This is why you always make sure your lineup is set early in the week.
Millions of complaints came into Yahoo last week as the service shut down with about 15 minutes to go until kickoff, preventing people from making last-minute lineup changes. Frankly, I’m not hearing it. In normal leagues, waivers clear on Wednesdays, giving you ample time to set your optimal lineup. I know a guy who deliberately waits until the last possible moment to set his lineup because he says he feels most comfortable that way. I get that…it prevents you from overthinking (which I’ve been guilty of on many an occasion), but you’re playing with fire every week. Something like what happened last week could easily happen again, or you could find yourself with a personal emergency which won’t allow you to set your lineup.
Obviously, gameday inactives are going to be an issue, but they usually roll out around 11:30 am, and every team has reported their inactives by 12:15 pm the latest. The only people who have any right to gripe are Aaron Hernandez owners, as he was the only big name in the 1:00 games who was inactive last week.
But that was last week. On to this week. I’m dreading this slate of matchups, as I have to play against Drew Brees in all three of my money leagues (how the hell did THAT happen?) and he’s playing against a Raiders defense that has been absolutely torched by the Buccaneers and Ravens over the past two weeks. Gulp.
Byes belong to the Giants (thank God, they need one), Titans, Vikings, and Seahwaks.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
Comfortables: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Reggie Bush, CJ Spiller, Brian Hartline, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler, Anthony Fasano, Miami Defense, Buffalo Defense
Cautions: Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Thomas, Davone Bess, Donald Jones
Casualties: Tashard Choice
Sleeper: Lamar Miller
Another Thursday night game. Yuck. Fred Jackson is out with a concussion, so it’s Spiller all day (of course I have to play against him). Miami’s normally stingy run defense was exposed last week by Chris Johnson. Reggie Bush was benched after fumbling, which was ridiculous, because he’s the offense’s best player and Coach Joe Philbin essentially conceded the game to Tennessee by not putting his best player out there and allowing him to make plays (and get me fantasy points dammit!!!). Hopefully Bush has left the doghouse and will be willing to contribute, because Buffalo got gashed by New England on the ground last week as well. I also like the top receiving options and tight ends for both teams.
Prediction: The Bills stun the reeling Dolphins and win at home on the back of CJ Spiller.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Arizona Starting QB, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Jacquizz Rodgers, Andre Roberts
Casualties: William Powell, Alphonso Smith, Rob Housler, Arizona Defense
Sleeper: Harry Douglas
Poor Arizona. The Falcons are rightfully pissed off about having their unbeaten streak snapped, so they’re most certainly going to take it out on a hapless Arizona team that’s a far cry from the undefeated team they were during the opening weeks of the season. All starting Falcons are in play, and aside from Larry Fitzgerald, who you can’t really bench, I’d steer clear of any Cardinals.
Prediction: Falcons cruise at home.
Cleveland Browns vs. Dallas Cowboys
Comfortables: Tony Romo, Trent Richardson, DeMarco Murray (if active), Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Dallas Defense
Cautions: Brandon Weeden, Felix Jones (if Murray is inactive), Josh Gordon
Casualties: Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbannaya, Philip Tanner, Greg Little, Kevin Ogletree, Benjamin Watson, Cleveland Defense
Sleeper: Lance Dunbar
Finally, Dallas makes the big push. They’re seemingly past the toughest part of the schedule (both games against the Giants are out of the way), and aside from a game against the rejuvenated Saints, the schedule looks a bit easier. The look of this game seems similar to Atlanta/Arizona. A superior team at home against a team that’s coming off a bye but is reeling. Hopefully DeMarco Murray can suit up, because the running game has gone nowhere with Felix Jones at the helm. Lance Dunbar (recently of C’Mon Man! fame with the accidental mooning) has overtaken Philip Tanner on the RB depth chart, so if Murray is out and Felix Jones can’t contribute, then he’ll get the reps against a dismal Cleveland team.
Predictions: Dallas stays hot at home and the Browns’ woes continue.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Comfortables: Nick Foles, Robert Griffin III, LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Santana Moss, Brent Celek, Jason Witten
Cautions: Leonard Hankerson, Philadelphia Defense, Washington Defense
Casualties: Bryce Brown, Evan Royster, Keiland Williams, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Aldrick Robinson
Sleeper: Logan Paulsen
What time is it? Nick Foles time! Thankfully I handcuffed Foles in a free two-QB league where I had Vick, because I’m going to need him. The Redskins defense isn’t that great, but they’ll most likely do better against Foles than against Vick. Continue to roll with RG3, as he’ll get the numbers. Man, did I need Alfred Morris last week. Glad to have you back! Jeremy Maclin came back from fantasy obscurity last week, and it was Foles who threw the TD to him, so I’ve finally upgraded The Mac to a Comfortable.
