If you've invested in the Indianapolis offense this season, Sunday was a terrible day. Miserable. It might have been the worst day of your fantasy year.
That's not to say that you lost your Week 11 matchup, of course. The Colts' skill position players all delivered acceptable lines in the win against the Ravens. Peyton Manning(notes) threw for 299 yards, Dallas Clark(notes) and Joseph Addai(notes) each scored touchdowns and Reggie Wayne(notes) finished with seven receptions for 89 yards.
But we also moved a few steps closer to the nightmare scenario pictured above: Manning on the sidelines with a headset in Week 16.
Indianapolis is now 10-0 and the remaining schedule is relatively friendly. After Cincinnati's unexpected loss to Oakland, no other AFC team is better than 7-3. Don't be surprised if Indy manages to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs by Week 15, prior to your fantasy Super Bowl.
Traditionally, when the Colts clinch everything there is to clinch, they go to the Jim Sorgi(notes) formation. Manning gets a series in order to preserve the consecutive games streak, then he grabs a clipboard. Indianapolis has a long history of giving limited snaps to key starters in the final weeks of the regular season.
Perhaps the Colts will manage their resources differently if an undefeated season is on the line, but history says you need to plan for benchings. If Manning is your starter in a deep league, Sorgi isn't a crazy add right now. The 41 percent-owned Donald Brown(notes) could be an end-game monster, too.
• San Diego decisively won the battle for first place in the AFC West, crushing the Broncos in Denver, 32-3. The Chargers rushed for 203 net yards, 73 of which belonged to LaDainian Tomlinson(notes). If Denver would have been more competitive, LT might have reached triple-digits.
• Chris Simms(notes) started for the Broncos, but he was pulled early following a fumble and a pair of sacks. He was replaced by an injured Kyle Orton(notes), who obviously didn't do anything noteworthy. Brandon Marshall(notes) had a quiet day statistically (3-26), but he had a fairly noisy day on the field. He had several unkind words for Knowshon Moreno(notes) following a goal line fumble in the first half, then he yelled at his quarterback after a late incompletion.
• You don't want to own him, but Bruce Gradkowski(notes) directed an Oakland win over the Bengals. (Predicted by Larry Beil on Fantasy Football Live). Note the protection on this late 29-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy(notes). One of the 'Kowskis was involved in every point for the Raiders, as Grad- threw for two TDs and Jani- kicked a pair of field goals.
• Leading by 17 points with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Patriots threw a deep sideline route to Randy Moss(notes), looking for another score against the Jets. So yeah, those teams respect each other. The afternoon began poorly for Mark Sanchez(notes) (see below) and it didn't improve significantly. Sanchez finished with five turnovers for the second time this season. Wes Welker(notes) had an insane PPR day, catching 15 passes for 192 yards. He also carried once for 11 yards. It's no easy trick to reach 20 fantasy points in standard formats without a touchdown, but Welker did it.
• Let's recap the key Week 11 injuries here, so you don't have to go digging: Kurt Warner(notes) and Ben Roethlisberger(notes) may have suffered concussions. Ben says he's fine. … Matthew Stafford(notes) injured his non-throwing shoulder before tossing the game-winning TD pass against Cleveland; X-rays were negative. … Ladell Betts(notes) has a torn MCL and Clinton Portis(notes) won't be available in Week 12. Rock Cartwright(notes) is the appropriate add. … Marshawn Lynch(notes) didn't return after injuring his left shoulder in the first half at Jacksonville. … Brandon Jacobs(notes) took a helmet to his right knee in the second half of the OT win against Atlanta. He reportedly could have returned to the game (though he didn't).
Posted at 10:20 pm ET
Kurt Warner suffered a head/neck injury late in the second half at St. Louis, after Oshiomogho Atogwe(notes) drove him face-first to the turf. Warner went to the locker room ahead of his teammates. Matt Leinart(notes) has taken over at quarterback for the Cardinals.
Arizona led 21-3 at half, so Warner seems unlikely to return. He gave his fantasy owners 203 yards and two TDs prior to the injury. It's not the day you necessarily expected, but not a complete disaster.
