We've finally come to the last bye week, and I'm sure we will all be glad to see the end of those dreaded inconveniences. Over this last weekend, the injury bug has hit a number of starting quarterbacks, knocking several out for Week 11 and causing others to be listed as questionable. Let's examine the four major situations that could affect your fantasy football lineup.
First up is the Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick. A few weeks ago, the rumor was circulating that Vick would be replaced because of his performance and the team's struggles to win. Now, Vick has been knocked out with a concussion and Nick Foles has already been named the starter for the Eagles' matchup against the Washington Redskins this week. This could be a temporary role for Foles, but he also could remain the starter for the rest of the season if Vick is shut down. Foles is very much a developmental project who is not ready to take the reins of an NFL offense, especially one that does not provide much protection for its quarterback. It would not be surprising to see the Eagles rely heavily on LeSean McCoy and the ground game. If Foles is limited to a short or intermediate passing game, he won't be able to take advantage of the receiving weapons that the Eagles possess. Against the Dallas Cowboys, Foles passed for 219 yards, one touchdown, and turned the ball over twice (one fumble lost, one interception).
Next, we have the Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler. Cutler was rocked by a late hit just before the end of the first half. He did not come out to start the second half but was instead replaced by Jason Campbell. The hit resulted in a concussion for Cutler that may keep him from playing on Monday night in San Francisco. Since the game is on Monday, we may not know the status of Cutler until late in the week. Of course, we do know that if he cannot play, Jason Campbell will get the call. Campbell had 94 yards passing and no touchdowns in one half of play against a very strong defense. If Campbell does start against the Niners, I don't see him having a very productive game and the Bears will stick to running the ball with Matt Forte and Michael Bush.
The most recent of the four major quarterback injuries happened on Monday night. Ben Roethlisberger left the game in the third quarter due to a right shoulder injury. Not much is known right now about the severity of the injury, but a serious shoulder injury could sideline Big Ben for more than just one game. Byron Leftwich came in and managed the team to an overtime win over lowly Kansas City. There is a reason that Leftwich has not received another shot at a starting job in the NFL and it's plain to see when he gets any time under center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Pittsburgh facing the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, whoever starts at quarterback will face an intense and fired up defense. Leftwich finished Monday's game with 73 yards passing, mostly coming off of screens passes.
Lastly, we have the San Francisco 49ers and Alex Smith. Smith was also knocked out of his game on Sunday with a concussion. With the Niners playing on Monday night, his status will likely not be known until late in the week. Colin Kaepernick completed the rest of the game and helped the team to a tie against the St. Louis Rams. Kaepernick finished with 117 yards and no passing touchdowns or interceptions, but he did rush eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown. If Kaepernick does start against the Bears, he will not have an easy time. Expect the Niners to likely keep things very simple and rely on their defense and running game.
My predictions for sleeper quarterbacks for Week 11:
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills - With Fred Jackson out, the Bills will rely on C.J. Spiller and Fitzpatrick. Last week, Fitzpatrick passed for over 300 yards, and in three home games this year he has passed for nine touchdowns. He seems to be playing very well at home this season.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins- Tannehill looked like a rookie against the Tennessee Titans, throwing no touchdowns and three interceptions. This week he faces the Bills, and they could be just what the fantasy doctor ordered. Buffalo is giving up the second most points to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Look for a nice bounce back game for Tannehill.
Nick Foles, Eagles - Foles does not have to face a very tough pass defense in his first NFL start. The Redskins have given up the second most passing touchdowns in the league this season, and are giving up the fourth most points to fantasy quarterbacks. If he does get the chance to throw downfield, Foles could have some long touchdowns. He's worth the risk, if you're really in a bind.
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