I'm tired of writing about Michael Vick and Tim Tebow, but I'm gonna push through it and give you all the information you need to know about the two left-handed quarterbacks. I'll also spend some time dissecting a group of players who have seen their production dip dramatically of late. If you aren't on the field it's pretty hard to produce, so I'll break down the snap counts of a couple of teams to try and bring you some clarity as to what each club is doing with its players. Finally, it is getting late in the year after all, I'll hit on some of the injured players that are in the news as we hit the midway point of Week 11.
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Michael Vick Beat Up
I've written it, and said it about 238 times over the past four months, but let me repeat it for the 239th time: Michael Vick's style of play, while exciting and a boon to his fantasy owners, leaves him wide open for injuries. Just look at his career record. He's been around since 2001 and only once has he appeared in 16 games. Once. Vick is beat up again, this time two broken ribs, and it's doubtful he will be able to play in Week 11 (Vince Young took nearly all the first team snaps at practice on Wednesday with Mike Kafka taking a few as well). There's still a chance that Vick will play this weekend, but it's looking like, at best, he will be severely limited.
As for his production, it hasn't been that great anyway. Over the past three weeks Vick is just the 11th best fantasy option at the quarterback position, just one point ahead of Alex Smith (yikes). As I predicted months ago...
Vick has seen a reduction in his completion percentage from last season (62.6 to 60.3).
Vick has seen his yards per game regress (251.5 to 243.7).
Vick has seen his touchdown rate regress from 1.75 per game to 1.22.
Vick has seen his interception ratio increase from 0.5 a game to 1.22 a game.
Vick ran for nine touchdowns last season. He has zero rushing scores this year.
Did you listen to me when I repeatedly said to be weary of Vick? Of course you didn't, and now you're paying the price.
Why So Worried?
I've been getting a lot of questions this week about whether or not people should bench Tim Tebow. I bet you're saying to yourself 'why does Ray keep wasting time writing about Tebow each week?' The reason is, no one seems to be listening. I get questions ALL THE TIME about whether or not to start Tebow, and this week the hesitation revolves around the fact that the Broncos are facing the Jets. My response to that question is this; can Tebow play any worse than he did last week when he completed two passes for 69 yards? I think we can all agree that the answer is no. As awful as Tebow was last week, and he was dreadful, he was the 13th most productive fantasy quarterback --- and he completed two passes. You can pass on Tebow because of the match up with the Jets but I'd be willing to wager a pretty good deal of money that he will complete more than two passes for 69 yards in Week 11.
You Should Be Worried
Whereas you should have no worries about Tim Tebow, there are plenty of players out there that are certainly trending in the wrong direction and you should be very concerned about that.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – With all injuries piling up at the quarterback spot Fitzpatrick has to be an intriguing name to people right now. It's not a good thing if that is the case. After a blazing start, Fitzpatrick has predictably regressed. Over his last four games he is averaging a mere 210.8 yards a game through the air while throwing eight interceptions. Moreover, he's also failed to throw for 200-yards in four of his last six games. He's also thrown for double-digit touchdowns in only two of his last six outings. If you're counting on Ryan to save your season, you better pull on that life vest because your shipping is about ready to sink.
Beanie Wells – We can blame the knee for his sudden fall in the standings, he's just 30th at the running back position the last four weeks, but just because we know what the reason is for his failures doesn't minimize the fact that Wells has been totally useless in three of the past four weeks. Lacking the burst that made him such an effective weapon early in the year, Wells has failed to run for even 65 yards in three of his last four games and four of his last five outings. Wells has also scored just one time in his last four games after producing six scores in his first six games. Overall Wells has been a strong performer, but the past month he hasn't been worth starting.
Pierre Garcon – Please tell me you haven't steadfastly supported Garcon. Please. Garcon blew up in Weeks 3-5 when he averaged 118 yards and 1.33 touchdowns a week, but since then his production has dwindled to a slow drip as Curtis Painter continues to set back passing to the pre World War II era. Garcon has caught exactly three passes in three of his last four games, and the last time he had 70 yards receiving was Week 5. Moreover, over his last five outings an average effort has led to 40.2 yards, a pathetic total, and even worse he hasn't scored a single time in that stretch, not once. Again, please tell me that you've bailed on this sinking ship.
