In Week 10, the Steelers were equally gratifying and frustrating for Fantasy owners. It just depends on what side of the Ben Roethlisberger ledger you were on.
Roethlisberger didn't start in Week 10 against the Browns because of his injured foot, but when Landry Jones (ankle) got hurt in the first quarter, he was pressed into action -- and delivered in a big way. He had 379 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception for 33 Fantasy points, but most Fantasy owners had him on the bench. His start percentage was 13 percent on CBS Sports.
The positive of the situation was what Roethlisberger did for Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Everyone starts Brown, and Bryant was active in 60 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. Brown had 10 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns for 27 Fantasy points in a standard league, and Bryant had six catches for 178 yards and a touchdown for 21 points.
Now, both guys could have been great with Jones, but clearly Roethlisberger gives his receivers a better chance to succeed. And if you own Brown and Bryant you were thrilled with how things worked out.
We hope Week 11 doesn't bring about any surprise situations, but that's kind of been the nature of this season. The stars have been more bust than boom (Andrew Luck, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb and Jimmy Graham, to name a few), and injuries have decimated rosters. Peyton Manning is no longer a fixture in our lineups, and Danny Amendola could be a savior for your playoff run.
This is the last week of byes, with Cleveland, New Orleans, the Giants and Pittsburgh off, so next week every Fantasy team will be at full strength - or as close to that as possible. We hope your team is peaking at the right time, and this is the home stretch toward making the playoffs.
And the good news is for this week you know Roethlisberger won't play. So now you can actually be safe in benching him.
I'm sure the reason Carson Palmer was started in just 40 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com in Week 10 was the matchup at Seattle, and I'm partly to blame for that. He was listed as a bust alert in this column last week, but he was once again awesome with 26 Fantasy points.
He should continue to play great this week against the Bengals, and hopefully Fantasy owners will completely buy in to him as a starter. He has yet to be universally started in all leagues this year.
Now, that has to do with Fantasy owners drafting Palmer as a backup to guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but every week he continues to produce at a high level. He only has two games with fewer than 20 Fantasy points this season in a standard league, and his worst outing was 18 points. He has passed for either 350 yards or multiple touchdowns in every game this year, and he's the No. 2 Fantasy quarterback for the season behind Brady.
We hope Palmer has a healthy Michael Floyd (hamstring) for this game, and it would be great if John Brown (hamstring) was 100 percent as well. This is also a tough matchup since the Bengals have allowed just Joe Flacco and EJ Manuel to score more than 20 Fantasy points, but that could be somewhat misleading.
Derek Carr was hurt against Cincinnati in Week 1 and didn't finish the game, and Roethlisberger faced the Bengals following a four-game layoff with a knee injury. Brian Hoyer (concussion) was also hurt against Cincinnati last week and didn't finish the game Monday night.
Palmer should have the chance for a quality outing, and the Bengals are playing on a short week on the road. At a time when several quarterbacks are hurt (Luck), on a bye (Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Roethlisberger) or just playing poorly (Peyton Manning and Andy Dalton) this is a great week for Palmer to continue his dominance and help Fantasy owners to a win in Week 11.
I'm starting Palmer over: Aaron Rodgers (at MIN), Philip Rivers (vs. KC), Russell Wilson (vs. SF), Andy Dalton (at ARI) and Tony Romo (at MIA)
The Cowboys get Romo back for the first time since Week 2 when he suffered a broken collarbone against the Eagles and was placed on short-term injured reserve. He's been practicing in full, so he should step on the field ready to go and hoping to get Dallas back in the playoff race in the mediocre NFC East. His return is a huge boost for Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams, and his upside is worth the risk of any potential rust from the long layoff. The Dolphins have only allowed two passing touchdowns in the past two games against the Bills and Eagles, but four quarterbacks this year have scored at least 20 Fantasy points against Miami. We expect Romo to make it five this week.
Carr wasn't great in Week 10 as the Start of the Week, but he did enough to score 21 Fantasy points for the fourth game in a row. He has another favorable matchup this week again at the Lions. Detroit has allowed multiple touchdowns to three quarterbacks in a row, including Teddy Bridgewater and Alex Smith over that span, and the past four quarterbacks to face the Lions have scored at least 21 Fantasy points in a standard league. Detroit's secondary did an admirable job to defend Green Bay's receivers last week, but the Lions will struggle to stop Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who are must-start options in Week 11. Carr should be able to find both for big plays, and he'll continue his hot streak in this matchup.
