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Five up, five down for Week 11

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.

It is the grand finale of the bye weeks in Week 11. The good news for Fantasy owners is that this week you get to bench your Giants, so when they score nothing it will happen on your bench. You also will not have the services of three of the top running backs in the NFL with Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Marshawn Lynch all off this week. With that in mind, I'll put a little extra focus on the running back position this week.

Get 'em active ...

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts (at NE)
Current own/start %: 99/56
I'd start him over: Josh Freeman (at CAR), Robert Griffin III (vs. PHI), Matt Schaub (vs. JAC)
In Week 9, Andrew Luck continued his phenomenal rookie campaign with his first multiple touchdown game on the road. Now, he did not throw any touchdowns against the Jaguars because he didn't really have to, but he did run in two more scores. Luck now has five rushing touchdowns on the year, which is second among all quarterbacks. He has multiple touchdowns in six of his last eight games and has thrown for 280 or more yards on six occasions as well. For the first time in what will be a long and storied career, I am expecting Andrew Luck to do both of those things against the very generous Patriots pass defense. The Pats are allowing 298 yards passing per game (fourth) and 2.11 passing touchdowns per game (tied for most), which is why they have surrendered an average of 21.78 points per game to quarterbacks, sixth most in the NFL. Five of the last seven quarterbacks who have played the Pats have put up at least 22 Fantasy points, thrown multiple touchdowns and thrown for at least 328 yards. The only quarterbacks who were held to fewer than 22 points were Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez and the latter still threw for 328 yards with absolutely no receiving corps. This is the perfect matchup for Luck to have the defining road game of his career and I think he will be a great start for his Fantasy owners once again.

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders (vs. NO)
Current own/start %: 90/43
I'd start him over: Cam Newton (vs. TB), Josh Freeman (at CAR), Tony Romo (vs. CLE)
Carson Palmer has been on fire of late and his Fantasy production certainly reflects that. In his last four games, Palmer has produced an average of 322.25 yards passing with 2.25 touchdowns, 1.5 interceptions and most importantly, 24.25 Fantasy points per game. Palmer has been a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback in all four weeks and should make it five in a row against the Saints in Week 11. With an absolutely dreadful defense and no real running game, Palmer has played from behind in each of the last two weeks to great Fantasy success, compiling 782 yards passing, six touchdowns, four interceptions and 58 Fantasy points against Tampa Bay and Baltimore. I have a feeling that Drew Brees and the Saints will put a ton of points on the board against Oakland and Palmer will chuck it 45 or more times for the third straight week. It also certainly helps Palmer that no team in the NFL allows more passing yards (322), passing touchdowns (2.11) or Fantasy points per game (25.33) to opposing quarterbacks. Three of the last four quarterbacks to face the Saints have topped 30 Fantasy points and only one quarterback all year has even been held below 19 points. In their last six games, the Saints have been worse than ever, giving up 347 yards, 2.7 touchdowns and 28.5 points per game. Palmer is as good a start as there is at the position this week and will pay back the Fantasy owners who have stuck with him all year.

Other QBs with favorable matchups: Cam Newton (vs. TB), Matthew Stafford (vs. GB), Andy Dalton (at KC), Robert Griffin III (vs. PHI), Tony Romo (vs. CLE); Bye Week Broskis: Matt Schaub (vs. JAC), Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. MIA), Nick Foles (at WAS)

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (vs. NYJ)
Current own/start %: 99/63
I'd start him over: Shonn Greene (at STL), Michael Turner (vs. ARI), Ryan Mathews (at DEN)
Yes it is bizarro world for my running back starts this week and we will kick it off with Steven Jackson. It sure seems like the bye week enabled Jeff Fisher to get his head on straight as it relates to his top offensive weapon. There certainly was not a running-back-by-committee approach when the Rams took on the San Francisco 49ers as Jackson carried the ball a season-high 29 times for 101 tough yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes and finished with season highs in touches (31), total yards (127) and Fantasy points (18). Daryl Richardson had just eight touches to Jackson's 31 and frankly for the rest of 2012 that is the way the Rams should go. They tied that game due in large part to the punishing running of Jackson, which wore down the tough 49ers' defense. This week it will be much easier for Jackson against the Jets and hopefully Jeff Fisher sticks with this bell cow approach so that you get to reap the rewards. The Jets have allowed three straight running back groups and six of the last seven to run for 100 yards and five of those teams have rushed for at least 130. Marshawn Lynch just wore down the Jets with 124 yards and a touchdown last week on 27 carries and Jackson could put up similar numbers. Every running back who has taken at least 19 carries against the Jets has produced at least 13 Fantasy points and I think Jackson can make that happen in Week 11.

Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders (vs. NO)
Current own/start %: 68/50
I'd start him over: Shonn Greene (at STL), Mikel Leshoure (vs. GB), Pierre Thomas (at OAK)
With the news that Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both still in walking boots, Reece is looking like a great start once again in Week 11. Reece was the starter for the Raiders in Week 10 against Baltimore and led the team with 13 carries for 48 yards rushing. He also saw nine targets and caught seven of them for 56 yards to finish with a very solid 104 total yards. Reece was the most targeted running back in the NFL for the second straight week and his 22 targets plus carries were on par with the workload of any starting running back. This week Reece will take on the Saints in a game that is sure to see a ton of points scored. With the Raiders unable to stop anybody, look for Reece to once again see a plethora of targets in a come-from-behind effort. I think he is a lock for another 20 touches this week and with a soft defense on the schedule, that means that 10 or more Fantasy points is highly likely. After all, New Orleans has allowed at least 110 total yards to every running back group except for Michael Turner and the Falcons last week. The Saints allow 5.1 yards per carry (second highest), 182 total yards per game (league high) and 22.78 Fantasy points per game to running backs. Already two teams have had more than 80 receiving yards from their running backs against the Saints and Reece could easily become the third. He is a high-end No. 2 runner in PPR leagues and may even be a borderline No. 1. In standard leagues, you are looking at 100 total yards again and if he finds the end zone, you will have a Top 12 running back on your hands. Not too bad considering you just scooped him off of the waiver wire.

Other RBs with favorable matchups: C.J. Spiller (vs. MIA), Felix Jones (vs. CLE), Alfred Morris (vs. PHI), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at KC), Willis McGahee (vs. SD), Ryan Mathews (at DEN), Jamaal Charles (vs. CIN), Bye Week Broksis: Chris Ivory (at OAK), Shonn Greene (at STL), Reggie Bush/Daniel Thomas (at BUF), LaRod Stephens-Howling (vs. ATL), Pittsburgh starter (vs. BAL), Mark Ingram (at OAK)

Lance Moore, WR, Saints (at OAK)
Current own/start %: 99/65
I'd start him over: Torrey Smith (at PIT), Michael Crabtree (vs. CHI), Jeremy Maclin (at WAS)
When it comes to scoring touchdowns, Lance Moore has gone from "super cool" to "super cold" as he has not found the end zone in five straight games. His last touchdown came in Week 3 against the Chiefs and I think another AFC West foe -- the Raiders -- will be just the remedy for his touchdown woes. The Raiders have given up at least one receiver score in seven straight games and they have allowed 10 total receiver touchdowns during that span. The Raiders have allowed two receiver scores in back to back games and Moore has a great shot to score, as opposing No. 2 receivers have scored four times in the last seven games. Even though he has not scored in five straight, Moore has been very effective with 28 catches in those games and at least 60 yards receiving in four of the five. The Raiders have given up 58 points to receivers over the last two weeks and have surrendered at least 23 points in five of their last seven games. Moore is long overdue for a score and he should get it this week in what will be a shootout in Oakland, so start him as a low-end No. 2 receiver or a great No. 3.

Other WRs and TEs with favorable matchups: DeSean Jackson/Jeremy Maclin (at WAS), Denarius Moore/Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. NO), Mike Wallace (vs. BAL), Brian Hartline (at BUF), Steve Johnson (vs. MIA), Titus Young (vs. GB), Randall Cobb/James Jones/Jordy Nelson (at DET), Dwayne Bowe (vs. CIN), Steve Smith (vs. TB), Mike Williams (at CAR), Danny Amendola (vs. NYJ), Dez Bryant (at CLE), Antonio Gates (at DEN), Brent Celek (at WAS), Greg Olsen (vs. TB); Bye Week Broskis: Donald Jones (vs. MIA), Andre Roberts (at ATL), Cecil Shorts (at HOU), Donnie Avery (at NE), Davone Bess (at BUF), Scott Chandler (vs. MIA), Dwayne Allen (at NE), Jermichael Finley (vs. DET)

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Ride the pine ...

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens (at PIT)
Current own/start %:
89/25
I'd rather start: Andy Dalton (vs. KC), Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. MIA), Matt Schaub (vs. JAC)
What do you get when you take road Joe Flacco against the league's top-ranked pass defense? As many points as Eli Manning has been giving his Fantasy owners of late is certainly a reasonable answer. This is a classic recipe for disaster for Flacco as he travels to Pittsburgh for a good old-fashioned AFC North slobber knocker in primetime on Sunday night. With Big Ben out for the Steelers, look for the Pittsburgh defense to really try and shoulder the load against the Ravens, which could mean that Flacco will be in for a long day. In his four road games this year, Flacco has not thrown for multiple touchdowns, has not produced more than 14 Fantasy points and has topped 200 yards passing only once. He has 41 total Fantasy points in the four road games, which is six more points than he scored last week against the Raiders! Things will be much tougher on Flacco this week, who has the potential to go from first to worst at the quarterback position in only a week. No quarterback has produced more than 16 Fantasy points against Pittsburgh in six straight games, five quarterbacks have been held under 200 yards passing against them during that span and three quarterbacks failed to even produce 10 Fantasy points. You would have to be whacko to start Flacco this week and I would take just about any other quarterback with a pulse over him in Week 11.

