It's getting into crunch time for fantasy owners looking to make a late playoff push or solidify first round byes. By now, we know who the top performers are and there is little left on the waiver wire except injury replacements. It's time to look at the matchups to ensure you're making the right lineup moves heading into the pivotal week 11.

09:30am EST | Nov 14
11:02pm EST | Nov 13
10:28am EST | Nov 13
Tavon Austin is Fast

Very fast. On Sunday, he exploded against the Colts for 128 yards and two receiving touchdowns (albeit on only two total catches). He also returned a punt from his own 1 yard line that seemed like an ill-advised play for all of two seconds. For anyone who watched that game, it is hard to believe that given his speed, this was his first big game since week 2 of the season.

While it doesn’t guarantee an equal performance in week 12 (he's on bye this week), there is hope for keeper league owners who took the risk and stashed the rookie wide-out. He’s one for the future. Here’s a glimpse of how fast Austin is below:


10:26am EST | Nov 13
New Orleans Running Back Performances

Pierre Thomas (22 Fantasy Points)
  • Rushing: 17 carries, 87 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: 7 receptions, 24 yards, 1 touchdown

Mark Ingram (21 Fantasy Points)
  • Rushing: 14 carries, 145 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: 2 receptions, 15 yards

Darren Sproles (18 Fantasy Points)
  • Rushing: 5 carries, 12 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Receiving: 7 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown

Total Fantasy Points: 61 

That’s right, in one game, three running backs combined for over 60 fantasy points for 5 touchdowns and a ton rushing and receiving yards. The Cowboys had no answer for any of the backs and thanks to the performance of Rob Ryan’s defense, couldn’t get anything go offensively either. It was a complete blowout for the Cowboys who are losing their hold on the division lead in the NFC East. 

The Saints on the other hand move into first place ahead of Carolina in the NFC South. It appears that the return of Sean Peyton and the hiring of Rob Ryan have quietly vaulted the Saints back into contention with a potent, high-output offense and a stingy defense. If it wasn’t for the play of Seattle this season, the Saints would easily be the favorites coming out of the NFC. A Saints @ Seattle NFC championship game looks to be on the horizon and that’s a game I think anyone would want to see. 

10:25am EST | Nov 13
A Gift to AJ Green Owners

Heading late into the fourth quarter, AJ Green was sitting on 6 catches for 91 yards. Not a bad day but not what we usually see from Green. Lucky for owners, the Baltimore Ravens blew a chance to ice the game on a hail mary, desperation 51 yard throw to the end zone with no time remaining. Had they done their job, and batted it down rather than try and make the interception, that wouldn’t have been the end of the game and Green would have finished with 9 fantasy points. 

But instead, with the ball bouncing around in the air like a beach ball at a music festival, it miraculously found its way into the hands of Green for a 51 yard touchdown and forced overtime where he would make one more catch for 9 yards before Baltimore won the game. That’s right, he went from a 9 point week to 21 points in the blink of an eye. Owners with Green on their roster were laughing while opposing owners were fuming at the ineptitude of the Baltimore secondary. Here’s the play for you to relive the moment (sorry for the quality of the video):


10:24am EST | Nov 13
Key Injuries

Green Bay Quarterbacks

Well, it can’t get much worse in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers goes down with a fractured collarbone and then his replacement, Seneca Wallace, steps in only to go down with a groin injury and is now doubtful for Sunday. The Packers will be forced to use Scott Tolzien and have resigned the former backup Matt Flynn. From a fantasy perspective, there is really no good news here (unless you own Eddie Lacy). You’ve got a third string QB stepping in and the backup has health concerns that made the front office tentative to sign him in the first place. Owners of James Jones & Jordy Nelson should worry about their production.  Hopefully Rodgers can return sooner than expected. 