It's a leap of faith to trust Stafford at this point in the season because he hasn't played well of late and has been a bust in 2015. But this is a good matchup to start him at home since the Raiders have not done well against opposing quarterbacks all season. Bridgewater last week and Peyton Manning in Week 5 are the lone quarterbacks to not score at least 20 Fantasy points against Oakland. Now, Stafford hasn't scored 20 Fantasy points since Week 7, and he's only reached that mark three times this year. But he's coming off a solid performance against the Packers with 242 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and he should build off that game this week.
It's risky to trust quarterbacks on Thursday night that aren't slam-dunk options, and while Bortles has played well this season, he's not at that level yet. He was a little bit of a letdown in Week 10 at Baltimore in a great matchup with 19 Fantasy points, but he should rebound this week at home. The Titans are banged up in their secondary, and Bortles has at least 19 Fantasy points in seven of his past eight games. He's also played well at home with at least 24 Fantasy points in three games in Jacksonville. Tennessee has allowed the past three opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points in Hoyer, Brees and Cam Newton, and five of the past seven opposing passers have reached that mark. He's worth trusting even on the short week for Thursday's game.
I hope Ryan comes off his bye week playing at a high level, and he's typically done well after a week off. In his past four seasons coming off a bye, Ryan has scored at least 27 Fantasy points in three games. It would be great to see him score at least 27 Fantasy points because his high for the season is 26 points, and he's scored 20 Fantasy points just four times this year. The Colts have allowed five quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points this season, including five in their past seven games, and Ryan hopefully will start to deliver for Fantasy owners down the stretch after a disappointing start to the season.
Tyrod Taylor (at NE): He scored 31 Fantasy points vs. NE in Week 2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (at HOU): If he starts as expected he should do well.
Marcus Mariota (at JAC): Four straight QBs have scored 20 points vs. JAC.
Sitting Dalton this week has little to do with his performance Monday night against the Texans as it does with the matchup, but he's started to struggle lately as a Fantasy option. He's scored 11 Fantasy points or less in two of his past three games, including eight points against Houston when he failed to throw a touchdown for the first time this year and passed for fewer than 200 yards. He'll do better than that against the Cardinals, but Arizona is a tough opponent for the Bengals, especially on the road. A.J. Green has a tough cover with Patrick Peterson, and the Cardinals are great against tight ends, which could limit Tyler Eifert. Only Nick Foles and Josh McCown scored at least 20 Fantasy points against the Cardinals, but they've also held Brees, Stafford, Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson to 19 points or less. I expect Dalton to be held under 20 points this week Sunday night.
Tannehill had a productive game in Week 10 at the Eagles with 20 Fantasy points, which was just the third time he's reached that mark this season. He's gone two games in a row without an interception, which is the first time that's happened since the first two weeks of the year. We'll see if he can build off that performance, but the Cowboys have been stingy to opposing quarterbacks of late. After a three-game stretch where Ryan, Brees and Brady each scored at least 26 Fantasy points, Dallas has held the past four opposing quarterbacks to 17 points or less, with two passing touchdowns allowed and three interceptions over that stretch. Tannehill will likely be in that range again this week, and he's only worth starting in two-quarterback formats.
We had Cousins as a starting option in Week 10 with his matchup against the Saints, and he delivered in a big way with a season-high 36 Fantasy points. He's actually scored at least 35 Fantasy points in two of his past three games, with both coming at home, and his best game on the road was 16 points at the Giants in Week 3. Mariota just had this same two-game turnaround with the Saints and Panthers in consecutive weeks, and he scored 40 points at New Orleans and then seven points against the Panthers. We expect Cousins to have a similar letdown in Week 11. Carolina has allowed just two quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points this season with Wilson in Week 6 and Rodgers in Week 10, and the Panthers have given up 11 passing touchdowns to 14 interceptions. Cousins is a questionable option even in two-quarterback leagues.
