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After giving myself a bye week last week, “Fantasy Fast Forward” is back in action to help you down the stretch and get you into your fantasy league’s playoffs. It’s crunch time, but if you’re still reading about fantasy football, that means you must be still alive for a coveted playoff spot. And heck, if you’re already eliminated and you’re still reading this stuff, well God bless you and thanks very much for the page hit!
So the bye weeks are over and your league’s trade deadline has likely come and gone, which means it’s time take the guys that got you this far and trot out your very best lineup for the next month and let them sink or swim. A lot of the roster maneuvering and trade talks are over and done with… by this point, you’ve just got to put faith in your men and let the cards fall as they may.
Who are the swimmers and sinkers of Week 11? Here’s my take…
Sure, the Bengals have been dreadful this season, and sure, Carson Palmer has seen better days, but I’d consider Palmer a pretty solid start this week at home against the Bills. Buffalo has just a pair of interceptions this season… every other team has at least five. Palmer and the Cincy offense should be able to protect the football and rack up a more than decent day in the fantasy stat department.
No defense has given up more passing yardage than the Texans, and only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed more points scored. Sanchez is banged up with a bruised right calf, but he played through it last Sunday and will play through it this Sunday. Look for Sanchez to continue his much improved sophomore season with a big day at home, picking apart the lowly Texan defense.
Tampa Bay has won five of their last six road games, and this week Josh Freeman leads the surprising Bucs across the country to take on the 49ers. Freeman is coming off a great showing against Carolina, where he put up a career-best passer rating of 134.2, completing 18 of 24 passes for 241 yards and a pair of TDs. San Fran has a talented front seven on defense, but Freeman and his young receiving corps should be able to have a field day against a rather weak Niner secondary.
Believe it or not, the Panthers are actually an above-average pass defense team, holding opposing QBs to under 200 yards per game and ranking seventh in INTs with 11. I still see the Ravens winning big in this game, but I think they’ll do it with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, not Flacco and the passing game.
It might be tempting to start Young this week, after the ‘Skins let Michael Vick have a monster game against them on Monday night. Young, who can be mobile outside the pocket like Vick, will take aim at a Washington defense that can’t wait to redeem themselves after the mess they threw at the Eagles. I think the Titans will give the Redskins a heavy dose of Chris Johnson in this one, but I’m not looking for VY to light it up much on Sunday. There’s no way Mike Shanahan lets his defense turn in two stinkers in a row.
Orton has racked up 665 yards through the air over the last two games, to go with a career-high four TD passes last week in Denver’s 49-29 rout of the Chiefs. He’ll have a tough road ahead trying to match those lofty stats this week, as he faces the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, one of the league’s toughest pass defenses. I’m seeing more like a 200-yard, 2-TD game at the max for Mr. O. this week.
It’s been a sub-par season for Fred Jackson in the Bills backfield through the first half of the season, but that all changed last week when F-Jack put together a 25-carry, 133-yard day against the Lions, helping Buffalo finally earn their first win of the year. He’ll be looking to score in his third straight game, and against a Cincy team that’s better against the pass than the run, look for Chan Gailey to ride his running back hard on Sunday. The Bengals have allowed an opposing RB to score at least once in the last seven games against them. Make that eight, this Sunday.
It may be just a coincidence, but who was the focal point of the Dallas offense in Jason Garrett’s first game as head coach last week? Felix Jones is the correct answer. Jones ran the ball 14 times and caught three passes in the Cowboys’ shocking win over the Giants last Sunday, and with Detroit coming into Big D this weekend, a Lions team that allows 127.9 rushing yards per game, odds are Felix Jones should enjoy another solid day for his fantasy owners.
No team gives up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Cardinals, and with “Charles in charge” of the Kansas City backfield lately, there’s no doubt he’s in line to have a monster game for the Chiefs this Sunday. Sure, he’ll share some of the workload with fellow back Thomas Jones, but I’m confident there will be enough work to go around for both men. So confident that I’d start him over fantasy first rounders like Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Turner, and Steven Jackson this week.
The Steelers won’t lose two straight games at home, they just won’t… and after a frustrating Week 10 loss to the Pats, you can bet that Pittsburgh will be taking their frustrations out on the Raiders this Sunday. McFadden has finally started to live up to his potential this season for the Raiders, but he hasn’t scored in two straight games, and won’t this week either. Sure he’ll have fresh legs after the team’s bye week, but the Steelers front seven will “unfresh” those legs real fast, mark my words… even though my word might not even be a real word.
