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Into the deep for Week 11

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

Quarterback

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Christian Ponder (vs. OAK): This is a bad week for Fantasy quarterbacks with Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger on a bye, Tim Tebow facing a tough opponent in the Jets and Michael Vick (ribs) likely out. That could leave Fantasy owners looking for help, and Ponder has a quality matchup against the Raiders. Seven quarterbacks have scored multiple touchdowns against the Raiders this season, including the past two games with Tebow and Philip Rivers. While Ponder struggled in Week 10 at Green Bay, he did have 19 Fantasy points in his lone home game this season in Week 7 against the Packers. He could be a good emergency Fantasy quarterback this week in deeper formats. (Started in 5 percent of leagues in Week 10)
John Skelton (at SF): Skelton might have a little more upside than Ponder this week even with a tough matchup against the 49ers. Skelton has started the past two games for the Cardinals in place of Kevin Kolb (toe), and he has 44 Fantasy points combined over that span. He played well at the Eagles in Week 10 with 315 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, and he does one thing well -- he gets the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. In two games with Skelton, Fitzgerald has 25 targets, which is his best two-game stretch of the season, and three touchdowns. And since the Cardinals will likely play from behind, Skelton could have plenty of chances to throw. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Alex Smith (vs. ARI): The Cardinals' secondary has done a solid job of late, allowing zero passing touchdowns over the past three games against Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford and Vick with four interceptions over that span. But part of that is misleading since Flacco lost out on at least two touchdowns due to pass interference calls, and Vick was playing with broken ribs and without two of his best receivers with DeSean Jackson inactive and Jeremy Maclin (shoulder/hamstring) hurt. Still, the stats are what they are, but Arizona also has allowed multiple touchdowns to Cam Newton, Rex Grossman, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, and Smith could still play well this week. He had 23 Fantasy points against the Cardinals in his lone meeting last year and has at least 19 Fantasy points in two of his past four home games. (Started in 6 percent of leagues in Week 10)

Running back

Kendall Hunter (vs. ARI): Hunter has an opportunity to play well this week against the Cardinals if Frank Gore is out or limited. Gore hurt his knee in Week 10 against the Giants and he was unable to finish the game. If he is out against the Cardinals then Hunter would be worth starting in the majority of leagues. Hunter played well against the Giants once Gore left the game, finishing with six carries for 40 yards and a touchdown. He has two touchdowns on the season and three games with at least nine Fantasy points while playing behind Gore. The Cardinals have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing running backs and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Taiwan Jones (at MIN): As long as Darren McFadden (foot) remains out then Jones will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Michael Bush. He ran well against the Chargers in Week 10 with seven carries for 39 yards in his first extended look this year, and the Raiders might give him more touches to keep Bush healthy. He is only worth a look in deeper formats since the Vikings have been tough to run on of late with just three touchdowns allowed to running backs and only Matt Forte reaching double digits in Fantasy points in the past four games. But still, Jones could come up with four of five Fantasy points if he gets enough touches. (Not started in the majority of leagues in Week 10)
Lance Ball (vs. NYJ): Ball did a solid job filling in for Willis McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee) last week at Kansas City with 30 carries for 96 yards, and he could get an extended look this week against the Jets with McGahee either out or limited. Moreno is lost for the season with a torn ACL, and the Broncos will rely on both running backs in this matchup with the Jets after Tebow attempted just eight passes against the Chiefs. If McGahee misses the game then Ball could be a low-end No. 2 running back in deeper leagues, and he could be considered a flex option even if McGahee plays. The Jets have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Not started in the majority of leagues in Week 10)
Maurice Morris (vs. CAR): Morris has the chance for a big game this week against the Panthers, who continue to get abused by opposing running backs. Carolina has now allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs and eight running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points after Chris Johnson torched them last week for 23 points. The Lions also might lean on their running game a little more this week to protect Matthew Stafford (finger). Morris had 11 Fantasy points in Week 8 at Denver, and he should be able to reach that total this week. You can consider Morris a starter in the majority of leagues, and he has the chance for his best game of the season based on Carolina's defense. (Started in 17 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Marion Barber (vs. SD): Barber has done a nice job with short-yardage carries for the Bears, and he comes into this game with four touchdowns in his past six outings. The Chargers have struggled in their run defense of late with a running back scoring a touchdown or rushing for 100 yards in five of their past six games. Last week the Raiders got 199 rushing yards and 85 receiving yards from their running backs, so this should be a good game for Matt Forte and Barber. We consider Barber a good flex option in deeper formats, and if he scores another touchdown he should finish as a Top 20 running back in most standard leagues. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 10)