Flacco has been amazing at home this season with at least 24 Fantasy points in four games against Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Diego and Jacksonville. Two of those games were without Steve Smith (Achilles) against the Browns and Jaguars, and you saw against Jacksonville that other players could step up like Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens and the tight ends. St. Louis is also coming off a terrible game where Jay Cutler scored 30 Fantasy points, which were the most points the Rams allowed this year, but that was a lot of uncharacteristically bad tackling. Cutler is the lone quarterback to score more than 18 points against St. Louis, including Wilson and Palmer, and Flacco should have his first game with fewer than 20 points at home. He's only worth starting in two-quarterback leagues this week.
Osweiler gets his first chance at a starting job in place of the injured/benched Peyton Manning (foot), and hopefully he does well. He was 14-of-24 passing for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception and 18 rushing yards against the Chiefs in Week 10 in relief of Manning. In Week 11, Osweiler gets to face two coaches he played for prior to this year with former Broncos coach John Fox and former offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and they should know his tendencies. The Bears have also have done well against opposing quarterbacks of late as only Stafford in Week 6 has scored more than 17 Fantasy points in the past seven games, including matchups against Wilson, Carr and Philip Rivers. At home, Chicago has not allowed a quarterback to pass for more than 200 yards, including matchups with Rodgers and Palmer. We'd love to see the Broncos passing game get going with Osweiler because Manning has struggled this season, but this could be a tough week to trust him on the road.
Cutler has been a solid Fantasy quarterback this season, especially since Week 4. He had a five-game stretch scoring exactly 21 Fantasy points in a standard league before getting a season-high 30 points last week at St. Louis. It was a shock to see him decimate the Rams like that, and we'll see if he can do it again in what should be a tougher matchup with the Broncos. Denver has only allowed Luck in Week 9 to score more than 17 Fantasy points this season, including matchups with Rodgers, Carr, Stafford and Flacco. Cutler also hasn't exactly been great throwing the ball at home this season with one game with multiple passing touchdowns against Oakland in Week 4. He ran for a touchdown in Week 8 against Minnesota, which helped him score 21 Fantasy points, and he'll need to create points like that against the Broncos to have a successful game. I would only use Cutler in two-quarterback leagues this week.
I had high expectations for West last week despite the tough matchup at Denver, but I never expected his best game of the season with 27 Fantasy points. It was all about the workload for West, and he delivered with 24 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. This is now three games in a row with at least 24 touches, and the Chiefs will continue to lean on him against the Chargers. But while Denver presented a tough matchup, San Diego is quite the opposite. The Chargers allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs, and West should have the chance for another big day. He has the potential to be a Top 5 Fantasy running back in Week 11.
I'll pull Langford from this spot if Matt Forte (knee) is able to return against the Broncos, but if Langford starts again for the third game in a row he'll play at a high level in the majority of leagues. Like West, I liked Langford against the Rams last week because of usage, and he should once again get a heavy workload against the Broncos. Langford had 20 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown at St. Louis. That's now two games in a row with at least 21 touches, and the key to having success against Denver is volume. The four running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points against the Broncos (Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore and West) all had at least 16 carries and 20 touches, and Langford should easily hit that mark. Despite the opponent, Langford is a safe starting option in Week 11 unless Forte is back in action.
Stewart got off to a slow start this season, but he's been a steady force in the past five games and should play well again this week. He had no games with double digits in Fantasy points through the first four weeks of the season, but from Week 6 on he's scored double digits in points in four of his past five outings. He has either 100 rushing yards or a touchdown in four of those games, but he has at least 20 carries each week. The Redskins have been terrible against opposing running backs since Week 5, and last week Mark Ingram had the worst game against Washington in the past five games with nine Fantasy points. Every running back with at least 20 touches against the Redskins this season has scored at least 16 Fantasy points in a standard league, so Stewart has the chance to follow suit if he gets his usual 20 carries.
McFadden had his worst game since taking over as the No. 1 running back for the Cowboys in Week 7 with five Fantasy points at Tampa Bay in Week 10. He should rebound this week in the second game of Dallas' tour of Florida. The Dolphins have struggled with running backs all season, and a running back has scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in four games in a row and either scored a touchdown or had 100 total yards in seven consecutive games. Usage has been great for McFadden the past four games with at least 20 touches in each outing, and that should continue even with Romo back. We hope the threat of a passing game with Romo replacing Matt Cassel opens things up for McFadden, and he should be able to exploit the holes in this defense.