Prediction: RG3 and The Butler lead the Redskins to a victory, and Andy Reid is fired.
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Mikel LeShoure, Jordy Nelson (if active), Randall Cobb, James Jones (if Nelson is inactive), Calvin Johnson, Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew
Cautions: Alex Green, Joique Bell, Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Defense, Detroit Defense
Casualties: Kevin Smith, Donald Driver, Tony Scheffler
Sleeper: James Starks
Rodgers was another guy I needed last week, so it’s really good to see him back. He may possibly have Jordy Nelson back as well, depending on how his recovery went during the bye week. In the case of inactivity, obviously Randall Cobb and James Jones benefit, but I think Cobb becomes an every-week start regardless now that Greg Jennings is out. You can’t trust the Green Bay running game at this point, but it’s worth noting that James Starks was getting some serious carries at the end of the Packers’ last game.
Prediction: Green Bay wins a shootout.
New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams
Comfortables: Sam Bradford, Shonn Greene, Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, St. Louis Defense
Cautions: Daryl Richardson, Jeremy Kerley, Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller, New York Jets Defense
Casualties: Mark Sanchez, Bilal Powell, Jason Hill, Stephen Hill, Lance Kendricks
Sleeper: Tim Tebow
Mark Sanchez is awful, and the only thing more maddening than his play is Coach Rex Ryan’s insistence on sticking with him as the Jets starting QB. Look, I’m not saying Tim Tebow will make the Jets any better, but at least it’s SOMETHING. Regardless of what Antonio Cromartie may think, the Jets season is OVER, so you might as well have some fun. I think Ryan gets fed up with Sanchez this week, and Tebow will get a chance to lead the offense. If it doesn’t happen here, the Jets should just cut their losses and release Tebow so somebody else can take a chance on him, because he’s completely wasted on the Jets. The Rams played the mighty 49ers well and actually forced a tie, so I’d imagine they’re pissed off and will take it out on the Jets.
Prediction: Another road loss for the Jets, even after Tebow Time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Comfortables: Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Greg Olsen, Tampa Bay Defense
Cautions: Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Carolina Defense
Casualties: LeGarrette Blount, Mike Tolbert, Brandon LaFell (if active), Louis Murphy, Dallas Clark
Sleeper: Taiquan Underwood
The Bucs are hot, the Panthers are not. The way parity goes in the NFL, you can’t expect these trends to continue (ask the Tennessee Titans), but still, you can’t ignore just how hot the Bucs are right now. Carolina’s run defense won’t be able to stop Doug Martin, and V-Jax and Mike Williams are lighting it up in the receiving game. Even Rutgers alum Taiquan Underwood is getting it done. Ladies and gents, we have a juggernaut offense! The only Carolina option I really like is Greg Olsen.
Prediction: The Bucs are too much for the Panthers and they get a big divisional home win.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Comfortables: Andy Dalton, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Jamaal Charles, AJ Green, Andrew Hawkins, Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Defense
Cautions: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Defense
Casualties: Any Chief Offensive Player not named Charles or Bowe, Armon Binns
Sleeper: Cedric Peerman
Yuck, what an awful slate of primetime games we had Sunday and Monday night, capped off by a real stinker by the Kansas City Chiefs. But hey! At least they finally led in regulation. And finally they fed Jamaal Charles…while he was firmly stashed away on my bench. I don’t think their luck will continue against the Bengals, who whooped on my poor Giants last week. Knowing the NFL though, KC will get the victory. I doubt it here though. Start all Bengals, including the Defense.
Prediction: The Bengals beat the pitiful Chiefs.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Comfortables: Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Cecil Shorts, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels (if active), Houston Defense
Cautions: Rashad Jennings, Laurent Robinson, Kevin Walter
Casualties: Blaine Gabbert, Montell Owens, Justin Forsett, Justin Blackmon, Mercedes Lewis, James Casey, Houston Defense
Sleeper: Ben Tate (if active)
I’ve given up on Rashad Jennings to even contribute half of what MJD would have produced if he was in there. Guess all that preseason hype on Jennings was a bunch of hot air, no? I’m benching him in a couple leagues this week, as he absolutely torpedoed two of my fantasy teams with a dismal effort against a beatable Colts run defense last week. Now he’ll probably go off against one of the best run defenses in the league, because that’s the luck I’ve been having. Anyway, other than Cecil Shorts, who might get a garbage time TD, stay away from all Jaguars, but all Texans are in play. I even think Ben Tate might finally do something as Coach Kubiak comes to his senses and benches Arian Foster once this game gets out of hand. Maybe?
