Evan Silva

Matchups

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Matchups: Russell on Fire

Saturday, November 16, 2013


1:00PM ET Games

Washington @ Philadelphia

Coming off easily his season-best game in a Week 10 Thursday night loss to Minnesota, Robert Griffin III has now completed 80 of his last 128 attempts (62.5%) for 1,002 yards (7.83 YPA), six touchdowns, and four picks. They're not sterling numbers, but a step forward from his early-season play. He now returns from a long week to further rest his surgically repaired knee and take on a Philadelphia defense that ranks 31st versus the pass. RG3 owners can count on Chip Kelly's No. 4 offense lighting up Washington's bottom-six defense, forcing the Redskins to respond aggressively. In this potential shootout, an improving Griffin is a recommended QB1. ... Griffin's targets since Washington's Week 5 bye: Pierre Garcon 55; Jordan Reed 43; Leonard Hankerson 25; Santana Moss 15; Roy Helu 14; Logan Paulsen 8; Aldrick Robinson and Josh Morgan 5. ... Garcon is red hot again with seven receptions in three straight games. He's a legit WR1 against the Eagles. Noteworthy enemy wideout stat lines allowed by Philly through ten games: Donnie Avery 7-141; Malcom Floyd 5-102; Hakeem Nicks 9-142; Eddie Royal 7-90-3; Terrance Williams 6-71-1; Demaryius Thomas 9-86-2; Hankerson 5-80-2; Wes Welker 7-76-2; Rueben Randle 6-96-2; Vincent Jackson 9-114-2; Dez Bryant 8-110; Victor Cruz 7-86; Denarius Moore 5-82; Rod Streater 5-98; Jarrett Boykin 8-112. ... Hankerson did light up the Eagles in these teams' Week 1 meeting, but virtually all of his production came in garbage time. Not a heavily targeted player in Washington's offense, "HankTime" would be a low-end WR3 gamble.

Reed has at least 90 yards and/or a touchdown in three of his last four games. The Eagles have allowed the ninth most catches and fifth most yards to tight ends, so continue to ride Reed as a TE1. ... Fullback Darrel Young's three-score Week 9 game was exposed as a fluke when he failed to gain a yard on his lone carry against the Vikings. He isn't worth a fantasy roster spot. ... Fading third-down back Helu remains heavily involved in Washington's offense as a blitz protector, but is a mere stash/handcuff in 12- and 14-team leagues. He's averaging five touches for 29 scoreless yards over the past three weeks. ... Owners are understandably frustrated with Alfred Morris' low-scoring fantasy season, but his on-field performance has been consistently terrific. He has 785 yards and four touchdowns on his last 148 carries (5.30 YPC). Morris has notched at least 95 rushing yards and/or a TD in five consecutive games. Ranked a middling 14th in run defense, Philly is going to have a difficult time containing the Redskins' top-three rushing offense. Fire up Morris as an every-week RB2 who could easily score like a top-ten fantasy back in this game.

Eagles-Redskins has the highest over-under of Week 11 at 52.5 points. It's the lone game projected to exceed 50 in what Vegas anticipates will be a relatively low-scoring week around the NFL. In other words, this is Week 11's premier game for fantasy leaguers to target. ... Continue to ride Nick Foles while he's hot. Challenging defenses vertically and winning, Foles has compiled a pristine 16:0 TD-to-INT ratio on the season, with a 17th touchdown on a scramble. Foles even padded his Week 10 stats with eight carries for 38 yards. The only fantasy quarterbacks I'd play over Foles this week are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and RG3. The Redskins rank 26th in pass defense and have permitted the fourth most passing touchdowns in football. ... LeSean McCoy also appears set up for Week 11 success. Shady stung Washington for 189 total yards and a score in these clubs' Opening Day meeting, and is now coming off his most promising rushing effort (155 yards, 6.2 YPC) since the season's first month. The Redskins' No. 18 run defense has silver plattered an NFC-high 12 rushing touchdowns. ... Foles' target distribution through seven appearances (four starts): DeSean Jackson 30; Riley Cooper 22; Jason Avant 21; McCoy 16; Zach Ertz 15; Brent Celek 11; Bryce Brown and Jeff Maehl 7.

The No. 4 fantasy receiver behind Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, and Demaryius Thomas on the season, D-Jax has registered stat lines of 7-132-1, 6-64-2, 3-21, 5-150-1, and 4-80-1 in the five 2013 games where Foles has attempted at least 18 passes. ... Cooper's numbers in those same games: 0-0; 4-120-1; 6-88; 5-139-3; 3-102-2. Cooper should be treated as a high-ceiling WR3. Foles has shown a willingness to target Cooper when "covered," and he is winning the battles with a 6-foot-3, 224-pound frame. ... The Redskins have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends, but Celek and Ertz are weekly shots in the dark. Ertz played 34 snaps in Week 10 and wasn't targeted. Celek played 51 downs but blocked on 37 of them, per Pro Football Focus. He finished with one seven-yard catch. ... The definition of a no-ceiling fantasy player, slot receiver Avant last scored a touchdown in Week 3 and is averaging 24.6 yards in the seven games since.

Score Prediction: Redskins 28, Eagles 24

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $7,500 Fantasy Football league for Week 11. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $1,500. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.



Cleveland @ Cincinnati

Since a flukish three-game hot stretch, sputtering Andy Dalton has completed 52 of his last 99 passes (52.5%) for 576 yards (5.82 YPA) and a 2:6 TD-to-INT ratio with a seventh turnover on a lost fumble. Both touchdowns came on tipped throws, and Dalton has absorbed ten sacks over his last two starts. He is who we thought he was. Now facing Cleveland's top-ten pass defense highlighted by shutdown corner Joe Haden, Dalton is a two-QB-league play only in Week 11. ... Haden helped hold A.J. Green to 51 yards on seven grabs in these clubs' Week 4 meeting. I'd keep betting on Green as an every-week WR1, but Cincinnati's offense has a tendency to tank when Green isn't producing at an especially high level, and that is a possibility this week. ... Dalton's target distribution the past five weeks: Green 60, Marvin Jones 33, Mohamed Sanu 28, Giovani Bernard 27, Tyler Eifert 25, Jermaine Gresham 19, Andrew Hawkins 2, BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1. ... With stat lines of 4-66-0 and 1-2 during Dalton's two-week crash to Earth, Jones has devolved into another rotational role player in the Bengals' passing offense behind target monster Green. Sanu is still starting over him, and Jones has played 61.4% of the snaps. Jones remains an intriguing, if low-end WR3 play due to this week's plus matchup. With Haden a virtual lock to shadow Green all over the field, Jones will tangle with a combination of Chris Owens and Buster Skrine. Skrine has struggled mightily all season, while Owens has been average. ... Despite his "starting" job, Sanu has remained thoroughly ineffective with five drops on the season, zero touchdowns, and a 34.2 yards-per-game average. He's waiver-wire fodder in 12-team leagues.

Yet to play more than seven snaps in either of his two appearances since returning from short-term I.R., Hawkins is a WR5/6 in 14- and 16-team leagues. ... With Gresham due back from his Week 10 groin injury, Eifert will resume middling to low-end TE2 value versus Cleveland. The Browns are 17th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Eifert saw ten targets with Gresham inactive last week, but won't be a good bet for more than six on Sunday. ... We've seen trends like this emerge briefly before proving non-predictive in a matter of one week, but over the Bengals' last two games Bernard has handled 35 touches compared to Green-Ellis' 30, with 21 of Law Firm's coming on Week 9 rushing attempts. Gio's snap percentage during that two-game span is 57.6 to Green-Ellis' 36.4. Bernard is the No. 7 fantasy running back over the last three weeks. Although somewhat boom or bust on a weekly basis, Bernard offers high-ceiling flex value in standard leagues and is a cinch RB2 in PPR. ... Run-defense matchups matter more for Law Firm than Bernard because the Bengals bang Green-Ellis in between the tackles, whereas they get Gio out in space. BJGE has an imposing Week 11 matchup against the Browns' top-six run defense. Ray Horton's group is holding opponents to 3.56 YPC, the fourth stingiest clip in football.