• At halftime in New England, the Patriots had 221 net passing yards and the Jets had just six. It's not Mark Sanchez's best day so far. He was 2-for-9 with no touchdowns and two interceptions at half. Wes Welker has eight receptions for 139 yards after two quarters. Randy Moss caught a 4-yard TD with Darrelle Revis(notes) looking on.
• Knowshon Moreno's goal line fumble sure looked like it may have been a goal line touchdown, but none of the replay angles were conclusive. (And I'm heavily biased, due to Moreno ownership).
• Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) each carried 12 times for the Giants in their overtime victory over Atlanta. Neither back reached 40 yards, but Jacobs visited the end zone for just the third time this year. He suffered a knee injury, but reportedly downplayed its severity following the game. Eli Manning(notes) delivered a terrific fantasy line in a game that really should not have been so close: 25-for-39, 383 yards, three TDs.
• Here's an early candidate for quote of the day, via Jim Schwartz: "(Stafford)'s best play was avoiding four team doctors on the sideline." X-rays on Matthew Stafford's left shoulder were reportedly negative, but additional tests will obviously follow.
• Awful news here for the Packers defense: Aaron Kampman(notes) and Al Harris(notes) both reportedly suffered torn ACLs in Green Bay's win over San Francisco. Those two are almost certainly out for the year.
Posted at 6:45 pm ET
Minnesota destroyed Seattle, 35-9, as Favre completed 22 of 25 pass attempts for 213 yards and four TDs. That 88 percent completion rate was a career high for the 40-year-old. (It was presumably a career high for any 40-year-old). Favre connected with four different receivers for touchdowns. There were "M-V-P" chants. There was childlike enthusiasm. There was gunslinging.
Sidney Rice(notes) caught a 7-yard TD from Favre in the third quarter, then added a 34-yard score in the fourth on a ball thrown by Tarvaris Jackson(notes). Rice handled most of the heavy lifting on the second touchdown, picking up 26 yards after the catch. Highlight here. The Vikes should get another layup victory next week when they host Chicago.
• New Orleans remains one game ahead of Minnesota in the battle for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs after mauling Tampa Bay, 38-7. Drew Brees(notes) threw three touchdown passes, per his usual, connecting twice with Robert Meachem(notes). The Saints' backfield situation continues to be an unpredictable theater of pain, at least for Pierre Thomas(notes) owners. PT again had an edge over Mike Bell(notes) in rushing yardage (92 to 75), but Bell took the goal line carries, breaking the plane twice.
• Matthew Stafford authored a spectacular finish to the Browns-Lions tilt, throwing a game-winning 1-yard TD pass to Brandon Pettigrew(notes) with no time on the clock. Stafford was in obvious pain after hurting his non-throwing shoulder on the previous play. He was driven to the turf by 305-pound CJ Mosley(notes) after a desperation last-second heave, then got up clutching his left shoulder. An interference penalty on the Browns kept the game from ending, however, allowing Stafford to throw his fifth touchdown and his 422nd passing yard.
• Incredibly enough, Brady Quinn(notes) nearly kept pace with Stafford statistically. Quinn went 21-for-33 for 304 yards and four TDs. Without checking, I'm just going to assume that those are career highs in yards and touchdowns.
• Ray Rice(notes) owners, today you simply got Harbaughed. The Ravens had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 12:08 remaining in the fourth quarter against Indy…and Rice got nothin'. On first down, Joe Flacco(notes) carried for no gain. Then on second down, Willis Mcgahee(notes) plowed into Gary Brackett(notes) for no gain. On third down, McGahee was stuffed again. Billy Cundiff(notes) then kicked his fifth field goal.
Bah. McGahee had an ugly day, fumbling once and getting stonewalled at the goal line twice. Rice finished with 135 total yards on 27 touches (including seven receptions).
• After passing for 398 yards and three TDs, Ben Roethlisberger took a knee to the helmet in overtime at Kansas City. Charlie Batch(notes) took over for the Steelers; a drive soon stalled. We don't yet know the nature or severity of Roethlisberger's injury. You'll get a Fourth Quarter update.
