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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List: Week 11
John Tuvey
Updated: November 18, 2011
 
NYJ at DEN TBB at GBP SEA at STL PHI at NYG Start/Bench List by Position
BUF at MIA CAR at DET ARI at SFO KCC at NEP
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DAL at WAS JAC at CLE SDC at CHI  
OAK at MIN CIN at BAL TEN at ATL  
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
 
 

San Diego at Chicago

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San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S2

Rivers has been piling up the yardage and also has six touchdown tosses in his last two games. Da Bears have surrendered copious yardage all season long, but they've held three of their last four foes to one or fewer touchdown tosses. Rivers' struggles this season have cost him his elite starter status, but he's still doing enough to be a solid fantasy start.

RB Ryan Mathews S3 There are ways both San Diego backs could carve out some fantasy success in Chicago. For Mathews it'll be a return to a larger share of the workload, which should net him decent yardage and a shot at a touchdown. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in the San Diego backfield, but Mathews should at least get fantasy consideration this week.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 Tolbert is likely closer to 100 percent than Mathews; he's also the goal line guy (against a team that's allowed all four of its RB TDs in the past five games) and sees action in the passing game as well (the Bears have allowed seven different backs to top 30 receiving yards). Like Mathews, Tolbert isn't an overly compelling start, but he is startable with four teams on the bye and numerous injuries ravaging the running back position.
WR Vincent Jackson S2 Let's assume for the moment that Jackson shows a bit more interest in going after the football this week--this being a contract year for him and all. With that in mind, he should give Peanut Tillman all he can handle this week. Tillman held Calvin Johnson to 7-81 (on 19(!) targets) last week, and he'll likely be tasked with shadowing VJax this week. Those aren't bad totals, and if that's Jackson's baseline he's at minimum an S2 this week.
WR Vincent Brown S3 Brown has posted 176 and 1 in two spot starts for Malcom Floyd, and it sounds as if Floyd will be out of the lineup again this week. That leaves Brown to exploit the rest of a Chicago secondary that's allowed secondary targets to score or top 50 yards in two of the last three games.
TE Antonio Gates S1

No team has allowed more fantasy points to the tight end position than the Bears, and as you're probably aware Gates is pretty good. And, for the moment, healthy. A healthy Gates and a favorable match-up still warrants S1 status.

DT Chargers B

The Bolts don't have the personnel to take advantage of Jay Cutler foibles or Chicago's beat up offensive line.

Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

Cutler didn't need to do as much last week against Detroit, so his streak of four straight 200-yard games came to an end. He may need to do more this week, however, and a Chargers defense that's allowed 980 passing yards and 10 TDs in the past four games should be quite accommodating.

RB Matt Forte S1

Michael Bush gouged the Chargers for 242 yards from scrimmage last week; how do you think the league's #2 combo yards guy will fare? Yeah, same here.

RB Marion Barber B

Barber's three-game scoring streak came to an end last week, but he's still in the goal line mix. However, the Bolts have allowed just four RB rushing scores all year and only one went to a non-feature back so he's a bit of a strech this week.

WR

Earl Bennett

S2 Bennett's bromance with Jay Cutler picked up where it left off when Bennett returned from a five-week injury hiatus; he's been the Bears' most targeted and most productive wideout. He's also the one fantasy owners can place the most confidence in when setting their lineups.
WR Devin Hester

B

Hester's illness is likely to limit him to special teams action against the Chargers. While he's still a significant threat against a team that's struggled mightily with special teams coverage over the past two seasons, he's too risky to use as a fantasy starter.

WR Johnny Knox

S3

Hester's limitations open the door for the Bears' other speed guy against a defense that's allowed deep threats like Jordy Nelson (105 and 1), Denarius Moore (123 and 2), and Jonathan Baldwin (82 and 1) to get behind them the past couple of weeks.

DT Bears S2 You've got Rivers throwing picks, you've got Hester returning kicks... what's not to like?
 

Tennessee at Atlanta

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Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3

Hass continues to put up decent yardage, but he's had just one multiple touchdown outing in his last five games. The only multi-TD games the Falcons have allowed over the past six weeks were to Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees; that's to be expected. Pencil Hasselbeck in for adequate yardage but limited touchdowns; he'suseable but not overwhelmingly so.

RB Chris Johnson S3

Signs of life. Baby steps. A comeback. Okay, don't call it a comeback, but CJ's 130 and 1 last week restored at least a little faith. That faith will be tested against an Atlanta defense that's given up the fifth fewest fantasy points to running backs. Sorry, CJ; against a defense that's allowed just one RB TD in their past five games and no back to top 70 yards since Week 3, all we can muster is a fringe recommendation.

