Things we learned in Week 11
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Check this week's leaders on any site, preferably ours, and you will see some unusual names at the top of the list.
Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger threw for the most yards, Bobby Rainey and Rashad Jennings led the running backs, Michael Floyd and Calvin Johnson led all receivers and Garrett Graham led the tight end position. With the exception of Megatron, they aren't exactly household names.
Below are a few more things we observed on Sunday afternoon.
New York Jets at Buffalo
The Bills made the effort to get C.J. Spiller more involved -- he had a team- high 13 carries -- but he didn't do anything when he got the ball. Spiller finished with six rushing yards and 10 receiving yards on 15 touches for a measly one fantasy point. He'll try to get 100-percent healthy during Buffalo's Week 12 bye.
Even without his top two receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, E.J. Manuel played his best game of the season. He went 20-of-28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns with zero turnovers. Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham both caught 30-plus yard touchdown passes. Manuel will be back on the QB2 radar in Week 13 after Buffalo's bye.
Chris Ivory is clearly New York's lead back. Despite the blowout, Ivory had 15 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Bilal Powell had five totes for 27 yards.
Baltimore at Chicago
Ray Rice is back! Well, not so fast. The Bears have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL and have been gashed by everyone from Eddie Lacy to Brandon Jacobs this season. He'll have to perform well against the Jets dominant run defense in Week 12 before we start to trust him again. Still, 131 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries is a pleasant sight for Rice owners whose fantasy seasons likely look worse than Chicago's field did by the end of this game.
Alshon Jeffery continues to draw just as many targets as Brandon Marshall and is now a no-question WR2 every week.
After failing to reach double-digit fantasy points for the first time this season in Week 10, Matt Forte came back with 83 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Ravens.
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Andy Dalton had just 93 yards and two interceptions, but the Bengals still managed to score 41 points, after falling behind 13-0. An interception, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt each led to Cincinnati touchdowns, including two returns by the Bengals' defense. Dalton threw for three scores in the game.
Joe Haden is A.J. Green's Kryptonite. Haden picked off two passes early in the game and limited Green to two catches for seven yards on five targets. Haden held Green to seven catches for 51 yards on 15 targets back in Week 4.
Josh Gordon has been a boom-or-bust player over the last four games, but when he does go off you know you're getting 125-plus yards. He's reached that mark four times in his eight games this season after catching five balls for 125 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati.
Cleveland expanded Chris Ogbonnaya's role, giving him eight carries and targeting him 12 times in the passing game. He lost a fumble, but also produced 99 yards from scrimmage.
Oakland at Houston
Everyone who was robbed of the Matt McGloin-Case Keenum showdown in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl finally got it Sunday ... for three quarters at least. Keenum was yanked in favor of Matt Schaub after going 13-of-24 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Garrett Graham caught a 42-yard touchdown from Keenum on an improvised play in the second quarter and had 10 targets from the 25-year-old. Schaub looked his way three times and completed two for 37 yards to help Graham finish with 136 yards on seven catches. Graham's usage has been inconsistent since taking over for the injured Owen Daniels -- he had games of four, eight, six, three and 13 targets in his five starts.
McGloin may have wrestled the starting job away from Terrelle Pryor by throwing three touchdown passes (to Rod Streater, Denarius Moore and Mychal Rivera) without a turnover.
Darren McFadden can take his time healing from the hamstring injury (he usually does anyway). Rashad Jennings has things covered. Jennings rushed for 150 yards on 22 carries including an 80-yard touchdown run. The 28-year-old has produced 431 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 68 touches his last three games.
Arizona at Jacksonville
To the few people watching this game, Cardinals fantasy worthy starters Carson palmer and Larry Fitzgerald hooked up for a first half score, but the Jaguars held exciting Andre Ellington in check in the first 30 minutes.
Later a Palmer-to-Michael Floyd 91-yarder was the highlight of the day for their fantasy owners and Palmer finished with 419 yards, two scores and zero interceptions.
On the other side if the ball, Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne did most of his damage by connecting with his tight ends. Unfortunately, neither Clay Harbor or Danny Noble have ever been fantasy-worthy starters.
Maurice Jones-Drew still can't put any type of yardage game together, but he did produce a second straight game with a score to salvage the day.
Washington at Philadelphia
Washington's running game looked good in part because Robert Griffin III appears to have regained his speed. That forces defenses to play him and opens up space for Alfred Morris, who rushed for 93 yards, most of it early. A 24-0 deficit meant they had to go away from Morris in the second half.
The Redskins' passing game was non-existent in the first half. RGIII threw for 200-plus yards and two scores after half-time as Washington made it close, but just as in the season opener the Eagles hung on for the win.
The Eagles offense under Nick Foles continues to shine. Maybe they won't draft a QB (read Marcus Mariota) next April.
