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Monday Morning Takeaways – Week 11

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Miami 14, Buffalo 19

Dolphins

The commotion for fantasy owners entering this game was the Week 10 benching of Reggie Bush. As promised the Miami coaching staff opened with Bush in the backfield on Thursday night. However, that lasted all of two carries as Daniel Thomas was quickly inserted and once again surpassed Bush in carries for the second straight week. To make matters worse, Reggie doesn’t even sniff the field on passing downs or when Miami gets inside the 20-yard line. A free agent at the end of the season, the Fins coaching staff looks to be turning the page on Bush. Those owners holding out hope that Reggie would reemerge as a viable fantasy option by season’s end got a cold dose of reality.

The only other player of note for the Dolphins was wide receiver Davone Bess. Hauling in six receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown, Bess became Tannehill’s favorite target in comeback mode for much of the second half. Don’t go chasing this week’s performance as this was Bess’ first touchdown of the season, and on the third time he surpassed seven fantasy points all year.

Bills

Running back CJ Spiller started in place of the injured veteran Fred Jackson, becoming the Bills entire offense totaling 130 yards on 25 touches. The coaching staff has promised an increased role, but with Fred Jackson likely to return next week Spiller returns to a mid RB2.

As great as Spiller played, the highlight of the night was the show put on by the Buffalo DST. The first punt of the game was instantly taken back for a touchdown by kick returner Leodis McKelvin. The defense then took over with two interceptions, one fumble, and three sacks while holding the Dolphins under 200 yards of total offense. Nowhere near the elite defense they were touted before the season, the Bills do have an intriguing matchup with the Jags in Week 13 should you need a one week filler.

With Spiller controlling the clock, and the Buffalo defense locking down the Miami offense, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills' passing game weren’t needed to win this football game. But owners of Steve Johnson should be a bit perturbed with three trips into the red zone resulting in three field goals (ugh).

Arizona 19, Atlanta 23

Cardinals

Three Matt Ryan interceptions in the first quarter led to 13 quick points for the Cardinals. Unable to convert good field position into touchdowns caused the Arizona coaching staff to suddenly bench starting quarterback John Skelton (six yards passing) in favor of rookie Ryan Lindley. Lindley didn’t fare much better only able to muster 64 yards in three quarters of play. Poor quarterback play neuturalized the Arizona wide receivers who were led by Early Doucet with 28 yards. With the revolving door at quarterback now turning to the rookie, even Larry Fitzgerald's (one catch, 11 yards) value is waning. Consider Fitz a mid WR3.  

Despite the struggles of the passing game, LaRod Stephens-Howling pieced together a solid performance 133 yards on 25 touches. Before running out and adding LSH, be aware that preseason starter Beanie Wells will be returning from injured reserve in Week 12. LSH will most likely return to backup duty giving him handcuff type value.

Falcons

Five Matt Ryan interceptions quickly turned the tables for the Falcons offense which was unable to sustain drives and produce fantasy points. Ryan did not play at his MVP level, failing to find the end zone for the second time in three games, but still put 301 passing yards on the board. Ryan will bounce back heading to face the 32nd ranked Bucs secondary in Week 12.  

Michael Turner’s lead-footed running style is getting old as he was only able to accumulate 46 yards on 15 carries. However, his fantasy value was saved by a late game touchdown plunge after Tony G. was stopped on the one yard line. If he scores you love him, if he doesn’t you’ll loathe him.

We were warned before the game that Julio Jones (three receptions, 33 yards) would not be playing at 100% after suffering a Week 10 ankle injury. Jones looked tormented for much of the game, and was later seen limping off the field before calling it quits in the third quarter. Proceed with caution when projecting your Week 12 lineup as Jones will likely be another “game time decision.”  

Cleveland 20, Dallas 23

Browns

Trent Richardson owners should be ecstatic to see the Browns game plan of riding their workhorse running back every week. In this game the rookie rumbled for 144 on 34 touches. He’s a stud.

Ben Watson came up in a big way targeted a team high eight times, hauling in four balls for 47 yards and two touchdowns including what should have been the game winner. The Browns coaching staff must have seen a matchup they wanted to exploit as Watson has averaged 2.6 fantasy points per game on the season. Until he can repeat this performance, his fantasy value is along the lines of low end TE2.

Targeted seven times in this game, Josh Gordon continues to play a significant role in the Browns aerial attack. In a down matchup against the stout Cowboys pass defense, Gordon pulled in five balls for 53 yards. We should note Gordon has another tough matchup next week against the equally stiff Steelers secondary. After that the Browns will face Oakland, Kansas City and Washington. If Gordon was dropped in your league he could be worth adding for the stretch run as a high risk/reward mid WR3 should you need help.

Cowboys

The Cowboys offense took the opening three quarters off punting the football five times before picking up a field goal mid third quarter. However, in the fourth quarter Dallas got a wakeup call putting their foot on the throttle. As a result Dez Bryant had himself a career best 145 yards highlighted by a sick 28-yard touchdown. Start him with confidence.

Bryant’s expanded role in the Dallas offense has come at the expense of Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Austin was still targeted 12 times but hasn’t surpassed eight fantasy points in three straight weeks while Witten has failed to top six points in four of the past five games. With Bryant now emerging as the “go-to-guy,” Austin has fallen to a WR3 while Witten is a low end TE1.

Felix Jones led the way for the Cowboys on the ground picking up 43 yards on 14 carries, including a short yardage touchdown (a good sign for fantasy owners). However, for some reason Dallas turned to backup Lance Dunbar in overtime to grind out the game. We’re now reading that Jones suffered a “minor knee injury.” Nicknamed “Fragile Felix,” make sure to monitor this situation on a short week.



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