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In The Spotlight – Week 11 In Review

Week 11 Fantasy Headlines:

Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:

Bye week: Dallas Cowboys & St. Louis Rams

Thursday Night Game:









Fantasy Focus – Indianapolis Colts:
Incredibly average Donald Brown did his part to carry the offense and torture Trent Richardson owners by rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Brown also added one reception for 14 yards. The struggling Richardson carried eight times for 22 yards, but he provided a small boost to an otherwise dismal outing with five catches for 31 yards.

As expected, Tennessee’s secondary did a nice overall job of bottling up the Colts wide outs, which explains for the most part why Andrew Luck (232 passing yards) didn’t toss any scoring strikes. The second-year pro chipped in one rushing touchdown and 31 rushing yards on five carries to salvage an otherwise disappointing game. The sometimes off-target Luck had some trouble hooking up with T.Y. Hilton (5-44-0 on nine targets). No other Colts wide out caught more than one ball.

Luck had no trouble getting the ball to Coby Fleener, who surprised with a great performance. He caught eight of his 10 targets for 107 yards, which were all career bests.

Fantasy Focus – Tennessee Titans:
Chris Johnson bounced back from a dismal Week 10 outing with 86 rushing yards and two rushing scores on 17 carries. It’s the second time in three weeks that Johnson hit pay dirt twice in a game. Unfortunately, the Titans ran him just four times in the second half, but the Colts’ run defense had stiffened. Johnson also hauled in one pass for minus-two yards.

Relying mainly on a dink-and-dunk approach, Ryan Fitzpatrick (222 passing yards and 1 TD) completed an efficient 22 of his 28 throws. Fitzpatrick also added 26 rushing yards on four carries.

His two main targets were Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright. Walker caught all 10 of his targets, amassing 91 receiving yards and one touchdown, which were all season highs. He has scored in three of his last four games. Wright hauled in nine balls for 80 yards on 12 targets. The nine grabs tied a career best.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Talk:
Although Donald Brown obviously has been more productive than Trent Richardson, Brown, according to the most recent media reports, is expected to continue backing up T-Rich. However, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has hinted his team will ride “the hot hand” at tailback.

In case you missed the game, Brown received the touches in the red zone, and he toted the rock heavily (eight carries) during a critical clock-killing drive in the fourth quarter. Brown looks like a safe start as a flex going forward. Unfortunately, he draws a tough Week 12 road matchup against an Arizona defense that came into the afternoon ranked No. 3 against the run.

The Colts and fantasy owners had been waiting for Coby Fleener to step up in the absence of Reggie Wayne (torn ACL) and it finally happened. Opposing defenses will continue to sell out to contain T.Y. Hilton, so Andrew Luck should continue to target Fleener heavily.

With Jake Locker (foot) gone for the season, it looks like the Titans will prefer to pound the ball with Chris Johnson and use Ryan Fitzpatrick as a game-manager whenever possible, which obviously limits his fantasy upside to low-end QB2 status.

Designated deep-threat Nate Washington also looks like the odd man out in a Tennessee passing attack that apparently will flow through Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. Washington caught just two passes for 53 yards on three targets. He has been targeted five or fewer times in three straight games. Fitzpatrick will take some occasional shots down the field to Washington, but he likely will be too inconsistent to trust as a fantasy starter.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
Delanie Walker, Ryan Fitzpatrick


Early Sunday Afternoon Games:








Fantasy Focus – New York Jets:
An improving Bills defense easily manhandled the Jets offense. Geno Smith was unable to cope with non-stop blitzing and constant pressure. The rookie completed just eight of his 23 throws for 103 yards with three interceptions (one pick-six) and one lost fumble. Smith was also sacked four times. He was benched in the fourth quarter.

Backup Matt Simms (60 passing yards, 1 TD) finished up. Simms hit Jeff Cumberland (3-25-1 on four targets) on a 13-yard scoring strike for New York’s only touchdown pass of the game. Santonio Holmes (2-71-0 on eight targets) made his return after missing five games with a bum hamstring. Holmes looked sharp, but Jets quarterbacks obviously had trouble getting him the ball. No other New York receiver caught more than two passes.

Chris Ivory (15-98-1 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) hit pay dirt for the second game in a row. He salvaged what would have been a dud fantasy outing with a 69-yard run during junk time. Bilal Powell touched the ball just six times, amassing 28 total yards.

Fantasy Focus – Buffalo Bills:
The Buffalo offense rolled up 30 points without Stevie Johnson (groin – inactive) and Robert Woods (ankle – inactive). E.J. Manuel connected on an efficient 20 of his 28 throws for 245 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions. He also rushed seven times for nine yards.

Speedy rookie Marquise Goodwin (6-81-1 on nine targets) topped all receivers in catches, receiving yards and targets. He also rushed once for 17 yards. T.J. Graham (2-74-1 on four targets) hauled in his first touchdown reception of the season. Scott Chandler (2-40-0 on three targets) was the only other standout in the receiver corps.

