Week 11 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Let's get the bad part out of the way first. Colin Kaepernick was miserable as the Start of the Week in Week 10 against Carolina.
The Panthers defense was dominant, Kaepernick stopped running and when he lost tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) in the second quarter, all hope was lost because that's his only legit receiving option. The game ended in horrific fashion with an interception, giving Kaepernick just two Fantasy points.
If I was being judged solely on the Start of the Week then I failed in Week 10. Good thing that's not the case. The rest of the column was a rousing success.
We recommended starting two top 6 quarterbacks ( Nick Foles and Russell Wilson ), three top 12 running backs ( Pierre Thomas , Maurice Jones-Drew and Zac Stacy ), three top 20 receivers ( Riley Cooper , Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith ) and a top 5 tight end ( Jordan Reed ). We also suggested using the No. 2 DST in the Giants. Our correct sit suggestions included Ben Tate , Ray Rice , Mike Wallace , Cecil Shorts and Steve Smith .
The calls we missed on, aside from Kaepernick, included starting Philip Rivers , Ben Roethlisberger , Lamar Miller both Buffalo running backs, Hakeem Nicks , Lance Moore and Timothy Wright . And we said to sit Case Keenum , DeAngelo Williams and Ryan Mathews , who all ended up as starting options.
As for our sleepers, we hit big on two in Andre Brown , who was the No. 6 running back, and Golden Tate , who was a Top 10 receiver. As you'll see below, we like Brown again this week.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Colin Kaepernick , QB, 49ers||24||2||61||29|
|Russell Wilson , QB, Seahawks||25||25||72||6|
|Pierre Thomas , RB, Saints||9||22||55||1|
|Riley Cooper , WR, Eagles||12||22||64||5|
|Ben Tate , RB, Texans||9||5||43||32|
|Ray Rice , RB, Ravens||9||5||66||33|
|Mike Wallace , WR, Dolphins||7||1||55||81|
|Ben Roethlisberger , QB, Steelers||22||12||45||19|
|Lance Moore , WR, Saints||10||1||44||68|
|Lamar Miller , RB, Dolphins||10||0||66||61|
|Case Keenum , QB, Texans||17||25||23||7|
|Ryan Mathews , RB, Chargers||7||11||38||16|
|DeAngelo Williams , RB, Panthers||6||10||19||20|
Start of the Week: Andre Brown , RB, Giants
Andre Brown or Ben Tate . Ben Tate or Andre Brown . That was my decision for the Start of the Week, and it was back and forth right up until I turned in the column.
|Maurice Jones-Drew||vs. ARI|
|Lamar Miller||vs. SD|
|C.J. Spiller||vs. NYJ|
|Ray Rice||at CHI|
|Trent Richardson||at TEN|
We're going with Brown because there's some slight concern with Tate and his broken ribs, although you'll read below I still consider him a quality start against the Raiders. I just like Brown a little more against the Packers.
He returned last week after missing the first eight games with a broken leg, and he was awesome against Oakland with 30 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 4 yards. We're expecting a solid encore performance.
The Packers have allowed the past three starting running backs they've faced to score at least 14 Fantasy points in a standard league with Adrian Peterson , Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy . Brown obviously isn't on the level as those other three, but 14 Fantasy points is doable. Keep in mind he averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season in 10 games with eight touchdowns over that span, so last game wasn't exactly a fluke.
Green Bay allows 4.3 yards per carry to opposing running backs and 91 yards per game. Brown should again play at a high level, and we consider him a must-start Fantasy option this week.
Russell Wilson (vs. MIN): Wilson just keeps rolling along, and he gets a huge bonus this week with the return of Percy Harvin (hip). That should only enhance his receiving corps, especially with how well Golden Tate , Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have played of late. Wilson has 25 Fantasy points in three of his past four games, and he hasn't been below 18 points in a standard league since Week 7. He has nine touchdowns and two interceptions over that span, and he's facing a Vikings defense that has allowed the last three opposing quarterbacks to score at least 23 Fantasy points. In total, seven quarterbacks have scored 23 points, and Wilson should make it eight with another strong performance at home.
