2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 11

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 11

Buffalo: Both starting WR's have been ruled OUT. Steve Johnson has a groin injury while Robert Woods has an ankle injury. They'll be replaced by T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin in the starting lineup with Chris Hogan likely to be the #3. I get the feeling QB E.J. Manuel will be throwing a lot to TE Scott Chandler this week. Despite RB C.J. Spiller not being listed on the injury report it's pretty clear that he is still bothered some by his ankle injury. The Bills sat him out one game but as I said then: that's not enough time off for him to truly get over it. It will lead to unpredictable weeks where Spiller can be big, but others where he is awful. Fred Jackson has proven to be much more consistent and is the better fantasy RB.
Miami: WR Mike Wallace is Questionable because of a hamstring injury that apparently happened sometime in practice this week. But he was able to practice in limited fashion both Thursday and Friday so he is tentatively expected to be okay for week 11. WR Rishard Matthews looked great as the Dolphins new #3 WR last week hauling in 11 catches for 120 yards and 2 TD's last week. Those numbers won't be sustainable going forward, but there's a chance just like the man he replaced (Brandon Gibson) Matthews could be a bit of a ppr surprise for fantasy owners who need a WR. The offensive line woes continue and really hurt the rushing attack last week. We'll see if gets any better this week. But trusting Lamar Miller as more than a middling fantasy RB3 is hard to do.
New England: The most burning question surrounding the Patriots is whether they'll activate RB Shane Vereen by Monday afternoon from the IR/Designated for return list or not. Because of the uncertainty, Vereen can't be trusted in any fantasy lineups this week. The uncertainty also makes it impossible to trust Brandon Bolden. The only Pats RB to be trusted is Stevan Ridley, and even then he is a low end RB2/3. TE Rob Gronkowski is Probable for Monday night's game and appears to just about back to full speed. WR Danny Amendola is also Probable and will e fine despite his lingering groin issue. The Patriots WR depth chart has a clear top 3 in Amendola, Aaron Dobson, and Julian Edelman, but Kenbrell Thompkins may start being pushed for the #4 spot by Josh Boyce. Thompkins star has spiraled into darkness and he is droppable in all formats.
New York Jets: WR Jeremy Kerley is OUT with a dislocated elbow injury but Santonio Holmes is Probable and will return after missing the last several weeks with a hamstring injury. Holmes will probably platoon with David Nelson opposite of Stephen Hill. TE Jeff Cumberland has passed all of his concussion tests and will play, but the return of Kellen Winslow from a 4 game suspension could cut into his fantasy value.
Baltimore: WR Marlon Brown was added to the injury report on Friday as not practicing at all because of a knee injury. Brown wasn't on the Wednesday or Thursday practice report injury lists so it's fair to wonder if the injury happened at the end of Thursday or at the beginning of Friday's practice. He's not worth risking in my opinion and would keep Brown benched even if active. If he misses the game, it just means Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss are likely to see an uptick in playing time. Not enough to make either a strong play but enough to give Jones at least some desperation flex appeal. If RB Ray Rice struggles to run against Chicago's 30th ranked fantasy run defense I'm ready to throw in the towel on him and start clamoring for Bernard Pierce to get his shot at being the primary RB. Maybe the Ravens are thinking the same. Pierce needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues.
Cincinnati: TE Jermaine Gresham is Probable and will play week 11 after sitting out week 10 with a groin injury. His return just drops the fantasy potential of teammate Tyler Eifert. WR Marvin Jones is a sneaky fantasy play this week as A.J. Green will draw the attention of Browns' all-world CB Joe Haden. RB Giovani Bernard has touched the ball 35 times the last 2 games compared to 30 times for Benjarvus Green-Ellis. It's beginning to look like Bernard is taking over, albeit it slowly. Bernard is someone you want to trade for as the Bengals have great matchups during the fantasy playoffs weeks.
