What will fantasy owners do without Jimmy Graham and the Houston defense this week? I know that there are other huge options taken off of the board this week because of Byes (Arian Foster campaigned for carrying over 13 of his fantasy points) and injuries, but those are the most notable absences in the secondary positions.
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It’s make or break time in fantasyland, and fantasy owners are scrubbing the waiver wire to find the proverbial “diamond in the rough.” OK, I’ve had “Aladdin” force-fed to me this week, so I apologize for the cartoon reference.
But, since I’ve been called a walking cartoon before, I suppose it’s appropriate. I digress.
Let’s eke out a few extra points at the back-end of your roster.
Exclude: Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Ed Dickson, Aaron Hernandez
Bye Weeks: Indianapolis, Houston, Pittsburgh, New Orleans
Brandon Pettigrew vs. CAR: Pettigrew posted a quiet stat line in the Lions’ crushing defeat in Chicago in Week 10 (five receptions for 38 yards). I like his chances for a big bounce-back effort in front of the home crowd against the Panthers. I know that the Panthers have allowed only 38 receptions by tight ends this season, but both Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley performed well. Pettigrew is a notch below on that chart, but he’s a huge component in the Detroit passing game.
Is this one of those angry blowout games like we saw against the Broncos?
Jake Ballard vs. PHI: The 49ers stopped Ballard’s streak of games with a reception of at least 21 yards at five, but he did extend his streak of games with at least three receptions to six. He’d posted at least 55 yards in four straight games prior to last week’s 35-yard performance. Take the high target count in a possible shootout.
Vernon Davis vs. ARI: Davis ended his three-game scoreless streak in Week 10 against the Giants. He didn’t amass a huge yardage count (40), but he did extend his streak of multi-reception games to nine. Davis is a huge play this week against the Arizona secondary. He caught three passes for 96 yards and a touchdown in his last game against the Cardinals. I’m anticipating more attempts and production from the passing game in Week 11, and Davis is the key to that occurring.
Dustin Keller at DEN: Keller hasn’t romped in the painted grass for quite some time, but he and Sanchez has connected on a number of big gains in recent weeks. Keller has recorded a reception of at least 24 yards in four straight games (six on the season). I have him rated 11th among tight ends this week.
Fred Davis vs. DAL: I don’t trust Rex Grossman. I don’t trust whatever the Shanahans are doing in this offense. I certainly don’t trust the Redskins’ ability to work into the red zone.
I do trust that Davis posts another sizable target count and records a sizable number of receptions. He’s caught three or more passes in all but one game this season. Davis is one of the prime beneficiaries (along with Roy Helu) when Grossman checks down to avoid the frequent blitzes when Rob Ryan unleashes hell.
Week 10 Tight End Ninja Alerts
Delanie Walker vs. ARI: Walker posted his biggest statistical output of the season in Week 10 against the Giants with six receptions for 69 yards. He’s caught multiple passes in six games this season with three touchdowns. Obviously, it’s a risky move to start him, but this is a nice spot for Alex Smith to put the ball in the air.
Kellen Winslow at GB: Winslow remains a solid play in PPR leagues (three or more receptions in all but one game), but his yardage total has left owners in standard leagues wanting. I put him on the radar this week because the Buccaneers will likely be trailing early and gunning the ball downfield in comeback mode. Roll the dice on accruing garbage points. Remember, they all look the same in Monday’s box score.
Scott Chandler at MIA: Chandler’s role has increased since the Bills’ Week 7 Bye. He’s caught multiple passes in three straight games. Chandler isn’t going to pile up yardage (he hasn’t topped 35 yards since his Week 1 effort against Kansas City when he posted 63), but he remains a red zone beast. I’m calling for an end zone romp in Miami to quiet the recent Dolphins rally.
Week 10 Tight End Flop Alerts
Greg Olsen at DET: Olsen remains a consistent target for Cam Newton. He’s caught three or more passes in seven of games this season, though his yardage output has varied greatly. I don’t doubt that he’ll be heavily involved as Newton works past the ferocious pass rush. I’m just not anticipating a sizable output (five games with 45 receiving yards or fewer).
Jermichael Finley vs. TB: Finley scored in two of the past three weeks, his first touchdowns since his huge Week 3 game against Chicago (three touchdowns). He remains a frighteningly talented target for Aaron Rodgers, but Rodgers’ willingness to distribute the ball leaves me slightly uneasy even with the heretofore atrocious Buccaneers on the slate. There are few options that trump him on the board, of course. I just fear the fact that he’s recorded 44 receiving yards or fewer in four of the past six week.
Kickers Plug-In Plays
Robbie Gould vs. SD: Fantasy owners should Gould and his automatic leg locked and loaded in their lineups, but they’ve been reticent to commit for some reason. Gould has converted multiple field goals in seven of nine games, and the Chicago offense has come together nicely during the Bears’ current winning streak. Look for more of the same this weekend at home against the struggling Chargers.
Dan Carpenter vs. BUF: Carpenter has quietly pieced together a tremendous fantasy season for the Dolphins. He’s converted at least one field goal in every game this season (six multi-field goal performances) and now the offense has been awakened. Carpenter’s a strong start this week against the flailing Bills.
Nick Novak at CHI: The Chargers have been maddening to say the least. I won’t detail the individual performances, missed opportunities and confounding decisions of recent weeks. Still, the team can pile up points.
