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Week 11: Call for Backup

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Handcuffing backup running backs or even keeping an eye on wide receivers further down the depth chart has been common practice in fantasy football. However, Tim Tebow was likely the only backup quarterback taken in fantasy drafts this year, and has been a worthless pick thus far. After four starting quarterbacks went down in Week 10, several new and even familiar names may sputter onto the fantasy radar for Week 11.

Philadelphia Eagles’ fans are struggling to find reasons to be thankful this season as we near Thanksgiving. Their optimism took a nosedive in Week 10 after suffering their fifth straight loss and a “significant concussion” to quarterback Michael Vick, which will sideline him for Week 11. Rookie Nick Foles will get the start against division rival Washington this weekend.

Head to the NFC North, where the Chicago Bears will also be without their starting signal caller, Jay Cutler, who suffered a concussion against the Houston Texans. After signing a one-year $3.5 million deal, backup quarterback Jason Campbell will attempt to provide Chicago with a return on their investment as he is scheduled to start against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. San Francisco may also be starting their backup, as Alex Smith also suffered a concussion last weekend, but is yet to be ruled out. If unavailable, Colin Kaepernick would earn the start.

Last but not least, Ben Roethlisberger will also be missing time for Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger’s shoulder and rib injuries will seat him in favor of Byron Leftwich.  Leftwich and the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the division leading Baltimore Ravens, who just trounced the Oakland Raiders 55-20 and are likely licking their chops. Welcome to the fantasy radar Foles, Campbell, Leftwich, and possibly Kaepernick!

Week 11 was chock full of exceptional performances and surprises, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan posting monster numbers. Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Adrian Peterson could not be outdone as they rewarded their fantasy owners generously. Who will step up in Week 11? Take a dive with me and find out.

QB Carson Palmer

Where do you think Palmer ranks this season? In most leagues, he ranks around 11th in average points per week and third in passing yards per game among quarterbacks; not bad for watching NFL from his sofa just over a year ago! Palmer has a very sexy matchup this week against the lowly New Orleans secondary, who has allowed three touchdowns and at least 300 yards passing to opposing quarterbacks in three of the last four weeks. After three straight multi-touchdown games, look for another productive start from Palmer.

Week 11 Forecast:  275 yards, 2 TD

RB Daniel Thomas

With Reggie Bush in the doghouse for fumbling, Thomas may receive the bulk of the workload against Buffalo on Thursday. After a slow start, Thomas has run for more than 4.0 yards per carry and played a greater role in the passing game over the last two weeks.  Look for Thomas to have a decent outing against the Bills, who have allowed seven rushing touchdowns in the last three games.    

Week 11 Forecast:  75 total yards, TD

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

Although New Orleans will probably best Oakland, we will continue to pick on their terrible defense. After enduring a jaw-dropping hit in Week 3, Heyward-Bey has been building up steam over the last few weeks.  With at least six targets and 74 receiving yards in three of his last four games, he should have a solid outing against New Orleans, who allows the most points to opposing wideouts. Monitor his status after he reportedly tweaked his hamstring in Wednesday’s practice.

Week 11 Forecast:  80 yards, 1 TD

TE Antonio Gates

Gates is likely a must-start for you already despite his slow start.  He needs to be in your lineup in San Diego’s rematch against the Denver Broncos, where he had 87 receiving yards and two touchdowns in their previous match. Denver has allowed more than 100 yards to opposing tight ends for two weeks in a row, including two scores to Carolina’s Greg Olsen last week. Time for Gates to shine!

Week 11 Forecast:  80 yards, TD

D/ST Tampa Bay

It has been a long time since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a highly revered defense. They have struggled against the pass this season, but may be a decent “plug and play” for Week 11 against Carolina. Cam Newton and the Panthers actually perform worse at home and have only topped 14 points at their stadium once this season. Carolina will continue to make mistakes, while Tampa Bay capitalizes.

Week 11 Forecast:  12 points

Week 10 Results

QB Philip Rivers

Week 10 forecast: 250 yards, 2 TD
Week 10 results: 337 passing yards, 3 TD, 2 INT (great call)

RB Steven Ridley
Week 10 forecast: 120 yards, TD
Week 10 results: 98 yards, 1 TD (good call)

WR Malcom Floyd
Week 10 forecast: 100 yards, TD
Week 10 results: 63 yards, TD (good call)

TE Zach Miller
Week 10 forecast: 50 yards, TD
Week 10 results: 37 yards (bad call)

Pittsburgh D/ST
Week 10 forecast: 12 points
Week 10 results: 9 points (good call)

Good luck this week!