Articles By Corby Yarbrough

Path: /news/steelers-antonio-brown-top-12-receiver-against-bengals

Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown’s targets have dropped off in recent weeks, but in PPR leagues he continues to be a great flex play. I see him pushing for top-12 receiver status in Week 13 against AFC North rival Cincinnati at Heinz Field.

Cincinnati’s Leon Hall is on injured reserve. Nate Clements didn’t practice on Friday with a bum hamstring. That’s the Bengals cornerback situation. Pass rushing defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who didn’t play in the Week 10 meeting, will be out again. More time and more opening for Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger to find receivers like Brown and No. 1 Mike Wallace.

Hall injured his Achilles with less than two minutes to go in the first half of the Week 10 meeting while covering Brown. Brown went on to finish with a 13.2-point day after catching five balls for 86 yards on six targets.

Brown has been a target magnet since Week 7’s nine-target day against Arizona. He has since had games of 15, 11, 6 and 6 targets. I would certainly rather see target days like he had three and four games ago, but he continues to produce with the lower targets.

His breakout was the Week 7 nine-target game that he turned into seven catches for 102 yards. He followed with a nine-catch, 67-yard, one-TD game on 15 targets. The 11-target game produced a five-catch, 109-yard day. The targets dropped off to six the last two weeks, but Brown has gone 5-for-86 and 4-for-81, leading the Steelers in receiving yards both times.

Cincinnati has the fifth-best rushing defense in the league at 92.7 yards per game with 10 touchdowns allowed. And the Steelers continue to let you know this isn’t your daddy’s Steelers — they are a passing team. They rank eighth in the NFL at 264.9 yards per game with 17 touchdowns, while the run game is ranked 18th at 109.6 yards per game.

So it is through the air where the Steelers will succeed and where the Bengals are currently vulnerable. Pittsburgh is third in points per game from fantasy receivers this season (6th the last five weeks), while Cincinnati is 16th against fantasy receivers and 31st the last five weeks.

Start Brown with confidence and expect a bounce back from Mike Wallace.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Pittsburgh's wide receiver will shine today against Cincinnati</p>
Post date: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 08:05
Path: /news/donald-brown-surprising-sit-against-pats

I said last week Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown was a good flex play against the Carolina Panthers terrible run defense. Brown produced with a 16.2-point fantasy day against Carolina, just his second double-digit fantasy day of the season.

That was last week.

Now the Colts travel to play the New England Patriots, their 11th-ranked rush defense (102.4 YPG), second-ranked offense (429.5 YPG) and third-ranked scoring offense (30.1 PPG). And Indianapolis rolls out Dan Orlovsky to replace Curtis Painter as the Colts’ starting QB with the Colts already having the 31st-ranked team when it comes to fantasy points per game from the RB position.

Where are Brown’s chances to produce going to come from against New England when the Colts are down double digits?

Since the 80 yards and a score made for Brown’s best day of the season, let’s look at the last time New England allowed a running back to get at least those numbers. You have to go back to Week 5 when Shonn Greene carried 21 times for 83 yards and a score and caught two balls for nine yards in a 30-21 defeat.

I don’t see Brown getting 21 carries. I don’t see the Colts scoring 21 points. I don’t see where Brown can help out your fantasy roster in Week 13.

The Colts have not had a back carry more than Joseph Addai’s 17 times in Week 3 at Pittsburgh and have not have over 80 yards since Delone Carter’s 89 in Week 7 at New Orleans and Addai’s 86 in Week 3 against Pittsburgh.

In games against top-12 scoring offenses — Week 1 at Houston, Week 3 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 7 at New Orleans and Week 9 vs. Atlanta — the Colts’ lead back has carried 8 times, 17 times, 10 times and 16 times. The lead back averages 11 fantasy points in those four games.

So hope you had Brown in last week and enjoyed his day. It was the last like that for him this season with the Patriots, Ravens, Titans and Texans to close out the fantasy season.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Colts running back won't do what he did last week</p>
Post date: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 07:55
Path: /fantasy/why-brent-celek-great-start-against-seahawks

Tired of trying to figure out whether Ed Dickson, Fred Davis, Brandon Pettigrew, Jake Ballard, Scott Chandler, Heath Miller or even Jermichael Finley are going to get it done for you at the tight end position each week?

Go ahead and get it out of your system tonight; go pick up and start a tight end that has been better than all of the aforementioned in points per game over the last month.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek is 11th in points per game from the tight end position over the last four weeks at 8.95 in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format and is owned in just 37 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Tonight, the Eagles, with Vince Young at quarterback in place of Michael Vick, travel to play a Seahawks team that has recently been forgiving to teams that use the tight end.

Last week, Washington’s Fred Davis caught four of four targets for 58 yards and a score. In Week 10, Baltimore’s Ed Dickson caught 10 of 14 targets for 79 yards and two scores. In Week 9, Dallas’ Jason Witten caught four of seven targets for 71 yards and a score. That’s an average of 17.9 fantasy points per game from the three teams’ No. 1 tight end.

So the groundwork has been laid for Celek to have success.

Young has targeted Celek six times apiece in the last two games, to which he has caught 11 balls for 135 yards. It continued the resurgence for Celek after being relatively absent the first five weeks of the season.

He caught five balls for 75 yards in Week 12, and has been above 7.3 points, including three double-digit days in the last six games. This comes after four of five games below 1.9 in the first five weeks.

With Celek back in the mix, Young willing to go to the tight end, Seattle’s willingness to let the tight end position succeed and the Eagles having no Jeremy Maclin due to injury and RB LeSean McCoy nursing a bum toe, Celek is a good bet for 10-12 points tonight without a score. Give him a TD, and you’re off to a good start in Week 13.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Eagles tight end should put up solid fantasy points tonight</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:34
Path: /fantasy/sneaky-fantasy-sleeper-seahawks-doug-baldwin

Oh, it is such a juicy matchup for the Seattle receivers against Philadelphia tonight. But which one can you trust to throw in your lineup.

It’s been tough to trust any Seahawk receiver this season as only seven double-digit performances have been produced in the first 12 weeks of the season and non since Week 8.

However, tonight the receiving corps gets an Eagles team that has been terrible against a team’s top receiver since coming out of their Week 7 bye.

Here’s a look at what they have allowed since Week 8.
Week 8: Laurent Robinson, Dallas — 8 targets, 5 catches, 103 yards and a score for 18.8 fantasy points.
Week 9: Earl Bennett, Chicago — 5 targets, 5 catches, 95 yards and a score for 18 fantasy points.
Week 10: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona — 13 targets, 7 catches, 146 yards and two scores for 30.1 fantasy points.
Week 11: Victor Cruz, New York Giants — 10 targets, 6 catches, 128 yards and a score for 21.8 fantasy points.
Week 12: Wes Welker, New England — 12 targets, 8 catches, 115 yards and two scores for 27.5 fantasy points.
Week 12: Deion Branch, New England — 10 targets, 6 catches, 125 yards for 15.5 fantasy points.

So you know there is a flex option at receiver to be played there for Seattle, but which one do you go with?

Sidney Rice, who has three of the double-digit efforts for Seattle this season, is now on IR (concussion) and out for the year. Ben Obomanu steps into the starting role for Rice, and he has two of the last three double-digit games for the Seahawks (Weeks 5 and 8).

Doug Baldwin has the other two double-digit days for Seattle (Weeks 1 and 5).

Baldwin has 62 targets compared to 46 for Obomanu this season. Baldwin has 37 catches for 604 yards and two scores, while Obomanu has 28 catches for 295 yards and two scores.

Philly has been giving up to opposing teams’ No. 1s and 2s, so Obomanu could have success. Keep in mind, Tarvaris Jackson is still Seattle’s starting QB, and he has not eclipsed 13 points since Week 4 and has been under nine points three of those weeks.

However, if you’re looking for a deep flex play, with the Seahawks at home, facing a team coming cross-country on a short week that is allowing numbers at the WR spot like it has the last five, I think Baldwin could be good for a 10-12 spot. He’s already garnering the targets from Jackson, and the Eagles are surrendering 21.95 fantasy points per game to opposing team’s top targets.

By Corby A. Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Seahawks wide receiver is a risky play, but could pay dividends</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 03:27
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-13-and-playoffs

The playoffs start for some fantasy football leagues in Week 13, for many more this is the final push to try and secure a spot before the playoffs start. This late into the season, there’s not a whole lot to trust on the waiver wire; they wouldn’t be on there if you could.

The one name that will pop, and it popped a few weeks ago, is that of Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu. Coach Mike Shanahan, the bane of many fantasy players’ existence, said Helu is ready to be a full-time back. The rookie has had days of 19 and 25 fantasy points the two times he’s been given that chance. If you trust Shanahan, then he is the must-have off the waiver wire in Week 13; if you don’t trust Shanahan, then you’re just looking for some stop gaps here and there.

Vince Young, Philadelphia
Whether Michael Vick comes back to start at QB on a short week is uncertain as the Eagles travel to play Seattle on Thursday night. Young was the third-best fantasy QB on Sunday with 23 points after throwing for 400 yards, one score, one pick and 40 yards rushing vs. the Patriots’ last-ranked fantasy defense against QBs. A lot of the yardage and the TD came in garbage time. Now the Eagles get the Seahawks, ranked 12th against fantasy QBs, but are coming off a 314-yard, two-TD, two-INT performance against Washington’s Rex Grossman. Seattle has not been as tough at home as in years past. The Seahawks are allowing QBs to throw for 256 yards, 1.4 TDs and 1.4 interceptions in five home games and are giving up an average of 22.8 points to opposing teams. This one might be a bit closer where there isn’t a lot of garbage-time production for Young to scoop up. Young is owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues.

