1:00PM ET Games
Washington @ Philadelphia
Coming off easily his season-best game in a Week 10 Thursday night loss to Minnesota, Robert Griffin III has now completed 80 of his last 128 attempts (62.5%) for 1,002 yards (7.83 YPA), six touchdowns, and four picks. They're not sterling numbers, but a step forward from his early-season play. He now returns from a long week to further rest his surgically repaired knee and take on a Philadelphia defense that ranks 31st versus the pass. RG3 owners can count on Chip Kelly's No. 4 offense lighting up Washington's bottom-six defense, forcing the Redskins to respond aggressively. In this potential shootout, an improving Griffin is a recommended QB1. ... Griffin's targets since Washington's Week 5 bye: Pierre Garcon 55; Jordan Reed 43; Leonard Hankerson 25; Santana Moss 15; Roy Helu 14; Logan Paulsen 8; Aldrick Robinson and Josh Morgan 5. ... Garcon is red hot again with seven receptions in three straight games. He's a legit WR1 against the Eagles. Noteworthy enemy wideout stat lines allowed by Philly through ten games: Donnie Avery 7-141; Malcom Floyd 5-102; Hakeem Nicks 9-142; Eddie Royal 7-90-3; Terrance Williams 6-71-1; Demaryius Thomas 9-86-2; Hankerson 5-80-2; Wes Welker 7-76-2; Rueben Randle 6-96-2; Vincent Jackson 9-114-2; Dez Bryant 8-110; Victor Cruz 7-86; Denarius Moore 5-82; Rod Streater 5-98; Jarrett Boykin 8-112. ... Hankerson did light up the Eagles in these teams' Week 1 meeting, but virtually all of his production came in garbage time. Not a heavily targeted player in Washington's offense, "HankTime" would be a low-end WR3 gamble.
Reed has at least 90 yards and/or a touchdown in three of his last four games. The Eagles have allowed the ninth most catches and fifth most yards to tight ends, so continue to ride Reed as a TE1. ... Fullback Darrel Young's three-score Week 9 game was exposed as a fluke when he failed to gain a yard on his lone carry against the Vikings. He isn't worth a fantasy roster spot. ... Fading third-down back Helu remains heavily involved in Washington's offense as a blitz protector, but is a mere stash/handcuff in 12- and 14-team leagues. He's averaging five touches for 29 scoreless yards over the past three weeks. ... Owners are understandably frustrated with Alfred Morris' low-scoring fantasy season, but his on-field performance has been consistently terrific. He has 785 yards and four touchdowns on his last 148 carries (5.30 YPC). Morris has notched at least 95 rushing yards and/or a TD in five consecutive games. Ranked a middling 14th in run defense, Philly is going to have a difficult time containing the Redskins' top-three rushing offense. Fire up Morris as an every-week RB2 who could easily score like a top-ten fantasy back in this game.
Eagles-Redskins has the highest over-under of Week 11 at 52.5 points. It's the lone game projected to exceed 50 in what Vegas anticipates will be a relatively low-scoring week around the NFL. In other words, this is Week 11's premier game for fantasy leaguers to target. ... Continue to ride Nick Foles while he's hot. Challenging defenses vertically and winning, Foles has compiled a pristine 16:0 TD-to-INT ratio on the season, with a 17th touchdown on a scramble. Foles even padded his Week 10 stats with eight carries for 38 yards. The only fantasy quarterbacks I'd play over Foles this week are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and RG3. The Redskins rank 26th in pass defense and have permitted the fourth most passing touchdowns in football. ... LeSean McCoy also appears set up for Week 11 success. Shady stung Washington for 189 total yards and a score in these clubs' Opening Day meeting, and is now coming off his most promising rushing effort (155 yards, 6.2 YPC) since the season's first month. The Redskins' No. 18 run defense has silver plattered an NFC-high 12 rushing touchdowns. ... Foles' target distribution through seven appearances (four starts): DeSean Jackson 30; Riley Cooper 22; Jason Avant 21; McCoy 16; Zach Ertz 15; Brent Celek 11; Bryce Brown and Jeff Maehl 7.
The No. 4 fantasy receiver behind Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, and Demaryius Thomas on the season, D-Jax has registered stat lines of 7-132-1, 6-64-2, 3-21, 5-150-1, and 4-80-1 in the five 2013 games where Foles has attempted at least 18 passes. ... Cooper's numbers in those same games: 0-0; 4-120-1; 6-88; 5-139-3; 3-102-2. Cooper should be treated as a high-ceiling WR3. Foles has shown a willingness to target Cooper when "covered," and he is winning the battles with a 6-foot-3, 224-pound frame. ... The Redskins have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends, but Celek and Ertz are weekly shots in the dark. Ertz played 34 snaps in Week 10 and wasn't targeted. Celek played 51 downs but blocked on 37 of them, per Pro Football Focus. He finished with one seven-yard catch. ... The definition of a no-ceiling fantasy player, slot receiver Avant last scored a touchdown in Week 3 and is averaging 24.6 yards in the seven games since.
Score Prediction: Redskins 28, Eagles 24
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $7,500 Fantasy Football league for Week 11. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $1,500. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
Cleveland @ Cincinnati
Since a flukish three-game hot stretch, sputtering Andy Dalton has completed 52 of his last 99 passes (52.5%) for 576 yards (5.82 YPA) and a 2:6 TD-to-INT ratio with a seventh turnover on a lost fumble. Both touchdowns came on tipped throws, and Dalton has absorbed ten sacks over his last two starts. He is who we thought he was. Now facing Cleveland's top-ten pass defense highlighted by shutdown corner Joe Haden, Dalton is a two-QB-league play only in Week 11. ... Haden helped hold A.J. Green to 51 yards on seven grabs in these clubs' Week 4 meeting. I'd keep betting on Green as an every-week WR1, but Cincinnati's offense has a tendency to tank when Green isn't producing at an especially high level, and that is a possibility this week. ... Dalton's target distribution the past five weeks: Green 60, Marvin Jones 33, Mohamed Sanu 28, Giovani Bernard 27, Tyler Eifert 25, Jermaine Gresham 19, Andrew Hawkins 2, BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1. ... With stat lines of 4-66-0 and 1-2 during Dalton's two-week crash to Earth, Jones has devolved into another rotational role player in the Bengals' passing offense behind target monster Green. Sanu is still starting over him, and Jones has played 61.4% of the snaps. Jones remains an intriguing, if low-end WR3 play due to this week's plus matchup. With Haden a virtual lock to shadow Green all over the field, Jones will tangle with a combination of Chris Owens and Buster Skrine. Skrine has struggled mightily all season, while Owens has been average. ... Despite his "starting" job, Sanu has remained thoroughly ineffective with five drops on the season, zero touchdowns, and a 34.2 yards-per-game average. He's waiver-wire fodder in 12-team leagues.
Yet to play more than seven snaps in either of his two appearances since returning from short-term I.R., Hawkins is a WR5/6 in 14- and 16-team leagues. ... With Gresham due back from his Week 10 groin injury, Eifert will resume middling to low-end TE2 value versus Cleveland. The Browns are 17th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Eifert saw ten targets with Gresham inactive last week, but won't be a good bet for more than six on Sunday. ... We've seen trends like this emerge briefly before proving non-predictive in a matter of one week, but over the Bengals' last two games Bernard has handled 35 touches compared to Green-Ellis' 30, with 21 of Law Firm's coming on Week 9 rushing attempts. Gio's snap percentage during that two-game span is 57.6 to Green-Ellis' 36.4. Bernard is the No. 7 fantasy running back over the last three weeks. Although somewhat boom or bust on a weekly basis, Bernard offers high-ceiling flex value in standard leagues and is a cinch RB2 in PPR. ... Run-defense matchups matter more for Law Firm than Bernard because the Bengals bang Green-Ellis in between the tackles, whereas they get Gio out in space. BJGE has an imposing Week 11 matchup against the Browns' top-six run defense. Ray Horton's group is holding opponents to 3.56 YPC, the fourth stingiest clip in football.
Based on recent performance, I fully expected Jason Campbell's quarterback insertion to take an axe to Cleveland's offensive production. I clearly underestimated the coaching job of which Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski were capable with a 32-year-old journeyman. Getting the football out quicker than ever before, historically sack-prone Campbell absorbed just three in back-to-back daunting matchups with Kansas City and Baltimore's defenses. In two starts, he's completed 45-of-71 passes (63.4%) for 555 yards (7.82 YPA) and a 5:0 TD-to-INT ratio with 37 rushing yards. Campbell didn't get the ball to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron as regularly as fantasy owners would've liked in Weeks 8-9, but now returns from a bye that gave Campbell an extended opportunity to hone his "rapport" with Cleveland's first-stringers. Facing a depleted Bengals pass defense minus its top pass rusher (Geno Atkins) and cover corner (Leon Hall), Campbell is squarely on the QB2 radar. And arrows are pointing up on the fantasy outlooks of his two best pass catchers. ... Campbell's target distribution on the year: Gordon 17; Davone Bess 14; Greg Little 13; Chris Ogbonnaya and Cameron 10; Fozzy Whittaker 6; Willis McGahee 2. ... Gordon owners should treat him like Vincent Jackson. He is an explosive, at-times dominant talent with some lingering quarterback question marks, but a boom-or-bust WR2 who can only be benched by owners truly loaded at wide receiver. Gordon will run most of his Week 11 routes against Bengals RCB Pacman Jones. I like Gordon's chances of winning that battle more than once on Sunday.
