Bye weeks can be either a blessing or a curse for fantasy owners. Sometimes the byes can give you a much-needed edge over a superior team missing their studs, but sometimes they weed out a few of your players each week while your opponent loses no one, decimating your record.
Either way, the bye weeks are finally coming to a close this week with the Giants, Vikings, Titans and Seahawks the final teams to get a Sunday off. Pretty much only owners with star running backs are actually affected, plus maybe Victor Cruz owners. After this week, it’s all up to your full roster.
Looking at last week’s picks, it was my second consecutive great outing with Andy Dalton having his first career 4-TD game, Malcolm Floyd continuing to be solid and underrated, and Greg Olsen exploding with his biggest game on the year. Jerome Simpson at least did something as a super deep sleeper, but was fairly quiet, and I was way off on Shane Vereen who had all his fantasy goodness stolen by Danny Woodhead.
For my down calls, tough to predict injuries but I did say last week’s game was “a recipe for disaster” because of that that Cowboys pass rush, leading to Michael Vick disappointing fantasy owners that stuck with him, along with DeSean Jackson who missed Vick after Nick Foles came in. Vernon Davis and Ahmad Bradshaw were also disappointments. Only guy I was off on here was Jamaal Charles who had his best game in his past four against that tough Steelers D.
Here’s five guys not started in enough leagues and five guys started in too many leagues that should be benched, along with their % started in ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues, respectively. And remember, these picks are not always suggestions for direct 1-for-1 swaps if you own players in both sections, but merely picks for guys not started enough and started too often.
Carson Palmer, QB, Oakland (28.4%, 35%) Palmer has both quietly and uglily (OK now I’m making up words) entered the top-10 amongst fantasy QBs. Pretty shocking stuff right there, considering the high-scoring offenses of today’s game. And you can’t get a better matchup this week against the Saints, giving up the most points to opposing QBs in the NFL. Last week I got a few tweets asking Vick vs. Palmer and I went with football’s CP (sorry Chris Paul). Good to get some right! Great play again this week.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia (4.1%, 11%) A little further down the barrel, but I think Foles is a good play this week as well. In a lot of leagues, if you lost Vick, Foles may very well be your best option. He was thrown out there against the Cowboys pass rush and secondary without a full week to prep, yet I was still impressed with what I saw this week. Full reps with the first team offense, and a great matchup against the Redskins pass D that are prone to big plays, and I think Foles could approach 300 yards with 2 TDs. Like him a lot if you’re desperate or in a deeper league and just lost Vick.
Titus Young, WR, Detroit (9.3%, 30%) Young’s actually been big in three of the last four weeks; the only outlier against the Jaguars where the Lions offense could just phone it in and hand Leshoure 3 rushing TDs. It’s not going to be anything like that against Green Bay. Shootout alert for sure, with indoor conditions aiding the passing game and the Pack sure to double and triple the almighty Megatron. I like Young for a big game in this one.
Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona (8.1%, 21%) As I discussed with Nick on this week’s Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast, Roberts has been a criminally ignored fantasy contributor this year. The 20th highest scoring fantasy WR, Roberts is still an afterthought. While this week’s matchup against the Falcons isn’t ideal, the Cardinals will have to throw to stay even remotely close in this one, and I see a lot of targets coming Roberts’ way. He’s actually been pretty consistent throughout the year, and I expect another solid game here.
Super Deep: Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis (2.1%, 9%) The lesser of the two running back Richardsons, guess which RB has a YPC of 5.7 and guess which one has a YPC of 3.8? OK I didn’t veil that too well, but Daryl has been absolutely monstrous when he gets the rock, almost out rushing Trent by 2 yards a carry. With Stephen Jackson looking strong after the bye last week, he’s sure to command the majority of the work, but I could see the Rams having a big game here against the faltering Jets. If the Rams are up by double digits in the 4th, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gang Green gets a big dose of D Rich. Love him here as a high-upside flex.
Son of a Bench
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas (53.9%, 60%) It’s been a nightmare to be a Tony Romo owner this year, and while it’s looking like he’s righting the ship with no turnovers in the past two with decent numbers, I don’t trust him in this one. I know Cleveland’s D has been bad and Joe Haden looks like he’ll be out, but I could see this game ending at 17-10 with Romo having 150 yards and 1 TD. He won’t need to do more than manage this game, and I don’t see the Boys really racking it up.
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta (79.1%, 74%) An absolute abhorrent game from Turner last week against the Saints run D I think has all fantasy analysts down on the former burner. A fatal mix of a groin strain and a tough Cardinals run D will keep Turner from bouncing back again this week. I expect we see a lot of Rodgers and a closer game than many will expect in this one.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego (79.0%, 70%) Another big-name RB with the dreaded “Q” label is Ryan Mathews, who is dealing with neck stiffness. Enter Michael Caine from Goldmember reference. It’s looking pretty optimistic that he’ll suit up, but with a late kickoff and two blah backups, it’s going to be tough to make a last second move if he indeed does miss the game. Regardless, I see the Broncos having their way with the Chargers, forcing San Diego into a pass only offense, and while Mathews has good hands, I think Norv will work his other RBs into the mix in the passing attack. Don’t like him at all.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston (90.9%, 87%) When you run the ball as well as the Texans do, if you have a bad run D like the Jaguars the Texans aren’t going to need to do anything else. Unfortunately for Johnson, that means a limited role for him, with a total of 5 catches for 43 yards in his past two games against Jacksonville. I expect another heavy dose of the run and a conservative offensive attack from Kubiak and the gang.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh (65.5%, 62%) It’s been a long awaited big season from Miller in his 8th year, but just when everything was going right, Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder goes wrong. And the change in QB to Leftwich is about as brutal as it gets. Miller effectively falls towards the bottom of the middle-tier TEs for me, and I’d rather reach for the upside of someone on your wire.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Sorry for the bad news, but I will be having my bye week next week as I travel through Thanksgiving weekend. Good luck to everyone today in week 11 and I’ll be back for week 13!