Wide receiver

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Early Doucet (at SF): Doucet deserves more credit than he's been given because he has played well for most of the season as the No. 2 receiver for the Cardinals. He benefits from always getting single coverage thanks to Fitzgerald, but he has at least seven Fantasy points in each of his past five games with three touchdowns over that span. He has 38 targets in his past five outings, and he would be even more productive if he were more involved. The Cardinals will likely throw a lot due to the 49ers' stout run defense, and Doucet could be called upon for another quality performance. He should have another game with at least seven Fantasy points this week. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Damian Williams (at ATL): Williams is coming off the best performance of his career against Carolina in Week 10 with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Williams had seven targets against the Panthers, and he has stepped up his performance since Kenny Britt (knee) was lost for the season. Williams has four touchdowns in his past six games, and Matt Hasselbeck is relying on him quite a bit, especially with Nate Washington and Jared Cook disappearing. He has the chance for another quality outing this week against the Falcons, who have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Vincent Brown (at CHI): Brown played well in Week 10 against the Raiders with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. He should have had two touchdowns, but it's clear as long as Malcom Floyd (hip) is out that Brown will remain a significant contributor in the passing game since he has nine catches for 176 yards and a touchdown in his past two outings. He also has 15 targets over that span, and Philip Rivers will not be afraid to throw his way going forward. The Bears have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing receivers but 12 have reached at least seven Fantasy points. We consider Brown a very capable No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues this week. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Harry Douglas (vs. TEN): Douglas has played well of late with at least five Fantasy points in three of his past four games, including his stellar outing against New Orleans in Week 10 with eight catches for 133 yards, and he could have an opportunity to remain relevant if Julio Jones (hamstring) is out. Jones left the game with the Saints and could be out again in Week 11 against Tennessee. Douglas had 14 targets against the Saints and Matt Ryan will continue to look in his direction if Jones is out. The Titans have allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven have scored at least seven Fantasy points. (Not started in the majority of leagues in Week 10)
Preston Parker (at GB): It's difficult to count on any of Tampa Bay's receivers based on their level of inconsistent play this season, but Parker has arguably been the best option. He has three touchdowns this year and four games with at least seven Fantasy points. The Bucs will likely be trailing in this game against the Packers, which means plenty of passing for Josh Freeman. Someone has to catch the ball, and we'd bet on Parker having the most production. He's worth a look in the deepest of formats with the hope he can score a touchdown in garbage time. Keep in mind the Packers have allowed the third-most Fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 10)

Tight end

Ed Dickson (vs. CIN): Dickson had 10 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns at Seattle last week, and we hope he can build off that performance this week against the Bengals. We've been waiting for Dickson to do something since his performance in Week 1 when he had 11 Fantasy points against the Steelers, but he's disappeared ever since. He rebounded in a big way against the Seahawks, including 14 targets. Dickson continues to share playing time with Dennis Pitta, but Dickson has more big-play ability. He is worth adding and starting in deeper leagues in Week 11 against Cincinnati, which has allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends and four to reach at least nine Fantasy points. (Started in 5 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Anthony Fasano (vs. BUF): Fasano has emerged as the second-best Fantasy option in the passing game for the Dolphins behind Brandon Marshall since Matt Moore became the starter. He had two catches for 22 yards and a touchdown in Week 7 against Denver, two catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns at Kansas City in Week 9 and three catches for 60 yards against Washington in Week 10. The problem for Fasano has been he has just seven targets in his past two games, so he needs to score or have a big play to be successful. The Bills have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends but five have reached at least six Fantasy points. And Fasano has just two games with more than seven Fantasy points in his past five meetings with Buffalo. Still, he's playing well as of late, and Moore seems to trust him, so he could be worth a flier in deeper leagues. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 10)
Kevin Boss (at MIN): We like Carson Palmer as our Start of the Week, and he should play well against the Vikings. But he needs help from his receiving corps with Jacoby Ford (ankle) out, and Boss could step up with a solid performance. The Vikings have allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends and six have reached at least six Fantasy points. Boss has really struggled of late with just three catches for 43 yards in his past three games, but this is a Hail Mary call for owners in dire need in deeper formats. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 10)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
John Harbaugh provides no updates on Eugene Monroe, Ricky Wagner
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:19 pm ET) Ravens coach John Harbaugh was unable to provide any injury updates on offensive linemen Eugene Monroe and Ricky Wagner Monday during his press conference.