• Michael Crabtree(notes) scored his first NFL touchdown on a 38-yard toss from Alex Smith. The Niners nearly overcame a 20-point halftime deficit against Green bay, as Smith connected with the usual suspects in the fourth quarter (Vernon Davis(notes), Frank Gore(notes)).
• If you're among the few fantasy owners who are still starting Terrell Owens(notes), today you were rewarded for your loyalty. Of course you probably entered the week at 2-8, so it hardly matters. TO finished with a vintage line: nine catches, 197 yards, one touchdown. Owens gained 98 of his yards on this gem.
Posted at 5:30 pm ET
Everyone expected a shootout between the Browns and Lions, right?
Great, because that's exactly what we're getting. Cleveland leads Detroit at half, 27-24.
Brady Quinn and Matthew Stafford have combined for 469 passing yards and six touchdowns; those two entered the week with just seven TD passes between them, total. Quinn should have actually had another touchdown pass, but Chris Jennings(notes) whiffed on a ball that hit him in the hands.
Kevin Smith(notes) and Mohamed Massaquoi(notes) have already reached triple-digits in receiving yards, and Calvin Johnson(notes) is threatening with 96. Johnson nearly brought down the goal posts by himself with an emphatic crossbar dunk following a 75-yard score.
It's not really a shock to see Megatron make a big play, but this might be the strangest thing you'll see all day:
Not one, but two long passing TDs for Cleveland. Those weren't short dump-offs that went the distance, either. They were legitimate deep balls off play-action, beautifully thrown by Quinn. Here's the video evidence via NFL.com.
Just…weird. Through ten weeks, the Browns had averaged only 8.7 points per game and the Lions had averaged 15.9.
• Brutal news for Ladell Betts and his owners: Betts is done for the day with a knee injury. Dallas linebacker Bradie James(notes) rolled over Betts' legs on a first quarter tackle, following a short gain. Rock Cartwright took over for the 'Skins.
• The Colts held yet another passing clinic on their opening drive at Baltimore. Peyton Manning took a vicious hit from a blitzing Ray Lewis(notes) on an early third-and-9, but he still delivered a 15-yard strike to Reggie Wayne. Two plays later, a Manning pump fake allowed Pierre Garcon(notes) to get deep for a gain of 66. And then Dallas Clark's one-handed TD catch was just ridiculous. Video here.
• Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman(notes) did an outstanding job avoiding pressure on his 18-yard first quarter TD pass to Michael Clayton(notes). Highlight here. Byron Leftwich(notes) would have been sacked three times on that play.
• When we tell you that Jason Snelling(notes) walked into the end zone on his second quarter touchdown in New York, understand that we mean it literally. He walked. Snelling's line gave him a massive running lane; the Giants defense was owned.
• Greg Jennings(notes) made an outstanding cut on his 64-yard touchdown reception, causing a pair of San Francisco defensive backs to collide. Aaron Rodgers(notes) wasn't sacked by the Niners in the first half (a rare occurrence); light pressure on the QB clearly helps Jennings in a big way.
• If you weren't convinced that Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles(notes) had big-play speed, check the tape. He's facing a terrible matchup in Week 11 against the NFL's best run defense (Pittsburgh), but he nonetheless found a way to help those who started him.
• There was another Dallas-Washington bullet, but Roy Williams dropped it.
Posted at 2:55 pm ET
Early injury notes: Michael Turner(notes), Jerious Norwood(notes) and Reggie Bush(notes) are INACTIVE; Roddy White(notes), Antonio Bryant(notes) and Bernard Berrian(notes) are ACTIVE. In all likelihood, Chris Simms will start at quarterback for Denver.
Posted at 12:30 pm ET
For pregame updates, please join us in the chat window over at Fantasy Football Live, beginning at noon ET. We already know that Reggie Bush (knee) is reportedly out, Kyle Orton (ankle) needs a "medical miracle" in order to face the Chargers, and Steve Slaton(notes) (not Ryan Moats(notes)) will start at running back for the Texans on Monday night.
Photos via Getty Images (Seahawks fan, Favre), US Presswire (Quinn, Clark) and AP Images (Warner).