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Lance Ball, Kendall Hunter and Laurent Robinson lead the waiver wire this week
It’s the last week of byes for the 2011 NFL season. And we lose some powerhouses this week at all four positions. Which means you're going to have dredge the waiver wire to save your team's chances of making the playoffs. Here's a few of the big names that are out.
WEEK 11 BYES: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
From Houston: QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, RB Ben Tate, TE Owen Daniels.
From Indianapolis: No one of consistent significance.
From New Orleans: QB Drew Brees, RB Darren Sproles, RB Pierre Thomas, RB Mark Ingram, WR Marques Colston, WR Lance Moore, WR Robert Meachem, WR Devery Henderson and TE Mark Ingram.
From Pittsburgh: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Mike Wallace, WR Antonio Brown, WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Heath Miller.
Vince Young, Philadelphia
Michael Vick broke two ribs on the second play of Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals and now his status for the Week 11 Sunday night matchup against the Giants is in question. If Vick is out, then in slides Young. The former Titans quarterback has seen very little action this season, attempting one pass and seeing it intercepted. He averaged 12.96 fantasy points per game for Tennessee last season, of course in a completely different offense. If Young stays in the pocket, he has many more weapons at his disposal than he did as a Titan. Plus, he can still pull it down and get rushing yards. The Giants are 14th-best against fantasy QBs, and they held Vick to 176 yards and a pick and 31 rushing yards in their Week 3 meeting. Young is owned in one percent of Yahoo leagues.
Matt Leinart, Houston
This is why he stayed in Houston and did not go to Seattle to be a starter. So he could wait all the way until Week 12 and take over for an injured Matt Schaub (foot). Well played, Mr. Lienart. The Texans are on their bye this week and return to play at Jacksonville. Lienart could be the starter beyond Week 12 as well. Hopefully, WR Andre Johnson will have returned after the bye. 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. Leinart is owned in zero percent of Yahoo leagues.
Carson Palmer, Oakland
He’s had games of 22.6 and 16.2 since he assumed the starting role for the Raiders. And now he travels to play a Minnesota team that allows the fourth-most points per game to fantasy quarterbacks and fifth-most to fantasy receivers entering the Monday night game against Green Bay. If Jacoby Ford can bounce back from the ankle injury suffered last Thursday, then he makes for a dangerous duo with Denarius Moore. Being indoors on a fast track at Minnesota certainly helps out the speedy Oakland receivers even more. The Raiders don’t play a tough pass defense over the next four games as none are ranked better than 26th in the NFL. Palmer is owned in 36 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
His 14.51 points per game average has him as a top-20 fantasy quarterback this season, and that’s about what you are going to get out the rookie from TCU. He threw for 170 yards, two scores and two picks on 30 attempts against Pittsburgh and now travels to play a Baltimore team that allows the least points per game from fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL — 14.1. Whether he heads to Baltimore with star receiver A.J. Green, who hyperextended his knee on Sunday, is to be determined. He’s not the greatest start, but should get you the 14 to get you by the bye. Dalton is owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Tyler Palko, Kansas City
Palko is in line to replace the injured Matt Cassel (hand). Palko’s next man up and next up for Kansas City is New England. Simple enough. This is a desperate play but also about as good a bye-week replacement matchup you could find with three powerhouses on their byes this week. The Patriots are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs and have only held a fantasy QB under 20 points once this season (Mark Sanchez in Week 5). Palko completed 5-of-6 passes for 47 yards in relief of Cassel on Sunday. If you’re looking for a simple 15 points with the potential for much more to get you through the bye, then Palko’s your man. He is owned in zero percent of Yahoo leagues.
