QB- Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers): Roethlisberger has struggled in recent weeks, averaging just 194 passing yards over his past three games while throwing just 4 TDs over that same span. But this week Big Ben gets to face the Chiefs, and that should be the perfect remedy for his recent woes. Roethlisberger may as well be facing a pop-warner football defense as Kansas City ranks 23rd in pass defense and they have allowed the ninth most TD passes to opposing QBs this season. Look for Roethlisberger to get back on track this week and have a huge fantasy day.
RB- Ricky Williams (Dolphins): Miami’s star RB Ronnie Brown left this past Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and it was reported by Yahoo! Sports that he was still on crutches on Monday. It seems unlikely that Brown will be able to play in the Dolphins next game, especially since they have a short week as they will be on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football. If Brown is out of the lineup, that will obviously mean an uptick in carries for Williams, who has been more than serviceable this year (751 combined rushing and receiving yards and 7 total TDs). More good news for Williams’ owners is that the Dolphins will square off against the Panthers and their abysmal run defense (25th in the NFL). So as long as Williams doesn’t decide to go off on one of his escapades, he should be a top 10 fantasy back this week.
RB- Kevin Smith (Lions): Smith has been a colossal fantasy disappointment to this point in the season, and if he can’t produce against the dreadful Browns defense then he really can’t be a fantasy factor at all this year. Cleveland has allowed an astonishing 170.5 rushing yards per game (31st in the league) and they have also allowed 12 rushing TDs on the year (4th most in the league). That same Browns defense has allowed double digit fantasy points to an opposing RB nine times this season and starting RBs average 17.7 fantasy PPG against them. Smith has shown better burst in recent weeks and he is simply too talented to keep under producing.
RB- Brandon Jacobs (Giants): The TD machine from a year ago has been M.I.A. just about all of this season. This year the bruising back seems to have lost some of his oomph as he has rushed for only 617 yards (68.6 YPG), averaging a very average 4.1 YPC, he has yet to have a 100 yard rushing game, and the once king of the end zone has a measly two TDs. All this has Jacobs out of the top 25 RB’s in fantasy points. So why am I saying to start him? Well part of the reason is that the Giants will be facing the Falcons 26th ranked run defense in Week 11. But a bigger part is that coming off the bye week and after losing four straight games, the Giants coaching staff is going to have figured out that they are passing the ball entirely too much. QB Eli Manning attempted over 30 passes in a game in just eight of the 16 games last year, but this season he has already surpassed the 30 mark in six of the nine games. The Giants need to get back to smash mouth football, and I think they do this week against a poor Atlanta defense.
WR- Lee Evans (Bills): I realize that Evans still has Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball, but he has been very strong for over a month now. He has four TDs in his last four outings and has posted double digit fantasy games in three of those four games. The Bills will travel down to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars and their 26th ranked pass defense, so the matchup isn’t going to make you shy away from Evans. Look him another solid day from the unheralded wideout, somewhere in the 70 yards and one TD range.
WR- Wes Welker (Patriots): It may seem obvious to start Tom Brady’s No. 2 wide receiver, but many would probably be surprised to find that Welker ranks just 14th among WRs in fantasy points. The Jets are set to travel to Gillette stadium to take on the Patriots this week, but Welker won’t have to worry about the Jets CB Darrelle Revis, as the stud corner will be following WR Randy Moss around the field. With Moss getting a lot of attention from the Jets defense, things should open up underneath for Welker. Plus, don’t you think that Bill Belichick wants to put up 60 points on New York this week? Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that he wants to shut everyone up after the Pats blew a 17 point 4th quarter lead against the hated Colts last week? Isn’t it likely the Future Hall of Fame coach wants everyone to forget about his insane decision to go for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 even though he was up 6 points with two minutes to go? And don’t you think Belichick wants revenge after losing to these same Jets after New York players and their head coach talked so much trash before their Week 2 game? Something tells me the Patriots are going to be up like 35-3 to start the second half, and yet they are still going to be lining up in four and five wide receiver sets the rest of the game as they look to run up the score. Anyway, that can only be good for Welker.