In Cleveland's pre-bye tilt with Baltimore, Little set a single-game career high with seven catches, and his 122 yards were a personal best since December of 2011. In forward-looking terms, it's hard to take those one-game stats seriously for a third-year receiver with such a lackluster track record. Little is worth adding in 16-team leagues, but I'd resist chasing his last box score into Week 11. ... In that same contest, No. 3 receiver Bess scored two TDs on three targets. Bess had gone 11 games without an end-zone trip entering the Ravens tilt. Chase the fluke scores at your own risk. ... Campbell has always been good about getting the rock to his tight ends, like Zach Miller in Oakland, and Chris Cooley and Fred Davis in Washington. So there's no great explanation for Cameron's underwhelming stat lines (4-81, 1-4) in Campbell's two starts. Although Cameron's fantasy value has taken an obvious hit since the Brian Hoyer era, he's still in the back-end TE1 mix with high-end athleticism and reliable hands. Cameron ate up a healthier Bengals defense in Week 4 for ten catches, 91 yards, and a touchdown. ... Understandably frustrated with dead-legged McGahee (2.62 YPC), Norv pledged during the bye week to give fullback/blitz protector Ogbonnaya more carries going forward. Whittaker will stay involved as a situational passing-game back. Cleveland's backfield is best left avoided by fantasy owners against Cincy's top-nine run defense, but Ogbonnaya would be the best pick if forced to choose from the three.
Score Prediction: Bengals 23, Browns 17
Detroit @ Pittsburgh
Set up to be an elite stretch-run fantasy difference maker, Reggie Bush has 197 yards on his last 35 carries (5.63 YPC) and on Sunday takes on a Steelers defense that ranks 29th versus the run with 12 rushing scores allowed through nine games. Only Jacksonville has given up more. Start Bush as a top-five RB1. ... Pass defense has been the strength of Steelers DC Dick LeBeau's unit this year, but Matthew Stafford is an every-week top-five QB1. He has an 11:4 TD-to-INT ratio over his last four games, adding a 12th score on a scramble. Only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have scored more fantasy quarterback points this season. ... Stafford's target distribution over his last four games: Calvin Johnson 56, Kris Durham 28, Bush 26, Brandon Pettigrew 22, Joseph Fauria 9, Joique Bell 8, Jeremy Ross 6. ... Pittsburgh has been somewhat stingy versus opposing No. 1 wideouts in recent games, but Megatron isn't just any No. 1 receiver. He's the best the NFL has seen since Jerry Rice. Johnson is on pace to finish as the No. 1 fantasy wideout for a third consecutive season. ... With Nate Burleson (arm) shelved one more week, Durham will get another start at “X” receiver. Even if his talent is limited, Durham has been playing enough snaps and seeing enough balls to warrant bottom-barrel WR3 consideration in PPR leagues. These are Durham's stat lines in his last four starts: 8-83; 5-41; 4-54; 1-5-1. Stafford's college teammate, Durham has played 88.3% of the Lions' offensive snaps during that stretch.
Pittsburgh is 18th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, giving Detroit's Fauria-Pettigrew combo a middling matchup. TD-dependent part-timer Fauria isn't involved on offense beyond red-zone packages. Pettigrew plays a lot more downs, but lacks playmaking ability and is 27th in tight end scoring. ... Behind only Adrian Peterson, there isn't a running back I'd rather own over the final six weeks of the fantasy season than Bush. At the same time, I wouldn't feel comfortable selling the farm for Reggie without handcuffing him with Joique Bell. Although Bush has stayed healthy in recent years -- he's missed just two games the past three seasons -- he had slew of early-career injuries and is being used at a voluminous clip. Bush is on pace for career highs in carries (250), all-purpose touches (314), and rushing yards (1,169). And the 6-3 Lions won't back off Bush's workload as they work to secure the NFC North. Bell is a must-hold for Bush owners. Even if you don't own Bush, Bell offers enough injury-dependent upside to stash on your bench.
Although it doesn't always work out exactly as planned, the Steelers are approaching every game nowadays with a run-first mindset in an effort to compensate for poor protection and keep Ben Roethlisberger from taking a beating. Le'Veon Bell has been a legit workhorse, handling at least 18 touches in each of his six rookie-year appearances, including a season-high 25 last week. OC Todd Haley wants to feed this player. Fire up Bell as a high-floor RB2 against a Lions defense coughing up 4.46 yards per carry, the eighth highest average in football. ... Big Ben has some QB1 streamer appeal this week based on the possibility that Stafford, Bush & Co. pour points on LeBeau's defense, forcing Haley to respond with more aggressiveness. Roethlisberger is still best utilized in two-quarterback leagues due to Pittsburgh's run-based approach. The matchup is working in his favor, as Detroit ranks 27th versus the pass and fourth to last in the league in sacks. Despite ample defensive line talent, the Lions' pass rush isn't getting home. ... Ben's target distribution since Le'Veon joined the lineup six games ago: Antonio Brown 63; Emmanuel Sanders 44; Heath Miller 35; Bell 29; Jerricho Cotchery 24; Felix Jones 9; Markus Wheaton 6.
PPR monster Brown ranks first in the NFL in receptions (67), fifth in receiving yards (805), fifth in 20-plus-yard catches (12), and fifth in first-down grabs (40). He's a borderline WR1 in PPR and every-week WR2 in standard. The Lions don't have a cornerback quick enough to cover him. ... Sanders has a favorable matchup, but is a fairly distant second in the pass-game pecking order on a run-first team. He's a weekly dice-roll WR3. Sanders does have 28 targets the past three weeks, tied for sixth most among NFL receivers. Brown's 33 are second behind only A.J. Green (41). ... Fantasy owners trying to chase Cotchery's Weeks 9-10 production will wind up disappointed sooner rather than later, and most likely this week. He's scored four touchdowns over his last two games, but is averaging 3.6 targets per week in the months of October and November. More explosive Wheaton will soon begin playing increased snaps. ... Miller caught a tight end screen for his lone reception of Week 10, and it was painful to see him try to run. Coming off a triple-knee ligament tear, Miller seems to be getting worse as the weeks go by. The Lions are just 25th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. ... Don't bother handcuffing Le'Veon for the stretch run. Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones are sharing backup duties equally at this point.
Score Prediction: Lions 26, Steelers 20
Baltimore @ Chicago
Ravens-Bears has a 46-point over-under, fifth highest among 15 Week 11 games. Favoring Chicago by three, Vegas' prognosticators have a lot of faith in Josh McCown under the guidance of QB Whisperer Marc Trestman. Despite all of McCown's to-date success, he's a tough sell beyond two-quarterback leagues this week. Baltimore has permitted just nine passing TDs over its last eight games and is tied for third in sacks. ... McCown's target distribution on the year: Brandon Marshall 22; Alshon Jeffery 17; Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett 11; Earl Bennett 5; Marquess Wilson 2; Michael Bush 1. ... McCown has kept Marshall afloat as a WR1 and Jeffery as a WR2/3, and Trestman's quick-out attack sets up both for heavy helpings of Week 11 targets even if Jay Cutler's (ankle) absence caps their big-play potential. Trestman has been calling a near-even number of plays for Marshall and Jeffery, his clear Nos. 1 and 2 pass-game options. Even with Cutler at the helm, Marshall was targeted 71 times with Jeffery a close-behind 67. ... Martellus has a gloomier Week 11 outlook against a Ravens defense allowing the fourth fewest receptions to tight ends. I'd view him as a TD-dependent, low-end TE1. ... Although Forte's Week 10 game was his slowest of the year (49 scoreless yards), he received 20-plus touches for the sixth time this season and remains locked in as an RB1. Only Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and LeSean McCoy have scored more fantasy running back points than Forte in 2013. Baltimore's No. 10 run defense coughed up 131 total yards and a touchdown to Cincinnati backs last week. Trestman employs Forte in ways similar to the Bengals' usage of Gio Bernard.
