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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. NO

Palmer has been hot lately, throwing for eight touchdowns in his last three games and at least 298 yards in four of his last five. The hot streak should continue this week against the Saints. The Saints are last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback and have given up multiple touchdown passes in five of their last six games. Furthermore, in those five of those games, they have surrendered at least 300 yards. Palmer is almost certainly a must start this week and should be among the fantasy leaders in quarterback points.

Andy Dalton vs. KC

Dalton threw a career-high four touchdowns last week in the win against the Giants, giving him 18 for the season. And in three of his last four games he has scored at least 17 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Dalton again has the matchup to be a fantasy starter this week against the Chiefs, who have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to quarterback this season and have allowed multiple touchdown passes in all but two games this season. Dalton has been an underrated fantasy quarterback all season, and we see another top-10 type performance this week.

Reggie Bush vs. BUF

Unlike Palmer and Dalton, Bush has not played well recently. Last week he was benched after another fumble and has not broken 60 yards rushing since Week 4. At press time, Bush was scheduled to start against the Bills and has the potential for a big bounce-back performance in what is an excellent matchup. The Bills have given up the most points to fantasy running back and have allowed seven rushing touchdowns in the last three weeks. Bush hasn't been anything more than a flex option in the last several weeks but should perform at an RB2 level Thursday night.

Steve Johnson vs. MIA

Johnson has only found the endzone once in the last six games and hasn't broken 100 yards all season. However, in a good matchup last week against New England he had a season-high 86 yards and six catches and could put up at least similar numbers in this matchup against a bad Dolphins secondary. The Dolphins have given up the eighth most fantasy passes to wide receivers despite having played poor passing teams in the Jets (twice), Cardinals, Rams and Titans. While Johnson might not put up top-level numbers, the matchup suggests he is good enough to start this week.

Steve Smith vs. TB

The poor Panthers season has put a damper on Smith's overall output. Smith has just one touchdown despite being by far the best option in the receiving game for Carolina and has just 60 yards in his last two games. The tide should turn this week in a rematch of one of Smith's better performances of the season against the Buccaneers. In Week 1, Smith had the first of his three 100-yard receiving games this year, and the Buccaneers rank as the third-worst pass defense against fantasy wide receivers. Look for Smith to have one of his best games of the season in this great matchup.


Joe Flacco vs. PIT

Flacco was great last week against the Raiders, but prior to that effort he had not broken 234 yards passing in his previous four games and had as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns in that time. This week, Flacco faces his biggest rival and toughest matchup in the Steelers. The Steelers have given up the third fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this season and no opposing quarterback has broken 200 yards in the last four games. Look for pedestrian numbers from Flacco this week, which means there are probably better options for your lineup.

Matt Forte vs. SF

Forte was coming off four solid weeks of fantasy production before last week's dud against a tough Texans run defense, and we're going to make the call that Forte again will struggle mightily. The 49ers are the toughest fantasy rushing defense in the league, despite coming off a rare poor performance last week against the Rams. We don't see two bad performances in a row from a defense that has held running backs to less than 70 yards five times and has given up just two rushing touchdowns all season. Forte will probably be in your lineup due to lack of depth at the position, but it is likely he will have a similar fantasy performance to last week's effort.

Larry Fitzgerald vs. ATL

Fitzgerald caught a touchdown in Week 9 versus the Packers for his first score since Week 6. Overall, Fitzgerald has been solid but not the elite fantasy receiver he was drafted as, in large part because of the poor quarterback play he has endured. Fitzgerald has caught just 51 of his 97 targets, but most frustrating for his owners is that he is averaging less than 12 yards a catch. This doesn't figure to change much this week in a tough matchup against the Falcons. Despite playing a good number of elite fantasy quarterbacks, the Falcons rank fifth in fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. With a lack of quality depth at the position, Fitzgerald will most likely be in your lineup, but don't expect big numbers from the future Hall-of-Famer.

Owen Daniels vs. JAC

At press time, Daniels (back) looks like he will play Sunday, and when he has played lately he has been a great fantasy option scoring touchdowns in five of his last six games and has scored double digits points in PPR leagues in all but one game this season. This week, however, could be a struggle in a tough matchup against the Jaguars. While the Jags don't do much on the field, they rank second in fewest fantasy points allowed to the tight-end position and held Daniels to his second lowest output in PPR leagues and third fewest yards. The Jags are also the only team in the NFL to keep the tight end out of the endzone. While Daniels has been great, because of his back and the matchup you might want to give him one more week before putting him back into your lineup.

Vernon Davis vs. CHI

Davis has seen a decrease in his workload as he has just 12 targets in his last four games and fantasy owners have to be concerned about his inability to get in the endzone in the last six games. This week won't be any easier as Davis faces a tough Bears defense. The Bears are doing so many things well this year, and covering the tight end is one of them. The Bears rank sixth in fewest points allowed to the tight end but have been great in the last five games, allowing just 178 total yards and no touchdowns. Davis hasn't produced like a fantasy starter lately, and this week looks to be no exception.

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