TE- John Carlson (Seahawks): The Seattle TE has gotten more involved in the passing game in recent weeks and this week he has a superb matchup against one of the most TE-friendly defenses in the league. The Vikings have allowed a whopping seven touchdowns to tight ends this season, meaning that Carlson has a good shot to find the end zone in this one. If you don’t have an elite tight end then you’re happy with six points from that spot in your lineup, and Carlson should be able to muster at least that on Sunday.
K- Neil Rackers (Cardinals): The Arizona offense faces the Rams this week. It’s safe to say that the Cards should put up plenty of points on that horrific defense, which of course means endless scoring chances for Rackers.
DEF- Dallas Cowboys: In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told to “follow the Yellow Brick Road.” Well when looking at fantasy defenses, one should follow the sacks. The Cowboys rank 7th in the NFL with 24 sacks on the year, but 14 of those have come in their last four games. This week against a Redskins offensive line that is missing a couple of starters due to injury, the Cowboys should add to that total.
QB- Tony Romo (Cowboys): I don’t think Romo should be benched because of the egg he laid in his last game against the Packers. This week Dallas will play hated rival Washington, and the Redskins defense happens to be the best in defending the pass in the NFL (162.7 yards per game allowed) and they’ve allowed just nine passing TDs all year. Following a pass happy performance in Green Bay where the Cowboys only ran it 14 times (and just 11 by RBs), it would seem as though Dallas will come out and try to reestablish the run against Washington (who is 24th in run defense). That means fewer passes for Romo against a stout defense, which means fewer chances to put up fantasy points.
RB- Laurence Maroney (Patriots): The New England RB has had a TD in four straight games and is averaging over 13 fantasy points per game in his past four contests. The matchup this week isn’t too scary, as the Jets defense has dropped off considerably from their great early season start and they rank just 18th against the run. However, New York has allowed just six rushing TDs all year and while Maroney has been very good in recent weeks, he has started to slip some lately, and his costly fumble late in the Colts loss last week could cost him some carries. I think the New England offense will attack the Jets defense more through the air and thus Maroney will be a Week 11 flop.
RB- Jonathon Stewart (Panthers): Carolina’s second RB has put up very productive numbers this season and is coming off a great game (82 rushing yards and two TDs). But he has been on again-off again the past five weeks and since he was great last week, recent history shows he is due to be average at best in this one. Does that not convince you? How about the fact that he faces the 7th best run defense this week as the Dolphins come to town and that team’s No. 2 RBs don’t typically produce against top 10 run defenses? Yeah, I think that’s a better argument.
WR- Brandon Marshall (Broncos): Denver’s No.1 WR may be a prima donna, but no one can deny that he is an extremely talented player. His numbers have been good this year and they would be even better if he had a more talented QB than Kyle Orton. But with Orton likely out of Sunday’s matchup with the Chargers due to an ankle injury, that means that QB Chris Simms is at the helm. After filling in following Orton’s injury on Sunday, Simms went just 3-13 for 13 passing yards and one interception. Basically Simms is so bad that he makes the game managing QB Kyle Orton look like Tom Brady, and that’s not a good thing for Marshall. When you add to the Simms debacle the fact that Denver faces a San Diego defense that held Marshall to just 49 receiving yards in Week 6, and this week smells disastrous for Denver’s top WR.
WR- Miles Austin (Cowboys): It would seem logical that if I have the Cowboys QB having a quiet day fantasy wise, that I may be thinking that his top receiving option would also under-perform this week. Austin had a legendary three-week run (21 catches, 482 yards, five TDs), but since then defense have began to key on the explosive third year receiver, holding him to just five catches in his past two games. Opposing defenses are clearly taking Austin to be a serious threat as his past two opponents have assigned a lot of safety help over the top to try and stop Austin. With the top ranked pass defense on the schedule this week and with the extra attention Austin has been receiving, it appears that he will have another slow day at the office in this one.