Prediction: Baltimore runs roughshod over an exhausted Raider team.
New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders
Comfortables: Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Pierre Thomas (if Sproles is inactive), Chris Ivory (if Sproles is inactive), Marques Colston, Denarius Moore, Jimmy Graham
Cautions: Darren Sproles (if active), Mark Ingram (if Sproles is inactive), Marcel Reese (if McFadden and Goodson are inactive), Lance Moore, Darius Heyward-Bey, Brandon Myers, New Orleans Defense
Casualties: Taiwan Jones, Devery Henderson, Rod Streater, David Thomas, Oakland Defense
God help me. It was a few weeks ago that I had to play against Matt Ryan in two money leagues, and Oakland’s D actually kept him in check, which gave me hope knowing that a Week 11 showdown with Drew Brees against Oakland in all three money leagues was on the horizon. That was before Doug Martin and the Ravens laid waste to the Oakland defense. Now it feels like I’m a lamb being led to the slaughter this week. I mean…if Joe Freakin’ Flacco can put up 341 with three scores on the Raiders, imagine what DREW FREAKIN’ BREES will do??? I guess the only silver lining I can see is that they’re home and are hopefully pissed off about being embarrassed two weeks in a row.
Prediction: UPSET! Maybe if I predict it, it’ll come true!!
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Ryan Matthews, Willis McGahee, Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas, Antonio Gates, Denver Defense
Cautions: Philip Rivers, Joel Dreessen, San Diego Defense
Casualties: Jackie Battle, Ronnie Brown, Chris Brinkley, Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshown Moreno, Robert Meachem (if active), Eddie Royal (if active), Jacob Tamme, Dante Rosario
Sleeper: Brandon Stokley
A lot of fantasy players in 10-team leagues have cut bait with Philip Rivers at the absolute wrong time. He did a pretty good job from a fantasy perspective against the Bucs last week before throwing two pretty terrible interceptions. Considering all the QBs who have gone down (Cutler, Smith, Vick, Big Ben), you could do worse than Rivers as your QB. I needed a big game from Eric Decker and after weeks of coming through, he laid a big egg last week. Here’s hoping he can come back.
Prediction: The Broncos continue their dominance and win at home.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez (if active)
Cautions: Donald Brown, Vick Ballard, Donnie Avery, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, New England Defense
Casualties: Delone Carter, Shane Vereen, Indianapolis Defense
Sleeper: Danny Woodhead
There used to be a time when it was Peyton vs. Brady (it already happened this year), but perhaps we may have a new rivalry for the next few years with Luck vs. Brady (assuming, of course, that either the Colts win the AFC South or the Patriots finish second in the NFC East, neither of which seem quite likely right now). Neither defense is that great, and both offenses are firing on all cylinders. I’d really like the Indy Running Backs if Donald Brown were fully healthy, but he’s in a timeshare with Vick Ballard right now, so it’s tough to predict who will hit paydirt. Aaron Hernandez was a surprise scratch last week. Here’s hoping he can make it onto the field.
Prediction: Patriots continue to roll, but Luck makes it interesting.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Comfortables: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Rashard Mendenhall (if active), Isaac Redman (if Mendenhall is inactive), Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Baltimore Defense
Cautions: Byron Leftwich, Emmanuel Sanders, Dennis Pitta, Pittsburgh Defense
Casualties: Bernard Pierce, Chris Rainey
Sleeper: Jacoby Jones
Suddenly the Steelers season doesn’t look so rosy. Big Ben may be out for an extended period of time. I don’t like Pittsburgh’s chances. I have the Steelers RBs (whoever starts) as a comfortable because they’ll be relied on rather than Byron Leftwich. I have Mike Wallace and Heath Miller as speculative comfortables, but if either of them put together a bad game, I may have to demote them both. All in on the Ravens here.
Prediction: Big Ben’s absence takes a toll on the Steelers O and Baltimore comes away with a huge road win.
Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers
Comfortables: Matt Forte, Frank Gore, Brandon Marshall, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Chicago Defense, San Francisco Defense
Cautions: Michael Bush, Kendall Hunter, Mario Manningham
Casualties: Khalil Bell, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Randy Moss, Kellen Davis
Sleeper: Colin Kapernick/Jason Campbell
Boy, ESPN can’t catch a break with these Monday Night games, huh? Finally they get a marquee matchup, and both QBs have to go down. So it’s most likely that we have Colin Kapernick vs. Jason Campbell! I expect both defenses to eat the other QBs for lunch. Vernon Davis, this is your last chance.
Prediction: San Francisco beats Jason Campbell and the Bears at home.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull, good luck in Week 11, and make sure to pray for my teams that the Brees Monster doesn’t eat them alive…