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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fantasy football: Injury updates, start-and-sit advice, expanded playlist and more for Week 11

A brutal Week 10 has left many of you scrambling for help at running back (hello, Bernard Scott, Justin Forsett and Jason Snelling).

A quick roundup of the most notable injuries:

-- Both Michael Turner (sprained ankle) and Cedric Benson (hip injury) are listed as doubtful, but the ailments for both backs seem to be only a one-week concern. Scott should get the majority of the carries in Benson's absence, and Brian Leonard will continue to be the third-down back whose best asset is in the receiving department (20 catches). I wouldn't consider Larry Johnson, who was unproductive with the Chiefs before signing with the Bengals this week.

Turner's top backup would normally be the explosive Jerious Norwood, but the latter has missed the last four games with a hip injury and is listed as questionable this week. Norwood should play, but he likely will be the backup to Snelling, who had 93 total yards last week.

-- Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton will be a game-time decision because of a sprained ankle, but he hasn't practiced all week and Sunday's opponent, the Chargers, rank 11th against the pass. Keep him on your bench. Same goes for Chris Simms, should he get the call instead of Orton.

-- Both Clinton Portis and Brian Westbrook will sit because of concussions, with Ladell Betts and impressive rookie LeSean McCoy starting in their place in Washington and Philadelphia, respectively.

-- Seahawks running back Julius Jones won't play because of a bruised lung, clearing the way for Forsett to get the bulk of the carries for the second straight week. The rookie has 10 catches in his last two games and had 149 total yards in Week 10.

-- Buccaneers receiver Antonio Bryant is expected to return from a two-week absence on Sunday, but his knee has been bothering him all year and Tampa's franchise player has yet to record more than 62 yards receiving in a game this season. He's a No. 4 wideout at best against the Saints, who have more than twice as many interceptions (17) as TD passes allowed (eight).

On to the start-and-sit lists ...

Five to start

This week’s look at part-time starters and fantasy backups who should benefit from a favorable matchup:

-- Eli Manning, QB, Giants, vs. Falcons: He has only one two-touchdown game since Week 6 and hasn’t thrown for more than 243 yards in his last five games, but I’d expect Peyton’s little brother to meet both those numbers against the Falcons’ 28th-ranked pass defense.

-- Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals, at Raiders: The rookie’s biggest impact thus far has been on special teams. With Cedric Benson hobbled by an injured hip, this Division II product should have a career day vs. the Raiders, who rank 29th vs. the run and have given up 14 touchdowns on the ground.

-- Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals, at Rams: With three touchdowns in his last four games and 29 carries for 157 yards in his last two, he’s slowly taking the starting job from Tim Hightower. The former Buckeye should have his best performance yet vs. the Rams, who rank 28th stopping the run and have yielded 13 rushing TDs.

-- LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles, at Bears: Brian Westbrook’s concussion issues might make McCoy a starter the rest of the season, and he deserves to be in your lineup, especially in point-per-reception leagues. The Bears have the league’s 12th-worst run defense.

-- Kevin Smith, RB, Lions, vs. Browns: He’s been very disappointing (zero touchdowns in his last five contests and no games with more than 67 rushing yards since Week 3), but the Browns have a knack for ending opposing players’ slumps. Cleveland ranks 30th against the run and has allowed 13 rushing TDs.

More matchups I like:

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals, at Raiders; Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks, at Vikings; Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys, vs. Redskins; Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants, vs. Falcons; Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings, vs. Seahawks; Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals, at Rams; Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles, at Bears

Three to sit

If you have a decent backup, these starters should take a seat for a week:

The all-QB edition ...

-- Matt Ryan, Falcons, at Giants: Sophomore slump? Ryan has thrown 10 interceptions in his last five games (with 1,031 yards and seven TDs in that span), and he’s been picked off two times or more in four of his last six games. The Giants own the league’s second-best pass defense, but have given up 15 TDs through the air.

-- Joe Flacco, Ravens, vs. Colts: Another second-year QB who started fast and has slowed considerably, Flacco hasn’t thrown for a touchdown in his last two games and has only 525 yards in his last three. The Colts are in the middle of the pack vs. the pass (No. 16), but have three more interceptions (10) than TD passes allowed (seven).

-- Jay Cutler, Bears, vs. Eagles: He has thrown 17 interceptions on the season and 12 in his last five games. The Eagles (No. 10 vs. the pass) have picked off 15 passes.

More matchups I don’t like:

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs, vs. Steelers; Santana Moss, WR, Redskins, at Cowboys; Roy Williams, WR, Cowboys, vs. Redskins; Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs, vs. Steelers

Last week

The start list had two hits in Sidney Rice (seven catches for 201 yards) and Jonathan Stewart (82 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and two decent plays in Laurence Maroney (31 yards rushing, one TD, two catches for 15 yards) and Knowshon Moreno (97 yards rushing, two catches).

The lone dud on the list was Percy Harvin, who had three catches for 53 yards and rushed for 7 yards.

The sit list had two good calls in Carson Palmer (178 yards passing, no touchdowns and no interceptions) and Brian Westbrook (28 yards rushing, two catches for 26 yards). The third item on the list was any Raiders running back, which was good in the case of Darren McFadden (11 yards rushing), not so good if you sat Justin Fargas (41 yards rushing, one TD) and terrible if you actually would have considered playing Michael Bush (119 yards rushing).