T.J. Yates, Houston
Good luck. The fifth-round pick out of North Carolina took over for the injured Matt Leinart late in the first half and finished the day with 70 yards and 2.5 fantasy points. This really affects the rest of the Texans’ skill players as well as what to do at QB. Arian Foster can still be a great pass catcher out of the backfield to get a QB points; the team has two capable TEs in Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen and of course there is Andre Johnson, who returned after a six-game absence to receive three targets for two catches and 22 yards. Players said when Yates stepped in Sunday he didn’t play scared and he has zip on the ball. I advocated going out and getting and starting Leinart in a great matchup against a beat up Jacksonville defense last week because of the aforementioned weapons. Yes, the Texans are still a running team, but Matt Schaub wasn’t asked to do much and was still a top-12 fantasy QB when he went onto IR. Yates and the Texans get Atlanta, Cincinnati, Carolina and Indianapolis to close out the fantasy season. Three of the four teams are ranked 16th or worse against fantasy QBs and Carolina is ranked 15th against the pass and 26th in yards per game allowed in the league. Yates is owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
He just continues to be about as steady as a lower-tier starting QB could be. Against Cleveland’s top-ranked pass defense, Dalton threw for 270 yards and a score. He has scored 13 or more fantasy points in all but two games this season. That’s not saying a lot, but it is good for the 15th best points per game average in the league. Dalton is owned in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Matt Moore, Miami
He had his fourth double-digit performance in the last five games with 13.82 points against Dallas on Thanksgiving. Like Dalton, the numbers are nowhere near staggering, but if you are dying at QB at least die with consistency. The Dolphins get Oakland, Philadelphia, Buffalo and New England over the final four weeks of the fantasy season — all in the bottom nine against fantasy QBs. Moore is owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Caleb Hanie, Chicago
It was an ugly 245 yards and two touchdowns for Hanie in his debut. He added three picks, but also added 50 yards rushing. It turned out to be a 20.16-point fantasy day — good for seventh amongst QBs heading into Monday night’s game. The Bears play the Chiefs, Broncos, Seahawks and Packers for the remainder of the fantasy season — the Broncos and Packers are currently ranked 30th and 28th against fantasy QBs. Hanie is owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Rex Grossman, Washington
You’re always going to get the interceptions with Grossman, but he can put up the yards, too. He threw for 314 yards and two scores with two picks against Seattle. The return of Santana Moss (4-29 on seven targets) is a nice weapon to have back, and makes Grossman a decent matchup play against the Jets in Week 13. They have allowed at least one TD to opposing QBs and an average of 213.4 passing yards per game over the last five games. The Jets haven’t recorded an interception three weeks. Grossman is owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues.

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo
It was Spiller’s chance to shine with Fred Jackson on IR. So Spiller got 22 touches — 19 carries for 55 yards and three catches for 15 yards — to give you 8.5 fantasy points against the Jets. So there you go, that’s what you’re going to get from Spiller. He is owned in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Roy Helu, Washington
Is hearing coach Mike Shanahan say Helu is “ready” to be a full-time back the phrase that pays? We would like to believe that the rookie would get the shot for a team that is long gone from the playoffs. All he has done in the two games in which he was used heavily is produce fantasy days of 19.6 and 25.7 points. So if you believe Shanahan then add Helu, if you’ve been burned before then it’s up to you what to do. Helu is owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Maurice Morris, Detroit
With Jahvid Best on IR and Kevin Smith on pace to have a good day before a “mild” high ankle sprain sidelined him on Thanksgiving day, the door opened for Morris. He is just another in the long line of backs that have run through the Motor City this season. He responded with 16.5 fantasy points. Now the Lions will have had 10 days off before facing New Orleans. Smith could be healthy; there is also Keiland Williams to deal with. And Detroit’s run game struggled mightily before facing Carolina in Week 11. Morris got the bulk of his points as a pass catcher (9-81). A pass-catching back could come in handy against New Orleans. Morris is owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Donald Brown, Indianapolis
I told you here last week he would be a good flex play against Carolina’s porous rush defense. Even with Joseph Addai active, Brown managed 80 yards and a score on a team-high 14 carries and one catch for 17 yards for 16.2 fantasy points. That was the Panthers. Now the Colts get the Patriots and the Ravens in back-to-back weeks. Those are two games the Colts should not be in for long, and keep in mind the are still the second-worst team in the league when it comes to fantasy points per game produced from the RB position. Hope you enjoyed Brown for the one week.

Johnny Knox, Chicago
Backup to backup is the Hanie to Knox connection. Knox caught four of 10 targets for 145 yards and a score in Caleb Hanie’s debut as the Bears’ starting QB. It’s hard to say how much of that was rapport between two backups or if it will stick. Hanie didn’t look strong enough to go through many options, so maybe if he locks in on Knox there could be some success. I would shy away from both of them. Knox, who added 133 return yards for those in yardage leagues, is owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Greg Little, Cleveland
The rookie finally caught his first NFL touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Colt McCoy. He continues to be the Browns’ most-targeted receiver, seeing 13 of them in Week 12 for five catches, 57 yards and the score. It was Little’s third double-digit target game of the season and his sixth with at least five catches. Little is owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues.

David Nelson, Buffalo
He bounced back from a .5-point effort against Miami with a 13.2-point effort against the Jets. It came off five catches for 47 yards and a score. He was second in targets for the third straight week, and caught his third TD in four games. Nelson is owned in 42 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Brad Smith, Buffalo
The loss of WR Donald Jones and RB Fred Jackson for the year, and the ineffectiveness of C.J. Spiller as the new RB means Buffalo is looking for offense anywhere. Smith was that “anywhere” on Sunday against the Jets. He had four catches for 77 yards and a score. He’s probably not a waiver pick up but worth keeping an eye on how the team uses him. Smith is available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Damian Williams, Tennessee
He caught three passes for 33 yards and the game-winning TD against Tampa Bay in Week 12. It was Williams’ third double-digit day in the last four games and fourth altogether this season. QB Matt Hasselbeck looks his way, although in varying degrees. Williams had four targets in Week 12 after a season-high 11 in Week 11. He’s had 11 targets twice this season, and now the Titans travel to take on a Buffalo team that has allowed 11.1 fantasy points per game to the last three No. 2 WRs it has faced. Williams is owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues.

James Jones, Green Bay
He opened the season with three single-digit performances, followed by three double-digit performances then another four single-digit performances, including a zero a week ago. Now Jones resurfaced with a three-catch, 94-yard, one-TD game in the win over Detroit on Thanksgiving. QB Aaron Rodgers has too many options to play with, making anyone outside of Rodgers and Greg Jennings a risky play. Jones is owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jordan Norwood, Cleveland
Play any Brown at your own risk. It was Norwood’s turn on Sunday as he caught four balls for 69 yards and a score from Colt McCoy against Cincinnati. Two of the four catches, 60 yards and the score came in a matter of four plays on the opening series of the game. Norwood had just two more catches for nine yards the rest of the way. He is available in 100 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jason Avant, Philadelphia
DeSean Jackson was benched, Jeremy Maclin was out with shoulder and hamstring injuries and backup QB Vince Young was in. The trifecta made for Avant catching eight of 14 targets for 110 yards and a score against New England’s 32nd-ranked defense against fantasy receivers. If Jackson, Maclin and Michael Vick are back on Thursday night Seattle, then Avant goes back to being irrelevant — he had two games above 9 fantasy points prior to Sunday. Avant is owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
He pulled down five of a season-high nine targets for 38 yards and a score against Cleveland. Rookie QB Andy Dalton has plenty of options to throw to not named A.J. Green, and that makes getting consistent days out of any pass catcher not named A.J. Green tough. But if you are in need of a TE that is a sure-fire go-to target in the red zone for his team, Gresham’s your man. The Bengals are at Pittsburgh in Week 12, and Grehsam caught four balls for 23 yards and a score against the Steelers in Week 10. He is owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Brent Celek, Philadelphia
Whether it’s Vince Young or Michael Vick, Celek continues to be a decent play late in the season. He caught five balls for 75 yards in Week 12, and has been above 7.3 points, including three double-digit days in the last six games. This comes after four of five games below 1.9 in the first five weeks. Celek is owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo
Ha had a season-high seven targets that he turned into a season-high six catches for 50 yards against the Jets. That trend of being a favorite target could continue as the injuries continue to mount for the Bills at the skill positions. He has not scored since Week 8 (2 TDs) and that was his first score since Week 3. David Nelson competes for the red zone targets, but if you need a high-targeted tight end that will get you 8 to 9 points without a score, 14-15 with, then you could do worse than Chandler. He is owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets
He caught four of eight targets for 61 yards and two scores for his first double-digit game since Week 3. He had three double-digit performances to open the season. He’s had at least four catches in four of the last five games and now gets a Washington team that has allowed double-digit days to opposing TEs in three of the last seven games and an average of 9.2 points over the entire seven games. Keller’s had at least eight targets in six of 11 games and seven in another. He is owned in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> T.J. Yates, Caleb Hanie and Vince Young lead the way this week</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 12:36
Path: /news/start-or-not-start-matt-leinart

Everything seems to be pointing toward Houston Texans quarterback Matt Leinart having a successful debut as the team’s starter in Week 13 at Jacksonville.

