Welcome to Week 11! Hopefully you find all of your teams in the thick of a playoff race. Even if your team is out of the playoff hunt, remember, it's not all about the wins and losses. It's about pride in your ability to manage a team and continue to be competitive even during those seasons where you find yourself with a less than stellar team. So, continue to pluck that gem off the waiver wire keeping him from those in the playoff hunt and let everyone know, that even in defeat, you're going to be a factor in the playoff race.
Now on to this week's Start/Bench!
Robert Griffin III
Eli Manning *Bye*
Carson Palmer, Oakland vs. New Orleans: Palmer will be facing the worst fantasy defense in the league versus quarterbacks. He has also scored less than 14 fantasy points only once this year, which occurred all the way back in Week 4. With running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson likely to miss this week's game Palmer will have no choice but air it out.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis at New England: Luck will be facing a Patriots defense that is the sixth most generous in fantasy versus quarterbacks. On the road with a running game that is adequate at best, Luck is going to have to put on an aerial display if the Colts are going to have any chance in this game. The Patriots have given up over 300 yards passing in five out of nine games this year. Luck has passed for over 300 yards four times. At least 300 yards passing and multiple passing scores are on tap.
Cam Newton, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay: Newton had one of his two 300-yard passing games versus Tampa Bay back in Week 1 and will now face a Bucs defense that has allowed 1,379 yards passing and 12 touchdowns over its last four games. It appears that Carolina has no interest in establishing a running game and will simply rely on Newton to take care of business. This game is just what Newton needs to get back on track and allow him to finish up his sophomore campaign with a bang.
Alex Smith / Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs. Chicago: Be it either a concussed Alex Smith or second-year man Colin Kaepernick, the Bears number one ranked fantasy defense versus quarterbacks will be on a mission after failing to find the end zone for only the second time since Week 2. The Bears defense needs to prove that it can compete with the elite teams in the NFL and should be looking to make a statement this week.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay at Carolina: Freeman will be facing a Panthers defense that hasn't allowed multiple passing touchdowns since Week 4. The emergence of running back Doug Martin has the Bucs relying less on the arm of Freeman and more on a potent ground attack. I can see Freeman being used as a bye week fill-in but make sure to temper your expectations.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Flacco had a great game last week throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns for the first time since Week 3. But let's not forget about the five games in between where he threw for one or less touchdowns in each game. Flacco will be facing a Steelers defense that is the third toughest versus quarterbacks in fantasy and hasn't allowed multiple touchdown passes since Week 5.
Marshawn Lynch *Bye*
Adrian Peterson *Bye*
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. New York Jets: Jackson topped 20 carries for the first time since Week 1 and converted them into his first 100-yard effort of the season versus a very stout 49ers defense. Was last week a game plan that played towards a 49ers weakness or is this going to be the norm moving forward? I don't know, but given a match-up versus a Jets defense that has allowed 100 or more yards rushing in seven out of nine games this year, I've got to ride with Jackson this week.
Joique Bell, Detroit vs. Green Bay: This game is going to be a shootout and Bell is the preferred option at running back for the Lions when they go to pass mode. Those in PPR leagues should especially take note as Bell's pass-catching prowess should allow him to be at least a productive flex-play this week.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo vs. Miami: Did I really need to include Spiller on the 'Start' list? No, I didn't. But when he goes off on a tough Miami defense I don't want to be the only one left behind when the other industry analysts toot their own horns for having made such a 'bold' prediction. On the other hand, should Spiller tank this Thursday, forget that you ever read this.
Chris Ivory, New Orleans at Oakland: While the Oakland defense is ranked as the fourth most generous versus running backs, most of that can be attributed to two games in which the Raiders gave up a combined 505 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Sans those two games, the Oakland defense has only allowed three rushing touchdowns in seven games. As long as the Saints continue to employ an RBBC your guess is as good as mine as to when Ivory will find the end zone, as that is what will make him flex-worthy.
Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville at Houston: We've seen enough to know that Jennings cannot handle the role of feature back. We've also seen enough to know that when healthy, MJD is a first-round talent. While a healthy MJD would be firmly planted on the 'Studs' list versus this match-up with the Texans, Jennings gets a seat on the 'Bench.'
James Starks / Alex Green, Green Bay at Detroit: While the Lions have given up 100-plus yards rushing in five out of nine games this year, they have only allowed three rushing touchdowns on the season. Regardless of the defense that Green Bay is facing, the running back position is a virtual non-factor in their offense as they prefer to let Aaron Rodgers do the heavy lifting. This is a timeshare that is best avoided.
Victor Cruz *Bye*
Hakeem Nicks *Bye*
Denarius Moore, Oakland vs. New Orleans: Moore has scored a touchdown in five out of his last seven games and this week he gets a match-up with a Saints defense that is the worst in the league when it comes to defending wide receivers. You may want to see if Moore's owner is willing to part with him as he has a favorable schedule the rest of the way.
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers defense has given up less than 200 yards receiving to opposing wide receivers just once this season and that was back in Week 6. They have given up six touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the last four weeks. While Smith has struggled mightily this season look for him to put up his best game to date versus the Bucs this weekend.
Dez Bryant, Dallas vs. Cleveland: The Browns have held opposing wide receivers under 100 yards only once this season. While Bryant has only scored three touchdowns on the season, the talk this week has been about how Bryant is progressing as a football player. His diving touchdown grab last week should definitely increase Tony Romo's confidence in Bryant, opening the door for bigger performances down the road.
Danario Alexander, San Diego at Denver: Alexander took advantage of a plus-matchup and a missed tackle to score on an 80-yard pass play last week. But there's a huge difference between the Buccaneers and the Broncos, who are the fourth toughest defense in fantasy versus wide receivers. There will be no gifts from the Broncos defense this week.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco vs. Chicago: Crabtree should be on your bench regardless of who is starting at quarterback for the 49ers this week, but more so should Colin Kaepernick get the start. The Bears were able to hold the Texans wide receivers to a mere six catches for 65 yards. The Bears need to post a high profile win and they'll be very motivated come Monday night.
Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville at Houston: The Texans defense has shut down both the Bears and Bills wide receivers over the last two weeks. Shorts was held without a catch back in Week 2 versus the Texans and figures to get the same treatment again this week.
Antonio Gates, San Diego at Denver: After not scoring a touchdown in the Chargers first five games, Gates has found the end zone four times in their last four games. This week Gates has a tasty match-up versus a Broncos defense that is the worst in the league at stopping tight ends. Another solid game by Gates and he just may find himself back on the 'Studs' list.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia at Washington: This call is more about opportunity as Celek has a match-up against the second worst team in fantasy when it comes to defending tight ends. And if a tight end is truly a rookie quarterback's best friend, then Celek should be in for a big game.
Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis at New England: With Coby Fleener expected to miss a couple more weeks, Allen will be the focus at tight end for the Colts. With a solid match up versus a Patriots defense that has been very generous to opposing tight ends, a six-catch, 70-yard effort with a possible touchdown is not out of the question.
Jacob Tamme, Denver vs. San Diego: The Chargers have only allowed two touchdowns and one double-digit scoring effort by an opposing teams' tight ends. Add in touchdown vulture Joel Dreessen, and you're looking at a very unproductive day by Tamme.
Logan Paulsen, Washington vs. Philadelphia: It's possible that we've seen the best from Paulsen. If super-sleeper, Fred...