If you look at Murray's game log for the past eight games you'll notice a pattern that we hope continues this week. Going back to Week 2, Murray had two games with double digits in Fantasy points followed by two games in single digits. He's scored single digits in Fantasy points in his past two outings against Pittsburgh and Minnesota, so clearly he's due for an upswing this week. And the matchup makes sense to trust him against the Lions. He's been good on the road with either a touchdown or 90 total yards in three of four games, and Detroit has allowed a running back to score a touchdown or gain 90 total yards in five games in a row. He's a solid No. 2 running back in this matchup.
Danny Woodhead (vs. KC): He's averaging 15 Fantasy points at home.
Karlos Williams (at NE): Can he score in seven games in a row?
Chris Johnson (vs. CIN): He's averaging 14.3 Fantasy points at home.
T.J. Yeldon (vs. TEN): If his foot is OK he should produce solid stats.
Ronnie Hillman (at CHI): He has a TD or 100 yards in five of his past seven.
We keep waiting for Hill to deliver a respectable stat line, let alone a big game. It's been three games now since he's scored double digits in Fantasy points, and he still hasn't topped 63 rushing yards in a game, which was his best total in Week 1. He needs to score to help your Fantasy team, and only two starting running backs have scored against the Cardinals this season in Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch. Hill had a season-low seven carries in Week 10 against Houston, and the only running back to trust for the Bengals right now is Giovani Bernard. If Cincinnati starts chasing points, Bernard will see more playing time, which makes sense. Until Hill starts producing on a consistent basis he should be reserved in the majority of leagues.
Much like Hill, Anderson continues to disappoint us week after week. He looked better following Denver's bye in Week 7 with his best game of the season in Week 8 against Green Bay with 16 Fantasy points, and he followed that up with 4.9 yards per carry at the Colts in Week 9. But in Week 10, Anderson barely played with two carries with 9 yards and no catches for the first time this season. Hillman is the only running back to trust for the Broncos, and Anderson should be reserved in the majority of leagues. It's a race to the finish line for the biggest bust this season between Anderson, Hill and Lacy, and all three have been a disaster as Top 20 overall picks in 2015.
We finally got a good performance from Morris in Week 10 against the Saints with 15 carries for 92 yards and a season-high three catches for 14 yards. But as you should expect, that had more to do with the Saints defense than anything else. Prior to this game, Morris had combined for 18 Fantasy points in his past seven outings. He has yet to score a touchdown this year, and Matt Jones remains the best Redskins running back. Jones can be considered a flex option this week, although it's risky given the matchup with the Panthers. Only one starting running back has scored double digits in Fantasy points against Carolina when Luke Kuechly has played this season, which was Lynch in Week 6. Last week, the Panthers held Antonio Andrews to 11 carries for 8 yards and should be able to contain Morris this week.
We might get to a point over the rest of the season, and it could happen this week, where the Texans use Jonathan Grimes more than Blue as the primary running back. There's more upside with Grimes because of his ability to catch the ball, and he ran better than Blue in Week 10 at Cincinnati with six carries for 33 yards and one catch for 12 yards compared to Blue, who had 12 carries for 22 yards and one catch for 9 yards. Blue has been terrible in taking over for the injured Arian Foster (Achilles). He's combined for eight Fantasy points in two starts against the Titans and Bengals despite 32 touches. He still has one touchdown on the season, and there's no reason to trust him in the majority of leagues. The Jets have allowed a touchdown or 90 total yards to four running backs in the past three games against Oakland, Jacksonville and Buffalo, but Blue isn't talented enough to take advantage of this matchup at home.
It sounds like Lacy will return to action this week after sitting out in Week 10 with a groin injury. But Packers coach Mike McCarthy has already said James Starks will remain the starter against the Vikings. Now, Lacy will get work, but Starks should still be considered a No. 2 running back this week after he had 96 total yards against the Lions in Week 10. Lacy hasn't gotten to 90 total yards since Week 4 against the 49ers, and he has one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, which was Week 1 against Chicago. We hope he can pick up his play and close the season playing on a high note, but right now keep him reserved in the majority of leagues.
Martin did a nice job in Week 10 against Dallas to deliver a quality performance after two down games. He had 18 carries for 63 yards and four catches for 40 yards, and he scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league for the first time since Week 7 and just the fourth time this year. The Eagles have given up some big games to running backs of late with Mike Tolbert, Stewart, McFadden and Lamar Miller all scoring double digits in Fantasy points in the past three games. But Philadelphia has still allowed just one rushing touchdown on the season to Tolbert, and Martin hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 5. He still shares touches with Charles Sims, although his playing time increased in Week 10 against the Cowboys. Martin also is averaging 8.5 Fantasy points on the road this season in four games, and that should be about his ceiling this week against the Eagles. He's just a flex option at best in Week 11.
We'll stick with Crabtree even after his bad game last week against the Vikings. He had a season-low five targets and finished with four catches for 55 yards. It snapped a three-game streak of at least 12 Fantasy points in a standard league, but this week should be a rebound performance against the Lions for Crabtree and Cooper, who was held to seven Fantasy points against Minnesota. The Lions have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to score double digits in Fantasy points. Twice this season Detroit has allowed multiple receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points in the same game (San Diego in Week 1 and Arizona in Week 5). So consider Crabtree and Cooper starting options in the majority of leagues, with Cooper a Top 10 option and Crabtree a Top 15 receiver.
There's a change in New England with Julian Edelman (foot) out, and that should help Amendola and LaFell improve their value. Amendola is the obvious receiver who will benefit from the 10 targets Edelman averaged on a weekly basis. Amendola has five games this season with at least five targets, and he's scored at least seven Fantasy points in three of them. LaFell is still searching for his first touchdown this season in the four games he's played since coming off the PUP list, but he's been consistent with six targets in each outing. If his targets go up then the production should follow from Brady, and he had eight catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo in 2014. I like Amendola more than LaFell this week, but both are worth starting as at least No. 3 Fantasy receivers in this matchup at home.
There was some cause for concern with Hurns this week because of an abdomen injury, and he will reportedly have surgery for a sports hernia after the season. But he's probable for the game Thursday night against the Titans, and he will hopefully find the end zone for the eighth game in a row. He hasn't scored less than nine Fantasy points in a standard league since Week 2, and Bortles has leaned on him with at least eight targets in three games in a row. Allen Robinson should continue to be the No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars, and he's a great starting option this week against the Titans, who have allowed 11 receivers to score at least nine Fantasy points this year. But Hurns is a slight notch below Robinson with his production this season, and we hope he keeps his touchdown streak going for another week on Thursday night.
Like Hurns, Decker is on a touchdown streak with three games in a row and five in his past six games. He's scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in every game this season, and Fitzpatrick continues to feed him the ball with at least seven targets in five games in a row. It's comforting to know Fitzpatrick will play in Week 11 coming off left thumb surgery, and Decker and Brandon Marshall should have success in this matchup since the Texans have allowed 11 receivers to score at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league. Decker has been one of the best surprises this season, and he should be started in all leagues this week.
Watkins is getting lauded for his play against Darrelle Revis last week, which is nice to hear, but the fact remains he had just three catches for 14 yards. Fantasy owners don't care about him getting open on an elite cornerback -- he needs to produce for us to be satisfied. And this week, he should be productive against the Patriots. New England has been stingy against opposing receivers this year, but Watkins had six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on eight targets in Week 2. Watkins has four games this season with at least five targets, and he's had at least 10 Fantasy points in three of those outings. There have been 11 receivers to score at least eight Fantasy points against the Patriots this season, and we can see Taylor leaning on Watkins while chasing points. He's a solid starter this week after dealing with Revis in Week 10.
Marvin Jones (at ARI): No. 2 receivers have done well vs. ARI this year.
Davante Adams (at MIN): We hope he continues to get fed targets.
Steve Johnson (vs. KC): He has the chance for a big week vs. KC.
Stefon Diggs (vs. GB): He'll rebound this week in a potential shootout.
Dorial Green-Beckham (at JAC): This should be his best game of the season.