Alex Smith, San Francisco
He should be better than this by this point in his career, but the 2005 No. 1 pick just isn’t. After three games of 16-plus point fantasy days in the first five games, Smith has gone 6.5, 13.3, 12.9 and 17.38. These are certainly not numbers that scream fantasy starter to you. But this is another one-week play that has a favorable matchup with the Arizona Cardinals coming to town. Arizona allows the 12th-most points per game to fantasy quarterbacks. Smith is owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota
If you just need the rookie for a bye-week fix, then he should be able to help by playing the Raiders at home. Oakland is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs per game. Ponder has posted games of 17.9 and 13.4 (heading into Monday night’s start), and the Raiders have held just one QB under 20 points (Matt Cassel in Week 7). Ponder is owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Colt McCoy, Cleveland
Again, this is just a bye-week replacement play. McCoy is averaging 14.1 fantasy points per game and has rarely given much more or much less than that in his second year as the Browns’ quarterback. He gets on this list this week because of byes and because of Jacksonville. The Jaguars are eighth best against fantasy QBs in points per game but just lost cornerback Rashean Mathis for the season due to an ACL injury in Sunday’s game. McCoy is owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle
Like McCoy, Jackson is a bye-week replacement but also gets a little bump because he is playing at St. Louis. The Rams just gave up 16.6 to McCoy for his highest total since Oct. 2 (18.6), and they have held just one QB under 16 fantasy points this season (Rex Grossman in Week 4). Jackson is owned in eight percent of Yahoo leagues.
John Skelton, Arizona
If Kevin Kolb is still out (turf toe), Skelton gives you a QB that has scored 16.7 and 24.1 in his last two games, including a 315-yards, three-TD, two-INT day in Philadelphia, and now travels San Francisco to play an extremely stingy defense. Eli Manning just threw for two scores, two picks and 311 yards in San Francisco. Skelton is no Manning, but he does have Larry Fitzgerald, who he helped make fantasy’s No. 1 WR this week (heading into the MNF game), at his disposal and that’s always a good thing. Not surprising, Skelton is owned in just two percent of Yahoo leagues.
WEEK 11 BYES: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
Roy Helu, Washington
There’s the crash back to Earth you should’ve expected. Helu was a surprise start a week ago and promptly caught a franchise record 14 passes and rushed for 4.1 yards per carry. A week later, Ryan Torain was the starting RB. There’s Mike Shanahan for you. Helu scored 6.9 fantasy points (41 yards rushing, three catches for 13 yards) against the Dolphins, who are a solid defense against fantasy running backs (one 90-yard-plus game from a RB all season). Torain had 20 yards on 11 carries. Helu is a talent, and his 14-catch week made him a player that is owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues. I certainly see that number dropping dramatically this week. And you should be able to scoop him up for cheap. He’s nothing more than a flex, but he’s going to get the carries before it’s all said and done. Be patient with Helu and his fickle coach and it could pay off come playoff time when the Redskins play the Patriots, Giants and Vikings. All three defenses are in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points per games allowed to running backs.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland
He bounced back from his poor outing against the league’s top defense in Houston (2.6 points) a week earlier. Ogbonnaya rushed for 90 yards and caught two balls for 19 yards against St. Louis. I would still like to see the Browns take advantage of his pass-catching abilities for PPR purposes, but it just hasn’t happened yet. The Browns play host to Jacksonville this week. 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. Iit looks like Ogbonnaya will still be the lead ball carrier for at least one more week as Peyton Hillis is already rule out for Week 11. He is owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
This is ONLY because the Chiefs play against New England and its atrocious defense. Kansas City seems willing to involve McCluster in the offense, and if you really need a bye-week replacement in a PPR league, McCluster could be a decent option. He had 45 yards rushing and six catches for 48 yards against Denver in Week 10; it was his first double-digit fantasy day of the season. McCluster is owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues and has eligibility at both RB and WR.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Frank Gore injured his ankle in the 49ers’ Week 9 game, got the start in Week 10 but only lasted until just before the first half two-minute warning due to a knee injury. He carried six times for a zero yards. Hunter came in and ran six times for 40 yards and a score (17 yards) and caught one pass for four yards. If Gore is still bothered by the ankle in Week 11, Hunter would be in line for a decent bye-week play as the 49ers play host to the Cardinals. Arizona allows the 19th-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Hunter is owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Lance Ball, Denver
Ball got his chance on Sunday thanks to in-game injuries to both Willis McGhee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee). He carried the ball 30 times for 96 yards. THIRTY times to get to 96 yards. Ball added nothing else. The Broncos didn’t even attempt a pass in the first quarter, and Tim Tebow completed two ALL day. The Broncos have little time to prep for their Week 11 contest as they play host to the New York Jets on Thursday night. Moreno is now on IR with an ACL tear and McGahee could have returned on Sunday in an “emergency” situation. If McGahee plays then avoid Ball, who is owned in five percent of Yahoo leagues.
