Skip to main content

How can the Giants contain Vick? Let Bradshaw run the ball

Scott Engel of each week previews every NFL matchup from a fantasy perspective.

Chicago at Miami (Thursday night game)

The Dolphins may have difficulty establishing their running game this week, as both of their top running backs have been mediocre overall. The Bears have the NFC's best rush defense, allowing 82.3 yards per game on the ground. Ronnie Brown does score the occasional touchdown, but you cannot count on that enough to start him. The game will instantly be put in the hands of new starter Tyler Thigpen, and while he has performed well as a fantasy quarterback in the past, he truly does not have any established on-field rapport with his receivers. With bye weeks gone, there is no reason to consider Thigpen, and you should reserve Davone Bess as well. Bess may be less of a factor without Chad Henne. Brandon Marshall has been such a major disappointment, it no longer seems silly to bench him. Tight end Anthony Fasano is coming off a big game, but he is far from reliable. Miami ranks sixth against the pass, and cornerback Vontae Davis is very capable of shutting down Bears receiver Johnny Knox. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is moving around better in the pocket to avoid sacks, but may have trouble locating open receivers consistently. Cutler may only post adequate totals and tight end Greg Olsen is not reliable yet for fantasy purposes. Running back Matt Forte has been very inconsistent, and should only be used if your other options have thinned out.

Baltimore at Carolina

The Panthers allow 131.6 rushing yards per game, and their defense will spend a lot of time on the field. Expect Ray Rice to roll up some good all-around numbers early on, and for Willis McGahee to pad his stats later in the game. Joe Flacco can use play-action passing very effectively this week, and will locate Anquan Boldin for at least one TD. Todd Heap will also see some targets in the red zone. While Flacco will not have to throw often enough to post outstanding yardage numbers, he is a near lock to toss more than one TD pass. The Ravens' defensive game plan can be apparent to even the casual NFL observer. Stop Mike Goodson, and force Brian St. Pierre to throw. Goodson is facing the league's eighth-ranked run defense, a unit that will be heavily focused on him, so keep the Carolina QB reserved. Steve Smith's value and appeal has vanished because of Carolina's QB issues. Keep him reserved, and if you have good depth, cut him if you need the roster room.

Houston at New York Jets

The Jets have the league's fourth-ranked run defense, but Arian Foster will be up to the challenge, and should not be reserved. New York was not able to fully contain Peyton Hillis, and Foster is playing at an even higher level. A player of major concern for fantasy owners is Andre Johnson. The matchup with Darrelle Revis conjures up realistic thoughts of benching the superstar receiver. Whether you actually make such a move all depends on your other options. With the bye weeks finished, you can afford to reserve Johnson if you have another top-level WR as an option. Kevin Walter is too inconsistent to be used this week, especially since the Jets can effectively defend both Houston WRs in single coverage. Houston's pass defense is a notorious sore point, making Mark Sanchez a very attractive starting choice. Sanchez should deliver a quality fantasy outing, and Santonio Holmes will come through with another fine outing. Braylon Edwards will certainly take advantage of the matchup, and Dustin Keller should be targeted in the red zone. A possible pass-first approach will open up some running room for LaDainian Tomlinson, a must-start at flex positions. Shonn Greene still needs to show more before he can be more strongly considered for usage at this point of the year.

Buffalo at Cincinnati

The Bengals allow 115.8 rushing yards per game, and Fred Jackson may be the best RB on the field in this matchup. Jackson is tenacious, underrated, and will be a key for Buffalo to control the clock as much as possible to stay in the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick has settled down and is no longer looking like an outstanding fantasy starter. Steve Johnson is commanding more defensive respect, but is a frequent red zone threat and should remain active in most lineups. Lee Evans is inconsistent and should only be used in larger leagues now that the bye weeks have passed. Cedric Benson faces the league's worst defense on paper, but Benson is not running with the same authority and burst he did in the past, so expect a good game, but no major fantasy heroics. Carson Palmer will still carry the offense and will generate mixed results against a scrappy Buffalo bunch that plays better than their record. Terrell Owens is a must-start as he looks to burn his former team, and with Chad Ochocinco battling double teams and a shoulder issue, use other options of similar value if you have them.

Oakland at Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh run defense did not look as formidable last week against the Patriots, and the unit is banged up in some key areas, especially on the line. Darren McFadden is running with great confidence and takes a fearless approach, and should not be reserved. He will relish the opportunity to take on the NFL's No. 1 rush defense, which may not play up to the billing. Jason Campbell has regained a starting job and respectability, thus he will keep the defense honest enough to make sure Pittsburgh cannot focus solely on the Oakland running game. Michael Bush is less elusive than McFadden and should not be used, and Zach Miller will post adequate, but not outstanding, numbers. The Raiders allow 124.8 rushing yards per game, and Rashard Mendenhall will zip through the Raiders front seven often and with great success. Nnamdi Asomugha is working through an ankle issue and cannot cover all the Pittsburgh receivers by himself. Mike Wallace is playing too well to be reserved, and Ben Roethlisberger will spread the ball around in a solid outing.

