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Ryan, Foster fall short in Week 11
QB: Matt Schaub, Texans
It’s common for owners to direct their displeasure at a player for a disappointing display, but Schaub might be the first performer to throw for over 500 yards and still be the target of vexation. This petulance derives from the fact that Schaub, who racked up five end-zone excursions on the afternoon, was started in only 32 percent of FOXSports.com leagues in Week 11. And as any fantasy football user will certify, box-score bonanzas on your bench are like watching your ex-girlfriend from high school transform into the college homecoming queen. Um, not that such a predicament came to pass on a personal level or anything…
QB: Chad Henne, Jaguars
It won’t be remembered in the same vein, yet Henne did his best Frank Reich impersonation on Sunday, entering for an injured Blaine Gabbert and nearly leading the Jags to the upset of the season, tossing for 354 yards and four scores versus the top-ranked Texans pass defense. Even if Henne suits up against a susceptible Tennessee secondary next weekend, not sure I would advise for the waiver-wire claim, as the downs outnumber the ups in the Michigan product’s career. However, after being left for dead by the Dolphins this past offseason, validating his merit in the league is a hell of a consolation prize. (While we are here, big props to the 0.1 percent of you who actually started Henne this weekend. That is some kind of wizardry prophecy you possess. Plus, on the bright side for Jacksonville fans, Gabbert’s continued catastrophes may prove the catalyst for the acquisition of Tim Tebow, which would theoretically enhance the Jaguars’ visibility on the national media by…well, given they have no presence on this dais, I’m venturing to say “a lot.”)
RB: Marcel Reece, Raiders
Reece is making the most of his opportunity in the spotlight. Though his team was taken to the woodshed, the fourth-year fullback posted 193 total yards (19 carries, 103 yards; four catches, 90 yards) versus New Orleans yesterday. Granted, the Saints are surrendering the most fantasy points to running backs this season, but accounting that Oakland’s primary rushers were sidelined, not a bad outing for Reece. If Darren McFadden is unable to go in Week 12, Reece is a solid No. 2 RB option, as the Raiders face a Bengals squad ranked in the bottom third in rush defense.
RB: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
The general consensus slated Beanie Wells as the primary Arizona carrier come Week 12 when the voluminous-yet-vulnerable back returned from injured reserve. That realignment might not be as clear-cut after Stephens-Howling amassed 127 yards and a touchdown on the Falcons. Envision Wells to see the bulk of the workload, although don’t be surprised if the backup back siphons his share of carries.
WR: Andre Johnson, Texans
To think, I received a chat comment from a fantasy owner last week inquiring if trading his Johnson for Randall Cobb was a fair deal…or if he needed to add another player to secure Cobb’s services. To his credit, Cobb has been commendable in 2012, but considering Johnson was the first receiver selected in an array of drafts, quite the barometer for his precipitous drop in value.
Apropos, then, that Johnson hauled in his most bountiful harvest of the season against Jacksonville, with 14 grabs, 273 yards and the game-winning touchdown. With the rest of the season filled with exploitable matchups, Johnson is still on track to finish as one of the premier receiving contributors.
WR: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
It only took him 11 weeks, but Blackmon finally illustrated why the franchise elected the All-American with the fifth overall pick in last April’s draft, bringing in seven receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown. Like Henne, don’t think Blackmon will substantiate the waiver-wire rush for his facilities (in his defense, it’d be hard for any receiver to do anything of note with Gabbert at the helm), but in dynasty leagues or deeper formats as a No. 3 WR/flex option, the rookie is worth the look.
TE: Garrett Graham, Texans
Every Owen Daniels proprietor is solemnly and respectfully nodding right now. Also, congrats to Graham on his induction into the 2012 class of the Kevin Curtis One-Week Wonder Hall of Fame. Pretty big contingent this year: Dante Rosario, Kevin Ogletree, Andre Brown and Brandon Bolden, with the jury still out on Christian Ponder and Brian Hartline. Frankly, still holding out hope for a Joe Webb sighting.
