Don’t Expect Fantasy Points from the Bears or 49ers

Jake Ciely, Managing Editor November 14, 2012

It’s the last bye week of the season! Hurray! Make sure you have the best fill-ins for the final owner-needy week of 2012.

Quarterback Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Oakland Raiders NO 21.4 15 New York Jets STL 16.6
2 Miami Dolphins BUF 19.2 16 Washington Redskins PHI 14.3
3 Philadelphia Eagles WAS 19.0 17 Detroit Lions GB 15.1
4 Cincinnati Bengals KC 16.6 18 Baltimore Ravens PIT 11.0
5 New Orleans Saints OAK 18.0 19 Pittsburgh Steelers BAL 11.8
6 New England Patriots IND 15.7 20 Arizona Cardinals ATL 14.2
7 Dallas Cowboys CLE 17.0 21 St Louis Rams NYJ 12.4
8 Indianapolis Colts NE 17.8 22 San Diego Chargers DEN 14.3
9 Kansas City Chiefs CIN 14.6 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers CAR 13.7
10 Carolina Panthers TB 17.7 24 Cleveland Browns DAL 11.9
11 Houston Texans JAX 15.3 25 Atlanta Falcons ARI 12.1
12 Green Bay Packers DET 15.1 26 Jacksonville Jaguars HOU 11.1
13 Buffalo Bills MIA 16.3 27 Chicago Bears SAF 11.4
14 Denver Broncos SAD 15.2 28 San Francisco 49ers CHI 8.4

 

ACES IN THE HOLE

How on Earth is Carson Palmer still owned in just 62.7 percent of NFL.com leagues?! What more does Palmer, the ninth-highest Fantasy QB in scoring, have to do to garner respect? Maybe, after Palmer faces the horrid Saints defense and put up another big game, owners will realize. Then again, Palmer has just one sub-14 Fantasy Point (FP) game, so if they don’t know now, will Sunday really change that?

I cautioned owners not to go crazy with Ryan Tannehill just because of the matchup. Well, here we are again. Tannehill has the second easiest QB matchup of the week: Buffalo. However, Tannehill managed just two FP against the Titans and now has four games with five FP or less. I’d only risk him if I were in dire need (see: Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger owners… in two-QB leagues).

Speaking of Vick, talk is he could be done for the year. Whether that’s the case, Nick Foles gets his first NFL start this week and has a great opponent for it. The Redskins are terrible against the pass, but remember, Foles is a rookie. Now, Foles performed adequately after Vick exited against Dallas, but you can’t value him as anything more than a QB2.

Bonus: Vick and Big Ben owners can also grab Andy Dalton (another QB that’s surprisingly available), as he faces the Chiefs defense. I would certainly use Dalton over Tannehill and Foles without even thinking twice.

TOUGH DEAL

Alex Smith is yet another QB who is questionable to play due to injury, but owners (the few there are) shouldn’t aim for Smith’s replacement, Colin Kaepernick. While Kaep has some Vick-like scrambling ability, the matchup is far too daunting to trust him as your starter. In case you haven’t noticed, the Bears are dominating on the defensive side of the ball. Stay away from their 8.4 FPPG allowed defense.

And speaking of the Bears – geez, this week’s piece just writes segues itself, huh – Jay Cutler might not play in Week 11. Even if he does, I’d avoid him at all costs. Cutler at less than 100 percent is already a risk, and it’s made worse by facing the 49ers defense.

Assuming none of you are crazy enough to start Blaine Gabbert in any league, we’ll move on to Cleveland against Dallas. While the Cowboys have been up and down all year, their pass defense has been just plain strong. Those thinking Brandon Weeden might be a good fill-in need to think twice, as going against Dallas is not a favorable situation for Weeden.

 

Running Back Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Miami Dolphins BUF 25.4 15 Detroit Lions GB 14.3
2 Oakland Raiders NO 22.1 16 Baltimore Ravens PIT 13.2
3 Houston Texans JAX 21.7 17 Washington Redskins PHI 14.7
4 New England Patriots IND 18.0 18 Philadelphia Eagles WAS 13.8
5 New Orleans Saints OAK 21.2 19 Denver Broncos SAD 14.1
6 Pittsburgh Steelers BAL 18.4 20 San Diego Chargers DEN 14.2
7 Cincinnati Bengals KC 18.0 21 Carolina Panthers TB 14.8
8 Kansas City Chiefs CIN 17.7 22 Atlanta Falcons ARI 14.0
9 Arizona Cardinals ATL 18.0 23 Green Bay Packers DET 12.9
10 Dallas Cowboys CLE 17.6 24 Indianapolis Colts NE 13.4
11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers CAR 18.0 25 Buffalo Bills MIA 12.6
12 St Louis Rams NYJ 17.9 26 Jacksonville Jaguars HOU 10.2
13 New York Jets STL 16.0 27 San Francisco 49ers CHI 10.3
14 Cleveland Browns DAL 15.0 28 Chicago Bears SAF 9.8