Nick Foles (vs. WAS): We'll find out if Foles can keep his road magic going at home in this pivotal NFC East matchup with the Redskins. A win here gives the Eagles sole possession of first place and puts them over .500 for the first time since Week 1. Foles has been amazing the past two games with 34 of 46 passing for 634 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions at Oakland and at Green Bay. He has 87 Fantasy points over that span, and he also has no interceptions in 136 attempts this year. The Redskins have allowed five quarterbacks to score at least 22 Fantasy points this season, including Michael Vick (29 points) in Week 1 when he was the starter. Vick is out with a hamstring injury, and he doesn't appear close to getting his job back with the way Foles has played of late.
Robert Griffin III (at PHI): Griffin had a good Fantasy outing in his first meeting with the Eagles in Week 1 with 23 Fantasy points. In a comeback effort, Griffin was 30 of 49 passing for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and that was his first game back from last year's knee injury. He hasn't been great since then with only three games with 20-plus Fantasy points, but he looked good last week at Minnesota with 24 of 37 passing for 281 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and seven carries for 44 yards. Griffin has a good history against the Eagles with 727 passing yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions and 19 carries for 112 yards in three career meetings, and Philadelphia has allowed four quarterbacks to score at least 22 Fantasy points this year.
Case Keenum (vs. OAK): Keenum is making a strong case to be Houston's quarterback of the future with his performance the past three games since taking over for Matt Schaub (ankle). He is averaging 274 passing yards over that span with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He's making use -- finally -- of Andre Johnson in the red zone since Johnson has five of his touchdowns, and he should stay hot this week against the Raiders. Oakland has allowed four quarterbacks to score at least 22 Fantasy points, and Keenum should continue to attack this secondary. He's worked his way into No. 1-quarterback range this week, and we like Keenum more than Andrew Luck , Colin Kaepernick and Philip Rivers , among others.
Andy Dalton (vs. CLE): The Browns pass defense was stellar to start the season through five games with only Christian Ponder scoring more than 14 Fantasy points, including Dalton being limited to five points in Week 4. Since then, Cleveland has allowed the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 24 points, with Alex Smith and Joe Flacco accomplishing the feat the past two games. Dalton has been cold of late with only 24 Fantasy points on the road at Miami and Baltimore the past two weeks. He has two touchdowns and six interceptions over that span, but he should rebound at home. In his past two home games against the Browns he has 588 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Dalton does have at least two touchdowns in four of his past five games overall, and he should rebound in this AFC North matchup.
|Mike Glennon||(vs. ATL)||He scored 21 Fantasy points at ATL in Week 7 and could do it again.|
|Ben Roethlisberger||(vs. DET)||DET has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each of the past four games.|
|Jason Campbell||(at CIN)||He has 54 Fantasy points in his past two starts vs. KC and BAL.|
Colin Kaepernick (at NO): We're expecting Davis to play this week, but if he's out then Kaepernick's status will plummet even more. I'm not sure why he didn't attempt to run more in Week 10 against Carolina with only four attempts for 16 yards when he did such a better job the previous two games (18 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns against Tennessee and Jacksonville), but his rushing prowess is part of his appeal. He was beat up against the Panthers with six sacks, and the Saints will obviously come after him. New Orleans has held all five opponents at home this season to 17 points or less, and Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan are the only quarterbacks to score 20 Fantasy points against this defense overall, including matchups with Tom Brady and Tony Romo . After last week, we can't trust Kaepernick in this tough game on the road.
Philip Rivers (at MIA): Rivers started the season with at least 30 Fantasy points in three of his first four games. He has cooled off of late with only 20-plus points in two of his past five outings. This should be a game where San Diego has success running the ball, and the Dolphins have been surprisingly great against opposing quarterbacks. Aside from Drew Brees in New Orleans, the Dolphins have held every other quarterback, including Luck, Ryan (with Julio Jones ), Brady and Dalton, to 19 Fantasy points or less. Brees and Ryan are the only quarterbacks with multiple touchdowns against Miami, and Rivers could be saddled with his fourth game in his past five tries with 17 Fantasy points or less.
