Helu latest victim of Shanahan
QB: John Skelton, Cardinals
Granted, Skelton’s two starts have come against less than daunting defenses in St. Louis and Philadelphia, but the Cardinals’ remaining schedule is filled with exploitable secondaries (including San Francisco, who is surrendering 260.3 yards per game). The presence of Skelton under center has ignited a dormant offense in the desert, and the former Fordham Ram’s play has allowed Arizona the indulgence of not rushing Kevin Kolb to return from injuries. Even when Kolb’s healthy, Skelton may have earned the starting gig thanks to the ineffectiveness of Kolb in the first half of the season. Owned in less than one percent of FOXSports.com leagues, Skelton may be worth stashing as a backup or even a possible starter in two-QB formats.
QB: Matt Ryan, Falcons
After a forgettable October (839 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions and a 77.7 QB rating in four games), Ryan has recharged the batteries in November, tossing for 626 yards and five touchdowns in two contests. Julio Jones did suffer another hamstring tweak, and his absence does restrict Atlanta’s aerial options to a degree. Yet Harry Douglas filled in nicely for the injured rookie, and Tony Gonzalez continues to produce despite his rising age. If Ryan can fix the apparent communication problems with Roddy White, the Falcon field general is a solid top-10 fantasy play at the quarterback position for the second half of the season.
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Beast mode is BACK, baby! Against one of the best rushing defenses in the league, Lynch amassed 109 yards (albeit on 32 carries) and found the end zone in Seattle’s 22-17 upset over Baltimore on Sunday. Lynch also added five receptions for 58 yards in the passing game. This conquest makes three strong showings in the past four games for Lynch, who has also scored in his last five outings. This trend has quietly catapulted the Seahawk runner into the second tier of fantasy backs, and makes for a safe No. 2 RB going forth.
RB: Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns
Ogbonnaya was the lone bright spot for the Browns, rushing for 90 yards on 19 carries in Cleveland’s loss to the Rams. It’s somewhat of a leap of faith to buy into Ogbonnaya (who really needs a new handle, as typing and pronouncing his last name is quite the endeavor), as the Brownie offense is stagnant with a lack of viable receiving targets and a battered offensive line. Still, Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty project to be on the sidelines in Week 11, bequeathing the majority of touches to Ogbonnaya. For a low-end No. 2 RB or flex option, a bulk of opportunities is reason enough to give the Browns’ back a starting nod against Jacksonville this weekend.
WR: Laurent Robinson, Cowboys
Robinson did not disappoint in substitution of Miles Austin, making two expeditions into the end zone in Dallas’ 44-7 beatdown of Buffalo. He only received three targets on the day; nevertheless, he made the most of his chances, hauling in all three looks for 73 yards. Expect Robinson to do similar damage against Washington in Week 11. While we are on the topic of Cowboys v. Bills, where do you come out on David Nelson celebrating his touchdown by hugging his Dallas Cowgirl cheerleader girlfriend? Not only did it seem forced and awkward, but I don’t need that non-compelling storyline continually shoved down my throat. You mean to tell me an athlete is dating a beautiful woman? That NEVER happens! Nelson may have won over a few female fans, yet men across the globe viewed that display with repulsion. Even Phil Mickelson thought that was the act of a whipped man.
WR: Vincent Brown, Chargers
Owners may be apprehensive of adding a San Diego receiver due to the erraticism of Philip Rivers. However, the truth is Rivers has transformed into the 2010 version (and from the early returns, 2011 edition) of Carson Palmer. Translation: a mediocre quarterback who posts fantasy-friendly numbers. With complementary receiver Malcom Floyd nursing a hip injury and Antonio Gates not quite 100 percent, Brown can be a benefactor of the yardage-proficient passing game. This sentiment was illustrated last Thursday, as the rookie out of San Diego State led the team with 97 yards off of nine targets. Vincent Jackson and Gates remain the primary inheritors of Rivers’ passes, but there’s enough love to go around for Brown to make a meaningful fantasy impact.
TE: Ed Dickson, Ravens
Now there’s the Average Joe Flacco we all know and love. The silver lining for Baltimore: the breakout of Dickson, their second-year tight end out of Oregon. Dickson brought in 10 receptions for 79 yards and two scores, endlessly finding holes in the middle of the field. More importantly, Dickson received a game-high 14 looks from Flacco. The two touchdowns were Dickson’s first trips into the Promised Land since Week 1, so perhaps we should be careful to forecast further fruition. Then again, the Ravens take on a dilapidated Cincinnati secondary next week, followed by favorable opponents in San Fran, Cleveland and Indianapolis. For those seeking a tight end, Dickson is owned in just 22.1 percent of leagues.