The Jets defense bottled up the Bills running game. C.J. Spiller toted the rock 13 times for a paltry six yards, and he caught two passes for 10 yards. Fred Jackson led Buffalo with 34 yards on 12 carries. He also chipped in two receptions for five yards.

Da’Norris Searcy returned an interception 32 yards for a score.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Talk:
According to media reports, Geno Smith is expected to start in Week 12, but he draws a tough road matchup against the Ravens. Smith’s struggles will make Santonio Holmes a boom-or-bust fantasy WR3. It looks like Chris Ivory has settled in as the Jets’ featured tailback – for as long as the injury-prone runner can stay healthy.

The Bills have a Week 12 bye. I doubt Marquise Goodwin has played himself into a starting job, but he clearly deserves more playing time at the expense of Robert Woods. C.J. Spiller’s fantasy outing was disappointing, but it looks like his bum ankle is no longer an issue.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Santonio Holmes










This game was stopped late in the first quarter and delayed exactly one hour and 53 minutes because of torrential thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Chicago area.

Fantasy Focus – Baltimore Ravens:
Coming into the contest, Ray Rice was not running well, and the Chicago defense was struggling against the run. Something had to give, right? Rice rushed for a season-high 131 yards on 25 carries and scored for the first time since Week 5. He also caught three passes for 17 yards.

Joe Flacco logged his third straight dud fantasy outing. The sometimes off-target Baltimore field general passed for just 162 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions (one was an ugly pick-six). Flacco has tossed a career-worst 13 picks on the season, and it’s only November.

Torrey Smith (5-32-1 on eight targets) hauled in Flacco’s only scoring strike of the game. Smith has hit pay dirt in two straight outings. No other Baltimore receiver or tight end caught more than three passes. Marlon Brown (knee) was inactive.

Fantasy Focus – Chicago Bears:
The Bears made good on their promise to get Matt Forte back on track following his dismal Week 10 outing. Forte rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. He hit pay dirt in a home game for only the second time this season.

With Jay Cutler (high ankle sprain, groin) sidelined, Josh McCown played solidly overall in his second turnover-free start of the season. McCown completed 19-of-31 throws for 216 yards with one touchdown.

Alshon Jeffery (7-83-0 on 11 targets and 3-17-0 rushing) led all Chicago receivers. Brandon Marshall (4-42-0 on 10 targets) battled cornerback Jimmy Smith all game long. Marshall almost came down in the end zone with a touchdown grab, but Smith shoved him out of bounds. Martellus Bennett (2-48-0 on two targets) almost hauled in a scoring grab, but he couldn’t get both feet down in the end zone.

David Bass scored on a 24-yard pick-six.

Key Injury:
Matt Forte (undisclosed)

Fantasy Talk:
I’m sure there are a lot of frustrated Ray Rice owners out there; he exploded on a lot of fantasy benches. Is Rice back to must-start status? I doubt it. Keep in mind that Chicago is awful against the run, and Rice is still dealing with a lingering hip injury. He still lacks burst and lateral agility. Rice draws a tough Week 12 matchup against a tough Jets run defense. He looks like a risky play to me.

Matt Forte left the game during the overtime session with a possible injury. He was seen standing on the sideline a few plays before Robbie Gould connected on the game-winning field goal. Double-check Forte’s status during the week.

Jay Cutler (high ankle sprain, groin) already looks like a long shot to play in Week 12.

Waiver Wire Prospects:








Fantasy Focus – Cleveland Browns:
As expected, Cleveland did very little against a tough Cincinnati defense, amassing just 13 offensive points. Jason Campbell struggled with his accuracy and was picked three times. He went just 27-of-56 for 248 yards and one touchdown. Campbell’s scoring strike was a 74-yarder to Josh Gordon (5-125-1 on 15 targets), who unfortunately dropped what should have been a second touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Cameron (6-29-0 on seven targets) didn’t haul in his first catch until late in the second quarter. Cameron caught only check-down throws.

Chris Ogbonnaya unexpectedly topped all Cleveland tailbacks with 14 touches. He carried eight times for 69 yards and hauled in six passes for 30 yards. Fozzy Whitaker (4-20-0 rushing and 5-41-0 receiving) shared some passing-down work with Ogbonnaya. Willis McGahee (6-13-0 rushing and 2-4-0 receiving) was limited to just short-yardage and red zone duties.

Joe Haden scored on a 29-yard interception return.

Fantasy Focus – Cincinnati Bengals:
I’m sure you heard about the franchise record 31 points scored by Cincinnati in the second quarter, which iced the game. Seventeen of the 27 points tallied by the offense in this contest came during that scoring explosion.

Andy Dalton struggled for the third week in a row. He tossed back-to-back interceptions to Joe Haden and couldn’t get the ball to A.J. Green (shadow coverage from Haden). Dalton did enough (13/27 for 93 yards and 3 TDs) to help the Bengals win, but he disappointed fantasy owners. In case you’re interested, Dalton averaged 3.4 yards per attempt.

