By Joe Kilroy
Nick Foles @ WAS: Starting a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start is always a risky proposition, but Foles has drawn a pretty nice match-up in his. The 25th selection in the third round of this year’s draft, Foles faces a Redskins defensive unit which currently ranks 30th in league against the pass (301.7 yards allowed per game). And the 20 touchdown passes Washington has surrendered has them tied with Tennessee for the most allowed in that category as well.
When having those statistics presented to you it should come as no surprise that Washington allows the second highest amount of fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
If you are still hesitant to rely on Foles this Sunday perhaps one should take a look back on his production last week against the Dallas Cowboys upon replacing a concussed Michael Vick in the second quarter. The first year product out of Arizona stepped in to complete 68.7% of his passing attempts (22 of 32) while throwing for 1 TD and 219-yards (along with one interception).
There’s no reason at present to get carried away in believing Foles will be the next wunderkind at the QB position along the likes of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, and Andy Dalton, but he should be a safe play against the Redskins in Week 11. Two touchdowns and something in the 240-280 yard passing range should be within his reach.
Shonn Greene @ STL: The mention of Shonn Greene isn’t going to excite any fantasy owners, but considering how quickly many are to chime in when the man performs poorly it is only fair to make mention of the fact he has delivered in every favorable match-up he has had this season. This Sunday’s meeting with the St. Louis Rams figures to be another such contest.
St. Louis ranks 18th in the league against the run with an average of 114.1 rushing yards allowed per game. Opposing rushers have also found the end zone against them 10 times while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
Those numbers may not be horrendous, but the touchdown count is high and the yardage allowed isn’t exactly something to pride themselves on either.
The Jets-Rams game figures to be a low scoring affair and as such Shonn Greene stands a good chance of handling upwards of 20-carries this week. That’s especially true if running mate Bilal Powell (concussion) is inactive. Don’t expect the 4th-year back to carry your team this week, but he should finish with no less than 80-100 yards rushing and has a fair chance of punching one into the end zone. He may even haul in a few receptions in Powell’s absence.
Donnie Avery & TY Hilton @ NE: Avery went on a five game cooling off period following his hot start to the season, but has come through with a couple notable outings the past two weeks. Hilton on the other hand has been more sporadic with his production, but the rookie third-round pick out of Florida International already has two 100-yard outings under his belt. This week the Colts wide receiver duo (plus Reggie Wayne) has a match-up which indicates one or the other, if not both, will come through with a starter worthy performance for their fantasy owners.
New England’s defense ranks 29th in the league against the pass while allowing opponents to throw for just over 285-yards per game against them. The 19 touchdown passes they’ve surrendered is just one fewer than the league worst 20 allowed by the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans. New England is also just one of a handful of teams allowing opponents to average more than 8.0 yards per pass attempt against them. The 47 pass plays they’ve allowed of 20-yards or more is worst in the league amongst that category as well.
These type of statistics indicate that not only is it possible for Avery or Hilton to come away with a touchdown this week, but that they both stand a better than average chance of hauling in a few long balls from Andrew Luck.
Avery is the safer play between the two of them, but if you’re in position to take a deep flier on someone at the wide receiver position TY Hilton is worthy of consideration.
Frank Gore vs. CHI: Frank Gore is having himself an outstanding season and has already outperformed the expectations many had for him heading into his 2012 campaign. His match-up this week against the Bears, however, figures to be among the poorer performances he’ll have this year.
Chicago ranks fourth in the league against the run (92.3 rushing yards allowed per game) and have allowed opposing rushers to reach the end zone on the ground against them only twice. The Bears are also allowing the third fewest amounts of fantasy points to running backs through this point of the season.
Furthermore, Gore needed X-rays on his ribs following last Sunday’s tie against the Rams. Gore stated that his ribs were “just sore,” but the issue may result in Kendall Hunter stealing a few more of the veteran’s touches out of the backfield this Monday night than he usually already does.
Joe Flacco @ PIT: Flacco has been about as up-and-down a fantasy performer there has been this season and chances are that trend is about to continue. Coming off a Week 10 performance which ranks among his best outings of the year Flacco finds himself traveling to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night contest against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh currently ranks tops in the league against the pass by holding opponents to just 171.1 yards per game through the air. That is an amazing 23.5 yards less than the team ranked second in that category, the Arizona Cardinals. The 5.9 yards they allow per pass attempt is also fewest in the league. Taking those statistics into account it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn Pittsburgh is allowing the least amount of fantasy points per game to the QB position amongst all 32 NFL teams.
At this point it is needless to say Flacco is best left on your bench in Week 11. You should probably keep both Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin on your bench as well.