Welcome to Week 11: The fantasy football cliff. Byes are wrapping up which means depth becomes increasingly less significant beyond this point. Beyond this point most of the good teams have their must starts. However, you never know when a guy can get hot, go on a ridiculous run, and win you your league ala Billy Volek/Drew Bennett 2004, Jerome Harrison circa 2010, and Antonio Bryant in 2008. These guys were relatively unknown heading into the latter parts of the season. There’s no fool proof way to reading the fantasy tea leaves, but if you keep a close eye on players and matchups you might just hit the jackpot. Hopefully this can help you find that jackpot, or maybe just help you get one win closer to the playoffs.
Depending on your league size this guy may not even be on the waiver wire, but if he is and you need some help look no further than Carson Palmer. Over the past two weeks he’s thrown for 414 and 368 yards, with 6 touchdowns. Forget about the turnovers (5 in the past two weeks) because when you throw that much the points will trickle in. Not to mention that Carson Palmer has actually been fairly productive this year despite early season concerns about his “lack of weapons and arm strength.”
This week Palmer gets to face the New Orleans Saints, who rank dead last in pass defense. I fully expect over 300 yards and a couple scores. Don’t sweat the turnovers.
A bit of a reach here, especially considering his shaky play last week in his career debut, but all Eagles fans know one thing about the soon to be fired Andy Reid: He loves to throw. It doesn’t matter that they have possibly the best back in the NFL. It wouldn’t matter if the QB was Donovan McNabb, AJ Feeley, or Jamarcus Russell. It is a testament to his time coaching in Philly, that he will live and die by the throw.
Here is to hoping Nick Foles doesn’t die first behind that atrocious offensive line, because he has a nice matchup against the Redskins this week. Washington has the most TD passes against them in the league and I think a full week of practice and game study will benefit Foles.
With Darren McFadden suffering his annual high ankle sprain the back field could belong to the versatile Marcel Reese. Reese has a peculiar skill set, as he is really a pass catching Full Back in this Oakland offense. But with the injuries and lack of depth behind McFadden, Reese will also be the primary ball carrier. This is the ultimate insurance you can want from your RB. If the team is ahead Reese will see a good deal of hand offs. If they fall behind, which Oakland has a habit of doing, Reese will be targeting often in the passing game.
If you own McFadden, pick this guy up immediately.
He hasn’t done much this year. Mainly because Frank Gore has stayed healthy, but if and when this guy gets the chance to be a number one back look out. He clearly has the power, speed, and vision combination to be a great running back. His time could be sooner than you think. If you are in deep league or a keeper league I would add this guy just to see how things play out. Again, he isn’t startable at the moment but his playing time could increase later in the season when the 49ers might wish to rest Frank Gore.
He is the number two WR for a Detroit Lions team that leads the league in pass attempts. This shouldn’t change one bit as the Lions will push to make the playoffs with a nonexistent running game. While Megatron is still the main man and the biggest mouth to feed, Young continues to see a fair share of targets. He even has two one yard touchdown passes in the past three weeks. And we all know that is typically Calvin Johnson territory. I expect Stafford to continue on his hot streak and to keep looking at Titus Young while Johnson is double teamed.
He never lived up to his potential in St. Louis but Alexander could actually end up being a favorite for Philip Rivers. To this point Rivers has yet to find a reliable rapport with his receivers so the opportunity is there for Alexander to emerge. Last week he had 7 catches for 134 yards and a long score. He is worth a speculative add to see how his role expands in the coming weeks.
You know the saying “a tight end is a rookie quarterback’s security blanket.” I hate the phrase but I think Brent Celek could be that for Nick Foles. I’m not saying he is a top grade luxury feather comforter, but as far as security blankets go he can be serviceable. Think about it, he is one of the few eagles who play with passion every week. No doubt Foles will feed off that energy.
If you’re in a fantasy league that awards points for unbalanced run to pass ratios and repetitive press conferences Andy Reid is your man.