Leinart takes over for Matt Schaub, who went on injured reserve this week. He inherits a Texans team that has scored at least 24 points in their last four games — 37, 30, 24 and 41.

He has running back Arian Foster at his disposal along with the return of wide receiver Andre Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels.

Schaub bows out of the 2011 season as fantasy’s No. 12 QB on a team that leads the league in rush attempts by 21 (357 to San Francisco’s 336) and is 30th in pass attempts (178).

Yes, the Texans will continue to be a run-oriented team under Leinart, but don’t forget what those runners can do as pass catchers out of the backfield.

Foster, has at least four catches in five of the last six games. Over those five games, Foster averages 5 catches for 83 yards and has two scores — an average of 13.2 fantasy points per game in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format. And that’s just 13.2 points receiving, not including what Foster does on the ground.

It’s the play of Foster as a pass catcher that has helped keep the Texans near the top in yards per completion, ranking second at 8.5.

Daniels has been up and down this season with four straight double-digit fantasy days, but has not scored over 9.1 in the last five games. A talented TE is always an inexperienced NFL QB’s good friend. TE Joel Dreessen has also been a good target for the Texans this season.

And after six weeks on the sidelines, Houston gets its stud receiver back. Johnson had three straight games over 17 points — 19, 18.8 and 17.1 — to start the 2011 season before a hamstring injury shortened his season.

Schaub completed over 18 passes just four times this season, but was still a top-12fantasy QB. With how little Schaub was called on to be the centerpiece for the Texans, yet still be productive, is good news for Leinart. His goal: Just get it into the playmakers hands and let them do the rest.

Going up against a Jacksonville defense that has been ravaged by injuries — three starters on IR in the last two weeks, including two defensive backs, and two defensive linemen already being ruled out for this week and Aaron Kampman not looking promising — this should be a solid debut for Leinart.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Texans back-up quarterback inherits one of the NFL's best offenses</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 08:49
All taxonomy terms: Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, News
Path: /news/even-fred-jackson-out-cj-spiller-wont-live-expectations

For a second-year player, it sure seems like we’ve been waiting a long time for Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller to show up. A top-10 pick from Clemson in the 2010 NFL Draft, Spiller will get the starting nod for the Bills at running back now that Fred Jackson is on injured reserved.

What does this mean for fantasy? Nothing. And that’s pretty sad when a second-year player, replacing fantasy’s current No. 3 RB, a 30-year-old back at that, won’t have half the impact of his predecessor.

Spiller, if he was good enough, would have replaced Jackson by now, or at least significantly cut into his production. Jackson carried 170 times for 934 yards and six scores and added 39 catches for 442 yards this season. Spiller, on the other hand, has carried 21 times for 115 yards and one score and has 15 catches for 82 yards.

Jackson has 67 percent of the team’s 253 carries, while Spiller has eight percent. That hardly looks like someone that’s ready to be given a full workload. Of course there is no guarantee that the cut will be that deep for Spiller, as another rookie from Carolina may get the chance to see what he can do. University of North Carolina product Johnny White has already seen 10 carries for 32 yards in his first season.

If I had to bank of who’s going to get the majority of the looks the remainder of the season, I’d lead toward White.

Buffalo, once 4-1 this season, has lost four of five, including three in a row. After scoring at least 31 points in their first four wins, the Bills have scored no more than 24 in their last five games, and no more than 11 in their last three.

The offense is obviously on the decline. Injuries have taken their toll at the RB position, the WR position and on the offensive line. And that’s just the offense. The defense has seen a rash of injuries as well.

None of this spells success for the Bills for the remainder of the season, particularly the offense, and even moreso the running game.

Spiller has burned fantasy players nearly every time we’ve tried to insert him in our lineups during his short career. Why should the final six weeks of this season be any different?

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Buffalo Bills running back won't step up and produce like you need him to</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 08:44
Path: /news/andre-johnson-ready-your-starting-lineup

Matt Leinart is at quarterback for the Houston Texans this week, and perhaps the remainder of the season as Matt Schaub went on injured reserve with a foot injury. And as one key starter goes down, another is expected to return this week in receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson was on a torrid pace at the start of the 2011 season before a hamstring injury sidelined him for six games. Now he is back and he should pick up right where he left off.

Johnson had three straight games over 17 points — 19, 18.8 and 17.1 — before the hamstring injury shortened his season during a Week 4 game against Pittsburgh. In that game, he had caught four of five targets for 36 yards before leaving in the second quarter.

Now the Texans, and the passing game with Johnson in particular, get a Jacksonville defense ravaged by injuries. Three of the Jaguars’ defensive starters have been placed on injured reserve in the last two weeks, including two defensive backs and a linebacker, and three defensive linemen are likely out against Houston. That means easier matchups for Johnson and more time for Leinart.

Backup cornerbacks Will Middleton and Ashton Youboty, who was signed off the street less than two weeks ago, are expected to start against the Texans, according to reports.

In 14 career games against the Jaguars, Johnson has 85 catches for 1,118 yards and six scores — 6.1 catches, 79.9 yards and .4 TDs per game or 13.4 fantasy points per meeting.

If more evidence were needed as to how important Johnson is to the Texans’ passing game, just look at the targets and catches numbers.

Johnson has 37 targets and 25 catches for 352 yards and two scores through three and half games played. Jacoby Jones has 44 targets, 21 catches for 377 yards and two scores in 10 games, including seven starts. Kevin Walter has 35 targets, 25 catches, 298 yards and two scores in nine games, including eight starts. Despite being gone for six-plus weeks, Johnson still leads the team in catches and yards, is tied for the TD lead and Jones has just seven more targets.

Moral of the story: When Johnson’s out there, they get him the ball and he produces.

Start Johnson with confidence in Week 12.

<p> Is the Texans wide receiver ready to make his comeback?</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 07:26
Path: /news/adrian-peterson-out-dont-start-toby-gerhart

Toby Gerhart won’t come to the rescue for Adrian Peterson owners this week.

Peterson suffered an ankle sprain in the Minnesota Vikings’ Week 11 game against Oakland and will miss at least this week against Atlanta and perhaps more.

That leaves Gerhart, a second-year player, who has 24 carries for 118 yards and five catches for 61 yards — one a 42-yard reception — with no touchdowns in 10 games played this season. Gerhart has just one TD in two seasons on 105 carries and 26 receptions. When Peterson went down in the first quarter against the Raiders last week, Gerhart came in and carried seven times for 18 yards in a 27-21 loss.

Now the Vikings travel to face an Atlanta Falcons defense that is No. 2 in the league against the run at 85.4 yards per game on 22.5 attempts per game. The Falcons are third in the league in runs of 20-plus yards allowed (3), have given up no runs over 40 yards and have forced five fumbles.

Gerhart is in line to get plenty of touches. The Vikings gave Peterson 20-plus carries in just half of their games this season. They are ranked 11th in attempts (27.6) and fifth in yards (143.1) per game, are ranked third with 13 20-plus yard carries and fourth with three 40-plus yard carries.

Atlanta has seen three 12-carry games from lead backs and a 16-carry game over the last six games. After two 20-point games from RBs in Weeks 1 and 2, no fantasy back has scored over 14.7 points and only two have scored double digits against the Falcons.

Gerhart is certainly the kind of back that needs volume to be relevant, and the numbers say that the Falcons just don’t let opposing runners get that chance. Only once this season has a back carried 20-plus times and that was Tampa Bay’s LeGarrette Blount needing 24 carries to get to 81 yards with no TD. That sounds a lot like a Gerhart line you would most likely see.

Then add in the fact that WR Percy Harvin is actually the team’s second leading rusher with 28 carries this season, and the recipe for a successful day from Gerhart against Atlanta is just highly unlikely.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Adrian Peterson's Replacement Won't Score Much Against the Falcons</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 07:22
Path: /news/aj-green-back-limit-your-expectations

Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green looks like he will be a go against in-state rival Cleveland in Week 12. But it’s hard to start him with confidence against the Browns today.

Green, whose last catch was a spectacular 36-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh in Week 10, missed last week and the final three quarters against the Steelers after he hyper-extended his knee on the scoring play.

Green participated in two full practices to close the week, as did QB Andy Dalton, who is battling an injury to his throwing shoulder. The last time Green had a considerable ailment was a toe injury prior to Week 3. He then went out and had his worst week of the season — a four-catch, 29-yard performance against the visiting 49ers.

Upon his return to game action this week, Green gets fantastic cover corner Joe Haden. The 41-yard TD Green caught in the fourth quarter of the season opener, the only catch of his four targets during the game, is the longest pass play Haden has allowed this season and one of just two TDs. Receivers have caught 28 of 59 passes thrown Haden’s way for 356 yards and the two scores, according to Pro Football Focus. That comes out to 6.16 fantasy points per game allowed.

All Cincinnati receivers should struggle as a matter of fact.

Cleveland is the best in the league against fantasy receivers. The Browns have allowed just four TDs to receivers this season and a receiver hasn’t posted more than 54 yards since Week 6. The Browns are the best in the league against the pass at 166.5 yards per game on the second-fewest attempts allowed in the league (28.2). Cincinnati is 17th in both passing yards (223.1) and attempts (34.5) per game.