DEF: Chicago Bears
True, they may rank 29th against the pass (conceding 269.7 yards per outing), but hard to hate on six takeaways against Detroit, two of which were housed.
QB: Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Forgot about the unreliability of Flacco; the performance of Cassel has been just as fickle. Kansas City’s QB commenced the season with three straight games of 200 yards or less, but bounced back by posting 250 yards or more in four of the next five outings. So it was apropos that Cassel, against one of the worst pass resistances in the NFL, hit just 13-of-28 attempts for a meager 93 yards in the Chiefs’ loss to Denver. Early word out of Arrowhead has Cassel out of for the rest of the season, so drop him immediately.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Just spit balling: maybe the Bills jumped the gun on locking down Fitzpatrick to a six-year deal. The Bearded Bomber has thrown eight passes to the wrong team in Buffalo’s last four games. In a related note, the Bills are 1-3 during that span. Fitzpatrick still merits a roster spot as a backup, and could be useful in the playoffs with San Diego, Miami, Denver and New England down the homestretch. That said, until he cuts down on the turnovers, keep the Buffalo signal caller out of the starting lineup.
RB: Roy Helu, Redskins
All week – repeat, ALL WEEK – that fantasy fiend known as Mike Shanahan reiterated his faith in Helu, odd since the rookie had just submitted a fine showing with 14 receptions for 105 yards. So what does Shanahan do? Inexplicably throws in Ryan Torain, which makes sense as Torain had logged 33 YARDS IN THE LAST FOUR GAMES! Why, oh why Mike, did you substitute the promising Helu for Torain? “I wanted to give Ryan a chance to see what he could do against a very good defensive team.” WHAT? WHY?!?! He wasn’t effective against terrible rush defenses in Philadelphia and Carolina, why would you feature Torain against a competent squad? Make no mistake: Mike Shanahan isn’t trying to win ball games for the Redskins. He wants to murder your fantasy team and spit on its’ grave.
RB: Reggie Bush, Dolphins
On paper, it seems like Bush once again had a decent day for the Dolphins, turning in two touchdowns. Alas, aside from an 18-yard scamper, Bush didn’t capitalize on his opportunities (14 carries for 47 yards). Worse, Daniel Thomas was allotted more touches in the backfield with 17 rushes. It appears the Dolphins are back to a committee situation, which certainly restricts Bush’s value for the rest of the season.
WR: Pierre Garcon/Reggie Wayne, Colts
Another no-show for the Indianapolis duo. Since tagging Kansas City for five receptions and 125 yards, Garcon has an insignificant 201 yards in the past five games. Wayne’s production has been eerily similar, going for 198 yards in that time span. Curtis Painter briefly breathed some life into the sluggish Colts’ offense, but that honeymoon period has clearly ended. Indianapolis’ next two opponents are Carolina and New England, matchups that theoretically would be opportune. Both have high upside, just don’t be surprised if they lay another goose egg.
WR: DeSean Jackson, Eagles
I pray that all Jackson proprietors had the opportunity to pull the maligned receiver before Sunday’s kickoff. Nothing worse as a fantasy owner than seeing a “DNP” in a fantasy box score. Well, besides seeing Chris Johnson post another stink bomb.
The good: with Jeremy Maclin most likely out for Week 11, Jackson has become the de facto No. 1 receiver. The bad: he may have smoothed things over with the team, but Jackson still needs to make things right with his fantasy owners, as he’s been irrelevant since Week 5. The ugly: injuries to Michael Vick may facilitate Vince Young at the helm of the offense, which would be ok if it was the video game EA Sports NCAA 2005. Unfortunately, it’s the NFL, so yeah, not good.
TE: Fred Davis, Redskins
And not for his pedestrian performance the past two weeks. A report surfaced yesterday that Davis could face possible punishment for testing positive for recreational drug use at the end of July. No word yet on if and when games will be missed, yet Davis owners should look for possible replacements ASAP.
DEF: San Diego Chargers
Statistically speaking, the unit isn’t bad, ranking 10th in total yards relinquished. Unfortunately, Rivers’ miscues continue to put the team in precarious situations, correlating to 25.3 points per game surrendered (sixth-most in the league). I wouldn’t blame ya in keeping the Chargers around, but the waiver wire looks like their best destination.