing this week. He travels to Kansas City and the matchup does not look good for the Tampa Bay passer. Winston has thrown 10 interceptions this season, the second-highest total in the league, and the Chiefs lead the NFL with 13 pickoffs. Stream another starter this week at QB if you can.

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This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, https://FNTSY.com

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