Thursday, November 21, 2013

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Week 11

What in the wide world of sports is going on here? The last time there was this much controversy surrounding a Monday Night Football game, replacement refs were involved. This is not to say there was Pass Interference, but let us agree that Luke Kuechly was closer to Rob Gronkowski then a drunken Joe Namath was to Suzy Kolber. Week 11 had it all, including some big performances by some relatively unknowns. I hope you enjoyed the new segment featured on this site, “Pickin’ With Pano”. Be sure to check back often for continued growth with our content. Enough beating around the bush, let’s get right into it.
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Did you ever think that at this point in the season there would be so many new signal callers making positive impacts for fantasy teams? There were a total of six quarterbacks who, if they are not still available, were on waivers just a short time ago. Ben Roethlisberger had his occasional big game, as he carved up the Lions secondary en route to 367 yards and 4 Touchdowns. There was even a Carson Palmer sighting as he threw for 419 to go with 2 TD’s, and get this: zero Interceptions. Cam Newton (209 yards passing, 3 TD’s; 62 yards rushing) continued to make strides in becoming one of the game’s elite, and on a national stage at that. But the real story was the continued impressive play of Nick Foles (298 passing; 47 rushing, 1 TD), and Mike Glennon (231, 2). Both have looked comfortable and have given their teams renewed hope. Scott Tolzien may have thrown 3 Int’s with no TD’s, but he also accumulated 339 yards through the air, which leads me to believe he has a future in this league. The undrafted Matt McGloin started in place of the injured Terrelle Pryor and, against a very solid Texans defense, was able to pass for 197 yards with 3 TD’s and no INT’s. The other undrafted starter Case Keenum (170-1-1) didn’t look horrible, but was still pulled in the second half. Matt Schaub wasn’t much better, and I expect Keenum will still be a solid play going forward. Did you really think Jason Campbell (248-1-3) had found something he had been missing to this point in his career? I have never been a big fan of the Auburn product, and despite having some receiving options in Cleveland, would not advise adding him to your roster. Of the QB’s who possibly remain available, I would consider Tolzien and McGloin, with an edge to the Packers rookie. Aaron Rodgers is supposed to be coming back, but it is still undetermined as to when, so Tolzien will have value until that time.
Suggested Play, Case Keenum: 170 yards passing, 1 TD/1 INT. Verdict: Loss
Suggested Pass, Terrelle Pryor (before status was announced): Did Not Play. Verdict: Win
Running Backs
If you have been following me throughout the season, you will remember I recommended Bobby Rainey as a stash to your rosters. The only problem is, that came when he was still a member of the Cleveland Browns. When he was cut from them, he lost most of his value in my eyes – until now. Sunday’s breakout of 163 yards gained on the ground with three touchdowns (one came receiving) should not be seen as a fluke. I don’t know that he can sustain that level for the remainder of the season, but he is now the second ‘project’ who has found success in Tampa Bay. It certainly begs the question, is Doug Martin overrated? Another rusher who I am having a really hard time supporting is Rashad Jennings (150-1), despite his best efforts to prove me wrong. It is beginning to look like he may indeed be for real. Shane Vereen returned after a long absence to give his patient owners something to be excited about. His 8 receptions for 65 yards came against a top defense in Carolina, and he doesn’t appear to have missed a beat. A burning question on everyone’s mind is if Ray Rice (131-1) turned the corner. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say yes, but the sample size this season is too great to restore my trust in him completely. If you haven’t bought in to Donald Brown (80-2), shame on you. Not only is he playing with renewed energy, but he has the vote of the coaches now getting 14 carries to Trent Richardson’s 8. He is becoming a high end RB2 very quickly down the stretch of this season. Don’t overestimate the performances of Monte Ball (2 TD’s) or Antoine Smith (88-1). But had success this week, but their backup roles will not change. Andre Brown (66 yards) and Stevan Ridley (48-1) continued to be steady, and can be relied on each week. However, some concern should be shown regarding Andre Ellington who only managed 8 3 yard on 8 carries against the Jaguars. We may not have seen the end of Rashard Mendenhall in Arizona, and it may have been premature to anoint Ellington his successor.
