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NFL fantasy football: QB injuries mark Week 11

Whether you're a fantasy beginner or don't have as much time to devote to your fantasy team during the week, I'm here for you with the newest edition of Fantasy 101 - all your fantasy needs in 15 minutes or less. That's how long you'll need to digest this column and make your appropriate moves. Quarterbacks took a pounding Sunday, but fantasy-wise, there should be some pretty good replacements available for you if you are in need. This is the final week of byes, so if you have any Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks or Tennessee Titans players you'll have to make alternate plans.

Big injuries to watch


Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears: He has an extra day to recover from his concussion as the Bears don't play until next Monday night against San Francisco. However he wouldn't be a strong play anyway in that game, so plan on him being on your bench.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills: It's a short week for the Bills, who play Thursday night on NFL Network, but we already know Jackson is out. This makes C.J. Spiller a must-start against the Dolphins.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: He left Monday's game with a right shoulder injury. Byron Leftwich isn't worth the roster spot if Roethlisberger misses time.

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers: He left Sunday's game with a concussion and Colin Kaepernick came in to post some decent fantasy numbers in relief. Smith is too risky to consider as a starting option right now, even if he plays next week against Chicago. So pursue a replacement. Kaepernick is a wildcard right now. While he has the potential to give you good fantasy numbers, the job is Smith's when he comes back.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: He has a "significant" concussion, and Nick Foles will inherit the starting job for as long as Vick is sidelined, which could be for a long time. I don't think picking up Foles is your play if you own Vick; there are plenty of other QBs out there with better potential if you need one. So whether you're a Vick, Smith, Roethlisberger or Cutler owner, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Christian Ponder are all potential replacements for them.

Also, you will be without DeMarco Murray, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, and Greg Jennings for at least another week. However, Rashard Mendenhall could come back in Week 11, and the Steelers have already said he's their starter when he returns.

Free agents to pick up


Hopefully you were ahead of the trend on Danny Amendola, Carson Palmer, Cecil Shorts and Brian Hartline from a week ago, because they rewarded you if you were. If you didn't, and for some reason they're still available, they should be your top priorities this week.

Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers: I included him here because he had a big week, but don't think this is going to continue. You're not going to start him against the Broncos next week. Malcom Floyd is still the top WR to own in San Diego and it also looks like Antonio Gates is playing more consistently as the team's second threat in the passing game.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints: I know Chris Ivory had the better fantasy day thanks to his big TD run, but it looks like Joe Vitt is determined to get Ingram the football, as he led the Saints in carries Sunday. Ivory is worth a flier, but I think Ingram has the most upside.

Marcel Reece, RB Oakland Raiders: As long as McFadden and Mike Goodson are out, Reece is worth a play. He had more than 100 yards from scrimmage against Baltimore, and Taiwan Jones seems like an afterthought for Oakland.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks: He's scored too many TDs in the past month to think this is going away. He's the go-to WR in Seattle who excels in one-on-one matchups with DBs. Just remember the Seahawks have a bye this week.

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Other notes of note


1) Outside of the Chicago Bears, there's no better defense in fantasy right now than the Denver Broncos. They do it all -- sack the QB, create turnovers that get into the end zone and score on special teams.

2) Deciding on Joe Flacco is pretty simple: if he's at home against a weak defense, you start him. When he isn't, you don't. Which means sit him this week at Pittsburgh.

3) Players to not worry about anymore as far as slumps or general poor production are Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and Stevan Ridley.

4) James Starks and the Packers are coming off the bye to play in Detroit, and he's a decent flex option as it looks like Green Bay's running game goes through him now.

5) Beanie Wells is still a week away from returning to action, but the Cardinals' running game is so bad, he's worth grabbing now and stashing on your bench. He'll get every opportunity to be the No. 1 RB there when he gets back off of injured reserve for Week 12.

Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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