It's week 11 of the NFL season and finally the last bye-week is here! I for sure have been waiting for next week with open arms. Now for the next few weeks we can truly see who has the best team, with or without depth. But the game still must be played this week. With Minnesota, New York Giants, Seattle, and Tennessee on bye this week the waiver wire can and will still be the playoff savior for some GMs.
Nevertheless, this isn't "Fantasy Football for Dummies". Let's not outsmart ourselves. If you have a top 5 player at a position you should probably play them every week, unless they're injured. Let's get into it.
Sam Bradford QB (vs NYJ): Bradford was a beast against the Niners last week, throwing for 275 yards with two touchdowns while also putting up 19 fantasy points. I'm projecting even better numbers from him this week. Playing a Jets team who play the same type of man to man, one safety over top, all out blitz D I see the screen game and quick strike passing game working well for Bradford. With Danny Amendola back in fold, Bradford's numbers should continue to increase even with Cromartie guarding him. While the Jets have been shutting down No. 1 receivers as of late, the team is in shambles right now and Bradford should have a field day on their secondary between Amendola, Chris Givens, and Brian Quick. Cromartie can't guard all the speedsters.
Felix Jones RB (vs CLE): I know, I know, it's hard to trust Jones. He's awesome. He's terrible. Hot then cold. However, he has averaged over 12 fantasy points in his last two games and he's facing the Browns who have given up 24, 18, 14, and 13 points to opposing rushing attacks in the last four weeks to Bal, SD, Indy, and Cincy. They're giving up an average of over 20 fantasy points per game to opposing runners on the road also, making Jones a nice option after his nice game last week against Philly. And now with Joe Haden being out the Browns will not be able to focus on the run.
Marcel Reece RB (vs NO): With Darren McFadden out again due to his ankle, Reece should see most of the backfield touches for the Raiders again this week. It helps that he's facing the Saints who have given up more fantasy points to running backs on the road (23 pts) than any other team in the league after 10 weeks. Reese has only rushed for 48 yards combined the last two weeks, but has 24 combined fantasy points in that span. He's not going to give you much on run plays, but Reese has caught 15 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks
Danny Amendola WR (vs NYJ): Amendola did his thing against San Fran last week. Showing out to the tune of 11 catches for 102 yards on 12 targets. He also had another 80-yard reception called back due to a penalty. Amendola now has three games this season with double digits in targets, and he's reached double digits in Fantasy points in all three outings. While the Jet's stats may say they have the third ranked passing D they just surrendered three touchdowns to Sidney Rice and Golden Tate last week. Play the man. You have to.
Jeremy Maclin WR (vs WAS): Maclin's been an extremely inconsistent and frustrating player to own this year. Trust me, I own him. But it appears he may be on to something with Nick Foles starting at quarterback. Maclin had games of 3 and 2 points, before going off last week receiving 12 targets from Foles for eight catches, 93 yards and a touchdown. It was the second-most targets he's had all year. Coincidence? I think not! It appears like Foles will lean more on Maclin than Vick did. It's also a great matchup against the Redskins, who have allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing receivers and 13 to reach double digits in Fantasy points.
Greg Olsen TE (vs TB): He's back! After a few weeks of chip blocking and no targets Olsen is finally getting the needed targets for fantasy relevance. Next up on the slate is Tampa Bay who has been badly exposed by TEs in the last two weeks by Brandon Myers and Antonio Gates (18 and 12 points). Their defense has allowed an average of nine fantasy points per game to tight ends on the road all season. If that's not enough, Olsen is also the fourth-highest scoring tight end in the last four weeks.
Rams D/ST (vs NYJ): The Rams new man to man defensive look has had some ups and downs this season, depending on who they've played. After a fast start against Arizona, Seattle, and Detroit they have stuggled in recent weeks when faced with teams they can't matchup personnel-wise with (NE, GB, SF). Well, lucky them! They play the Jets this week who have no receivers! The Jets have a bad QB, a good TE and above average RB with O-line problems. Fun stat: Home defenses this season have combined to put up the fourth-most fantasy points against the Jets.
