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Lust: Apology for the NFL Fantasy Faithful

To any readers of this column, I apologize. Last week, I made some poor decisions.
I may have hurt some people, I may have hurt some leagues. I may have made you overtly angry, and I may have even caused depression.
Some of my selections from last week, specifically the players I stated that I “didn’t like”, may have accomplished more than I had foreseen. Even some players that I said I “did like,” accomplished less than I had foreseen. But sometimes, predictions are more difficult that one might think.
For instance, predicting that Ben Roethlisberger would have another huge game after two games with a total of 12 touchdowns may seem like a good call. Ben was also going up against a Jets secondary who (as of this week) have given up an average of 19 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks; third in the league with that statistic. Ben ended up throwing one touchdown and two interceptions, which was, of course, the opposite of what I predicted.
Mark Sanchez, who took ESPN tickers and rankings by storm after coming in for Nick Foles and tossing a touchdown immediately, didn’t appeal to me as much as he did to anyone else. And, of course, he proved me wrong.
For the past few years, Sanchez has been underwhelming to say the least. After running in to his own center’s backside and fumbling, he became the laughing stock of the NFL. Even after throwing that one touchdown, I still wasn’t convinced. But this past week he earned 21 points against the Panthers.
I advised against playing Dez Bryant due to Tony Romo’s uncertainty, but Romo came back and Bryant ended the game with two touchdowns on 158 yards, earning 27 fantasy points. So last week may not have been the best week in terms of predictions, but I plan on continuing my quest to bring you the most up-to-date information, and to provide the most accurate foresight that I can. Here are my picks for this week:
QBs I like in Week 11:
1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. Oakland Raiders): Despite his random, completely unheard of -3 point flop last week, Rivers had an average of 20 points per game up through week 8. This week he’s going up against a Raiders secondary which has given up an average of 241 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Rivers has been a top 10 fantasy quarterback since week one, and don’t expect that to change, especially against the Raiders. Last time they met this year, the Raiders gave Rivers three touchdowns on 313 yards for 25 fantasy points.
2. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (@New York Giants): Kaepernick has been somewhat underwhelming this year, but when considering the Giants defense, this could be Kaepernick’s big chance. The Giants have given up the 24th most average passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks (260), and the most average rushing yards per game to opposing running backs (144). And yeah, Kaepernick’s not a running back, but he loves to run. If the Giants’ defense continues to allow numbers like that, you can expect Kaepernick to put up some solid numbers this week.
QBs I don’t like in Week 11:
1. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Seattle Seahawks): The Seahawks secondary has been stellar this year (as usual), only giving up an average of 14 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and only allowing the eighth least average passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Smith has only averaged 13 points per game over the past four weeks. Explore other options if possible.
RBs I like in Week 11:
1. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (@New York Giants): Frank Gore surprised us last week after having three straight single digit fantasy point games by finishing against the Saints with 14 points. This week he’s up against a Giants defense who allowed four touchdowns on 243 yards to Marshawn Lynch and company. Gore may have peaked in his career already, but he’s a solid back who can easily exploit the Giants’ weak run defense.
2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Tennessee Titans): As of week nine, Bell had a solid average of 13 fantasy points per game. Last week the Titans allowed Ravens’ Justin Forsett 112 yards on 20 carries last week, and it’s about time for Bell to break out like he did during his first game of the season, where he accumulated 24 fantasy points. Look to Bell for a solid output this week.
RBs I don’t like in Week 11:
1. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (@Arizona Cardinals): The Cardinals have one of the toughest rush defenses in football. They have allowed only an average of 3.7 yards per carry, as well as only 78 rushing yards per game. Even though Reggie Bush is questionable, I wouldn’t count on any backs from the Lions as solid choices this week.
2. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. Buffalo Bills): Miller hasn’t been the worst choice as a running back this season, but this week he’s going against the eight ranked Bills run defense. Last time the Bills and Dolphins met in week two, Miller only managed 59 yards on 11 attempts (about 5.3 fantasy points).
WRs I like in Week 11:
1. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Tennessee Titans): Bryant has caught the eye of quarterback Big Ben, and as exploded over the last four weeks, averaging 16 fantasy points per game. Last week Bryant finished against the Jets with 143 yards on just four receptions with one touchdown. He and Antonio Brown are stealing the field, and Ben is showing his love for both. I see a big week for Bryant.
2. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (@Green Bay Packers): Maclin has been a bit of an anomaly over the past few weeks. In week six against the subpar Giants secondary, Maclin managed just 16 yards on two receptions. In week eight against Arizona, he managed 187 yards on 12 receptions with two touchdowns. In week nine against Houston, he blew us away again with 158 yards on six receptions with two touchdowns. Then, he jumped back down in week 10 against the Panthers, managing only 38 yards on three receptions. This week Maclin is up against the Packers, who have allowed an average of 21 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Put him in if you can.
WRs I don’t like in Week 11:
1. T.Y Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. New England Patriots): I would be careful with this one. Hilton could prove to be a great WR1 option this week, but the Patriots have allowed the third fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. If you have some surefire options, I’d put those in first. But be careful, Luck has put up a monster season, and Hilton is just about always open to him.
2. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (@Indianapolis Colts): Another one to be careful with. Of his nine games played this season, only four have yielded double digit fantasy points. This week, he goes up against a Colts secondary that has only given up an average of 19 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. After Welker left the Patriots, many thought that the Edelman-Brady connection would be the one to look out for. So far this year, it’s proved less than acceptable.
TEs I like in Week 11:
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): Yeah, yeah, I know — I pick him every week. But it’s so hard not to pick Graham. He’s taller and bigger than just about anyone who covers him, and as of last week, he’s not listed as injured in any form anymore. Not even probable. Graham is a machine, and when he gets in his groove, he really gets going. Last week against the 49ers he finished with 76 yards on 10 receptions and two touchdowns (almost three). Graham is always a solid start, and the Bengals have allowed an average of 10 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Seattle Seahawks): The Seahawks have allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season, and Kelce has provided an ample average of 8.8 fantasy points per game at home. If you just can’t figure out who to play this week in your TE spot, if you don’t have an obvious choice, see if he’s available.

Taylor LustOle Miss student Taylor Lust is a Fantasy Football guru and can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu.

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