Cleveland at Jacksonville

Even though the Jaguars secondary is their obvious weak spot, the Browns must play to their strength to remain competitive, and that means running the ball and not asking too much from rookie Colt McCoy. Peyton Hillis is unstoppable, and will certainly be a must-start against the Jaguars, who allow 114.9 rushing yards per game. McCoy should see some openings to take advantage of in the passing game, and his favored target will be Benjamin Watson, a quality starter in Week 11. The Jaguars will also lean on their running game, and Maurice Jones-Drew is a lock for a 100-yard day against the Browns' 19th-ranked run defense. Cleveland is tied for 23rd in passing yards per game allowed, and while David Garrard won't throw often enough to build a spectacular stat line, he should throw more than one TD pass. Mike Thomas is a good start as a WR3 and Marcedes Lewis should get starting consideration in larger leagues.

Detroit at Dallas

The Lions running game is looking mighty thin, as Jahvid Best cannot seem to shake a toe injury and Kevin Smith is out. Best should be reserved, as you likely have better options now that the bye weeks have passed. Shaun Hill will have to carry the offense, and that means more than one TD pass and likely more than one interception. The Cowboys have little hope of keeping Calvin Johnson out of the end zone, and Nate Burleson should benefit from the extra defensive attention Johnson receives. Brandon Pettigrew will also get some important looks, especially in the red zone. The Lions are vulnerable to the run, but Felix Jones should still not be used until he shows last week's performance was not just a tease. Jon Kitna faces his former team, and should throw more than one TD pass even if turnovers are an issue as well. Dez Bryant is a must-start with Kitna finding him frequently, and Miles Austin is still a consistent TD threat. Roy Williams also may make a cameo appearance in the end zone against his old team. Jason Witten also is worth another start as Kitna likely throws often.

Green Bay at Minnesota

Brandon Jackson will not be much of a factor against Minnesota's ninth-ranked rush defense. Aaron Rodgers will have to carry the offense, but he is no stranger to such a role, and will spread the ball around very effectively. Rodgers will certainly throw at least two TD passes, as Greg Jennings and James Jones consistently challenge the Minnesota pass defense all over the field. Jordy Nelson will post adequate totals for PPR purposes, as Rodgers locates him on several key downs. Green Bay ranks 20th against the run, and Adrian Peterson will be a workhorse as the Vikings try to keep their defense off the field as much as possible, while keeping the pressure off Brett Favre. Percy Harvin is admirably working through regular health issues and is producing at a high level. Start Harvin with confidence, but Favre will have difficulty locating other targets, including Visanthe Shiancoe. Favre will struggle and take some big hits, and should not be used unless you need him in a two-QB league.

Seattle at New Orleans

The expected return of impact rookie LT Russell Okung should boost Seattle's running game. Marshawn Lynch should post respectable totals as the Seahawks attempt to play ball control, and look for Justin Forsett to squirt through the front wall of the defense for a few good runs. Matt Hasselbeck will have to be very careful against an aggressive pass defense, so keep him reserved. Hasselbeck's numbers will be adequate at best, and the New Orleans secondary can keep Mike Williams from having another big week. Deon Butler will also be denied the big play this time. Drew Brees will come out firing, and the Seahawks will have their hands full with Marques Colston and Lance Moore. Both Saints WRs are strong starts in Week 11. Jeremy Shockey should also see some scoring opportunities in the red zone, and while Chris Ivory's yardage numbers may be limited, look for him to punch in a short-yardage TD.

Washington at Tennessee

The Redskins defense has been torn up in recent weeks, and the Titans now have the proper offensive balance to exploit Washington. The Redskins have no hope of containing both Randy Moss and Chris Johnson. The Titans will likely utilize Johnson to break down the defense early. Moss will get his shots downfield, and while he could be boom or bust from a yardage perspective, he warrants the start against the NFC's worst pass defense. Nate Washington and Bo Scaife should also become more consistent contributors as Moss naturally draws a significant amount of defensive attention. Keiland Williams will work hard for decent numbers early, but will likely become a non-factor as the Redskins fall behind. The Redskins do not have the weaponry to effectively play catch-up from a fantasy perspective, so steer clear of the parts of their passing game if you can.