Cleveland: This could be the week that RB Chris Ogbonnaya pulls to an even timeshare with Willis McGahee. McGahee has just looked brutally slow and sluggish showing no ability to find a hole or jump through one. I think the Browns have to realize this and get the plodding but more powerful Ogbonnaya a chance for more carries. We could also starts seeing smaller Fozzy Whitaker getting an increased offensive role very soon. The bye in week 10 was enough time for QB Jason Campbell to get his bruised ribs injury healed up and he will start without issue.
Pittsburgh: Even though WR Markus Wheaton is finally over his finger injury he's finding it difficult to supplant Jerricho Cotchery as the Steelers #3 WR. Cotchery lacks the playmaking speed and abilities of the rookie, but his smart routes and knowledge of where to find soft spots in opposing defenses has made him valuable to the Steelers offense. This should be a good week for Ben Roethlisberger as the Lions are a giving fantasy pass defense. RB Le'Veon Bell's workload is guaranteeing him solid fantasy RB2 value each week.
Houston: With Arian Foster having been placed on injured reserve and having back surgery this past week, Ben Tate gets a chance to finish out the season as the Texans featured RB. Tate has the skills, but also has an injury history. Those with him would be smart to grab his top backup, Dennis Johnson, as insurance. Deji Karim is the #3 RB as rookie Ray Graham was waived. Graham is likely to land back on the Texans practice squad. TE Ryan Griffin is OUT with a concussion. Case Keenum looks to get his first win of the season. In his 3 starts, the Texans have lost by 7 total combined points. This despite the fact Keenum has thrown for 7 TD's while having zero interceptions. Keenum is actually a pretty good bet to get his first win this week at home against Oakland. Those who were worried about how Keenum's presence may negatively impact WR Andre Johnson have to be very surprised. Johnson has flourished with Keenum at QB. All 5 of Johnson's TD receptions have come in the last 2 games.
Indianapolis: After two weeks or warning everyone that Donald Brown has been out-producing Trent Richardson and likely was going to usurp him soon, it finally happened Thursday night. Expect Brown to be the more primary of the 2 going forward. I think Richardson is the more talented of the two, but something just isn't clicking with him and the blocking schemes. I can't put a finger on it, but I almost get the feeling there's something wrong with Richardson we haven't been told about. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey either has an ankle injury, or has simply been bypassed by other WR's because of drops. LaVon Brazil and Griff Whalen appeared to get a lot of playing time Thursday. Neither is a dynamic player though and I am hopeful the Colts make rookie Da'Rick Rogers active going forward and start getting him on the field. He's got the best game to complement T.Y. Hilton if he's ready for the challenge.
Jacksonville: Even though there were quite a few limited practices between them, RB Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), along with WR's Cecil Shorts (groin) and Mike Brown (ankle) are all Probable and each will start without issue. Chad Henne continues to be the starting QB. This just tells you how incredibly bad Blaine Gabbert really is.
Tennessee: Chris Johnson has scored 4 TD's in the last 3 games. He started Thursday night off smoking hot, but then quickly cooled off and couldn't get anything going on the ground. Not sure why that was as he was on track for a monster night before the 1st quarter was through. Ryan Fitzpatrick was statistically sound as he will finish out the season in place of Jake Locker (injured reserve; foot) and the QB desperate should consider him as he has very favorable matchups in the fantasy playoff weeks. When you don't have a stud, you want guys with great matchups.
Denver: Peyton Manning's ankle injury would be a bigger concern if he was any type of running QB, but he isn't, and therefore it isn't. Manning is Probable and will start without problem against Kansas City Sunday night. However, it won't be a surprise if we start seeing more of rookie RB Montee Ball earlier in games as the Broncos try to establish a reliable rushing attack so Manning isn't dropping back 45+ times every game. Ball is power RB complement to Knowshon Moreno. Moreno is a RB1 while Ball a RB3/4. Ronnie Hillman continues to be a game day inactive and likely will be again this week. Both TE Julius Thomas and WR Wes Welker are Probable despite their respective ankle injuries.
Kansas City: The Chiefs come into their week 11 showdown with division rival Denver pretty much at full strength. No one on the team is listed as being worse than Probable. In fact, don't be surprised if we have a Dwayne Bowe sighting this week. Bowe was arrested last weekend for speeding and possession of marijuana. It wouldn't be a shock at all if Bowe was motivated to have a great game this week to try to earn back some good will from fans and the organization. Few things make others forgive you like having a big game against a division rival. Of course, there's also the chance Bowe just simply folds up and disappears. Consider him a high risk/high reward fantasy WR3 this week for the bold.
Oakland: QB Terrelle Pryor was ruled OUT for week 11 on Saturday because of his knee injury. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin will start in his place. It's likely the Raiders will call up Tyler Wilson from the practice squad to be his backup. McGloin's a poor bet for pulling off a happy fantasy surprise and I recommend staying away from all Raiders except for RB Rashad Jennings. Jennings get to start again this week as Darren McFadden is OUT again with his hamstring injury.
San Diego: Another week where Eddie Royal is Questionable after having not practiced once at all during the week. This was the 4th consecutive week that has happened and in each case thus far, Royal has still played in the actual games and not looked limited at all by his "toe" injury. I expect he'll play this week too. RB Ryan Mathews is Probable despite having a minor hamstring injury. If the hamstring turns out to be an actual concern, we could see a lot more of both Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown, but he's supposed to be fine with a Probable listing.
Dallas: It's thought that maybe the bye this week will be the final week that Miles Austin needs to get over his chronic hamstring issue. We'll see if he practices next week. It's also hoped that the rest will help Dez Bryant rest and rehab his bothersome back issue.
New York Giants: RB Brandon Jacobs is Questionable and likely will be a game time decision. But considering he's likely to be no higher than 3rd on the RB depth chart behind featured RB Andre Brown and top backup Peyton Hillis, and Jacobs potential return should mean nothing for fantasy. The only thing he can do is usurp Hillis as the top backup to Brown. Eli Manning has only thrown 1 interception in the last 3 games, but he also only has 586 passing yards and 2 TD's in that span as well. I have a feeling a big game from Eli is coming soon as he's simply too good a QB to continue to have these horrible games.
Philadelphia: QB Nick Foles is fully expected to finish out the season as the Eagles starting QB regardless of whether Michael Vick ever gets over his hamstring woes. Foles is both the Eagles QB of the present and the future. Vick will be looking for a new team this off-season. WR Riley Cooper continues to have dominant games with Foles at QB. Cooper isn't a highly talented WR but Foles seems to love him and get him the ball for big play after big play. Cooper is a legitimate fantasy WR2/3 this week with a matchup against Washington's 30th ranked fantasy pass defense. TE Brent Celek is Probable despite having a hip injury. His split with Zack Ertz makes it hard to trust either for having fantasy value.
Washington: WR Leonard Hankerson is Probable with a minor hamstring injury. He'll be fine for his usual role as the unreliably inconsistent sometimes WR2-4 depending on the whim of Mike Shanahan any given week. Hopefully after making sure both Roy Helu and Darrel Young have had games with 3 TD runs Shanahan remembers he has a stud in Alfred Morris who found the end zone 13 times last season but only has 5 rushing TD's this year. WR Pierre Garcon should continue to be a yardage machine for a 3rd consecutive week (Garcon has caught 14 passes for 291 yards and 1 TD the last two games combined) as he faces an Eagles pass defense allowing the second most passing yards per game to their opponents.
Chicago: Josh McCown starts at QB in place of injured Jay Cutler. Cutler is expected to miss a couple of weeks with an ankle injury. McCown has acquitted himself well in all game action so far this season and it's unlikely that WR's Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will see much of a letdown at all. Don't be surprised if the Bears take quite a few shots down the field this week as the Ravens have allowed more passing plays of 40+ yards than any other team in the league. TE Martellus Bennett is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with an ankle injury.
Detroit: WR Calvin Johnson scared everyone when he sat out both Wednesday and Thursday practices because of his lingering knee issue as it brought back memories of his week 5 surprise inactive, but he did practice Friday and the Lions list him as Probable for week 11, so he can be started with confidence. The difference in expectations for a player listed as Probable as opposed to Questionable is huge. WR Nate Burleson is Doubtful and won't play week 11. Burleson's been practicing the last two weeks but the Lions aren't rushing him back from his broken forearm. Kris Durham has been impressive opposite Calvin Johnson and could remain in the starting lineup even when Burleson returns. RB Reggie Bush is Probable. Bush is only listed at all because the team has been giving him Friday's off the last 2 weeks after he practiced in full Wednesday and Thursday. It's a smart move by the team to manage Bush this way given his injury history.
Green Bay: Scott Tolzien will start this week with Aaron Rodgers not ready to return from his collarbone injury yet and Seneca Wallace having suffered a season-ending groin injury last week. Tolzien is an example of the great unknown for fantasy. He could be a huge surprise, or he could be a big dud. Rodgers is saying he may be back next week, but Thanksgiving still seems like the more likely return date. I think a lot of that will depend on whether Tolzien does well or not this week. Tolzien, as a backup QB predictably looked to be more comfortable throwing to Jarrett Boykin than the regular starters Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Most likely Tolzien has had a lot more time practicing with Boykin earlier in the season. We'll see if that remains the same this week. The player I'm most concerned about losing fantasy value is WR James Jones. I think Nelson and Boykin will be okay and RB Eddie Lacy will get a huge workload, but Jones is just someone I get a feeling will be the odd man out.
Minnesota: Christian Ponder will start at QB despite having suffered a dislocated non-throwing shoulder injury in week 10. Ponder may not be a very good NFL or fantasy QB but you have to admire his moxie and tenacity at trying to keep hold of the Vikings starting QB job. He's going to need every ounce of moxie this week to have any success on the road against the Seahawks #1 ranked fantasy pass defense. Adrian Peterson is Probable despite not having practiced at all Thursday and Friday because of a groin injury. AP will start and be fine. WR Cordarrelle Patterson will start over Jerome Simpson. It's unknown if this is a long overdue switch, or just a one week demotion for Simpson having been popped for DUI last weekend. TE John Carlson looks to have a second consecutive big game replacing injured Kyle Rudolph. Good luck on that. The only Vikings I'd start this week are AP and maybe Patterson in leagues where you get special teams yardage. He should have at 5 kickoff returns.
Atlanta: TE Tony Gonzalez is Questionable and will be a game time decision because of a toe injury suffered last week. While I tentatively expect Gonzalez will play, I also expect he's going to be limited because of the injury. WR Harry Douglas is Questionable because of a knee issue that seemed to pop up in practice this week. Douglas was able to practice some on Friday and tentatively is expected to be okay for week 11. Roddy White is Probable with a listed shoulder injury. I am a bit surprised his ankle and hamstring issues have been replaced by a shoulder injury, but at least he's Probable and appears to be getting closer to being 90% of his regular self. The Falcons spent all week talking about how they need to give the ball to RB Steven Jackson more. We'll see if they do that or not. If they don't, I am done buying into Jackson having any potential value.
Carolina: RB Mike Tolbert is Probable for Monday night but it's not for any injury reason. There must be some personal stuff going on with him but he is expected to play Monday night. Since Jonathan Stewart returned from the PUP list, it's been the exact same issue this season as it was last season with Carolina's RB situation: a 3 headed RBBC between Stewart, Tolbert, and DeAngelo Williams that can't be relied on and is at best a "bunting for first" play any given week. It's good to see TE Greg Olsen finally off the injury report after he spent several weeks on it with a mysterious foot ailment.
New Orleans: TE Jimmy Graham is Probable and will play despite probably being limited in how much game action he gets. Graham is still bothered by foot and elbow injuries. Backup TE Ben Watson though is OUT because of a concussion. RB Mark Ingram blew up last week but that was a lot more likely to be a one week wonder type of thing and not an indication the former first round draft bust has finally come into his own. The split at RB makes it hard to trust any of the Saints talented RB's as more than RB3's. It's a little surprising that WR Marques Colston is not on the injury report at all. Colston's poor performances until last week had been blamed on a knee injury he'd been playing through. Now that he went off in a game the injury has mysteriously disappeared from the injury report. Sure, it's coincidental.
Tampa Bay: With Mike James having gone on IR after suffering a broken ankle injury last Monday night, the team now turns to a combo of FB hybrid Brian Leonard and scatback Bobby Rainey to finish the season as their top RB's. Leonard is a trusted veteran who excels in pass blocking and is an excellent receiving RB. As a runner, he is a power guy who lacks elusiveness but can bowl people over. Rainey is unproven in the passing game and probably won't handle many of those duties. But as a runner he is a lot faster and more creative than Leonard. While Leonard will get first crack to be the more primary of the two, I think the playmaking difference Rainey can provide will eventually make him top Leonard as the better fantasy RB in the non-ppr format. In ppr, I give the edge to Leonard. WR Vincent Jackson has had 3 mediocre games in a row and you know that means he has an explosion of fantasy points coming very soon. No better time to me than this week at home against a reeling Falcons defense. Watch Jackson be a top 5 fantasy WR this week.
Arizona: WR Michael Floyd is expected to play week 11 despite being Questionable with a shoulder injury. With a matchup against Jacksonville's pitiful run defense, Andre Ellington is a solid fantasy RB2 while Rashard Mendenhall could be a low end RB2. No team allows more rushing yards or rushing TD's than the Jags. This could also be a game where Larry Fitzgerald gets some stats. Fitz has been mired in mediocrity the last several games and I get the feeling Carson Palmer is going to grease Fitz with some extra passes to bring his stats up.
St. Louis: Perhaps the bye this week will allow the Rams to figure out how to get rookie Tavon Austin on the field more often. Austin had a great game week 10, but was barely on the field for 25% of the offensive snaps. He, Chris Givens, and Brian Quick need to be the Rams top 3 WR's. It's unknown what's happened to Daryl Richardson. He wasn't on the injury report week 10 but was inactive for a second consecutive game. It appears undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham has passed up both of 2012's draft picks (Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson) as the top backup to Zac Stacy.
San Francisco: TE Vernon Davis is Questionable and it's still unknown if he has passed all of his concussion tests or not. I would think if he had there would have been some report about it somewhere. Clouding the issue is 3rd string TE Garrett Celek being Doubtful. This clouds the situation as it's unknown if Saturday's call up of practice squad TE Derek Carrier to the active roster is an indication of Davis's status or not. Consider Davis a true game time decision. WR Mario Manningham is fully expected to play this week despite being listed as Questionable. Manningham played is his first game action last week since suffering a torn ACL in 2012. WR Michael Crabtree was back at practice on Friday, but he has not been activated off the PUP list yet and is still at least another week away from returning from a torn Achilles injury suffered back in May. Crabtree likely won't return until week 13 at the earliest.
Seattle: WR Percy Harvin has been activated from the PUP list and is Probable to make his 2013 season debut this week in a great matchup against his former team. The Seahawks may limit Harvin's playing time but even in limited time he should be worth thinking about as a fantasy WR2/3 given the vengeance factor against a team that is bottom 3 in fantasy pass defense. His return pushes Jermaine Kearse down to being the Seahawks #4 WR and probably out of any fantasy value. Between Harvin's return and the matchup, expect this to be a great week to have Russell Wilson as a starting fantasy QB.