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers (at CAR)
Current own/start %: 95/43
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer (vs. NO), Cam Newton (vs. TB), Andrew Luck (at NE)
Let me start by saying that I love what Josh Freeman has been doing of late and he is still a solid start, but I think his numbers could disappoint in Week 11 compared to what he has done over the last five weeks. Freeman has multiple touchdown passes in five straight games, with 13 total passing scores during that span, but the streak could very well come to an end in Week 11 at the Panthers. Carolina has been a very solid pass defense this year, which has somehow flown a little bit under the radar. No quarterback has thrown for multiple passing scores against the Panthers in five straight games and Matt Ryan, who had three touchdown passes at home against Carolina in Week 4, is the only quarterback to have done so all year. In their last five games, the Panthers have faced Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Russel Wilson and Jay Cutler, a solid group of Fantasy quarterbacks. Only Manning threw for more than 230 yards against the Panthers in the last five games and more importantly, not a single one of those quarterbacks produced more than 16 Fantasy points. In fact, that fivesome averaged just 12.5 Fantasy points per game against this Carolina pass defense. Freeman is averaging less than 240 yards passing in his last three games and if the Panthers can limit him to just one score, it will be a disappointing Fantasy week for Freeman.

Other QBs with tough matchups: Philip Rivers (at DEN), Jay Cutler/Jason Campbell (at SF), Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick (vs. CHI)

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars (at HOU)
Current own/start %: 89/44
I'd rather start: Daniel Thomas (@BUF), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (@KC), Chris Ivory (@OAK)
Rashad Jennings does not have a single rushing touchdown and the Texans have not surrendered a single rushing touchdown all year. Already this sounds like a no-brainer but that is only half of the story. In Jennings' first two games as the primary runner for the Jags, he topped 100 yards both times thanks to at least six catches and 50 yards receiving in each game. Apparently the Jags did not like Jennings being so involved as a pass catcher because two weeks ago, they decided to take him off of the field in passing situations. As a result, Rashad has just three catches for seven yards in his last two games total and that's why he has been able to generate just 79 yards of total offense in those contests. The Jags will get blown out by the Texans in Week 11 and Jennings will be facing a defense that just limited Matt Forte to 32 total yards on 16 touches in Week 10. I do not think you can even use Jennings as a flex option this week despite the fact that we have four starting running backs on their byes this week.

Other RBs with tough matchups: Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams (vs. TB), Vick Ballard/Donald Brown (at NE), James Starks (vs. DET)

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers (vs. CHI)
Current own/start %: 95/41
I'd rather start: Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. NO), Donald Jones (vs. MIA), Cecil Shorts (at HOU)
There may not be a hotter receiver in the league right now than Michael Crabtree, who has caught 10 of his 11 targets for 142 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. Unfortunately his streak of back-to-back games with at least 13 Fantasy points is coming to an end in Week 11 against Charles Tillman and the Bears. Peanut Tillman has been rough on opposing No. 1 receivers this year and has not allowed a single touchdown pass against him in one-on-one coverage this season. In the last four games alone he has held Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith and Kenny Britt to a grand total of 23 Fantasy points or less than six per game. It really does not matter who the quarterback is for the 49ers this week, they will struggle to pass against this Bears defense and the red hot Crabtree will quickly see his production feel the cool of Tillman. Look for a higher upside option this week at wide receiver and keep Crabtree reserved.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers (at DEN)
Current own/start %: 98/56
I'd rather start: Denarius Moore (vs. NO), Lance Moore (at OAK), Danny Amendola (vs. NYJ)
Last week I talked about how dominant Champ Bailey has been and that was the main reason why you should sit Steve Smith. Well, Champ held Smith to just one catch for 19 yards on seven targets. That kind of lockdown defense is why Bailey has allowed exactly one passing touchdown against him in his last 15 games. Malcom Floyd had 60 yards in their first meeting this year and will likely have a similar total again this week. It is tough enough to produce when you are facing Champ Bailey, but it's even tougher when you are under-targeted like Floyd. Malcom is seeing just over six targets per game and that is huge reason why he has reached 70 yards receiving only twice all year long. If you have a 77 percent chance of staying below seven Fantasy points if you don't score and you are playing a cornerback who doesn't allow touchdowns, the odds certainly say to stay away from Floyd this week. To be fair, Floyd is averaging over 10 yards per target, so he has been great, but when you don't have a ton of chances and have to play one of the best in the business, you should be on the Fantasy bench.

Some WRs and TEs with tough matchups: Torrey Smith/Anquan Boldin (at PIT), Miles Austin (vs. CLE), Josh Gordon (at DAL), Emmanuel Sanders (vs. BAL), Heath Miller (vs. BAL)

Good luck this week!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @NathanZegura .

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Player News
Marcus Lattimore eager to start pro career
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/20/2014) 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is ready to start his proffesional career. After blowing out his knee in a gruesome injury in October of 2012 at South Carolina, Lattimore told The State on Sunday that his knee rehab is complete and that he's "ready to play."

Lattimore, who will attend the first day of the team's offseason workouts, will enter a crowded backfield with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James already backing up current starter Frank Gore. However, James has expressed his desire for a bigger role and could be dealt, opening the door for the No. 3 spot in the backfield.

"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said. "But I've just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I've got to show that."


Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jogging
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

 
 
 
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