Only three weeks to go until playoffs start for most fantasy leagues. There’s plenty of offense on the horizon in Week 11 as the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints all compile big stats at home. The Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants will be the road teams to watch as you won’t get by with a low score this week in your fantasy league and expect to win. Big numbers all around. Enjoy.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Denver
Kyle Orton, Denver at San Diego
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis at New England
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Seattle
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Minnesota
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
Tom Brady, New England vs. Indianapolis
Michael Vick, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Giants
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Oakland
Shaun Hill, Detroit at Dallas: Playing in place of the injured Matthew Stafford, Hill surpassed the 300-yard mark for the third time this season against the Buffalo Bills last week. Hill has a solid matchup this week against the Cowboys, who despite notching their second win of the year, have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for more than 300 yards in three of their past four games.
Mark Sanchez, N.Y. Jets vs. Houston: Sanchez has been playing very well as of late, averaging 297 yards passing over the last three games. This week, Sanchez gets to face the Texans who are the not-so-proud owners of the worst pass defense in the league. Houston has allowed an average of 301.3 yards passing per game, including 22 touchdowns in the first nine games. Look for Sanchez to post big numbers at home this week.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Carolina: Flacco’s stats have varied greatly depending whether he’s at home or on the road. Check out these numbers: Home – 243.5 yards passing, eight touchdowns, no interceptions. Road – 231.6 yards passing, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions. Unfortunately for Flacco and the Ravens, they head to Carolina this week, who has only allowed 195.2 yards passing per game this season. Look for the Ravens to run the ball with Ray Rice as often as possible against a weak Panthers’ run defense, minimizing Flacco’s mistakes. Flacco won’t post big numbers this week, so explore other options if you can.
Troy Smith, San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay: Since taking over for the injured Alex Smith, Smith has won both his starts and the last one was in impressive fashion. Against the St. Louis Rams last week, Smith threw for 356 yards and a touchdown. However, this week he faces a Tampa Bay team that is tied for second in the NFL in interceptions with 14 on the season. Tampa Bay has also only allowed 210 yards per game passing, while their run defense is ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed. Expect a heavy dose of Frank Gore this week, limiting Troy Smith’s stats.
Arian Foster, Houston at N.Y. Jets
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Green Bay
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay
Peyton Hillis, Cleveland at Jacksonville
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Giants
Chris Johnson, Tennessee vs. Washington
Darren McFadden, Oakland at Pittsburgh
Ahmad Bradshaw, N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
Matt Forte, Chicago at Miami
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Atlanta
Ray Rice, Baltimore at Carolina
Michael Turner, Atlanta at St. Louis
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City vs. Arizona: Although Charles was held to just 41 yards rushing on 14 carries last week, his five catches for 80 yards and a score made him a solid play. This week, Charles faces the Cardinals, who have allowed an average of 132.4 rushing yards per game this season, including four games where the opposing running back rushed for 100 yards or more. Look for Charles to be the fifth running back to surpass the 100-yard mark against Arizona as Matt Cassel recovers from throwing the ball 53 times last week.
Cedric Benson, Cincinnati vs. Buffalo: I know, Benson hasn’t rushed for more than 70 yards since Week 5. No need to remind me that Benson has only scored three rushing touchdowns all season. I’m aware of the fact that Benson has averaged 2.4 yards per carry over the last two games. So, why is he on the start list? The Bills have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season. The last time Benson faced a run defense this bad was back in Week 5 against Tampa Bay. Benson’s line in that game: 23 carries, 144 yards. It’s time to pry Benson from your fantasy bench and take advantage of this matchup. You won’t find many more like this one for Benson all season.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England vs. Indianapolis: Green-Ellis was very impressive on Sunday night, compiling 87 yards on 18 carries and even catching four passes for 36 yards against a tough Steelers’ defense. Danny Woodhead was stealing some of the playing time from Green-Ellis prior to Sunday night’s game, but Woodhead only carried the ball four times and caught two passes against Pittsburgh. As the Patriots host the Colts this week, expect Green-Ellis to play well as the Colts have struggled defending the run this season.
Ronnie Brown, Miami vs. Chicago: Even though Brown has scored in each of the past two games, he’s gained only 70 yards rushing and caught five passes for 70 yards combined against the Ravens and Titans. The schedule has been brutal for Brown as he faces the Bears this week, who have allowed the second fewest rushing yards per game this season. Combine that with the fact that Tyler Thigpen will likely be starting for Miami, you would be wise to avoid the Dolphins’ offense this week.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver at San Diego: Don’t be fooled by Moreno’s 106 rushing yards last week. The Broncos jumped out to an early lead against the Chiefs and basically just ran the ball in the second half. This week, Moreno faces a much tougher run defense in San Diego, who have allowed only 89.4 yards per game this season. The Broncos will need to pass this week to move the ball and while Moreno may catch 4-5 passes, it won’t be enough to warrant a start.
Brandon Jackson, Green Bay at Minnesota: Jackson comes off a bye week to face a Vikings team that he rushed for 58 yards and a score on 13 carries with three catches for 46 yards in Week 7. Playing in Minnesota will be a tougher task than the friendly confines of Lambeau field. Look for Jackson to struggle to match his Week 7 numbers which weren’t all the impressive to begin with.