Already scraping the barrel at 26th in yards allowed and 25th in points, the Bears lost top CB Charles Tillman (triceps) this week to injured reserve. Chicago offers Joe Flacco an inviting matchup because it can't pressure the passer and is now shorthanded in the back end. With multiple touchdown throws in three of his last four outings, Flacco is worth a look as a desperation QB1 streamer. ... If a Week 11 date with Chicago's sieve-ish run defense can't jump start Ray Rice's bust of a season, nothing will. In Weeks 6-10, Alfred Morris/Roy Helu, washed-up Brandon Jacobs, Eddie Lacy/James Starks, and Reggie Bush combined to paste the depleted Bears for 537 yards and seven TDs on 94 runs (5.71 YPC). ... Coach John Harbaugh told reporters this week the Ravens are willing to ride the hot hand in the backfield, so keep a close eye on Bernard Pierce and consider him a flex option in 14- and 16-team leagues. Pierce has at least six carries in five straight games. In last week's overtime win over Cincinnati, Pierce totaled 43 yards on ten touches compared to Rice's anemic 56 yards on 24 all-purpose attempts. Pro Football Focus has credited Pierce with 14 broken tackles as a rusher this year. Rice has five.
Flacco's target distribution over his last four games: Torrey Smith 32; Marlon Brown 23; Jacoby Jones 20; Rice 19; Tandon Doss and Dallas Clark 13, Ed Dickson 9; Pierce 6; Deonte Thompson 4. ... Tillman's loss benefits Smith, who busted a four-game touchdown slump with a seven-yard second-quarter score last week against the Bengals. Still on pace for career highs in catches (73) and yards (1,339), Smith is a high-end fantasy WR2. ... Baltimore's pass-catching corps behind Smith is a weekly crapshoot. Brown is ordinarily the best bet, though he's failed to clear 55 yards in all but two games this season. 6-foot-5, 216-pound Brown does have a favorable on-paper matchup this week against Bears 5-foot-11, 188-pound slot corner Isaiah Frey. ... Third receiver Jones is playing outside in three-receiver sets, bookending Smith with Brown inside. Averaging 28.4 yards per game, Jones is going to spend most of Sunday's snaps in the coverage of LCB Tim Jennings, who is Chicago's top cover man with Tillman on the shelf. ... Clark has flukily scored a touchdown in three of his last four games despite topping 14 receiving yards in just one of them. Clark is a 34-year-old part-time player in Baltimore's offense. He isn't worth streaming.
Score Prediction: Ravens 23, Bears 17
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
Mike James' fractured ankle on the heels of Doug Martin's year-ending shoulder tear leaves the Bucs' backfield to a committee of usual blitz-pickup specialist Brian Leonard, and versatile scatback Bobby Rainey. A useful if plodding hybrid-type player, Leonard will be the lead runner and a legit 20-touch candidate against a Falcons defense that ranks 27th versus the run and permits 4.60 YPC, the sixth highest average in football. Leonard lacks a high ceiling because he won't break big plays, but he generally gains what's blocked and excels in the pass game. Think of a slightly smaller version of Peyton Hillis. ... “That’s probably how we’ll have to go -- ham and egging with those two guys and see what we can do," coach Greg Schiano explained of his running game this week. Rainey broke a 31-yard run in last week's win over Miami, and reached pay dirt from a yard out one play later. Don't take the goal-line plunge as a sign of things to come. More of a deep-league fantasy prospect than starter Leonard, Rainey is likelier to fill a change-of-pace back role going forward. ... Mike Glennon is worth a look in two-quarterback leagues just because his opponent has been so porous through the air. 25th in pass defense and tied for 27th in sacks, Atlanta has allowed enemy signal callers to combine for a 19:6 TD-to-INT ratio and NFC-high 103.5 passer rating through nine games. The Falcons simply don't have much talent on defense. Glennon touched them up for 256 yards and a pair of scores in these teams' Week 7 meeting.
Glennon's target distribution on the year: Vincent Jackson 72; Tim Wright 29; Leonard 20; Tiquan Underwood 18; James 11; Chris Owusu 7; Tom Crabtree 5; Rainey 1. ... V-Jax shredded Mike Nolan's Falcons defense for a 10-138-2 line in Week 7. I realize Jackson has strung together three straight slow games since, but he's still leading Tampa in targets on a weekly basis and remains a plug-and-play, if boom-or-bust WR2. He's going to square off with rookie CBs Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant on the majority of Sunday's snaps. ... Underwood has made two starts since Mike Williams (hamstring) landed on I.R., registering box-score lines of 2-29-1 and 3-64. Expect Underwood to spend most of this contest in stationary Falcons LCB Asante Samuel's coverage. You should be able to do better in a WR3 slot at this point in the fantasy season. ... Like Jackson, Wright is dealing with statistical inconsistencies resulting from a run-first offense and up-and-down rookie passer. Wright remains a justifiable TE1 streamer against a Falcons defense surrendering the 14th most fantasy points to tight ends, though it's worth noting he was held to two catches for 15 yards on three targets in Week 7 by Atlanta. Wright is a desperation play.
Matt Ryan has managed 78 completions on his last 125 attempts for 683 yards (5.46 YPA) and a 3:7 TD-to-INT ratio. So fantasy owners are going to need to bank on Ryan's matchup overcoming his poor recent performance. Over its last five games, Tampa's defense has been shredded by Nick Foles, receiver-depleted Ryan, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill for a combined 111-of-157 passing (70.7%), 1,236 yards (7.87 YPA) and a 12:3 TD-to-INT ratio, with three more scores on quarterback runs. Even without Roddy White, Ryan touched up these same Bucs for 273 yards and three scores in Week 7. Ryan is a borderline QB1 for Week 11. ... Ryan's target distribution in White's Week 10 return to the lineup: Harry Douglas 8; Jacquizz Rodgers 7; Tony Gonzalez 5 and Steven Jackson 5; White and Jason Snelling 4; Darius Johnson 2; Drew Davis 1. ... The Bucs get dismantled weekly in the slot, where they coughed up Rishard Matthews' career game (11-120-2) last Monday night. Douglas ate up Tampa for a season-high 149 yards in the Week 7 game, scoring his only touchdown of 2013. Assuming his knee checks out – Douglas did not practice on Thursday – he’ll be a strong WR3. ... The Bucs began using Darrelle Revis in more press-man coverage the last two weeks. They've since held opposing No. 1 wideouts Golden Tate (3-29) and Mike Wallace (4-15) in check. The future is still bright for White, but the odds are against him paying off as a fantasy start this particular week.
Falcons OC Dirk Koetter told the media with a straight face this week that he will lean more on his lifeless run game going forward, perhaps in an effort to limit the exposure of Atlanta's leaky pass protection. A straight-line power back without shift or burst at this stage of his career, Jackson has managed a pathetic 74 scoreless yards on 33 carries (2.24 YPC) since returning from a lengthy hamstring injury three games ago. You'd be hard pressed to watch a Falcons game these days and came away not believing Quizz Rodgers would be a superior tailback option. S-Jax is a worrisome, low-floor flex against Tampa Bay's top-five run defense. ... Even if he's out-performing Jackson on a weekly basis, Rodgers simply isn't getting the ball enough to merit serious flex consideration beyond deep leagues. Quizz is averaging eight touches per game since S-Jax's return. Mike Smith's coaching staff has never envisioned Rodgers as a true lead NFL runner. ... Held to 30 yards on two receptions in these teams' Week 7 bout, Gonzalez (toe) is expected to be a game-time decision Sunday at Tampa Bay. If Gonzalez plays, he will be a low-end TE1. If he doesn't, the Falcons would turn to a rotation of Levine Toilolo and Chase Coffman.
Score Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Falcons 21
NY Jets @ Buffalo
Skepticism was advised when Bills coach Doug Marrone declared C.J. Spiller's high ankle sprain "behind him" entering Week 10. Indeed, the ankle remained problematic against the Steelers as Spiller limped repeatedly following carries and played only 32.8% of Buffalo's offensive snaps. Now taking on a Jets defense that ranks No. 1 versus the run and held him to ten yards on 11 touches in Week 3, Spiller must be treated as a boom-or-bust flex play. I always lean toward playing Spiller over benching him because he has week-winning running ability, but clearly he is not out of the woods. ... Fred Jackson had more success in the Week 3 game, though aside from one 59-yard tackle-breaking run Jackson was limited to 50 scoreless yards on ten touches. Relying on F-Jax to break long gains is an unreliable way to play fantasy football. Jackson is still involved in the passing game and red zone enough to be worth serious flex-play consideration. He's Buffalo's go-to back in scoring position and never a terrible bet for a goal-line plunge. ... E.J. Manuel was awful in last week's loss to the Steelers. Obviously rusty in Bills playcaller Nathaniel Hackett's attempt at a controlled, managed offense, Manuel missed receivers high and wide and failed to move the chains. In the Week 3 matchup, Rex Ryan's defense sacked Manuel eight times as the rookie completed 19-of-42 throws (45.2%). The Weeks 3 and 10 games have been Manuel's worst of his rookie year to date. I don't think he's a reliable two-quarterback-league play.
