These Thursday games don’t give us fantasy owners much time to breathe, do they?
This week the Miami Dolphins will face off against the Carolina Panthers in the early game. So here we are in week 11, barreling toward fantasy playoffs. It’s only Tuesday, and we are already setting our lineups for Thursday, and waivers haven’t even opened yet.
So let’s slow down for a moment and look back at what we saw in week 10: mostly running back injuries. The bye weeks are over, but this week, fantasy owners will still be without Brian Westbrook, Julius Jones, Michael Turner , and Ronnie Brown .
The Redskins should have Clinton Portis back in week 11, but is he a better option than Ladell Betts? You can read my Week 11 RB Start/Sits for more thought.
The Monday night game may have been one of the all-time worst for a MNF game. It was 0-0 at the half, and most fans turned the game off. What happened to Joe Flacco ?
Interesting to note, in the Ravens three wins to start the season, Willis McGahee scored twice in each game, and was a nice compliment to Ray Rice . Since then they have relied solely on Rice, and have only won two more games. Hmmm...
I went 11-4 last week, to get back on track. Games that cost me; the Redskins breaking the Broncos, the Panthers mauling the Falcons, the Jags last second FG to down the Jets, and the Bengals beating the Steelers (for the second time).
My favorite call of the week was the Colts nipping the Pats by one point. Thank you Bill Belichick. Now on to the week at hand where we’ll have again.
–Team Defense Start and Sit – Week 11–
Plug and Play
|Solid defensive option||If they are on your bench, leave ‘em there||Reasonable risk/reward option|
Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers
Both of these teams have surprised off and on this season. It’s anyone’s guess which team will pull the rabbit out of the helmet on Thursday night. The Dolphins will be without Ronnie Brown, leaving the load on Ricky Williams shoulders.
The Panthers have started to limit their turnovers so they’re no longer in the basement, but neither team’s defense is a great start this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers offense was nowhere to be found last week, so they’ll probably overcompensate with a huge day against the Chiefs. That doesn’t mean this is an easy day for Pittsburgh. The Chiefs are a dangerous team who could surprise the Super Bowl Champions if they don’t keep their eye on the ball. That said, PIT should easily shut down Jamaal Charles, and Troy Polamalu and gang should feast on the Chiefs passing game.
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions
Two of the league’s lowliest teams face off in a best of the worst matchup. The Browns have more to prove than the Lions, so the edge has to go their way emotionally, but the Lions have more tools to get the job done.
It may seem surprising that I’d put the Lions defense up as a plug and play option this week, but the Browns are -13 in turnover ratio and have a league high 25 giveaways. I think the Lions will win this based on a Browns turnover.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The New Orleans Saints , and notably, QB Drew Brees, were unusually sloppy last week against a very weak team, who almost upset them. This week they face a hungry team that already upset the Packers two weeks ago.
Could this be the week they lose their first game? I still think they have enough firepower, and the Bucs enough defensive holes that the Saints should win this handily, but they’re playing with fire if they start becoming undisciplined.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
Both the Falcons and Giants are on the plus side of the turnover battle (+2 to be exact), and they both average about two giveaways per game. That makes both teams poor defense plays right now.
The Falcons will have to make due with Jason Snelling in the run game, who has shown he can move the ball. This should be a big game for the Giants, Brandon Jacobs. I’m going with the G-men to get back in the win column this week.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Bills are just all kinds of messed up right now, but they still have the talent on both sides of the ball to beat some good teams. The Jags are a decent team trying to put all the pieces together. One advantage they have going for them this week is they are playing at home, where they are much better.
The other big advantage, the have Maurice Jones-Drew, who looks to follow Chris Johnson’s big fantasy week with on of his own, at the Bills expense. The Bills defense though could turn the game. They have 16 interceptions so far, good for second best in the league.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
This could be a very close battle. There’s a nice rivalry between these two teams. The Redskins are better than people are giving them credit for. Both are on the negative side of the turnover battle, but mostly because neither team forces a lot of turnovers against the opponent.
This could be a game where one turnover could be the deciding factor. I think the Cowboys will beat the Indians this week.
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
As we’ve seen all season, the Seahawks are worse on the road than at home, and the Vikings are virtually unstoppable. The Vikes are +4 to the Seahawks -2 in turnover ratio, and the Minnesota defense is very opportunistic. Look for a heavy pass attack on both sides, but Adrian Peterson will win it with his legs. RB Justin Forsett gets his first start against the league’s second best rush defense.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
If anything can be said of the Packers lately in terms of consistency, it’s sloppiness. They’ve been making far too many mistakes, and unfortunately for Aaron Rodgers, he has no offensive line to protect him.
That alone makes the SF defense a decent start. The 49ers are still a work in progress, and I believe if the Pack tightens up, they should win this. That said, they’ve been loose.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
It seems the Ravens have flown south for the winter. Joe Flacco seems lost, and the whole offense is resting on Ray Rice’s small shoulders. This should be an easy game for the Colts, but never underestimate the enemy.
Some teams play better against tougher opponents. You know Ray Lewis will have his defense pumped. However, Indy doesn’t give away too many turnovers, and I see the Colts remaining undefeated at least one more week.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
The Cardinals are 4-0 on the road so far this season, and the Rams are, well, the Rams. But as we’ve seen the last couple of weeks, their offense is starting to show signs of life. They nearly upset the undefeated Saints last week.
However, the Cards suddenly have something they haven’t had in years, a running game. I like the Cards to beat the Rams with relative ease this week.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
The last time these two met it was a surprise upset for the Jets over the Pats. Since then the two teams are going in different directions. The Jets will not be able to contain the Patriots passing game this week, and the Jets look to crash and burn.
It’s time for Rex Ryan to start giving Shonn Greene more touches. Jones is on his last legs in New York, and the Jets are almost out of the playoff picture.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The last game the Broncos won was against the Chargers right before their bye week. The Chargers have been on their usual midseason tear. The upset Broncos are suddenly just, upset. They’ve lost three in a row, and their offensive weaknesses are beginning to show.
On top of that, their defense has not been as solid as it was early on. Philip Rivers is prone to interceptions, making the Broncos defense a decent play.
Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders
The Bengals could very well be 9 -1 right now if not for that fluke play in week one at Denver. They have beat the Super Bowl Champs twice. The Raiders simply don’t have a chance this week, barring a major meltdown by Cincy.
Oakland’s QB JaMarcus Russell gets worse each week and doesn’t understand how any of the teams woes are his fault. The guy is simply delusional. Jeff Garcia is laughing his ass off somewhere. Sadly for Oakland fans, his backup is even worse.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Bears QB, Jay Cutler leads the league with 17 interceptions. Jake Delhomme is sending him a Christmas card. The Eagles defense are third in the league with 15 interceptions. If Cutler can’t get on the same page with his WRs, and tame his wild arm, it’s going to be a feast for the Eagles secondary.
Since the Bears have no running game to speak of, the weight of the team rests on Cutler's shaky arm.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
After last week’s dismal Monday night game, this week should be a treat for fans of shoot outs. When these two teams met in week two, they combined for 65 points. The Texans barely escaped with the win. This time around the Titans have a new QB in Vince Young, who has his team 3 -0 since their bye.
That said, Young is not much of a threat to win a shoot out. Last time they met, the team relied on fumble fingers Slaton at RB. This time they have Ryan Moats as well. Look for more run and less pass this time. If the Texans get Andre Johnson back on the field, I like their chances over the Titans, even without Owen Daniels.
The Texans defense though will have to get a better hold on RB Chris Johnson, who had his best game of the season in week two with 3 TDs and 284 total yards.