Josh McCown (vs. BAL): I like the way McCown has played when given the chance to step in for the injured Jay Cutler (ankle), and he could surprise us this week with another solid performance. He started Week 9 at Green Bay and was 22 of 41 passing for 272 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, and he has four touchdowns and 49 Fantasy points in just 70 attempts. But the Ravens will be his toughest opponent, and they have only allowed Peyton Manning and Jason Campbell to top 18 Fantasy points, including matchups with Aaron Rodgers , Ben Roethlisberger and Dalton. Manning, Campbell and Dalton are the only quarterbacks with multiple touchdowns against Baltimore, but Dalton needed a ridiculous Hail Mary for his second score.
Terrelle Pryor (at HOU): Pryor has some ugly streaks heading into this matchup with the Texans. He hasn't passed for a touchdown in his past three games, and he hasn't scored more than 16 Fantasy points in his past four outings. His rushing has saved him from being a disaster since he has at least five Fantasy points on the ground over the past four games, but his knee injury continues to limit his production. The Texans have allowed three quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns in the past four games with Sam Bradford , Luck and Carson Palmer , but with the way Pryor is playing now he should be considered a risky starting option even in two-quarterback leagues.
Eli Manning (vs. GB): At some point we're going to get a good, if not great, performance from Manning. He just missed on two touchdowns in Week 10 against the Raiders, but that's been the story of his season. Manning has faced some of the best matchups you could have since Week 4 with Philadelphia twice, Minnesota and Oakland, and he's failed to take advantage of it. He has just one game with more than 20 Fantasy points, which was Week 1, and he hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns in his past four outings. This is a favorable matchup for him since the Packers have allowed at least 24 Fantasy points to McCown and Foles the past two games, but the Giants should have success running the ball with Brown. Manning won't be started in the majority of leagues until he proves he can play at a high level again.
Bust alert: Andrew Luck (at TEN): Luck was surprisingly a bust last week at home against the Rams when he finished with just 15 Fantasy points thanks to three interceptions. That was a favorable matchup, but facing the Titans will be a daunting task on Thursday night. Tennessee has only allowed one quarterback to score at least 20 Fantasy points, which was Schaub in Week 2, including matchups with Roethlisberger, Rivers, Wilson and Kaepernick. And Luck outdoors has not been good in his career so far. He has just one game with more than 20 Fantasy points outdoors in nine starts, which was at Jacksonville this season in Week 4. He also struggled at Tennessee last season with 26 of 38 passing for 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception and six carries for 28 yards and a fumble. It's difficult to bench Luck in most leagues, but this could be a good week to find another alternative.
Ben Tate (vs. OAK): We know now that Tate is the starter for the rest of the season as long as he's healthy with Arian Foster (back) out, but he's dealing with broken ribs. He started Week 10 at Arizona and was limited to 15 carries for 56 yards and three catches for 8 yards, but that had more to do with the matchup. He should be fine against the Raiders, and this is a defense he can exploit. Oakland has allowed seven running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points with eight touchdowns allowed. Tate should get at least 20 touches in this game, and the five previous times in his career he's had at least 20 touches he's responded with eight Fantasy points or more.
Chris Ivory (at BUF): The Ivory we saw in Week 9 against New Orleans is hopefully the running back who will show up this week. He had 18 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, and we hope it's a sign of things to come and not just a motivated performance against his former team. We expect the former since Ivory also did well against New England in Week 7 when he was given a heavy workload with 34 carries for 104 yards. The Bills have allowed five running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points but only two rushing touchdowns. The key for Ivory will be his workload since four running backs have gotten 20-plus carries against Buffalo this season and all four have scored at least eight Fantasy points.
