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Sunday Morning Huddle: Week Eleven

As always, there’s a ton of information out there this morning. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have our weekly personalized lineup advice for you as part of the premium content package. Again, there are 100 places you can go for game day reports, so we’re doing something different on Sundays for our premium content subscribers.

The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. We pick one player from each team who have our eye on and describe why their weekend performance is a key one for them in relation to their dynasty value.

Early games

Arizona at Atlanta

We continue to watch the emergence of rookie receiver Michael Floyd.  In his last two games, Floyd has amassed a whopping 18 targets, hauling in ten of them for 116 yards.  It’s not eye-popping production, but with Early Doucet slowly falling out of favor, it appears as though Floyd’s work is being increased to prepare him for a larger role in 2013.

We’ll be watching who the Falcons turn to with the accelerating decline of Michael Turner.  While Turner did rush for 102 yards vs. the Cowboys on 11/4, it’s the only time he has eclipsed 65 yards in the past five weeks.  He’s all but done and it’s not likely that Jacquizz Rodgers will be a full-time back.

Cleveland at Dallas

Can Tony Romo restore the confidence of his owners as we near the fantasy playoffs?  A 12:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio is not what owners expected when they delayed drafting their starting quarterback until the later rounds.  But 200 yards and two touchdowns was enough to get by in week ten.   And a struggling Cleveland defense should be just what the doctor ordered.

We also have our eyes on Brandon Weeden and the Browns’ struggling receiving corps.  Talk of benching Weeden has now begun, but in favor of who?  Colt McCoy?  Receivers Greg Little and the developing Josh Gordon should be more productive than they have been, so can the trio get it done in week 11?

Green Bay at Detroit

It appears as though James Starks will finally get a chance to show what he can do … again.  The oft-injured and largely underwhelming back is in line to receive the lion’s share (no pun intended) of carries in hopes of re-establishing a flagging running game.  A breakout performance could establish him as the top back, at least until he goes down with yet another injury.

Don’t look now, but Calvin Johnson is pretty good.  Not exactly a news flash there but fantasy owners may have forgotten that fact until his week ten performance:  12/207/1.  Against the ultra-porous Green Bay defense,  even with the certain double-teams, we’re betting on another heavy dose of the mega-freak.

Cincinnati at Kansas City

The Bengals’ A.J. Green isn’t putting up routine 100 yard efforts, but all arrows are pointing up for the young receiver.  He’s scored in every contest since week two and is a good bet for at least one more in week eleven.  If quarterback Andy Dalton can find a consistent WR2 to take ANY pressure off Green, A.J.’s numbers are only going to increase down the stretch.

Honestly, I’m not watching anything in Kansas City.  You couldn’t pay me to.  You shouldn’t either.  The only thing left to be determined from the 2012 season is how poorly the Chiefs will finish and which quarterback they draft come April.  If we have to choose a player, let’s see if Tony Moeaki continues to increase his targets.

New York Jets at St. Louis

Tebow time?  The Jets have entered a new dangerous phase of the season.  Revolt is starting to occur, the locker room is in obvious disagreement over the state of the starting quarterback situation and Rex Ryan’s quips are old and tired.  It’s a must win for the Jets and Mark Sanchez isn’t the quarterback to put a team on his back.  The chant can be heard already.

The Rams have their spark plug, Danny Amendola, back in the lineup and much like the Jets, it’s a must win for St. Louis.   After a month long absence, Danny-Boy punished fantasy owners that were reluctant to start him (myself included) by notching 11 receptions for 102 yards.  He didn’t score, but 21.2 PPR fantasy points is fine day, regardless.   He was seen grabbing his injured collarbone which leaves us a bit concerned for week 11, but he shouldn’t be on fantasy benches this time around.

Philadelphia at Washington

Will the Nick Foles era in Philly begin in week eleven?  It’s extremely obvious that Foles was thrust into the lineup enthusiastically on the heels of a vicious concussion-resulting hit to Michael Vick.  But make no mistake, head coach Andy Reid was looking for any additional excuse to start Foles.  He’s not pretty in the pocket, but Philadelphia faithful are anxious to get behind him.  We’ll be watching.

What will a week off do for RGIII?  Griffin has accounted for 14 touchdowns – eight through the air and six on the ground.  Missing Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis, it’s obvious that the Redskins’ receiving corps doesn’t have the dynamic necessary to propel Griffin’s fantasy stats.  To his credit, RGIII made them look as good as he possibly could have.  Garcon may be returning this week and we’re anxious to see if Shanahan designs a few more run plays for the franchise passer.

Tampa Bay at Carolina

With 450 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and ten receptions, 151 yards and another touchdown receiving over the past three weeks, Doug Martin is on a tear.  Will he continue on his torrid pace or return to being human against Carolina and their average defense.  I won’t be surprised if he’s dancing multiple times come Sunday. Rookie of the Year?