1. Drew Brees, Saints, at Buccaneers (No. 15 vs. the pass)
2. Kurt Warner, Cardinals, at Rams (No. 25)
3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers, vs. 49ers (No. 29)
4. Tom Brady, Patriots, vs. Jets (No. 3)
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, at Chiefs (No. 24)
6. Matt Schaub, Texans, vs. Titans (No. 31)
7. Peyton Manning, Colts, at Ravens (No. 13)
8. Brett Favre, Vikings, vs. Seahawks (No. 22)
9. Tony Romo, Cowboys, vs. Redskins (No. 28)
10. Eli Manning, Giants, vs. Falcons (No. 28)
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers, at Broncos (No. 5)
12. Donovan McNabb, Eagles, at Bears (No. 8)
13. Carson Palmer, Bengals, at Raiders (No. 14)
14. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks, at Vikings (No. 23)
15. Jay Cutler, Bears, vs. Eagles (No. 10)
16. Joe Flacco, Ravens, vs. Colts (No. 16)
17. Matt Ryan, Falcons, at Giants (No. 2)
18. David Garrard, Jaguars, vs. Bills (No. 9)
19. Vince Young, Titans, at Texans (No. 17)
20. Jason Campbell, Redskins, at Cowboys (No. 18)

1. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, vs. Bills (No. 32 vs. the run)
2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings, vs. Seahawks (No. 11)
3. Chris Johnson, Titans, at Texans (tied for No. 14)
4. Ray Rice, Ravens, vs. Colts (tied for No. 14)
5. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers, at Chiefs (No. 27)
6. Steven Jackson, Rams, vs. Cardinals (No. 8)
7. Frank Gore, 49ers, at Packers (No. 4)
8. Matt Forte, Bears, vs. Eagles (No. 9)
9. Bernard Scott, Bengals, at Raiders (No. 29)
10. Thomas Jones, Jets, at Patriots (No. 17)
11. Joseph Addai, Colts, at Ravens (No. 5)
12. Beanie Wells, Cardinals, at Rams (No. 28)
13. Pierre Thomas, Saints, at Buccaneers (No. 31)
14. Marion Barber, Cowboys, vs. Redskins (No. 24)
15. Ryan Grant, Packers, vs. 49ers (No. 3)
16. Brandon Jacobs, Giants, vs. Falcons (No. 26)
17. LeSean McCoy, Eagles, at Bears (No. 21)
18. Kevin Smith, Lions, vs. Browns (No. 30)
19. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers, at Broncos (No. 12)
20. Ladell Betts, Redskins, at Cowboys (No. 10)
21. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos, vs. Chargers (No. 23)
22. Jason Snelling, Falcons, at Giants (No. 13)
23. Laurence Maroney, Patriots, vs. Jets (No. 18)
24. Justin Forsett, Seahawks, at Vikings (No. 6)

1. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, at Rams (No. 25 vs. the pass)
2. Reggie Wayne, Colts, at Ravens (No. 13)
3. Randy Moss, Patriots, vs. Jets (No. 3)
4. Andre Johnson, Texans, vs. Titans (No. 31)
5. Steve Smith, Giants, vs. Falcons (No. 28)
6. Marques Colston, Saints, at Buccaneers (No. 15)
7. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, at Rams (No. 25)
8. Hines Ward, Steelers, at Chiefs (No. 24)
9. Calvin Johnson, Lions, vs. Browns (tied for No. 19)
10. Roddy White, Falcons, at Giants (No. 2)
11. Wes Welker, Patriots, vs. Jets (No. 3)
12. Brandon Marshall, Broncos, vs. Chargers (No. 11)
13. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals, at Raiders (No. 14)
14. Vincent Jackson, Chargers, at Broncos (No. 5)
15. DeSean Jackson, Eagles, at Bears (No. 8)
16. Donald Driver, Packers, vs. 49ers (No. 29)
17. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks, at Vikings (No. 23)
18. Greg Jennings, Packers, vs. 49ers (No. 29)
19. Sidney Rice, Vikings, vs. Seahawks (No. 22)
20. Santonio Holmes, Steelers, at Chiefs (No. 24)
21. Miles Austin, Cowboys, vs. Redskins (No. 1)
22. Derrick Mason, Ravens, vs. Colts (No. 16)
23. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars, vs. Bills (No. 9)
24. Nate Burleson, Seahawks, at Vikings (No. 23)
25. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles, at Bears (No. 8)
26. Mario Manningham, Giants, vs. Falcons (No. 26)
27. Michael Crabtree, 49ers, at Packers (No. 6)
28. Steve Breaston, Cardinals, at Rams (No. 28)
29. Devin Hester, Bears, vs. Eagles (No. 10)
30. Percy Harvin, Vikings, vs. Seahawks (No. 22)
31. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets, at Patriots (No. 7)
32. Braylon Edwards, Jets, at Patriots (No. 7)
33. Terrell Owens, Bills, at Jaguars (No. 26)
34. Lee Evans, Bills, at Jaguars (No. 26)
35. Laveranues Coles, Bengals, at Raiders (No. 14)
36. Donnie Avery, Rams, vs. Cardinals (No. 30)

MORE FANTASY FOOTBALL: Has your team been affected by the injuries to running backs Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Michael Turner, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook or Julius Jones? I break down the values of their backups here. The link also includes this week audiocast with Sports Editor Mark Podolski and I.

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