Ryan Mathews (at MIA): You're starting Danny Woodhead this week and every week because he's been a consistent performer with at least nine Fantasy points in five of his past six games. But Mathews hasn't been far behind with double digits in Fantasy points in five of his past six games as well. He got a goal-line carry in Week 10 against Denver for just his second rushing touchdown of the season, and we'd love to see him get more opportunities in the red zone. Mathews has a great opportunity this week against a miserable Dolphins defense that has allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing running backs and eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Only the Browns with Trent Richardson in Week 1 failed to have a running back finish with double digits in Fantasy points against the Dolphins, so we feel good about Mathews and Woodhead this week.
Andre Ellington (at JAC): The Arizona Republic made a great case for Ellington to get more work over Rashard Mendenhall , saying "to continue to divide the workload equally between Ellington and Mendenhall is stubborn at best and foolish at worst." We agree, and hopefully coach Bruce Arians will give Ellington more touches this week. But both running backs could have success against the Jaguars since they have allowed seven running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points with 10 touchdowns. Ellington got 11 carries in Week 10 against Houston and finished with 55 yards, and he also added two catches for 18 yards. If he gets double digits in carries again this week we're expecting double digits in Fantasy points, and hopefully he gets more work than Mendenhall, which would be the smart move by Arians.
Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles (vs. SF): What we saw in Week 10 against Dallas is hopefully a sign of things to come for Thomas and Sproles. Thomas had 17 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. He now has at least eight Fantasy points in four of his past five games, and he has 17 catches the past three outings. Sproles had five carries for 12 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys and seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. He's obviously struggled of late with last Sunday night being his first game with double digits in Fantasy points since Week 4, but he has reached that mark in three of five home games. The 49ers have allowed eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points with nine touchdowns, and five running backs have at least 30 receiving yards against this defense. Thomas has more upside than Sproles at the moment, but both should do well at home this week.
|Rashad Jennings||(at HOU)||He's worth a flex spot with nine-plus Fantasy points the past two games.|
|Shane Vereen||(at CAR)||He should start right away in PPR leagues despite eight-game absence.|
|Shonn Greene||(vs. IND)||He should rebound this week after last week's disaster at JAC.|
|Donald Brown||(at TEN)||He has more upside than Trent Richardson in favorable matchup at TEN.|
|Steven Jackson||(at TB)||In the past five games five rushers have double digits in Fantasy points.|
DeAngelo Williams (vs. NE): Williams did a nice job scoring a touchdown against the 49ers in Week 10 on eight carries for 46 yards, but you can't bank on him scoring each week since he has just two touchdowns on the season. He had five less carries than Jonathan Stewart at San Francisco, and Mike Tolbert remains in the mix, which limits Williams' upside even though he has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past five games. The Patriots have been hurt by running backs all season with nine scoring double digits in Fantasy points, but Williams is difficult to trust given his timeshare with Stewart and Tolbert.
Lamar Miller (vs. SD): It's hard to say whether the Dolphins gave up on the run last week at Tampa Bay because they were trailing 15-0 in the second quarter or couldn't open any holes with starting offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito out. Either way, Miller was held in check with seven carries for 2 yards and two catches for 9 yards. This ended a two-game stretch of at least 100 total yards, and Miller could struggle again this week. The Dolphins aren't getting Incognito or Martin back, and the Chargers have allowed just four running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points against them this season. We hope Miller will rebound in this matchup, but he's more of a flex option at best this week.
