Start Em Sit Em Week 11: Fantasy Studs, Duds, Matchup Plays and Sleepers
We've made it through 10 weeks of the 2012 NFL season, and that means that for some fantasy owners the playoffs are rapidly approaching while for others a disappointing fantasy campaign is drawing to a close.
Whether you're a 9-1 juggernaut steamrolling its' way through the competition or a 1-9 cupcake that's tired of being steamrolled there are still at least a few weeks to be played.
To help you get the most out of your lineup this week here's a look at some fantasy plays at each position, from studs set to go off to duds that may disappoint with matchup plays and some deep sleepers thrown in as a bonus.
Drew Brees and the Quarterbacks
STUD: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is fantasy football's top signal-caller through 10 weeks, and there's no reason to think that won't continue this week against an Oakland Raiders team allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to the position this year.
DUD: Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens has been horrendous on the road this season, and those woes will likely continue against a Pittsburgh Steelers squad giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
MATCHUP PLAY: With 2,723 passing yards Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders ranks third in the NFL, and the 32-year-old should post big numbers this week playing catch-up against a horrific New Orleans Saints defense.
DEEP SLEEPER: It's more than a little risky to trust a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start, but Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles will face a Washington Redskins team Sunday that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Arian Foster and the Running Backs
STUD: Houston Texans' running back Arian Foster has found the end zone in every game so far this season, and that streak will continue this week against a Jacksonville Jaguars' defense that ranks 29th in the NFL against the run.
DUD: Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers has been a solid fantasy option this season, but a nicked-up Gore facing out a stout Bears defense is a very risky fantasy play, especially given the uncertain status of quarterback Alex Smith.
MATCHUP PLAY: Reggie Bush of the Miami Dolphins watched most of last week's loss to the Tennessee Titans from the sidelines, but Bush should redeem himself for last week's fumble and then some Sunday against a Buffalo Bills team giving up the most fantasy points to running backs this year.
DEEP SLEEPER: Fantasy owners in desperation mode at running back may want to cast their glances west to Ronnie Brown of the San Diego Chargers. Granted, the eighth-year veteran may not see many carries, but Brown has averaged five catches a game over the past three weeks.
A.J. Green and the Wide Receivers
STUD: Second-year wide receiver A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals leads the National Football League with nine touchdowns and, as one of the league's most targeted wideouts, Green should see plenty of action Sunday against the woeful Kansas City Chiefs.
DUD: With six catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns over the past two weeks Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith has been on something of a hot streak of late, but the second-year pro will be hard-pressed to keep that momentum going Sunday night against a stingy Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense.
MATCHUP PLAY: Rookie quarterback Nick Foles locked onto wide receiver Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and. assuming that Maclin plays through his sore back Sunday, his fantasy matchup with the Washington Redskins is a very favorable one.
DEEP SLEEPER: Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had his best game of the season last week with five catches for 82 yards and a score, and the fourth-year veteran could make it two in a row this week against a New Orleans Saints team surrendering the second-most fantasy points to wideouts in 2012.
Tony Gonzalez and the Tight Ends
STUD: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez became the first player at his position to record 100 career touchdown catches last week, and fantasy football's top tight end so far in 2012 has been the greatest value of any player at any spot this year given his average draft position.
DUD: Big things were expected from Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley in his fifth NFL season, but at this point fantasy owners are more likely to see Finley on the side of a milk carton than in the end zone.
MATCHUP PLAY: Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers had a huge game last week against the Denver Broncos, topping 100 receiving yards and scoring twice, and this week Olsen faces a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to tight ends this year.
DEEP SLEEPER: With only three catches for 16 yards over the past three games it's safe to say that Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano is much more a blocker than receiver, but desperate fantasy owners may want to consider the seventh-year veteran in a top 10 fantasy matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
Atlanta Falcons and the Defenses
STUD: The Arizona Cardinals have been very kind to fantasy defenses in 2012, surrendering the most sacks and fantasy points to the position this year, and there's little reason to think that won't continue at the Georgia Dome on Sunday.
DUD: Given how potent their offense is it's not surprising that the New England Patriots allow the fewest points to team defenses in 2012, so while the Indianapolis Colts defense is much improved this season stay far away in fantasy leagues.
MATCHUP PLAY: The Cincinnati Bengals defense ranks in the middle of the pack from a fantasy perspective this season, but the table is set for a strong showing this week against a Kansas City Chiefs team allowing the second most fantasy points to the position.
DEEP SLEEPER: When one thinks of elite defenses the St. Louis Rams are hardly the first team that leaps to mind, but in Week 11 the Rams play host to a New York Jets team redefining the concept of ineptitude on offense.