WR Nate Washington
Damian Williams
S3 Atlanta has allowed multipe wideouts to either score or top 60 yards five times in the last six games, so both Washington--who held the WR1 gig until a hip injury slowed him--and Williams--who is making a strong push for the job--are lineup-worthy this week.
TE Jared Cook
B Only once in the past month has Cook seen more than three targets; so much for him stepping into the go-to role when Kenny Britt went down. Only two teams have allowed fewer TE TDs than the Falcons, so this isn't a matchup you want to test-drive him in.
DT Titans B Atlanta's MO is to not make mistakes, and mistakes are what fantasy defenses capitalize on.
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Ryan snapped a five-game fantasy slump with back-to-back multiple touchdown games; coincidence that they came with Julio Jones back in the lineup? The rookie may or may not be available this week, but the Titans should be accommodating either way; they've allowed 200-plus yards in six straight and multiple TD tosses to three of the last five QBs they've faced--and one of the "nots" was Curtis Painter, so that hardly counts. Harry Douglas has stepped up nicely so Ryan's numbers shouldn't suffer with or without the rookie; plan on him being a fantasy helper this week.

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner is money at home, averaging 100 yards and a TD over four home dates. The Titans have tightened up of late but Jonathan Dwyer, Ben Tate, and Arian Foster can bust off 100-yard games you have to like Turner's chances of doing the same on his home tur

WR Roddy White S2

Tennessee has yet to surrender a 100-yard receiver, but they're giving up plenty of mid-range yardage games (10 of 50-plus yards, another six with 40 or more) that Atlanta's top target is still a solid fantasy play--with or without his rookie wingman.

WR Julio Jones B

Jones didn't practice all week, and while he's listed as questionable it looks like he'll miss another game due to his problematic hamstring.

WR Harry Douglas S2

Doesn't look like Jones will go this week. and as we noted in the first edition of the SBL that would mean bumping Douglas up. Sixteen different wideouts have topped 40 yards against Tennessee; now the Falcons are consolidating their numbers between just the two.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S1

Gonzo has scored in back-to-back games and delivered a touchdown or at least 60 yards in eight of nine games this seaosn. Only five teams have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Titans, so they're in no position to slow Gonzo's roll.

DT Falcons B The Falcons defense doesn't do much to warrant fantasy consideration.
 

Philadelphia at NY Giants

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Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick B

Vick has been ruled out of the Sunday night contest due to his rib injury.

QB Vince Young
B

What we've seen of Young in Eagle green has been less than impressive. He is 2-0 lifetime against the Giants, but you should be able to do better for a fantasy quarterback.

RB LeSean McCoy
S1

McCoy has scored in every game this season--including 128 and 1 in the earlier meeting--and with Vick out you have to figure he'll become an even larger factor in the offense. He also topped 100 yards in the front end of last season's series and should be in line for both decent yardage and a score this time around as well.

WR Jeremy Maclin
B Maclin is officially listed as questionable, but he didn't practice all week due to his shoulder injury and is not expected to play Sunday night. Even if he did, having Vince Young as his quarterback wouldn't necessarily be a plus for his fantasy prospects.
WR DeSean Jackson
S3 Jackson did more damage to the Giants via special teams last year, but if Maclin can't go he'll have to step up his game to replace the 16-179-2 Maclin totaled in the two-game series. Assuming he gets his alarm clock fixed, he should be in position to do so.
TE Brent Celek
S2 Celek has a touchdown or at least 53 yards in each of the past four games. He scored in the back end of last season's series with the Giants and should continue his success against a defense that's allowed three TE TDs and 245 yards to the position in just the last two games.
DT Eagles S3 You think they'll punt to DJax again? If not, it'll be up to Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel to help Philly put defensive fantasy points on the board.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Eli has 1,181 yards and 11 TDsin his last four meetings with the Eagles, including 254 and four earlier this year. He rolls into this matchup with multiple touchdowns in three straight and seven of his last eight, with at least 250 yards in seven straight and eight of nine. Even with Asomugha the Eagles have given up five passing scores the past two weeks, so there's no reason to expect Eli to suddenly stop firing bullets.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw
B

Bradshaw hasn't ruled himself out of the Sunday night game, but he's already talking about a Week 12 return so it sounds like everyone else has. You should join them.

RB Brandon Jacobs
S3

Jacobs hasn't exactly taken the job and run with it in Bradshaw's absence, with 18-72-1 and 18-55 as the Giants' lead dog. Philly has struggled to stop the run this season, including the earlier meeting where Bradshaw amassed 139 yards from scrimmage and scored while Jacobs added 61 and 1. Jacobs gets a tentative starting nod based on housing the bulk of the carries.

