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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
Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


Cowboys' Greg Hardy called 'woman beater' by teammate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got into an altercation with teammate Davon Coleman during a voluntary offseason workout, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports

Hardy reportedly questioned Coleman's work ethic during a conditioning drill, which led Coleman to call Hardy a "woman beater."

Hardy was accused of domestic abuse and was found guilty by a North Carolina judge. On the subsequent appeal, prosecutors dropped charges against Hardy and the case was never presented in front of a jury. 

Hardy has been suspended by the NFL for 10 games due to what transpired in that case. According to FOX Sports, the confrontation between Hardy and Coleman remained verbal


 
 
 
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