DEF: New England Patriots
At the start of the second quarter, the Patriots defense had one measly fantasy point in their box score. Four turnovers, a one sack, two pick-sixes and a special-teams house call later, New England was rocking a healthy 27 to their credit.
Honorable Mention: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
He might be done for the season, but at least Gronk went out swinging: seven catches, 137 yards, two touchdowns. Besides, you just know the New England tight end was bragging about that output to the nurses in the hospital with a smile on his face.
QB: Matt Ryan, Falcons
It’s a blessing that no one outside the A-T-L cares about the Falcons or else we’d be treated to a week-long, “What’s wrong with Matt Ryan?” exposé across the pigskin platforms. Yes, he’s certainly regressed from that blazing September, with nine touchdowns versus 11 turnovers in his last six ballgames, yet it’s worth mentioning that he’s averaging over 318 yards per contest in that time span. This slump shouldn’t detract owners from implementing Ryan down the fantasy home stretch, as Atlanta has two dates with Tampa Bay, along with matchups against Carolina and New Orleans. Keep the faith with the Falcons flight attack.
QB: Matt Cassel, Chiefs
You may think he’s a non-entity, but Cassel was picked up in an alarming amount of leagues under the premise of, “Hey, it’s the Bengals, even Brandon Weeden tore them up!” Alas, this theory did not come to fruition, as Cassel went 8-for-16 for a paltry 93 yards in the first half before conceding the spot to Brady Quinn. Even in two-QB formats, barring injury, Cassel has lost all germaneness in fantasy football with just six weeks left on the calendar.
RB: Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Jennings was the only Jaguar not relevant in the rotisserie world, collecting just three carries for negative yardage before pulled for Jalen Parmele, who promptly went for 80 yards on the terrain. The final damage for Jennings in his substitute stint for Maurice Jones-Drew: five games, 64 carries, 174 yards. For you math scholars out there, that equates to a whopping…2.7 yards per attempt. That’s what we in the football business like to call “not good.”
The forecast for a Jones-Drew return remains ominous, yet Parmele is now the man in Jacksonville, meaning those wretched few of you that have endured the nightmare of Jennings can finally banish him from your roster.
RB: Arian Foster, Texans
Foster owners had to be licking their lips when “Houston 43, Jacksonville 37” scrolled across the bottom line yesterday. Unfortunately, the dividends were not as imagined. Forster did manage 77 rushing yards and added 3 catches for 15 receiving yards, but the All-Pro failed to find the Promised Land for the first time all season, and a fumble didn’t help the cause, either. And we don’t want to make too big a deal out of just one subpar showing, but one has to wonder if the amount of miles is starting to wear down the Houston back, evidenced by a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry this season. Owners in keeper leagues should cherish the remaining campaign, for it may be Foster’s last as a preeminent player.
WR: Denarius Moore, Raiders
It looked promising on paper: Moore, averaging 84 yards in his past three games, opposing the worst secondary in the NFC. Yet while Moore managers kept refreshing their browsers in hopes of dents in the box score, it was the Saints who were yelling, “Scoreboard,” as the Oakland receiver finished with a lone reception for nine yards.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Can someone please check if the domain name “FreeFitzgerald” is available? Thanks.
TE: Antonio Gates, Chargers
Gates’ most recent calamity (two receptions, 17 yards) gives the tight end 131 yards in his last four games and marks the seventh time in nine contests that the perennial Pro Bowler finished with three catches or less. In short: no reason to waste a roster spot on Gates with six games to go.
DEF: Houston Texans
In their, ahem, “defense,” they thought they were getting Blaine Gabbert. True, most would consider Chad Henne a solid consolation prize, but don’t think the ’85 Bears could have even stopped Henne yesterday.
Dishonorable Mention: Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
So much for the “Why doesn’t Tannehill get as much love as the other rookie quarterbacks?” fervor from ‘Fins fans, as the Miami signal caller struggled against a Bills team allowing the highest output to fantasy arms, ending with 141 yards and two turnovers.