WR Hakeem Nicks
S2

Asomugha held Nicks to 3-25 in the earlier meeting, but that just opened the door for Victor Cruz to have a monster game. Expect the Eagles to mix up the coverage a little more this time around, which should free Nicks up to make a larger fantasy contribution.

WR Mario Manningham
Victor Cruz

S2

Nnamdi is good, but he can't cover everybody. Cruz had the big game last time; maybe this time it will be Nicks, or Manningham. Eli has done a nice job of spreading the ball around, and unless you get a copy of Andy Reid's game plan you'll just have to risk that one of these guys might get Nnamdi'd Sunday night.

TE Jake Ballard B

Ballard was silent in the earlier meeting, but that's par for the course: Philly has shut down the tight end position this season, with only a two-TD outing from Tony Gonzalez blemishing their record. WIth the full complement of wideouts back for the Giants, Ballard gets relegated to the back burner.

DT Giants S2 While the league's most relentless pass rush had to be salivating at the prospect of free shots at Michael Vick's tender ribs, they'll have to settle for chasing down the erratic Vince Young and forcing him into bad throws.
 

Kansas City at New England

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tyler Palko U

The guy who forced Joe Flacco to transfer gets his shot in the NFL. First up: the Patriots, who have allowed eight of nine opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least 250 yards. That's the good news; the bad news is that Bill Belichick gets an extra day to scheme for a first-time starter. If you're stuck for a QB with Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger on bye, you could swing for the fences with Palko. Just know there's plenty of risk here as well.

RB Jackie Battle
S3 The Pats haven't allowed a 100-yard game this season, but they've given up plenty of little helpers: seven games with at least 60 yards. That's what Battle is looking at, with the possibility of a touchdown as well. With a first-time starter at quarterback, you have to think the KC game plan will be heavy on the run--at least until the Patriots open up a big lead.
WR

Dwayne Bowe

S3

New England has allowed a WR TD in three straight, but only one and not necessarily to the WR1. There was little difference in targets for the Chiefs last week, but Bowe has been the go-to guy in the past and Palko would want to keep the alpha dog happy.

WR

Steve Breaston
Jonathan Baldwin

S3

The Patriots have allowed multiple receivers to either score or top 50 yards or both in every game this season. So it's not just Bowe who's a viable start this week. That's a lot to ask of a first-time starter, but it's not as if the Chiefs have many other options.

DT Chiefs B Kansas City's defense isn't doing much fantasy-wise, and they'll have their hands full with slowing Tom Brady and trying to keep things manageable for Palko without worrying about creating fantasy scoring opportunities of their own.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S1

Brady has multiple touchdowns in four straight and eight of nine, as well as back-to-back 300 yard outings and an average of better than 330 yards per game. The Chiefs have a decent secondary, but so do the Jets and Brady has diced them for 320 twice.

RB

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

S3

The Chiefs have given up 80-plus rushing yards to seven feature backs; in the other two games the Chargers combined for 100 yards and the Colts... well, they're the Colts. If the Patriots choose to run BJGE he'll follow suit; when given 15 or more carries he's produced 70, 75, and 136 yards. However, it's been six weeks since Law Firm saw that workload; it's been more like a half-dozen totes for everybody of late. Trusting a Bill Belichick back is only slightly less risky than trusting a Shanahan back, so consider yourself warned.

WR Wes Welker S2 Welker remains on pace for a thousand catches, even though his targets have slowed a bit of late as Brady acts on his infatuation with Rob Gronkowski. No reason to sit him here.
WR Deion Branch S3 Branch may be the fourth option in the New England passing game, but it's been prolific enough to make even Branch a viable fantasy option.
TE Rob Gronkowski S1 Gronkowski has 26 targets, 16 catches, 214 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. The Chiefs just gave up two touchdowns to Anthony Fasano; you think Brady is going to have any problems finding Gronk in the end zone?
TE Aaron Hernandez S2 Hernandez used to be Gronkowski; now he's just another difficult matchup that Brady exploits when Gronkowski isn't open. His steady diet of five targets and four catches still produces better results than most other tight ends, so while he's Gronkowski's wingman he's still a viable fantasy starter.
DT Patriots S3 Bill Belichick with an extra day to scheme against a first-time starting quarterback. Even with the Patriots trotting out a band of unknowns on defense, they're still in position for fantasy points; witness last week's pick six against the Jets.

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