MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: QB Matthew Stafford vs. Cardinals
So I was wrong last week in predicting that ESPN would be proven wrong by pinning Mark Sanchez (20/37, 332 yards, 2 touchdowns) above Stafford (25/40, 280 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception). Unfortunately, Stafford was outscored by four points in most formats, because Brent Grimes.
Care to double down?
While Calvin Johnson is an automatic start because he's playing (and Calvin Johnson), Stafford may not be. After all, he is not a top-10 fantasy quarterback at the moment, he is not as good on the road, he had an abysmal game in Arizona two years ago and the Arizona defense is better than it may appear on paper (30th in passing yards allowed per game, 274.2, but they give up the 11th-fewest fantasy points in the NFL).
But the Arizona Cardinals have weaknesses where Stafford can hurt them. If the Detroit Lions can somehow scheme to overcome the heavy pressure Stafford is going to face with blitzes, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he provides the anomaly of a breakout game against the birds. He's now familiar with them, as this will be the third season he's faced them on the road in a row, and he had his best game last season in terms of passer rating against them. His weapons at tight end return, and I'd guess he'll have a little extra motivation to perform well opposite his buddy and former teammate Drew Stanton.
Stafford is being ranked 5-8 by most experts this week, which is higher than his season ranking, and he's actually recommended over Sanchez (84-16), and Philip Rivers by Brandon Funston of Yahoo! Sports and Michael Fabiano of NFL.com.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS OF THE WEEK:
Week 1: Calvin Johnson vs. Giants - 7 catches (11 targets), 164 yards, 2 TD
Week 2: Golden Tate vs. Panthers - 5 catches (8 targets), 57 yards
Week 3: Reggie Bush vs. Packers - 12 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD, 6 catches (8 targets), 38 yards
Week 4: Eric Ebron vs. Jets - 3 catches (4 targets), 34 yards, 1 TD
Week 5: Lions D/ST vs. Bills - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD
Week 6: Golden Tate vs. Vikings - 7 catches (12 targets), 44 yards
Week 7: Matthew Stafford vs. Saints - 27/40, 299 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 1 yard rushing
Week 8: Matthew Stafford vs. Falcons - 24/47, 325 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 9 yards rushing
Week 10: Reggie Bush vs. Dolphins - 4 carries, 20 yards, 1 catch (1 target), 5 yards (reinjured)
BURNING ROSTER DEBATES:
What to do with Reggie Bush?
Read this. Bench him until he's healthy.
Jordan Reed or Eric Ebron in Week 11?
This is the question I would've faced in the POD league had I remembered I was forced to start Charles Clay last week and checked my lineup before the Thursday night game. Reed and Ebron are two talented tight ends who have dealt with their fair share of injuries early in their respective careers, both of whom are expected to play on Sunday.
Reed is projected to score 6.26 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense, and Ebron is projected for 3.85 against the Cards. Zero experts recommend Ebron over Reed. NFL.com has Reed in their "Start 'Em" column.
I don't think it's as open and shut of a case, though.
Sure, Ebron is fresh off an injury and will battle two other tight ends for snaps. Sure, Ebron is the rookie. But who would you rather have throwing to your fantasy receiver: Stafford or RGIII? And wouldn't you rather have the tight end who is going up against the weaker defense against opposing tight ends? The Cardinals give up the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, while the Bucs fall somewhere in the middle of the field.
I think Reed is the safer play, all things considered, but if I was in a situation where I would need a Hail Mary to win a fantasy game, I think Ebron could present the higher reward. (And since I'm projected to destroy my opponent this week, I may have gone with the homer pick for fun.)
Also, for what it's worth, Clay scored 3.10, fewer than what Ebron's projected to score. While 95 percent of experts picked Clay, ESPN's Matthew Berry and Eric Karabell each went with Ebron over Clay. I honestly would not have even considered Clay.
Week 10 Decision: Matthew Stafford (21.10) over Mark Sanchez (25.18) - Wrong, but not burned
POD FFL GAME OF THE WEEK:
Stafford's Registry (me, 7-3) over Moves Like Xanders (Sean Yuille, 5-5), 95.48-91.96
I lucked into a 3.52-point victory over our pride's leader behind a monster game from Dez Bryant in London (27.8 points), all of which came in the first half. Sean relied heavily on a few Pittsburgh Steelers -- Le'Veon Bell, Shaun Suisham and their D/ST -- against the New York Jets, but they only combined for 19.9 points in an upset loss. In contrast, my kicker, D/ST and worst running back this week -- Steven Hauschka, Kansas City and Jeremy Hill -- combined for 23.1 points. That was almost exactly the difference in the final score.
POD FFL MATCHUP OF THE WEEK:
Tate's Golden Shower (JCruize, 8-2) vs. Butt Fumble Express (CLF, 5-5)
The aptly named Butt Fumble Express can crawl above .500 with a win against the first-place Tate's Golden Shower. Although he is a 48-percent 'dog in this matchup, Butt Fumble Express was spotted 4.8 points from Boobie Dixon. You want to win, you put Boobie in. Butt Fumble Express did just that. I think C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and (sigh) Mark Sanchez lead him to victory.
I lost $25 in Week 10, bringing my season total to +$48.80.
My favorite Week 11 team hasn't been selected yet. I'll update this post when I have picked.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.