C.J. Spiller (vs. NYJ): The good news for Spiller is he's played better at home than on the road. He has at least seven Fantasy points in three of five home games, including two games with more than 100 rushing yards. He also apparently is getting better with his ankle injury. But the bad news for Spiller is he has just one touchdown on the season, and he struggled in Week 3 at the Jets with 10 carries for 9 yards and no Fantasy points. The Jets haven't allowed more than 75 rushing yards to a single rusher all season, and Fred Jackson actually had the best game against them with seven carries for 72 yards. Jackson is the better Buffalo back again this week, but even he's risky, and Spiller should only be used as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Trent Richardson (at TEN): The Colts want to be more committed to the run, but does that mean more Richardson or Donald Brown ? Brown has the chance to do more since he's been better of late. Since Week 4, which was Indianapolis' first game without Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), Brown has had more Fantasy points than Richardson in four of six games. Richardson has been more involved as a receiver with five catches the past two games, but he has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points on the season and hasn't rushed for more than 60 yards all year. He's also averaging just 3.4 Fantasy points a game in his past five outings. This is a great matchup against the Titans, and we'd love to see Richardson take advantage of it, but Brown is probably the best Colts running back heading into Thursday night.
Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey (vs. ATL): Tampa Bay will turn to Leonard and Rainey now with Mike James (ankle) out after James was starting for the injured Doug Martin (shoulder). One of these running backs could do well against the Falcons, but you might want to wait a week to see what unfolds. Rainey has higher upside in standard leagues since he should get the majority of rushing-down duties, but Leonard is better in PPR formats based on his receiving ability. They will likely eat away at each other, which won't help their Fantasy production. The Falcons have allowed four running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points with five touchdowns, and they held Martin and James to 25 carries for 92 yards and four catches for 15 yards in the game Martin first got hurt. You can definitely gamble on either of these running backs this week, but the best plan is to keep them reserved and see how they do as a one-week tryout for your roster.
Bust alert: Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. ARI): Jones-Drew is finally coming around with double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past four games. He's also finally being used as a receiver again with 10 catches in his past two outings. He had to grind his way to 41 rushing yards on 21 attempts against the Titans in Week 10, but the end result is all that matters. And this week, his end result could be grim. The Cardinals have been solid all season in their run defense, and last week they held Tate to just five Fantasy points. Only Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch have scored double digits in Fantasy points against Arizona, and those are the only two running backs with more than 60 rushing yards against the Cardinals all season. It's going to take Jones-Drew scoring a touchdown to be a quality Fantasy option this week, and Arizona has only allowed Lynch and Kendall Hunter to score. Jones-Drew also has just three touchdowns on the season and none at home. He's just a flex option this week.
Torrey Smith (at CHI): Smith did well as expected in Week 10 against Cincinnati with five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets, which were a season high. The Bengals were without standout cornerback Leon Hall (Achilles), and Smith took advantage of their secondary. The same thing should happen this week with Charles Tillman (triceps) out, and we hope Joe Flacco continues to throw at Smith all game. There have been four times this season where Smith has double digits in targets, and he has at least eight Fantasy points in each of those outings.
Mike Wallace (vs. SD): Wallace got bottled up by Darrelle Revis in Week 10, and he was held to four catches for 15 yards despite seven targets. That just added to his down year since he has just one touchdown on the season, but he's due for a big game. This is a good matchup for him since the Chargers have allowed at least eight Fantasy points to every No. 1 outside receiver they have faced with seven scoring double digits in points. Wallace is going to need a lot of opportunities since his two best games this year have come with 11 or more targets, but Ryan Tannehill should continue to give his No. 1 receiver chances to make plays. This Dolphins season is spiraling out of control -- including not using Wallace enough all season -- but they can at least rectify that by keeping him involved in games like this where he has the chance to succeed.
Percy Harvin and Golden Tate (vs. MIN): I'm being optimistic with Harvin this week in his expected return after being out all season following hip surgery. Every major player who has returned from injury or suspension this year -- Josh Gordon , Justin Blackmon , Rob Gronkowski and Andre Brown -- has posted a quality stat line in their first game (keep that in mind with Shane Vereen also). Harvin gets to face his former team in the Vikings, and they have struggled in pass defense for most of the season, as six receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points with 10 touchdowns allowed. Harvin's snap count might be limited, but we expect him to produce in whatever time he's on the field. As for Tate, he should still shine even with Harvin back. He has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games, and the matchup is clearly in his favor.