Jerome Simpson is too inconsistent to play. He’s coming off an 8-for-152 performance on a team-high 13 targets, but also had a goose egg the week before and was held to 6.4 fantasy points in the opener against Cleveland. Andre Caldwell, who started in Green’s place last week, produced a 13.8-point day, his third double-digit game of the season, but in six of the other seven games he was held to 5.2 points or less.

It’s tough to sit Green as he has scored a touchdown in six of nine games he has played in and been a double-digit fantasy producer in all but one game this season in Athlon’s half-PPR format. But with Green coming off the knee, going up against Haden and a stingy Browns pass defense and the weather expected to be rainy and windy, just limit your expectations.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Bengals Wide Receiver Won't Continue His Great Season This Week</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 07:21
Path: /news/carolina-panthers-receiver-brandon-lafell-sneaky-week-12-play

Brandon LaFell will get the start opposite Steve Smith at receiver for the Carolina Panthers today against the Indianapolis Colts. And he has a strong chance to be a sleeper for your fantasy roster in Week 12.

LaFell, as the team’s No. 3 this season, has 21 catches on 31 targets for 345 yards and two scores. He replaces Legedu Naanee in the starting lineup. Naanee has 33 catches on 59 targets for 355 yards and no scores. So LaFell has been more productive at the No. 3 spot, and should shine against a Colts team that allows the third-most points to fantasy receivers this season.

Indianapolis has allowed an average of 10.87 fantasy points per game to opposing teams’ No. 2 receivers in Athlon’s half-PPR format. The 0-10 Colts have also allowed at least 23 points in all but one game (17 to Jacksonville in Week 10), and are allowing a league-worst 30 points per game. They are also ranked 29th in yards per game allowed (390.6).

Of course the Panthers are not much better on defense. They allow 28.6 points (31st) and 374.8 (27th) yards per game.

The big difference will be Carolina’s proven ability to succeed on offense and that is where LaFell comes into play.

The Panthers are fifth in the league in yards per game (400.9) and are 18th in scoring (22.5 PPG). Meanwhile, the Colts are 31st in yards per game (275.7) and 30th in scoring (13.1).

If there’s any game that the Colts could get into a shootout this could be the one. They have a decent matchup at running back, a great matchup at TE with Jacob Tammee and still have the underachieving trio of WRs in Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon.

The one wrench — or two as it were — that could be thrown into the whole deal is the Carolina running back situation. The Panthers have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to go up against the league’s 31st-ranked rush defense (145.6 YPG and 12 TDs). But I still think QB Cam Newton and Brandon LaFell hook up enough times to make a decent flex play out of LaFell.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> LaFell could put up more points than expected against the Colts</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 01:35
All taxonomy terms: Detroit Lions, Nate Burleson, News
Path: /news/heres-why-nate-burleson-great-flex-play-turkey-day

It pains me to write this: Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson is a good flex play receiver who will post his third straight double-digit fantasy week today against the visiting Green Bay Packers.

I’ve wanted to believe for the last few years that Burleson could be at least a consistent flex play for your fantasy rosters and it has just never materialized. Well, the combination of the defense he is playing this week, along with his own defense not having stopped either the Bears or Panthers in the last two weeks, has me thinking it could be a trifecta for Burleson in Week 12.

Burleson has put together back-to-back double-digit fantasy weeks for just the second time this season, and should make it three weeks in a row after today’s game against a Packers defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to receivers, including 10.8 points per game to opposing team’s No. 2 receivers in Athlon’s half-PPR format. Burleson scored 10.5 and 12.8 points in the first two weeks of the season, didn’t see another double-digit day until 11.4 points in Week 6 and enters today’s game coming off of 11.3- and 15.8-point games. He has 15 catches for 146 yards the last two games on 16 targets.

Burleson, Detroit’s No. 2 behind mega stud Calvin Johnson, is benefiting from Johnson’s play, rookie Titus Young’s play and if Kevin Smith can keep up just half of his 140-yard rushing, 61-yard receiving performance from a week ago, that’s another player the Packer D has to keep an eye on.

The Lions, ranked third in the league in scoring (30.1 PPG) and eighth in the league in passing (272.4 YPG), attempt the second-most passes per game (40.1) in the NFL, while Green Bay sees the fifth-most pass attempts per game (39.1) against them as most teams are trying to play catch up. Those teams are also completing 59.6-percent of their passes against the Packers, which ranks Green Bay 15th.

Burleson could actually be just at the beginning of becoming a decent flex play to close out the 2011 fantasy season. After Green Bay, the Lions see three bottom-half defenses against fantasy receivers — Saints (12th), Vikings (5th) and Raiders (16th).

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Lions secondary receiver should shine against the Packers</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 09:32
Path: /news/should-you-start-ryan-grant-thanksgiving

Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant should be a good fantasy flex play on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions.

Grant, who at the beginning of the 2010 season was the Packers’ lead back before an ankle injury in Week 1 sidelined him for the season, has gone from splitting carries with James Starks to seeing the second-year player get the majority of the carries. Starks, however, sprained his knee and ankle in Week 11, and is not expected to play today vs. Detroit.

The Packers possess one of the best offenses in the NFL (ranked 3rd overall), but are certainly pass first as evidenced by their 21st-ranked rushing offense.

But the matchup is favorable toward Grant due to the Lions having the fifth-best defense against the pass and just the 27th-best against the run (134.7 YPG). Green Bay can put up points against anyone — see its No. 1 ranking at 35.5 points per game — and while Detroit may be ranked ninth overall in defense, it gives up 21.9 points per game (19th) — 37 and 35 points apiece the last two weeks.

When healthy in 2008 and 2009, Grant had 1,200-plus yards rushing in this offense. In 2011, in limited use, Grant has 267 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving. His best game of the season so far was a 17-carry, 92-yard performance against the Bears in Week 3; he hasn’t topped nine carries sin a game since. Grant has 366 yards from scrimmage this season on 81 touches — 73-for-267 rushing 8-for-69 receiving — to post a 4.5 yards per touch average.

The Lions have been decent against the run the last three games — no rusher above 73 yards — but were terrible the three games prior with RBs collecting 116, 141 and 122 yards. Detroit allows 5.0 yards per carry to backs.

Due to the Grant-Starks duo, no back has been ultra productive, but Starks had at least 11 carries the last eight games. So the Packers are obviously willing to let the lead back get the carries, and both Grant and Starks help out in the passing game, too.

If Starks is out, and even if he’s in he will likely be limited on a short week, then Grant is worth a start. We all drafted both of these backs and we’ve rarely, if ever, been able to use one of them with confidence this season.

Thanksgiving is your chance to finally use one with confidence. Go grab Grant — available in 59 percent of Yahoo leagues — and start him in Week 12.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Will the Packers Ryan Grant outscore James Starks?</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 09:27
All taxonomy terms: Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins, News
Path: /news/matt-moore-worth-starting-thanksgiving

The rash of quarterback injuries coupled with the play of some fringe quarterbacks that we were not expecting decent games from over the last few weeks, leaves us at a fantasy crossroads on this Thanksgiving Day.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore suits up against Dallas in Week 12 and is one of those crossroads type of players — he’s coming off a good week, you need a QB but it’s unlikely he will get your fantasy week off to a resounding start.

Moore plays at the Dallas Cowboys, and probably has the greatest chance at success of the three fringe QBs playing today — Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and San Francisco’s Alex Smith face each other in the Thanksgiving night cap with unfavorable matchups for each.

Moore posted his third double-digit fantasy game in four weeks last week, but had a 6.76- and 13.62-point effort in there as well. He threw for 160 yards and three TDs in Week 11’s blowout win against Buffalo for 18.6 fantasy points.

Like the Bills defensive backfield, the Cowboys is somewhat pieced together. Dallas has allowed 226.2 yards passing per game over the last five weeks with five TDs and eight interceptions. The first five weeks, they surrendered 258.6 yards per game with nine TDs and six picks.

It’s pretty hard to bank the start of your fantasy week on a QB that is so dependent upon the touchdown to have any consistent production. Moore’s season high in yards is 244 and he has thrown 209 or less in every other game. The three-TD game he had last week was his second in three weeks (at Kansas City). In the other five starts, Moore has one TD against five interceptions.

Dallas is ninth in scoring at 25 points per game. Initial thoughts would be that Dallas is at home with its high-octane offense of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Laurent Robinson and could walk through the 3-7 Dolphins. But Miami has allowed 226.7 passing yards per game, no TD passes and four picks in its current three-game winning streak. The Dolphins are ranked sixth in points per game (18.6) allowed this season and have not surrendered more than nine points during the last three weeks.

The three-game win streak has come at the hands of Kansas City, Washington and Buffalo — not necessarily powers in the NFL right now. But this is a strange season, and it is becoming harder and harder to predict who has the best chance to do what each week.

Like I said, Moore has the most promise of the fringe plays at QB today, but this one seems like it will be more of a ball-control game on both sides. Even if Moore and Miami were to get down, his track record of low-yardage passing days and no-TD days when the Dolphins were losing seven in a row does not fill me with confidence that he’s a good start either ahead or behind.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Dolphins quarterback will end his hot streak on turkey day</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 02:18
Path: /nfl/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-12

The bye weeks are finally over and now we can just roll with what we’ve got. But what if injuries and poor play from your roster means you don’t have enough? Well, in an effort to guide you through the playoff push, here’s a look at who will be some of the hot commodities off the fantasy football waiver wire in Week 12. Some of them I think are decent plays for this week and maybe beyond, but most of the wire has players that should probably stay right there.