 

ACES IN THE HOLE

Expect the Bears to look more like Cutler and less like Marshall in the defensive matchup of the year. Photo Credit chrisusalis

Reggie Bush owners are beyond frustrated, I get it. In three of his last four games, Bush has failed to top five FP and he put up a goose egg last week thanks to a lost fumble. I ask you to stay the course one more week… then sell as fast as you can! The Bills allow the most FPPG to RBs by 3.3 FPPG. That’s a large margin, statistically speaking, in Fantasy Football. Buffalo has allowed 14 rushing TDs (next closest 10) and 139.6 rushing YPG. Oh, and you can tack on another two TDs allowed to RBs via the pass. Daniel Thomas is pushing Bush aside, but it won’t be completely for at least one more week.

Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both unlikely to play, which makes Marcel Reece a RB2 in Week 11. As mentioned, the Raiders face New Orleans and they are that second most forgiving matchup alluded to in the Bush section. Taiwan Jones quickly lost the coach’s confidence by fumbling again, and Reece put up 104 yards on 13 carries and seven catches. Start him with confidence, as long as DMC and Goodson remain out.

Enjoy that game against Jacksonville you Arian Foster owners!

All I have to say to Stevan Ridley owners is this: you knew what you were getting into when you drafted a Bill Belichick running back, so stop complaining. Actually, how can you really complain when Ridley carried the ball 22 times for 98 yards and a TD? What, you’re mad Danny Woodhead managed a TD on his only carry? Or that Woodhead scored again via the pass (Ridley is not a legitimate pass catcher). Stop being greedy and enjoy Ridley’s 2012 season and this matchup against the poor Colts run defense.

TOUGH DEAL

Matt Forte began his tough stretch of opponents last week versus Houston, and it gets tougher this week. Forte and the Bears face the 49ers, who allow a measly 9.8 FPPG to RBs – that’s per team, as in all team RBs combined each week! San Fran allows just 81.0 rushing YPG, and while they’ve given up a rushing TD earlier than last year, it’s only happened twice. Forte isn’t going to sit on your bench, but he won’t reach RB1 status either.

Frank Gore has a tough go of it as well, you know, being on the other side of this much-discussed matchup. The next closest comparable defense Gore has faced is Arizona, against whom he managed just 55 yards and six FP on 16 carries. This might be a humdrum 6-3 game and bore us to tears.

Maurice Jones-Drew is already out for Week 11, and Rashad Jennings hasn’t looked too good in his absence. Unfortunately, for Jennings this week won’t help matters. The Houston rush defense is the third toughest matchup overall and just held Matt Forte to three FP. Granted, it was in poor weather, but are you really going to say Jennings and Forte are near the same level of RB? Oh, and they still haven’t allowed a rushing TD… just saying.

 

Wide Receiver Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Oakland Raiders NO 28.8 15 Pittsburgh Steelers BAL 20.3
2 New England Patriots IND 24.8 16 Detroit Lions GB 22.3
3 Philadelphia Eagles WAS 28.2 17 Washington Redskins PHI 20.6
4 Dallas Cowboys CLE 24.9 18 Cleveland Browns DAL 19.0
5 Miami Dolphins BUF 23.2 19 Atlanta Falcons ARI 20.7
6 Indianapolis Colts NE 24.9 20 New York Jets STL 18.7
7 Carolina Panthers TB 28.1 21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers CAR 17.4
8 New Orleans Saints OAK 21.2 22 Baltimore Ravens PIT 15.3
9 Houston Texans JAX 20.7 23 Arizona Cardinals ATL 16.7
10 Green Bay Packers DET 20.6 24 St Louis Rams NYJ 15.8
11 Denver Broncos SAD 20.8 25 San Francisco 49ers CHI 17.8
12 Buffalo Bills MIA 23.6 26 Jacksonville Jaguars HOU 17.4
13 Cincinnati Bengals KC 20.0 27 Chicago Bears SAF 16.8
14 Kansas City Chiefs CIN 18.2 28 San Diego Chargers DEN 16.4

 

ACES IN THE HOLE

Going back to Cali, to Cali… eh, you get it. Along with Palmer and Reece, the Raiders WRs will also have the enjoyment of exploiting the Saints defense. New Orleans allows a league high 28.8 FPPG to WRs with an average of 210.3 receiving YPG and 14 TDs allowed. Denarius Moore has already cemented his WR2 status with his play, but Darrius Heyward-Bey will have some decent fill-in value this week.

While Brandon Lloyd hasn’t been what owners had hoped for, Wes Welker has – well, since the whole Julian Edelman nonsense ended. No matter the case, both WRs should be plugged into all lineups as the Pats face the bottom-dwelling Colts defense. If that weren’t enough of a reason to start Welker and Lloyd, don’t you think Tom Brady and Belichick will be out to make a point against Andrew Luck? Tell me they haven’t shown themselves to be the type to pass all day just to stick it in his face.

The Eagles WRs are about as risk/reward as you can get this week. With Foles at QB, there is plenty of inherent risk, even though the Eagles face the extremely forgiving Skins pass defense. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could both exploit Washington’s D and put up WR2 numbers or better, or, Foles could struggle and both disappoint. The opportunity is there, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

TOUGH DEAL

It doesn’t get any tougher than the Denver secondary. Since Week 3, no team has allowed fewer FPs to WRs than Denver, and that includes two single-digit outings and two others under 11 FP. Only New England and Cincy topped that 11 FP threshold, and while Philip Rivers may be a bit comparable to Andy Dalton, he doesn’t have an A.J. Green at WR. Sure Danario Alexander surprised us all, but neither he nor Malcom Floyd will have much success in Denver.

Hey, so those Bears, yea, it’s tough for them this week. Here is that famed Bears-49ers matchup again, and while it’s unlikely you can bench Brandon Marshall, there may be a few teams deep enough at WR to do so.

Those grabbing Cecil Shorts, Laurent Robinson or Justin Blackmon had better wait a week before plugging them into lineups. The Jags won’t provide much offense against the tough Texans defense.

No matter who starts at QB for San Fran – Smith or Kaepernick – the receiving corps for the 49ers is best left to benches wherever possible. The 49ers have allowed just four receiving TDs all season – best in the NFL.

 

Tight End Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Philadelphia Eagles WAS 10.9 15 Buffalo Bills MIA 6.8
2 Indianapolis Colts NE 9.7 16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers CAR 6.4
3 St Louis Rams NYJ 9.2 17 Baltimore Ravens PIT 5.7
4 San Diego Chargers DEN 11.7 18 Dallas Cowboys CLE 4.6
5 Kansas City Chiefs CIN 8.7 19 Denver Broncos SAD 5.0
6 Miami Dolphins BUF 8.1 20 Washington Redskins PHI 5.6
7 Green Bay Packers DET 7.8 21 Cleveland Browns DAL 5.3
8 New Orleans Saints OAK 7.9 22 Detroit Lions GB 6.0
9 Oakland Raiders NO 7.1 23 Jacksonville Jaguars HOU 6.0
10 Arizona Cardinals ATL 8.2 24 Houston Texans JAX 3.8
11 Cincinnati Bengals KC 6.2 25 New England Patriots IND 3.7
12 Carolina Panthers TB 7.6 26 Atlanta Falcons ARI 5.3
13 New York Jets STL 7.2 27 San Francisco 49ers CHI 5.0
14 Pittsburgh Steelers BAL 6.4 28 Chicago Bears SAF 5.0

 

ACES IN THE HOLE

This is going to be a tough week for exploiting tight end matchups. We talked about Philly and Foles at QB, so Brent Celek is risky even with the best matchup. Coby Fleener is still out for Indy, but Dwayne Allen has yet to hit double-digit FPs, and his season-high nine FP came when Fleener was playing. And in St. Louis, Lance Kendricks is easily just a very deep-league flier play.

On to San Diego in Denver. While the Broncos shut down WRs, they seem to forget about the tight ends. That’s good news for Antonio Gates, as are the league-high 11.7 FPPG allowed and eight TDs given up to TEs by the Denver D.

TOUGH DEAL

Hey, here’s something you might not know: the 49ers-Bears matchup is going to be a nightmare Fantasy wise. Okay, you know that by now, and that also means you know to knock Vernon Davis down to TE2 status. As for Kellen Davis, I truly hope you weren’t considering him anyway.

The Colts allow the fewest amount of FPPG to TEs, yet they aren’t the toughest matchup. That’s because the defense just isn’t any good, and let’s look at the teams faced: Bears, Vikings, Jaguars, Packers, Jets (before Dustin Keller’s return), Browns, Titans, Dolphins and the Jags again. The only TE with any significant Fantasy worth is Kyle Rudolph (no, I didn’t forget Jermichael Finley), and they allowed him to reach pay dirt. Do you think for one second that Rob Gronkowski and/or Aaron Hernandez will struggle against Indy? This is one of the few times that I give you permission to ignore the stats.

(Reminder: You’ll notice the rankings are not in exact order of points allowed. Other metrics are calculated in along with just straight points. It allows for better analysis so one off-week doesn’t skew the opponent difficulty too greatly.)

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