Answering fan mail for Week 11

Marc: I need to start 2 of the following 3 WRs in PPR league – Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Laurent Robinson. Do I ride the hot hands of Robinson and Cruz over Nicks?

Statistically speaking, the Washington secondary has been fairly resolute against the aerial attack, conceding 216.7 yards per game, second-best in the conference. Hard to sit Robinson though, as Dallas’ pass-happy offense should facilitate another solid outing for Miles Austin’s substitute. The Redskins’ expected emphasis will be shutting down Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, providing Robinson some room to roam downfield.

As for your pair of Giants, I would lean towards Cruz. Nicks has been good, but nothing spectacular the past month, while Cruz has 19 receptions for 274 yards and a touchdown in the past three games. It is worth noting that, despite a slow start (including a four-touchdown performance from Eli Manning in Week 3), the Philadelphia pass defense is one of the better resistances in the conference. Slightly temper your expectations from the G-Men duo.

Mike B: Is trading Rashard Mendenhall for Marshawn Lynch a good idea? I could probably get Steven Jackson also, but he has some tough matchups coming up.

In the words of the great orator Sir Charles Barkley, “That’s a turrrible, just turrrrrible idea.”

Lynch’s value is currently at a premium thanks to his conquests from the past month (at least 98 yards in three of his last four games, five straight games with a touchdown), so the Seattle back’s proprietor will be asking for assets in return that supersede Lynch’s worth. And as much as I like the Cal product’s forecast in Week 11 against St. Louis, Lynch has not been a model of consistency in his five-year career.

Aside from caution on Lynch, I’m buying into Mendenhall’s stock for the last six games of the season. With Ben Roethlisberger dealing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand, the Steelers may be inclined to tone down their passing attack to focus on the ground game. The changing weather will also have a hand in Mendenhall’s fate, as five of his remaining contests could be in dicey weather, with three games in Pittsburgh, one in Kansas City and another in Cleveland. And Week 15’s date with the 49ers on a Monday night could be hazardous, as San Francisco in late December ain’t exactly a picnic. The cold and wet elements hardly enable success in the air, giving Mendenhall owners further hope.

While he’s averaging close to 14 carries in his past four games, envision Mendenhall kicking it into gear as we head down the fantasy homestretch.

Ruxin: Drop Matt Schaub and pick up Jay Cutler?

Did anyone else see Thursday night’s episode of The League? Seeing into Jeff Goldblum’s soul through his vinegar strokes haunted my dreams. Independence Day is forever ruined. But yes, I did love his cameo.

Cutler has been quietly effective this season, amazing since he plays in one of America’s biggest markets (although I’m sure Matt Forte’s brilliance and the unfounded residual disgust toward Cutler’s actions during last year’s NFC Championship have something to do with this ingratitude). His stats don’t quite translate to fantasy, yet he should provide a stable presence in relief of the Houston quarterback. Also don’t rule out Matt Leinart as a sleeper in substitution of Schaub. He’ll have the services of Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, both premier performers at their respected positions, and, oh yeah, the best backfield in the league at his disposal. He still possesses the physical tools that made him a top-10 Draft pick in 2006. If he has his head right, he could be a fantasy steal. Beats picking up Alex Smith or Tarvaris Jackson, no?

Nater: Best WR for this week – Vincent Brown, Denarius Moore, or Earl Bennett???

All have exploitable matchups, so there’s really no wrong route. At gunpoint, I’m going Moore. Jacoby Ford’s injury should correlate into extended looks for Moore, and Minnesota is one of the worst pass defenses in football. I like what I’ve seen from Brown, yet he’s a complement to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates; Bennett in mirrored in the same situation, as Forte gets first dibs on Cutler’s vision.

Dave: Should I start Kendall Hunter over Cedric Benson this week?

Come on Dave, even Mike Shanahan thinks that’s a dumb decision! Ok, maybe not Shanahan, but still.

Hunter’s value is predicated on Frank Gore succumbing to injury. Gore was banged up against the Giants last week, yet his knee reportedly won’t be a problem against Arizona. Benson does not have an opportune matchup against the Ravens (though a sidelined Ray Lewis certainly increases his chances for success), but he will at least get 15-20 guaranteed touches. Don’t outsmart yourself, stick with Benson.

Scott: What to do with Bradford? I have Stafford and Tebow.

Well clearly Stafford is the starter from that crowd. At this juncture of the season, there’s no need for three quarterbacks on your roster (unassuming you don’t participate in a two-QB format), so either Tebow or Bradford need to be exiled to the waiver wire or traded. If you choose the latter direction, Young Master Tebow will bring the most in return. I’m holding out hope that Bradford begins to turn it around, but with matchups against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and San Francisco to end the season, his prospects aren’t bright. If Tebow fails to bring in significant value, let Bradford loose.

Toss a Coin: Offered C. Newton and A. Johnson for L. McCoy – I have held onto Johnson all year – is this a good deal?

If you have weathered the storm with Johnson to this moment, you might as well hold on for the entire ride. The Houston wideout will return in full health in Week 12, instantly vaulting him to the top of the fantasy receiver chain. And while he may be hitting a rookie wall, Newton’s prowess on the ground and penchant for garbage-time fantasy points translate into a top-5 fantasy ranking at the signal caller position. McCoy has been doing work this season, but you’re surrendering too much in the deal. I wouldn’t pull the trig.

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