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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
WR Andre Johnson: I didn't join Colts for revenge against Texans
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2015) Perennial Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson insists that he did not sign as a free agent with the Colts with two matchups against his old Texans team in mind. He claims the move was because Indianapolis, led by quarterback Andrew Luck, gives him the best chance to win.

Johnson was surprisingly released by Houston, but revenge was not part of his game plan.

"(Leaving the Texans) hasn't even really set in," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I was just talking about that with someone (Thursday). Everybody thinks that I went to the Colts to try and get back at the Texans and stuff like that. That had nothing to do with it. I just went to the ... place where I felt was the best fit for me and where I can have a chance to win a championship.

"It wasn't about circling (game) dates or nothing against the Texans. I had 12 great years here. Been around some great people, built some great relationships, a lot of great friends. Houston's always going to be my home."

Johnson remained productive in 2014, but his yards-per-catch average declined to 11.0, its lowest since 2005.


Report: Jaguars restructure contract of Marcedes Lewis
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2015) The Jaguars restructured the contract of tight end Marcedes Lewis, according to a report by Jacksonville.com.

Lewis did not receive an extension. This year will be the last year of his contract. The restructuring should reduce his cap number, which is currently $8.2 million. 


Jaguars sign Stefen Wisniewski
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2015) The Jaguars announced the signing of free agent center Stefen Wisniewski on Saturday. 

Wisniewski reportedly signed a one-year contract for $2.5 million, per Jacksonville.com.

"We had the opportunity to spend time with Stefen earlier this month and remained in contact with him with the hopes of getting a deal done," GM David Caldwell said. "We are excited to get him on board before we officially start our offseason conditioning program next week. He gives us great position flexibility along our offensive line as he has started at both center and guard during his career. He has a familiarity with our offensive system and brings a lot of experience to our offensive line room."


49ers looking to extend Michael Wilhoite
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) After the unexpected retirements of two linebackers, the 49ers are looking to lock up Michael Wilhoite to a contract extension. 

Wilhoite is an exclusive rights free agent, but GM Trent Baalke told the media he hopes to negotiate a long-term deal. 

"We’re working on something with him as we speak … He’s kind of in a unique situation. He was kind of caught in a numbers deal," Baalke said, per SFGate.com.


DeMeco Ryans likes improved Eagles' defense
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans likes the changes that the team has made to its defense in the offseason.

"We got better on the outside, which we struggled at last year,” Ryans said, per ESPN. “We had a lot of struggles there on the outside at the corner position, so I feel we've upgraded there with (Byron) Maxwell , a guy that you've seen make a lot of plays for the Seahawks. A guy like Kiko (Alonso), who his rookie year was a really outstanding player, up for defensive rookie of the year, a playmaker all over the field, and another guy in (Walter) Thurmond , who is expected to definitely push guys to be the starting corner on the other side. So I feel like we upgraded at a lot of positions, and I feel like it's really going to improve our defense."


Kubiak: Time for Broncos' backup Brock Osweiler to step up
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler hasn't had much playing time, as Peyton Manning's backup, but coach Gary Kubiak wants to see progress from him.

"I think it's time for Brock to take a big step as a player," Kubiak said, per NFL.com. "A lot of times in this league, the young quarterbacks don't get the opportunity to be behind a player of Peyton's status and learn before they get the opportunity in this league ... I think Brock needs to take advantage of this. But he's going to be very competitive. I'm very impressed with his skills. I'm very impressed with how hard he works in the classroom. I know he's got all of the ability."


Kubiak: Broncos will run no-huddle with Peyton Manning
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Gary Kubiak said he plans to take advantage of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning when designing the Broncos' offense for next season. 

We'll definitely be running the hurry-up offense," Kubiak said per NFL.com. "Peyton's been the best at the business at it for many years, so that's a strength that we'll stay with."

That doesn't mean everything will be the same for Manning. Kubiak said he planned on having Manning under center more than in recent seasons. 


Steelers claim LS Brandon Hartson off waivers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) The Steelers announced on Friday that they claimed long snapper Brandon Hartson off of waivers. 

Hartson was waived by the Chiefs on Thursday. 


S Chris Banjo signs EFA tender with Packers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Packers safety Chris Banjo signed his exclusive-rights tender on Friday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The tender is good for one year and is worth $585,000 for the 2015 season. 


Trent Baalke praises 49ers LB Aldon Smith's offseason work ethic
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has had plenty of off-field issues since entering the NFL.

After serving a nine-game suspension a year ago for violating the NFL's personal-conduct and substance-abuse policy, Smith returned and only tallied two sacks. 

The time off followed by sub-par performances has ignited Smith on the practice field thus far, according to general manager Trent Baalke. 

"He’s probably in as good a shape as he’s been in a long time," Baalke said, via the San Jose Mercury News. "He’s starting to develop into a leader out there, which is good to see and been a pleasure to watch."

Baalke knows that Smith has an uphill climb in repairing his image. But while Smith attempts to do so, Baalke wanted the San Francisco media to know that Smith is doing what he can to improve ont he playing field. 

“He’s got a great look in his eye,” Baalke said. “He’s doing well. I look forward to having you guys visit with him.”


 
 
 
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