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Should You Start Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson in Fantasy Football Week 11?

Thursday night’s matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals features two locked-in fantasy football QB1s. It’s always tricky having to start players on Thursday night, so should fantasy managers feel comfortable starting Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson this week?

Should You Start Joe Burrow or Lamar Jackson This Week?

If you look at season-long numbers, you might question how I can describe Burrow as a locked-in QB1. After all, he’s only averaging 16.0 fantasy points per game — mid-QB2 numbers.

Of course, Burrow’s start to the season was severely hampered by his calf strain. From Weeks 1-4, Burrow averaged 8.4 points per game and was the single worst quarterback in fantasy. Then, he started to get healthy.

From Weeks 5-10, Burrow has looked more and more like Burrow. Over that span, he’s averaged 22.2 ppg, good for the overall QB4.

Meanwhile, Jackson has been trending in the opposite direction. After a dismal Week 1, Jackson was mostly on fire from Weeks 2-7, averaging 23.7 ppg over that span.

More recently, though, Jackson’s fantasy numbers have come crashing down. He’s averaging just 12.8 ppg over his last three, which is fewer than the likes of Will Levis and Tyson Bagent.

MORE: Fantasy QB Week 11 Trade Targets

I highly doubt there are many fantasy managers out there rostering both Burrow and Jackson. So, the question is more whether you should start whichever one you have.

Even so, the PFN Start/Sit Optimizer can still be helpful. It has Burrow projected for 19.8 points and Jackson at 18.5. This season, with QB play down across the board, those are both QB1 projections.

Burrow’s Week 11 Fantasy Outlook

On paper, Burrow’s matchup is less than ideal. The Ravens have been the single toughest matchup for quarterbacks this season. Quarterbacks are throwing a mere 204 yards against Baltimore, and the 12.0 ppg they surrender to the position is the fewest in the entire NFL.

While Burrow managers would undoubtedly prefer he have an easier opponent, that doesn’t mean he goes to the bench. The alternative matters because it’s unlikely you roster someone better.

Plus, for me, Burrow is the second-best real-life quarterback in the NFL. Friendly matchups raise his ceiling, but players as talented as him are always capable of getting it done.

Over his past five games, Burrow has thrown for at least 285 yards in four of them and has thrown multiple touchdowns in all of them. That’s after he threw for zero touchdowns in three of his first four games.

Coincidentally, even amidst Burrow’s early-season struggles, the one game in which he threw two touchdowns was against the Ravens.

Coming off a tough home loss to the Texans, I’m expecting the Bengals to come out firing. I think they win this game, and they do so on the heels of an inspired effort from Burrow.

You may not get elite QB1 numbers this week, but Burrow firmly remains a fantasy starter.

Jackson’s Week 11 Fantasy Outlook

Jackson hasn’t topped 15 fantasy points in his last three starts. Eventually, he has to turn it around, right?

Given Jackson’s recent numbers, you might think the Ravens have been struggling offensively, but nothing could be further from the truth. They’ve scored at least 31 points in four straight games.

Jackson’s issue has mostly been bad TD luck. Over Baltimore’s last three games, he’s thrown for just two touchdowns while rushing for none. Over that span, though, the Ravens scored 11 touchdowns.

There’s no denying that Baltimore is running the ball more near the goal line — and not with Jackson. But this lack of scoring is still unlikely to continue. Eventually, touchdown variance will have to smack Jackson in the face (in a good way).

The Bengals haven’t been a tough opponent for quarterbacks. They surrender 17.9 ppg, the 12th most in the league.

With that said, the Ravens want to be a run-first offense. With the emergence of Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore has yet another weapon to use out of the backfield.

MORE: Katz’s Week 11 Fantasy Football Start/Sit

The concern for Jackson on Thursday night is despite the Bengals not being too tough against the pass, they are far more vulnerable on the ground. Cincinnati is allowing 4.6 ypc to running backs, the second most in the league.

On a positive note for Jackson, the Bengals are also allowing the third-most QB rushing yards per game. However, QB rushing yards allowed is not that sticky of a stat, as it is largely influenced by whether teams face mobile quarterbacks. There’s obviously no concern about Jackson’s ability to produce on the ground, regardless of opponent.

Overall, the touchdowns are coming for Jackson. Even in a game I think the Ravens lose, they should score at least twice. And Jackson is capable of putting up QB1 numbers with just a single TD.

It hasn’t been fun the past three weeks, but Jackson remains a clear top-eight option at the position and belongs in fantasy lineups.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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