Fantasy football Week 11 FanNation picks: Take a leap of faith on Philip Rivers
In the weekly fantasy football format, there are value running backs and wide receivers capable of turning in big games -- Denard Robinson came through for me in last week's FanNation contest and Justin Forsett similarly rewarded his owners.
It's a different situation at quarterback. The top guys like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck tend to score points even on their worst days, making it tough to skip over them for a boom-or-bust pick.
My quarterback selection this week, Philip Rivers falls close on the edge of the sure-fire choices. He was awful in his last game and does not have a four-touchdown game yet this season (Manning threw for five touchdowns last week, Rodgers six), but he tends to land in the 280-yard, three-touchdown range most weeks. That potential is enough for me this time around, considering San Diego's matchup vs. Oakland.
There would be no argument, though, in limiting quarterback selections to Rodgers, Manning, Luck and Tom Brady on a week-to-week basis.
The rest of my Week 11 lineup follows. And here is the link to this week's contest. (If you have not played there before, FanNation features a unique concept and simple setup. Give it a shot.)
Quarterback: Philip Rivers (projected points: 23)
Also considered: Aaron Rodgers (24), Andrew Luck (22), Mark Sanchez (18)
In his last outing Philip Rivers posted a FanNation score of 0.82 points -- 138 yards passing, three yards rushing, three interceptions and a fumble. So ... this is a bit of a leap of faith. On the other hand, he comes out of the bye to face Oakland, a team against which he hit for 313 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. This is a must-win game for the struggling Chargers. Bank on Rivers to take advantage of the favorable matchup.
And if you'd rather go elsewhere, Rodgers at home is about as safe a bet as they come. The Eagles will bring one of the NFC's best records to Lambeau Field in Week 11, but their defense can be exploited through the air. Rodgers tossed six touchdown passes against Chicago last week.
Luck may need to have a big game to topple Tom Brady's Patriots. That 22-point projection is rather low, too, when you consider that Luck's averaging 28 fantasy points over his past five games.
How will Sanchez fare in his first road start for Philadelphia, especially in wintry conditions at Green Bay? At an 18-point projection, it might be worth finding out.
Morris has been a far more effective back this season when Robert Griffin III is in the lineup, as he will be Sunday. In RGIII's return back in Week 9, Morris rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns. He's due to hit the 100-yard mark for the first time in 2014 and he may not get a better chance than this Sunday against the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At the start of the season, plucking Ingram for a matchup with Cincinnati would have been a fool's errand. Now, Ingram is the unquestioned lead dog out of the Saints' secondary and the Bengals are coughing up 143 yards per game on the ground. While Morris has yet to reach triple digits on the ground, Ingram has done so each of the past three weeks.
McKinnon and Bradshaw fall more in the risk category. Matt Asiata keeps swiping goal-line carries for McKinnon, but the Bears' defense is in absolute shambles right now so there could be plenty of work to go around. Bradshaw is a consistent producer, particularly catching passes out of the backfield. If Luck has to throw early and often vs. New England, Bradshaw will take most of Trent Richardson's snaps.
The hot streak has continued for Sanders, who scored two more touchdowns in Week 10. Over Denver's last four games, Sanders has six touchdowns to go with nearly 400 yards receiving. The presences of guys like Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas have not really slowed him down at all.
Brown should be itching to get back on track after a nightmarish Week 10 against the Jets. The Steelers' No. 1 receiver caught eight passes for 74 yards but also fumbled twice. A Monday nighter in Tennessee could be just the medicine Brown needs to forget that dud.
The pro-Nelson argument writes itself: 33.2 fantasy points on six catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns last week. Benjamin also found the end zone twice (albeit it in garbage time). Playing Atlanta's porous defense might allow him to build on that performance.