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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
Seahawks DT Jesse Williams to have kidney surgery Thursday
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams is scheduled to have kidney surgery on Thursday, the team announced. 

This surgery will take place 10 days after he was diagnosed with Papillary Type 2 cancer. 

"He’s a battler all the way," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He’s been up against it, too. He’s fought some difficult fights, and he’s fighting another one - maybe the fight of a young man’s life.

"We’ll be there with him and hope to pull him through.”


Seahawks' Lemuel Jeanpierre with first team, not Patrick Lewis
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) The Seahawks worked in a new first-team center on Tuesday and it wasn't the one projected to fill Max Unger's vacant spot.

According to ESPN.com, Lemuel Jeanpierre worked with the first team during Tuesday's OTA practice. Patrick Lewis, who many projected to be the front-runner for the job, worked in as Jeanpierre's backup.

After practice, coach Pete Carroll said Jeanpierre earned the opportunity to begin OTAs as the first-team center.

Jeanpierre has been with the Seahawks since 2011 and Lewis joined the squad a year ago. Jeanpierre has 11 career starts and Lewis has four, all of which happened with Seattle in 2014.  


Falcons RB Devonta Freeman opens OTAs as starter
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) The Falcons opened OTAs with running back Devonta Freeman getting the nod with the first team, according to ESPN.com

Freeman is entering his second year in the NFL, though there is a lot of buzz surrounding rookie draft choice Tevin Coleman out of Indiana. Though Freeman is the technical starter for now, it should be an open competition between these two and Antone Smith this August. 


Chiefs OLB Justin Houston a no-show to OTAs
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston did not show up to Tuesday's organized team activity practice, according to the Kansas City Star

Houston is reportedly seeking a long-term deal and would prefer not to sign the franchise tender the Chiefs are offering. The Chiefs placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Houston earlier this offseason. 

The Chiefs have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with the star outside linebacker. If they don't, teams could offer Houston deals with the Chiefs having the right to match. And if the Chiefs chose not to match, they would receive two first-round picks from the team signing Houston away. 

Houston totaled 22 sacks a year ago. Teammate Tamba Hali said that Houston has been working out and would like to practice with the Chiefs if it was possible. 

“Every two or three weeks, we talk,” Hali said. “He's working, he's working his tail off. Like any player, he wants to be here. But we know our league is a business, and we've got to allow that process to work itself out. He wants to be here. He's missing it.”


Titans RB Shonn Greene absent from OTAs
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Titans running back Shonn Greene did not attend Tuesday's OTA practice, according to The Tennessean

"Obviously we'd like to have him here," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But he's a veteran. He knows how to get himself prepared."

Greene told the Titans, Whisenhunt said, that he's unable to attend at the moment because he is the caretaker of a child. Greene ran for 392 yards and two touchdowns during the 2014 season. 


Eagles G Evan Mathis doesn't show up to OTAs
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) For the second consecutive season, Eagles guard Evan Mathis was a no-show to OTAs, according to ESPN.com. 

Mathis has received permission to seek a trade though nothing has materialized. After failing to report to OTAs a year ago, Mathis showed up to the Eagles facility on time. 

Mathis is entering his 11th NFL season and fifth with the Eagles. 


Browns RB Isaiah Crowell opens OTAs as starter
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Isaiah Crowell opened Tuesday's OTA practice as the Browns' starting running back, according to ESPNCleveland.com. 

Crowell, an undrafted free-agent a year ago, and Terrance West split first-team reps. Crowell totaled 607 yards and eight touchdowns while West ran for 673 yards and four. Regardless of who the starter is, the Browns are likely to use a rotation at running back. 


Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali underwent minor knee procedure
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali said he had a minor procedure performed on his knee this offseason, according to the Kansas City Star

Hali said the procedure was done to clean out some loose cartilage. 

It's not anything that'e expected to keep Hali off of the field. A year ago, Hali recorded 59 tackles and six sacks. 


Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has yet to start throwing
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr did not participate in any passing drills during Tuesday's OTA practice, according to the Bay Area News Group. 

Carr has an injured right ring finger that he's not contemplating surgery for. He was able to take snaps and make pitches during practice. Though he's missing the reps now, Carr is expected to be back by the start of training camp. 


Seahawks CB Richard Sherman practices fully on Tuesday
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/26/2015) Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman did not have any limitations during Tuesday's OTA practice. 

According to the Seattle Times, Sherman, who suffered an elbow injury during this past postseason, was able to practice fully

There was a chance Sherman would need Tommy John surgery, though he decided to let the injury heal on its own. In 2014, Sherman recorded 57 tackles and four interceptions. 


 
 
 
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