Roddy White, Atlanta at St. Louis
Terrell Owens, Cincinnati vs. Buffalo
Brandon Lloyd, Denver at San Diego
Hakeem Nicks, N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
Calvin Johnson, Detroit at Dallas
Andre Johnson, Houston at N.Y. Jets
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis at New England
Miles Austin, Dallas vs. Detroit
Percy Harvin, Minnesota vs. Green Bay
Anquan Boldin, Baltimore at Carolina
Santonio Holmes, N.Y. Jets vs. Houston: Holmes scored the game-winning touchdown for the Jets in overtime last week as he finished the day with five catches for 76 yards and a score. With Mark Sanchez coming into his own, Jerricho Cotchery injured and the prospect of facing the Texans’ “swiss cheese” pass defense, Holmes is definitely drooling for this matchup. Expect Holmes to surpass the 100-yard mark for the second time this season along with at least one touchdown this week as the Jets handle the Texans with ease.
Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Seattle: Colston has played so well in each of the past three weeks, he probably didn’t want a bye in Week 9. Over the last three games, Colston has averaged eight catches for 84 yards, including two touchdowns. Expect Colston to remain hot against a Seattle defense that came within two yards of making it three games in a row where an opposing wide receiver had more than 100 receiving yards.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City vs. Arizona: There are certain players in fantasy football that defy logic and just frustrate owners to no end. Dwayne Bowe and Mike Sims-Walker are two of those players that come to mind immediately. Bowe caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two scores last week. The numbers all say Bowe will have another solid game this week against a mediocre Cardinals’ pass defense. I reluctantly include him on this list as I’ve been burned before by this guy. The head says, ‘start ‘em,’ but the heart says, ‘be careful.’
, Washington at Tennessee: Moss has had some ups and downs this season, but I like his matchup against the Titans this week. Tennessee has allowed an opposing receiver to surpass 100 yards five times this year. With Donovan McNabb looking to bounce back from a horrendous showing on Monday night, expect the Redskins to air it out, and Moss will be the primary beneficiary.
Mike Williams, Seattle at New Orleans: Despite a broken finger, Williams caught 11 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals. Things won’t be as easy this week as Seattle travels to “The Big Easy” to take on the defending Super Bowl champs. The Saints have allowed the fewest passing yards this season, and the last time Williams faced a pass defense this good was in Week 8 against the Raiders. In that game, Williams caught one pass for 27 yards. Yep, sounds about right.
Johnny Knox, Chicago at Miami: Know has played some good games against poor pass defenses (Washington: 6 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD; Seattle: 5 receptions, 120 yards) and some bad games against good pass defenses (N.Y. Giants: 1 reception, 26 yards; Carolina: 1 reception, 14 yards). The Dolphins are just behind the Giants and Panthers in pass defense this season, which doesn’t bode well for Knox. Keep low expectations for all aspects of the Bears offense this week as the Dolphins defense will need to play extremely well to keep them in the game.
Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati vs. Buffalo: Ochocinco had a solid game against the Colts last week, catching seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. It also marked just the third time this season that Ochocinco has outscored fellow teammate Terrell Owens in fantasy points. Since Ochcinco is now clearly “numero dos” in the passing game and the Bengals will struggle to move the ball in the air against the Bills defense this week, it’s advisable to keep Ochocinco on “el banquillo.”
Deion Branch, New England vs. Indianapolis: Since his triumphant return to New England in Week 6 when he caught nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, Branch has averaged just 3.5 catches for 38 yards. Oh yeah, he hasn’t scored since Week 6 either. As the Patriots continue to distribute the ball to everyone (Rob Gronkowski was the lucky winner last week with three touchdowns), you cannot rely on Branch to be a consistent producer in your fantasy lineup.
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Denver
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Detroit
Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay
Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets vs. Houston
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta at St. Louis
Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis at New England
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland: Over the past two games, the Browns have allowed opposing tight ends an average of six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Those are exactly the types of numbers that Lewis will be posting this week. Lewis has caught seven touchdowns on the season and has surpassed 50 yards receiving four times. Expect both those totals to increase this week as the Browns will have no answer for the big man.
Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay at San Francisco: Head coach Raheem Morris promised to get Winslow more involved in the Tampa Bay offense and he held true to his word last week as Winslow caught six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. With some favorable matchups on the horizon including this week against the 49ers, look for Winslow to stake his claim at a stud status before the year is through.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh vs. Oakland: Without Hines Ward, Miller was very active in the Steelers’ offense last week, catching five passes for 60 yards. With Ward cleared to resume practice this week and the Raiders on the schedule, look for Miller to fade back to his typical two-catch, 25-yard total which does not belong in your starting lineup.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Giants: Even with all the offense the Eagles provided on Monday night, Celek finished up with just two catches for eight yards. It’s very clear at this point that Michael Vick prefers his wide receivers and doesn’t look to his tight ends at all. Keep Celek on your bench unless there’s another Kevin Kolb sighting in the near future.