A factor that should further discourage two-QB leaguers from leaning on Manuel is the banged-up state of his receiver corps. Robert Woods (ankle) has been ruled out. Stevie Johnson (groin) is a game-time decision at best. It's conceivable that Manuel's Week 11 three-receiver package will consist of Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham, and Chris Hogan. ... Manuel's target distribution on the season: Johnson 48; Woods 33; Scott Chandler 27; Jackson 22; Graham 19; Spiller 14; Chris Gragg 6; Goodwin 5; Tashard Choice 2. ... Gragg is a tight end for 14-team leaguers and Dynasty owners to monitor. Gragg's six Week 10 targets ranked second on the Bills behind only Johnson, and he caught four for 25 yards and a score. A 2013 Combine standout, Gragg has speed to stretch the vertical seam. ... The Jets have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends, putting Chandler on the low end of TE1 streamer lists. He's averaging 43.1 yards per game. ... If Johnson doesn't play against New York, I'm taking my chances with Goodwin before Graham. Goodwin has outplayed his fellow situational deep threat throughout the year. With 4.21 wheels, Goodwin has enough deep speed to get behind Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner once or twice.
Friday Update: Johnson missed a third straight practice Friday and has been ruled out for Week 11. The Bills will likely start Goodwin and Graham outside, with Hogan at slot receiver. Fire up the Jets' fantasy defense. Hogan, nicknamed "7-Eleven" in Miami for his knack for identifying soft spots in zones, is a deep PPR sleeper this week. Goodwin would be the best bet for a big play.
The 5-4 Jets return from their bye rested with an emerging identity. Chris Ivory has gained 296 yards on his last 65 runs (4.55 YPC), and is averaging 19.7 touches over his last three games. "We know if he’s healthy, this young man has the ability to be a punch-you-in-the-face type back," coach Rex Ryan stated following the Jets' Week 9 win. Ivory's workloads have been inconsistent enough that he's only a flex play against Buffalo's No. 23 run defense, but an intriguing one. Ivory has demonstrated BeastModian run skills in games where the Jets have committed to him. ... Best suited for a change-up and third-down role, Bilal Powell has averaged 8.7 touches during that same three-game stretch. He's low-ceiling bench depth. ... Geno Smith obviously isn't a QB1, but there are reasons to like him as a two-quarterback-league start at Buffalo. He's getting back Santonio Holmes from an extended hamstring injury and Kellen Winslow from suspension, and will now be surrounded by a somewhat formidable pass-catching corps. The Bills have allowed a league-high 21 passing touchdowns and rank 18th against the pass. Buffalo DC Mike Pettine's defense can still bring enough pressure that Smith shouldn't be given much thought by standard-league streamers. Smith has looked like a franchise quarterback in clean pockets as a rookie, but he's struggled mightily under duress. Only the Chiefs have more sacks than the Bills this season.
Although improving on paper, Jets receivers and tight ends are shaping up as an unpredictable fantasy mess in a theoretically run-first offense with a rookie quarterback. Investing in any of them this week would be a blindfolded shot in the dark. ... With Jeremy Kerley (elbow) expected to miss at least one more game, the Jets' likeliest three-receiver set would have Stephen Hill and Holmes on the perimeter with David Nelson in the slot. If I'm in a PPR league searching for a potentially high volume of catches, I'm eyeballing Nelson. If I'm looking for a chance at a long passing connection, Hill would be the choice with Holmes very close behind. While there is big-play ability here, forecasting which Jets pass catcher is set up for a big day is virtually impossible. Hill (3-108-1) and Holmes (5-154-1) both had monster Week 3s against Buffalo, but did their damage against CB Justin Rogers. Rogers was benched two games later and has not played since. ... The Bills have allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points to tight ends, and the playing-time split between Winslow, Jeff Cumberland, and Zach Sudfeld is up in the air coming off the open date. It's a fantasy situation to avoid in Week 11. Hopefully we'll get some clarity after this game.
Score Prediction: Jets 20, Bills 13
Arizona @ Jacksonville
Arizona emerged from its bye week committed to a timeshare backfield with Rashard Mendenhall operating as BenJarvus Green-Ellis West and Andre Ellington as Gio Bernard. Despite the fact that Ellington has outplayed Mendenhall by a wide margin on a weekly basis, the former handled 13 touches in last Sunday's win over Houston compared to the latter's 14. Ellington played 31 snaps; Mendenhall 28. After the victory, coach Bruce Arians insisted that was "plenty" of work for his explosive rookie. Arians' unwillingness to promote Ellington into a featured role keeps him in flex territory rather than the high-ceiling RB2 Ellington could be on 20 touches a game. Ellington remains an attractive Week 11 fantasy option against the Jaguars' No. 32 run defense. Jacksonville allows 4.64 yards per carry, the fifth highest clip in the league. ... Mendenhall has managed 198 yards on his last 75 carries (2.64 YPC). Ellington has averaged 7.19 YPC this year. Mendenhall will pay off as a flex start against the Jaguars if and only if he scores on a goal-line plunge. He's hit pay dirt twice over his last six games. ... Finally finding something a groove after a slow start in Arizona, Carson Palmer has completed 49 of his last 68 throws (72.1%) for 533 yards (7.84 YPA), five touchdowns, and two interceptions. He's taken four sacks the past two weeks, which qualifies as a win behind Arizona's sieve-like offensive line. Palmer's low ceiling is generally limited to two-quarterback leagues, but you could do worse for a QB1 streamer in Week 11. The Jaguars have an 18:4 TD-to-INT against and rank dead last in sacks. Like pretty much all NFL passers, Palmer does his best work in clean pockets. He should have them Sunday.
Palmer's target distribution during the Cards' two-game winning streak: Larry Fitzgerald 13; Andre Roberts 10; Ellington, Michael Floyd, and Rob Housler 6; Jaron Brown and Jim Dray 2; Jake Ballard and Mendenhall 1. ... Off the injury report and as healthy as he's been since Week 1, Fitz will look to shake off his Week 10 clunker (3-23-0) in the coverage of journeymen RCB Alan Ball and slot CB Will Blackmon. Blackmon has played well this year; Ball not so much. 26th in fantasy wideout scoring, Fitz is a solid WR2 against the Jags. ... Arians talked up Housler this week after his most productive box score (4-57-1) of the year. Housler has been frustratingly inconsistent -- he's been held to 32 or fewer yards in 5-of-7 appearances -- but Jacksonville has allowed the second most fantasy points to tight ends, giving Housler some TE1 streamer appeal. ... Floyd (shoulder) returned to practice on Thursday, which suggests he's on track to play against the Jaguars. Floyd's shoulder sprain was still serious enough to prevent him from finishing last week's game, and Roberts stepped up to pace Arizona in Week 10 receiving (5-72-1). Until clarity is reestablished at the Cardinals' No. 2 receiver position, I'd hold off on starting Floyd or Roberts. In all likelihood, however, Floyd will resume No. 2 pass-game duties at Jacksonville.
Chad Henne played so poorly in the Jaguars' first win of the season last week that coach Gus Bradley had to give him a post-game public vote of confidence. Clearly not a starting-caliber QB, Henne has only been mildly productive this season in garbage-time mode. He didn't get any of it against the Titans and may not get much of it at home versus 4-5 Arizona. Henne is not a top-24 quarterback option in Week 11. ... Henne's target distribution since Justin Blackmon's year-ending suspension: Marcedes Lewis 6; Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Brown, and Cecil Shorts 4; Jordan Todman and Ace Sanders 1. ... Lewis could be a sneaky FanDuel play. He's as cheap as it gets and Arizona's defense has allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends. Lewis would be a Hail Mary TE1 streamer. ... Expected to draw Patrick Peterson in coverage all day long, Shorts should be viewed as a WR3. Shorts has been a garbage time-dependent fantasy commodity, and on top of drawing a difficult matchup, there are no guarantees he'll get much pass-happy comeback mode versus Arizona. ... Brown has a more attractive Week 11 matchup versus burnable Cardinals LCB Jerraud Powers, but is a low-end WR3 option after disappointing in last week's box score (2-40). ... Jones-Drew isn't winning any fantasy titles this year, but is seeing enough volume and passing-game involvement nowadays to be worth firing up as a low-end RB2/flex, even against Arizona's No. 3 run defense. Jones-Drew has handled at least 22 touches in three of his last four games.