Jonathan Stewart has amassed 82 rushing yards on 18 carries as the supposed lead back over the past two weeks.  At what point do we accept the fact that Stewart will be nothing more than a back that had a lot of potential and nothing more?  We’re not looking for big things against Tampa’s top ranked run defense, but we are looking for more than ten rushing attempts.

Jacksonville at Houston

The story of 2012 was to be about Justin Blackmon in Jacksonville.  Instead, he’s not even in the top two in receiving yards for the struggling Jaguars.  Instead, Cecil Shorts has stepped up and appears to be the WR1.  Coming off a game where he was targeted 14 times, bringing down only six of them, will Shorts continue to be a player on the rise, or fall back into anonymity?

With Ben Tate still out of the lineup, it’s been Arian Foster’s sandbox the past few weeks and nothing changes in week 11 vs.  the woeful 29th ranked rushing defense of the Jaguars.  We’re looking for Foster to take the ball and run away with it, quite literally.  Can he eclipse 30 fantasy points this week?

Late Games

New Orleans at Oakland

Will Darren Sproles play?  And if he does, how many touches will he command since the Saints run game has been far more productive with him out of the lineup?  After turning in a full practice on Thursday, it appears Sproles’ owners may be getting an early Thanksgiving offering.  Once thought to be out for upwards of six weeks, Sproles is on tap to play against the Raiders.  Watch the news on game day, but don’t be afraid to get him into your lineup now.

Carson Palmer has churned out nearly 800 passing yards and a 6:4 touchdown to interception ratio over the past two weeks.  He won’t be mistaken for Aaron Rodgers any time soon, but you could do a lot worse week-to-week.  The Houston Texans aren’t the Buccaneers or the Ravens, so we’re watching to see how he performs against a better defense here in week eleven.

San Diego at Denver

The 2012 story of Ryan Mathews has been less than impressive.  Fantasy owners expected far more than 475 yards and a single touchdown.  To his credit, he does sport a 4.2 yards per carry average and has 37 total touches over the past two weeks, so there is upside potential.  But Mathews’ workload is still being somewhat limited while he recovers from his most recent injury issues.  We’d love to see him get back on track against the Broncos.

He’s got a bad neck, nerve damage, weak arm and he’s too old.  Or not.  Peyton Manning has put on a clinic over the past five weeks, throwing for less than 300 yards only once during that time.  Combine that with a 13:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio over that same span and a home game against a mediocre Chargers pass defense?  Yes, please!

Indianapolis at New England

The race for rookie of the year is heating up and with Robert Griffin III struggling a bit of late, Andrew Luck is keeping his name in the hat.  He hasn’t been overly impressive through the air, but he’s shown the intelligence and physical tools that experts raved about while still playing for Stanford.  With his first visit to New England on tap, we’ll be watching to see if the rookie also has the same poise as a past Colt quarterback of note.

Brandon Lloyd hasn’t lived up to expectations.  After all, 42 receptions, 480 yards and three touchdowns is anything but impressive for what was expected to be a WR1 season.  Furthermore, get this stat – 99 yards after the catch. That’s right – 42 receptions and just 99 yards after the catch.  That’s just over two yards of pure run after the catch ability for each reception.  As long as he falls forward with each reception, that’s two yards right there.  Lloyd isn’t getting into space and is only an out-route specialist.  The Patriots need him to step up starting now.

Sunday Night Football

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

In this black and blue game, Ray Rice needs to find the century mark, which he hasn’t done since October 7th.  The Steelers rank sixth vs. the run in 2012 so there won’t be a lot of holes to exploit, but Rice has a way of coming up big in big games.

What will be the productivity of Antonio Brown (if he plays) and Mike Wallace with Byron Leftwich under center?  With Big Ben apparently on the shelf for a significant number of weeks, this question is an important one as we near fantasy playoff season.  Roethlisberger is as tough as they come, so don’t expect him to miss more than two-to-three weeks.

Monday Night Football

Chicago and San Francisco

Believe it or not, we still believe Chicago’s defense is worthy of special mention.  The Bears rank first against opposing quarterbacks in fantasy, making them a significant hurdle should you be facing them once your playoffs begin.   Alex Smith is questionable for this week, but regardless of who is under center, it’s likely going to be a difficult day followed by a few minutes in the ice tub following the game.

Vernon Davis is trying to play good soldier as his production continues to take a hit.  No touchdowns since week three and only one 100 yard game isn’t what fantasy owners expect from the ultra-talented tight end.  Whether it’s game planning from opposing defenses or offensive chemistry, we’re only giving him one more week – too bad it comes against Chicago.

Jeff Haverlack
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