Jason and Justin Sablich are here to help you with your fantasy football team. The Sablich brothers will provide fantasy football advice throughout the season on this blog and on Twitter (@5thDownFantasy).
If you submit one of the 50 most accurate responses this week, you can win a prize from FantasyPros.com.
It’s hard to fathom how poorly the talented Eagles secondary has played at times this season. The low point came against Arizona last week when it allowed the Cardinals’ backup quarterback, John Skelton, to throw for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Maybe it has to do with distribution of talent? Nnamdi Asomugha voiced his frustration this week about his not being allowed to shadow the opposing team’s best receiver, as he did when he played for the Oakland Raiders.
The bottom line is that the Eagles have allowed a 24-point fantasy average to Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Skelton over the last two weeks. No, seriously, they have. Eli Manning (NYG) has averaged 271 yards a game in his last two meetings with the Eagles and has thrown for four touchdowns in each of those games. We’re liking Manning’s chances Sunday night.
Favorable/Unfavorable Quarterback Matchups
Carson Palmer (OAK) vs. Minnesota — Palmer bested Philip Rivers last Thursday, which was definitely one of the bigger surprises of Week 10, but we’re more surprised by how much stronger his arm has looked compared to last season. Averaging 315 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first two starts, he gets the second best QB fantasy matchup in Week 11. The depleted Vikings secondary is surrendering 23 fantasy points a game to the position and Kevin Kolb has been the only quarterback this season who has failed to post at least 15 fantasy points against them.
Matt Hasselbeck (TEN) vs. Atlanta — The only reason you would be interested in Hasselbeck in standard leagues is if your quarterback is on a bye week. Having said that, Atlanta does give up 18 fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks, and the Titans’ ground game could struggle considering how good Atlanta has been against the run (4th best in N.F.L.), forcing the Titans to deviate from their run-heavy ways and take to the air.
Mark Sanchez (NYJ) vs. Denver — Sanchez was under fire for most of Sunday night against the league’s worst defense (New England), which could explain away some of the quarterback’s poor performance. But luckily for us, fake football is all about points, and Sanchez delivered 21 of them, if you had him in your lineup. A similar situation is brewing for Thursday night’s matchup with Denver. Nobody allows more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Broncos (24), but Sanchez will have to survive Denver’s talented pass rushing duo of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, who notched 7 hits and 2 sacks on the Chiefs’ Matt Cassel last week.
Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. Cincinnati — This matchup got a little easier after the Bengals’ top cornerback, Leon Hall, was placed on I.R., but Flacco has a bad track record against this team and has been too unpredictable to trust as a starter this week. He has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in each of his last four games against the Bengals, with just two touchdowns and nine interceptions (sixth worst QB matchup, 16 FPPG).
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. Baltimore — Dalton managed 14 fantasy points against a tough Pittsburgh defense last week (eighth worst QB matchup), which is what you can only hope for against an even tougher Baltimore defense (worst QB matchup), and there is a serious possibility he will be without his main weapon, A. J. Green, who is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee and will be a game-time decision.
Tony Romo (DAL) vs. Washington — The Redskins and a busted rib cage were responsible for Romo’s worst outing of the season in Week 3 (255, 0 TD, 1 INT). A healthier and more confident Romo should fare a lot better this time around, but he may not put up huge numbers against the league’s ninth ranked pass defense.
Cam Newton (CAR) vs. Detroit — Newton is coming off the worst outing of his young career, largely because of the Titans’ ability to generate a lot of pressure (five sacks). The Lions have the meanest defensive line in football and can bring the blitz with the best of them (tied for fourth in sacks with 26), and Ford Field isn’t exactly a friendly place to play, considering opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 9.8 fantasy points in the four games played there this season.
Favorable/Unfavorable Running Back Matchups
Marshawn Lynch (SEA) vs. St Louis — What has gotten into this guy over the last couple of weeks? Touches. No running back has more of them over the last two games than Lynch. His 32 attempts in Week 10 helped him achieve his second consecutive 100-yard game against a normally stout Ravens run defense. His Week 11 opponent is allowing 21 fantasy points a game on the ground and just gave up a solid 10-point outing to the previously terrible Chris Ogbonnaya.
James Starks (GB) vs. Tampa Bay — O.K., even in a total blowout, the Packers aren’t going to run the ball much. But at least Starks is getting the bulk of the carries over Grant and Kuhn, and his matchup with the Buccaneers (second best for RBs, 26 FPPG) will warrant high-end flex appeal this weekend.
Reggie Bush (MIA) vs. Buffalo — Even with a healthy Daniel Thomas, Bush continues to be the main man in the Miami backfield, including the red zone, as he produced his first multiple-touchdown game since 2007 against Washington last week. Both backs should see plenty of action against a depleted Bills defense that took a heavy beating from DeMarco Murray in Week 10 and has surrendered 21 fantasy points per game to the position in 2011.
Maurice Morris (DET) vs. Carolina — Despite the re-signing of Kevin Smith, Morris continues to see the bulk of the work in the Detroit backfield and he should see more than the 10 touches he received last week (the Lions surely don’t want to throw the ball 62 times again). That could mean some solid flex production against fantasy’s best matchup for running backs in 2011.
Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. Atlanta — Was Johnson’s 23-point fantasy day last Sunday the turning point his owners were hoping for, or did the Panthers’ 28th ranked run defense have more to do with it? Atlanta ranks fourth best against the run and is allowing just 3.9 yards a carry this season. No running back has eclipsed the century mark on them and they haven’t surrendered a touchdown on the ground since Week 6.
Jackie Battle (KC) vs. New England — This isn’t a bad matchup on paper, as the Patriots have allowed 18 points a game on the ground, but Battle needs a Kansas City lead to be effective, and you really can’t expect that to happen against the N.F.L.’s third best offense. With the Chiefs down to Tyler Palko behind center, this one could get ugly in a hurry.
Roy Helu (WAS) vs. Dallas — It would make perfect sense to give your best players the most opportunities to get the ball, but apparently Coach Shanahan knows something we don’t. After breaking Art Monk’s single-game reception record the week before, Helu found himself on the bench watching an ineffective Ryan Torain run like mud for most of the first half last weekend. He reprised the role of starter for the second half, and logic would again point to his getting the start this week. But with Tashard Choice possibly suiting up against his old team, one can’t be sure. Dallas played the run much better last week with the return of their best run stopper, Sean Lee, holding Buffalo’s Fred Jackson to just 9 fantasy points.
Beanie Wells (ARZ) vs. San Francisco — You know the drill by now when it comes to the 49ers’ run defense. But if you’re getting on the Internet for the first time, San Francisco fields the top-ranked defense against the run, allowing just 3.4 yards a carry, and have yet to concede a rushing touchdown. Wells has not played well recently because of an injured knee and missed practice Wednesday, giving you that much more incentive to sit him.
Favorable/Unfavorable Wide Receiver Matchups
Damian Williams (TEN) vs. Atlanta — The Titans’ leading receiver in touchdowns (4), Williams is doing his part to ease the pain from the loss of Kenny Britt, with an excellent 5-catch, 107-yard, 1-TD outing against Carolina last week. He could make for a solid WR3 spot start with Atlanta surrendering the 10th most fantasy points to the position this season (22).
Denarius Moore (OAK) vs. Minnesota — Moore propelled to the top of Oakland’s pass-catching food chain last week thanks in part to his teammate Jacoby Ford’s injury, and an incredible 46-yard reception. Start him against the league’s 30th ranked pass defense if you were lucky enough to score him off your wire.
Brandon Marshall (MIA) vs. Buffalo — Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore is not an elite talent, but Marshall owners don’t need him to be as long as he keeps feeding him the ball the way he has been (15 receptions, 204 yards, 1 TD last two weeks). In his last meeting with the Bills, Marshall recorded 11 receptions, 106 yards and 1 TD. Not a whole lot has changed since then with the Bills yielding the eighth most fantasy points to opposing receivers in 2011.
David Nelson (BUF) vs. Miami — There are not a lot of good things to say about the Buffalo passing game right now, as it appears to be suffering a repeat of last season’s dropoff after a hot start. But Miami’s secondary actually allows more fantasy points to the position than the Bills (seventh best matchup), and with Steve Johnson looking doubtful to play in this one, Nelson could end up being Fitzpatrick’s top option.
Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. New England — Palko is the only reason we would be concerned with Bowe’s fantasy production this week since nobody allows more fantasy points to receivers than the Patriots.
Roddy White (ATL) vs. Tennessee — The Titans held Steve Smith to just 33 yards on five catches last week, which brings their average against teams’ No. 1 receivers down to 5.7 on the season. The underachieving White will have his work cut out for him.
Steve Smith (CAR) vs. Detroit — Smith is in for another tough one, as the Lions haven’t allowed a 100-yard game to the position since Week 4 and have coughed up just two receiving touchdowns during that time. Still, Smith is still too good to consider benching.
Eric Decker (DEN) vs. Jets — Decker has caught a touchdown pass in three consecutive games, and amazingly so considering his quarterback has just 12 completions during his last two games. But with a running back for a quarterback, and of course the Revis factor, you can’t expect a lot from him Thursday night.
Favorable/Unfavorable Tight End Matchups
Fred Davis (WAS) vs. Dallas — Davis has gone M.I.A. over the last couple of weeks, but has a chance to redeem himself as a low-end TE1 with his Week 11 opponent being the second best matchup a tight end can have.
Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. Baltimore — Gresham could see plenty of targets if A. J. Green ends up missing the game, but it might not make much of a difference. The Ravens allow the fewest fantasy points to tight ends (3 FPPG), and have yet to surrender a touchdown to one this season.
Favorable/Unfavorable Defense/Special Teams Matchups
New England vs. Kansas City, Dallas vs. Washington, Jacksonville vs. Cleveland, San Francisco vs. Arizona, Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay.
Philadelphia vs. New York, San Diego vs. Chicago, Tennessee vs. Atlanta, Washington vs. Dallas, Minnesota vs. Oakland.