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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
Cardinals activate TE Jermaine Gresham from PUP list
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:12 pm ET) The Cardinals activated veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham from the PUP list on Monday, a sign that Gresham's balky back is improving, per the team.

Gresham underwent back surgery in July, shortly before inking a one-year deal with Arizona. Gresham had played his entire career with the Bengals, recording 62 catches for 460 yards and five touchdowns in 2014.


Panthers DT Star Lotulelei (foot) forced to leave practice
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:04 pm ET) Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was carted off during practice Monday, and Carolina coach Ron Rivera said the veteran suffered a foot injury similar to the one that sidelined him for the playoffs last season, per the Charlotte Observer

Rivera said the team kept out of the remainder of practice as a precaution. Lotulelei suffered a broken foot last January and missed the team's game against the Seahawks. The foot was sore during practice and the Panthers decided to take no chances. 


Raiders RB Michael Dyer making an impression
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:24 am ET) Running back Michael Dyer entered Raiders camp as an undrafted free agent, but he has been turning heads with impressive efforts thus far, per ESPN.com.

Dyer has stepped into the role of No. 2 back that was supposed to be filled by Trent Richardson, who has yet to participate in camp. Dyer, whose off-field troubles overshadowed his career at Alabama and Louisville, has taken advantage of the extra snaps.

"I think Michael's done a nice job developing from what we saw in the spring to now," Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said. "He's more comfortable, he's more accountable, more dependable in special teams units and the offense. Every now and then he'll pop through there and show some of that speed that he has, so I think he's off to a nice start."


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(10:53 am ET) Third-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins is now the focal point of the Texans' WR corps, and he is comfortable with the responsibility of being the top target with veteran Andre Johnson gone, per the Houston Chronicle

Hopkins caught 76 passes for 1,210 yards last season despite working with four quarterbacks. The Texans' QB situation remains unsettled, but Hopkins is eager to make an impact. 

"I'm going to demand the ball and make them (coaches and teammates) think I'm the (go-to) guy. That's always been my mentality every time I step on the field," Hopkins said.


Broncos sign WR Corbin Louks
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(10:05 am ET) Faced with a season-ending injury to wide receiver Kyle Williams, the Broncos responded by signing receiver Corbin Louks on Monday, the team announced. 

Louks has spent time on the practice squads of the Chiefs and Seahawks after playing college ball at Utah and Nevada. 


Bills name OL Richie Incognito one of team's starters
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:55 am ET) Bills coach Rex Ryan has been happy with what he's seen from offensive lineman Richie Incognito, so much so that he has named the veteran the starter at left guard, per the Associated Press

Incognito, who saw his career halted due to his role in a bullying scandal while a member of the Dolphins, signed with the Bills in February for a second chance.

"One thing's for sure, Richie's a starter," Ryan said. "He looks about as good as any of them. He really does."


Report: Ravens SS Matt Elam (biceps) out for season
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:43 am ET) Ravens safety Matt Elam, who was injured during practice Saturday, is reportedly out for the season with a torn biceps, per The Baltimore Sun

Elam is expected to undergo surgery and will miss four-to-six months. The former first-round pick was fighting for a starting job and apparently suffered the injury while covering a receiver during practice.

"I haven't heard on the MRI yet, but I'm not real optimistic right now," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.


Chiefs waive DT Jerel Worthy
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:29 am ET) The Chiefs announced Monday they have waived defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, whom the team signed to its practice squad in October. 

Worthy played in 14 games in 2012 with the Packers, but tore his ACL in Week 17 of that season and has only played in two games since then.


Redskins RB Matt Jones suffers knee injury Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Redskins running back Matt Jones is being evaluated after sustaining a knee injury during Sunday's practice, reports The Washington Post.

Jones was a third-round draft pick in the 2015 draft and is expected to compete for the starting running back role.


Redskins WR DeSean Jackson dealing with finger issue
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/2/2015) Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson suffered a dislocated finger during Saturday's practice and is having the injury further evaluated Sunday, reports The Washington Post

Jackson caught 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns last season.


 
 
 
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