|Notes and Observations Week 11: Defense Leads Battered Patriots to Victory Over Bills 20-13||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win Despite Cannon’s Assassination Attempt on Brady||Patriots and Bills Set To Do Battle on Monday Night Football||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots vs. Rex|
Say “bye-bye” to bye weeks! Finally, after seven weeks of juggling your roster and piecing together your fantasy roster from week to week, this week you’ll finally have all your fantasy horses lined up in the starting gates come game time.
Or will you?
With the latest rash of big injuries to impact fantasy players, the juggling and the piecing will likely continue for many of you. If you were relying on the likes of Ronnie Brown, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, or Cedric Benson, you’re now the guy in the league whose fantasy playoff hopes hinge on unknowns like Ladell Betts, Bernard Scott, and LeSean McCoy instead. What a cruel, cruel world we fantasyheads live in.
So for Week 11, here in the heart of the fantasy playoff push, it’s more important than ever to play the matchups and start the right players. Let’s take a look at guys who are poised for big Week 11’s, and five gents who could disappoint their fantasy owners this weekend.
Joe Flacco, QB: 13 for 18, 155 yds., 0 TDs, 0 INTs (What a stinker of a game…glad I got to go to bed early Monday night.)
Mark Sanchez, QB: 16 for 30, 212 yds., 1 TD, 2 INTs (After a great start, he continues to look like the rookie that he is.)
Michael Turner, RB: 9 carries for 111 yds., before injuring ankle (He was in line for a HUGE day, hopefully he’s ok to return soon.)
Vincent Jackson, WR: Just 1 catch for 10 yds., no TDs (Ouch, didn’t see that coming.)
John Carlson, TE: Just 1 catch, but it was a 31-yd TD grab (A mild success, but a success nonetheless.)
Marion Barber, RB: 5 carries for 26 yds., 3 catches for 11 yds., 0 TDs (Could this youngster already be past his prime?)
Cedric Benson, RB: 7 carries for just 22 yds., before leaving with a hip injury (C.B. shouldn’t be out long-term, relax Benson owners.)
Mike Sims-Walker, WR: 3 catches for 49 yds., including 1 TD (He should excel the rest of the year, the Jags are a hot team.)
Jason Witten, TE: 5 grabs for 47 yds., no TDs (Just doesn’t have the chemistry with Romo that he had last year.)
Philadelphia D/ST: 31 points against, 331 total yards given up, just 2 sacks, and no turnovers (The Eagles are the definition of a “hot & cold team”.)
Schaub gets to face the league’s 31st ranked pass defense on Monday night when the Texans host the surging Titans in prime time. No team gives up more touchdown passes through the air than Tennessee (23 in 9 games this year), including Schaub’s 4 TDs vs. the Titans in Week 2. Start Schaub, and start Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter while you’re at it too.
The Buccaneers, Thomas’s opponent this week, rank 31st against the run this season, giving up an astounding 167.3 yards per game on the ground. Now yes, Thomas will give up some work to fellow backfield teammates Reggie Bush and Mike Bell, but Thomas still is getting more overall touches than that pair, and that should continue this week in Tampa.
Smith may be the best player on the field Sunday when the Lions host the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field, in what could potentially be the ugliest game on the NFL schedule this season. Smith put up respectable numbers last week against a very tough Minnesota defense, rushing for 55 yards on 12 carries. This week, his yardage should come a lot easier. Cleveland’s 28th ranked rush defense has already given up 13 TDs on the ground this season, tied for the second most in the league.
Arizona’s diminutive rookie rusher has emerged as the better of the Cardinals’ two backs in the past few weeks, as his production has surpassed that of incumbent starter Tim Hightower. Wells has averaged a whopping 5.3 yards per carry over his last four games, including his big week last Sunday against the Panthers that saw Wells find the end zone twice, while scampering for over 100 yards on the ground and through the air. Beyond Wells, it might be a good idea to load up on Cardinals for the stretch run. The Cards face teams in the bottom 10 defenses of the league the next six weeks, which should mean big things for QB Kurt Warner, RB Wells, and the rest of the Arizona offense.
Fresh off a stellar performance last week, shutting down the defending champion Steelers in Pittsburgh and taking the driver’s seat in a highly competitive AFC North division, the Bengals get a figurative bye this week as they head out west to face the hapless Oakland Raiders. Oakland is a turnover machine, and Cincy’s D ranks in the top 10 for sacks (25, 4th in the NFL) and interceptions (11, 6th in the NFL). Oakland’s turnover ratio of -8 is good for 2nd worst in the league. The Bengals should feast on the Raiders all game long.
Romo, one of my most hated NFL players, is in my Low Five this week not because of my personal prejudices against the guy, but because his fantasy production has trended downwards each of the last four weeks since Dallas’s bye week, and this week he faces the league’s top pass defense, as Washington heads to Dallas. The ‘Skins have given up just nine touchdowns through the air all year, while giving up an average of just 162.7 yards passing per game. The ‘Boys may win the game, but it won’t be because of a big day from #9.
Slaton struggled against Tennessee in Week 2, rushing for just 34 yards on 17 carries and no scores. Because of his recent fumbling problem, he has also been losing touches to fellow back Ryan Moats, frustrating all of his fantasy owners who spent an early draft pick on the second-year back. Slaton’s Texans are coming off a bye week, so maybe Slaton has worked himself back into head coach Gary Kubiak’s good graces, but look for Slaton to potentially struggle this week against the Titans.
Colston is in the midst of a midseason funk, having caught just three passes for 62 yards in the Saints’ last two games. M.C. is still battling the remnants of the flu, so coupling that with the fact that New Orleans should enjoy an early lead this week over Tampa, look for the Saints to utilize their rushing attack and give Colston and the rest of the receiving corps some rest for the stretch run.
Nate Burleson is in a funk of his own lately, and it’s not just a midseason one. He hasn’t seen the end zone since Week 5, and last week he went without a catch at all, being targeted only 5 times all game. With the emergence of newcomer T.J. Houshmandzadeh returning to the elite receiver ranks, Burleson has taken a back seat lately. Facing the Vikings this week doesn’t help matters either. Don’t expect big things from Burleson this week.
Moss has been a monster as of late, hitting the 100-yards receiving mark three of the last four games, including his huge 179-yard performance in the Colts game Sunday night. This week could be different though. Facing the Jets, who have given up just six passing TDs all year long, Moss will likely be locked up by Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis for the entire 60 minutes. Revis helped New York hold Moss to just 24 yards on four catches in New England’s Week 2 loss to the Jets. You’re starting Moss like you do every week, but don’t be surprised if his production slips this week against the very tough New York secondary.