The Ravens allow the most Fantasy points to receivers this season, but that doesn't really matter when it comes to Austin since he doesn't play like a typical receiver. He has yet to have more than seven targets in a game, and he remains too risky to trust in the majority of leagues since he's only scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league twice this season. It's also hard to rely on him outdoors. In his past 10 games outdoors going back to last season he's averaged four Fantasy points a game, which includes seven Fantasy points at Minnesota in Week 9. He was held to one Fantasy point in Week 10 against Chicago, and I would only start him as a No. 3 receiver in deeper leagues this week even with the favorable matchup against Baltimore.
I had high expectations for the Packers in Week 10 against Detroit at home, but we know how that went for Jones and his teammates. Jones was extremely disappointing with no catches on two targets, and he combined for five Fantasy points in his past three games, which coincides with Adams returning to action from his ankle injury. The Vikings cornerbacks of Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman have played well this season, and the only outside receivers to hurt Minnesota this year were Calvin Johnson twice (Week 2 and 7) and Alshon Jeffery in Week 8. We don't expect Jones to turn things around in this matchup.
The Redskins offense had a bonanza of points in Week 10 against the Saints, but Jackson again had a quiet day. He finished with two catches for 44 yards on five targets, and he now has just five catches for 59 yards on 11 targets in two games since coming back from the hamstring injury he sustained in Week 1. We hope he can turn things around this week, but he is likely facing a matchup with Panthers standout cornerback Josh Norman. We've seen No. 1 outside receivers struggle against Carolina all season thanks to Norman, and the Panthers have allowed just five touchdowns to receivers for the year and only four to score double digits in Fantasy points. Jackson is an easy receiver to sit this week.
Moncrief has been one of the best surprises this season with 39 catches for 429 yards and five touchdowns on 66 targets. He's scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in five games, but nearly all of his quality production has come with Luck under center and not Matt Hasselbeck, who will start for the foreseeable future until Luck (kidney) returns. In the two games earlier this season that Luck missed with a shoulder problem against Jacksonville in Week 4 and Houston in Week 5, Moncrief combined for seven catches for 78 yards and no touchdowns on 12 targets. We're hopeful Hasselbeck and Moncrief can develop a similar rapport to what Moncrief had with Luck, but it will be difficult to trust Moncrief heading into Week 11. He should only be started as a No. 3 receiver in three-receiver leagues.
Like Moncrief, Matthews has been one of the better surprises this season. He's scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in six of nine games, and he has three games this year with double digits in points. But he has a tough matchup this week against the Cowboys, who have allowed just five touchdowns to opposing receivers, with Julio Jones in Week 3 and Mike Evans last week the only outside guys to do damage against this secondary. Matthews has gone three games in a row without a touchdown, and he only has one red-zone target on the season. He remains a safe No. 3 receiver in PPR leagues this week, but you can feel comfortable benching him in most standard formats. We don't see him posting a big stat line against this secondary.
It's always risky to bench an elite talent, and Green remains one of the best receivers in the NFL. But if you benched Green five times over the past six games you might have been happy about it in standard leagues. He's scored single digits in Fantasy points in five of his past six games, with only one touchdown over that span. He's combined for nine Fantasy points in his past two games against Cleveland and Houston, and only twice this season has he been over 100 receiving yards. He also has just three games with double digits in Fantasy points and four touchdowns. This week, he has to break out of his slump against arguably the best cornerback in the league in Peterson on the road. Peterson has been credited with allowing just one touchdown this year, and the receivers to struggle against him include Calvin Johnson (five catches for 67 yards), Antonio Brown (three catches for 24 yards but without Roethlisberger) and Steve Smith (five catches for 78 yards). Again, it's a risk to bench someone like Green, who could have a huge game with just one play, but if you start him this week just lower your expectations with the matchup against Peterson.
Ebron was a letdown in Week 10 at Green Bay because he had eight targets, which was his second-best total of the season, but he finished with just four catches for 28 yards. He should rebound this week against the Raiders, who are second in Fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends and first in touchdowns allowed to the position with 10. There have been seven tight ends to score at least seven Fantasy points against Oakland, and Ebron has three games this season with double digits in Fantasy points. He has Top 5 potential this week given the matchup at home.
