The Fantasy Hit List
Injuries. They’re something every owner has to deal with at one point or another. They can make or break a fantasy season, which is why drafting for depth is so important in August.
One thing Week 10 was not short on was potentially serious injuries to several marquee fantasy stars. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at who’s banged up heading into Week 11.
Michael Turner RB Atlanta Falcons: Turner exited Sunday’s 28-19 loss at Carolina with an ankle injury after rushing for 111 yards on just nine carries. He’s expected to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the injury. NEXT GAME: at New York Giants.
Cedric Benson RB Cincinnati Bengals: Benson picked up just 22 yards on seven carries before suffering a hip flexor in Sunday’s 18-12 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The veteran running back “thinks he’ll be fine,” according to the Bengals’ official Web site. NEXT GAME: at Oakland.
Kyle Orton QB Denver Broncos: The Denver quarterback completed 11 of 18 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 27-17 loss at Washington before heading to the locker room with a sprained ankle. NEXT GAME: San Diego.
Ronnie Brown RB Miami Dolphins: One of the fantasy world’s most productive running backs is currently listed as “doubtful” for Week 11 after injuring his ankle in a 25-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brown picked up 82 rushing yards on 12 carries with a touchdown while also catching two passes for 16 yards. “We did some X-rays and stuff, but I don’t feel like it’s too bad,” Brown told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel after the game. NEXT GAME: at Carolina (Thursday).
Brian Westbrook RB Philadelphia Eagles: B-West suffered another concussion in the Eagles’ 31-23 loss at San Diego after picking up just 54 total yards on eight touches. Owners need to look at Plan B as this is Westbrook’s second concussion this season. His year could be over. NEXT GAME: at Chicago.
Julius Jones RB Seattle Seahawks: Jones went down with a broken rib in Seattle’s 31-20 loss at Arizona after gaining only 10 yards on two carries. He was taken to the hospital after the game. NEXT GAME: at Minnesota
MBP Award (Most Beastly Performance)
Two big-time games from two big-time wide receivers
Sidney Rice Wide Receiver Minnesota Vikings
Rice torched the Detroit secondary Sunday afternoon for 201 yards on just seven receptions (28.7 YPC) in a 27-10 divisional win. His performance was the third time in four games that Rice has caught for over 130 receiving yards.
Rice’s breakout season can obviously be tied to the arrival of quarterback Brett Favre. Despite being ranked 39th in the league in targets with 52, Rice is fourth in receiving yards with 786. Upcoming games against the Seahawks and Bears provide two more excellent opportunities to rack up fantasy points.
Randy Moss Wide Receiver New England Patriots
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s fourth-quarter decision is grabbing all of the headlines, but the numbers produced by the original “Straight Cash Homie” were nothing short of front-page material.
Moss took advantage of a banged-up Indy secondary and went off like a bomb, catching nine passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s 35-34 loss at Indianapolis.The ever-dangerous outside threat is currently leading the NFL in receiving yards (891), is tied for third in touchdowns (7) and ranked sixth in receptions (58). Another monster year from one of the NFL’s all-time best receivers.
Players on the rise
Justin Forsett RB Seattle Seahawks: Starting running back Julius Jones went down with a broken rib on Sunday, creating an opportunity for owners in need of RB help to make a splash. Forsett picked up 123 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in Seattle’s 31-20 loss at Arizona. He also chipped in 26 receiving yards on five receptions.
Expect Forsett to be a heavily targeted waiver wire acquisition this week as Jones is likely to miss some time with his broken rib.
Next five games: at Minnesota, at St. Louis, San Francisco, at Houston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Calvin Johnson WR Detroit Lions: One of the NFL’s best young wideouts finally posted some respectable fantasy numbers, hauling in eight passes for 84 yards in Detroit’s 27-10 loss at Minnesota. The most encouraging news from the defeat was that Johnson was targeted 13 times by rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford -- the most targets he’s seen in a game since Week 1 (13). In addition, the 84 yards Johnson posted was his highest receiving total since Oct. 4.