Score Prediction: Cardinals 21, Jaguars 16
Oakland @ Houston
It happened again. For his third straight start, Case Keenum opened a game blazing hot before petering out in the second half as his opponent dialed up a bevy of blitzes in last week's loss at Arizona. Keenum is still learning how to deal with manufactured pressure, but his aggressiveness-athleticism combo gives him borderline QB1 appeal in plus matchups like this. Shredded in the air because they lack edge rushers and are rag-tag in the secondary, the Raiders rank 22nd versus the pass with an 18:6 TD-to-INT ratio allowed to enemy signal callers. They're 31st in completion rate permitted (67.6%) and fourth worst in passer rating against (102.5). Perhaps defenses will eventually "figure out" that Keenum simply can't function under pressure, but I'd bet against him bottoming out this week. Through three appearances, he has a 7:0 TD-to-INT ratio, 274 passing-yard average, and 49 rushing yards. ... Keenum's target distribution: Andre Johnson 31; DeAndre Hopkins 21; Garrett Graham 17; DeVier Posey 12; Ben Tate 10; Lestar Jean 3; Dennis Johnson 1. ... Andre's stat lines in Keenum's starts: 4-89, 9-229-3, 5-37-2. As Keenum is willing to throw the ball up for grabs in tight coverage, Johnson's touchdown production has taken off. (Matt Schaub would never do that.) 8.2% of Johnson's career TD catches have come in Keenum's last two starts. ... Hopkins has a plus matchup versus struggling Raiders LCB Mike Jenkins, who has allowed a touchdown in each of the last two games and rates 86th-of-106 in Pro Football Focus' cornerback grades. Hopkins's ceiling is limited as Johnson's second fiddle, but he's a viable WR3.
Graham continues to be a major fantasy disappointment in the absence of Owen Daniels, who won't return from a non-displaced fibula fracture before Week 14. Graham's stat lines in his five starts since Daniels' injury: 3-15; 2-25; 3-38; 4-46; 2-18. No touchdowns. ... 2012 third-round pick Posey is handling third wideout duties in Houston. Without a score or game above 42 yards on the season, Posey is more of a real-life than fantasy contributor. ... I realize the box scores may tell a different story, but Tate looked an awful lot better in last week's loss to the Cardinals than he did the Sunday night before against Indy. No longer running to avoid contact, there were flashes of the old power-back Tate in the desert. He was also more involved in the passing game and upped his snap percentage from 71.0 to 78.3. If Tate can maintain durability playing through four cracked ribs, he'll have stretch-run RB2 potential. View Tate as a low-end RB2/flex in this difficult matchup with Oakland's top-seven run defense. ... Dennis Johnson remains a recommended lottery-ticket stash as next man up behind a playing-hurt starter, but is just a change of pace for now. Johnson also didn't help his playing-time cause by blowing a blitz pickup that got Keenum crunched against Arizona. Undrafted rookie Johnson has gained 57 yards on 13 touches over the last two games.
Either trotting out UDFA rookie Matt McGloin or banged-up Terrelle Pryor (MCL) at quarterback this week, the Raiders a virtual lock to lean on the run game. They're a run-first club in the first place, ranking 11th in the NFL in rushing attempts and 29th in passes. Even if Rashad Jennings isn't a great bet for a touchdown -- he's scored once all year -- Darren McFadden's (hamstring) every-down back replacement is set up for heavy volume. In the four games this year where McFadden has either suffered an early injury or missed altogether, Jennings has averaged 19 touches for 110 yards. Now taking on Houston's middling, 16th-ranked run defense, Jennings is a mid-range to high-end RB2. ... Raiders OC Greg Olson continued his refusal to make Marcel Reece a big part of Oakland's offense in terms of touches last week. With McFadden inactive, Reece didn't receive a single carry, catching 3-of-3 targets for 30 yards. Reece remains a change-up back and situational lead blocker, leaving him bereft of flex value.
Friday Update: Raiders beat writers universally emerged from Friday's practice anticipating McGloin will start at quarterback after Pryor was observed going through drills at less than half speed. Facing the top-rated pass defense in football, Oakland pass catchers can't be trusted against the host Texans in Week 11 fantasy lineups.
Over his last four games, Pryor is 61-of-120 passing (50.8%) for 714 yards (5.95 YPA) and a 1:8 TD-to-INT ratio. He's taken 18 sacks. Playing hurt and regressing, it's fair to wonder if Pryor will have a short leash at Houston in the event he does start. The Texans rank No. 1 in pass defense and are holding enemy quarterbacks to the NFL's fifth stingiest completion rate (56.8%). The Raiders' QB situation should be avoided in Week 11 fantasy lineup decisions. ... Here is Pryor's 2013 target distribution just in case he starts and you're desperate enough to gamble on a Raiders pass catcher: Denarius Moore 59; Rod Streater 42; Mychal Rivera 23; McFadden and Reece 17; Jennings 16; Brice Butler 13; Jacoby Ford 11. ... Moore and Streater are Oakland's lone fantasy-viable pass catchers, and I wouldn't want to play either in such a difficult matchup with major quarterback uncertainty. In 20 Week 9 snaps off the bench against Philadelphia, McGloin went 7-of-15 for 87 yards. In four preseason appearances, he went 20-of-35 (57.1%) for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions with a fumble lost. In fantasy leagues, I'd rather bet on the Texans' defense than any member of the Raiders' passing game this week.
Score Prediction: Texans 24, Raiders 17
4:05PM ET Game
San Diego @ Miami
The Week 10 performance of San Diego's entire passing game was a disappointment because the Chargers fired up 35 runs compared to 29 passes and spread the wealth among seven pass catchers, none of whom topped 62 yards. It's not a sign of things to come. The Bolts are playing top-four passing offense and Philip Rivers leads the NFL in completion rate (71.6%). Only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, and Matthew Stafford have thrown more touchdown passes than Rivers' 18. Now taking on Miami's middling 16th-ranked pass defense, Rivers is a top-eight QB1, though I'd play Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles over him this week. Miami is limiting enemy signal callers to a 10:12 TD-to-INT ratio and 76.1 passer rating, the seventh lowest in football. ... Rivers' target distribution over his last six games: Antonio Gates 52; Keenan Allen 49; Danny Woodhead 42; Vincent Brown 33; Eddie Royal 26; Ladarius Green and Ryan Mathews 7. ... Gates has an appetizing matchup versus a Dolphins defense allowing the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends. Gates is the No. 7 fantasy tight end this year. ... Allen runs most of his pass routes against right cornerbacks and should get the better of Fins RCB Nolan Carroll. The Dolphins do not move LCB Brent Grimes around to shadow opposing No. 1 wideouts. Lock in Allen as a WR2. ... Expect Brown to get the Grimes treatment on Sunday afternoon. Having cleared 50 yards in just one game all season, Brown is waiver-wire fodder in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Dolphins OLBs Koa Misi and Philip Wheeler are poor in pass coverage; Wheeler is 34th-of-35 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' 4-3 outside linebacker cover grades. With five touchdowns over his last six games and a respectable 77 total-yard per-game average during that span, Woodhead is an RB2 in PPR and locked-in standard-league flex. ... Royal has seven touchdowns this season because the Bolts call a lot of screens and rub routes for him in the red zone, but he's averaging 37.6 receiving yards per game over the past seven weeks. He'll burn a hole in your fantasy lineup if you start him and he doesn't score. ... Miami has been gutted by Patriots, Bucs, and Bengals tailbacks for 441 yards and five TDs on 96 carries (4.59 YPC) the past three weeks. Now playing on a short week following last Monday night's heartbreaking loss to Tampa Bay, the Fins present an intriguing matchup for Mathews. With 305 yards and two touchdowns on his last 64 runs (4.77 YPC), Mathews is performing at a high level and shouldn't have trouble paying off as a flex if the Chargers grab a lead. Mathews' downfall is his lack of passing-game involvement. On the off chance Miami controls this game, Mathews will wind up spending long stretches on the bench.
So much for the Dolphins' Weeks 8-9 commitment to the run. Overmatched OC Mike Sherman abandoned his rushing attack entirely in last Monday's embarrassing loss to the previously 0-8 Bucs, firing off 44 Ryan Tannehill dropbacks compared to 14 runs as a team. It isn't just the committee with Daniel Thomas that sporadically torpedoes Lamar Miller's fantasy weeks; it is Sherman and coach Joe Philbin's willingness to disown their run game at the drop of a hat. Miller has plus talent and a favorable matchup with San Diego's 20th-ranked run defense, but his usage is beholden to the incalculable whims of his pass-oriented playcallers. Miller is just a flex option. I'd play Ryan Mathews over him this week. ... Further damaging the outlook of both Miller and Thomas is Miami's O-Line depletion following the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin fiasco. The Fins were dominated in the trenches by a middle-of-the-road Bucs front four in Week 10. Thomas is waiver-wire material. ... The Chargers present an ideal matchup for Tannehill because they lack pass rushers to expose his expansion-level pass protection and can't cover in the back end. LCB Shareece Wright has been a disastrous first-year starter and free-agent flop RCB Derek Cox is now getting benched on a weekly basis. I don't think it's crazy to consider Tannehill as a FanDuel start or QB1 streamer. He won't get a weaker defense the rest of the way.
