Apparently this past Sunday was “Concussion Day” in the National Football League. Did they hand out fancy rally towels or t-shirts at the turnstiles? Was a donation made by the NFL with every concussed player? Well this past Sunday was in a word, a headache. And what does that mean to fantasy owners from coast to coast in Week 11? Crappy Backup Day in the NFL this week! Look, if you drafted for depth at the position you should be fine. But if not, or if you are an unlucky sap like yours truly with both Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger, some work needs to be done, fast. Unlike the other skill positions, teams have one solid option at QB if that, and the rest is absolute rubbish. The fun is picking through that rubbish, playing match ups, rubbing chicken bones together and praying that the injury to your starter is not one that costs multiple weeks. (…scrambling for those blasted chicken bones….)
QB Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans – After missing some time due to the shoulder injury, Locker returned this week against the Miami Dolphins and was pretty efficient. He threw for only 122 yards, but tossed two touchdowns, scampered for 36 yards on the ground and more importantly didn’t throw any interceptions. The Titans have a decent schedule down the stretch after the bye so Locker could be a nice sneaky play.
QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams – With a healthy WR Danny Amendola back and a running game showing signs of life, you could do worse than Bradford at QB. With the Jets, Bills and Bucs on the schedule down the stretch, there could be some nice fantasy numbers to be had from the Ram signal caller.
QB Jason Campbell, Chicago Bears – After starting QB Jay Cutler left the game with a concussion, Campbell came in and while not setting the world on fire, he was mistake-free and steady against one of the league’s tougher defenses in Houston. You’ll want to monitor Cutler’s status as the week progresses, but Campbell is a savvy veteran who could provide help in a pinch in deeper leagues.
QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers – Yet another concussion, this time to starting QB Alex Smith. Enter Kaepernick. Of course, the overall passing game will go down the toilet, but he has the wheels to make things happen and that in itself is pretty exciting. Of course if you have the likes of WR Michael Crabtree or TE Vernon Davis…
QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – Well the Eagles faithful finally got their wish after QB Michael Vick went down with the concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. Enter the pre-season prince, Nick Foles. He actually showed some poise in the pocket, and tossed a nice 44 yard touchdown to WR Jeremy Maclin. However there was no mistaking the kid is a rookie, with an interception returned for a touchdown and a lost fumble recovered in the end zone by the Cowboys.
QB Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers – Yes folks, things are getting desperate out there in QB-Land. The silver lining with Leftwich is plays on a team with a rock solid defense, has an effective running game and solid receivers. How do I look in my rose-colored glasses? We could see good ol’ Charlie Batch sooner than later. Don’t you just LOVE fantasy football??
RB Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots – Quite honestly, unless your name is Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski or Stevan Ridley, trying to rely on steady fantasy production week in and week out is a difficult task. However, I have to mention the recent play of versatile RB Danny Woodhead. He is a threat in both the passing and running game and definitely has the confidence of both the coaching staff and his quarterback. He’s by no means a weekly fantasy slam dunk, but definitely someone to consider if you are thin at the position.
RB Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints – While RB Chris Ivory was the home run hitter early in the game with the 56 yard touchdown run, it seems that Ingram was more of a steady force. The Saints are obviously a pass-first team, making any of their running backs a tough sell in the realm of fantasy, but Ingram might be the one to consider.
RB Chris Wells, Arizona Cardinals – He’s practicing again and telling reporters that his troublesome toe and knee both feel great. Granted we’ve heard these health accolades before, only for a stiff breeze to knock him out of the lineup again, so be wary. Also be mindful of a rough schedule down the stretch. But he will regain his starting status with the team, and that in itself makes him valuable – for the time being. Wait, is that a breeze?? Uh-oh..
WR Donald Jones, Buffalo Bills – The Bills will find themselves in more shootouts and come-from-behind situations, so safe to say Jones will get his after fellow WR Stevie Johnson. I mentioned him before, but after this past Sunday’s high scoring affair, and the likelihood of more to come, he warrants mentioning again.
WR Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers – Well, WR Robert Meachem isn’t exactly working out, WR Vincent Brown is still on the IR with no clear timetable, and TE Antonio Gates shows up every two or three weeks. So the opportunity for another receiver to grab the brass ring and shine was there and Alexander grabbed it in a big way. He is definitely someone to consider, as you’d have to think QB Phillip Rivers will look his way again in the coming weeks.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders – After getting his clock cleaned a few weeks back and missing a handful of games, Hey-Bey was forgotten and found himself dropped in many leagues. Well he’s been back for a few weeks and playing quite well. At the rate the Raiders are throwing the ball these days, he is likely to continue to be a factor as the season moves along. If he is available in your league, you’ll want to make a play for him sooner as opposed to later.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers – It is difficult to recommend any Steelers receiver with the uncertainty regarding the injury to QB Ben Roethlisberger. That said, he is a decent talent, an effective option on special teams, and with WR Antonio Brown likely to miss some more time, Sanders will have some value.
TE Dustin Keller, New York Jets – It is no mistaking that the Jets are a mess. But Keller is a solid receiver and if the Jets finally decide to give QB Tim Tebow a shot (stop laughing) moving forward, Keller could serve as security blanket for the fleet-footed quarterback. He is worth keeping on your radar given the uncertainty of the position overall.
TE Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals – I am still surprised at the number of leagues that he is still not a rostered commodity. However, after this past week’s performance that is likely to change. If by chance he is still available, take a shot at him… but it might be a week too late.
TE Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills – Look for the Bills to be just that much more pass-happy if RB Fred Jackson misses time with the head injury. That is good news for all of the Bills receivers and since Chandler gets plenty of looks in the red zone, he’s worth a few looks from fantasy owners.
Have a great week, and for goodness sake BE CAREFUL. We can’t have fantasy owners getting hurt too.
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