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Player Challenge Strategies for Week 11

Senior Fantasy Writer
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This column is primarily designed to help strategize for our four-week Player Challenge games, but is essentially about great matchups and overlooked stats, offering deeper options for those in daily leagues.

Quarterback

My pick for the Player Challenge: Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. MIN)

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You really don't need to dip down below Tony Romo for this four-week challenge, but Wilson's Week 11 matchup against the Vikings is too enticing to pass up. Wilson has scored 25 points in three of his last four weeks. He has multiple touchdown passes in four straight games and faces off against a Minnesota team that has allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. In their last three games, the Vikings have given up an average of 28 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, including two games with 30 or more QB rushing yards (a strength of Wilson's). The possible addition of Percy Harvin for Week 11 will end up being icing on the cake.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Mike Glennon, TB (vs. ATL)

The Falcons have allowed 22.6 Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, allowing multiple touchdowns in each game. While Glennon is coming off a disaster against the Dolphins Monday night, he seemed to be out of sync with Vincent Jackson, which should be corrected in practice this week. Glennon averaged 19.8 Fantasy points per game over his previous four, with just one interception and seven touchdowns. He's not the most enticing of options, but a bounceback opportunity against a favorable opponent will likely get him back up to the 18-20 point zone.

Running Back

My picks for the Player Challenge: LeSean McCoy, PHI (vs. WAS); Frank Gore, SF (@NO)

Opposing running backs have scored 10 or more Fantasy points against Washington seven times this season, scoring an average of 21 Fantasy points per game -- the fifth-most in the league. The 47.2 receiving yards per game gained by opposing running backs is the sixth-highest average. The team has also allowed nine touchdowns to running backs over the last five games. While Washington has only given up two 100-yard games to opposing backs, one of them came in Week 1, against Philadelphia, when McCoy ran 31 times for 184 yards and a touchdown.

While the Saints have been solid against the pass this year, they've allowed an average of 16.9 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs -- with five rushing touchdowns scored in the last four weeks. In that four-week span, Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley and DeMarco Murray have all run for 85 or more yards against the Saints and scored a touchdown. Additionally, Gore has scored five touchdowns on the road this season, with two scored at home. Gore is a nice play this week because there's always the threat of the 49ers lightening his load as the season progresses in order to keep him healthy and fresh for the playoffs.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Rashard Mendenhall, ARI (@JAC)

Before clamping down Chris Johnson in Week 10, the Jaguars had been on a three-game run of allowing 30 or more Fantasy points to opposing running backs. In that span, Ryan Mathews had a 110-yard game and a touchdown, Knowshon Moreno ran for three touchdowns and Frank Gore scored two touchdowns. If you assume that Jaguars team will show up Sunday -- and not the one that came out of the bye winless and having extra time to gameplan for the Titans -- things look pretty good for Rashard Mendenhall. Argue that Ellington is the better back all you like, but Mendenhall is still the lead in Arizona and he fits the Mathews/Gore profile far better than Ellington does.

Wide Receiver

My picks for the Player Challenge: Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. DET); Vincent Jackson, TB (vs. ATL)

The Lions -- Brown's Week 11 opponent -- have been terrible against the pass lately, giving up seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the last three games, helping the position to an average of 35 Fantasy points per game. While Brown hasn't been the top-shelf receiver many had hoped for in 2013, he has posted two straight double-digit Fantasy point games (in standard formats) and has four games of 70 or more receiving yards in his last five. Josh Gordon, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall have all put up 100-yard games against the Lions since Week 6, while six different receivers have caught a touchdown in that span. With the Lions struggling against the pass -- and especially against opponents' best receivers -- Brown should make himself Player Challenge-worthy in Week 11.

Jackson has been mired in a bit of a slump, but with the Falcons rolling into town it could be just the right matchup for him. Jackson caught 10 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in Week 7 against the Falcons and they haven't gotten much better since -- giving up four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their last three games and allowing three Seahawks wideouts to eclipse 75 receiving yards in Week 10. While Jackson hasn't hit double-digit Fantasy points in standard leagues in the last three weeks, he has still averaged eight targets in that span and has proven to be a favorite target of Mike Glennon.

A deeper alternative for daily leagues: Mike Wallace, MIA (vs SD); Jason Avant, PHI (vs. WAS)

I know Wallace is universally owned, but he's being started in about 50 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and I wanted to highlight his matchup against San Diego. The Chargers have been destroyed by opposing wide receivers lately, giving up 24 or more Fantasy points per game to the position over their last three games. They've allowed four multiple-touchdown games to opposing wide receivers this season, including a three-touchdown game in Week 10. No. 1 wide receivers have all performed well against the Chargers, and Wallace -- coming off a game in which he had to deal with Darrelle Revis -- should be itching to shine in Week 11.

