Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Jamaal Charles, or to bench Christian Ponder and Daniel Thomas? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 11 of the 2013 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Case Keenum, QB, Texans vs. Raiders. In his three starts, Keenum has thrown seven TD passes and zero interceptions, while making Andre Johnson’s owners very happy. With Oakland’s sad-sack defense on tap next, the rookie could bring a smile to your face, too. Houston’s running game is struggling, so Keenum will need to fling it often in an attempt to collect his first NFL victory.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers at Dolphins. Miami’s sieve-like run defense fell apart against the Bucs on Monday night and has now surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Mathews still must compete with Danny Woodhead, but his upside is too great to leave on your bench.
Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals at Jaguars. Though Rashard Mendenhall will get his touches, the rookie is a threat to take it to the house on any play. Jacksonville’s depleted defense is very generous to opposing rushers while Ellington is equally dangerous as a receiver.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers vs. Lions. Though overshadowed by Jerricho Cotchery in recent weeks, Sanders is still targeted more frequently and is due for a rebound after last week’s poor outing. Detroit’s secondary is extremely accommodating, which is good news for Big Ben and his stable of wideouts.
Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins vs. Chargers. After ceding the spotlight to upstart Rishard Matthews under the Monday night lights, Wallace will be calling for the ball against one of the league’s passing doormats. Miami’s rushing attack is non-existent, so count on Ryan Tannehill to carry the team as best he can through the air.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Nick Foles, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown; RBs Reggie Bush, Ray Rice, Andre Brown, Ben Tate, Frank Gore, Darren Sproles, Alfred Morris, Knowshon Moreno; WRs Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson, Golden Tate, Pierre Garcon, Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, Jarrett Boykin, Doug Baldwin, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Smith.
Roll ‘em back
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals vs. Browns. Dalton is in a serious slump, having thrown three interceptions in both of his last two games. And had it not been for AJ Green’s answered prayer, Dalton would have had just one TD pass over that same span. Cleveland held the Red Rifle to just 206 yards and an INT without a score in their Week 4 contest. Joe Haden & Co. will present another stiff challenge to Dalton on Sunday.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots at Panthers. With signs pointing to the return of Shane Vereen, New England’s backfield gets even more crowded. Ridley has been on a nice roll the last few weeks, especially in the TD department; but Vereen’s presence could put a damper on that. Throw in the tough matchup in Carolina, and Ridley’s prospects dim even further this week if Vereen is active.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers vs. Lions. Detroit has been very unfriendly to its rushing opponents of late, most recently holding Matt Forte to his lowest output of the season. Bell has been a grinder, and he helps his cause by contributing as a receiver. But the going gets tough when the Lions visit, especially if Pittsburgh is forced to keep pace with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson through the air.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars vs. Cardinals. Jacksonville finally worked its way into the win column, but that didn’t help Shorts’ fantasy production. This week, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson will be shadowing him up and down the field, leading to another disappointing day for the consistently inconsistent receiver who has been slowed in practice this week with a groin injury. While we’re at it, Arizona’s defense is a great play as well.
Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots at Panthers. With Rob Gronkowski back and Aaron Dobson emerging, Amendola’s role in New England’s passing attack is diminishing. Aside from Tom Brady’s stellar outing against the Steelers, there’s been little to celebrate from Amendola recently. Look for Carolina to clamp down hard on Monday night.
More thumbs down: QBs Colin Kaepernick, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, EJ Manuel; RBs Lamar Miller, Rashard Mendenhall, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Mark Ingram, Bilal Powell; WRs Stevie Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings, Harry Douglas, Eddie Royal.
TAKING A FLIER
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans vs. Raiders. Now that Keenum has returned the deep ball to Houston’s aerial repertoire, Andre Johnson isn’t the only beneficiary. Rookie speedster Hopkins has returned to fantasy relevance and is a favorite target of his young quarterback. When Oakland is the opponent, every decent wideout has a chance to soar.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO… fails to check the game-day weather reports before finalizing your starting roster. It’s that time of year again, when wicked winds and rain can wreak havoc on passing and kicking games. Inclement weather doesn’t necessarily mean you should sit your studs; but it can be the tipping point between two otherwise-equal options.
Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).