Suggested Play, Chris Ivory: 98 rushing yards, 1 TD. Verdict: Win
Suggested Pass, Stevan Ridley: 48 rushing yards, 1 TD. Verdict: Loss
Wide Receivers
Just looking at the box score, Calvin Johnson’s stat line (6-179-2) is impressive. Yet that all came in the first half, so it is a little disconcerting to see him be entirely shut out of any half. I wouldn’t worry too much, but don’t forget that there were some absences from Megatron earlier this year. I continue to be impressed by Harry Douglas (6-134-1) and Jarrett Boykin (6-91) who went from obscurity to outstanding in the blink of an eye. If for any reason either is available don’t hesitate to add both. Equally emerging on that level is Marquise Goodwin (6-81-1) who is adding an all-around game to his break-away speed. Antonio Brown (7-147-2) maintained his league leading pace and All-Pro season, as did Vincent Jackson (10-165-1). The Michael Floyd explosion (6-193-1) was nice, but out of the norm. Jarius Wright (3-69-2) is an intriguing name and is one to watch in the immediate future. I wouldn’t drop someone with higher value to add him just yet, but if you have the room on your roster, by all means don’t pass. My prediction of a dynamic debut in Seattle for Percy Harvin (1-17) fell very short of coming true. He looked great on a kick return, but only managed to get 1 target from Russell Wilson during the contest. As much as I would like to see Harvin succeed, I think his production will come in the post-season, which limits his value for fantasy purposes. I have been wrong before, and will assuredly be so again, but he has a lot of work to do to get back into top form. I thought adrenaline alone would carry him this past week, but it just wasn’t there. Brandon LaFell (7-159-1) continues to be a sneaky source of points as a target for the Panthers. If you are looking for some depth at the position, he is someone you may be able to still pluck off of waivers.
Suggested Play, Percy Harvin: 1 reception for 17 yards. Verdict: Loss
Suggested Pass, TY Hilton: 5 receptions for 44 yards. Verdict: Win
Tight Ends
This was a big week for a lot of Tight Ends who have shown potential, but never quite put it together. Somehow, they all managed to find that big performance in the same week. You had Garrett Graham (7-136-1), Coby Fleener (8-107), Rob Housler (6-70), Delanie Walker (10-91-1), John Carlson (5-69), and my personal favorite Mychal Rivera (5-54-1) all contribute valuable points. Of this group Housler is the most intriguing. During the pre-season he had as much hype as Jordan Cameron, only to be hobbled by a high ankle sprain in the first couple of weeks. That appears to be a thing of the past as the Cardinal now has put forth a solid effort 3 of the last 4 games. Despite playing in the NFC West, at 6-4 Arizona is still in the playoff hunt. If Housler can be what he has shown of late, he makes for a solid starter at TE going forward. Speaking of Cameron (6-29), his production has taken a big hit since Jason Campbell became his starting QB. While the 6 catches are nice to see, the total output of 29 yards is alarming. It is way too soon to pull the plug on him, but if you can add a Housler or Fleener I would consider them to be safer plays at the moment.
Suggested Play, Garrett Graham: 7 receptions for 136 yards, and 1 TD. Verdict: Win
Suggested Pass, Martellus Bennett: 2 receptions for 48 yards. Verdict: Win
Play 'Em/Pass 'Em I take some heat for some of the guys who appear on this list, but more often than not they are accurate. It is a hypothesis, not an exact science. I will remind you: It is always better when I am asked to choose between specific players. Randomly picking guys from a roster that includes the entire league does not completely paint the picture for your individual team. You can do this by leaving your question in the comment section, emailing me at, or asking on Twitter. There are six (4) teams on a bye this week. Here are some of the guys I do and do not like...
Week 12 Byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle
Play 'Em: Mike Glennon, TB (@ DET) I have yet to see him look intimidated at ant point, and he now how his team on a slight roll. Detroit's pass defense has been atrocious. 3 TD's too much?
Pass 'Em: Matt Ryan, ATL (vs NO) The Saints are looking to deliver the finishing blow to their division rival. This could be the one week Ryan doesn't find the end zone.
Running Back
Play 'Em: Ben Tate, HOU (vs JAX) He's finally getting his chance to be the featured back, and he's doing it with pure guts (cracked ribs). Look for him to flourish against the Jags.
Pass 'Em: Zac Stacy, STL (vs CHI) This is the product of a top secondary taking on a poor QB. The Bears will stack the box and make it a long day for Stacy.
Wide Receiver
Play 'Em: Victor Cruz, NYG (vs DAL) So a couple of bad weeks makes everyone doubt you these days. Cruz will dance his way back into your hearts against America's team.
Pass 'Em: Josh Gordon, CLE (vs PIT) Take a re-energized Steelers defense versus an underachieving QB, and I'll take Pitt every time. Gordon suffers as a result.
Tight EndPlay 'Em: Delanie Walker, TEN (@ OAK) He's becoming a favorite of Fitzpatrick, and did you see what Garrett Graham did last week to the Raiders? I like Delanie a lot this week.
Pass 'Em: Charles Clay, MIA (vs CAR) This is the week the Dolphins offensive line issues catch up to them. The Panthers linebackers are too good to let Clay run free, and the shut him down.
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