Tannehill's target distribution since the Dolphins' Week 6 bye: Mike Wallace 35; Brian Hartline 30; Rishard Matthews 25; Charles Clay 22; Miller 13; Michael Egnew 5; Thomas 4. ... The one smart thing Sherman did in Tampa was attack struggling slot CB Leonard Johnson with Matthews, who recorded career highs in catches (11), targets (14), yards (120), and touchdowns (2) in the 22-19 loss. Mathews is on the 14- and 16-team league radar now, but he's not trustworthy in standard settings. He'd never reached 50 yards in a game before Week 10. ... Wallace has been and will continue to be a boom-or-bust WR3 play, but I like his chances of booming against whipping-boy Wright in this game. ... Matthews' emergence -- assuming it continues even at 60% of last week's production -- is going to hurt Hartline and Clay. Hartline is a strict possession receiver dependent on running high-percentage routes. Matthews is also a high-percentage route runner in the slot. I'd write off Hartline as a WR3 option this week. ... The Dolphins oddly scaled back Clay's passing-game usage during their Week 6 bye in favor of using him on more short-yardage carries. His targets have been inconsistent and he hasn't scored a touchdown in three games. Clay is fading into low-ceiling TE2 territory. San Diego is 22nd in both catches and yards allowed to tight ends.
Score Prediction: Chargers 24, Dolphins 21
4:25PM ET Games
Green Bay @ NY Giants
Fantasy owners of Andre Brown shouldn't kick themselves for not starting him in Brown's 30-carry return from short-term I.R. Not even Brown himself anticipated that heavy a workload, but he got it due to a combination of Brandon Jacobs' (hamstring) inactivity and Peyton Hillis' early fumble against Oakland. What Brown owners can expect going forward is a legit every-down back role with goal-line carries. Even behind the Giants' disappointing offensive line, Brown has high-end RB2 upside based on volume and touchdown potential. The Packers are playing top-13 run defense, but have been gashed the past two weeks by Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy for a combined 280 yards on 49 carries (5.71 YPC). ... Hillis may stay involved as Brown's "breather" back, but his fantasy window has slammed shut. He's just a low-ceiling handcuff at this stage. ... Jacobs couldn't shake the hamstring woes before picking up a knee injury recently. He can safely be dropped. ... With their run game back on track, look for the Giants to revert to ground-heavy game plans, taking downfield shots off play action. It's a way to get Victor Cruz back on track and limit the punishment Eli Manning has been taking behind a porous front five. Eli does have an attractive enough Week 11 matchup to be viewed as a high-end QB2. Green Bay has allowed enemy passers to pile up a 17:3 TD-to-INT ratio and 99.5 QB rating, fifth highest in the league.
Eli's 2013 target distribution: Cruz 87; Hakeem Nicks 71; Rueben Randle 48; Brandon Myers 39; Hillis 13; Brown 3. ... With Brown's presence setting up vertical bombs, Cruz is the premier buy-low trade target in fantasy football. Cruz owners are surely anxious because he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4. With double-digit targets in back-to-back weeks, however, Cruz is far likelier to pick it up than flatline. ... Randle has been and will continue to be a boom-or-bust WR3. He has 50 or fewer yards in 6-of-9 games this season, and 75 or more in the other three. This may sound odd, but I'd actually like Randle better this week if Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) were playing. In that scenario, fantasy owners could hang their hats on a pass-happy shootout. With Scott Tolzien engineering Green Bay's offense, Randle is less appealing. ... Lacking separation skills and scoreless on the year, Nicks is another dice-roll WR3. It's as if his lower-body explosion has vanished. ... Thoroughly ineffective, Myers is being weeded out of the Giants' passing attack. He's been held catch-less in three of his last six games. The Packers have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to tight ends, but it's difficult to even get behind Myers as a desperation streamer.
Down to their third-string quarterback following Seneca Wallace's season-ending groin injury, the Packers will saddle up Eddie Lacy for another high-volume workday in this Week 11 clash with the Giants' No. 11 run defense. Although Lacy is coming off his slowest statistical performance since Week 2 (84 scoreless yards), fantasy owners can bank on his every-down role with 20-plus carries as a virtual lock. Lacy is an RB1. ... The G-Men have been more vulnerable in the air than on the ground this year because they generate little up-front pressure and can't mask glaring back-end deficiencies. While that bodes well for No. 1 passing-game option Jordy Nelson, former Wisconsin UDFA Scott Tolzien would be a stretch in two-QB leagues. Coach Mike McCarthy will attempt to "hide" Tolzien with a foundation power run game and high-percentage throws rather than testing vertically. Green Bay is simply trying to weather the storm and stay competitive until Aaron Rodgers' (clavicle) return, which probably won't happen before Week 13. McCarthy knows their best chance to keep scoring close is to lean on Lacy as opposed to practice squad-type Tolzien. ... This was Tolzien's target distribution off the bench in Week 10: Jarrett Boykin 13; Nelson 9; James Jones 6; Andrew Quarless 4; Brandon Bostick 2; John Kuhn, Lacy, and Myles White 1.
A one-handed bobble cost Nelson a Week 10 touchdown grab as he finished with 56 yards on six catches in Green Bay's loss to Chicago. Make no mistake: Nelson remains an every-week starter and will be the focal point of the passing attack almost every time Tolzien drops back to pass on Sunday. Nelson will resume top-five WR1 value when Rodgers comes back. Until then, he's a WR2. I noticed a lot of anxiety among Jordy's fantasy owners this week. Savvy forward thinkers will take Nelson off his current owners' hands wherever possible, eyeballing Rodgers' return and fantasy trophies. ... Boykin's targets from Tolzien are likelier than not to prove deceiving because they'd formed something of a rapport on the second-team offense, and Tolzien is now practicing with the ones. I wouldn't want to trust Boykin in spite of last week's box score. He's a dicey WR3. ... The best way to view Jones is as a touchdown-dependent fantasy bet. With Tolzien at the helm, Green Bay's offense won't be able to support more than one or perhaps two fantasy-viable pass catchers. I'd play Jones over Boykin, but he's another shaky WR3. ... Change-of-pace back James Starks is useful to the Packers because he's capable of gaining blocked yards when Lacy needs to catch his breath. Starks lacks fantasy usefulness as more than a Lacy handcuff.
Score Prediction: Packers 21, Giants 20
Minnesota @ Seattle
Sunday's matchup with Minnesota is a cupcake for Russell Wilson. The Vikings have allowed the third most yards and points in football, and rank 29th in pass defense with a league-high 21 touchdown passes allowed. Wilson is a top-five QB1 play in Week 11. Minnesota got torched by Robert Griffin III two Thursdays ago. On fire, Wilson has accounted for ten all-purpose touchdowns over his last four games, with multiple scores in each. ... Since a head-scratching Week 8 decision to limit Marshawn Lynch to eight carries in a near-loss to the Rams, Seattle OC Darrell Bevell has recommitted to his bellcow. Lynch has at least 25 touches in back-to-back games, and has gained 270 yards on his last 45 carries (6.00 YPC). Ride him against Minnesota's No. 17 run defense. ... Wilson's target distribution since Sidney Rice tore his ACL in the second quarter of Week 8: Doug Baldwin 19; Golden Tate 14; Lynch 9; Jermaine Kearse 8; Zach Miller 7; Ricardo Lockette and Luke Willson 2. ... X receiver Tate's playing time and targets will not be affected much by Percy Harvin's (hip) return. Tate plays outside, and Harvin has always primarily been a slot receiver. With three touchdowns and a 76-yard average over his last three games, Tate is an intriguing WR3 versus Minnesota's banged-up, ineffective secondary. The Vikings coughed up a 7-119-1 stat line to Pierre Garcon in Week 10. Like Tate in Seattle, Garcon is Washington's "X" receiver.
Harvin will be on a snap count in his first NFL appearance in over a year, but I like his chances of scoring a touchdown and would strongly consider using him as a WR3 unless I was loaded at receiver. Like Harvin, OC Bevell is formerly of the Vikings' organization. I'd be surprised if he didn't call a red-zone play or two designed for Harvin to score. Harvin will offer stretch-run WR2 upside. ... Baldwin will still see action at Z and slot, but fantasy owners can't expect him to be Seattle's target leader going forward, as he was the past two weeks. With Harvin returning, Baldwin's fantasy arrow is pointing down. He's a low-end WR3 versus Minnesota. ... Jump-ball specialist Kearse will now be fourth through Seattle's wideout rotation. ... The Vikings have allowed the third most fantasy points to tight ends, giving Miller an eye-catching matchup. Miller's production has been putrid throughout 2013 -- he doesn't have a single game over 49 yards --- but he's at least on the streamer radar. ... Each time this season that Seattle has installed its second-team offense at the end of a blowout victory, Christine Michael has been the primary early-down back with Robert Turbin in the third-down/blitz protector role. It happened in Week 3 against Jacksonville, and again in last week's win over Atlanta. This usage continues to indicate Michael would be first in line for first- and second-down carries if Lynch were ever to suffer an injury. Turbin's role would not change. It's why I prefer Michael as a handcuff over Turbin.
