We've finally reached the last of the bye weeks in 2012. The Titans, Vikings, Giants and Seahawks are all off this week, so you're probably missing at least one or two notable names from your starting lineup this time around.
The playoffs are coming. Most leagues will be starting theirs right around the corner, and there's little time to make that late season surge into the promise land. If you're struggling with decisions this week, take into consideration some of the names below. Let's look at who you need to start in Week 11, and who needs to find a seat on your bench.
Carson Palmer, quarterback - After throwing for 782 yards and six touchdowns in the past two weeks, it's surprising to see Palmer still available in a fair amount of leagues. He'll take on the unbelievably horrendous Saints defense this week, and we can only expect his lofty numbers to keep inflating. New Orleans gave up 411 yards and three touchdowns to Matt Ryan last week, now marking 19 total passing scores on the season. Pick Palmer up while you still have the chance.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, running back - He isn't impressing anyone these days, but the right matchup might finally set him free. The Law Firm faces a Chiefs defense this week that allows 122.6 rushing yards per game. If Andy Dalton continues completing passes all over the field, Green-Ellis will have plenty of room to run. You can finally feel safe starting him once again, but this is a matchup play more than a vote of confidence.
Steve Smith, wide receiver - Champ Bailey kept Smith in check last week, and Ron Rivera ceded some of his playing time to other receivers down the stretch. We won't see a repeat of these events in Week 11. Smith faces a Buccaneers secondary that allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers in the past four weeks. In Week 1 he caught seven passes for 106 yards against Tampa. Expect similar numbers and likely a score in his second matchup.
Dwayne Allen, tight end - Coby Fleener is still out, which leaves Allen the primary beneficiary of his absence. Don't let last week's dismal outing deter you. The Colts were in control the entire time and Andrew Luck didn't need to constantly spread the ball around the keep his team in the game. It will be a different story against the Patriots, and you can expect Luck to air it out on Sunday. New England has given up six touchdowns to tight ends this season. Allen will see more targets, and if you're in a troublesome situation at this position, he's worth a look.
Falcons defense/special teams - Undefeated no more, the Falcons defense looks to get back on track at home this weekend. Playing a team that only scores 16 points per game should probably help. The Cardinals offense continues to struggle after suffering injuries left and right. Actually, they weren't that great before the injuries. Whatever the case, Atlanta's D/ST at home looks like a solid play once again.
Brandon Weeden, quarterback - After three decent fantasy outings starting in Week 5, Weeden regressed to only throw for 305 yards in his last two games, failing to find the end zone in either. Maybe you're thinking he'll get it going again coming out the bye week. Don't count on it. The Cowboys rank eighth against the pass. A rookie playing on the road against a Dallas team trying to spur a postseason run isn't the matchup you're looking for. Hopefully you're not leaning on Weeden to carry your lineup to victory this week.
Rashad Jennings, running back - So much for counting on Jennings to provide a suitable replacement for MJD. He's rushed for 175 yards in four starts now, picking up just one touchdown along the way. Let's face it, the Jaguars offense is in shambles, and your team will be too if you start Jennings against the Texans this week. Houston hasn't allowed a single rushing touchdown to an opposing back in 2012. That should be all the information you need.
Torrey Smith, wide receiver - Three touchdowns in two weeks looks pretty impressive, right? In the words of Lee Corse, not so fast. The Steelers haven't allowed an opposing receiver to score in two weeks, and they currently wield the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the league. Smith's 2012 campaign has been a roller coaster ride. He's more likely to head downhill in Week 11. If you have another option at wide receiver, you might want to consider it.
Jermichael Finley, tight end - Are we still waiting on Finley to breakout? No? Then why are you starting him? He hasn't caught a touchdown pass since Week 1, and he hauled in just one reception last week for a whopping six yards. Finley looks like a complete afterthought in the Packers crowded offense. Abandon ship if you haven't already.
Lions defense/special teams - Speaking of the Packers, the Lions face off against their divisional foe this week, and it's not looking like a promising matchup. Green Bay averages nearly 27 points per game. Aaron Rodgers is back to his ridiculous point-scoring self. You can find a better matchup at D/ST this week.
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