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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
Gerald McCoy returns to practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:20 am ET) Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who missed Thursday's loss in Atlanta with a broken hand, returned to practice Monday, reports the Tampa Tribune. He's on track to play Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Steelers reunite with James Harrison
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:17 am ET) The Steelers made it official, signing linebacker James Harrison less than three weeks after he announced his retirement, reports the National Football Post. Harrison, 36, made five Pro Bowls with the Steelers, then played one season with the Bengals.

Big-play Antone Smith not worth much interest
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) Fantasy owners hounding the waiver wire ahead of Week 4 for running back help will likely let their mouse linger over Falcons running back Antone Smith, who has scored double-digit Fantasy points in two of the first three games. Unfortunately, Smith probably won't provide much help moving forward.

Smith is currently 32nd among running backs in standard Fantasy scoring, but that ranking belies the limited nature of his role in Atlanta's offense. Smith has broken off touchdowns of 38 and 54 yards this season, with those two plays accounting for 20 of his 22 total Fantasy points this season.  Smith clearly has big-play ability, but there just isn't much of a reason to add someone who has touched the ball nine times in three games.

Smith was fourth among Falcons' running backs in snap percentage in Thursday's blowout win over the Buccaneers, as he saw the field just eight times on offense. Though Smith is currently one of the most-viewed players in CBSSports.com leagues for Tuesday, there is little reason to consider adding him. 


Giants make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:01 am ET) The Giants signed offensive lineman Eric Herman to their practice squad and waived offensive lineman Mark Asper. Herman had been waived Friday following his early reinstatement from a four-game suspension, reports the New York Daily News.

Odell Beckham won't practice this week
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:56 am ET) Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham won't practice this week as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury he first suffered in June, reports the New York Daily News.

Ike Taylor could return in 6-8 weeks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) The Steelers haven't said how long starting cornerback Ike Taylor will be out due to his broken forearm, but the injury typically requires six to eight weeks to heal, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. The paper expects William Gay and Antwon Blake to fill in for Taylor.

Rex Ryan stands by Geno Smith
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters he doesn't believe quarterback Geno Smith has regressed, despite Smith throwing two bad interceptions Monday night. The first was returned 45 yards for a touchdown.

"Guys, this ain't the same quarterback as he was at the beginning of last year, I don't care what people say," Ryan said, per NFL.com. "Did he make a mistake? Absolutely. Their quarterback made a mistake but the difference was, they caught the [interception] and we didn't. ... I feel good about this football team and I feel good about Geno Smith."

Smith, who threw for 316 yards, missed several open receivers and guided his team to one touchdown in six red-zone trips.

"I've gotta make sure that when we get down in that red zone -- we were 1 for 6 today and that's completely awful," Smith said. "We don't ever expect to go 1 for 6 because we hold ourself to a high standard, and it starts with me."

Jaguars re-sign Sherrod Martin
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:24 am ET) The Jaguars re-signed safety Sherrod Martin after cutting him late last month.

Hammy limits Eric Decker to 12 snaps
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:21 am ET) Jets receiver Eric Decker felt his hamstring tighten up during Monday's loss to the Bears. That's why he played just 12 snaps, none in the second half.

"When it tightens up, you can get it warmed up, loosened up, but it was at the point where it wasn't loosening up," he told The Star-Ledger.

Decker said he decided to play because of how he felt in pregame warmups. "It was a soreness and everyone has soreness -- I've played through a lot of soreness in my career so far," he said. "I felt like I wanted to give it a chance; I didn't want to sit out. I didn't do anything stupid. I pulled myself at the right time."

Decker caught his only target for 19 yards. He'll be evaluated throughout the week as the Jets prepare to face the Lions on Sunday.


Ravens to use committee approach at tight end
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:10 am ET) With tight end Dennis Pitta out for the season following hip surgery, the Ravens will use a committee to replace him, reports ESPN.com. The website expects tight end Owen Daniels, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and receiver Marlon Brown to assume larger roles in Pitta's absence.

Daniels is in his ninth season with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, and "he's also gained the trust of Joe Flacco with his toughness over the middle," the report said. But Daniels doesn't gain much separation anymore and has missed 26 games over the past five seasons, the website added.


 
 
 
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