Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 11 Fantasy Football Pick-Ups

Michael Vick, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Frank Gore, Jeremy Maclin. You guessed it, more injuries.
And you will find that most of these names will come into play when we list the fantasy football pickups of the week.
Along with the onslaught of injuries, we are facing the final bye week of the NFL season where we are seeing fantasy stars from New Orleans, Houston, Pittsburgh and (not really stars...) Indianapolis.
With some big names possibly wearing just hoodies and a cap on game day and more big names watching Week 11 from their couches, we once again are forced to go fishing in Free Agency. Let's take a look at who should be among the first to go.

Carson Palmer, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders (25.7% owned)
You saw a lot of guys fail to give him any love when he first put on the Raiders jersey, and after the three interception half in his first outing, he was getting even more hate. Personally, you know that I didn't hate on him, to be fair though, I didn't even think he would be worth mentioning. I assumed no fantasy value.
But with injuries to oft-started Michael Vick and Matt Schaub, and some other big quarterback names on bye, Palmer is among the best QBs to pick up this week. Palmer managed 299 yards, 2 scores and just one pick against the pretty decent pass defense of San Diego. A week before that he put up big numbers against the lowly Broncos.
While some of this has to likely do with McFadden being sidelined, he has been pretty impressive in putting up fantasy numbers despite Michael Bush filling in nicely. In Week 11 he will be facing a Minnesota defense that ranks 31st in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks.
If Palmer can stay on pace, he could do similar damage this week as he did last week against a team that looks pathetic against Green Bay last night.
And for the record, I'm already saying no to Matt Leinart for the rest of the year.

Lance Ball, Running Back, Denver Broncos (0.3% owned)
If I'm not mistaken (I might be, I'm too lazy to look back) this is the second time that Lance Ball has graced this list. This time, likely with a better result.
Knowshon Moreno is out for the rest of the season. Willis McGahee was limited in practice and considered a game-time decision. Even if he is able to go, you have to imagine that he will not be healthy enough to shoulder the load by himself.
So, in comes Lance Ball. 30 carries for just shy of 100 yards last week when he came into the game, Ball is looking like a pretty good play. The matchup is against the Jets, which might be a little worrisome, but they are ranked 18th against running backs and are far more porous this year than they have been in the past.
With Tebow being two for eight last week, the Jets will no doubt be stacking the box, but hopefully the worry of Tebow will open a hole or two for Ball, allowing him to approach last week's numbers and maybe even cross the goal line.

Kendall Hunter, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers (5.4% owned)
I know that I told you to pick him up last week. And, as predicted, Gore finished the game with just six carries for zero yards. Hunter didn't look to impressive in the yardage stat line with the 49ers having to throw the ball a lot, but he managed a decent number of points getting 40 yards and a score.
Frank Gore is still questionable for Week 11's game, and even if he does play, you have to worry that he will remain very limited. Hunter would make a good play here if Gore is called out ahead of the game as the Arizona Cardinals have given up a lot of fantasy points to running backs this year.

Vincent Brown, Wide Receiver, San Diego Chargers (0.2% owned)
This one is definitely conditional, but I think that Brown could be a good play as long as Malcolm Floyd is out of the line-up. In the past two weeks Brown has accumulated 176 yards and even found the end zone last week.
It is no doubt that the Chargers offense is struggling, but with Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson getting the heat from the defense, Brown might be a smart play to sneak in if you are short at receiver.
Oh, and for the record. Laurent Robinson is still just 13.1% owned. If you haven't jumped on that already. Do so now.

