Week 11 lineup calls: Quarterbacks
Did you enjoy the pinball-like numbers strewn about the National Football League in Week 10?
Think about it. Thirteen quarterbacks passed for at least 300 yards last week. Four others passed for more than 290 yards.
Oh, and Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers were sitting in sweatpants watching games at home.
It’s a quarterback’s world, and the numbers posted in those 14 games set the pace for most fantasy matchups. Owners locked in Kyle Orton or Matt Cassel or rolled the dice on Tom Brady against the Steelers and were paid off handsomely. I shan’t even get into the whole Michael Vick foolishness.
Who shines in Week 11? Remember, bye weeks have gone to the wayside. It’s full-tilt action going forward.
(Other than Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers)
Vince Young vs. Washington
Young completed 9-of-18 attempts for 92 yards with one touchdown, 14 rushing yards, one interception and one lost fumble against the Dolphins. He wasn’t expected to play, but Kerry Collins’ calf injury forced Jeff Fisher to make the move. Collins is out indefinitely, thereby putting Young back under center for the beginning of a glorious run on the schedule.
This week, Young takes aim at the Washington secondary that is still tired from chasing Philadelphia receivers from behind. Washington was obviously obliterated by Michael Vick, but everyone seems to forget that the Redskins were a bottom-feeding pass defense through the first nine weeks. DeAngelo Hall was great and all against Chicago, but that’s a very small sampling in an otherwise dismal year.
Look for Randy Moss to be more integrated in the offense and for receiver Nate Washington to post another strong effort. If Young’s ankle holds, he’ll post a big day against the Redskins.
Carson Palmer vs. Buffalo
Palmer’s interceptions have been crushing in recent weeks, sending the Bengals into loss after loss. However, he’s still performed well in the fantasy realm, having produced multi-touchdown games in each of the Bengals’ past six games.
He has a tremendous opportunity here this week against the Buffalo defense. Buffalo has not surmounted much pressure on opposing quarterbacks and has generated just two interceptions. The big question is whether the Cincinnati can finally run the ball with Cedric Benson (down Andre Smith on the offensive line). If it can, then Palmer will have ample opportunity to cash in on the secondary.
Mark Sanchez vs. Houston
Sanchez posted his best effort in several weeks against the Cleveland Browns in last week’s overtime win. It was his first multi-touchdown game since Week 4. He passed for 299 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and rushed for a third score. Sanchez has averaged 297 passing yards in the past three weeks and has established a tremendous rapport with off-season acquisition Santonio Holmes. Go check your league’s waiver wire for a possible plug-in start in this tasty matchup against the Texans.
Shaun Hill at Dallas
It took Hill awhile to get Detroit to paydirt last week, but he ultimately finished as one of 13 quarterbacks to pass for at least 300 yards in Week 10. In the past five starts that he’s completed, Hill has averaged 290.6 passing yards with nine touchdowns against seven interceptions.
He’s a tremendous spot play this week against Dallas. The Cowboys surrender 232 passing yards and 2.2 passing touchdowns per game. The surge may be coming under Jason Garrett, but Hill will still post numbers with Calvin Johnson and a full complement of receivers at his disposal.
Jon Kitna vs. Detroit
Kitna posted a fabulous effort against the Giants to break Dallas’ five-game losing streak. He completed 13-of-22 attempts for 327 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Kitna will have opportunities to work downfield against this secondary (222.8 yards and 1.4 touchdowns allowed per game), provided that the offensive line (with help from Jason Witten) can fend off Ndamukong Suh.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Oakland
Roethlisberger faces off against the upper-tier Oakland pass defense. He’s playing behind a banged-up offensive line and may be without top target Hines Ward. However, Roethlisberger still teams with Rashard Mendenhall to stymie the pass rush and has the wherewithal to buy time in the pocket to give his speedy receiving options opportunities to work downfield.
He’s produced three multi-touchdown games since returning to the Steelers’ lineup. Oakland has surrendered 16 passing touchdowns overall, but has played much better in recent weeks. The injuries affecting the Pittsburgh offensive line are somewhat concerning. Still, I expect this unit to bounce back from the embarrassing home loss in Week 10.
Joe Flacco at Carolina
Following a rough start the season from a statistical sense, Flacco has found the mark in recent weeks. In the past four weeks, Flacco has amassed 10 touchdown passes with just one interception and one lost fumble. He’s averaged 254 passing yards during this period.
Take advantage of this huge spot against a banged-up Carolina squad. The Panthers will trot out rookie Tony Pike (Jimmy Clausen didn’t practice Wednesday) and DeAngelo Williams was placed on injured reserve. The Ravens should surmount a consistent pass rush on Pike and force mistakes. Flacco pays off those drives.