TE- Jeremy Shockey (Saints): The almost universally owned New Orleans TE has solid overall numbers, but he lacks any sort of consistency. Shockey has over five fantasy points in just four of his nine games this year and he has only one TD since Week 1. He has a great matchup this week against Tampa Bay, but he has squandered previous favorable matchups this season (St. Louis, Carolina) so it isn’t a guarantee that he will be able to capitalize.
K- Mason Crosby (Packers): Crosby may be a top-10 fantasy kicker this season, but he has underwhelmed in two straight games and will now face a San Francisco defense that has played well in three of the past four weeks.
DEF- Denver Broncos: Denver’s defense was dominant to start the year, but they have faltered in the team’s current three game slide. In their past three games the Broncos defense has a miserable three point fantasy performance and an even worse one point effort. They simply aren’t a good play anymore.
NOTE- With all the bye weeks now over, their will be fewer TE adds for the remainder of the season and the QB adds will also be less frequent.
RB- Jason Snelling (Falcons): Atlanta’s top RB Michael Turner left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and his status for the team’s game Sunday against the Giants is unknown. But what did Snelling, a 2007 seventh round pick out of Virginia, do when he got a chance at an extended role? He put up 93 combined rushing/receiving yards and added a TD score to boot. With Turner’s unknown status going forward, it is imperative that any Turner owner go grab Snelling should he still be available in your league.
RB- Justin Forsett (Seahawks): We have another RB down! This time it’s Seattle’s Julius Jones, who suffered a bruised lung in his team’s loss to Arizona last week. With Jones out of the game early, Forsett stepped in and put up huge numbers against a top-10 rush defense in the NFL; 123 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, one TD. The Vikings are another top run defense (5th in the league), but if Jones misses more than one game, then Forsett will get a beautiful matchup against the Rams in Week 12.
WR- Donnie Avery (Rams): Following a solid rookie season, many people thought that the speedy Avery would be a serious fantasy threat as the Rams No. 1 WR. To this point Avery has failed to meet those expectations, but in recent weeks he has showed signs of why people thought he could be a valuable fantasy asset. The former Houston Cougar has four TDs in his past five games and he has over 55 receiving yards in three of those games as well. With the 30th ranked Cardinals pass defense his only obstacle this week, he has a chance to put up solid numbers once more.
WR- Nate Washington (Titans): With fellow WR Justin Gage out of action after he broke several bones in his back making an outstanding grab two weeks ago, Washington will be even more involved in the passing game. His 235 receiving yards through nine games is certainly not what anyone would call spectacular, but his five touchdown grabs are pretty nice and they’ve all come in separate games. This week he’ll face Houston and their middle of the pack pass defense (16th in the NFL), so Washington should get some chances to find pay dirt once again.
K- Dan Carpenter (Dolphins): The Miami kicker has quietly become fantasy football’s 6th best kicker. The Panthers defense certainly isn’t anything to be scared of, and Carpenter has consistently produced this year so give him a shot.
DEF- Detroit Lions: I know that it may seem crazy to pick up the Lions defense, but they are playing the Cleveland Browns. Browns QBs Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have QB ratings of 36.2 and 51.0 respectively, they have combined to throw three TDs to 14 INTs, and they have also totaled a combined five fumbles lost. Translation – Detroit may actually be a usable fantasy defense.
Last Week’s Results: 11-6
Overall Record: 81-71-1
Funny Stat: After going 0-1 passing in Baltimore’s Monday night victory over Cleveland, Ravens RB Ray Rice finished the game with a higher QB Rating (39.6) then Browns starting QB Brady Quinn (23.5). Not only that, but Cleveland’s other quarterback, Derek Anderson, has a 36.2 QB Rating in six games this season, which also fails to meet Rice’s Monday night mark. It’s not exactly a secret why the Browns are sitting at 1-8 this season.
NFL Games of the Week:
Indianapolis Colts (9-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-4) (Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS)
Atlanta Falcons (5-4) vs. New York Giants (5-4) (Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX)
San Diego Chargers (6-3) vs. Denver Broncos (6-3) (Sunday at 4:15 p.m. on CBS)