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What Did We Learn – Week 11 Edition

The Miami Dolphins have no one you want on your team. Seriously. Who do you want? The quarterback is now Tyler Thigpen, the running backs are terrible and Brandon Marshall is both ineffective and not featured enough to make a difference. I know the Chicago Bears’ defense is very good, but you have to put up points of some kind. If you’ve found yourself counting on Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams, find someone else. If you have Marshall in your lineup, I honestly think he is a matchup play the rest of the year.

The Buffalo Bills are full of fantasy goodness. I love the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick has mastered the art of the garbage time performance, and, against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, started firing the ball all over the place in the second half. Fitzapatrick threw his first touchdown pass with 1:17 left in the first half and then followed it up with three more in the second half, en route to a comeback win. And it’s obvious that his time as a backup allowed him to establish chemistry with Stevie Johnson, who looked darn near unstoppable. Even Fred Jackson has experienced a resurgence recently, with nearly 250 rushing yards in the past two weeks, to go with four touchdowns. Go Bills.

Dwayne Bowe has become a Top 10 wide receiver. I know. It’s crazy. At the beginning of the year, a lot of people liked him. But he started off slow and had some key drops, leading to talk that he was on the hot seat. But since Week 6 at Houston, Bowe has 563 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a good season for most people. But Bowe is just getting started. Matt Cassel seems to look for him constantly, and who’d blame him. I didn’t see it coming, but Bowe is a stud.

LaDainian Tomlinson is going to disappoint owners who’ve relied on him. Tomlinson was very good early in the season, but has slowed down lately. In fact, over the past few seasons, he always seems to slow down a bit in the second half of the season. The New York Jets have stated that they’re going to try to involve Shonn Greene more in order to keep Tomlinson healthy and fresh for a playoff run. I think they see the writing on the wall, that Tomlinson is getting old and can’t remain healthy and/or productive at that level any more. And it could hurt fantasy owners down the stretch.

The Dallas Cowboys offense is a different animal with Wade Phillips gone. I have no idea why, since Jason Garrett is still the one calling plays, but this offense looks different now. And it’s with Jon Kitna at the helm. Now what if Dallas rattles off a few more wins? I doubt they can get into the playoffs, but when Tony Romo is healthy, do they put him back in if the offense is really clicking? I have no idea why it took so long in Dallas, but they’re now catching on, and Dez Bryant has become a Top 10 fantasy wideout.

I have an unhealthy man crush on Peyton Hillis. And I’m not ashamed. He’s on nearly every fantasy team I have. He’s not a Chris Johnson who breaks big plays outside. He can’t turn on the Jets and pull away from everyone. He runs between the tackles. He catches passes out of the backfield. He racks up yardage and points. And I love him. The Cleveland Browns have become one of those teams I’m excited to see an update for, and I never thought I’d say that about the Browns.

Mike Goodson is a viable fantasy running back. I can’t make sense of it. But Goodson has started two games for the Panthers, and he has 220 yards rushing in those games, reaching 100 yards in both. He’s already surpassed Jonathan Stewart and is now closing in on DeAngelo Williams for the team’s rushing lead. He hasn’t scored yet, but it’s coming. If he’s out there, or can be had from an owner who doesn’t believe, make an offer. Goodson looks good, and he’s hungry.

LeGarrette Blount is now the “starter” in Tampa Bay. This week, Blount earned his first start for the Buccaneers. He’d been featured for several weeks now, but now he’s officially atop the depth chart. Does it make a difference? Not really. But remember that he’s a monster coming out of the backfield. If he gets to that second level, he’s punishing would-be tacklers in the open field. He’s even leaping over them. He got the bulk of the carries, and while it wasn’t his most efficient effort, and he didn’t score, he still looks like a guy I want on my teams.

Marshawn Lynch can’t be trusted. This is a guy I don’t want. I bought into the change of scenery argument with Lynch, thinking he’d show up big in Seattle as the guy. Not so much. Seattle’s offensive line is roughed up, but he should be able to do better than this. Part of that is also opportunity though. He actually ran effectively, at five yards a run on Sunday, but he only had seven carries. He also fumbled twice. I wouldn’t drop him (and I won’t be dropping him), but I’m certainly not comfortable starting him either.

Philip Rivers is an absolute stud. He’s always been thought of as very good. But he’s now probably a Top 2 or 3 guy. Rivers picked apart the Denver Broncos defense on Monday night. That may not sound like a difficult task, but Rivers made it look really easy. You can’t defend anything. He throws to receivers, tight ends and running backs. And it doesn’t matter. He’s got athletic targets who can go get the ball. He threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns this week, and that was without Antonio Gates, who was out with an injury, and Vincent Jackson, who is eligible to return next week. This could get ugly.

Good luck with your teams this week, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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