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“Off the Matt” Quarterback to Tight End, Claim/Drop and Start/Sit, Week #11

The NFL needed Week 10 to happen.

It was the first time in history that their were two games on the same day to have seven lead changes (Cowboys/Steelers and Seahawks/Patriots).  Other games that are drawing plenty of conversation at the water cooler include:

Chiefs / Panthers

Broncos / Saints

Falcons / Eagles

Rams / Jets

Okay, maybe not the Rams / Jets.  That game set football back 50 years, but at least it was a close game.

rgGames like that might be why the impossible is happening.  Television ratings for the NFL are dropping.

MNF – down 24%

SNF – down 19%

TNF – down 18%

Ratings for Sunday games on CBS and Fox are also down.  There is a laundry list for why this might be happening.  I know junkies like you and I are doing our part though.  I mean let’s be honest, if you are reading an article on Tuesday to prep for Sunday, you might have a problem.

Think about it.  Pretend for a second you aren’t involved in any fantasy leagues.  Better yet, let me talk to the gamblers out there.  Pretend that you didn’t just throw down a Benjamin on the point spread or over/under.  Do you realize how hard it would be to sit down and watch an NFL game?  Between the penalties and commercials it would be brutal.  My favorite scenario goes like this.

Team A: Punts with 15 seconds left in the quarter.


Team B: Runs one play and the quarter expires.


I just don’t see how anyone who isn’t involved in fantasy or gambling could have been remotely excited to watch the Ravens and Browns this past Thursday.

I know my audience though.  They are already counting down the hours until Thursday at [8:25].

Week 11: Workin’ the Wire

I don’t know about your wire, but the scavengers hit it hard last week in my leagues and it has been all but picked clean.  I don’t particularly care for the rest of the season prospects for anyone I currently see widely available.  However, if you are in a pinch this week because of the four teams on bye you could do worse than Alex Smith vs. the Bucs.  Also, I seem to mention his name every week, but Joe Flacco against a beat up Cowboys secondary could be worth a look for the desperate owners.

At the tight end position it is as dry as a dessert, but if by some miracle Cameron Brate is available go get him.  He has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games and is building a great rapport with Winston.  It doesn’t hurt his chances that of the 11 people on defense 10 are covering Mike Evans.


Ben Roethlisberger @ CLE

bbOkay, I can’t deny that there is something to Big Ben’s home/road splits.

Home (4 games): 337 yards per game / 15 touchdowns / 2 interceptions

Away (4 games): 253 yards per game / 5 touchdowns / 5 interceptions

Not pretty, but if the opposing city you are traveling to is Cleveland, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  Five out of the last six quarterbacks to face Cleveland have surpassed 20 fantasy points.  Roethlisberger hasn’t scored 20+ fantasy points on the road since Week 1.  With a little help from the Cleveland defense, I expect that streak to get snapped.

Marcus Mariota @ IND

My face is bright red.  I am talking the shade of red that appears when you get caught green-eying a women in a low-cut shirt.  Yes, I actually suggested dropping Mariota after Week 4.  He had posted point totals of 15, 16, 4, and 8.  With a run-heavy offense and no elite receiving weapons it was hard to see where the stats were going to come from.  Now that he has posted 25+ fantasy points in four of his last six games he is reaching auto-start territory.  Mariota posted 232/2/0 against the Colts back in Week 7.  With as well as he is playing now that feels like his floor in Week 11.

Kirk Cousins vs. GB

This is the case of Cousins trending up and the Packers defense trending down.  Actually trending down sounds a bit too kind.  This is more like a case of the Packers defense free-falling.  Cousins has scored over 20 points in two of his last three games.  On the other hand, the Packers have given up 24+ fantasy points in two of their last three games. The Packers biggest problem is they are lacking any kind of pass rush.  If they can’t find a way to generate some pressure it will be another long day for their secondary.

Martellus Bennett @ SF

Gronk added a chapter to his legacy Sunday by reportedly playing the final quarter with a punctured lung.  The injury is likely to keep him out at least this coming week and Bennett owners need to be ready to cash in.  Bennett has been feast or famine for fantasy owners.  He has three games over 100 yards receiving, but also has three games with less than 15 yards receiving.


He and Brady have great chemistry.  In the five games they have played together, Brady has completed 23 of the 27 passes he has thrown Bennett’s way.  With Gronk likely down, Bennett should have a legit shot at finishing as a top 3 tight end in Week 11.

Julius Thomas @ DET

Thomas isn’t going to wow anyone with his yardage output.  As a matter of fact, he is currently working a six game streak in which he hasn’t cracked 30 yards.  The good news for Thomas owners is that he has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games.  The better news for Thomas owners is that he is going up against a Detroit defense that has surrendered nine tight end touchdowns this season.  Thomas saw a season high 10 targets last week.  If he gets that kind of volume again this week, he will likely find the end zone.