Foster will be looking to score in his fifth consecutive game on Sunday in the Meadowlands, but that will be a very tall task against a Jets team that has allowed just two TDs from opposing running backs all season. No RB has rushed for over 100 yards this year either, with Adrian Peterson coming the closest with 88 in Week 5. You can’t take away the huge year Foster has had thus far, but Week 11 just won’t be his week to shine.
I haven’t had the chance to talk about Blount yet this season, but the year he’s having is truly a great story. Tampa plucked the rookie off of Tennessee’s practice squad early in the year, and it has absolutely paid dividends. He’s racked up 329 yards over his last four games, to go with three TDs. This week however, he faces a San Francisco team that hasn’t allowed an opposing back to go over 90 yards on the ground all season long. He’s still losing touches to veteran Cadillac Williams also, which keeps him from being even more productive. Blount’s got a great career ahead of him, but I see his stats taking a bit of a dip this week on the west coast against the Niners.
Fitzy’s had an up-and-down season for the Cards this year, but his chemistry with QB Derek Anderson is at an all-time high now. While he doesn’t have a TD in the past two games, he has hauled in 14 balls for 198 yards total. His red zone targets are up also… he had four in weeks 1-7, but has eight in the team’s last three games. This week, he gets to face a Chiefs secondary that just saw Denver’s Brandon Lloyd torch them for a huge day. I see Fitzgerald doing the same against KC this week.
Jennings had just 14 catches through the team’s first five games of the year, but since then he’s turned it up and is back to being the #1 receiver that Green Bay has hoped for. He’s had at least six catches and at least 74 yards in each of his last four games, including a touchdown in three of those four. He’s had pretty good success against Minnesota in the past too, scoring in his last two meetings with 162 combined receiving yards in those two contests. Donald Driver being banged up also helps the Jennings cause too.
Like Fitzgerald and Jennings, Marques Colston got off to a very slow start this season. Lately though, his production has been on the rise, and with a very favorable matchup this week against Seattle, a team that gives up 272.2 yards per game through the air, I see Colston and the Saints coming out of their bye week with guns blazing.
166.3 passing yards allowed per game. That’s how much New Orleans is giving up each week, best in the league. Matt Hasselbeck has a broken left wrist. Mike Williams played last week with a broken finger, but that didn’t stop him from putting up a career-high 145 yards. This week, the yardage won’t come as easy. Williams is having a huge year, but this week won’t be the week to rely on him for fantasy greatness.
Only the Saints and Chargers have been tougher than the Panthers on opposing wide receivers this season, in terms of fantasy points allowed, and Carolina is the league’s best at limiting receivers to the fewest yards per catch in the league. Only one receiver, New York’s Mario Manningham, has topped 80 yards against Carolina this year, leaving the odds that Boldin has a big day Sunday at slim, at best.
Sticking with the same game, Carolina’s version of Steve Smith has had a rough and tough 2010 season. Smith hasn’t sniffed the end zone since Week 2, and has had to bounce back and forth from Matt Moore to Jimmy Clausen and back to Matt Moore, neither of whom are top notch passers. Now, coach John Fox turns to the likes of former Boston College QB Brian St. Pierre this week. The Ravens are tied for sixth in the league for fewest passing TDs allowed this season, giving up just 11 on the year. The Panthers have no other standout receivers, so look for Baltimore to blanket Smith and force Carolina to look elsewhere for offense.
He didn’t have a single score through the first seven games, but with TDs in two straight, Kevin Boss has made up for a lot of what was lost with Steve Smith (the New York edition) sidelined with an injury. So many tight ends are banged up these days, so if you need a stand-in, you could do a lot worse than the Big Boss Man.
Let’s face it, his five-catch, 72-yard, three-TD day last week was a complete abnormality, and if you’re expecting that kind of production out of Gronk every week, hand over what you’re smoking because we all want some. Indy allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, meaning the Pats will likely attack the outside of the field with their receivers, rather than the middle with their young tight ends.
(These are admittedly low-odds predictions that only I have the stones to profess…)
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Arian Foster, Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, fantasy fast forward, Felix Jones, Fred Jackson, Greg Jennings, Jamaal Charles, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Kevin Boss, Kyle Orton, Larry Fitzgerald, LeGarrette Blount, Mark Sanchez, Marques Colston, Mike Williams, NFL, Rob Gronkowski, Steve Smith, Vince Young