Hits and Misses – Week 11: Turner the Burner ready to blaze!

Last week I came through with my second great feature pick of the season (I know, only two through ten weeks is a little embarassing!), as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson absolutely torched the Packers defense to the tune of 225 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. I ended up the week with a respectable 15-5-3* record, helped out by stellar, three-score games from Thomas Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew, along with a solid performance from Tony Gonzalez and a predictable, lackluster showing by Steve Slaton (could he be hitting the rookie wall?) Although the Jets passing game proved to be non-existant in their demolition of the Rams and Peyton Manning had a huge game against one of the better defenses in the league (ironically, his two best games this season against the Steelers and Ravens…go figure!), I still finished with some fairly good predictions and I hope to do the same this week. For week 11,  my sure bet is for Michael Turner “The Burner” to have a big game against a less than average Broncos defense in Atlanta this weekend, so get him in your lineup!

* Hits-Misses-Pushes

Hits

  • Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: I admit, I tried to come up with some clever saying here that some how involved the Broncos, Turner the Burner, and the game being a potential barn burner, but I couldn’t come up with some all that witty, so I ended up with the title you currently see on the post. Anyways though, continuing the trend (big games against bad defenses…poor games against good ones) that he has followed all season, you can expect big things from Turner this weekend as he takes on an Denver defense that is allowing 5.6 yards per carry. This should turn into a barn burner if all goes according to plan…and expect Turner to be right in the middle of the action.
  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: The past few weeks we’ve seem some of the worst football BigBen has ever played. He has eight interceptions and only one touchdown in his past three games, but in the two games before that span, he threw five touchdowns and one interception…quite the difference, huh? I expect Roethlisberger to return to form this weekend as the Steelers take on the Chargers and their horrendous secondary at Heinz. If he puts up the average stats that the San Diego defense has allowed this season, he’s in for around 265 yards and a couple touchdowns, which isn’t all that bad is it? I expect more though…and so should you.
  • Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers: Let’s just forget the last game that the Panthers played (as a guy who just received Delhomme in a trade, I know I’m trying to!) To get over the hangover of a four interception, zero touchdown performance, Delhomme gets to play the guys Detroit rolls out on the field and calls a defense on a weekly basis. The Lions are giving up nearly 250 yards a game to quarterbacks and have surrendered 15 touchdowns against only two interceptions this season. In other words, del Homeboy is in for a big day.
  • Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: Although Addai has been injured or ineffective for nearly the entire season to this point, he now gets to play a Texans team that he has scored a touchdown against the past four times he’s played them. He’s also healthy, and the team should jump out to an early lead and use Joseph heavily to burn the clock. Oh, the fact that Houston is allowing 4.5 yards per carry and has given up over a touchdown a game to opposing running backs should help!
  • Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals: The Arizona Cardinals are a great story this year and the man leading the way is their seasoned, veteran quarterback, Kurt Warner. He’s been putting up MVP numbers against all sorts of defenses and this week he is rewarded with the Seahawks. Seattle is allowing over 250 yards and around 1.5 touchdowns per game through the air. Considering the fact that not all Seattle’s previous opponents had a quarterback the caliber of Warner, you can expect numbers a lot better than that average. 
  • Cardinals Receivers, WR, Cardinals: As Warner tears apart the Seahawks secondary, all of his receivers are going to benefit. Anquan Boldin has been a monster this season, while Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston have also been very consistent and useful from a fantasy perspective. As usual, Boldin and Fitz make great WR1 slots, while Breaston in the WR3 slot is also a good play.
  • Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins: While you have to give Ricky Williams credit and the team is saying they are going to continue to give the “weed man” more carries to keep the running game fresh towards the end of the season, something tells me it’s Ronnie Brown’s time to shine. The Raiders are giving up the second most rushing yards per game with 158 this season and now they have to travel across the country to take on a much improved Miami team. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Ricky and Ronnie put up solid numbers in this one, but look for Brown to have the bigger game.
  • Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: As with Delhomme (and as a guy who has him in one of his leagues!) you can forget about Steve Smith’s last game. He was covered by one of the better cornerbacks in the league (Nnamdi Asomugh) and his quarterback obviously wasn’t quite in the game. At home, Smith should have a great game against the Lions and is a must start in all formats.
  • Tyler Thigpen, QB, Chiefs: After a rough go of it during his first few games, Thigpen has been fantasy gold the past three games for all team managers brave enough to start him (probably not that many!) Now that he’s got a few solid games under his belt though, I’m guessing that there will be a few managers out there who are thinking of starting Tyler. If you were considering taking the plunge and putting him into your lineup, this could be the game to do it. The Chiefs play at home this weekend against a Saints defense that hasn’t been so great against the pass and should allow Thigpen more than a few chances to put up decent numbers.
  • Others: Matt Ryan (vs DEN), Roddy White (vs DEN), Matt Forte (@ GB), DeAngelo Williams (vs DET), Hines Ward (vs SD)