After another display of his elusiveness, LeSean McCoy, the league's leading rusher heading into the game, came up grabbing his hamstring. Fantasy owners everywhere were seen jumping on their computer to place a claim for backup Bryce Brown. The good news, however, was McCoy started the second half and scored to finish off the first drive. he finished with 150 combined yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles under Andy Reid were a big screen team, but with Chip Kelly at the reins they hadn't used it as much. After Brent Celek's tight-end screen went for 42 yards and another to Brown went for 24 yards we might see it more often.
Detroit at Pittsburgh
It doesn't matter who is covering Calvin Johnson, he simply can't be stopped. And foolishly the Steelers were frequently seen playing him with one man in the first half. Please, he catch balls against double- and triple-teams, so unless your team has Joe Haden in the secondary this should never happen. Megatron finished with 6-179-2.
Neither pass defense had anything for Matthew Stafford or Ben Roethlisberger, who combined for 549 yards and four touchdowns ... in the first half. The defenses were much improved after the break and the two QBs finished with 729 passing yards.
In two of Roethlisberger's last three games he has thrown for at least 350 yards and four touchdowns.
With just 15 minutes in the books, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown had already earned the 100-yard receiving bonus and two touchdowns to make him the early leader for Fantasy Player of the Week. But like the rest of the offense he fizzled in the second half.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
The Falcons are but a shell of last year's 13-3 team and "Matty Ice" hasn't been the same quarterback. Over the past four games he's thrown five touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
Roddy White had his best games of the season (that's not saying much), but Harry Douglas was still the most explosive Falcons' receiver.
Bobby Rainey's big game last week, got him some attention. This week's monster effort (30-163-2, one receiving TD) should get him a spot on every fantasy roster. And for himself a big contract next season.
When coach Greg Schiano said he wanted to get the ball to Vincent Jackson more often, he wasn't lying. Jackson caught 10 of 12 targets for 165 yards and a score. Fantasy owners love coaches who speak the truth. We're looking directly at you Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan.
San Diego at Miami
Ryan Mathews continues to run well (19-127-0) - he's averaged at least 4.2 ypc in his last five games.
Danny Woodhead was missing in action in this one, rushing and receiving for just 37 yards as Mathews went off.
A respectable day from Philip Rivers (22-of-34 for 298, 1 TD, 1 INT), but the time to "sell" him has passed. He's in a much tougher portion of his schedule and he won't pull as much value in return.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 153 yards in the first half, distributing them evenly among four receivers who finished the half with between 36-39 yards. Fantasy owners hate that. He finished with 268 yards, but non receiver earned the 100- yard bonus.
Lamar Miller was a non-factor in the first half with Daniel Thomas (10-57-1) looking like the better runner.
San Francisco at New Orleans
Anquan Boldin was the feature receiver, but he struggled to find open space. Still, he caught six balls for 56 yards and a score earning double-digit fantasy points for the first time since Week 4.
The 49ers have a very good defense, ranked third in points allowed and seventh in passing yards, and they certainly slowed Drew Brees, holding him to 305 passing yards and 23 points. Considering the Saints average 35 ppg in the Mercedes Superdome that's a very good effort.
Marques Colston is no longer much of a fantasy option, but his first catch of the day in the second half made him the franchise leader in receiving yards passing Eric Martin (7,854).
Green Bay at New York Giants
Scott Tolzien didn't make any big mistakes in the first half, but he also didn't make any significant plays as the Packers managed just two field goals. After the intermission he made a couple of bad errors that cost his team a chance at winning. Although Tolzien is not fantasy worthy, he is producing enough yards in the passing game to keep starting Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin in starting lineups.
Eddie Lacy, a fantasy star the past few weeks, was mostly a non-factor, though he did score from four yards out in the final quarter.
Eli Manning's 279 yards passing was his best total since Week 5 against the Eagles.
Hakeem Nicks is no longer one of the Giants' top-two receivers.
We welcome back to earth Andre Brown's fantasy owners after his pedestrian 18- carry, 66-yard effort.
Minnesota at Seattle
Christian Ponder didn't look very good, but the Seahawks' defense and the loudest crowd in the NFL can have that effect on opposing quarterbacks.
Sometimes yelling at the boss has a delayed effect. When Marshawn Lynch demanded the ball in the red zone last week he finally got it. This week he didn't have to ask. He scored on two short runs (1,4) in the first half as the team's first option in the red zone. He also caught a six-yard TD for a third score after half-time.
Adrian Peterson was bottled up for most of the day, managing just 65 yards on 21 carries. That was more rushing yards than Lynch, but he didn't get any red zone opportunities like the Seattle tailback.
Russell Wilson doesn't throw often, but he gets good production from what he does. In the first half he threw the ball just 12 times, but totaled 173 yards and a score. He finished with 230 yards and two scores.
11/17 20:13:10 ET