Monroe and Wagner were reportedly seen leaving the locker room in walking boots falling the Ravens loss to the Texans Sunday.

Wagner was carted off the field with a foot injury and was unable to return.

The Ravens take on the Browns in Week 17 and are currently 10-point favorites over Cleveland.


Pettine: QB Shaw to take snaps with Browns first team
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:14 pm ET) Browns practice squad quarterback Connor Shaw is set to receive significant snaps with the first team in practice this week. The team might also sign another quarterback, per the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

The potential moves announced by Mike Pettine are in response to injuries sustained on Sunday by Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. The former has not been ruled out for Sunday at Baltimore, but the latter has.


Browns rule out Johnny Manziel for Week 17 against the Ravens
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:10 pm ET) Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been officially ruled out for Sunday's game at Baltimore, coach Mike Pettine announced Monday. 

Manziel suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter of Week 16's game against the Panthers and was unable to return to the game. 

Pettine said it was a pretty significant injury that is a "several-week" issue for Manziel.

He season ends with 175 passing yards and a 42.0 quarterback rating. He also had two interceptions and one fumble lost. 


Falcons' Mike Smith: Julio Jones looking 'really good' and 'spry'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was able to play Sunday through a hip injury he suffered in Week 14, and coach Mike Smith said Monday Jones "looked really good" and "spry" on Saturday heading into their matchup with the Saints sunday. 

Jones hauled in seven catches for 107 yards in Atlanta's 30-14 win over New Orleans in Week 16, helping keep the Falcons alive for the division title. He indicated he inteds on playing in Week 17 against the Panthers. 

The Falcons are 3 1/2-point favorites against Carolina this week.


Lions C Dominic Raiola suspended one game for safety violation
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) The NFL has suspended Lions center Dominic Raiola one game without pay on for his actions in Week 17 against the Bears. This is the sixth safety-related rules violation for Raiola since 2010. He will appeal to be heard tomorrow by an appeals officer.

After walking away from a pile, Raiola was caught on camera stepping on Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle. Following the game, he told reporters his actions were "not intentional."

If the ruling is upheld, Raiola will sit out Sunday's regular season finale against the Packers. The winner of that game will clinch the NFC North division. Raiola will be eligible to return for Detroit's first playoff game.


Texans lineman Brandon Brooks 'day to day' with knee injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Texans offensive lineman Brandon Brooks had his leg bent in an awkward direction and is considered day to day with a knee injury, coach Bill O' Brien said Monday.

Brooks left Week 16's game after sustaining the leg injury and was unable to return. 

If he is unable to go, guard David Newton would likely replace Brooks as he did in Week 16.

The Texans are 10-point favorites against the Jaguars in Week 17.


Vikings hopeful tight end Kyle Rudolph can play in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday if tight end Kyle Rudolph is healthy enough to play, he will be on the field for Week 17.

Rudolph, who has only played in eight games this year with an ankle and knee injury, has 24 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns this season. Week 16 was his first game out since Week 11 and had seven catches for 69 yards in his previous start for Minnesota. 


Chip Kelly unsure who will start at cornerback in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday he has not determined who will start at the cornerback position Bradley Fletcher has started at most of the season. The coaching staff will meet later on in the day to determine starters for Week 17.

"I thought Bradley's played well during the year," Kelly said. "You've got to look at it through the whole time."

Fletcher struggled again in Week 16, getting burned this time by DeSean Jackson on multiple catches, including a 55-yard completion.


Vikings Chad Greenway away from team to deal with personal issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway did not travel back to Minneapolis with the team. Instead he flew to San Diego to tend to a personal matter, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. Greenway left Sunday's loss against Miami with a knee injury. Zimmer said he's unsure if he'll be able to play Week 17 against Chicago.

QB Hoyer injury could result in Shaw starting for Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer sustained a right shoulder injury late in the Week 16 game at Carolina and is considered day-to-day, per CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

His potential absence Sunday in Baltimore, as well as the loss of Johnny Manziel to a hamstring problem, could open the door for undrafted rookie and current practice squad quarterback Connor Shaw to start against the Ravens.

Shaw is set to be activated if the two can't play. Given the monumental struggles of Hoyer and Manziel lately, a strong performance by Shaw could complicate the situation regarding the position heading into the offseason. The Browns have been searching for their franchise quarterback since returning to Cleveland in 1999.


 
 
 
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