Doug Martin & Arian Foster Are Done for the Year

Both players have been placed on season ending IR. Martin’s shoulder injury was too severe to return and given how poor the Bucs have been, there was really no reason for him to come back before the injury was fully healed. More rehabilitation time is good news in the long run, but understandably frustrating for fantasy owners, especially if you grabbed Mike James to replace him who is now out with a fractured ankle. When it rains, it pours, especially in fantasy football. 

Arian Foster’s injury riddled season (and career) has been put on hold with a back injury that will require surgery to correct. This is probably sweet relief for owners who had to start Foster simply because we know what he is capable of but failed to reach those heights due to so many injuries. It still sucks to lose a first round pick, but Ben Tate should fill in nicely and having had a fairly productive season, could make the loss a little more bearable as long as his ribs hold out.
 
Peyton Manning & Jay Cutler’s Ankles

Both quarterbacks are suffering from ankle sprains. If you own Manning, well lucky you, but he looks to be ready to play against Kansas City this weekend after the MRI results were negative. He’s not a truly mobile quarterback to begin with, so the ankles should affect his output little as long as he continues to get the protection he needs. 

Jay Cutler on the other hand appears to be a little worse off with a dreaded high ankle sprain and will miss his matchup against the Ravens. This is not good news for fantasy owners and the Bears who are both making a push for a playoff spot. Josh McCown filled in nicely during Cutler’s previous groin injury, so the Bears aren’t completely out of it yet. The worry here is how long the ankle keeps Jay out as we’ve seen many athletes miss significant time with high ankle sprains. 

10:23am EST | Nov 13
Best Matchups

Russell Wilson VS Minnesota Vikings

Even though Wilson is the starting quarterback for the best team in the NFC, he seems to get little credit and quietly puts up solid numbers. This week should be no different against a Vikings team that has allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their last three games. Wilson is an obvious start and should be in for a big week against the worst fantasy defense against quarterbacks this season.

Frank Gore @ New Orleans Saints

Rob Ryan may have a solid defense in New Orleans, but Frank Gore has proven time and time again he doesn’t care how good your defense thinks they are; he will continue to perform. The matchup proof Gore has only failed to reach 10 points or more once this season against some very good run defenses along the way. In fact, New Orleans may have easily suppressed the Cowboys passing game in week 10, but DeMarco Murray still totaled 89 yards and a touchdown. Gore can easily exceed that if he wants to. 

DeSean Jackson VS Washington Redskins

DeSean Jackson doesn’t seem to care who throws him the ball, he just needs someone to get it close and he will do the rest. Even in the uncertainty of the quarterback situation this year, Jackson has been a top receiver in 2013. The Redskins defense is susceptible to big plays and Jackson took advantage in their week 1 matchup for 104 yards and a touchdown. It seems likely that given his recent play and the Redskins mediocre defense, Jackson is in for a solid game in week 11.  

10:22am EST | Nov 13
Worst Matchups

Colin Kaepernick @ New Orleans Saints

The only way Kaepernick has a big game this week is with his legs. The 49ers are not a pass heavy team with limited receiving options and with a matchup against the tough New Orleans defense this week, Kapernick will do little through the air, especially with Vernon Davis doubtful. Teams have proven they can contain the running QB so he may be worth keeping on the bench this week.

Matt Forte VS Baltimore

Baltimore is the number one fantasy defense against running backs that will face Forte coming off a poor performance in week 10. While it can’t be blamed on Forte completely as the O-line was not at it’s best, therein lies the problem: Forte (like most backs) is dependent on the job the O-line does and given the Ravens ability to penetrate that, it would be expected to see another poor week for Forte. He’s a flex start at best. 

Danny Amendola @ Carolina Panthers

Danny “When Will I Get Injured Next” Amendola had a strong outing in week 10 posting 122 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he is up against the best defense against fantasy wide receivers on Monday night. Carolina has not allowed a WR to score a touchdown since week 2. They will most likely take Amendola out of the game with tight coverage and force Brady to look at Thompkins, Edelman and Dobson (and of course Gronk). Again, borderline flex play for Amendola this week as it just seems like he won’t get the targets needed.