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
|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.
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
|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
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.
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
|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.
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
|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.
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.)
Check out our full suite of Fantasy Sports radio shows and podcasts! Listen to your favorite RotoExperts live or on demand, including the legendary Lenny Melnick, Tim McCullough, Jake Ciely, Gregg Sussman and many more. We cover Fantasy Football all week long and baseball year-round right here on ROTORADIO.