Carson Palmer thinks it’s 2006. On Thursday night, Palmer threw just 20 times, but completed 14 passes for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He had zip on longer throws and threw a few nice deep balls. The Raiders are still a running team, but Palmer gives them enough of a passing threat to keep defenses honest. Palmer appears to be figuring out the offense, and is starting to look comfortable with his receivers. He is a viable backup.
Harry Douglas is a receiver to keep an eye on for the Falcons. Douglas broke onto the scene on Sunday with eight catches (on 14 targets) for 133 yards. Douglas was a third round pick in 2008, but has had ongoing health issues that have kept him from reaching his potential. For the time being, he’s healthy, and with Julio Jones slowed by nagging injuries, Douglas becomes someone to target on this week’s waiver wire.
Laurent Robinson should be owned in every league. Robinson had been productive enough to warrant a roster spot in most leagues even when Miles Austin was healthy. With Austin now nursing a hamstring injury, Robinson stepped up into a starting role. On Sunday, Robinson caught just three balls, but racked up 73 yards and two scores. With Austin set to miss a few more weeks, Robinson becomes someone that should be owned in every league, as his production down the stretch might take owners to the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts are barely ownable, let alone startable. It really is sad to watch. Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Joseph Addai have all been relegated to borderline waiver wire fodder. I drafted Wayne in the third round of a 12-team league this year, and have only started him once. The Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter experiment has been a debacle. It all goes to prove just how valuable Peyton Manning is to the Colts, and with his future in doubt, who knows what will go down? They’ll most likely look to Andrew Luck and rebuild.
John Skelton is good for Larry Fitzgerald. Who would have thought that?! Skelton was a poor fantasy starter last season, but as a backup for Kevin Kolb, Skelton has actually been pretty good. Against the Rams last week, he posted 222 yards and a score. Against a “better” defense in Philadelphia, he put up 315 yards and three scores. He has a better grasp of the offense and its personnel, and he also appears to just be better than Kolb right now. Larry Fitzgerald seems to be ok with Skelton, as he pulled down 146 yards and a pair of touchdowns. If Kolb sits again, Skelton will have a decent matchup at San Francisco next week, as they can be thrown on.
Matt Leinart is now the guy in Houston. With news coming out on Monday that Matt Schaub will need Lisfranc surgery, Leinart is now at the helm of the hottest team in the AFC. It’s a great situation for Leinart, with a fantastic running game, a few weapons through the air, and the top ranked defense in the league. If Leinart is ever going to succeed, now is the time. He’ll even get a bye in Week 11 to work some extra reps with the first team offense. He’ll also get Andre Johnson back. After the bye, the Texans face Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Carolina, and Indianapolis. In deep leagues, he’s interesting.
Vince Young may get the start against the Giants. Schaub wasn’t the only quarterback casualty from Sunday’s action. Michael Vick broke two ribs against the Cardinals, and if he’s forced to miss time, it will be (gulp) Vince Young getting the start. Young has traditionally been a guy that manages games well enough, making enough plays to win. His record as a starter is pretty impressive, but none of that helps fantasy owners. My guess is that Young plays, and he puts up between 150 and 200 yards passing, adds 30-50 on the ground and puts up a score or two. It’s enough to start if you’re desperate, but not someone I’m rushing out to acquire.
Kendall Hunter is a solid start against Arizona in Week 11. Frank Gore is still feeling some lingering ankle problems, and he tweaked his knee against the Giants on Sunday. Gore played sparingly the rest of the day. Hunter ran six times for 40 yards and a touchdown, and he has a great matchup in Week 11 as the 49ers play host to the Cardinals. It’s certainly a storyline to follow this week, but I feel that Hunter will be a good starter whether Gore plays or not.
Joe Flacco really isn’t good. To the Ravens’ fans out there, I’m sorry. I just don’t see it. He has a fantastic arm. But despite the fact that he’s got an unbelievable defense and an elite running back, he still struggles too much. His performances are too unpredictable. On Sunday, against a Seattle defense that ranked 18th in the league, Flacco threw the ball 52 times for 255 yards, with a score and a pick. I have a difficult time buying into Flacco, despite the fact that the coaching staff clearly wants him to be recognized as a top-tier guy. Don’t fall for it.
Neither is Mark Sanchez. He’s not good. This week, I actually fielded the following question: “This week, Brady faces the tough Jets’ defense on the road. Thinking about starting Sanchez against the bad Patriots’ defense. What do you think?” It’s important to note that you have studs on your team, and these studs should be started every week. You don’t play matchups with Brady and Sanchez. Sanchez finished with 306 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, but even that stat line doesn’t indicate just how badly he played. Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress are decent plays, but Sanchez should not be trusted.
If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area and can get to a radio around 8:50 am on Fridays, I’m now a weekly guest on 1010XL’s Sports Final Radio with Jeff Prosser and Dan Hicken.
Thursday night game: New York Jets at Denver.
Week 11 byes: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
Drew Magyar is a FantasySharks.com staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.