Caleb Hanie, Chicago
Hanie gets the starting nod and will replace Jay Cutler after his broken thumb will sideline him for the rest of the fantasy season. Hanie, a fourth-year player, has completed 8-of-14 regular-seaosn passes for 66 yards and an interception and a 157-yards, one-TD, two-pick NFC Championship performance during his career. It’s hard to say what you do with such an inexperienced, veteran backup. The Bears travel to Oakland this week, a team that allows the fifth-most points to fantasy QBs, but also allows the fourth-most points to fantasy RBs. So this could be a good day for Hanie or it could be an even better day for RB Matt Forte.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota
He was fantasy’s seventh-best QB in Week 11 after throwing for 211 yards, two scores, three interceptions and rushing for 71 yards. Now the Vikings travel to play an Atlanta team that allows the 10th-most points to fantasy RBs and will do so with an ailing Adrian Peterson (high ankle sprain). The Vikings allow fantasy QBs and RBs to have success against them with ease, and Ponder should have plenty of opportunity to try and get the Vikings back in the game.

Rex Grossman, Washington
Of course he was fantasy’s fourth-best QB in Week 11; just like we all expected. After throwing for 289 yards, two TDs and an interception, Grossman scored 25.56 fantasy points, almost has many as he had combined to score the last seven weeks (27.84) as a starter and then benched player. Jump on the Redskins’ flavor of the week if you’d like but I’m holding off. Washington travels sto Seattle this week, and the Seahawks have limited opposing fantasy QBs to under 200 yards passing in three of the last five games and has allowed just one QB to score above 14 points once in that time. Seattle also has surrendered five touchdowns and picked off opposing QBs five times in four home games this season.

Vince Young, Philadelphia
If Michael Vick (ribs) can’t suit up against the Patriots in Week 12, then Young would get the start again. New England is still the worst team in the league against fantasy QBs, and Young threw for 258 yards, two scores and three picks in his starting debut against the Giants in Week 11. He did complete 63.8 percent of his passes against New York, which is 5.8 percentage points above his career average. If he can keep that up, he could be a consistent fantasy play. The Patriots are allowing opponents to complete 63.6 percent of their passes.

Tim Tebow, Denver
He is still available in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues and he is a guaranteed 14 fantasy points every week and averages 18.71 as a starter over the last six games. I still say just read the box score to see how he did as watching it live is hair-pulling; but if you’re cool with 18.71 points each week, go get him.

Matt Leinart, Houston
Lienart gets the start for the injured Matt Schaub. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is expected to be back and Leinart will be part of a run-heavy offense. But with Johnson at his disposal, TE Owen Daniels and RB Arian Foster as a helluva pass catcher out of the backfield. Those are three targets that can make Leinart a decent play in this kind of offense.

Jake Locker, Tennessee
The rookie came on in relief of Matt Hasselbeck (elbow) and scored 14.7 fantasy points by throwing for 140 yards and two scores. If Hasselbeck can’t go in Week 12 against Tampa Bay, he has a matchup against a Buccaneers defense that allows the seventh-most points to fantasy QBs. It also might be time to consider Locker as a late pickup and stash to help you in the playoff run, as he might get his chance to start as the Titans fall out of the reality playoff run.

Alex Smith, San Francisco
It’s a short week for the 49ers as they prepare to play Baltimore on Thursday night. Smith is coming off a 267-yard, two-TD, one-interception game against visiting Arizona in Week 11. However he completed just 52-percent of his passes and it was Arizona. The Ravens have surrendered no more than one touchdown pass in 10 games and didn’t allow any in three games. They also have intercepted a QB at least one in seven of 10 games. Play at your own risk if you’re looking for a starter this week.

Matt Moore, Miami
Two three-TD pass games alternate with two zero-TD, one-interception games the last four weeks for Moore. Those games also included yardage totals of 138, 244, 209 and 160. So you are really, really dependent on TDs from Moore. Dallas has surrendered 279, 221, 146, 289 yards, five TDs and picked off QBs seven times in the same four-game span. Like Smith, Moore is a play-at-your-own-risk fantasy quarterback.

Kevin Smith, Detroit
Call me a skeptic, but I’m not buying in on Smith. He rushed for 140 yards and two scores on 16 carries and caught four balls for 61 yards and a TD against a Carolina team that had the 28th-ranked rush defense in the league (123.8 YPG). Remember a week ago when Chris Johnson had his breakout against the Panthers. CJ struggled the nine weeks before and was terrible against in Week 11. Detroit entered the game ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing at 84.2 yards per game. The Lions play host to Green Bay on Thursday, and will need to lean on their run game to try and slow down the high-powered Packer offense. Green Bay allows 101.6 yards per game rushing, but has surrendered just five rushing TDs to backs and no receiving TDs to backs. I don’t trust the Lions commitment to the run enough to play Smith, and the fact Maurice Morris was supposed to be the lead with Smith just being signed off the street. Also, Jahvid Best should be back soon. However, if you have space, go ahead and grab him if for no other reason than to hoard him from other owners.

Ben Tate, Houston
With Matt Leinart in at QB for the Texans and the team already leaning rush heavy, Tate is a good play the rest of the way as a flex. The Jaguars have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the last five games; Tate has three double-digit fantasy days in the last four games.

Donald Brown and Delone Carter, Indianapolis
The Colts are playing the Panthers. Enough said. They’ve made struggling backs look like studs the last two weeks in Chris Johnson and Kevin Smith. Prior to that, Adrian Peterson, Tim Hightower, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, James Starks and Beanie Wells all had success. That list takes you all the way back to Week 1. I don’t like either backs, but the track record for the Panthers says pick up both and give it a run.

Joe McKnight, New York Jets
If Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson are both healthy in Week 11, then McKnight’s one-week boost nosedives in Week 12 against the Bills. He had 59 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving on six catches in Week 11 in relief of Greene and LT. Keep and eye on the status of the aforementioned and McKnight could be a decent play against Buffalo.

Toby Gerhart, Minnesota
Adrian Peterson has a high ankle sprain and now Gerhart, who is far from dynamic and certainly a massive drop off from the Vikings’ No. 1 RB. Gerhart is in line to get plenty of touches, but he faces an Atlanta team this week that has seen three 12-carry games from lead backs and a 16-carry game over the last six games. After two 20-point games from RBs in Weeks 1 and 2, no fantasy back has scored over 14.7 points and only two have scored double digits against the Falcons.

Ryan Grant, Green Bay
James Starks was separating himself from Grant, but a knee injury suffered in Week 11 has derailed that for the near future. The Packers are on a short week due to the Thanksgiving game, and with rookie Alex Green already on IR, the lead-back role goes back to Grant. The Lions have been decent against the run the last three games –no rusher above 73 yards — but were terrible the three games prior with RBs collecting 116, 141 and 122 yards. Due to the Grant-Starks duo, no back has been ultra productive, but Starks had at least 11 carries the last eight games. He’s worth a shot as a flex this week due to the offense the Packer offense alone.

Harry Douglas, Atlanta
He came off the 8-for-133 performance with a 4-for-51 performance against Tennessee as Cortland Finnegan kept an eye on him. Roddy White ended up going off (7-for-117), as Finnegan was not assigned to cover the Falcons’ top receiver. Douglas and the Falcons now play the Vikings and face a situation that the Raiders faced in Week 11. A matchup that was very pass-friendly and run-friendly, went to the run side as Michael Bush (17.9 points) went off and the Oakland receivers did not. The Falcons could do the same with Michael Turner this week. Plus, the Vikings not having Adrian Peterson at their disposal, this could get ugly quick. I think Douglas is a good play for the rest of the fantasy schedule, including in Week 12, but the RB might win the day this week.

Riley Cooper, Philadelphia
Backup QB Vince Young comes in and connects with backup WR Riley Cooper five times for 75 yards and a score in Week 11. Cooper was in there for the injured Jeremy Maclin, and may serve in the same capacity in Week 12. If Maclin is out, the Eagles have a great matchup against a Patriots team that is the worst against fantasy receivers and allows opposing QBs to complete 63.6 percent of their passes.

Nate Burleson, Detroit
A model of inconsistency as always, Burleson may be a decent play this week as a flex. He has scored double-digit fantasy days the last two weeks and now plays against a Green Bay team that is friendly against receivers. If you are looking for a flex play, Burleson could be a decent one for the remainder of the fantasy season. After Green Bay, the Lions play the Saints, Vikings, Raiders and Chargers.

Damian Williams, Tennessee
He is the perfect example of why you can never trust a receiver out of Tennessee over the years. After back-to-back double-digit fantasy weeks, Williams was limited to one catch for 16 yards on a team-high 11 targets in a game the Titans trailed for the duration. Now Tennessee plays host to Tampa Bay, 10th-worst against fantasy receivers, but when you produce one catch off 11 targets; there’s a chance of a QB change (albeit slight) and the history of trusting receivers not named Kenny Britt in this run-based offense being a bad move, this has me leaving Williams on the wire.