WEEK 11 BYES: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
Laurent Robinson, Dallas
Hopefully you added him off the wire last week, or as soon as you heard Miles Austin was out 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. And hopefully you started him in Week 10 against Buffalo. He caught three balls for 73 yards and two touchdowns and posted his third straight double-digit fantasy day. He certainly has a connection with Dallas QB Tony Romo over the remaining weeks Austin is supposed to be sidelined and more after that. The Cowboys’ schedule against the pass is salivating with Washington, Miami and Arizona the next three opponents. Washington is seventh against fantasy receivers, but Robinson caught three balls for 49 yards against the Redskins in Week 3. Miami (26th) and Arizona (25th) are in the bottom eight against fantasy WRs. Robinson, SOMEHOW, is owned in just 48 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Denarius Moore, Oakland
He became Carson Palmer’s favorite target by a long shot when Jacoby Ford went down with an ankle injury early in last Thursday’s game — 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). After a zero in Week 1, a big fantasy day in Week 2 (25.6), a decent encore (14.1) and a modest Week 3 (9.85), Moore was absent from the fantasy landscape with .85, .95 and 1.88 before a 9.18 against Denver in Week 9 and the explosion against San Diego last Thursday. He should have success against Minnesota this week even if Ford returns. The Raiders showed every one can have success via the air and the ground last week, just ask Palmer, Moore and Michael Bush. Moore is owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Damian Williams, Tennessee
Quick. Name fantasy’s fourth-best receiver for Week 10 heading into the Monday night game. Of course you answered Damian Williams. The Titans’ receiver had five catches for 107 yards and a score to post a 19.2-point fantasy day. It was his second straight double-digit effort (11.4 in Week 9), and there’s no reason to think he can’t be a consistent 10-point producer as a flex receiver. The Titans travel to Atlanta this Sunday. The Falcons are allowing the 22nd-most points per game to fantasy receivers. Williams is owned in just three percent of Yahoo leagues.
Steve Smith, Philadelphia
He saw his first significant production Sunday against Arizona with the injury to Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and DeSean Jackson’s one-game suspension. Smith was targeted 10 times and caught five balls for 47 yards. He would certainly see steady play if Maclin were to miss Week 11. Also keep an eye on QB Michael Vick’s health as he played with broken ribs Sunday, and his Week 11 status is unknown. Smith is owned in four percent of Yahoo leagues.
David Nelson, Buffalo
The one bright spot for Buffalo Sunday was Nelson catching the team’s only TD. I guess it was good for fantasy owners, but it was even better if you were watching and got to see Nelson give the ball to his Dallas Cowboys cheerleader girlfriend. Nelson caught four balls for 31 yards and the score. The Bills’ offense has slowed down from their hot start, but Nelson has been semi consistent. He has four double-digit fantasy days (Weeks 2 & 3 and 9 & 10). Buffalo travels to Miami this week to play a Dolphins team that allows the 26th-most points per game to fantasy receivers. Nelson is owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Vincent Brown, San Diego
Did you see Vincent Jackson go up for those balls in the end zone against the Raiders last week? I didn’t either. You know who I did see post a much better day than Jackson’s 2.7? Brown. The rookie from San Diego State filled in for Malcom Floyd (hip) and was targeted a team-high nine times, catching five of them for 107 yards and a score. QB Philip Rivers was running for his life out there on Thursday night. The Chargers travel to Chicago this week. Think Rivers won’t still be running from the Bears? I suppose Brown’s success depends on Floyd’s health, but he’s an impressive rookie that might be a good add and stash. Brown is owned in six percent Yahoo leagues.