No Bengals wideout or tight end caught more than two balls. Getting back to Green, he compiled two catches for seven yards on five targets, which were all season lows. Jermaine Gresham (2-27-1 on six targets), Mohamed Sanu (2-11-1 on five targets) and third-string tight end Alex Smith each caught a touchdown pass. Sanu completed a 25-yards pass to Giovani Bernard on a gadget play. Marvin Jones (1-9-0 on two targets) was a non-factor.

Bernard topped Cincinnati with four grabs for 41 yards. He also carried 10 times for 45 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the team’s top rusher with 16 carries for 62 yards (no catches). The “Law Firm” racked up a big chunk of his yardage in junk time.

Tony Dye returned a blocked punt 24 yards for a touchdown.

Vontaze Burfict notched a 13-yard scoop-six.

Key Injury:
Giovani Bernard (re-aggravated rib injury) left briefly in the second quarter, but he was able to finish the game.

Fantasy Talk:
Jordan Cameron’s fantasy value has dropped into the cellar with Jason Campbell under center. During Campbell’s three starts, Cameron has compiled 11 receptions and 114 receiving yards. Consider him a matchup-play fantasy TE2 for now.

The Browns apparently have soured on the plodding Willis McGahee and are hoping Chris Ogbonnaya could spark their rushing attack. Ogbonnaya is not a savior for your fantasy team, but he would provide some valuable depth in PPR leagues.

Marvin Jones played very little in the second half, mainly because the Bengals had built up a huge lead.

Can Andy Dalton rebound after Cincinnati’s Week 12 bye? He has a favorable matchup against a soft Chargers secondary. However, if you’re making a playoff run, I would make him earn his way back into your starting lineup.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Chris Ogbonnaya








Fantasy Focus – Oakland Raiders:
Granted, the Texans defense is playing like a shriveled up shell of its former dominant self, but the Raiders offense still deserves some kudos. The play of undrafted rookie Matt McGloin was one of the biggest surprises of the day. Making his first career start in place of the injured Terrelle Pryor (knee), McGloin completed 18-of-32 throws for 197 yards and three touchdowns against no interceptions.

Rod Streater (6-84-1 on eight targets) enjoyed his most productive game of the season and scored for the first time since Week 5. Denarius Moore (2-11-1 on six targets) hit pay dirt for the first time since Week 6. Rookie tight end Mychal Rivera (5-54-1 on six targets) hauled in his first career touchdown pass.

Rashad Jennings impressed again, rushing for a season-best 150 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. The touchdown came on an 80-yard run. He also caught two passes for minus-two yards. Jennings has amassed 100-plus rushing yards and scored in two of his last three outings, and he has compiled 100-plus total yards in three straight games.

Fantasy Focus – Houston Texans:
Case Keenum completed 13 of his 24 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown against one interception before Houston head coach Gary Kubiak stunned everyone by benching the second-year pro and replacing him with former starter Matt Schaub. The embattled Schaub (12/25 for 155 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs) led the Texans to two field goals, but he and the offense came up empty on a goal-line stand in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

Andre Johnson (10-116-0 on 17 targets) saw his streak of games with at least one touchdown grab end at two, but he racked up just his fourth 100-yard game of the season. Garrett Graham (7-136-1 on 13 targets) has been struggling since Week 4, so his career-best outing against Oakland was a gigantic surprise. However, DeAndre Hopkins (1-7-0 on two targets) was a forgotten man.

In the rushing department, Ben Tate (19-88-0 rushing and 4-29-0 receiving) was the lead dog in the backfield as expected. Dennis Johnson amassed just two rushing yards on two carries.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Talk:
We have a possible quarterback controversy in Oakland. I’m not sure if Terrelle Pryor will get his starting gig back anytime soon. Matt McGloin made several nice throws, displaying some surprisingly impressive arm strength. He led the Raiders to their first road victory of the season. In Pryor’s last three outings, he tossed no touchdown passes and five interceptions. By the way, McGloin seemed to have some solid chemistry with Rod Streater.

Houston head coach Gary Kubiak’s decision to bench Case Keenum obviously burned a lot of unsuspecting fantasy owners and quite possibly put a dent in the young passer’s confidence. Keenum was not sharp, but he wasn’t playing horribly, either. The second-year pro was not the reason why the Texans were trailing 28-17 at the time he was yanked. Going back to Matt Schaub was a huge head-scratcher. Whoever starts at quarterback for the Texans in Week 12 is a nice play against Jacksonville.

Andre Johnson can produce with either Keenum or Schaub under center. Don’t trust DeAndre Hopkins for now. Garrett Graham is back on the fantasy TE2 radar.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
Rod Streater, Garrett Graham, Matt Schaub (if he is going to start)

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