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Quick Fantasy Hits for Week 11

Senior Fantasy Writer
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As we wade into an 11th week of action, there are some nuggets that are too in-depth for the podcast, too smart for Twitter and a little too short for the full column. Enjoy these Week 11 Quick Hits:

Your byes for Week 11:Tennessee, Minnesota, N.Y. Giants, Seattle

Give a second thought to Brandon LaFell this week. It's no secret that the Tampa Bay pass defense is weak. The Bucs have given up an average of 321.3 yards per game this year -- the most in the NFL -- and opposing wide receivers have scored an average of 29 points per game when facing the Bucs. In the last four weeks, however, the Bucs have gotten worse, giving up an average of 32.75 points to opposing wideouts. In the last four games, wide receivers have scored six touchdowns against them, including one each last week from Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd.

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In fact, just looking at wide receivers in the last four weeks against the Bucs makes a LaFell play all the more enticing. Nine wide receivers have caught 60 yards or more in that span. Nine have been targeted seven or more times. Players like Joe Morgan, Rod Streater, and Alexander have scored touchdowns. And if you're worried about Greg Olsen stealing stats, just look at what tight ends did to the Bucs the last two weeks: Brandon Myers scored 17 points, while Antonio Gates scored 11. There's room for everyone to score against the Bucs, so don't let Olsen's presence scare you off.

Without comment, here are the top 30 running backs, wide receivers and tight ends -- ranked by their 2012 ADPs -- with their current Fantasy points rank in parentheses:

1. Arian Foster, RB, HOU (2)
2. Ray Rice, RB, BAL (7)
3. LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI (15)
4. Calvin Johnson, WR, DET (20)
5. Chris Johnson, RB, TEN (12)
6. Darren McFadden, RB, OAK (63)
7. DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL (111)
8. Matt Forte, RB, CHI (32)
9. Jimmy Graham, TE, NO (30)
10. Julio Jones, WR, ATL (26)
11. Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE (18)
12. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC (87)
13. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI (46)
14. Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA (4)
15. Steven Jackson, RB, STL (59)
16. Andre Johnson, WR, HOU (65)
17. Fred Jackson, RB, BUF (72)
18. Greg Jennings, WR, GB (244)
19. Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN (1)
20. Ryan Mathews, RB, SD (75)
21. Jamaal Charles, RB, KC (21)
22. Trent Richardson, RB, CLE (14)
23. Wes Welker, WR, NE (36)
24. Roddy White, WR, ATL (23)
25. Michael Turner, RB, ATL (38)
26. A.J. Green, WR, CIN (5)
27. Jordy Nelson, WR, GB (42)
28. Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI (6)
29. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG (33)
30. Darren Sproles, RB, NO (68)

David Ausberry could help teams in very deep leagues this week. Brandon Myers was limited in practice Wednesday and could be limited Week 11 after suffering his second concussion during his Week 10 contest, meaning David Ausberry could see some time at tight end. It's been established in this column on a few occasions that Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has a history of developing high-scoring (in terms of Fantasy points) tight ends throughout his career. If Myers is limited or simply out, Ausberry will just slide into that role. In fact, Ausberry has popped up with some nice catches in games already, with all but one of his seven catches going for 9 yards or more. For a team desperately in need of a tight end, Ausberry could be a solid solution.

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Apologies for Taiwan Jones. I hate to bring things into the first person, but... in last week's column, I made a pretty passionate argument for Taiwan Jones. It involved a lot of logic, research and reason. What it didn't have -- what nobody had -- was any concrete history on the usage of Jones and Marcel Reece in Oakland's offense without Darren McFadden in the mix. I argued Jones would be the more traditional running back, while Reece would catch a lot of passes. By the end of the first quarter, when Reece had played about 13 snaps to Jones' one, it was pretty apparent Reece would be the main back and catch passes. Where I thought Jones could take over the main back duties while Reece continues to catch passes, the coaching staff just worked Jones out of the mix entirely, giving more carries to Jeremy Stewart than Jones.

So what now? Well, the rest of the reason was sound: Knapp has a habit of taking little-known RBs and making them stars. I just had the wrong guy. We have Reece ranked 18th (Jamey Eisenberg), 14th (Dave Richard) and 12th (Nathan Zegura) for standard leagues. In PPR, you have to give him a nice bump up. Reece is playing the Saints this week, a team that has allowed the second-most rushing yards per game and second-most passing yards per game. They've allowed the third-most points to running backs overall this season and have been especially easy on running backs who excel at both running and catching. Jamaal Charles famously ran for 233 yards and caught six passes for 55 in Week 3. Beyond that, however, Ryan Mathews had arguably his best game of the season against the Saints (80 rushing yards, 59 receiving), Ronnie Brown caught five passes for 47 yards, Doug Martin had 122 total yards in Week 7, Willis McGahee totaled 155 yards in Week 8 and while Jacquizz Rodgers only totaled 62 total yards in Week 10 against New Orleans, he did that with seven total touches (three carries, four receptions). In short, Reece is set up to have a field day against New Orleans and is still available in about 25 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.

Two players who could pop up with some nice late-season stats: Mohamed Sanu and Damian Williams. Sanu has seen his targets rise over the last three weeks and has been especially present since the Bengals' Week 8 bye. In the two weeks since the bye, Sanu has been targeted nine times, catching six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. This is deep league territory here, but Sanu -- who caught pretty much everything thrown his way at Rutgers -- has great hands, is a large target and could develop into a solid six-points-or-more-per-week performer from this point forward.

Williams, meanwhile, has been far more involved with the Tennessee offense this year than Sanu has been with the Bengals, but is still waiting for the breakout performance. His two biggest games, in terms of targets and receptions, occurred in Weeks 1 and 2, when he was targeted 12 times, caught nine passes and totaled seven Fantasy points. There are two forces at work here, from opposite directions:

On one hand, Williams' quarterback in those first two weeks was Jake Locker, who just recently came back from a shoulder injury. On the other hand, the team was without Kenny Britt in Week 1 and had a hobbled half-Britt in Week 2. Is there a tiebreaker? Maybe the Week 11 bye, which could afford Locker the opportunity to re-connect with Williams. He's not especially exciting, but Williams did have 592 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2011 and was at least in a position to break out this season before coming up short over the first 10 games.

Again, these are not players for 12-team leagues. Or even 14-team leagues. But, for a squad looking either thin -- or to the future -- Sanu and Williams offer more upside than some of the other also-rans available on the wire.

A quick look at defenses. Just because the stats are available to us here, the teams DSTs score the most points against (in other words, the offenses you want your DSTs to face) are:

1. Kansas City (16.11 Fantasy points per game)
2. Philadelphia (15.98 FPPG)
3. Jacksonville (14.56 FPPG)
4. Arizona (14.44 FPPG)
5. Dallas (13.44 FPPG)

And the DSTs facing the top five are... Cincinnati (KC), Washington (PHI), Houston (JAC), Atlanta (ARI) and Cleveland (DAL).

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Player News
Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


Falcons waive LB Prince Shembo due to animal cruelty charges
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Rams RB Trey Watts suspended four games
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Rams running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to profootballtalk.com.

Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


Cardinals RB coach: David Johnson 'reminds me a lot of Matt Forte'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


Cowboys excited and cautious with return of LB Sean Lee
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during organized team activities last year. This year, he has been limited to individual drills during non-padded parctices, per The Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said the team is happy to have Lee back but that they will pace him along slowly.

"He's a ball of energy and excitement and that represents who we are," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's moving well. We're just being smart as we get him ready to go. But he's got a lot of good quality work in."


Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin getting work in as a punt returner
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was the Chiefs' prized free-agent pickup this offseason, which makes it that much more intriguing that he lined up to return punts during practice on Thursday, per ESPN.com.

Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs, was a premier punt returner in college and played the role sparingly -- with little success -- with the Eagles.

Coach Andy Reid said the team is preparing Maclin just in case he's needed to return punts or kicks because of injuries.

We just want to make sure he is ready,’’ Reid said. “You have limited numbers that you can dress on game day, so you don’t know what rotation you are going to have there with the receivers and returners. So it gives you an opportunity to keep him fresh. We don’t work him every day like the other guys. It’s kind of an every other day deal, so just to make sure that he’s okay and can still do that, but he’s not going to be the primary guy doing it right now.”


Eagles CB Byron Maxwell guarantees trip to Super Bowl 50
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to make a Super Bowl run, he's appeared in two straight as a key member of the vaunted Seahawks defense.

Now, Maxwell is confident the Eagles will make a run to the big game and he will make his third consecutive appearance, per NFL.com.

"Because I've been there before," Maxwell said. "Knowing what it's like if we go that far. Because we're gonna go that far this year, meaning the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We're gonna go that far. Hopefully that experience I already had, I can help them."

The Eagles haven't made a Super Bowl since their 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004, but Maxwell didn't backtrack with his comments.

"You can take that as a guarantee," he said. "That's just me believing in my team and the product we're going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that. I have no choice but to think that way."

Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles this offseason, recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games last season.


 
 
 
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