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Inside Week 11

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Dallas Cowboys
Incumbent: Eddie George
Challenger: Julius Jones
Outlook: Jones went from being the subject of a "what part of 'out' don't you understand?" quote from Parcells early in the week to a 30-carry back against Baltimore. Eddie George has never missed a game in his NFL career and his three carries on Sunday marked his second-lowest carry total ever. The future is now for the Cowboys, so we'll see a lot of Jones going forward. Check the waiver wire.
Minnesota Vikings
Incumbent: Michael Bennett
Challenger: Onterrio Smith
Outlook: Bennett is the starter in name, but Onterrio Smith continues to pilfer 50 percent of the carries. Of course, they've been playing from behind the last couple outings, so WR Nate Burleson has been a huge part of the offense. Look for the equitable split to continue as the Vikings host Jacksonville this week and welcome the return of Randy Moss.
St. Louis Rams
Incumbent: Marshall Faulk
Incumbent: Steven Jackson
Outlook: Neither player had much of an impact in Sunday's second-half meltdown in Buffalo. They'll continue to split time and post meager numbers as Mike Martz seeks new ways to prove his brilliance.
Miami Dolphins
Incumbent: Travis Minor
Challenger: Sammy Morris
Outlook: Minor has re-claimed the starting role handed to him after Ricky Williams' departure. He wasn't terribly effective, averaging only 2.8 yards per carry against Seattle this week. He should be able to post solid numbers this week against San Francisco.
Cleveland Browns
Incumbent: Lee Suggs
Challenger: William Green
Outlook: Word is that Week 12 is a "must win" for Butch Davis or he'll be run out of Cleveland. That's bad news for William Green, who continues to see time from his long-time coach. Green gets 8-10 carries per game, but hasn't shown breakout speed. Here's your one shot to insert him into your flex position. They have to be able to run on Cincinnati, right?
Oakland Raiders
Incumbent: Tyrone Wheatley
Challenger: J.R. Redmond, Amos Zereoue, Justin Fargas
Outlook: Simply put, the Raiders are a mess. Wheatley saw all 12 carries in Sunday's loss to San Diego, with Fargas as a healthy scratch. It appears that Redmond and Zereoue are around to offer moral support and catch an occasional ball out of the backfield on third down. Save Sunday's tilt against Denver, the schedule down the stretch should allow Wheatley to post some decent numbers if he can stay healthy.

The top story coming out of Week 11 is the significant downgrade in status for Jamal Lewis. Originally thought to be an insignificant ankle sprain that would have him back out on the field against the Pats this Sunday, Lewis may now miss the next 4-6 weeks. Full results of Lewis's injury are expected soon (Wednesday). Those owners who had counted on a big finish from Lewis with Cincinnati, Miami and such on the schedule may now need to look elsewhere. Chester Taylor is the last man standing in Baltimore, seeing as the Ravens lost Musa Smith to a broken leg in Sunday's contest. If you failed to handcuff Taylor to your selection of Lewis or foolishly released him, then you're scrambling to the waiver wire like Ozzie Newsome.
For the Ravens, the best of the lot is likely the recently released James Jackson. Hopefully, the prospects in your league are stronger. Look to see if Julius Jones is out there to be claimed before your league's deadline. If not, several other viable options remain available in Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football leagues. Steven Jackson will continue to split time with Marshall Faulk, and Tyrone Wheatley has re-established himself as the starter in Oakland. I'll provide an update on this story tomorrow.

Shaun Alexander has rumbled to over 1,100 yards through the first 10 weeks of the season. He's done so on the strength of four games of better than 150 yards and the Seahawks are 4-0 when he rushes more than 25 times. Simplify the playbook, Mike Holmgren, and ride your star to the playoffs.

Looking for a defensive replacement? Though they've been shredded on the ground all year, the Cincinnati Bengals rank 15th in the NFL at 19.8 points allowed per game. They have forced 25 turnovers and are 10th in the league in sacks. Check the schedule for the Bengals, they're in for a solid stretch run.

The promotion of Julius Jones is just the first of many changes taking place in Dallas. He was tied for second this week with 30 touches, rushing for a tough 81 yards against Baltimore. Bill Parcells liked what he saw. Drew Henson is likely to start on Thanksgiving Day against Dallas, and Terrance Copper was the leading receiver on Sunday.

