SIT ‘EM DOWN
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (at Baltimore): Dalton has been terrific this season and has my full endorsement for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But the former TCU standout is in a tough spot this weekend and we advise those of you who have been riding the wave to bail off immediately. Baltimore is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10, but returns home to M&T Bank Stadium this Sunday where they are 4-0 and allowing just 16.3 points per game. In addition, the Ravens are surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team in the league this year (12.5 pts/gm). Throw in the fact that star wideout A.J. Green is banged up and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The line: Baltimore -7/40.5
Vegas notes: This line opened at Baltimore -9, but was quickly bet down to Baltimore -7. The early money appears to like the Bengals.
The pick: I’m staying away from this game, but with a gun to my head, I’ll take the Bengals and the points.
There isn't much upside when it comes to starting Beanie Wells this weekend.
Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco): No sense in taking a risk on a guy who is going up against a defense that is surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (10.8 pts/gm). The 49ers are currently the NFL’s top run defense and Wells has topped 65 rushing yards in a game just one time over his last five starts. Stay away.
The line: San Francisco -9.5/40.5
Vegas notes: Did you know that the 49ers are 9-1-1 against the spread in their last 11 games overall?
The pick: This is just too many points, but if I have to make a selection, I’ll take the Cardinals.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tennessee): White has found the end zone just one time over his last four starts and has topped 75 receiving yards in a game just once in his last five outings. That isn’t good. It gets worse when you take into account the fact that the Titans are giving up only 17.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (7th-fewest in NFL). We’re sure many White owners will throw him into the staring lineup anyway, but just be advised that he’s in for a tough afternoon.
The line: Atlanta -6/44
Vegas notes: The UNDER is 4-0 in the Titans’ last four games in November and 5-0 in the Falcons’ last five games overall.
The pick: UNDER 44
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (at Detroit): Olsen is currently a top-ten fantasy TE in standard scoring formats, but he’s only caught nine passes over his last three games and has found the end zone just once in his previous four starts. Those numbers don’t bode well for a Week 11 date with a Detroit Lions defense that is giving up an average of just 6.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (7th-fewest in NFL).
The line: Detroit -7/47
Vegas notes: The Panthers are 1-5 against the spread in their last six road games, while the Lions are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
The pick: Any chance Detroit gets caught napping due to the fact that they have a marquee showdown with the Packers on Thanksgiving? No play.
Chicago Bears, D/ST (vs. San Diego): The Bears are currently the fourth-rated D/ST in standard scoring formats, but we think it would be wise to look for another option in Week 11. The San Diego Chargers are coming to town and despite their inability to protect the football, this team is still scoring an average of 24.0 points per game (13th in NFL) and ranks seventh in the NFL in total offense (396.7 yds/gm). The Bears aren’t a bad start, but there are better options out there.
The line: Chicago -3.5/45
Vegas notes: The Chargers are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games overall, while the Bears are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
The pick: Bears -3.5 (buy it down to -3 or -2.5).
ICONFlacco has taken a step back in his fourth year as a starting quarterback.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cincinnati): As long as Flacco continues to play poorly, he’ll keep ending up in this section of our Starts, Sits & Smashes column. Did you know the fourth-year signal-caller has only thrown three touchdown passes over his last six starts? Brutal. Baltimore may be headed for the playoffs, but Flacco will be the reason they don’t advance to the Super Bowl. Oh yeah, the Bengals are giving up an average of only 15.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (7th-fewest in NFL), so there’s that little tidbit, too.
The line: Baltimore -7/40.5
Vegas notes: The UNDER is 5-0 in the Bengals’ last five road games against a team with a winning record and 9-1 in the Ravens’ last ten games against a team with a winning record.
The pick: UNDER 40.5
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (at Atlanta): Johnson has picked it up over the last two weeks as the former fantasy standout has posted 284 total yards and one touchdown over his last two starts. Yes, his schedule sets up nicely for the rest of the season, but Atlanta currently ranks third in the NFL against the run (90.3 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of only 14.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (5th-fewest in NFL). It looks like that semi-hot streak could be coming to an abrupt end.
The line: Atlanta -6/44
Vegas notes: Already covered above.
The pick: Already made above (slight lean towards Tennessee +6).
Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (at Cleveland): With Mike Sims-Walker leaving town before the start of the season, many of us (myself included) expected a solid year from Thomas. What we’ve gotten so far has been one touchdown over his first nine games with an average of just 37.1 receiving yards per start. That’s about as bad as it gets. Don’t expect this guy to right the ship Sunday in Cleveland against a Browns defense that is giving fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the league (12.4 pts/gm).
The line: Cleveland -1/34.5
Vegas notes: The Jaguars are 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four games, while the Browns are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games. In fact, the Browns haven’t covered a spread since Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.
The pick: Jaguars +1
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
JAN 28 The Sports Quotient
A look at playcalling in Super Bowl history.
JAN 20 Tony Villiotti
Following Monday's announcement of those declaring for the Draft, a look at the numbers.
JAN 19 Jeff Fedotin
Chiefs' special teams coordinator has unique football mind.