Misses

  • Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings: Tampa Bay has one of the top defenses in the league and this week they get Minnesota…at home. After four straight games of averaging over 100 yards receiving and scoring a touchdown in each, Berrian somehow disappeared completely off the radar last weekend when he didn’t record a single catch against the Packers. I expect Tampa Bay to focus heavily on Bernard while the Vikes try to run the ball all day long with Adrian Peterson. I know I’m in no rush to jam Berrian into my lineup this week.
  • Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: The first of two top-tier running backs that I am struggling with putting on the “Misses” list this week, Jacobs has the misfortunes of playing the Ravens this weekend. Although Brandon has been a monster this year and I’m sure there is no defense in the league that he fears, I just can’t project him to have a big game against a defense that is allowing a lowly 2.9 yards per carry and has only given up one touchdown to a running back this year. I might be sorry for this, but I just don’t see this being one of his better games this year…although it probably doesn’t matter because you’ll start him anyways (I’d do the same!)
  • Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: As a rookie quarterback, Flacco has been more than anything the Ravens could have expected, but he is in for the biggest test of his young career this weekend when the team heads to New Jersey to take on the defending Superbowl champions this weekend. The G-Men are allowing under 180 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks and have 12 interceptions on the year so far, so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from Flacco as the team hands the ball off a lot in this one.
  • Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens: With the Ravens running the ball a lot to keep the pass rush honest, Mason could be left out of the picture a bit. He’ll get a few receptions, but don’t expect him to hit paydirt.
  • Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: It looks like Orton will get the start this weekend as he returns from his ankle injury, but this might not be the week you want to return him to your lineup. The Bears play at Lambo this weekend against a Packers defense that has 16 interceptions this year and is allowing under 180 yards per game to opposing signal callers.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: In previous years, it would have been blasphemy to put LT on the miss-list, but this is a new year and a slightly beat up Tomlinson we’re talking about…not to mention he’s playing the Steelers this week…AT Pittsburgh. LaDainian could sneak a touchdown if he’s lucky, but I wouldn’t expect him to rack up the yardage, as Steelers are allowing less than 70 yards a game on the ground this season at a rate of 3.0 yards per carry. You shouldn’t bench LT (unless you have Adrian Peterson and some other awesome running back on your team), but just temper your expectations and make sure the rest of your roster can step up this week!
  • Sage Rosenfels, QB, Texans: Against a great defense last week, the turnover-prone side of Sage Rosenfels reared its’ ugly head to the tune of four interceptions…just like Jake Delhomme! Unlike Delhomme though, I don’t expect Rosenfels to turn it around this week. The Texans play the Colts in Indy this Sunday and it should pretty much just be a continuation of last week’s game, as the Indianapolis pass defense has been spectacular this year (just over 190 yards a game in the air and only two touchdowns allowed, versus nine interceptions.)
  • Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers: Although he has one of the top quarterbacks in the league (in terms of fantasy points scored) throwing him the ball, owners of Vincent Jackson might consider looking elsewhere if they have options this week. The Steelers have been tough on the defensive side of the ball this year and are only allowing around 170 yards per game to quarterbacks, while giving up about a score per game. Jackson might be able to carve out 60-70 yards or so, but if he can’t get the teams lone receiving touchdown (I know Gates, Chambers, Floyd and LT will be looking for it too!), his contributions to your fantasy squad could be less than desireable.
  • Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens: Although Baltimore is likely to hand the ball off a bunch of times to spare quarterback Joe Flacco (see above) from some of the abuse he’s sure to receive at the hands of the Giants, I don’t think it will matter all that much in terms of fantasy production from McGahee. The fact that the Ravens play three running backs and that New York has a pretty solid run defense leads me to believe that McGahee won’t be able to repeat his performance from last week, where he had 100+ yards and multiple scores. I’m expecting 80 yards or so, with about a 50% chance of Willis finding the endzone in this one.
  • Others: Daunte Culpepper (@ CAR), Earnest Graham (vs MIN), Gus Frerotte (@ TB)

Last Week: 15-5-3
Total: 109-47-38