After a much-needed vacation from byes last week, fantasy owners find themselves smacked in the face with the Texans, Colts, Saints and Steelers all taking the week off.
Then we have the excessive injuries. Matt Cassel, Michael Vick, Darren McFadden and numerous others could be missing in action this week.
So, here are some emergency plug-and-play options that should help elevate your team to a Week 11 fantasy victory.
Tyler Palko, QB, TB.
Might as well get crazy right off the bat. Guys like Carson Palmer, who have the potential to have mega-games this week, are likely already snatched up in your respective leagues. And it might seem sacrilegious to consider a guy with so little NFL experience as your Week 11 starter.
But Palko, like so many that make this weekly list, is in the right place at the right time. He is playing against a Patriots defense that has been the worst in the NFL at stopping opposing passing attacks. He also has a plethora of talented receivers at his disposal, led by Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston.
The Patriots are likely to run up a score early, forcing Palko to keep the pigskin airborne for a good part of the game. While it would be silly to expect elite stats from Palko this week, he could provide serviceable numbers. In his five years in the NFL, he has yet to throw an interception—but to date, he has only attempted 20 passes in the pros.
Sam Bradford, QB, STL.
Forgotten by many after a poor start to the 2011 campaign, Bradford is finally fully healthy and still has plenty of weapons in the offense. Steven Jackson is a great pass-catching weapon out of the backfield, and Brandon Lloyd has been revitalized under Josh McDaniels in St. Louis.
The matchup here is key, too. Seattle is surprisingly efficient against the run, but fairly generous versus the pass. Bradford is due for a big game, and this is the week he should have one. He is available in 69 percent of leagues at the moment.
Maurice Morris, RB, DET.
Still available in 57 percent of leagues, Morris has led the stable of backs who have attempted to fill the void of a concussed Jahvid Best. Expect more divvying of the carries this week.
Except, even in sharing carries, Morris should have a big game against a Panthers team that has struggled to stop the run as of late. Surprisingly, Morris has eclipsed the four-yards-per-carry mark over the past two weeks, and should easily be able to do so again in Week 11.
Kendall Hunter, RB, SF.
Filling in quite admirably for an injured Frank Gore in the past, Hunter has carved out a little piece of the offense for himself. Heading into Week 11, Gore has been listed as questionable with knee concerns. At the moment, everyone expects Gore to play this week and likely to do well against a Cardinals defense that is fairly generous on the ground.
However, don’t expect the Niners, who have a huge cushion in the NFC West to overdo things with Gore, as the playoffs are on the horizon and the star back is necessary for advancing.
Even if Gore does start, expect the Niners to jump out early and use plenty of Kendall Hunter in a game that should be more about clock control than anything else.
Damian Williams, WR, TEN.
Since Kenny Britt was lost for the season earlier this fall, the Titans have struggled to find a true No. 1 wideout. Nate Washington, who thrived as the No. 2 behind Britt, wilted under the extra pressure as the team’s top pass-catching threat.
Williams has seemingly filled the void lately, posting three-straight impressive outings and should see extra action this week as Washington has been dealing with some ailments.
The Falcons have been great against the run, and that should force Matt Hasselbeck to pick up the slack against a middle-of-the-pack pass defense. Expect Damian to fare well, especially in PPR formats. He is available in 72 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Earl Bennett, WR, CHI.
One of several Bears wideouts who seem to be so streaky, Bennett has been on a tear since his return from chest issues. He posted a 5-for-95 and a TD performance against the “Dream Team” Eagles, and then 6-for-81 versus the Lions last week.
This time around, the Chargers pose an interesting matchup in a game where both teams should be airing it out fairly frequently.
Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, CLE.
A deeper league option for this week, Massaquoi has been cleared to come back from his concussion. Looking at his previous stats, one wouldn’t be too motivated to roll the dice on Massaquoi.
Except, if you really need the help, his matchup against the Jaguars is intriguing. Jacksonville has been solid against the run, but it is vulnerable in the aerial attack.
Ed Dickson, TE, BAL.
Not exactly a world-beater name among fantasy owners, Dickson has been a valuable safety valve for Joe Flacco, and therefore has merit in all fantasy leagues—especially in PPR formats.
The matchup against the Bengals doesn’t bode very well for Dickson, but one plus for him and for tight end-starved fantasy owners is that he’s owned in just 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment.
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Resuscitate your fantasy football team with these important steps.
Check out all our other Week 11 preparation and projections as we post them by visiting our 2011 fantasy football hub.
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