Wondering whether or not to start Aaron Rodgers and Matt Forte, or to bench Colt McCoy and Chaz Schilens? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 11 of the 2011 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders at Vikings. Since he’s gotten his bearings in Oakland, Palmer has been remarkably productive, amassing 631 passing yards and five touchdowns in his two starts. Now he faces an awful, and injury-depleted, pass defense in Minnesota. Palmer is a great injury or bye-week substitute this week.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins vs. Bills. Despite Daniel Thomas’ return, Bush has remained a fixture in the Dolphins’ backfield with his solid running and receiving. Buffalo has trouble defending both, so look for more strong returns from the multi-talented back.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants vs. Eagles. Get the bruising workhorse back in your lineup for another game without Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants will look to stick a fork in the Eagles on Sunday night, and Jacobs is sure to do a lot of the damage against Philly’s mediocre run defense.
Earl Bennett, WR, Bears vs. Chargers. Now that Bennett has fully recovered from his early-season chest injury, he has reclaimed his role as Jay Cutler’s go-to receiver. San Diego doesn’t yield a lot of receiving yardage, but they have coughed up 17 passing TDs to date. Bennett is a good bet to find the end zone for the second time in three weeks.
Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers at Packers. Among the most disappointing players in Fantasyland this season, Williams continues to get an abundance of targets in the Bucs’ passing game. Those opportunities should finally pay off against a secondary that is yielding the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, John Skelton, Eli Manning; RBs DeMarco Murray, Shonn Greene, Michael Bush, James Starks, Jonathan Stewart, Maurice Morris, Marshawn Lynch; WRs Mario Manningham, Laurent Robinson, Jordy Nelson, Denarius Moore, Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, Plaxico Burress, Brandon Lloyd, Percy Harvin, Vincent Brown.
Roll ‘em back
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers at Lions. As poorly as the Lions played last week, they held Jay Cutler to just 123 passing yards without a touchdown. Newton is coming off a disaster of his own, and things won’t get any easier in Detroit. Rest the rookie if you possibly can.
Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals at 49ers. Strangely, the Cardinals have found more success lately leaning on John Skelton’s arm than Wells’ legs. His balky knee surely has something to do with that; but in any event, the pendulum is unlikely to swing back this week when Wells & Company face the league’s top run defense.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers at Packers. He fell flat against Houston’s top-tier run defenders last week, and he’ll face another stingy unit Sunday that benefits when opponents are forced to abandon the run early. Since Blount rarely contributes as a receiver, he’s unlikely to play a significant role in this matchup.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills at Dolphins. Johnson injured his shoulder last weekend, but is expected to suit up for this divisional contest. Unfortunately, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been off his game lately, while Miami hasn’t allowed a scoring pass during their two-game win streak. Johnson is a risky bet on the road.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles at Giants. His team is in disarray, he’s chirping about his contract and last week’s harsh discipline, and he will probably be trying to catch passes from Vince Young. None of the above will help Jackson rebound from his three-game (and nearly season-long) slump.
More thumbs down: QBs Michael Vick, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman; RBs Mike Tolbert, Cedric Benson, Daniel Thomas, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chris Ogbannaya, Ryan Torain, Roy Helu; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Steve Breaston, Torrey Smith, Sidney Rice, Eric Decker, Greg Little.
Taking a flier
Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers vs. Cardinals. Though it appears Frank Gore is on track to play Sunday despite his gimpy knee and ankle, Hunter will see plenty of action, and possibly the bulk of the workload. Meanwhile, Arizona has surrendered a league-worst 12 rushing touchdowns. Hunter is a solid flex play.
Don’t be the bonehead who…risks a goose egg while holding out hope for Michael Vick to play Sunday night with his broken ribs. He’ll undoubtedly be a game-time decision, but his late time slot means your backup options will be limited. You don’t want to be stuck with Vince Young, either.