Josh Gordon (at CIN): Gordon is coming off a bad game in Week 9 against Baltimore with three catches for 44 yards, but he should rebound this week. He had four catches for 71 yards against the Bengals in Week 4, but that was with Hall active. Without Hall, the Bengals have allowed four receivers to score at least eight Fantasy points in their past four games with three touchdowns over that span. Gordon has four games this season with double digits in Fantasy points, and his two best games came on the road at Minnesota (22 points) and at Kansas City (19 points). We expect him to do well again coming off a bye, and Gordon should return to must-start status after a strong performance this week.
Riley Cooper (vs. WAS): We're going to stick with this Foles-Cooper connection until they prove us wrong, and they definitely have been dominant of late. Cooper has eight catches for 241 yards and five touchdowns in his past two games against Oakland and Green Bay for 54 Fantasy points. In the four games Foles has started, Cooper has 80 Fantasy points with at least eight points in each outing, and he has combined for 18 catches, 449 yards and six touchdowns. The Redskins have allowed 11 receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points with 11 touchdowns, which means Cooper and DeSean Jackson should continue to dominate. At some point Cooper is going to slow down, but you should keep him active in all leagues until that point happens, especially with how well he's connecting with Foles..
|Harry Douglas||(at TB)||If he can avoid Darrelle Revis he could have a big game.|
|Emmanuel Sanders||(vs. DET)||In the past six games vs. DET, 10 receivers have double digits in Fantasy points.|
|Kenny Stills||(vs. SF)||He has three touchdowns in his past two home games.|
|Danny Amendola||(at CAR)||Let's hope his 18 Fantasy points in Week 9 is the start of a big finish.|
|DeAndre Hopkins||(vs. OAK)||OAK has allowed five touchdowns to secondary receivers the past three games.|
Denarius Moore (at HOU): Pryor has struggled the past three games, and as expected, Moore has struggled with him. He has 10 catches for 159 yards and no touchdowns the past three outings against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Giants, and he's only topped 50 yards once over that span. Houston has been beat up the past two weeks by T.Y. Hilton and Andre Roberts each scoring double digits in Fantasy points, but those are the first two receivers since Week 2 to reach those totals. Moore will likely continue to struggle as Pryor works his way out of his recent funk, so consider him just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best heading into Week 11.
Steve Smith (vs. NE): Smith continues to struggle, and we don't expect him to break out of his recent funk with a matchup looming against Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib , who is expected to return from a three-game absence with a hip injury. Smith hasn't scored in his past three games, and he has yet to go over 70 receiving yards in a game this year. Despite scoring three touchdowns he has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points, and New England only allowed two receivers to reach double digits in points in the first six games when Talib was healthy. Smith is just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best this week.
Anquan Boldin (at NO): It's remarkable how well the Saints have done this season defensively after being a horror show in 2012, especially in their secondary. Only four receivers have scored double digits in Fantasy points against New Orleans, and only two have done it at home with Julio Jones in Week 1 and Steve Johnson in Week 8. Alshon Jeffery and Kenbrell Thompkins are the other receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Vincent Jackson , Larry Fitzgerald , Wallace, Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant . I'm not sure if Boldin qualifies to be on this list of big-named receivers this season since he's struggled for most of the year. He has just two games with double digits in Fantasy points and none since Week 4. He's averaging just 3.3 Fantasy points a game in his past five outings, and the matchup and his low level of play should keep him reserved in most leagues.
Roddy White (at TB): White returned from his three-game absence with a hamstring injury in Week 10 against Seattle, but he again struggled with just one catch for 20 yards on four targets despite playing 55 of 58 snaps. He has yet to score a touchdown this season and hasn't topped 50 yards in a game. This week, he will likely have to deal with Revis, who is back to being a lockdown corner again. In his past three games against Smith, Tate and Wallace, Revis has helped limit them to 11 catches for 86 yards and no touchdowns. The Bucs might decide to line Revis up against Harry Douglas , but this is the matchup we're anticipating, which means it could be another long day for White.