The Seahawks rank third in total defense, fourth in points allowed, and second in pass defense. And they are particularly impenetrable at home. So playing any member of Minnesota's Christian Ponder-quarterbacked passing game is not a recommended Week 11 fantasy approach. They'll be bucking the odds if they do something worthwhile in the box score. … Here is Ponder's target distribution on the season, just in case you're desperate enough to roll dice on Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, John Carlson, or Cordarrelle Patterson: Jennings 35, Simpson 32, injured Kyle Rudolph 24, Adrian Peterson 20, Patterson and Carlson 18; Jarius Wright 15, Toby Gerhart 7. Best of luck. ... Returning from a long week to rest whatever might have ailed him around midseason, Peterson has 263 yards and four touchdowns on his last 55 carries (4.78 YPC). Over their last three games, the Seahawks have served up 469 yards on 91 carries (5.15 YPC) to Atlanta, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay. The matchup at CenturyLink Field is daunting for Peterson, but hardly impossible as it may have seemed early in the year. He's a top-six RB1.
Friday Update: After Simpson's DUI arrest, coach Leslie Frazier stated Friday the Vikings will keep him active against Seattle, but Patterson is expected to start at X receiver. Patterson has a boatload of talent and is worth rostering by receiver-needy owners in 12- and 14-team leagues. He'd be an easier sell as a Week 11 sleeper if Minnesota wasn't facing Seattle's suffocating pass defense.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Vikings 13
San Francisco @ New Orleans
Firing on all cylinders, the Saints enter Sunday's game with at least 26 points in six of their last seven games and ranked No. 2 in the NFL in total offense. New Orleans doused a similar-looking Niners defense with 26 points in these teams' meeting last November, and dropped a 32 spot on DC Vic Fangio's group in January of 2012. Combined, Drew Brees is 66-of-104 (63.5%) for 729 yards (7.01 YPA), seven touchdowns, and four interceptions in his last two 49ers games. San Francisco is playing top-six defense this season, but it's hard to stop a train. ... Brees' target distribution since New Orleans' Week 7 bye: Jimmy Graham and Pierre Thomas 20; Lance Moore 15; Marques Colston 14; Kenny Stills 13; Darren Sproles 12; Robert Meachem 9; Ben Watson 7; Mark Ingram 4. ... Under Fangio, the Niners rarely use bracket coverage or double teams to eliminate the opponent's top gun. They're an our-guys-against-your-guys type of defense. Graham still has a tough matchup -- San Francisco is 30th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends -- but only Rob Gronkowski is a superior tight end bet in Week 11. Graham (foot) practiced Wednesday, something he didn't do before being limited in last week's win over Dallas. Expect Graham to play more snaps and be more productive than he was in Week 10. ... Colston's post-bye target numbers are skewed because he missed Week 9 with a knee injury. Colston returned against the Cowboys to confirm he isn't "done," ripping off season highs in catches (7) and yards (107), and scoring for the first time since Week 1. His eight targets were a team high. Colston's stat lines in the two aforementioned 49ers meetings: 9-136-1, 4-36-1. He's back in the every-week WR3 mix.
New Orleans has never been this loaded with weapons in the Sean Payton era. To compare the NFL's No. 1 offense, Denver regularly utilizes three receivers, one tight end, and one back. The Saints involve three backs, a target monster tight end, and four wideouts. So inconsistency has been and will continue to be inevitable. ... Slipping down the totem pole, Moore (29) played fewer Week 10 snaps than both Stills (50) and Meachem (33). If you're going to gamble on a Saints wideout behind Colston, Stills is your best bet. ... Sproles lit up Dallas for 88 yards and two scores last Sunday night, and is on pace for 63 catches, 1,021 total yards, and eight touchdowns despite some rough patches. He's an RB2 in PPR and every-week flex in standard leagues. ... Thomas has at least 12 touches in five straight games and was the Saints' clear-cut primary back against Dallas before clock-killing mode. He's a mid-range to high-end flex against San Francisco's top-12 run defense. ... I'd imagine Ingram was snatched off a ton of waivers this week after rushing for a career-high 145 yards against the Cowboys. Be careful. Dallas lost top LB Sean Lee (hamstring) mid-game, and RE DeMarcus Ware (groin) was badly hobbled. 135 of Ingram's yards came in the second half, which the Saints opened with an 18-point lead in the 49-17 rout. I think there's a very good chance that goes down as the best box score Ingram will ever register in a Saints uniform.
Colin Kaepernick entered San Francisco's Week 10 bout with Carolina having registered nine all-purpose touchdowns compared to one interception over his previous five games. Fantasy owners are now acting like the roof caved in after Kaepernick turned in what I thought was a predictably slow game against the Panthers' top-four pass defense, exacerbated by Vernon Davis' second-quarter concussion. It certainly didn't help that Davis, Frank Gore, Mario Manningham (2), and Vance McDonald combined for six drops. Kaepernick remains in the QB1 hunt in spite of last week's stats because Davis is expected to play, and this game offers shootout potential. I'd start Kap over Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Terrelle Pryor, and Josh McCown this week. ... Entrenched as an every-week RB1, Gore has totaled 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown in seven straight games, and gained 640 yards with six touchdowns on his last 132 carries (4.85 YPC). Gore will still be the best means of ball movement San Francisco can offer against New Orleans. The Saints rank 23rd versus the run and are allowing a league-high 5.00 yards per carry. ... Manningham was immediately reinserted as the 49ers' starting X receiver in his Week 10 return from PUP. Targeted six times, Manningham secured three for 30 yards, dropped two, and had the sixth intercepted. He's only worth rostering in 14- and 16-team leagues as a fantasy WR4/5.
Seemingly running out of gas down the stretch of his age-33 season, Anquan Boldin hasn't hit pay dirt since September and has been held under 60 yards in four of his last five games. Just a WR3 option, Boldin will have his hands full Sunday with emerging Saints shutdown CB Keenan Lewis, who held Dez Bryant to one catch last week. ... New Orleans is 30th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, but Davis gets a matchup boost if impressive rookie SS Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) can't play. Davis would have an easier time with speed-deficient Roman Harper. ... Gore, Davis, and to a lesser extent Kaepernick and Manningham are the only viable fantasy options in San Francisco's offense. Michael Crabtree could soon change that and is worth rostering in 14- and 16-team leagues. Coach John Harbaugh indicated this week that Crabtree (Achilles', PUP) is nearing a return. He has an outside shot to be a usable WR3 at the tail end of fantasy playoffs.
Score Prediction: Saints 27, 49ers 23
Sunday Night Football
Kansas City @ Denver
Sunday night's division thriller between the 9-0 Chiefs and 8-1 Broncos is not only the real-life game of the week, it has Week 11's second highest over-under at 49.5 points. It's a game to target for fantasy leaguers. ... Dwayne Bowe has been a major to-date fantasy bust because Kansas City lacks high-end quarterback play and Andy Reid has designed his offense to not lose rather than win games. Offensively, the Chiefs don't play to attack. They're likely going to have to attack on Sunday night because Peyton Manning will find ways to score points on their defense. Bowe will play despite his November 10 arrest for marijuana possession, and is worth serious WR3 consideration at Denver. Assuming Alex Smith is willing to throw into tight coverage -- and he'll need to in order to generate passing yards -- Bowe (6'2/224) is physical enough to win against Broncos outside corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6'2/193) and Kayvon Webster (5'11/198). ... With Von Miller heating up following his early-season suspension, the Broncos have limited Washington and San Diego quarterbacks to a combined 39-of-68 passing (57.4%) for 398 yards (5.85 YPA) and a 2:4 TD-to-INT ratio with seven sacks over their last two games. Smith has some QB1 streamer appeal on the basis that this game could get pass happy, but I'd rather start the Broncos' defense than Smith in fantasy. ... Smith's target distribution since tight end Anthony Fasano returned from injury three games ago: Bowe 23; Dexter McCluster 19; Jamaal Charles 18; Donnie Avery 17, Anthony Fasano 9; Anthony Sherman 7; Sean McGrath 4.
