Fantasy Football 2012: Week 11 Studs And Duds
2012 Fantasy Football: Studs And Duds For Week 11
Week 11 of the NFL schedule starts on Thursday night when the Buffalo Bills welcome the Miami Dolphins to western New York for an AFC East battle. The loser will certainly have their playoff hopes on life support, if either team still has a chance at the postseason at this point.
With the playoffs just a few weeks away, fantasy football owners face a crucial stretch with playoff spots and seeding certainly still up for grabs in most leagues. Making good lineup decisions is absolutely critical right now, and recognizing players with upside (“Studs”) or downside (“Duds”) takes on great importance.
As I have done in the first 10 weeks, I have put players in my crosshairs that have particularly favorable situations for Week 11. On the flipside I have also tried to find players with downside that fantasy owners need to be leery of this week.
As the season winds down, avoiding the obvious big names becomes a greater challenge as most fantasy owners have a lineup they are mostly set in by this point in the season and any aberrations have fallen by the wayside for better or worse.
This is the final week of byes on the league slate, with the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants idle. So that headache will soon be in the rearview mirror for fantasy owners, which has to be a big positive going forward.
With all of the above in mind, here are my fantasy football “Studs And Duds” for Week 11.
Stud QB- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck threw for 227 yards with an interception last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but saved his fantasy day with two rushing touchdowns in the game. He only has three passing touchdowns over his last five games, but a very favorable matchup is coming for Week 11 against the New England Patriots. New England comes into the week allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (17.8 per game, ESPN scoring) and just over 298 passing yards per game to the position. Luck is likely to have to throw the ball plenty as the Colts’ offense tries to keep pace with the Patriots’ offense, so the 2012 #1 overall pick is a legit QB1 with upside in a critical week for his fantasy owners.
Dud QB- Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Rivers went 29-for-37 for 337 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10, giving him five passing touchdowns over his last two games. But a Week 11 matchup with the Denver Broncos looks daunting, as Rivers threw four interceptions when the two teams met back in Week 6. The Broncos are also in the top half of the league against opposing quarterbacks (14.3 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) despite having faced some of the best quarterbacks in the league (Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger). It’s fair to think Rivers will be pressing with the Chargers’ season being on the line this week, which only adds to the downside here.
Stud RB- Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins
Bush has been on a serious downward trend recently, as he has less than 50 rushing yards in four of his last five games and has been playing fewer snaps than Daniel Thomas. But a very favorable matchup is coming Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills, who come into Week 11 allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs (25.4 per game, ESPN scoring) as well as the most rushing (14) and total (16) touchdowns to the position. Even with the risk of an equal carry split with Thomas, Bush absolutely belongs in fantasy lineups this week.
Dud RB- Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Gore continued his fairly up-and-down season last week against the St. Louis Rams, with 21 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown in the game. That was just the second game this season that he topped 20 carries, and now a tough matchup is coming against the Chicago Bears in Week 11. The Bears have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (10.3 per game, ESPN scoring) to opposing running backs and have allowed just one rushing touchdown to the position since Week 1. If 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith (concussion) misses next Monday night’s game or is at all limited, Chicago can focus even more on containing Gore and the running game. The likelihood of a solid workload quells the downside here some, but there are plenty of running backs with more upside this week.
Stud WR- Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
Johnson had six receptions for 86 yards against the New England Patriots in Week 10, and now has at least five receptions in four of his last five games heading into a favorable matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Week 11. The Dolphins are in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing wide receivers (23.6 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring); including the most targets (240) and third-most receptions (132) to the position. Johnson should see plenty of looks from Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Thursday night, and as long as a thigh issue that bothered him in practice last week is no longer an issue he is worth considering as a low-end WR1 for Week 11.
Dud WR- Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson had had a disappointing 2012 season to this point, with just two 100-yard games and no touchdowns in his last six games. On the surface Week 11’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars looks favorable, with the Jaguars in the bottom half of the league against opposing wide receivers (20.7 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring). But Johnson had just three catches for 21 yards against them back in Week 2, and if the Texans are in control of Sunday’s game they certainly won’t be throwing the ball a lot. It’s hard to bench Johnson based on his name recognition and talent level, but owners with other good options may want to use them this week.
Stud TE- Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
Celek had three catches for 31 yards against the Dallas Cowboys last week, giving him five straight games with less than 50 receiving yards and he still has just one touchdown all season. But a very favorable matchup is coming this week against the Washington Redskins, who enter Week 11 allowing the second-most fantasy points (10.9 per game, ESPN scoring) to opposing tight ends as well as the third-most receptions (59) to the position. With rookie Nick Foles starting Sunday’s game, Celek could find himself targeted plenty as the young quarterback looks to get the ball out of his hands behind an injury-riddled offensive line. Simply put, even though he has had a poor season up to this point, there aren’t many tight ends with more upside than Celek for Week 11.
Dud TE- Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten has re-emerged as fantasy stud in recent weeks, with at least six receptions in six consecutive games and 45 catches in his last five contests. That said, a difficult matchup against the Cleveland Browns is coming for Week 11. The Browns have allowed just two touchdowns to an opposing tight end all season, along with the second-fewest receptions (32) to the position as well. Cleveland has not necessarily faced a bunch of top tier tight ends, but they did hold Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers to two catches for 14 yards back in Week 8. Witten will not completely go away in the Cowboys’ passing game, but there is a fair amount of downside here for those that have another option available.