Johnny Knox, Chicago
Remember when he was demoted in the preseason? Will the work with new Bears QB Caleb Hanie in practice pay off at all on the field? He had three catches for 97 yards and his first TD of the season in Week 11 — all passes caught from Jay Cutler. The Bears get Oakland in a favorable matchup to receivers and quarterbacks, but with Hanie at the helm and Matt Forte in the backfield against a suspect Raiders rush defense, it’d be pretty risky to lean on a Chicago receiver.

Earl Bennett, Chicago
He caught three passes for 75 yards — the third straight game of at least 75 yards — but now his Vanderbilt connection is gone with Cutler on the shelf. Like Knox, I need to see it before I believe it with Hanie. The only appealing thing with both Bennett and Knox is that the Oakland matchup is so favorable that you’d hate to be waiting a week while they are out there racking up fantasy points.

Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
Here we go again. Simpson goes bonkers for 152 yards on eight catches and a team-high 13 targets with A.J. Green (knee) on the shelf. Simpson has gone 13.9, 7.9, 11.8, 0 and 19.2 in the last five games. So he’s been extremely inconsistent. And now the Bengals play host to a Cleveland team in Week 11 that is the best in the league against fantasy receivers and held Simpson to 6.4 points in the Week 1 meeting.

Andre Caldwell, Cincinnati
He had a double-digit, 13.8-point day as a starter in A.J. Green’s place. It was his third double-digit day, but in six of the other seven games he was held under 5.2 points. Caldwell is too inconsistent for me, and I point back to the Browns being the best against fantasy receivers. They’ve allowed just four TDs to the position this season and a receiver hasn’t posted more than 54 yards since Week 6.

Jabar Gaffney, Washington
He was targeted a team-high 11 times by Rex Grossman. So he certainly enjoys having his former Florida teammate in at QB rather than John Beck. Gaffney caught seven of the targets for 115 yards and a score in the OT loss to Dallas. However, he has had six single-digit days this season and now the Redskins travel to Seattle to play a Seahawk team that’s 12th-best against fantasy receivers.

Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis
In Dallas Clark’s first game out of the lineup, Tamme did as he did last year in Clark’s sted: he scored fantasy points. Tamme was targeted a season-high and team-high eight times, catching six of them for 75 yards. He was targeted seven times a week earlier against Atlanta and Clark was targeted 10 times in Week 8, The Colts play host to Carolina in Week 12. The Panthers have seen their LB corps ravaged by injuries this season, thus their terrible numbers against opposing running backs. Six TEs have collected at least 40 yards receiving against the Panthers, and three TDs have been surrendered to the position in the last four games.

Brent Celek, Philadelphia
He still hasn’t hit double digits the last three weeks after doing so in Weeks 6 and 8, but Celek is still productive. He caught six balls for 60 yards in Week 11. While the Patriots are a terrible pass defense as a whole, they are actually quite tough against fantasy TEs; they’ve allowed just three scores to the position, but have given up 48 or more yards five times.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo
Chandler was the infrequent target that caught the TDs early on and then became an afterthought, and certainly was not consistent enough to consider a weekly fantasy starter. That could change starting in Week 12. With news that WR Donald Jones (ankle) could miss the rest of the season, Steve Johnson not having scored in double digits but one time since Week 3, Chandler’s in line for more targets. He caught five of six targets for 71 yards in Buffalo’s terrible offensive performance against Miami. It was a season high in targets for Chandler. He has a tough matchup this week against a Jets team that has allowed just three TDs to tight ends, but has seen the position get at least 40 yards receiving seven times.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
His targets have risen in seven of the last eight weeks — 2, 7, 8, 3, 9 and 11 last week. Lewis, a fantasy bust this season after a stellar 2010 season, caught seven of the 11 targets for 64 yards in Week 11 against Cleveland. The Jags play host to Houston in Week 12, and the Texans have allowed just two TDs to the position and just two have eclipsed 45 yards receiving this season — Lewis had the 45 in Week 8. He is not consistent enough to start, which is sad considering he was the No. 4 fantasy TE last season and is currently 35th.

<p> Caleb Hanie, Toby Gerhart and Kevin Smith lead the way in week 12</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 00:48
Path: /news/harry-douglas-will-be-your-fantasy-savior-week

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones missed three straight days of practice this week with the injured hamstring that forced the rookie out of the Falcons’ Week 10 game against New Orleans. It was the same hamstring injury that had made Jones a questionable play leading up to the Saints game. And now his availability today against the Tennessee Titans is highly in doubt.

Last week it was Harry Douglas that stepped in and up in place of Jones, having success at his normal slot receiver position and on the outside. Expect much of the same for Douglas today against Tennessee

Even if Jones were to be out there, how safe of a play is he? How much will they push the young receiver as the Falcons continue to make a playoff push themselves.

With Jones ailing in Week 10, Douglas was targeted a team-high 14 times against New Orleans. He caught nine of them for 133 yards — both career highs — and registered 17.6 fantasy points. Similar numbers are certainly capable against the Titans today.

Cortland Finnegan has done a fantastic job this season shutting down opposing team’s No. 1 receivers; the same cannot be said for opposing team’s No. 2 receivers. The Titans have allowed an average of 5.4 catches for 49.3 yards per game against opposing team’s No. 2 receivers.

And the Falcons will certainly need to lean on the play of their receivers to have success against the Titans.

After allowing double-digit fantasy days to the five of the first six feature backs they faced this season — Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones Drew 97 rushing yards and a score, Baltimore’s Ray Rice 96 total yards, eight catches and a score, Denver’s Willis McGahee 52 rushing yards, three catches and a score, Cleveland’s duo of Peyton Hillis/Montario Hardesty combining for 140 total yards, 10 catches and Houston’s Arian Foster 234 total yards, five catches and three scores — Tennessee has allowed none in the last three weeks. The Titans surrendered 81 total yards and a score from Indianapolis’s duo of Delone Carter and Donald Brown, 78 yards to Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson and 80 total yards and four catches to Carolina’s duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.

Atlanta’s Michael Turner will pound away at the Titans, but it will be through the air where the fantasy success will be had. Turner has been a top-12 back in fantasy points per game this year (15.24 PPG), but has not gone above his average in three games.

The 14 targets last week were certainly well above Douglas’s average of 4.7 per game, but he has been targeted seven or more times in three games this season and walked away with fantasy days of 6, 8.2 and last week’s 17.6. He also has two games where he wasn’t targeted at all, including two weeks ago in Indianapolis when Jones had his breakout game and the Falcons routed the Colts.

There is obviously pause for cause with the two zero-target games, but with Jones’s injury the matchup is too appealing to sit Douglas this week against the Titans. Consider Douglas a decent WR2 and a confident flex play.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver will have a breakout game on Sunday</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:44
Path: /news/don%E2%80%99t-put-cleveland%E2%80%99s-montario-hardesty-your-week-11-starting-lineup

So Cleveland Browns running back Montatrio Hardesty is a game-time decision today against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Take nothing from it, however, in regards to your fantasy lineups for Week 11.

The second-year player, whose rookie season was lost last year after an ACL injury, has missed the last two games with a calf injury. Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur called him a game-time decision after Hardesty returned to practice for the first time on Friday. But it was a limited practice, one in which he did only individual work and no team drills.

With Peyton Hillis (hamstring) still on the shelf, Chris Ogbonnaya will get his third straight start when the Browns line up against the Jaguars today. Ogbonnaya was a dud against the league’s top defense when he scored 2.6 fantasy points against Houston in Week 9. However, he did have a nice bounce back game with 90 yards rushing and two catches for 19 yards against St. Louis for an 11.9-point day. It wasn’t the greatest of performances, but as a flex his performance served its purpose.

What do you really expect from the Browns offense at this point? Their backfield is a mess. Quarterback Colt McCoy can’t push the ball downfield. And the receivers, already limited in their abilities, are handcuffed even more by the play of McCoy.

If you are looking for a Brown to do something for you this week, then rookie WR Greg Little could be an OK flex play against the Jaguars. He is coming off his best game of the season when he caught all six of his targets for 84 yards against the Rams and 12.4 fantasy points. Little is still scoreless this season, but goes against a Jacksonville team that just lost cornerback Rashean Mathis for the season with a knee injury.

Ogbonnaya could also move the needle a bit if he can match last week’s performance against St. Louis and certainly would be a great flex play if he could just punch one into the end zone. The Jaguars are allowing opposing team’s No. 1 RB an average of 12.1 points per game in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format.

But back to Hardesty, and Hills as well, I don’t think I would touch either for the rest of the 2011 season. There is just too much that has gone wrong with both players. Hardesty has eclipsed double-digit fantasy points twice this season, maxing out at 13.2; Hillis scored 11.7 and 23.7 fantasy points the first two weeks of the season, but has scored 10.8 points combined the rest of the way.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Browns running back is a game-time decision against the Jags. Sit him anyway</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:20
Path: /news/steve-johnson-not-good-fantasy-play-week-11

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson is listed as questionable with a sore shoulder for the team’s Week 11 game against the Miami Dolphins. He has been given the “decent chance to play” status by Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, but Johnson’s decent is not enough for him to be in your starting lineup this week. Johnson injured the shoulder last week against Dallas.

After starting with fantasy games of 14.6, 19.6 and 19.4 over the first three weeks of the 2011 season, Johnson has fallen off the map for a majority of the season. He has scored in double digits just once since Week 3 — a 12.4-point day in Week 6 against the Giants. Weeks of 8.7, 9.9 and 1.8 points make one of the feel-good stories of 2010 a fantasy sit in Week 11 of the 2011 season.