Reed has been among the best tight ends in the past four weeks, and he's scored in each of his past three games. He had three catches for 29 yards and two touchdowns against New Orleans on Week 10, and we expect Cousins to continue to lean on him, especially if the Redskins are chasing points against the Panthers. He's scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in the six games he's been able to finish this season, and the Panthers have struggled with tight ends of late. Three tight ends in the past five weeks (Jimmy Graham, Coby Fleener and Richard Rodgers) have all scored double digits in Fantasy points, and Reed should add his name to that list with Cousins leaning on him in this matchup. When healthy, Reed has been among the best Fantasy tight ends this season.
Walker is coming off a disappointing game in Week 10 against the Panthers with three catches for 52 yards on four targets. The catches, yards and targets were all low marks for Walker in his past five games. He should rebound this week against the Jaguars, who were beat up by Baltimore's tight ends in Week 10. Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Jack Boyle combined for 11 catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and five tight ends have scored at least seven Fantasy points against Jacksonville this year. Kendall Wright (knee) remains out Thursday night against the Jaguars, and Mariota should rely on Walker and Green-Beckham to make plays this week on the road. Walker has three touchdowns in three road games this year and has scored at least six Fantasy points in each game away from Tennessee.
Jason Witten (at MIA): Romo is back, and tight ends crush MIA this year.
Richard Rodgers (at MIN): He scored three times in his past two games.
Crockett Gillmore (vs. STL): He has two touchdowns in his past two games.
Bennett has been hit or miss again this season, and lately it's been more miss than hit. He's scored double digits in Fantasy points just twice since Week 1, and he's scored three points or fewer in three of his past five games, including only one point in Week 10 at St. Louis. Along with that, No. 2 tight end Zach Miller has stepped up of late with three touchdowns in his past two games. The matchup against the Broncos further complicates matters since Denver has allowed just two tight ends to score this season, and only Gary Barnidge in Week 6 has scored double digits in Fantasy points. Bennett is an easy tight end to sit in the majority of leagues this week.
I thought Rudolph had a chance to help Fantasy owners last week with his matchup at Oakland, but instead he lost a touchdown to No. 2 tight end Rhett Ellison. Rudolph has now gone three games in a row without a touchdown, and he has yet to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league this year. The Packers have allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends, but Bennett in Week 1 and Greg Olsen in Week 9 are the only ones to score double digits in Fantasy points. And Rudolph has one game with more than five Fantasy points against Green Bay in his past five meetings, which was in 2012. He has minimal upside this week and likely for the rest of the season.
Clay scored against the Patriots in their first meeting in Week 2, but he finished with only three catches for 19 yards. New England has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year, but none have scored double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Reed and Witten. Clay has been held to six Fantasy points or less in each of his past five games, and he hasn't scored more than seven Fantasy points against the Patriots in his past five meetings. We'd be pleasantly surprised if Clay had a big game this week on the road.
Eifert comes into this game coming off arguably his worst game of the season in Week 10 against the Texans. He had three catches for 26 yards on seven targets, and he had three obvious drops. He also has scored three Fantasy points or less in two of his past three games. This could be another tough outing for him against the Cardinals, who are No. 2 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Now, they haven't exactly faced an elite group of tight ends, but Bennett and Graham were held to four Fantasy points or less against Arizona this year. Only Barnidge in Week 8 scored more than five Fantasy points against the Cardinals, and he's the only tight end to score on this defense. Eifert has been exceptional this season, so it's tough to bench him, but I don't anticipate him playing well in this matchup on the road.
Jets (at HOU): The Texans might be forced to start T.J. Yates on the road if Brian Hoyer (concussion) is out, and that should mean good things for the Jets DST. The unit has been hit or miss of late for Fantasy owners with two games with at least 13 Fantasy points in a standard league and three games with eight points or less going back to Week 6. The Texans come into this game on a short week against a rested opponent since New York hasn't played since Thursday night in Week 9. And no matter who starts at quarterback for the Texans, the offensive line needs to do a better job with 10 sacks allowed over the past three weeks.
Chiefs (at SD): KC has at least two interceptions in four straight games.
Falcons (vs. IND): Luck is out, so hopefully ATL is ready after a bye.
Bears (vs. DEN): CHI is bad defensively, but let's see what Osweiler can do.