Matt Cassel vs. Arizona
Cassel started slowly against the Broncos, but finished with a ridiculous final stat line. He passed for 469 yards with four touchdowns with four sacks and a lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the Denver defense. Cassel has thrown 12 touchdowns against one interception in his past five starts. Seriously, that’s ridiculous.
Take advantage of a tremendous matchup against the heretofore sieve-like Arizona pass defense. The Cardinals allow 269.3 passing yards and 1.6 passing touchdowns per game.
David Garrard vs. Cleveland
Garrard delivered in a big spot against the Texans. He’d already passed for 292 yards and a touchdown when he uncorked the game-winning 50-yard strike to Mike Thomas. He’s generated multiple touchdowns in each of the past four games that he completed (three or more in three of them).
He’s on deck for another big spot this week against the Browns. Cleveland is playing hard, and the offense is delivering punch behind Peyton Hillis. However, opposing offenses continue to post sizable yardage totals. The Browns surrender 245.3 passing yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game.
Troy Smith vs. Tampa Bay
Smith is capable of buying time in the pocket and allowing his receivers to make plays downfield. He passed for 356 yards (17-for-28) and a touchdown against the Rams to continue Michael Crabtree’s surge. He also had several touchdowns wiped off the board because of penalties. The big question for this week is whether Smith’s risk-taking comes back to haunt him.
Will Aquib Talib spoil Smith’s run as the starter? I certainly don’t agree with Raheem Morris’ “stats are for losers” comments, but there’s more than meets the eyes from this Tampa Bay squad. They’ve generated only eight sacks this season, but hang a star on the interception total (14).
Josh Freeman at San Francisco
Freeman has averaged 236.5 passing yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions in his past six starts. He’s also averaged 21.5 rushing yards during this period. The second-year quarterback has been efficient and does well to take care of the ball.
The 49ers have played much better of late, so this is certainly no given. San Francisco has allowed only five touchdown passes in the past five games.
Colt McCoy at Jacksonville
McCoy’s numbers haven’t been world-beating, but he’s been efficient since assuming the reins in Cleveland. He relies on Peyton Hillis as a check-down option, and we caught a glimpse of Mohammed Massaquoi in the near-upset of the Jets. McCoy rates as a QB2 option in two-QB leagues.
Matt Schaub at New York Jets
Schaub is currently battling a knee injury and underwent treatment for a bursa sac issue in his right knee. As such, his status for Sunday’s game must be monitored at that level. Schaub was already teetering toward QB-2 level in this matchup against the strong Jets defense before the injury came to light.
The Jets have allowed four touchdown passes in the past four weeks, including a shutout performance against Aaron Rodgers (the Packers earned a win with three Mason Crosby field goals). Schaub has produced four multi-touchdown games this season and continues to seek a consistent second option behind Andre Johnson (other than Arian Foster).
Kyle Orton at San Diego
Orton came out of the gate quickly against the Chiefs and posted a remarkable performance, only to be tossed off the fantasy front page by teammate Tim Tebow and Michael Vick. Donovan McNabb at Tennessee
Those who had been anxiously awaiting the “breakthrough” performance from McNabb got it from a fantasy perspective. Granted, that game on Monday was out of reach before anything positive happened. He finished that debacle with 295 passing yards (17-of-31) with two touchdowns and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. It marked McNabb’s first multi-touchdown game of the season.
McNabb faces a tough Tennessee squad that seeks to rebound from a disappointing effort against the Miami quarterback triad in Week 10. The Titans rank 25th against the pass (247.7 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game), but are tied for third in sacks with 27. I don’t suspect that this one gets out of hand (although it could), and that portends to another tepid performance from McNabb. You can get your 200-225 yards, but counting on multiple touchdowns strikes is foolish.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Cincinnati
Fitzpatrick’s scoring streak reached 10 games Week 10 when Fred Jackson took his short pass to the end zone against the Lions. However, he’s accounted for only one touchdown pass in three consecutive games and approaches this contest with a hand injury (he was stepped on in the Detroit game).
The Bengals have failed to surmount much of a pass rush this season (nine sacks), but rank 12th against the pass overall. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 213.6 passing yards and 1.2 passing touchdowns per game. Taken further, the Bengals have surrendered one passing touchdown to opposing quarterbacks in the past three games. They shut out Peyton Manning, allowed one touchdown pass by Ben Roethlisberger and shut out Chad Henne in Week 8. Remember, Antwaan Randle El hooked up with Mike Wallace on a 39-yard touchdown pass.