Arizona at Kansas City

The Chiefs will be primed to destroy the Cardinals after getting whipped by the Broncos last week. The Cardinals have the league's 28th-ranked rush defense, and that is a very bad rating to bring in against Kansas City's deadly rushing attack. Jamaal Charles is one of the top RB starts of Week 11, and Thomas Jones should bounce back from an off-week to score at least once. Matt Cassel likely will not have to throw too often, yet should be effective when he has to make key completions. Dwayne Bowe will continue to be a major TD contributor as Cassel uses play-action strikes in the red zone. A strong running game often leads to play fakes and short TD passes in the Kansas City offense. I don't expect the Cardinals running game to be a factor as the Chiefs roll out to an early cushion. Derek Anderson will throw a lot with varying results. Larry Fitzgerald has re-emerged as a must-start WR, and Steve Breaston will build a good stat line as the Cardinals play catch-up.

Atlanta at St. Louis

The Rams make the visitors work hard in their home games, and rank No. 6 against the run. Michael Turner likely will not finish with outstanding yardage numbers, although the Atlanta offense should put him in position to score from short range. Matt Ryan will be efficient and will come through with more than one TD pass and adequate yardage totals. There is no denying Roddy White, the best WR in fantasy football, although none of the other Falcons receivers are regularly reliable, including Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons rank seventh against the run, but such ratings do not stop Steven Jackson from steamrolling his way through most opponents. Jackson will outplay Turner, and Sam Bradford will take what the defense gives him. Danny Amendola is a consistent threat to score and is good for usage in larger leagues. This game will not feature many offensive fireworks, but players like Ryan, White and Jackson will come through when needed.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco

Josh Freeman is managing the offense well, and can keep the 49ers defense from fully keying on LeGarrette Blount. Freeman makes sound decisions and will take what the defense gives him, and rookie WR Mike Williams certainly cannot be held down by the San Francisco secondary. Arrelious Benn is also developing into a regular scoring target. Freeman is a solid passer who can be started in larger leagues, and Blount will certainly get his TD opportunities even if his yardage production is more limited this week. Tampa Bay has the worst rush defense in the NFC, and that likely means a long day for the defense against Frank Gore. The San Francisco RB is one of the top starts of the week, and Troy Smith will also have much more time to throw and locate Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. Smith is a nice start in larger leagues if you need a deep option. He is valuing the football, limiting errors while making plays.

Indianapolis at New England

Peyton Manning has a depleted supporting cast, which makes it easier for Bill Belichick to game plan for him this time. Reggie Wayne will get a lot of defensive attention, as will Jacob Tamme. Manning still may turn up the emotion to stay very competitive, and both Wayne and Tamme have very good chances of catching TD passes. However, two TDs may be the statistical limit for Manning this week, and Pierre Garcon has been much less effective without more prominent players such as Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark around. Donald Brown is not a major challenge to any defense right now, but Javarris James is a strong goal-line runner who should score again. The Colts allow 132.2 rushing yards per game, and will have a hard time defending the determined BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Look for Green-Ellis to roll past 100 yards and score at least once. Tom Brady should benefit from a strong running game and have plenty of time to throw. Wes Welker is rounding back into form and is a good start, and Aaron Hernandez should bounce back from a quiet performance. Brady will throw at least two TD passes and every time he is in the red zone, Rob Gronkowski will be a prime option.

New York Giants at Philadelphia

The Giants will rely on their running game to keep Michael Vick off the field as much as they can. The Eagles allow 104.0 rushing yards per game, and Ahmad Bradshaw will be a prime factor in this marquee matchup, so start him with confidence. Brandon Jacobs will likely be much less effective, yet will be used to challenge the defense with two distinctive runners. Look for Eli Manning to operate a controlled passing game and  keep mistakes to a minimum. His final numbers will be good, but not great. Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham will shine for PPR purposes, and Kevin Boss could catch some key passes to keep the chains moving. LeSean McCoy will be used with success early and often to give the Giants something else to worry about other than Vick. The Philadelphia QB should gun nearly as often as he did last week, yet expect more than one TD pass and a rushing score as the Giants simply cannot deal with the great Philadelphia offensive balance. DeSean Jackson is an obvious must-start and Jeremy Maclin is now a regular TD threat, but don't start Jason Avant.

Denver at San Diego

The Chargers rank No. 3 in the NFL in rush defense and it will be difficult for the Broncos to establish a solid running game. Knowshon Moreno is always capable of scoring, but do not expect much in the way of yardage this week. Kyle Orton will be busy in what may be a high-scoring affair, and more than two TD passes is very possible. Lock Brandon Lloyd in and also expect Jabar Gaffney and Demaryius Thomas to get very involved in the offensive flow. Denver has allowed 143.1 rushing yards per game, and Mike Tolbert is a very good start this week. The Denver defense will likely have a lot of difficulty defending him. Philip Rivers is arguably the best QB in fantasy football right now, and will match Orton punch for passing punch. Patrick Crayton will be a quality start for PPR purposes this week.

Join Scott Engel in a LIVE Gameday Chat every week on, Sundays at 10 am ET.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.