NFL Fantasy Football 2011 Pre-Week 11 Thursday Notes

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Kendall Hunter is the most interesting player to me this week. He is a talented RB backup to Frank Gore who is battling injuries and is a possibility to have to sit out week 11 and possibly more. The 49ers are going to run, run, run the ball. Hunter is still just the backup but could see a meteoric rise in his value, similiar to Michael Bush when McFadden went down. Hunter should be held in just about all leagues simply because he has a very high speculative value right now. Hunter is currently only owned in 38% of Yahoo! leagues. Sam Bradford just got back Mark Clayton(had been out since last year) and recently got a good receiver to work with a couple weeks ago in Brandon Lloyd. The Rams have been decimated by injuries in the past week or two though, including Offensive Line / Tight End injuries. It’s hard to recommend a QB who has not thrown for multiple TDs going back to week 12 of 2010 and there’s no way I’m going to. This is simply one offense I would keep an eye on as they now have a couple of healthy weapons(Jackson, Lloyd, and Clayton at 90% he says) to work with. Vince Young would be the one to go if Vick is not able to play this week. He projects well in this offense, this week’s opponent(Giants) may give him substantial problems though. Christian Ponder was bad in week 10 against the Packers. The Packers blitzed Ponder into oblivion. Going forward Ponder and the Vikings should recognize that teams are going to duplicate the success the Packers had, the Raiders(week 11 Vikings opponent) should be relied upon to at least try to mimic what the Packers did. Ponder’s good pocket awareness seemed to breakdown and show holes which makes me worry about his true potential. He also threw some poorly thrown balls, though it may be attributed more to miscommunication. Still, Ponder is and interesting QB to follow the rest of the season to see where he ends up. He does have a good fantasy matchup against the Raiders but then again he did against the Packers in week 10. This is another very important game for Ponder’s fantasy value. Tim Tebow gets his shot against possibly the best defense in the league on Thursday night against the Jets. Of course, Tom Brady torched these Jets in week 10 but he’s Tom Brady and he will do that to even the best NFL defenses. Tebow mightily struggled against the Lions’ defense in week 8 but still managed to have a good fantasy day. The Jets are a notably better defense than the Lions. Tebow just does not project as a QB1 this week. Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore take on the bad Vikings defense on Sunday. Also of note is that starting CB Winfield is out for the year. This could easily end up being a shootout but the Raiders just flat out have the bigger guns on offense so it’s hard for me to like the Vikings. Moore is maybe the biggest sleeper of the year in many fantasy leaguers’ minds and this is his chance to let everyone know about his true talent level against an easy defense. Moore is currently owned in 78% of Yahoo! leagues, that is just incredible.
Andy Dalton has thrown for 2 or more TDs in all 3 of his last matchups. This week he has the stingy Ravens defense though. A.J. Green may miss the game as well. As if that wasn’t enough the Ravens are coming off a loss and will be playing at home. I’m sure Dalton and the Bengals will still decide to show up and play the game but don’t expect very much from Dalton and the Bengals. Vincent Brown is a part of a high output offense on the Chargers. As evidenced by other third options such as Jordy Nelson and Darren Sproles, third options are becoming very viable in fantasy lineups. Brown is currently owned in only 12% of Yahoo! leagues. Kevin Smith walked off the street a couple weeks ago and may walk his way on to more and more fantasy teams in the coming weeks. Smith is a nice speculative RB pickup if you have room on your roster. He is arguably the most talented RB on their roster that is healthy right now, he appears to be considered a backup to Maurice Morris right now though. Smith’s value evaporates should Jahvid Best become healthy enough to play again, though. Smith is currently owned in only 3% of leagues. Lance Ball had a 30-96-0 day with injuries to Moreno(out for the year) and McGahee(Questionable for Thursday’s week 11 game) being out of the game in week 10. The Broncos have decided to go extremely run heavy with Tebow running the offense which is good news if you have a part of the Broncos’ run game. Going forward Ball should have some fantasy value even with a healthy McGahee. The Broncos face a tough Jets defense in week 11 but should provide for respectable run numbers just by sheer volume alone.

Thursday Game Preview – Jets at Broncos
Tim Tebow steals the spotlight once again as the lightning rod for fantasy football talk. Tebow had arguably more important things going on this week when he announced he would be helping with the opening of a hospital in the Philippines. Tebow will have his mind on football on Thursday, though, as he takes on the Jets. This is just a terrible matchup for Tebow and one could see him struggling much the same way as he did with the Lions. It’s hard to imagine the Jets would let the Broncos get away with throwing only 8 times in the game. Tebow has shown the ability to throw in the past, throwing for 300+ yards in a game last year against the Texans. This isn’t the Texans though and I expect Tebow to struggle in this game. Lance Ball is one of the hottest waiver wire pickups this week but should have his hands full against the tough Jets defense. Willis McGahee’s status is questionable as of this writing. Eric Decker has found a way to stay fantasy relevant with Tebow at QB, he’s scored a TD in each of his last three games. It feels like an unconfident production by Decker with Tebow as his QB though. Decker does not project well against the Jets but I wouldn’t count him out, he has stayed relevant with both Orton and Tebow at the helm. The Jets have a remarkably bland offense with Shonn Greene and his 3.9 YPC leading the way. LaDainian Tomlinson is out and opens the door possibly for darkhorse sleeper candidate Joe McKnight. McKnight has been underwhelming as a runner this year with a 2.8 YPC, this should be his best opportunity to show he deserves more carries. Whoever runs the ball for the Jets ought to have success. Mark Sanchez has a good matchup but has had another underwhelming year thus far. His primary targets Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller should be able to register at least a couple points each against a sub-par pass defense. The overall Jets’ pass offense can put up numbers against softer opponents but they just don’t have the high ceiling to make the #1s at their positions in fantasy on most weeks, save for maybe Keller. Lastly, I think the Broncos are going to surprise people in some way in this game, they sure surprised a lot when they had only 8 pass attempts in week 10. They are going to have to throw it more if they don’t want nearly every Jets player at the line of scrimmage playing the run.

Have a great fantasy football weekend and enjoy the games!

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