Bengals (at ARI): The Bengals DST has posted three solid games in a row heading into Week 11, but this should be a letdown game against the Cardinals. Cincinnati has held Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Houston to 10 points in each outing, but Arizona has scored at least 26 points in seven of nine games this year. The Cardinals gave up a defensive touchdown to the Seahawks last week on the road with two fumbles and an interception, and Palmer was sacked three times. At home, Palmer has just two interceptions in four games, and Cincinnati is playing on the road on a short week. We would avoid using the Bengals DST in Week 11.
Matt Bryant (vs. IND): I always like using Bryant when he's at home, and he's coming off two solid games prior to his bye in Week 10. He scored eight Fantasy points in a standard league in Week 8 against Tampa Bay, and he had 10 Fantasy points at San Francisco in Week 9. He's made multiple field goals in three of four home games this season, and the Colts have allowed multiple field goals to seven of nine opposing kickers this season.
Sebastian Janikowski (at DET): Kickers have done well vs. DET at home.
Josh Lambo (vs. KC): He has multiple field goals in all five home games.
Graham Gano (vs. WAS): He scored 44 Fantasy points in his past four games.
Dan Carpenter (at NE): The last time Carpenter faced the Patriots in Week 2 he did not attempt a field goal and made just 2-of-3 extra points. He's only made three field goals against New England in his past five meetings and has never scored double digits in Fantasy points against the Patriots over that span. Only two kickers have scored double digits in Fantasy points against New England this season with Nick Folk and Josh Brown, and the Patriots allow the fourth fewest Fantasy points to opposing kickers this season. I wouldn't trust Carpenter this week on the road.
Full Disclosure from Week 10
When I first turned in this column last week, I originally had Gary Barnidge as a starting tight end with his matchup against the Steelers and the expectation Josh McCown would play. But then it was reported that Johnny Manziel would start for Cleveland with McCown still hurt, and I moved Barnidge to the bust alert. His history with Manziel wasn't good, but that changed against the Steelers as Barnidge scored and finished as the No. 5 tight end for the week.
I obviously wish I hadn't changed my opinion on Barnidge, and it was good to see him finally play well with Manziel. That was one of a handful of bad calls in Week 10, including starting guys like Andy Dalton, Michael Crabtree, James Jones, Jordan Matthews and Eric Ebron and sitting guys like Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler and Larry Fitzgerald. But we also had plenty of positive suggestions as well.
Our Start of the Week worked out with Derek Carr as the No. 9 quarterback in Week 10, and we also had the No. 1 quarterback in Kirk Cousins, the No. 2 running back in Charcandrick West and the No. 3 tight end in Jordan Reed as starting options. Including sleepers, we also hit on Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Jeremy Langford, LeGarrette Blount, Matt Jones, Karlos Williams, Allen Robinson and Richard Rodgers.
And we said to sit, among others, Chris Johnson, Sammy Watkins and Jeremy Maclin. I'm sorry about the Barnidge call if you followed my line of thinking, and hopefully my suggestions will work out better for you this week.
| Full Disclosure from Week 10 |
| Start of the Week |
| Player || Sportsline projected Pts. || Actual Fantasy Pts. || Start % || Pos. rank |
| Derek Carr, QB, Raiders || 20.1 || 21 || 61 || 9 |
| Recommended starts who made us look good |
| Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins || 16.4 || 36 || 28 || 1 |
| Charcandrick West, RB, Chiefs || 10 || 27 || 53 || 2 |
| Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins || 8.1 || 14 || 69 || 3 |
| Recommended sits who made us look good |
| Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals || 8.4 || 5 || 42 || 31 |
| Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills || 8.5 || 1 || 57 || 75 |
| Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs || 7.9 || 1 || 54 || 76 |
| Recommended starts who made us look bad |
| Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals || 23.1 || 8 || 74 || 25 |
| Eric Ebron, TE, Lions || 6.6 || 2 || 29 || 31 |
| Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles || 8.9 || 2 || 75 || 57 |
| Recommended sits who made us look bad |
| Jay Cutler, QB, Bears || 16.1 || 30 || 27 || 3 |
| Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals || 9.3 || 13 || 62 || 9 |
| Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns || 7.4 || 12 || 62 || 5 |