Hits & Misses – Week 11: Playoffs approaching

Here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for week eleven, listing players you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!) This week I returned to my previous ways of leaving the most obvious players off the list (Drew Brees @ TB, Maurice Jones-Drew vs BUF,) so we’re left with players you may actually have to think about starting or benching this week. In most leagues the playoffs are rapidly approaching, so this could be a huge week for your team and hopefully some of our advice can help you clinch a spot! Anyways, here we go with the hits and misses…

Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Kurt Warner, Cardinals @ STL – This is the first of two dream match-ups Warner has against the Rams this season, with the other possibly coming during your league’s championship week (16.) In recent games against similar quality quarterbacks, St. Louis gave up 235 yards and three touchdowns to Peyton Manning and 223 yards and two scores to Drew Brees. Expect similar numbers from Kurt Warner. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs WAS – The Redskins gave up their first two touchdown game to an opposing quarterback last week (and it was Denver of all teams!) Even considering that, they haven’t given up a 300 yard passing game all year and I don’t expect this to be the first.
Eli Manning, Giants vs ATL – I’m expecting that the Giants used the BYE to figure out why they’ve been struggling so badly the past few games and should start to turn things around, beginning this weekend against the Falcons. Atlanta has given up major yardage and touchdowns to all sorts of quarterbacks over the past five weeks and the bleeding won’t stop this Sunday. Jay Cutler, Bears vs PHI – You know Cutler is not happy about having to follow up his disastrous performance against the 49ers last week with the Eagles. Philadelphia has been racking up the interceptions this year and what better guy to face then Cutler, who leads the league with 17!
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ KC – After acquiring Big Ben in a trade for Peyton Manning (other players were also involved, don’t worry), he proceeded to go out and lay an egg against the Bengals. While a bit angry about that, he should redeem himself in a big way against a Chiefs defense that given up huge games to every decent quarterback they’ve played so far this year (Flacco, McNabb, Eli Manning, Romo, Rivers.) Joe Flacco, Ravens vs IND – If you forget last weeks game against the Patriots (who can stop Tom Brady anyways?) the Colts have featured one of the most dominant pass defenses in the league this year. Through the frst nine weeks of the season, they only allowed four passing touchdowns and considering Flacco’s recent struggles, he could be in for a long day.
Running Back
Hits
Misses
Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers @ KC – Over the past two weeks, the Chiefs have given up nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns to opposing running backs and only two teams all year haven’t reached the century mark against them. Mendenhall is in for a big day. Frank Gore, 49ers @ GB – It hasn’t been easy being a Frank Gore owner this year, but the past three games have been a nice change of pace. However, this week with the team heading to Lambeau, things could regress a bit. The Packers limited the Cowboys three-headed-monster (Barber, Jones, Choice) to just 45 yards last week and should do the same to Gore this weekend.
Pierre Thomas, Saints @ TB – Even with a great match-up against the Rams last week, the PT Cruiser wasn’t all that impressive. However, the Saints as a whole still ran the ball successfully. This week Thomas should get back in the groove, against a Tampa Bay team that seems to give up big game after big game to opposing tailbacks. Joseph Addai, Colts @ BAL – Addai isn’t racking up the yardage this season, but he does have six rushing and three receiving touchdowns this year. Unfortunately for him, the Ravens have been pretty good at keeping opposing runners out of the endzone and if Joseph can’t get at least a touchdown, his fantasy numbers might not be quite what you needed to make your final push towards the playoffs.
Ricky Williams, Dolphins @ CAR – With Ronnie Brown out of the picture, Ricky Williams will get to shoulder the load tonight against a Panthers defense that just got run over by Michael Turner and company. Expect a huge game from High Times’ player of the year. Laurence Maroney, Patriots vs Jets – I’m just not high on Maroney this week against a tough Jets defense. Maybe if he hadn’t fumbled away the ball against the Colts near the goal-line it would be a different story…
Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
Andre Johnson, Texans vs TEN – The Titans have definitely improved since their BYE, but they’ve still given up four touchdowns to the wide receiver position over the past two weeks. Johnson had his way with Tennessee in week two (10 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns!) and should have another solid game this weekend. Randy Moss, Patriots vs NYJ – It pains me to write this, but the Jets have been one of the few teams that were actually able to contain Moss so far this year, when they shut him down to four catches for a whopping 24 yards. While I expect bigger numbers from him this week (and who knows, maybe the team features him in the passing game just to humble Darrelle Revis), just keep your expectations to a minimum so that he doesn’t disappoint you.
Marques Colston, Saints @ TB – I assume there are a lot of unhappy Marques Colston owners out there after two straight sub-par games, but don’t bench him quite yet. Tampa Bay has given up huge games to a few big name receivers already this season and Colston should be the next in line. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars vs BUF – Another receiver I don’t like to downgrade, Sims-Walker has been a waiver-wire hero this year. However, he plays the Bills this weekend, meaning the team will be handing it off to Maurice Jones-Drew 50 times en route to the victory. If Sims-Walker can gain a lot of yards after the few catches he’ll make, he could have a decent day, but don’t get your hopes up.
Sidney Rice, Vikings vs SEA – Rice is coming off one of the best games of his career and gets to play one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Over the past four games, the Seahawks have given up eight touchdowns to receivers and a ton of yards. Expect a big day from Favre and his go-to receiver. Roy Williams, Cowboys vs WAS – I was going to list Miles Austin here, but due to his recent struggles and the fact that I recently traded for him, I put his partner in crime on the list instead. Williams has become the go-to receiver over the past two weeks, but that could change this week now that opposing defenses (especially one as good as the Redskins) realize that he still has something left in the tank.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Greg Olsen, Bears vs PHI – With such an aggressive defense, opposing quarterbacks have looked to their tight ends as a safety outlet frequently against the Eagles and the same should happen with Jay Cutler on Sunday night. Antonio Gates, Chargers @ DEN – The Broncos have been one of the best teams in the league against the tight end this season, giving up over 50 yards just twice (along with only two touchdowns.) The last time the Chargers played Denver, Gates had five catches for 70 yards, but with the game being in Denver this time, I expect numbers slightly less.