Avant, however, is the more interesting of the pair. Washington has been terrible against opposing wideouts this season, allowing 200 or more receiving yards to opposing wide receivers in three of the team's last four games. With DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper legitimate passing targets, it stands to reason Washington could focus defensive efforts on those two, allowing Avant to have one of his patented out-of-nowhere performances (11 games of 75 or more receiving yards for the Eagles despite starting just 47 times in his career).

Tight End

My pick for the Player Challenge: Jordan Reed, WAS (@PHI)

I don't like to stray much from the upper echelon of the tight ends, but Reed has a stellar matchup in Week 11 against an Eagles team that has allowed the second-most receiving yards per game. While the Eagles have been decent against tight ends this season -- allowing an average of 5.4 Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends -- they've really only faced two top-notch guys at the position (Jason Witten and Julius Thomas). And while the Eagles held Reed -- who has two touchdowns and three games with 60 or more receiving yards over his last four -- to 38 yards in Week 1, that was a totally different role for Reed with Fred Davis still getting significant time.

DST

My pick for the Player Challenge: Seahawks

The Vikings have been a nice opponent for DSTs to face this season, with defenses scoring about 10.3 Fantasy points per game when they face Minnesota. They enter Week 11 with a mess at quarterback and a still-erratic wide receiver situation. The Seahawks seemed to fix their run defending problems in Week 10, while maintaining a tough pass defense (allowing 200 receiving yards per game, the second-fewest in the NFL). With New Orleans, San Francisco and the Giants on tap the next three weeks, this is the game that gives the Seahawks the best chance to rack up Player Challenge points.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Report: Cowboys expect DeMarco Murray to play Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:56 pm ET) While the final decision won’t be made until Sunday, the Cowboys are expecting running back DeMarco Murray to play Sunday against the Colts, according to ESPN.

Murray has been medically cleared to play, but the official decision won’t be made until Murray tests his injured hand in pre-game work outs.

The Cowboys are 3 1/2–point favorites over the Colts.


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Packers upgrade Bryan Bulaga to probable
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(10:44 am ET) Packers offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga was upgraded from questionable to probable for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

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Report: Falcons' Julio Jones will determine playing status Sunday
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(10:33 am ET) Whether or not Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones plays Sunday against the Saints will be determined during Jones’ pre-game workout Sunday, reports NBCsports.com.

Sources indicated Jones will work out before the game and his playing status will depend on how his injured hip reacts. Jones is listed as questionable heading into the game.

The Falcons are 6-point underdogs to the Saints.


49ers promote NT Mike Purcell Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The 49ers signed nose tackle Mike Purcell off the practice squad Friday, the team announced. He has been on the team's practice squad since the beginning of the 2013 season.


Broncos QB Manning fine Friday in practice
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Broncos quarterback Peyton manning had a "really good day at practice" Friday, per wideout Emmanuel Sanders. He was limited with a thigh injury that had him receiving extra treatment during the Thursday session.

Manning and his team plays at Cincinnati on Monday night.


Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray medically cleared, will decide status
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (hand) will make the final call on whether he plays in Week 16 against the Colts after being medically cleared Friday, NFL.com reports.

Murray is listed as questionable to play after participating in Friday's practice in a limited fashion, but since he's received medical clearance, it would be surprising to not see him active Sunday. The Cowboys lead rusher has racked up 1,687 yards on 351 carries with 11 touchdowns as well as another 395 yards on 54 receptions.


Marshawn Lynch among notable Seahawks probable for Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Seahawks have ruled tackle Russell Okung (chest) out for Sunday's game at Arizona. Center Max Unger (ankle) and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) were labeled as questionable. Tight end Tony Moeaki (shoulder) is the only player labeled questionable and is expected to be a game-day decision.

Meanwhile, the following players were labeled probable: Running back Marshawn Lynch (back), wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring), guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) and tight end Cooper Helfet (ankle).


Saints list Armstead, Hicks, Sanford questionable for Week 16
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Saints tackle Terron Armstead (neck), defensive end Akiem Hicks (ankle) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were unable to practice Friday and were all ruled questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta.

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49ers unveil lengthy injury report for Saturday game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The 49ers have ruled the following players out for Saturday's game against San Diego: Linebacker Chris Borland (ankle), cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring), running back Carlos Hyde (ankle), wide receiver Stevie Johnson (knee).

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks (thumb), wide receiver Michael Crabtree (knee), right tackle Anthony Davis (concussion), running back Frank Gore (concussion), safety Raymond Vetrone (groin) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (hip) were labeled as questionable.

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