Hakeem Nicks (vs. GB): I hope this is the week Nicks breaks out of his slump, and Victor Cruz also for that matter. The matchup is great since the Packers have allowed four receivers to score five touchdowns the past two games against Chicago and Philadelphia. But if Nicks goes off it will be on my bench because we just can't keep waiting any more. He hasn't scored a touchdown in his past 12 games going back to last season, and he and Manning continue to miss on chances in the red zone. He also hasn't topped 70 receiving yards since Week 5, and he's averaging just 4.2 Fantasy points in his past four games. I hope Nicks can turn things around for the stretch run, but we need to see it happen first before he can be considered a starter again in the majority of leagues.
Bust alert: T.Y. Hilton (at TEN): Like Luck, Hilton has not done well outdoors in his young NFL career. He's appeared in eight games outdoors the past two seasons and has just one game with more than four Fantasy points, which was at New England in 2012. This season, Hilton has combined for 11 catches for 101 yards and no touchdowns outdoors. He also struggled at Tennessee last season with five catches for 35 yards, and the Titans have been stellar in pass defense this year. DeAndre Hopkins in Week 2 is the only receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Tennessee, and Hopkins and Jerricho Cotchery in Week 1 are the only ones to score. Hilton has been awesome since Reggie Wayne (ACL) went down with 14 catches for 251 yards and three touchdowns the past two games, and he's difficult to bench in most leagues. But based on his play outdoors and the matchup with the Titans, this could be a tough outing for him.
Jordan Reed (at PHI): Reed is playing so well right now he should be considered a flex option ahead of struggling running backs like Rice, Richardson and Spiller. He has at least 90 yards or a touchdown in three of the past four games, and he's been targeted at least nine times for all three of those outings, which means we hope Griffin continues to get him the ball. He made his NFL debut against the Eagles in Week 1 with five catches for 38 yards on six targets, but we're expecting bigger stats in the rematch. Philadelphia has only allowed two tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points this season, but Reed has the chance to score nine points or more this week.
Jordan Cameron (at CIN): Cameron struggled in his last outing in Week 9 against Baltimore with one catch for 4 yards on just five targets, but he should rebound this week to be a low-end starting option. He did well against the Bengals in their first meeting in Week 4 with 10 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets, and we expect Campbell will lean on him again this week. Three tight ends have scored double digits in Fantasy points against Cincinnati, and five have scored touchdowns, including Dallas Clark last week.
Rob Housler (at JAC): Housler picked the right time to score his first NFL touchdown in Week 10 against Houston because it should give Fantasy owners some confidence to trust him, especially as a bye-week replacement for Jason Witten . The Jaguars have been miserable against tight ends all season with four reaching double digits in Fantasy points and eight touchdowns allowed. In the past three games, Jacksonville has allowed three touchdowns to Davis, Delanie Walker and Taylor Thompson . Housler would benefit if Michael Floyd (shoulder) is out, and he has at least 50 receiving yards in two of his past three games. He's a risky starting option, but we hope last week was the start of something good.
|Coby Fleener||(at TEN)||He might be the best receiving threat for Andrew Luck this week.|
|Delanie Walker||(vs. IND)||He's playing well of late with two touchdowns in his past three games.|
|Marcedes Lewis||(vs. ARI)||He's risky, but he does have the best matchup of any tight end this week.|
Heath Miller (vs. DET): Miller continues to struggle, and he reached a new low in Week 10 against Buffalo with one catch for 6 yards on five targets. This is now four games in a row with fewer than 45 receiving yards, and he's combined for just 10 Fantasy points over that span. The Lions have only allowed one touchdown to a tight end this season, which was Tyler Eifert in Week 7, including matchups with Reed, Martellus Bennett twice, Jermichael Finley and Witten. We suspect Miller will be held in check based on his recent level of minimal production.
Charles Clay (vs. SD): The Chargers have been abused by two tight ends this season, which were Owen Daniels in Week 1 and Julius Thomas last week. Both scored at least 15 Fantasy points, but they are the only tight ends to reach double digits in points this year, including matchups with Witten and Reed. Clay, like Miller, has disappeared of late with just 14 Fantasy points in his past four games. With the emergence of Rishard Matthews , Clay's production should continue to slip, and he's a low-end Fantasy option at best heading into this matchup.
Tyler Eifert (vs. CLE): I had moderately high expectations for Eifert heading into Week 10 at Baltimore. Jermaine Gresham (groin) was out, and Eifert certainly got plenty of attention with a season-high 10 targets. But he failed to deliver with just three catches for 55 yards, and he now has just one touchdown on the season with only one game above six Fantasy points. Gresham is expected to return this week, which will lower Eifert's value, and he had just three catches for 39 yards at Cleveland in Week 3. The Browns have allowed two tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points with Joseph Fauria scoring three times in Week 6 and Finley scoring in Week 7. But if Eifert can't deliver when Gresham is out there's no reason to trust him when he's back to sharing time.
Bust alert: Greg Olsen (vs. NE): Olsen has been solid of late with a touchdown in two of his past three games. But when he doesn't score his production has been minimal. Olsen has just one game with more than 50 receiving yards in his past five outings, and his targets have been low of late. He hasn't had more than five targets since Week 5, and the Patriots have only allowed one tight end to score this season, which was Tony Gonzalez in Week 4, including matchups with Jimmy Graham , Clay and Miller. It's risky to bench Olsen based on his potential, and he does have three touchdowns on the season, but he might not finish as a Top 12 option this week.
Jets (at BUF): The Jets return from their bye week with the chance to face a Bills team potentially without receivers Steve Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle), and quarterback EJ Manuel is one game removed from a five-game absence due to a knee injury. The Jets had a season-high eight sacks in their first meeting with Buffalo in Week 3, and the DST scored 12 Fantasy points in a standard league in that matchup. That was one of seven DST opponents to score double digits in Fantasy points against the Bills, who have given up 35 points the past two games to the Chiefs and Steelers. Buffalo also hasn't scored more than 17 points the past three games.
49ers (at NO): The Saints offense shredded the Cowboys in Week 10 for 49 points, and the 49ers DST could be in trouble this week. The Saints have scored at least 31 points in four of five home games, and only the Buccaneers DST in Week 2 and the Jets DST in Week 9 have scored double digits in Fantasy points against the Saints overall. New Orleans has just 10 turnovers (seven interceptions and three fumbles) on the season, and the 49ers' streak of six games in a row with at least 14 Fantasy points will likely end. The key for San Francisco over that stretch has been holding opponents to 20 points or less, but the Saints should obliterate that mark. We'd look elsewhere for a DST in Week 11 based on the matchup.
|Rian Lindell||vs. ATL|
|Shaun Suisham||vs. DET|
|Ryan Succop||at DEN|
Nick Folk (at BUF): Folk has quietly been one of the best kickers this season, and he has made at least two field goals in all but one game, including seven games in a row. He has yet to miss a field goal this year, and he has scored at least 11 Fantasy points in three games in a row and four of his past five. He only had nine Fantasy points in Week 3 against Buffalo, but the Bills have allowed five kickers to score double digits in points, including two in a row. We expect Folk to remain accurate and post a quality stat line this week, and he's an excellent starting option not just this week but for the rest of the year.
Blair Walsh (at SEA): Kickers have not fared well coming into Seattle this season. Phil Dawson , Josh Scobee , Rob Bironas and Rian Lindell have combined for just five field goals and six extra points, and Bironas has the most Fantasy points of that group with seven in Week 6. Walsh reached double digits in Fantasy points in Week 10 against Washington, but that was the first time he reached that plateau since Week 4. He has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points on the road this season, which was Week 2 at Chicago. He's only missed two field goals on the year, but the problem is he's only had four games this season with multiple field goals and multiple extra points, which has limited his upside.
Disclaimer ... Please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you with the tough decisions.