We're through the bye weeks and that means you have plenty more
bodies to choose from. Unfortunately, I'm still bound by a 10,000-words-or-less
space restriction. That means there are plenty of folks I WON'T
talk about this week. If you have questions about anyone not mentioned
below, please e-mail me. I don't always give the best advice but
I certainly try and I'm definitely cheap. What more could you ask
for? (No, I'm not adding kickers and defense next year.)
Without further ado, your Week 11 recommendations
Must Start: The Top 10
1. Peyton Manning @ CHI - If
you own him and you're not leading your league, you're not doing
it right. He leads the NFL in passing yards, yards per attempt,
touchdowns, and passer rating
and it's not even close. Put
another way, he's on track for the best statistical season by
a QB in the HISTORY of the league. Think about that for a moment.
2. Donovan McNabb vs. WAS -
His 14-second scramble-and-launch to Freddie Mitchell was the
prettiest play I saw in Week 11. All told, he racked up 345 yards
and four scores against a totally outclassed Cowboys bunch. Washington
is better defensively (much better) but I'm not sure it will matter
if they don't bring some heat up front.
3. Daunte Culpepper vs. DET
- Coach Tice finally let him loose and the results were eye-popping
(363 yards and four scoring strikes). It was only Green Bay, sure,
but the Lions aren't a heckuva lot better in the secondary. Bottom
line: you just don't take the ball out of your best (available)
player's hands. Expect more of the same at the Metrodump this
4. Brett Favre @ HOU - Of course,
Culpepper's heroics were a direct result of Minny's inability
to slow down the Ol' Gunslinger and Green Bay's potent run/pass
attack. If you load up on Batman, you get lit up by Favre. If
you drop eight into coverage
well, good luck with that. Houston
doesn't have the personnel to stop the run OR the pass and that
should mean many more Packer points this Sunday night.
5. Michael Vick @ NYG - He's
on pace for an exceedingly bland season by normal QB standards.
Just one thing: he's not a normal QB. As it stands, he's staring
a 1,000-yard season square in the face. That would be 1,000 RUSHING
yards. Find me another QB on this list that can get you half that
in a 16-game span. If he adds a few more TDs, he'll rocket up
6. Drew Brees @ OAK - The last
matchup with Oakland was nothing more than a glorified seven-on-seven
drill for Brees as he completed 22 of 25 passes for 281 yards
and FIVE touchdowns. If the Raiders have any pride whatsoever,
he won't approach those numbers this weekend. Wait a sec. Did
I just use "pride" and "Raiders" in the same
sentence? My bad.
7. Trent Green vs. NE - Don't
look now but last year's darlings are thisclose to being out of
playoff contention just two weeks into the second half. Blame
Priest Holmes' injury if you want, Chefs fans, but the real culprit
is a defense giving up over 350 yards and 26 points per contest.
Fortunately for Green owners, more ineptitude on that side of
the ball should lead to more "tude" on his side.
8. Jake Plummer @ NO - He's
thrown more TD passes than anyone not named Peyton or Daunte and
now faces a New Orleans secondary giving up close to 300 passing
yards per game. Guess we know why the Pack was so quick to honor
Mike McKenzie's trade request, huh? The Broncos are a pass-first
team in the red zone and that should only mean plenty more scoring
opportunities for the Snake this Sunday.
9. Tom Brady @ KC - Despite
the addition of Corey Dillon (read: a legitimate running attack),
Brady is on pace for his best statistical season yet. Perhaps
the new rock-toter is making things easier for him? He didn't
need the help but he gets even more this week in the form of an
atrocious Chefs defense at Arrowhead. Start him.
10. David Carr vs. GB - I know,
I know. I've got too much faith in the kid. The thing is, despite
two consecutive rough outings, he's still on pace to throw for
well over 4,000 yards this season. He should get back on track
against a Pack D that has yielded 20 TD passes this year, second-worst
to (you guessed it) the Texans. Take the over this Sunday night.
Grab A Helmet:
Marc Bulger @ BUF - Do you remember
the last time he had a REALLY big day? I sure don't. I wouldn't
expect one this week, either, though 250 yards and a couple scores
isn't out of the question. Go ahead and play him if he's your
Aaron Brooks vs. DEN - Same
goes for him. The Saints got an early start on their typical second-half
fade but that never seemed to hurt Brooks' overall numbers, anyway.
Not that his overall numbers are anything to shout about in the
first place. I've said it once and I'll say it again: he should
be better than he is.
Jake Delhomme vs. ARI - He might
actually BE better than he is (huh?) but we probably won't get
a true read on him 'til he gets a full complement of weapons to
next year. Despite being too erratic (56.1%), he's
doing a reasonably good job of late (eight TDs and one pick in
the last three). That's a strong enough reason to ride him when
the matchup is good. It is.
David Garrard vs. TEN - Speaking
of strong, how many of you were aware he throws LASERS??? I hafta
admit to being mildly surprised by this fact as I'd seen him play
just a handful of times. He's only biding time 'til Leftwich returns
but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in another uniform (and
starting) somewhere down the line. For now, he looks pretty good
under center for the Jags. Start him if you're in a bind.
Brian Griese vs. SF - Despite
spending most of the afternoon on his rump, Griese managed to
complete 19 of 26 passes for 174 yards and a couple scores against
Atlanta. It wasn't enough but it certainly convinced me he's matured
(and toughened up) since his days in Denver. Ya' gotta like his
chances of posting large numbers against a helpless Niners team.
Grab A Clipboard:
Eli Manning vs. ATL - He's the
first and most notable of three new starters this week. He's also
the one I'd least enjoy taking into battle. Don't get me wrong.
I'm anxious to see the kid play and truly believe he'll be a star
someday. I just don't know how he'll fare against a team that
has racked up 27 sacks this year (including seven last week).
Did I mention he gets Philly next Sunday? Odd timing on this QB
swap, to say the least.
Patrick Ramsey @ PHI - It won't
be his first career start but you won't know the difference. He'll
play like it is. In fact, he's only getting the nod because the
Mark Brunell experiment went horribly awry. Not exactly a ringing
endorsement if you ask me. More like addition by subtraction,
actually. Stay away.
A.J. Feeley @ SEA - He gets
a do-over thanks to the coaching switch and if he wants to have
a future in this league, he'll take advantage of it. Believe it
or not, I think he might. Nevertheless, it'll be nothing but baby
steps for the foreseeable future and baby steps don't equal playoff-caliber
fantasy numbers. No, unless you're really hurting.
Drew Bledsoe vs. STL - No, even
if you ARE really hurting. His has been a decidedly middling career
and it's winding down in a hurry. The abysmal performance last
week (76 yards, three picks) coupled with J.P. Losman's mop-up
appearance tells us all we need to know about Mr. Bledsoe's future
in Buffalo: it will be a short one. Oh, well. I can think of a
lot worse places to retire to than the good ol' Pacific Northwest.
Carson Palmer vs. PIT - The
growing pains will pay dividends down the road, for him and the
Bengals. For us? Not unless you're in a keeper league. You'll
probably see some improvement down the stretch but the Bengals
play one of the league's toughest second-half schedules, starting
with a frightening trip to the Steel City this Sunday.