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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
Better to sit DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:38 pm ET) Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been hit or miss from week to week, but you can't get around the fact that in three of the last five weeks, he's gone for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.

The problem is Kirk Cousins was his quarterback for all three of those games. The Redskins are turning to Colt McCoy for Week 8 at Dallas.

That's bad news for all the Redskins wide receivers, but especially Jackson, whose production is mostly tied to his ability to beat the defense deep. McCoy isn't one for going deep. He averaged 5.9 yards per attempt in his last year as an NFL starter, and aside from that short pass that Pierre Garcon turned into 70-yard touchdown, McCoy had 10 completions for just 58 yards in Week 7.

That doesn't mean Garcon is safe. Apart from that score, he had four catches for 17 yards in Week 7 and averaged just 27.3 yards in his previous three games. He should fare better than Jackson with McCoy, but ultimately, an inferior quarterback isn't going to do him good.

You might want to sit both in Fantasy for the time being.


WR Greg Salas, LB Trevor Reilly nearing red light for Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:37 pm ET) Rex Ryan has all but ruled out Jets linebacker Trevor Reilly (knee) and wideout Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) for the Sunday game against Buffalo, per Newsday. Neither played in Week 7.

Pete Carroll confident Seahawks will improve pass rush
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:34 pm ET) The Seahawks have totaled just seven sacks through their first six games. Though, coach Pete Carroll remains confident in the defense, especially pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who have combined for no sacks in the last four games.

"These guys have rushed really hard and been very aggressive," Carroll said of his starting defensive ends, per ESPN. "I’ve looked at every one of their rushes and situations and I think we’re going to count on those guys to continue to do what they’re doing and try to help around them."

Carroll said the team will try to make changes to improve the pass rush.

"We’ve got to get Mike active inside and get him to be the disruptor that he can be," Carroll said, hinting they might use Bennett on more snaps as a defensive tackle. "We need to help him with some stuff there, some stuff scheme-wise we’ll tweak here and there. Those guys are bringing it. In my mind it’s going to happen and we’ll just keep working until it does because we know it’s there."


DT Alan Branch appears all but set to join Patriots
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) Veteran defensive tackle Alan Branch has yet to officially sign with the Patriots, but he walked through the locker room during the media interview session Thursday and radio station NESN is already reporting that he will don uniform number 97. He did not practice, however.

Branch, who was released by Buffalo on Aug. 24, had started 79 of 80 games over the last five seasons.


Bears CB Kyle Fuller able to get some practice reps in Thursday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller returned to practice in a limited capacity Thursday after sitting out Wednesday due to a hip pointer and broken hand. The Bears are preparing to face the Patriots in Week 8.

Not looking good for Alfred Morris
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:21 pm ET) With the news that Colt McCoy will start at quarterback for the Redskins Week 8 at Dallas, running back Alfred Morris' chances for a bounce-back performance go from bad to worse.

Not only is he facing a defense that has allowed the ninth-fewest Fantasy points per game, but he also won't have a quarterback who can help keep defenses honest. Dating back to his days with the Browns, McCoy hasn't shown the ability to stretch the field, and though his final line in relief of Kirk Cousins Sunday looked good, that was mostly because wide receiver Pierre Garcon turned what should have been a short catch into a 70-yard touchdown. Otherwise, McCoy completed 10 passes for just 58 yards.

With such a limited passing game, the Redskins are basically inviting the Cowboys to stack the box against them. Morris has had a hard enough time since starting quarterback Robert Griffin III went down in Week 2, averaging just 60.6 total yards in the five games started with Cousins. Now with McCoy under center, he might even be a sit in Fantasy. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank him just 29th among running backs for Week 8.


Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring) practices Thursday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:17 pm ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was back at practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. He was listed as limited in practice Thursday as the Bears prepare to play the Patriots in Week 8.

All-Pro Gerald McCoy says Buccaneers defense has been 'soft'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:05 pm ET) Buccaneers All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy did not hold back Thursday when talking about the team's defensive struggles. He said the defense has been "soft" through six games, per ESPN.

"Yeah. I mean if you look out there on tape and you see a bunch of guys sitting on blocks, are you not earning the title of being soft?'' McCoy said. "I mean, guys get so sensitive around the league, but we have to be men. This is a man's league. This is a man's league and we're professionals. Guys have issues with criticism. I've been getting criticized since I've been in the NFL, and I don't even feel it anymore. It is what it is.''

The Buccaneers rank last in total defense (422.8 yards per game) and last in scoring defense (34 points per game).

"I think we're making too many excuses,'' McCoy said. "There's always a reason why this is happening or why that's happening. It has to stop. We just have to say, 'OK, I did wrong, I didn't win that one, I have to win the next one and the one after that.' If you win 70 percent of your battles, you have a shot to win, simple as that."


Might be time to sit Matt Ryan
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:59 pm ET) After he lost his fourth starting offensive lineman for the season in what his third straight game with just one touchdown pass, I suggested Fantasy owners might consider sitting Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for Week 8 against the Lions in London. Turns out Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard are completely on board with that, ranking him only 20th among quarterbacks.

Granted, the Saints' Drew Brees managed to find a way against them last week, but it doesn't change the fact that the Lions have allowed the fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks by far. And most of the ones they've faced still had their offensive lines intact.

Part of Ryan's problem is that he just doesn't have time to throw the ball downfield, and that's not going to improve with his starting center now gone. The Lions, as you might expect from their ranking, have a terrific pass rush. They're tied for third with 21 sacks. They're also one of three teams that have recorded more interceptions than they've allowed touchdown passes.

Even if everything was hunky-dory for Ryan and he was coming off a stretch where he looked like Peyton Manning, he'd be a candidate to sit with such a tough matchup. As things currently stand for him and the Falcons, it's a no-brainer move.


Ravens TE Owen Daniels a no-go for Thursday practice
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:58 pm ET) A knee issue has Ravens tight end Owen Daniels out of his second straight practice Thursday. He missed the Wednesday session, but that had been thought of as a veteran's day off.

The continued absence could be a red flag in regard to his status for Sunday at Cincinnati. Daniels has been coming on of late with 13 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown in the last three games combined.


 
 
 
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