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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
49ers not ready to award Steve Johnson No. 3 receiver role
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:31 am ET) The 49ers aren't ready to declare Steve Johnson as the team's No. 3 receiver. In fact, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the team won't "put numbers" on their receivers. Johnson is fight Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton, and rookie Bruce Ellington for snaps this preseason.

When asked if Johnson is the third wideout, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said: "It depends. It depends. I think we'll have some flexibility there."

Brent Celek compiles 41 receiving yards vs. Eagles
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:15 am ET) Eagles tight end Brent Celek made his presence felt with only two catches Thursday night against the Steelers in exhibition play.

Celek came down with a 23-yard grab during the second series of the night. On the ensuing drive late in the first quarter, he caught an 18-yard pass from Nick Foles. He played the entire first half with the starters and finished the game with two receptions for 41 yards.

Darren Sproles scores rushing TD Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) Eagles running back Darren Sproles found the end zone during Thursday's exhibition game against the Steelers.

With LeSean McCoy sidelined after the first two series, Sproles tooke over and scored a rushing touchdown from 1-yard out in the second quarter. He played the entire first half with the starters and finished the game with six carries for 33 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. He was targeted only four times and finished the game with one catch for 4 yards.

Nick Foles not at his best in preseason tuneup
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:04 am ET) Eagles quarterback Nick Foles didn't look impressive Thursday night against the Steelers in exhibition play.

Foles threw a short pass to LeSean McCoy, who turned it into a 22-yard touchdown. He was picked off by Troy Polamalu in the second quarter. He played the first half and compiled 179 yards through the air while completing 19 of 29 passes. He added a touchdown and an interception, registering a 79.5 passer rating.

Foles has passed for 304 pass yards through three preseason games. His next game will likely be the regular season opener against the Jaguars on Sept. 7.

Antonio Brown racks up 59 receiving yards Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown bounced back from a slow start in Thursday's exhibition game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Brown was held without a grab in the first quarter and came down with a 19-yard reception in the second quarter -- his only catch of the half. He bounced back after halftime with a pair of catches. He was targeted five times and finished with three catches for 59 yards, averaging 19.7 yards per grab.

Brown has compiled 173 receiving yards and a touchdown through three preseason games.

Markus Wheaton not on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton had a bad drop and endured some communication issues with Ben Roethlisberger Thursday night against the Eagles in preseason action, per the NFL Network. Wheaton finished the first half without a grab and caught passes for 10 and 14 yards in the third quarter. He caught half of his four targets for 24 yards.

"It looked bad. We'll go watch the film, it could be 'this here is wrong, that is wrong,' you fix it and you get rolling," Wheaton said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Martavis Bryant scores late-game TD in preseason game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Steelers rookie receiver Martavis Bryant worked with the second-team offense and came down with a touchdown reception Thursday night against the Eagles.

Bryant caught a 25-yards pass in the fourth quarter. Backup Bruce Grad Gradkowski hooked up with the rookie for a short 3-yard touchdown strike on the ensuing drive. He was targeted four times and finished with two catches for 28 yards.

Heath Miller looks like old self in preseason tuneup
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Steelers tight end Heath Miller looked like his old self during Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Miller played deep into the third quarter with the first-team offense. He came down with a 27-yard touchdown grab late in the third quarter. He finished five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown, averaging 10.6 yards per grab.

Darrius Heyward-Bey makes touchdown grab in exhibition game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Steelers wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey hauled in a touchdown Thursday night against the Eagles in preseason action.

Heyward-Bey worked with the backups and caught a 22-yard pass from Bruce Gradkowski in the fourth quarter. He caught all three of his targets for 54 yards and a touchdown, averaging 18.0 yards per grab.

Heyward-Bey is struggling to find a prominent role with his new club. He finished last season with just 29 catches for 309 yards and one touchdown for Indianapolis.

Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount get extended work with backups
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(8/21/2014) Hours removed from being charged with marijuana possession, Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both received extra snaps with the backups deep into Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles in Philadelphia. 

Bell got the start but shared carries and was outplayed by Blount throughout the night. He took nine handoffs for 23 yards, averaging only 2.6 yards per attempt. He caught only one pass for 3 yards while being targeted twice. Blount had seven carries for 32 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per attempt. He caught all three of his targets for 14 yards.

Both players played late into the game as part of a "punishment," according to head coach Mike Tomlin, per the Observer-Reporter.


 
 
 
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