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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 11

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Carson Palmer vs. MIN

After throwing six interceptions in his first two games, Palmer had a strong fantasy performance last week, nearly eclipsing 300 yards and throwing two touchdowns with only one interception in a win over the Chargers. This bodes well for this week as he has his best matchup to date against the Vikings. The Vikings have given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and have not allowed less than 243 yards passing in any game this season. Furthermore, the Vikings are on a three-game run in which they have allowed 10 touchdown throws without an interception. Look for Palmer to be one of the better quarterback plays this week and reward fantasy owners with a strong performance in Week 11.

Josh Freeman vs. GB

Last week, we successfully predicted that Freeman would struggle against the Texans pass defense, and he surpassed even our expectations by throwing three interceptions and totaling only 170 yards through the air. This week, however, Freeman's matchup suggests he should be a solid start against the Packers and put his previous performance in the rearview mirror. The 9-0 Packers have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including two games against rookie Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. While the Buccaneers might not fare too well this week, Freeman should be able to put up starter numbers.

Reggie Bush vs. BUF

Bush has seemingly risen from fantasy death as he has scored more fantasy points in the last three weeks than the previous six combined. With Daniel Thomas struggling, Bush is getting the touches he needs and has made the most of them. This week should be no different against a Bills run defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs and has really struggled in three of the last four games. Expect Bush to continue his push up the fantasy charts with another quality effort Sunday.

Marshawn Lynch vs. STL

With successes come failures, and we were on the wrong side of Lynch last week as he had a surprisingly strong fantasy performance against the tough Ravens run defense, even though he averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry. Lynch is on a five-game touchdown scoring run and should have another solid outing this week against the Rams. The Rams have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs, and while they have looked good the last two weeks, that might have a lot more to do with their matchups (Cardinals, Browns) than a significant improvement in their run defense. Look for Lynch to produce another good fantasy outing.

Steve Johnson vs. MIA

The Bills' recent slide has really affected Johnson as he was held to just eight yards last week in a blowout loss at the Cowboys. And he has broken 60 yards receiving just once in the last six games. But never fear the Dolphins are here, and Johnson should reap the benefits in this favorable matchup. The Dolphins have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season despite more than half of their games (Browns, Jets, Broncos, Chiefs, Redskins) coming against less-than-stellar passing attacks. Look for Johnson to have his best outing in more than a month Sunday in Miami.


Andy Dalton vs. BAL

Dalton has become fantasy relevant the last three weeks, throwing for seven touchdowns for the surprising 6-3 Bengals. This week, Dalton could go back to irrelevant status as he faces the top-ranked Ravens pass defense. The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and have yet to allow a multiple touchdown game through the air, holding quarterbacks to 220 yards or less in six out of the last seven weeks. Dalton looks like he might be a solid NFL quarterback but should be firmly placed on your bench this week.

Cam Newton vs. DET

Newton has been dynamite this season, raking second in average fantasy points among quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues. Newton has yet to have a terrible game from a fantasy perspective but faces by far his toughest matchup of the season this week against Detroit. The Lions rank fifth in fewest fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position and have not allowed more than 14 fantasy points to the quarterback in each of the last five games (Newton averages 21.8). While Newton is more than likely too good to keep on your bench, figure on a below-average day for him in what has been an excellent rookie season.

Chris Wells vs. SF

After a hot start, Wells has come back to earth as he has just two touchdowns in the last five weeks and hasn't broken 85 yards rushing since Week 4. Expect Wells' slide to continue as he faces the top-ranked 49ers run defense. The 49ers have been so good that last week's 89 yards gained by Giants running backs on 27 carries was actually their worst performance of the season. Look for Wells to be nothing more than a flex option this week as it is unlikely he puts up top-20 numbers on this defense.

Chris Johnson vs. ATL

Johnson made us look good last week, rushing for a season-high 130 yards in a win over the Panthers. This week, however, Johnson faces a much stiffer test in Atlanta. The Falcons rank fifth in fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns the last seven weeks. Johnson hasn't had two good games in a row all season, and against this defense that streak is likely to continue.

Dez Bryant vs. WAS

Bryant is coming off a solid outing as the Cowboys destroyed the Bills in Week 10. As surprising as it might sound, Bryant has yet to surpass 100 yards receiving this season and has scored in less than half of the Cowboys' games. This week's opponent, the Washington Redskins, ranks fifth in fewest fantasy points surrendered to the wide receiver position. The Redskins are on an incredible run in this pass-happy NFL as they have allowed just one touchdown catch to a wide receiver the last seven weeks. Bryant had four receptions for 63 yards in his first meeting with the Redskins. Expect similar numbers this week.