Based on recent performance, I fully expected Jason Campbell's quarterback insertion to take an axe to Cleveland's offensive production. I clearly underestimated the coaching job of which Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski were capable with a 32-year-old journeyman. Getting the football out quicker than ever before, historically sack-prone Campbell absorbed just three in back-to-back daunting matchups with Kansas City and Baltimore's defenses. In two starts, he's completed 45-of-71 passes (63.4%) for 555 yards (7.82 YPA) and a 5:0 TD-to-INT ratio with 37 rushing yards. Campbell didn't get the ball to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron as regularly as fantasy owners would've liked in Weeks 8-9, but now returns from a bye that gave Campbell an extended opportunity to hone his "rapport" with Cleveland's first-stringers. Facing a depleted Bengals pass defense minus its top pass rusher (Geno Atkins) and cover corner (Leon Hall), Campbell is squarely on the QB2 radar. And arrows are pointing up on the fantasy outlooks of his two best pass catchers. ... Campbell's target distribution on the year: Gordon 17; Davone Bess 14; Greg Little 13; Chris Ogbonnaya and Cameron 10; Fozzy Whittaker 6; Willis McGahee 2. ... Gordon owners should treat him like Vincent Jackson. He is an explosive, at-times dominant talent with some lingering quarterback question marks, but a boom-or-bust WR2 who can only be benched by owners truly loaded at wide receiver. Gordon will run most of his Week 11 routes against Bengals RCB Pacman Jones. I like Gordon's chances of winning that battle more than once on Sunday.

In Cleveland's pre-bye tilt with Baltimore, Little set a single-game career high with seven catches, and his 122 yards were a personal best since December of 2011. In forward-looking terms, it's hard to take those one-game stats seriously for a third-year receiver with such a lackluster track record. Little is worth adding in 16-team leagues, but I'd resist chasing his last box score into Week 11. ... In that same contest, No. 3 receiver Bess scored two TDs on three targets. Bess had gone 11 games without an end-zone trip entering the Ravens tilt. Chase the fluke scores at your own risk. ... Campbell has always been good about getting the rock to his tight ends, like Zach Miller in Oakland, and Chris Cooley and Fred Davis in Washington. So there's no great explanation for Cameron's underwhelming stat lines (4-81, 1-4) in Campbell's two starts. Although Cameron's fantasy value has taken an obvious hit since the Brian Hoyer era, he's still in the back-end TE1 mix with high-end athleticism and reliable hands. Cameron ate up a healthier Bengals defense in Week 4 for ten catches, 91 yards, and a touchdown. ... Understandably frustrated with dead-legged McGahee (2.62 YPC), Norv pledged during the bye week to give fullback/blitz protector Ogbonnaya more carries going forward. Whittaker will stay involved as a situational passing-game back. Cleveland's backfield is best left avoided by fantasy owners against Cincy's top-nine run defense, but Ogbonnaya would be the best pick if forced to choose from the three.

Score Prediction: Bengals 23, Browns 17

Detroit @ Pittsburgh

Set up to be an elite stretch-run fantasy difference maker, Reggie Bush has 197 yards on his last 35 carries (5.63 YPC) and on Sunday takes on a Steelers defense that ranks 29th versus the run with 12 rushing scores allowed through nine games. Only Jacksonville has given up more. Start Bush as a top-five RB1. ... Pass defense has been the strength of Steelers DC Dick LeBeau's unit this year, but Matthew Stafford is an every-week top-five QB1. He has an 11:4 TD-to-INT ratio over his last four games, adding a 12th score on a scramble. Only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have scored more fantasy quarterback points this season. ... Stafford's target distribution over his last four games: Calvin Johnson 56, Kris Durham 28, Bush 26, Brandon Pettigrew 22, Joseph Fauria 9, Joique Bell 8, Jeremy Ross 6. ... Pittsburgh has been somewhat stingy versus opposing No. 1 wideouts in recent games, but Megatron isn't just any No. 1 receiver. He's the best the NFL has seen since Jerry Rice. Johnson is on pace to finish as the No. 1 fantasy wideout for a third consecutive season. ... With Nate Burleson (arm) shelved one more week, Durham will get another start at “X” receiver. Even if his talent is limited, Durham has been playing enough snaps and seeing enough balls to warrant bottom-barrel WR3 consideration in PPR leagues. These are Durham's stat lines in his last four starts: 8-83; 5-41; 4-54; 1-5-1. Stafford's college teammate, Durham has played 88.3% of the Lions' offensive snaps during that stretch.

Pittsburgh is 18th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, giving Detroit's Fauria-Pettigrew combo a middling matchup. TD-dependent part-timer Fauria isn't involved on offense beyond red-zone packages. Pettigrew plays a lot more downs, but lacks playmaking ability and is 27th in tight end scoring. ... Behind only Adrian Peterson, there isn't a running back I'd rather own over the final six weeks of the fantasy season than Bush. At the same time, I wouldn't feel comfortable selling the farm for Reggie without handcuffing him with Joique Bell. Although Bush has stayed healthy in recent years -- he's missed just two games the past three seasons -- he had slew of early-career injuries and is being used at a voluminous clip. Bush is on pace for career highs in carries (250), all-purpose touches (314), and rushing yards (1,169). And the 6-3 Lions won't back off Bush's workload as they work to secure the NFC North. Bell is a must-hold for Bush owners. Even if you don't own Bush, Bell offers enough injury-dependent upside to stash on your bench.

Although it doesn't always work out exactly as planned, the Steelers are approaching every game nowadays with a run-first mindset in an effort to compensate for poor protection and keep Ben Roethlisberger from taking a beating. Le'Veon Bell has been a legit workhorse, handling at least 18 touches in each of his six rookie-year appearances, including a season-high 25 last week. OC Todd Haley wants to feed this player. Fire up Bell as a high-floor RB2 against a Lions defense coughing up 4.46 yards per carry, the eighth highest average in football. ... Big Ben has some QB1 streamer appeal this week based on the possibility that Stafford, Bush & Co. pour points on LeBeau's defense, forcing Haley to respond with more aggressiveness. Roethlisberger is still best utilized in two-quarterback leagues due to Pittsburgh's run-based approach. The matchup is working in his favor, as Detroit ranks 27th versus the pass and fourth to last in the league in sacks. Despite ample defensive line talent, the Lions' pass rush isn't getting home. ... Ben's target distribution since Le'Veon joined the lineup six games ago: Antonio Brown 63; Emmanuel Sanders 44; Heath Miller 35; Bell 29; Jerricho Cotchery 24; Felix Jones 9; Markus Wheaton 6.

PPR monster Brown ranks first in the NFL in receptions (67), fifth in receiving yards (805), fifth in 20-plus-yard catches (12), and fifth in first-down grabs (40). He's a borderline WR1 in PPR and every-week WR2 in standard. The Lions don't have a cornerback quick enough to cover him. ... Sanders has a favorable matchup, but is a fairly distant second in the pass-game pecking order on a run-first team. He's a weekly dice-roll WR3. Sanders does have 28 targets the past three weeks, tied for sixth most among NFL receivers. Brown's 33 are second behind only A.J. Green (41). ... Fantasy owners trying to chase Cotchery's Weeks 9-10 production will wind up disappointed sooner rather than later, and most likely this week. He's scored four touchdowns over his last two games, but is averaging 3.6 targets per week in the months of October and November. More explosive Wheaton will soon begin playing increased snaps. ... Miller caught a tight end screen for his lone reception of Week 10, and it was painful to see him try to run. Coming off a triple-knee ligament tear, Miller seems to be getting worse as the weeks go by. The Lions are just 25th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. ... Don't bother handcuffing Le'Veon for the stretch run. Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones are sharing backup duties equally at this point.

Score Prediction: Lions 26, Steelers 20


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva


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