By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Nov 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

If you thought the conversation for "best team in the NFC" is muddied, how about your fantasy league? Have you already clinched and are now looking ahead? Have you taken some of my advice and climbed back into the race? There is still work to be done with three weeks left (in most leagues) before the playoffs. We’re here to help you get there.

Now, you're not going to find "start Jordy Nelson" here. If you drafted a player in the first five rounds, chances are those are your go-to players, so we'll try to give you some less-than-obvious choices to bolster your lineup every week.

On that note, here we go for week 11:

Start 'em

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay wide receiver at Washington
I know in this space last week I said virtually no Tampa Bay offensive player was worth owning – but now with Josh McCown back at quarterback, Evans is a high-upside play. The rookie is finally emerging, having averaged 8.8 targets per game the last four weeks. He’s catching the ball, too, having recorded a touchdown in three of those four weeks, and topped 100 yards in two of them. He’s a good play against a Washington team in turmoil.

Cleveland defense vs. Houston
You’ll start seeing some more defensive picks here (if you haven’t noticed already) because I’m a believer that while they’re not worth drafting until the second-to-last round and, unless you have an amazing one, worth playing the matchups week-to-week, defenses can really help you win games down the stretch. The Browns came into the year with high expectations on this side of the ball but struggled – yet now they’ve found their groove. Over the last four weeks they’ve piled up 9 sacks, a whopping 9 interceptions and three fumble recoveries. They just haven’t scored yet. And Houston is now on to its backup quarterback in Ryan Mallet, and running back Arian Foster is hobbled (again). The Browns are worth riding out.

Last week: Arizona defense (6 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 2 TD); Mark Sanchez (332 yards, 2 TD).

Sit 'em

C.J. Anderson, Denver running back at St. Louis
Remember Juwan Thompson? Or Montee Ball? Exactly. Those guys have all had their opportunity to shine this year behind Peyton Manning, and last week was Anderson’s turn when Ronnie Hillman got hurt. He had 163 yards of total offense and a TD against a bad Raiders team, but Ball is expected to be healthy next week, and Hillman should still play. Anderson might be worth picking up and stashing, but not starting – especially not when you’re looking for high-upside points.

Mychal Rivera, Oakland tight end at San Diego
No doubt Rivera is still unclaimed (unless you’re in a deep, deep league) but might as well look for better options this week. True, he’s become a favorite of Derek Carr (28 targets, 21 catches, 185 yards, 3 TD) the last three weeks, but the Chargers simply don’t allow opposing tight ends to catch the ball, let alone score. In fact, in Oakland on Oct. 12, Rivera was shut out on three targets. Plus, the Chargers are prepared and rested coming off their bye week.

Last week: Allen Hurns (2 targets, 1 catch, 9 yards); Mark Ingram (120 rush yards, 3 catches, 19 yards, 0 TD).


Steven Jackson, Atlanta running back at Carolina
Remember when this guy was a must-start every week? Not so much anymore, but the old running back found a little groove as of late, scoring touchdowns in each of his last two games. He’s a sleeper because A) the Falcons still suck and B) he’s still old – but Atlanta hits the road to play Carolina, who is just as bad defensively, especially against running backs. The Panthers have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns and an additional three through the air to backs.

Last week: Charles Sims (23 rush yards, 2 catches, 17 yards, fumble lost).

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.