Dennis Green produced the head-scratcher of the week with his last-minute replacement of QB Josh McCown. The team responded horribly and got pasted by the Carolina Panthers. Shaun King was miserable, fumbling four times and throwing three picks. Yes, he threw for 343 yards, but the only consolation to be had on this day was his propensity for throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

The incomparable Jerry Rice caught his first TD pass of the season against Miami. With Koren Robinson on the sidelines due to a "violation of team rules," Rice stepped into the starting role and contributed three catches for 86 yards. Robinson will now begin his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance policy, and Rice has been named the starter opposite Darrell Jackson in his absence.

Two games are on the docket for Thanksgiving Day. Fantasy owners everywhere will include a nod to Peyton Manning while giving thanks. I'll be back with the numbers through Week 11 and an updated injury look tomorrow to get you into the holiday weekend.

Let's get deeper into Week 11:

Shouldering the load: Most active RB's (carries+catches)

Week 11 Touch Leaders
1 LaDainian Tomlinson, SD 38
2 Jerome Bettis, PIT 30
2 Julius Jones, DAL 30
4 Reuben Droughns, DEN 30
5 Shaun Alexander, SEA 29
6 Antowain Smith, TEN 27
6 Domanick Davis, HOU 27
6 Corey Dillon, NE 27
9 Nick Goings, CAR 25
10 Deuce McAllister, NO 24
10 Edgerrin James, IND 24
10 Fred Taylor, JAC 24
10 Tiki Barber, NYG 24

Attention getters: Top intended targets (looks)

Week 11 Look Leaders
1 Anquan Boldin, ARI 16
1 Deuce McAllister, NO 16
1 Keenan McCardell, SD 16
4 Javon Walker, GB 15
5 Chris Chambers, MIA 14
5 Donte' Stallworth, NO 14
5 Larry Fitzgerald, ARI 14
8 Muhsin Muhammad, CAR 13
9 Donald Driver, GB 12
9 Jermaine Wiggins, MIN 12

Trainers table: Updates on the wounded in action

  • Barring a setback in practice this week, Randy Moss will return to the field for the first time in a month for the Vikings against Jacksonville. He's listed as doubtful to start the week, but ran well on Monday without pain.
  • Troy Hambrick sprained his left foot in Sunday's contest and will miss as much as a month. Josh Scobey recently returned from injury and saw significant time in the defeat to Carolina. He'll be Emmitt Smith's primary backup.
  • Deion Branch finally returned to action on Monday night after missing eight weeks to injury. He didn't miss a beat, catching six balls for 105 yards and a score. He'll be ready to go against Baltimore this week.
  • Atlanta fullback Justin Griffith tore the PCL in his right knee. He'll likely miss this week's game, meaning that veteran Stanley Pritchett will take his place opening holes for Warrick Dunn against the hapless Saints.
  • Chad Pennington received medical clearance to begin throwing on Wednesday. He's not expected back for two-three weeks, meaning more Quincy Carter.
  • Staying in New York, Curtis Martin's knee injury is apparently nothing more than a bruise. That means Martin owners can relax a bit, as he'll be in the starting lineup this week.
  • Zach Thomas will miss the next 1-3 weeks with a partially torn hamstring. That'll soften up the middle of the Miami defense. Can the 49ers exploit it this week?
  • Plaxico Burress is out for this week's game against Washington with a hamstring injury. He may miss 2-3 weeks all told.
  • Duce Staley will return to the field this week for the Steelers after missing three straight games with a hamstring injury. Look for he and Jerome Bettis to split carries this week.
  • Fortunately for Ahman Green owners, X-rays revealed no broken ribs. He's listed as day-to-day, but should be in the lineup against St. Louis on Monday night.
  • Chris Brown is out of his walking boot and is expected to return to action this week. Keep Antowain Smith around in case there's a setback, but for now, Brown's ready to roll.
  • Jeff Garcia, likely hanging around in fantasy leagues where two QB's are required, is expected to miss a couple weeks with a strained shoulder. Luke McCown or Kelly Holcomb will man Butch Davis's sinking ship this week against Cincinnati.
  • Priest Holmes sat out on Monday's loss to New England and is still a question mark for Week 12. Keep an eye on the KC practices toward the end of the week.
  • Between multiple injuries and ineffectiveness, Vinny Testaverde will likely sit out the Thanksgiving Day game against Chicago. Drew Henson will take the helm and will look good handing the ball off to Julius Jones.
  • Matt Hasselbeck sat out the Week 11 win over Miami with a deep thigh bruise. He'll be back on the field for Week 12.
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