Novak’s a borderline K1 option this week in a huge spot for the Chargers on the road. He’s converted multiple field goals in four games (three games with four or more field goal conversions).
Nick Folk at DEN: Folk represents an interesting play on Thursday night against the Broncos. Mark Sanchez and the New York passing attack will move the ball against the Denver pass defense. Sanchez will wisely stay away from Champ Bailey and utilize his secondary receivers.
Folk has converted multiple PATs in every game this season, though he’s generated multiple field goal conversions only four times. I expect to ticker to turn over to five this week.
Kickers on the Pine
Alex Henery at NYG: It appears that Vince Young is going to start Sunday’s road tilt against the Giants. Young has talked about his failure to grasp the offense thus far, so I’m a tad nervous about his ability to make use of those downfield options. We do know that he’ll be able to two-step the ball to LeSean McCoy.
The rookie from Nebraska has converted multiple field goals in four of nine games this season for the maddening Eagles. Interestingly, he’s attempted only two field goals from distances of more than 40 yards. That’s reason enough to shut him down.
Sebastian Janikowski at MIN: Janikowski ranks as the No. 1 option on my board, but he carries a huge asterisk. He’s converted just one field goal in each of his past three appearances and the hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 7 remains an issue. With the playoffs on the line, fantasy owners will need to monitor him closely as game day approaches.
Billy Cundiff vs. CIN: Cundiff has been absolutely destroyed in the Baltimore media for his missed field goals in Sunday’s loss to Seattle. Of course, the fact that Cam Cameron didn’t bother to run the ball is a whole other argument. Will he be inspired by the Matt Stover celebration on Sunday? How many signs will be in the stands asking Stover to put on a jersey and cleats?
Cundiff converted 1-of-3 field goal opportunities and two PATs in Week 10. He’s converted multiple field goals in seven of his nine appearances, so Cundiff is still a low-end K1. I’m just somewhat nervous that the Ravens’ offensive struggles continue.
Defenses Plug-In Plays
New England vs. KC: The Patriots have quietly started to play better defense of late, and this unit is now tied for 16th in scoring defense at 22.2 points allowed per game. This will be an ugly Monday night contest in New England. The heavily-favored Patriots will score at will and make life difficult for Tyler Palko in his first start. The giddiness displayed by the New England defense in Week 10 against the Jets carries over to this week.
Dallas at WAS: What are the Shanahans doing right now? They’ve churned through running options and went to surprise starters at quarterback and running back in Week 10. What’s next? Will it be a contest inspired by the film “Eddie” or, as several Twitter questions begged, signing a new tailback off of the street?
The Redskins are averaging a dismal 15.1 points per game. Dallas has generated 21 turnovers and 23 sacks to date. I know that these divisional contests on the road are usually hard-fought and dangerous contests. I just don’t see the Redskins’ talent matching up.
Jacksonville at CLE: The Browns have been absolutely terrible all season. We got excited last week because desperation play Chris Ogbonnaya topped 100 total yards. That’s where the bar is set. The player doesn’t need to score anymore. He needs to approach triple digits in the yardage columns.
Say what you will about the Jaguars. Jack Del Rio has this team playing defense. Jacksonville ranks sixth in scoring defense at 18.4 points allowed per game. This smacks of another Phil Dawson kicking exhibition.
Seattle at STL: The Seahawks controlled the Ravens in Week 10 before a frenzied home crowd and shocked the football world (it was trumped by Arizona’s win over the Ravens on the big stage). Overall, the Seahawks rank in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring defense (22.4 points allowed per game), but I’d take the under against the struggling Rams. I don’t doubt that we see a decent effort out of Steven Jackson, but the passing game has been anemic. The Rams average 12.6 points per game. What more do I need to say?
Oakland at MIN: The Raiders are hardly a defensive juggernaut entering Week 11. Oakland is tied for 27th in total defense at 25.9 points allowed per game. The Raiders have generated 12 turnovers and 23 sacks. However, this is an interesting spot against Christian Ponder and the 23rd-ranked Minnesota offense (19.9 poitns scored per game). There will be a big play or two to Adrian Peterson, but the Oakland defensive front will create opportunities for big plays against a weak Minnesota offensive line.
Defenses on the Pine
New York Giants vs. PHI: The New York defense leaves me uneasy. There just hasn’t been a consistent push at the defensive line in recent weeks and opposing rushers have given them fits. As a result, I’m fearful of the speedy weapons downfield, even if Vince Young is lined up under center.
The Giants may provide a few sacks to the bottom line (they’ve amassed 30 to date), but the secondary has yet to get healthy and continues to give up big plays. Just look at the drive against San Francisco that culminated in Vernon Davis’ touchdown reception. I’m fearful that LeSean McCoy running wild puts them in a bad spot that leads to a shootout.
New York Jets at DEN: I have the New York defense ranked eighth this week heading into the showdown with Tebow. Tebow will take his share of sacks, though I fear he won’t attempt enough passes to help owners pad their stats with turnovers. Of course, I’m curious about when the official scorekeepers will change everything he does to a rushing attempt and eliminate sacks from the equation.
Cincinnati at BAL: The Bengals lost Leon Hall for the season because of an Achilles’ injury sustained against the Steelers. His absence leaves me somewhat uneasy against the Jekyll-Hyde Ravens on the road this week. Flacco has played horribly against the Bengals historically, but continues to take shots downfield (with little success of late) with Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. I have to believe that Cam Cameron eventually realizes that Ray Rice still plays in Baltimore.