Next five games: Cleveland, Green Bay, at Cincinnati, at Baltimore, Arizona
Beanie Wells RB Arizona Cardinals: The rookie rusher from Ohio State posted another solid fantasy performance Sunday, finding the end zone twice while racking up 117 total yards on 18 touches in the Cardinals 31-20 win over the visiting Seahawks. The Arizona rookie is slowly taking over the top spot in the Cardinals’ backfield. Wells has rushed the ball 12-plus times in each of his last four games while pounding in three touchdowns over that span. In addition, he’s piled up 29 carries over his past two games, the highest two-game total of his young career.
Next five games: at St. Louis, at Tennessee, Minnesota, at San Francisco, at Detroit
Josh Freeman QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers: His accuracy is still a concern as Freeman has completed just 50.8 percent of his passes, but the rookie from Kansas State produced some solid fantasy numbers in his first two starts. Freeman now has 401 passing yards and four touchdowns in his last two games, with just two interceptions. What’s more important is the Buccaneers are more competitive with him at quarterback, going 1-1 with Freeman at the helm. Keep in mind, the loss was a tight 25-23 defeat at Miami.
Next five games: New Orleans, at Atlanta, at Carolina, New York Jets, at Seattle
T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR Seattle Seahawks: After posting just one 80-plus-yard receiving performance in his first eight games, Seattle’s big free agent acquisition has come on strong the past two weeks, racking up 9+ fantasy points in each outing. Houshmadzadeh was targeted a season-high 17 times Sunday and hauled in nine passes for 165 yards in Seattle’s 31-20 loss at Arizona. Housh currently ranks sixth in the NFL in targets with 85.
Next five games: at Minnesota, at St. Louis, San Francisco, at Houston, Tampa Bay
Jason Snelling RB Atlanta Falcons: Just like with Justin Forsett, Snelling is going to be a hot waiver-wire pickup this week as starting running back Michael Turner went down with an injured ankle. Snelling stepped right in and promptly picked up 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the Falcons’ 28-19 loss at Carolina. Turner is expected to undergo an MRI today, and if the news comes back bad, look for Snelling to start making a name for himself.
Next five games: at New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, New Orleans, at New York Jets
Falling down the boards
Marques Colston WR New Orleans Sa ints: The Saints’ No. 1 wideout has been anything but over the past two weeks, with just three receptions for 62 yards and no touchdowns in his last two outings. He’s averaging only 3.5 receptions per game in his past four contests and has topped 75 yards receiving two times in his last seven games.
Next five games: at Tampa Bay, New England, at Washington, at Atlanta, Dallas
Jay Cutler QB Chicago Bears: The Chicago quarterback has topped 300 yards passing in each of his last two games, but that’s where the good news ends. Cutler has tossed only four touchdowns with a staggering 10 interceptions over his last four games as the Bears have gone 1-3 over that span. Without a viable receiving unit to get open down the field, Cutler will continue to struggle.
Next five games: Philadelphia, at Minnesota, St. Louis, Green Bay, at Baltimore
Laurence Maroney RB New England Patriots: He found the end zone for the fourth time in as many games Sunday night, but the scary statistic for Maroney owners is the number 12, as in the amount of carries running back Kevin Faulk had against the Colts in Week 10, one less than Maroney. With Faulk grabbing a share of the workload and Sammy Morris coming back from injury, Maroney may not see enough touches to be a consistent fantasy producer on a weekly basis. In addition, he averaged just 2.4 yards per carry Sunday and was out-rushed by Faulk 79-31.
Next five games: New York Jets, at New Orleans, at Miami, Carolina, at Buffalo
Monday night mania
MNM is back as the Baltimore Ravens head to Cleveland to take on the Browns in Monday Night Football’s biggest game of the year.
You know how this works. I’m sending out a free NFP T-shirt to whichever one of you picks the winner of tonight’s game and get the closest to the total number of points scored.
Just leave a comment below with your guess. Example: Ravens and 49.
I’ll post the winner tomorrow morning in the comments section, so be sure to check back!
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh