TE Notes: Jimmy Graham’s production has increased each game since returning from an ankle injury. He’s coming off the highest single-game output of his career, and the Raiders allow eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Gates is averaging a touchdown per over the past four games. He drew a defensive holding penalty and should have had a pass interference call deep down the field to bolster a 4/57/1 outing at Tampa Bay. No defense has been more generous to fantasy tight ends than the Broncos this season, fresh off a career-best 9/102/2 line for Greg Olsen. Gates burned Denver for two scores in the previous meeting.Only twice since the 1970 merger has an over-30 tight end gained the most receiver yards, and it was Tony Gonzalez both times (2007-08). He’s on pace to do it again this season. Against the Saints last week, he put on a clinic of how to use a tight end’s size to wall off defenders at the sticks and in the end zone. … Hernandez reportedly looked fine running at full speed in last week’s practices. Barring a setback, I would expect him to play versus the Colts.Update: NFL Network's Albert Breer reports Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is expected to miss Week 11 against the Colts.A top-five fantasy tight end over the past three weeks, Olsen enjoys his third straight plus matchup versus the Bucs. … Vernon Davis has disappeared of late because defenses game-planning to take away the 49ers’ most dangerous weapon in the passing game. Brian Urlacher admitted last week the Bears don’t scheme for tight ends. The matchup is right for Davis to get back on track. Gresham may be more lumbering than he was billed coming into the NFL, but he’s had a touchdown or 60+ yards in four of the past five games. … With possession receiver Jason Avant (hamstring) out, Nick Foles may have to lean more heavily on Brent Celek versus a Redskins defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Myers practiced on Wednesday and appears to be on track to play against the NFL’s worst defense. … Heath Miller didn’t catch a single pass from Byron Leftwich Monday night. He’s fallen to the ranks of the TE2s. Coby Fleener is out again this week, leaving Dwayne Allen as an every-down tight end against a Pats defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. … Finley should finally be over his shoulder injury coming out of the bye week, but I need to see Aaron Rodgers regaining trust in him before considering TE1 status. … Pitta has a tough matchup against a Steelers defense shutting down passing games over the past month. … Anthony Fasano has seen just 8 percent of Ryan Tannehill’s passes since the bye as opposed to 16 percent before. Week 11 Defense/Special Teams
Week 11 Kickers Teams
Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET on 11/18/2012
Former Rams VP of player personnel, Tony Softli, anointed slot receiver Danny Amendola a “blue” player this week. For those unaware of the front-office lingo, blue means “play maker and difference maker, an impact player each and every time they touch the field.” It’s a Pro Bowl player who presents matchup issues for a defense. Contacted by Rotoworld for a second opinion, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi bolstered Softli’s assessment. “I think the slot receiver is a position all to itself,” said Lombardi. “And in that category he is a blue -- with an arrow up.” Amendola was robbed of an 80-yard pass play that would have given him 180+ yards and the Rams a Week 10 victory because Brandon Gibson lined up two yards off the line of scrimmage. “He played an outstanding football game. It’s unfortunate that two of those big plays didn’t count,” said Jeff Fisher. “He does things for our offense. He creates opportunities for other people … He can get open and Sam can get the ball to him. For a little guy, he’s got real good run-after-catch skills.” It’s those run-after-catch skills that have improved measurably this season. Even without the two big plays referenced by Fisher, Amendola is averaging eight catches and close to 100 yards per in every game that he has finished this season. NFL Films analyst suspects it will be Ellis Lankster -- not Antonio Cromartie -- attempting to hang with Amendola this week. Keep him in your lineup this week and for the rest of the season. Courtesy of Footballandbrackets.com, we know that the Rams passing game has one of the friendliest schedules in league (@BUF, MIN, @TB) during the fantasy playoffs of Weeks 14-16.Week 11 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Aaron Rodgers gets Jordy Nelson back and Jermichael Finley healthy just in time for a potential shootout with Matthew Stafford. … Brees remains fantasy’s No. 1 QB and is poised to exploit Oakland’s burnable secondary. … While Arizona’s run defense has fallen apart at the seams of late, their pass defense continues to rank among the league’s best. Matt Ryan has a relatively tough matchup this week. … The Colts, on the other hand, are going in the opposite direction. Start Tom Brady with the utmost confidence this week. Peyton Manning has completed 70 percent of his passes in six consecutive games, the longest streak of his career. Behind only his outlier 2004 MVP season, Manning is averaging a touchdown pass every 15.7 attempts. If he finishes the season with his current 84.8 Total QBR, it will trail only Aaron Rodgers’ 2011 performance in the last five years. Manning was miked up for last week’s game, and NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell tells Fantasy Guru’s Adam Caplan, “You’ve never seen anything like it. This guy knows everything that is going on about everything. It is absolutely remarkable. … I don’t know what to say other than it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”Carson Palmer is fantasy’s top quarterback the past five weeks in leagues that don’t penalize for turnovers. Matchups don’t get any better than his against the Saints this week. … Cam Newton is a bounce-back candidate against a Bucs defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. … Andrew Luck continues to lead the NFL with an average depth of target at 10.7 yards. He’s tied with Peyton Manning for most completions of 20+ yards (41). … Josh Freeman’s unit has been the NFL’s highest scoring over the past five weeks, averaging 35.6 points per game. He leads all QBs with 16 plays of 30+ yards. Freeman is playing at the highest level of his career, showing much improved patience this season. That said, the Panthers rank a solid 23rd against fantasy quarterbacks this season. One of the most misleading stats in the league is Philip Rivers’ career-high completion percentage of 68. He’s been a mistake-prone check-down machine. Dating back to the beginning of last season, nobody has more than Rivers’ 40 turnovers. … Andy Dalton has a tougher matchup than it appears. The Chiefs’ pass defense has improved over the past month, and teams are averaging 10 fewer dropbacks per game when facing them. … Fitzpatrick is a decent QB2 option against a Dolphins defense allowing the 11th-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Get used to the cushy matchups for Nick Foles. After facing the second-most generous fantasy defense this week, the rookie will vie with Eli Manning for the easiest QB schedule over the next five games. If the beleaguered o-line manages to give Foles time to throw -- a big “if” -- he can be a QB1 option versus the Bucs, Bengals and Redskins in the fantasy playoffs. … John Skelton is the only starter in the league with fewer than Ryan Tannehill’s five touchdown passes.
On paper, no QB has a tougher matchup than Joe Flacco this week. The Steelers have allowed just 140 passing yards per over the past four games. ... Chad Henne is the only NFL quarterback with more than Byron Leftwich’s six consecutive starts with a loss. How slow is Leftwich’s release? As Pat Daugherty put it, the play would take longer to develop than the Hoover Dam if Leftwich ever targeted Justin Blackmon on a pass. … Jason Campbell has no chance on the road against the NFL’s best front seven.Week 11 Running Backs
RB Notes: With a touchdown in every game this season, Arian Foster has trumped Percy Harvin as the most “slump-proof” fantasy asset in the game. … C.J. Spiller may still be bouncing too many runs to the outside, but it’s certainly not hurting his production. He’s simply playing at a faster speed than the other players on the field. Of Spiller’s 87 carries, 56.3 percent have gone for 5 or more yards, the highest rate for any running back. Spiller is sixth in fantasy points this season on just 115 touches while Chris Johnson and Stevan Ridley -- just behind him -- have 194 and 178 touches respectively. The Patriots game-planned to take Spiller away and couldn’t do it. With Fred Jackson out, coach Chan Gailey is prescribing 20-30 carries versus the Dolphins if that’s what it takes to win (Spiller has never rushed more than 19 times in a game). After 22 consecutive games without a 100-yard runner, the Dolphins may be gashed for a second straight week.If Doug Martin nets 142 yards from scrimmage at Carolina, he will join Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only rookies with 1,000 yards in a six-game span. The Panthers haven’t allowed a 100-yard game since Luke Kuechly replaced Jon Beason at middle linebacker. … While the Redskins secondary has stiffened a bit, LeSean McCoy can take advantage of the falloff in run defense of late. … Ray Rice has avoided negative plays better than any back in the NFL this season. … Stevan Ridley is averaging over 6.0 YPC the past two games, though the Colts run defense has morphed into a top-10 unit over the past month.If Jamaal Charles gets to the line of scrimmage without being touched, he’s averaging 6.7 YPC. His season is back on track against a Bengals defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs. … Alfred Morris draws an Eagles run defense that has been trending steadily downward over the past month. … Willis McGahee already has five fumbles in nine games, equaling the most by any back in the league all of last season. He’s still in no danger of losing his starting job, and the increased role in the passing game has solidified his high-end RB2 value. Steven Jackson is coming off season-highs in carries (29) and yards (127) against a stout 49ers defense. The sledding is much easier versus a Jets defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs. … Frank Gore is running behind the most dominant o-line in the game, as 49ers backs have averaged a league-leading 3.2 yards before first contact. … Ryan Mathews' three highest rushing totals of his career have come versus Broncos, a defense that is currently tied with the Vikings for first in yards per carry allowed (3.6) to running backs. Mathews returned to the game after suffering a neck injury last week, so I would expect him to play at Denver. In a promising sign, Mathews stayed on the field -- even at the goal line -- in the halftime two-minute drill last week. The matchup is inviting this week, but no starting running back is used in the red zone less frequently than Reggie Bush. … The passing game may be in the tank, but Shonn Greene is sixth in fantasy points over the past five weeks. … Felix Jones, short-yardage specialist? Jones has converted all eight attempts when the Cowboys have needed 1-2 yards for a first down. Jones looked better in Week 10 that he has all season. With DeMarco Murray likely to rest one more week, Jones has RB2 value against the Browns. Coach Dennis Allen is sticking with the same running back rotation that saw Marcel Reece play 77 percent of the snaps a week ago. It’s fair to expect a second straight 100-yard game against the Saints’ historically woeful defense. … According to Pro Football Focus, no running back has been less elusive than Mikel Leshoure, who has just six tackles avoided on 126 touches. … BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn’t topped 4.0 YPC in a game since the season opener. … Of LaRod Stephens-Howling’s 184 rushing yards, 89 percent have come after contact, good for the highest rate in the NFL. He should retain the feature back role for one more week against a soft run defense. Darren Sproles practiced Wednesday for the first time since breaking his hand, putting him on track to play his normal role at Oakland. … In Sproles two-game absence, Mark Ingram took over as the backfield leader, seeing 25 touches compared to Chris Ivory’s 19 and Pierre Thomas’ 14. Ingram is a RB/flex option against a Raiders defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs. … Rashard Mendenhall is expected back for Sunday night’s game against the Ravens, and the Steelers have acknowledged that he’s the starter when healthy. … Only 18.9 percent of Rashad Jennings’ carries have gone for 5+ yards. The Texans haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown in their last 12 games. … For those inclined to roll the dice on Daniel Thomas, note that the Bills run defense hasn’t been quite the same laughing stock the past two weeks. It’s still a tasty matchup, though.James Starks has taken over the early-down role from Alex Green. … We’ve clowned Michael Turner with good reason, but it’s worth noting that Jacquizz Rodgers is no panacea in the run game. Two Eagles defenders missed tackles behind line of scrimmage on Rodgers’ 43-yard run in Week 8. Outside of that run, he's averaged 2.8 YPC. … The stats back up the anecdotal belief that Daryl Richardson is an outside-the-tackles specialist.Week 11 Wide Receivers
WR Notes: We told you not to panic on Calvin Johnson because he’s most talented skill-position player and most dangerous red-zone weapon in the NFL. He’s now on pace for 107 receptions and 1,732 yards, which would better last year’s career-high numbers. As you know, the touchdowns are coming. … Peyton Manning has gone 33-of-40 (82.5 percent) throwing to Demaryius Thomas over the past five games, including eight plays of 30+ yards. Only Brandon Marshall and Megatron have more fantasy points over the past three weeks. … Marshall’s 100.4 receiving yards per game is the highest average in Bears history. Playing at the highest level of his career, Reggie Wayne draws a Patriots defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers. … Jordy Nelson (hamstring, ankle) looked like his “normal self” in Wednesday’s practice. … Julio Jones (ankle) was held out Wednesday, but is expected to play. Patrick Peterson had trouble with Michael Crabtree’s run-after-catch ability, and Jones is far more explosive. … Vincent Jackson is fantasy’s No. 1 receiver over the past five weeks. Wes Welker dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball last week that would have put him over 100 yards and possibly added a touchdown. … Randall Cobb is arguably the Packers MVP through nine games. … Already a top-five fantasy receiver over the past five weeks, Denarius Moore is facing the most generous defense to fantasy receivers. … Steve Smith’s matchup is nearly as promising, as the Bucs’ 321.3 passing yards allowed is the highest average in the NFL.Fitzgerald would be ranked higher if not for the prospect of drawing Asante Samuel in shadow coverage. The Falcons have shut down No. 1 receivers this season. … Is the light finally flipping on for Dez Bryant? Even with a 37-yard touchdown nullified by replay, Bryant is a top-12 fantasy receiver over the past five weeks. … Stevie Johnson squares off against Miami, a consistently good matchup for receivers all season. … Mike Wallace’s outlook is dimmed by the absence of Big Ben. … Over the past two years, Torrey Smith has been overthrown 26 times, seven more than the next-closest receiver (Larry Fitzgerald).The Redskins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but they’ve actually improved over the past month. Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson still fall under the WR3 umbrella with a rookie QB making his first start. ... Brandon Lloyd has just two games over 70 yards all season. … Michael Crabtree squares off against the most effective cornerback tandem in the NFL while a streaking Cecil Shorts runs into a Houston defense ranked as the toughest versus No. 1 receivers according to Football Outsiders. Teammate Laurent Robinson is leading the league in targets since returning from a concussion two weeks ago. Pierre Garcon’s (foot) chances of playing this week are reportedly “better than you think,” and coach Mike Shanahan acknowledged as much after Wednesday’s limited practice. It’s a prove-it game for Garcon as more of a flex option than a true WR3. … Brandon LaFell, Donnie Avery, and Davone Bess all have fine matchups against top-10 defenses in fantasy points surrendered to receivers. … Greg Little appears to be slowly regaining the No. 1 receiver mantle from Josh Gordon.
Sunday Update: Dropped Julio Jones slightly as he will reportedly be "limited" versus the Cardinals. I'd still have a hard time benching his potential for a monster game. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin get bumped up with Joe Haden out of the lineup. The Browns secondary rivals the Saints and Bucs for league worst with Haden sidelined.Week 11 Tight Ends