Andy Dalton (at KC): Dalton did his thing last week throwing fo a career-high four touchdowns against the Giants. But I'm calling malarkey on that game. Stats don't tell the full story as on three of those TD drives he was given the ball within the other team's 40 yard line. This is how someone throws for 200 yard but has 4 TDs. Nevertheless, he didn't throw an interception for the first time in nine games. I see him having a humble-pie game against the Chiefs. Yes, they have allowed at least two touchdowns to an opposing quarterback in all but two games this season but they have been a different team since the bye. Since the bye the Chiefs have given up less than 221 yards passing to three straight QBs (Big Ben, Carlson Palmer, and Phillip Rivers). Dalton won't have career days like that weekly. If he throws for 200 again as I expect, you can expect 10-12 points.
Mikel Leshoure (vs GB): Call me crazy if you like but look at the stats. Leshoure has been feast or famine in the stat sheets all season. In fact, 60 percent of his fantasy point total has come in just two games. That's anti-Marshawn Lynch production there. He's a heck of a risk against the Packers, who the stats say have allowed an average of 12 fantasy points to rushing teams over their last two contests have had the top run defense in the NFL since Week 4. Seeing as I expect this game to be a blowout by the Packers if you're in a PPR league I'd contemplate picking up Joique Bell as the Lion to own for the week since they'll be passing a lot.
Trent Richardson RB (vs. DAL): This is a game I see the Cowboys dominating. Now with a healthy secondary allowing them to finally go back to their base D of man to man D with one safety the Cowboys will be able to do what they normally have done very well (sans their recent secondary injuries): Focus on stopping the running game. Dallas has struggled mainly with running backs this season when they've had to place extra men in the secondary away from the line of scrimmage (Atlanta, Baltimore, and New York). Cleveland definitely does not fall into that category of good passing attacks and Richardson has already acknowledged that he is still not 100 percent, even after the Browns' bye week.
Danario Alexander WR (vs DEN): See this is where things get interesting. Alexander is the hottest WR pickup off the waiver wire this week after his game against the Bucs. Unfortunately this just may not be the best week to play him. Seeing that this is the team that help Phillip Rivers to 5 fantasy points and 4 turnovers the last they played I'm not sure how you play any Charger receiver other than Gates this week.
Torrey Smith WR (vs PITT): It's tough to sit a player who is coming off a monster stat line. If you have wide receiver depth and can afford to make such a move, though, consider benching Smith. The Steelers are allowing the second least points per game to opposing WRs at him in 2012 (14 ppg team total). They have only allowed three receivers to reach double digits in fantasy points this year despite allowing seven touchdowns overall. In the past four games the Steelers have held AJ Green, Santana Moss, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Dwayne Bowe to an average of five fantasy points. And playing on the road has been tough for Flacco and the Ravens. Smith has just one touchdown away from home in four road games. Do what you will with that info.
Jermaine Gresham TE (vs KC): Everyone's going Gresham crazy during the bye week search for TEs and he kinda has posted some nice totals in his last two games averaging over 9 points per game. However, he has also recorded fewer than 20 yards in two of his last three games. And he faces a Chiefs defense that has allowed an average of just 6fantasy points to tight ends at home in 2012. Look elsewhere this week.
Redskins D/ST (vs PHI): Everyone seems to be extremely down on Philly and their rookie QB. So much so that they're saying start the Redskins defense. I just don't get it. The Eagles will most definitely be leaning more on McCoy this week and the Redskins are terrible at stopping either the run OR the pass all season. This game just may be a 30+ point game for both teams. Yes, the Eagles have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, and rookie Nick Foles will be playing in his first NFL road game. But the Redskins have a terrible secondary and just as bad D-line. You have to assume the Eagles will run a more conventional offense with Foles taking the helm. I actually see him having a much better day than last week when he played a solid Dallas secondary and d-line. Washington has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2012.
Teams/Players on bye:
Minnesota: C. Ponder, P. Harvin, A. Peterson, Vikings D/ST, K. Rudolph
New York Giants: E. Manning, V. Cruz, H. Nicks, Giants D/ST, A. Bradshaw, A. Brown
Seattle: M. Lynch, R. Wilson, S. Rice, Seattle D/ST
Tennessee: C. Johnson, N. Washington, K. Wright
Don't forget to take a look at the injury report to make sure your guys are playing!
So until next week, who's in your lineup Big Cat Country?