Scatback/slot receiver McCluster totaled five yards on three touches in Kansas City's last game, but had been slightly productive in his two previous outings. He's only worth a WR3 look in return-yard leagues. ... On pace for 48 receptions and 704 yards, Avery has cleared 40 receiving yards in just 2-of-9 games this season. Aim higher. ... An every-down player again, Fasano should be on the radar of desperate TE1 streamers. Denver has allowed the fourth most catches and second most yards in the league to tight ends. ... Reid's likeliest game plan remains to ride Charles and hope his defense can at least contain Manning, keeping the game close. Returning from a Week 9 bye to rest his heavily-utilized legs, Charles is on pace for career highs in touches (386), catches (84), touchdowns (15), and total yards (1,981). Charles is an every-down back, so even if Kansas City falls behind on the scoreboard he will rack up receptions and get opportunities to make plays in space. Don't let Denver's No. 4 run defense scare you. Charles is the No. 1 overall fantasy back.
Shutting down Manning is an impractical expectation, but the Chiefs certainly have components on defense to keep Peyton below his typical statistical performance. Not only can Kansas City bring ferocious edge pressure via OLBs Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, and wreck the interior with unblockable NT Dontari Poe, Bob Sutton's defense has personnel to match up with Denver's league-best weaponry. Look for Brandon Flowers to man up with Wes Welker in the slot. Elite cover safety Eric Berry will follow Julius Thomas around the formation. Expect red-hot rookie Marcus Cooper to draw Eric Decker on the majority of Sunday night's snaps, while free-agent gem Sean Smith (6'3/218) does battle with Demaryius Thomas (6'3/229). Manning can generally be locked in for 250-plus yards and a pair of touchdowns. But I wouldn't be surprised if 4-5 quarterbacks around the league outscore him in fantasy this week. ... Although Smith has enjoyed an outstanding first season in K.C., he has been a slightly weak link of late on a defense that doesn't have many of them. Pro Football Focus has charged Smith with at least 100 yards and a touchdown allowed in two of his last three games. Demaryius would be my pick to pace Denver in receiving stats. ... Welker would be a close second. His quickness on high-percentage routes and after-catch ability are more likely than not to give Flowers fits. Shake off Welker's slow Week 10 game at San Diego (3-21) and start him as a WR1/2 against the Chiefs.
Although Berry's coverage has been outstanding this season, Thomas is always a good bet for end-zone trips. Fantasy owners still probably shouldn't expect more than 60 or so yards from Thomas in Week 11. ... The on-paper matchups are difficult, but it would still be irresponsible to discourage starting any of Denver's high-octane skill-position players. While Cooper has been a fantastic find by Chiefs rookie GM John Dorsey, it's entirely possible Peyton decides before the game to pick on the September 1 waiver claim. And that scenario would benefit Decker. ... The Chiefs' defense has shut down some run games this year, and gotten gashed by others. The latter happened in their last game, as C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combined to douse Kansas City with 193 yards on 28 runs (6.89 YPC). Knowshon Moreno will inevitably get favorable running looks because Peyton always checks into them, and has been extremely productive in the pass game of late. He's on pace for a career-high 66 catches. Fire up Moreno as a borderline RB1 against the Chiefs' No. 24 run defense. ... Montee Ball handled 19 snaps and five carries in last week's win over the Chargers, while C.J. Anderson didn't play a down. It's abundantly clear that Ball is the preferred Moreno handcuff. He just has little or no flex appeal in this particular game.
Score Prediction: Broncos 27, Chiefs 21
Monday Night Football
New England @ Carolina
Coming off his most promising on-field performance of the year followed by a Week 10 bye to hone his rapport with a now-healthy pass-catching corps, Tom Brady will be greeted rudely by a top-four Carolina pass defense that has limited enemy signal callers to a 7:13 TD-to-INT ratio and 75.6 passer rating, the fifth stingiest clip in football. The Panthers are eighth in the NFL in sacks. Brady should be viewed as a locked-in QB1 going forward, but the Week 11 matchup suggests he's not quite back among the top seven or eight fantasy quarterbacks. At least not this week. ... Brady's target distribution since Rob Gronkowski returned three games ago: Gronk 32; Aaron Dobson 21; Julian Edelman 13; Danny Amendola 10; Stevan Ridley and Kenbrell Thompkins 6; Brandon Bolden 5. ... Gronk's matchup doesn't jump off the page -- Carolina is 24th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends -- but his talent and increasing role do. Just a 60.3% player in New England's offense before the bye, expect Gronkowski to get back near 100% the rest of the way. His fantasy arrow is still pointing up. ... Entrenched at "X" receiver, Dobson has the premier on-paper matchup of Patriots pass catchers. He'll run most of his routes against undrafted rookie RCB Melvin White, who was only recently promoted into the starting lineup after Josh Thomas' benching three games ago. With stat lines of 4-60-1 and 5-130-2 over his last two games, Dobson is a WR3 play with upside. ... Lapped by Dobson, Thompkins can be dropped in 12- and 14-team re-draft leagues. Thompkins was a healthy scratch for New England's last game.
A healthy Amendola is an every-week WR3 in standard leagues and WR2 in PPR. He torched the Steelers for 122 yards and a touchdown before the open date and will man the old Wes Welker role going forward. ... Edelman hasn't seen more than five targets in any game since September. These are Edelman's last three stat lines when Amendola has played extensively this season: 1-11, 2-7, 2-35. Scoreless since Week 1, Edelman is a poor WR3 option. ... Ridley has turned his last 82 runs into 393 yards (4.79 YPC) and six TDs. The Patriots' early-down hammer, Ridley has a difficult matchup with Carolina's No. 2 run defense, but has played himself into the must-start RB2 category. ... Shane Vereen's (wrist) expected return will impact Bolden more than anyone else. Vereen will take over Bolden's old "passing back" role -- the job for many seasons handled by Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk before him -- and likely handle 8-14 touches per game. Since he hasn't played in over two months, Vereen would be hard to trust in his first game back because he needs to get in football shape. He still has a chance to be a major PPR asset down the stretch. I'd view Vereen as a boom-or-bust flex play on Monday night. ... Averaging just nine snaps and six carries over his last three games, LeGarrette Blount will only see serious playing time against the Panthers if the Patriots blow them out. Blount and Bolden are now waiver-wire fodder.
During Carolina's five-game win streak, Cam Newton has completed 97-of-144 passes (67.4%) for 1,085 yards (7.53 YPA), and a 7:3 TD-to-INT ratio with three more rushing scores. Although matching up with New England's top-12 pass defense makes him more back-end QB1 than top-five quarterback play, Cam's all-purpose production raises his "floor," and there is some potential for this game to evolve into a shootout. New England's defense is depleted. The Patriots have lost NT Vince Wilfork (Achilles'), DT Tommy Kelly (knee), and WLB Jerod Mayo (pectorals) to injured reserve. SS Steve Gregory (thumb) isn't expected to play at Carolina. ... Cam's target distribution during the Panthers' red-hot five-game stretch: Steve Smith 41; Brandon LaFell 30; Greg Olsen 20; Ted Ginn 18; Mike Tolbert 14; DeAngelo Williams 13; Jonathan Stewart 3. ... Smith has the toughest Week 11 matchup in Carolina's pass-catching corps. He'll likely lock horns with Aqib Talib, who's had a smothering effect on opponents' top weapons when healthy this year. Just ask Vincent Jackson (3-34), A.J. Green (5-61), and Jimmy Graham (0-0). Smith isn't a recommended fantasy start. ... Olsen has been held to five targets or fewer in every game during the Panthers' undefeated stretch. The field could still open up for Olsen a bit on Monday night should Talib eliminate Smith. The Patriots have allowed the tenth most receptions in the league to tight ends.
Averaging 44.4 yards per game, LaFell hasn't been on the WR3 radar all season. He could score a touchdown for the first time since Week 6 on Monday night, and still wouldn't be worth adding in 12-team leagues. LaFell is the No. 47 fantasy wideout over the past three weeks. ... Situational deep threat Ginn is a better real-life than fantasy player. Though sporadically dangerous and enjoying a surprisingly efficient year, Ginn has only played 44.8% of Carolina's offensive snaps. ... The Patriots have been vulnerable in run defense since losing Wilfork, Kelly, and Mayo, but the Panthers' three-headed backfield limits the ceilings of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert, and essentially makes their production impossible to forecast week to week. Since Stewart returned from PUP two games ago, here are the snap counts of each Carolina back: Tolbert 80; Williams 49; Stewart 41. Here are their touch totals: Stewart 25; Williams 23; Tolbert 13. If forced to pick from the three as a Week 11 flex, I'd probably lean Tolbert because he is a critical part of Carolina's red-zone offense and the best bet for a goal-line touchdown. Stewart and Williams are plenty capable of turning in fruitful box-score stats, but the fact that those can't be predicted makes them all but worthless in fantasy leagues. D-Will and J-Stew are RB3s at best.
Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Panthers 21
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