Zach Miller @ NYG

Who is Cutler going to throw to?  With Jeffery being suspended for four games, Miller could be in line for more targets.  The Giants have done a good job keeping opposing tight ends from scoring, but they have given up a pile of catches and yards to the position.  Five tight ends have caught five or more passes against them and seven have posted more than 50 yards.  A 5/50 type of day for Miller would be the floor.


Carson Palmer @ MIN

Palmer has been shaky.  In the eight games he has played this season, he has been under 15 fantasy points in five of them including a disaster on the road in Buffalo in which he had a whopping four fantasy points.  The Vikings have been struggling recently, but defensively they have yet to allow a quarterback to score more than 18 fantasy points.

Ryan Tannehill @ LA

With Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers on bye there might be some owners scrambling to find a starter for Week 11.  If you see Ryan Tannehill’s name available on your waivers list, just keep on scrolling.  He played well on Sunday putting up 240/2/0, but I do not like his match up against a Rams defense that has allowed more than 15 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks only twice.  If you are in a pinch find someone else.

Dennis Pitta @ DAL

dp46 receptions and zero touchdowns is no easy feat to accomplish, but Dennis Pitta has done it.  Pitta has evolved into the ultimate security blanket for Flacco.  He is almost always lurking within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and available for Flacco if he needs the check down.  The 6/26/0 he posted last week is comical.  While 4.3 is a nice yards per carry for a running back, it isn’t going to get it done as a receiver.  Pitta is a nice asset for the Ravens, and in the right match up could be useful in PPR, but keep him reserved this week.

Kyle Rudolph vs. AZ

Rudolph had a nice game Sunday finding the end zone and churning out 69 yards falling one yard short of his season high.  The yards won’t come as easy this week in a tough match up with the Cardinals.  Despite matchups with the likes of Martellus Bennett, Jimmy Graham, and Greg Olsen no tight has scored more than 5.3 (standard) fantasy points against them.  To make any fantasy impact this week, Rudolph will need to score a touchdown, and the Cardinals have yet to allow any opposing tight ends to score.

Stack Play:  Mariota to Walker

I covered how red-hot Mariota has been above.  Like Mariota, Walker had a slow start to the season. He has turned it on as of late, scoring double digit fantasy points in three of his last four games including a 7/84/1 effort against the Colts during that stretch.  Indianapolis has yet to show they have adjusted to stopping the tight end, and a similar effort can be expected this week.

Good luck this week, if you have any questions check me out on Twitter @barkballin.


(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej GarrCorey D Roberts, and Coach Andy Macuga live Sunday November 20th, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm EST for episode #77 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. We will be breaking down key matchups, discussing fantasy start/sit, some DFS, and handicapping as well.

Andy is the Head Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California, a 4 year veteran of MLFS leagues, and frequent guest on our shows.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

A/S/ the old school AOL instant messenger days... 31/M/PA Elementary Physical Education by day, chasing around my 1 and 2 year old boys by night. I started playing fantasy football when I was 9 years old (94'). My older brother let me be a co-owner on his team. We had one of those giant C-Band satellite dishes and had heard that there was a way to get every football game through a new package called "Sunday Ticket." My first memory was watching Terry Allen run around for the Vikings and I have been hooked ever since. I don't know what the world record is for most consecutive Sundays watching a minimum of seven hours of football, but I have to be on my way to achieving it.



  1. Joe Iannone

    November 15, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for the Carson Palmer advice last week. He didn’t burn it up but he doubled Wentz’ total. I also didn’t win, and now lost Jeffress. Speaking of Wentz, would I be nuts to drop Wentz @ SEA for Kapernicus Vs Pats, esp for this week with Palmer in the doghouse again? Kap should be airing it out once they are down a couple. Also, I need to play 3 of these 4 players for 1 RB, 1 TE & 1 Flex: Jimmy Graham, Tyler Eifert, Ryan Mathews, Terrance West. I’m 5 and 5 and fighting for the last 2 playoff spots with 6 other teams, so if I lose I will have no more questions for you till next season. Thanks Matt,

    • Matt Barkman

      November 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      What up Joe…

      Kap > Palmer > Wentz for this week IMO.

      Really hard to bench Mathews after that performance Sunday. The Eagles RB usage has been hard to predict this year though. I wouldn’t be shocked if he had 20 carries this week, likewise I wouldn’t be shocked if he had 5. With that said, I think you have to roll the dice on him because West has been quite unimpressive as of late and I suspect that he will be on the short end of a split with Dixon sooner rather than later. Actually I like Graham and Eifert more than West this week as well…so West is odd man out.

      Good luck this week.

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