Harry Douglas, Atlanta
Whether he was in the slot or on the outside, Douglas was balling Sunday against the Saints. He was targeted a team-high 14 times, posting career highs in catches (8) and yards (133) for 17.6 fantasy points. His role increased as Julio Jones dealt with the hamstring injury that bothered him all week leading up to the Week 10 game. If Jones is still hobbled, go get Douglas and throw him in your lineup for Week 11 against visiting Tennessee. There is success to be had against those not named Cortland Finnegan. Opposing teams’ No. 2 receivers average 5.4 catches for 49.3 yards against the Titans. Douglas is owned in one percent of Yahoo leagues.
Legedu Naanee, Carolina
The Panthers got down early and Naanee benefited to the tune of a season-high eight catches for 75 yards on nine targets. Steve Smith was pretty much covered up by Titans CB Cortland Finnegan most of the day, and Naanee was the benefit of that, too. The Panthers are at Detroit this week. The Lions allow at least seven fantasy points per game to opposing teams’ No. 2 receivers in four of the last five games. Naanee has been targeted at least seven times in six of nine games this season and is owned in zero percent of Yahoo leagues
Greg Little, Cleveland 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
Well, well. Little finally did something with those targets. He still didn’t score, of course, but he did take a team-high six targets and turn them into six catches for 84 yards (52 on one catch) against St. Louis. I really wanted to believe in Little this season. The big-bodied receiver paired with the weak-armed QB in Colt McCoy. And even McCoy slinging it all over the yard this season has still produced nothing for this offense. This was just the second double-digit fantasy day for Little. I don’t trust anyone in this offense, and neither should you unless you’re in one helluva pinch due to the Week 11 bye. Little is owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Titus Young, Detroit
I’ve been down the Young path earlier in the year when the rookie flashed with an 11.4-point game in Week 2 followed by five duds. His 10.8-point day in a blowout loss to Chicago comes a game after his season-high 14.6-point effort in a blowout win against Denver. Young got most of those 14.6 on a blown coverage, 41-yard TD pass midway through the first quarter. I don’t trust him or Nate Burleson to play consistently enough to be in my lineup. Like Hankerson, monitor Young’s progression over the next couple of weeks. If he is good again next week, then certainly go get him for when the Lions take on the Packers on Thanksgiving in Week 12. Young is owned in three percent of Yahoo leagues.
WEEK 11 BYES: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
Brent Celek, Philadelphia
Celek was becoming a frequent target of Michael Vick’s before Sunday. The one-game sitdown of DeSean Jackson and the injury to Jeremy Maclin on Sunday focused more of the efforts against Celek and he scored 7.3 points. Not a bad day for a TE. Celek has a four-week stretch of 12.2, 18.9, 9.5 and 7.3 points scored, and a healthy receiving corps makes him more appealing to have room to roam. The Eagles travel to play the New York Giants Sunday night, and the Giants are allowing the 13th-most fantasy points to tight ends, including 11.5 from 49ers standout Vernon Davis, who was averaging 3.36 the last three games, in Week 10. Celek could become even more of a safety valve if Vince Young has to step in for an injured Vick at QB in Week 11. Celek is owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Ed Dickson, Baltimore
A bye-week replacement, the inconsistent Dickson has scored 7.6 points in Week 8, followed by 1.8 in Week 9 but had 24.9 on Sunday against Seattle off 10 catches for 79 yards and two scores. The Ravens now draw AFC North rivals Cincinnati this Sunday. The Bengals are allowing fantasy tight ends to score the 15th-most points per game. Dickson is owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
Grehsam returned Sunday from a hamstring injury that sidelined him the last two games and scored a touchdown on five targets and four catches. Fellow tight end Donald Lee (foot) was out and A.J. Green (knee) was injured. Gresham is inconsistent but faces a Baltimore team that allows the 12th-most points to fantasy tight ends per game. Gresham is a good red zone target for QB Andy Dalton and a good play for you as a bye-week replacement. He is owned in 34 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Jake Ballard, New York Giants
Ballard was stifled against San Francisco to the tune of just five points, but he had scored over 10 in three of the last four games. QB Eli Manning spreads it around quite often, but Ballard certainly benefits from the play of receivers Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz opening up room for him to roam and succeed. The Giants draw Philadelphia this Sunday night. The Eagles allow tight ends to score the 19th-most fantasy points per game. Ballard is owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter