With another week of the NFL season in the books that means we’re one week closer to the fantasy football playoff season and by this point in the year you should know whether or not your team will be competing for a fantasy football championship or thinking to yourself “there’s always next year.”
Whatever your playoff chances are one thing for certain is that you can always look to improve your team. No matter how perfect your team is anything can happen within a matter of seconds. Just imagine your team was in first place and you had been riding both Rob Gronkowski and Willis McGahee all year long. Nothing to worry about, right? Well, we all know what happened on Sunday and it looks like both Gronkowski (broken forearm) and McGahee (torn MCL, broken leg) will be missing at least the next four weeks and could both possibly be out for the rest of the regular season.
Those two injuries were the biggest ones to happen this past week in the NFL and if you lost either one below you’ll find my waiver wire pick-up article for the week that will hopefully help you out for the upcoming slate of games. Oh, and don’t forget that thanks to Thanksgiving this week there will be three football games on the schedule on Thursday: Texans @ Lions, Redskins @ Cowboys and Patriots @ Jets. You better set your line-up accordingly…
Chad Henne. Want the best example that Week 11 was fantasy football bizarro world? Matt Ryan threw for 301 yards and 5 interceptions while Henne threw for 354 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Playing for an injured Blaine Gabbert Henne lit up a Texans defense that was heralded as an elite unit and his play has already given him a vote of confidence from the coaching staff, as Henne has been named the starter this week against the Titans. This season the Titans are allowing quarterbacks to throw an average of 266.2 yards against them this and have given up a total of 20 passing touchdowns; both in the bottom ten of the league. It’s not out of the question that Henne could have another big game this week and if you’re feeling risky Henne just might provide you with a huge return.
Colin Kaepernick. In a battle of the backup QBs, Kaepernick vastly outplayed Jason Campbell. Kaepernick’s play was pretty darn good and he may have taken the starting job away from Alex Smith. Kaepernick was 16 of 23 for 243 yards and two touchdowns and he also added 12 yards rushing. When 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked who’ll be the starting QB for the Saints this week the response wasn’t good for Smith: “I usually go with the hot hand.” Well, nobody’s hand was hotter than Kaepernick’s Monday night and if he is given the starting job he could be a top ten fantasy QB the rest of the season.
Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball. I covered the McGahee injury earlier in the article so you know he’s out for a long time. Hillman and Ball played in relief of McGahee once he left the game on Sunday against the Chargers. Hillman totaled 14 touches for 61 yards and Ball had a total of 9 touches for 56 yards. Hillman has been getting more involved in the run game for the Broncos and looks to be the guy to replace McGahee but Ball will also be in play and we can’t forget about Knowshon Moreno as well. If you want the home run pick it’s Hillman but don’t be surprised if Ball takes a chunk out of Hillman’s touches.
Beanie Wells. The Cardinals rushing attack has been a joke this year, even though La’Rod Stephens-Howlins rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown versus the Falcons on Sunday. Two of LSH’s 27 carries totaled 92 yards, which means he averaged 1.86 yards per rush on his other 22 rushes. Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt has said that Wells will be coming off the short term I.R. designation this week and should be good to go against the Rams this Sunday and should take back the starting job.
Bryce Brown. The season just keeps getting worse and worse for the Eagles and the latest bad news for them came on Sunday when starting RB LeSean McCoy was knocked out of their game against the Redskins with a concussion. There’s no guarantee that McCoy will be medically cleared Sunday and if he isn’t Brown will get the starting nod. If you own McCoy you better pick up Brown.
Jalen Parmele. Rashad Jennings didn’t do much as the starting RB for the Jaguars while he was starting in place of the injured Maurice Jones-Drew and on Sunday head coach Mike Mularky benched Jennings for Parmele against the Texans. Parmele responded by rushing for 80 yards; not spectacular numbers but the Texans run defense is stout so Parmele actually did not too bad if you think about it. Jones-Drew likely won’t be back this week, giving Parmele at least one more game as the Jaguars’ starting running back and in Week 12 that start would be against the Titans who have given up an average of 132.8 yards rushing to opponents this year, good for 5th worse in the NFL.
Danario Alexander. Since being given significant time at the WR position in San Diego and eventually being named a starter for the team Alexander, known as DX, has taken his opportunity and ran with it. In three games with the Chargers DX has totaled 17 catches, 289 yards and three touchdowns, including the 96 yards and 2 touchdowns he had against the Broncos this past week. DX led the Chargers in targets for a second straight week and that could be a trend for the rest of the season that won’t be going away. If you need something else to tip you over the edge the Chargers play the Ravens this week and that secondary just lost safety Ed Reed to a one-game suspension.
Julian Edelman. Edelman played more than Brandon Lloyd in two-wide sets on Sunday and that could continue to happen going forward this season. In Edelman’s favor was his play Sunday, as he totaled 222 all-purpose yards (58 yards receiving, 47 yards rushing and 117 return yards) and recorded two touchdowns (1 receiving, 1 punt return). With Gronkowski out there will be more targets to go around and Edelman might be more of a beneficiary over Lloyd.
T.Y. Hilton. There has been no question that Hilton has the talent to be an every week WR3 in fantasy football. The only thing holding him back has been Donnie Avery. Both players have been vying for the attention of Andrew Luck’s targets and with Avery suffering a concussion on Sunday Hilton should get an increased number of targets going forward. Against the Patriots Hilton caught 6 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns and this week the Colts play the Bills, which is a great match-up for the Colts’ passing attack. If Avery is out this week Hilton makes for an attractive WR3 play.
Dwayne Allen. The Colts play the Bills this week and the Bills rank in the bottom of fantasy football when it comes to fantasy points against tight ends. There has been talk that Coby Fleener will return from his injury this week but if he doesn’t Allen will continue to dominate the tight end targets. If you’re a Gronk owner looking for an answer Allen could be your man. Against the Patriots this past Sunday Allen was targeted 11 times and caught six of those targets for 69 yards.
Garrett Graham. Even though Owen Daniels came back from his injury for the Texans on Sunday and they scored 43 points against the Jaguars Daniels wasn’t able to get it on the scoring fun. He did catch six of nine balls thrown his way for a total of 57 yards though. The man throwing Daniels those balls, QB Matt Schaub had one heck of game throwing for 527 yards and five touchdowns, three of which went to tight ends not named Owen Daniels: two to Garrett Graham and one to James Casey. Picking up Graham won’t necessarily result in fantasy points, in fact he might not get another touchdown all year, but if you have the roster spot he’s worth adding, as you never know when Daniels might be out again.
Cincinnati Bengals. If you’ve been employing a week-by-week strategy at the defensive position in fantasy football then last week you probably started the Cincinnati Bengals. The reason being that they were going up against the Kansas City Chiefs; a team that was yielding the highest amount of fantasy points to opposing defenses. While the Bengals didn’t pay you back with a blowout fantasy performance they only allowed the Chiefs to score 6 points, recorded three sacks and added a fumble recovery. Not a bad day at the offense.
They’re not playing the Chiefs again this week, that would be the Denver Broncos, who should already be owned in all fantasy leagues, the Bengals are playing the Raiders. Carson Palmer has been a respectable quarterback so far this season and the thinking going into the Raiders’ Week 11 match-up against the lowly Saints defense was that Palmer would rip them apart but that didn’t quite happen. It’s true that Palmer threw for over 300 yards and 2 TDs but he was also picked off twice, one of which was a pick-six, and he was also sacked three times. If the Saints could do that to Palmer just imagine what an opportunistic Bengals defense might do to him? Roll with the Bengals for at least one more week.