Johnson’s production, or lack thereof, coincides with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick also seeing his torrid pace come to a screeching halt. After he scored 20-plus fantasy points in the first three weeks of the season, Fitzpatrick has gone above 16 just once and below 13 three times.

Johnson had this same sort of nosedive last season. After three games in six weeks of eight catches, 158 yards and a score, 11 catches, 145 yards and eight catches, 137 yards and three scores, Johnson fell off as a lead fantasy receiver. He never topped more than 69 yards and had just one score over the final six weeks of the 2010 season.

Johnson is the Bills’ leader this season in targets (71) and catches (44) and yards (531) but has done little with them in the last six games. He averages 12.1 yards per catch and has just four scores as a team’s No. 1 receiver. Last season, he averaged 13.1 yards per catch with 10 scores.

And it stinks this week in particular that Johnson’s production has declined … depending on which Miami team we see, of course.

The Bills take on a Dolphins team today that is seventh worst in the NFL against fantasy receivers. Miami has allowed opposing team’s No. 1 receivers to average 14.7 fantasy points per game. No. 1s caught at least one touchdown in the first six games of the season and averaged 4.5 catches for 79.2 yards and 1.2 TDs (27-475-7).

So that’s the good news about playing against the Dolphins. The bad news for No. 1 receivers is that over the last three weeks they have averaged five catches for 64 yards and have not scored. The last three weeks have produced an average of 8.9 fantasy points per game against opposing team’s No. 1s, which included Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe and Jabar Gaffney.

The Fitzpatrick-Johnson combo has not paid off for weeks now, add in the questionable, iffy, sore shoulder status of Johnson and the play of the Dolphins against No. 1 receivers over the last few games and there is no way I am touching Johnson in Week 11.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Buffalo wide receiver should stay on your bench this week</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:14
All taxonomy terms: New England Patriots, Wes Welker, News
Path: /news/why-waiting-wes-welker-will-pay-hes-must-start-week-11

Reports of Wes Welker’s injury are sounding like moves in ‘Operation’ week after week after week, but he says he feels “all right” and should be a go for the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night.

And with the consistency he provides your fantasy team points, if he feels all right, then I feel all right starting him in Week 11.

Welker has battled neck, rib and knee injuries each of the past three weeks, and has gone out there and batted 33 percent for you as a fantasy receiver. He has been a dud in two of the three, scoring 6.93 fantasy points against Pittsburgh, 19.4 against the Giants and 7.6 last week against the Jets.

But how the Patriots use Welker and how he manages to find the empty spot on the field and get to it means you can never sit Welker unless an injury report says he is out. The games he’s had in two of the last three weeks are outliers of a season in which he had NEVER previously dipped below double digits in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format, and only gone below 12 once before the latest stretch.

So is the latest stretch a sign of things to come for Welker or just a bump in the road? The production you consistently get from Welker means you must treat this as a bump in the road.

There are a few things you need to take into account for his Week 11 matchup in particular.

• The game is not until Monday night, which gives Welker an extra day to get healthy.
• The game is at home, so there’s no travel in preparation to get ready.
• And most importantly, the game is against a Chiefs team that allows the fourth-fewest pass attempts per game (29.8) in the NFL but is ranked 16th in passing yards allowed per game (230.3), 27th in yard per completion (8.0), and 24th in TDs allowed (16).

It stinks that you have probably your top receiver in an injury situation, having not performed well in two of the last three weeks and playing on a Monday night. But the matchup, Welker saying he feels all right and him being a must-start every week means you have to grin and bear it.

But this should be a week where your anxiety will pay off in a WR1 kind of way when Week 11 comes to a close.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Patriots wide receiver has battled injuries, but he is a must start against the Chiefs</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:12
Path: /news/do-you-start-vince-young-sunday-night-against-giants

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick broke two ribs in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, leaving him out for tonight’s game against the New York Giants in doubt. Next up is Vince Young.

The man whose last three most notable contributions to the NFL are throwing his shoulder pads in the stands and storming out of the Tennessee Titans’ locker room, coining the now 3-6 Eagles as the Dream Team in the preseason and throwing an interception in his only regular-season pass attempt this season.

Now you may have gone to get Young off the waiver wire to replace Vick. Now do you start him?

Will you? Probably. Should you? No. But hey, if Tim Tebow is getting it done in the NFL this season why can’t Young?

I never felt comfortable starting Young when he was with the Titans, and I’m not sure in a shortened off-season if Andy Reid has been able to work his magic with the quarterback in their brief time together.

I do know that Young, in a more conservative offense in Tennessee, averaged 156.6 yards passing, 23.4 yards rushing and .75 turnovers per game over 15 games in 2009 and 139.4 passing yards per game with 13.8 rushing yards per game and .77 turnovers per game in nine games in 2010. I do know he averaged just 13.4 and 12.9 fantasy points per game in those two seasons.

Young certainly has a great weapon out of the backfield in do-it-all RB LeSean McCoy, who could certainly take a few swing passes to the house and boost Young’s numbers. Young has a nice deep ball and WR DeSean Jackson is one of the best deep-ball guys in the league. He has a capable TE in Brent Celek, and a slew of possession receivers like Steve Smith, Riley Cooper and Jason Avant at his disposal.

Young had that deep threat in Tennessee in Kenny Britt and had the speed threat out of the backfield in Chris Johnson, who was not used as a screen back at all like McCoy is. All it takes is one side step of a pass rush and a deep ball to Jackson for a score or one dump off to McCoy in the backfield and let him do the work. Either way, Young reaps the rewards as a fantasy QB.

The Giants have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least 237 yards in six of nine games this season and have allowed at least one passing touchdown in six of nine games. Overall, New York is the 14th-best defense against fantasy QBs. The Giants held Vick to 176 yards, 31 rushing yards, no scores and an interception when the two teams met in Week 3.

Young has faced the Giants twice in his career, winning in 2006 and 2010. He is 34-of-51- for 367 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in those two games.

I would NEVER start Young with confidence, but all of the skill players he has around him makes it hard to screw up. Even in what some are calling a bad season for Vick, he’s still fantasy’s eighth-best quarterback.

I’d rather start a waiver-wire pickup like Carson, but you could certainly do a lot worse than Vince Young.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Eagles new starting quarterback is a tricky play for fantasy football owners</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:08
All taxonomy terms: San Diego Chargers, Vincent Brown, News
Path: /news/should-vincent-brown-be-your-starting-lineup-today

You can move the ball down the field, through the air against the Chicago Bears. And that is exactly what San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates and Vincent Brown should be able to do today in the Windy City.

The Chargers face a Bears defense that is friendly to opposing tight ends, allowing the most fantasy points per game in the league by 1.6 against 31st-ranked Dallas, and friendly to opposing team’s No. 2 receivers, allowing an average of 4.5 catches for 49.1 yards per game with two scores.

Of course, you will probably be starting Gates and San Diego No. 1 WR Vincent Jackson, so this is more about what Brown can do for you today.

The rookie from San Diego State has been a nice option for the Chargers and QB Philip Rivers over the last two weeks. Brown has been filling in for Malcom Floyd as he battles a hip injury. That hip injury will keep the Chargers’ No. 2 receiver out of today’s game, leaving the door open for Brown to step in once again.

Brown has 11 catches for 202 yards and two scores this season and is coming off a game against Oakland in which he set career highs in catches (5) and yards (97). In Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format, Brown has scored 9.9 and 18.2 fantasy points the last two weeks.

And now the Chargers are facing a Bears team that has allowed an average of 11.7 fantasy points to opposing team’s No. 2 receivers over the last four games — 24 catches, 228 yards and one TD.

If injured receivers have you in a bind, then Brown would be a good option as a WR2 or flex play for your team and a Chargers team that should certainly be trailing on the road against the Bears for a majority of the game. Brown is still available in over 80 percent of Yahoo leagues.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The San Diego Chargers wide receiver is an intriguing play against the Bears</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:07
Path: /news/theres-strong-case-sit-roddy-white-against-titans

Career paths cross Sunday in Atlanta when Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Falcons receiver Roddy White meet in the Georgia Dome. Finnegan’s 2011 path has him on the way up, while White’s looks like it is going down.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Titans are the seventh best team in the league in the Website’s pass coverage rankings. Finnegan, Tennessee’s top corner, is allowing 6.3 points per game to fantasy receivers in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format.

The feisty corner has been thrown at 49 times, given up 31 catches for 296 yards and just two scores. That line per game comes out to 3.4 catches, 32.8 yards and .2 TDs for the 6.3 fantasy points receivers playing against Finnegan are producing.

It’s hard to justify, as a fantasy player, sending out your No. 1 receiver and knowing he will get you just 6.3 points. If Julio Jones is out with the hamstring that knocked him out of last week’s game, then the focus will certainly be on shutting down White, making life even tougher on the Falcon receiver.