Jon Baldwin, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs ( 6.8% owned)
Alright... Stay with me on this one. It's a theory, but I kind of like it.
In Tim Tebow's first game as a starter, Matt Willis, the fourth receiver on their depth chart, had the most receiving yardage.
In Carson Palmer's debut, second stringer Jacoby Ford led the way, and this week, Denarius Moore, even deeper on the chart was the Raiders receiving leader.
John Skelton's first game as a replacement for Kevin Kolb had Early Doucet and Andre Roberts ahead of Larry Fitzgerald as the best Cardinal reciever.
John Beck relied on tight end Davis and backup receiver Jabar Gaffney in his first start as a Redskin, and the Viking's Christian Ponder had Michael Jenkins as his best wideout in his first career start.
So, what do I take from all of this? That when a second string quarterback comes in for the first time, the best receiver is not the star of the team, it is a second or third stringer that gets the best game.
It's easy to understand. The second string QB has been practicing with the lower receivers on the totem pole all year long. While the big names are getting rounds with the starting offense, the backup quarterback is developing timing and a rhythm with the secondary receiving team.
Matt Cassel is out for the year meaning that his replacement, (pardon me while I go look it up), Tyler Palko, has been spending most of his time with... you guessed it, Jon Baldwin.
Sure, this is still a bit of a stretch, and likely not the most reliable fill in, but statistically, it seems valid. Put him up against the worst defense in the NFL against wide receivers, and voila, you have a legitimate sleeper.
The same can be said for Jason Avant, Reilly Cooper or Steve Smith if Vince Young gets the nod from Philadelphia. Just a thought.

Ed Dickson, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens ( 5.7% owned)
When you get down past the top seven tight ends, things start to get pretty annoying. Lots of inconsistency from week to week, and that can definitely be said for Ed Dickson.
Last week, he has his best day, 79 yards and two scores. Prior to this game though, he only has one touchdown and has broken 25 yards only four times.
When you are scraping the bottom of the barrel for a tight end, Dickson has the most fantasy points of any TE under 25% owned. The matchup this week isn't great, but he did show some signs of greatness last week, and proved that he can be a dependable dump off when Flacco needs to get rid of it. Worth a shot here if you are hurting at the position.

Defensive pickups
I'm going to hand out a three way tie here with my sleeper defense for all of you using the Shuffling Defense Strategy (SDS) so effectively this season. The Cleveland Browns (35.5% owned), Jacksonville Jaguars (6.9% owned) and St. Louis Rams (5.8% owned) are all facing teams that are worse than 25th in giving up points to defenses.
Each of these teams had a pretty impressive showing last week, with the Jags and Browns in the top 10 in points scored in most leagues.
Matchups and momentum should give each of these three defenses the chance to have another great week in Week 11.


  1. How would you rank Chris Ogbonnaya vs. Lance Ball? Also, Earl Bennet vs. the other WRs you've mentioned? Lastly, where does Dickson fit in vs. Vernon Davis or Brent Celek? Thanks!

  2. Great advice! (and I desperately need it...)

  3. I have both Austin, Vick and just traded for Maclin...I am going down...

  4. I have Ball higher actually. He had a good game (so did Ogbonnaya, but against the easiest defense in the league) When Ogbonnaya faced a tough run defense, he did literally nothing.

    Earl Bennett looks pretty good to me. Even against a tough DET matchup, he fared pretty well. Other than Laurent Robinson, I would keep Earl Bennett higher.

    Dickson, at this point, is not as reliable as Celek or Davis for me. Dickson is very up and down. He could have a good game again next week, or could go back to having 2 catches for 14 yards.

  5. Ouch. That is pretty rough. Injuries have taken out many many great teams this year. I honestly cant remember ever seeing a season with this many stars going down. Very very hard year for fantasy.

  6. Should I trade Wallace, Jackson and Romo for Forte and Welker?

    My team
    QB: Romo, Stafford

    RB: Peterson, F.Jackson, Murray, BJGE, Tolbert,  Battle

    WR: Jennings, Wallace, Steve Johnson, L.Robinson, Manningham

    TE: Finley

  7. I'm hesitant to say yes to this only because I want to learn more about Stafford's injury before you give away a highly ranked backup quarterback.

    While Forte is ahead of Jackson and Welker is ahead of Wallace, the margin seems pretty insignificant to take such a risk here.

    If Stafford proves to be good to go and the finger is a non-issue, I would still be hesitant to make this. I think you are giving up too much talent. I would say your team is fine as they stand. Solid starters all around.