The best production Finnegan has allowed against a team’s receivers is 14.9 fantasy points when Houston had a five-target, five-catch, 64-yard, one-TD game.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how Finnegan stacks up against the likes of Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha and Ike Taylor this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Finnegan 49 targets, 31 catches, 296 yards, long of 33, two TDs (14.9 fantasy points the worst day)
Taylor — 58 targets, 20 catches, 211 yards, long of 31, one TD (9.1 the worst day)
Revis — 44 targets, 15 catches, 271 yards, long of 53, no scores (9.9 the worst day)
Asomugha — 26 targets, 14 catches, 217 yards, long of 38, one TD (10.7 the worst day)

The addition of Jones to the team, the emergence of Harry Douglas and QB Matt Ryan’s dependency on TE Tony Gonzalez has brought White down from the elite class quickly. He was fantasy’s No. 1 WR at the end of last year, its No. 9 at the end of 2009 and currently sits as its No. 20.

White has been held to 78 yards or less in all but one game this season — a 17-target, nine-catch, 140-yard, no-TD day against Tampa Bay in Week 3. He had nine games of 78 yards or more last season. White has scored above 14 fantasy points just once (Week 3) and has been held to single digits in three of the last four games.

White is no longer the deep threat he once was as his yards per catch have dropped to a career-low 12.0 through nine games season. The Titans are 18th in the NFL in passing yards per game allowed (224.2), but are ranked fourth in yards per catch (6.2).

Between Finnegan’s play this season going up, White’s going down, this certainly looks like it will be advantage Finnegan and disadvantage you if White is in your starting lineup.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Titans Cortland Finnegan is a shutdown corner. That's bad news for the Falcons' Roddy White</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:03
All taxonomy terms: Kansas City Chiefs, Tyler Palko, News
Path: /news/heres-why-tyler-palko-will-outscore-most-fantasy-qbs-sunday

So here’s the deal: If you’re a quarterback who can throw a forward pass then you’re all but assured 18 fantasy points against the New England Patriots.

Tyler Palko, meet the New England Patriots. Fantasy players, meet Tyler Palko, the Kansas City Chiefs’ new starting quarterback. Palko, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2007, gets his first career start when the Chiefs take on the Patriots Monday night in Foxboro.

The previous nine quarterbacks that have started this season against New England have all recorded at least 18-point fantasy days, and that 18-pointer only threw for 166 yards in doing so. The Patriots have allowed six 300-plus yard games, one 400-plus, a 250 and Mark Sanchez threw for 166 in Week 5 and then came back with 306 last week.

Houston, Pittsburgh and New Orleans are all on bye weeks, Michael Vick (ribs) is not looking available Sunday night and there are some other bad matchups out there in Week 11. If you’re in a two-quarterback league, Palko’s certainly a play in Week 11, and if you are looking for a deep sleeper or just wanting to jump in on the action against New England, starting Palko isn’t a bad idea in standard 12-team, one-QB leagues.

The 6-1, left-handed Palko is getting start No. 1 after Matt Cassel suffered a hand injury in Week 10 that will likely end his 2011 season. Once cut by the UFL’s California Redwoods, Palko has thrown a total of 13 NFL passes — completing nine of them for 82 yards — in four stops. He came into last week’s game in relief of Cassel, completing five of six passes for 47 yards on a drive that ended with a field goal.

And now he gets his first start against a Patriots team that, like all other NFL teams, has very little to go on about his game since he left Pitt. What we do know is the Patriots are allowing opposing QBs to complete 63.4 percent of their passes for 323.4 yards, 1.6 TDs and 1.3 interceptions a game for a league-worst 25.7 fantasy points per game.

Cassel took a while to get anything going this season, however, in four of his last five full-game starts, he threw for 253-plus yards in each game and had six TDs in those four games (four coming against Indianpolis). Palko does have Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Jonathan Baldwin in his receiving corps and a multi-purpose back in Dexter McCluster, who can help him as a pass catcher.

Whether it’s Palko throwing to try and keep the Chiefs competitive or if it’s Palko throwing to try and catch the Chiefs up, points are there for the taking for the new K.C. QB.

I’m not here to say Palko is going to be a fantasy backup, hell, even a reality backup that is reliable. There is a reason he’s thrown 13 NFL passes since 2007 and was cut by a UFL team in between. But for one night, against one poor defense and you just need a stop gap that will give you a quick 16 points, Palko is a good start.

Plus, it will give you a reason to watch what should otherwise be a terrible game.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> The Chiefs back-up quarterback will put up 18 points against the Patriots</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Brandon Jacobs, D.J. Ware, New York Giants, News
Path: /news/dj-ware-worth-fantasy-flex-play-sunday

How bad is your running back situation this week?

Are you still waiting on Darren McFadden to come back? Is Ryan Mathews killing the Mike Tolbert vibe you thought would be happening on a consistent basis by now? Did you really think the Carolina backfield situation would ever clear up? Do you just know you will pick the wrong Washington Redskins RB this week? LeGarrette Blount and Cedric Benson taking the role of bell cow and playing more like cow … Well, you get the picture.

On top of all the inconsistent, frustrating running back play we’ve had this season, now we see Arian Foster, Rashard Mendenhall and the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts flavors of the week all hit their bye.

Who’s left for you to turn to in Week 11? It’s deep sleeper time.

I think your savior this week could be playing Sunday night, and he’s not even a starter.

New York Giants running back D.J. Ware has the potential to see plenty of work behind Brandon Jacobs when the team plays host to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ware is seeing his role increase as is Jacobs due to a broken foot that has sidelined Ahmad Bradshaw the last two games and ruled him out for Sunday night.

In San Francisco last week, playing against the league’s top rush defense, Ware carried nine times for 34 yards and added five catches for 34 yards. The catches came as a result of the Giants trying to play catch-up against the 49ers, but Ware looked sharp throughout the game.

Ware has 16 carries for 58 yards and five catches on eight targets for 34 yards over the last two games. That’s an average of 12 potential touches and 46 yards the last two weeks. With all the aforementioned problems the running back position has had this year, and the number of precarious RB situations fantasy players face this week, I will take a back with the potential for 12 touches in a possible shootout game as my flex play.

The Eagles have allowed three five-plus catch games from running backs this season, and allow 4.4 catches for 51.1 yards per games to opposing running backs through the first nine games of the 2011 season. Philadelphia is ranked 17th in yards per game allowed (120.0) and are ranked 27th in yards per carry (4.8).

Vince Young will likely be at QB for the injured Michael Vick (ribs), and while I don’t expect Young to light it up, he does have RB LeSean McCoy, WR DeSean Jackson and a bevy of possession receivers at his disposal that could certainly make for an interesting game.

This week it could go either way against the Eagles. The schizophrenic NFC East could see the Giants trailing late and needing Ware to help them play catch-up again, or they could be leading and he and Jacobs get plenty of opportunities to burn the clock.

Either way, if I’m in a PPR league, which is key if you are going to play him, then I am giving Ware serious consideration as a decent flex play today.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> New York Giants running back D.J. Ware has the potential to see plenty of work behind Brandon Jacobs when the team plays host to the Philadelphia Eagles.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 06:51
Path: /news/denarius-moore-must-start-against-vikings

You’re starting Oakland Raiders receiver Denarius Moore this week against the Minnesota Vikings, right? You’re just reading this because you need confirmation that it’s the right play for one of your fantasy WR spots in Week 11.

I understand. It’s a great play for you to make for a few of reasons before we even get to the he-is-good part.

First, he is the man for the Raiders with fellow receiver Jacoby Ford out with an ankle injury suffered in Week 10 and still with no timetable for his return. Second, the Vikings just lost defensive back Antoine Winfield for the season with a broken clavicle. Third, Oakland signal caller Carson Palmer is a top-10 fantasy QB in his first two games as the team’s starter with weeks of 25.58 and 20.16 points. He’s completing 60 percent of his passes as a starter, including 70 percent last week against San Diego.

Moore became Palmer’s favorite target when Jacoby Ford went down with an ankle injury early in last Thursday’s game. The rookie from Tennessee was targeted seven times to Ford’s second-best two. Moore caught five of the seven targets for 123 yards and two long scores (33, 27).

Moore has been inconsistent this season, but also had an inconsistent QB in Jason Campbell at the helm before Palmer came on board to step in for the injured Campbell. Moore was a stud in the preseason and then opened the 2011 campaign with a goose egg. He bounced back with 25.6 points in Week 2, 14.1 in Week 3, 9.85 in Week 4 and then fell off the map with days of .85, .95 and 1.88 fantasy points. Moore had his resurgence in Palmer’s first start, scoring 10.18 points against Denver and then exploded for the 27.75 points against San Diego.

Yahoo league owners certainly saw the value in Moore as he went from being owned in 56 percent of the leagues on Monday to 81 percent of the leagues by Friday. And it should be more than that with the way Palmer is playing and the pass-friendly schedule the Raiders have over the next month. Including this week’s Minnesota game, the Raiders take on four of the worst fantasy defenses against receivers in the next four weeks — Minnesota (31), Chicago (22), Miami (23) and Green Bay (30).

Since you are looking to input Moore into your starting lineup this week, here’s what he is facing against Minnesota: Winfield had just returned to the lineup last Monday night after a four-game absence due to a neck injury before the clavicle injury. Cornerback Chris Cook is still suspended from playing and safety Husain Abdullah will not play after the suffering a concussion on Monday night.

The Vikings are ranked 30th in the NFL against the pass (272.8 YPG) with 16 touchdowns allowed (31st) and just six interceptions (24th).

The matchup doesn’t get much Moore enticing than that (see what I did there with the Moore thing … oh, just go set him to start in your lineup).

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> You’re starting Oakland Raiders receiver Denarius Moore this week against the Minnesota Vikings, right?&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 06:49