Vernon Davis – All the guys on this list were middling options on draft day, all except Davis who was looked at as an elite option at the tight end position. I mean, it all made sense. Davis had scored 20 times the past two years while averaging 67 receptions and 940 yards per year. New HC Jim Harbaugh was thought to have a TE friendly offense. Add into the mix the fact that the Niners only had Michael Crabtree and Braylon Edwards to throw the ball too, and it seemed like a good bet that Davis would have a third straight year of major success. Unfortunately it just hasn't worked out that way. The primary reason is that the Niners have gone with a boring, ball control offense that has required Davis to spend the majority of the time helping the offensive line block. You can't sit there and say it isn't working, the Niners are 8-1, but this winning formula has tanked the outlook of Davis' season about as quickly as Kim Kardashian's marriage ended. Davis has one game this season, one, with more than 50-yards receiving. He has one game this season with more than four catches. If not for four scores in his last six games he would be the biggest bust at the tight end position without reservation. He may still yet end up with that title with no end in site to his fall from grace.
Chargers – With Malcom Floyd out of action yet again – I'm gonna give him the nickname of China Doll – Vincent Brown has stepped to the fore for the Chargers. The rookie from San Diego State has been a beast the past two weeks with nine catches, 176 yards and a touchdown for the Bolts. “Some guys have, you know, a natural skill for timing,” HC Norv Turner said. “It’s as much about timing and a feel for it and going up between people. “ Brown has been rewarded for that growth with a massive increase in snaps of late. Brown saw just 55 snaps in the Chargers first seven games of the year, a total he has surpassed in each of the past two weeks with 63 and 61 snaps. At this point, he's a WR3 in almost all leagues, though it remains to be seen how he will be utilized once Floyd is healthy enough to return.
49ers – Frank Gore only carried the ball six times in Week 10 as the Niners basically rested him because of injury (the thought being that the Niners will need Gore in the playoffs, so why burn him out at this point). Kendall Hunter is obviously the back to pick up this week if he is still on waivers in your league. A bit undersized, Hunter has gashed defenses with his speed this season while exhibiting a decisive running style that rookies often lack. Hunter played a seasons best 25 snaps in Week 10 and he'll clearly be the featured back if Gore every goes down completely. The team still likes Anthony Dixon and the hard charging style he brings to the table, but he saw only five snaps in Week 10 pointing to the fact that he's only worth adding to your roster if Gore is out of action, and even then there wouldn't appear to be much upside.
Saints – The club from New Orleans has two confounding situations. (1) The wide receiver corps is led by Marques Colston, and Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles are the two other elite options each week for this team. What about the rest of the WR group? The problem is you never know which of the options will step up in any week. Here are the snap counts for Week 10: Marques Colston (37), Robert Meachem (36), Devery Henderson (34) and Lance Moore (20). I've always like Moore and his PPR upside, but there isn't much to speak of at this point if he's only gonna see 20 snaps a week. (2) The running back situation is muddled because there are three options. Sproles will see plenty of work, we all know that at this point, but he actually saw only 20 snaps in Week 10. Mark Ingram returned to action but saw only 13 snaps, while Pierre Thomas led the way with 27 snaps. If the backfield continues to be a 3-headed monster Thomas and Ingram's value will be really hit or miss from week to week.
Who isn't injured at this point may be the most accurate way to describe the situation in Week 11.
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) did not practice on Wednesday, and it's not at all clear whether he will be able to return to the field in Week 11. Bradshaw is making progress, but it's unknown if that progress will lead to him being on the field in Week 11 against the Eagles.
A.J. Green (knee) said that he will most likely end up being a game-time decision for the Bengals. Everyone in Bengaltown has downplayed this issue since it happened because the MRI showed no ligament damage, but watch the play again. Green came down in a jarring manner, and I said it at the time, that knee is going to be a bigger deal than most will make of it. He's a risky WR2 option for this week as we sit here on Wednesday.
Calvin Johnson (noggin) passed all tests and should be good to go for Week 11. Johnson took a couple of hard shots late in Week 10 so everyone was concerned that there might be a lingering issue with the immense talent, but at this point it appears as if those concerns were unwarranted.
Stevie Johnson (shoulder) isn't practicing on Wednesday, and the Buffalo News says that he is “iffy” to play this week. There is no structural damage so he should make it out onto the field – at least if you ask me. The bigger question is should he be in your lineup? In his last six games he's scored just once, and five of those six games he's failed to reach the 60-yard plateau.
Felix Jones (ankle) practiced on Wednesday. My thoughts? Who cares. Continually injured, even if he suits up in Week 11 he'll likely be held to 10 or fewer touches with DeMarco Murray performing like an all-pro.
Jeremy Maclin (shoulder) didn't practice on Wednesday, but it's still possible that he will be good to go this weekend. Still, he did slightly separate his shoulder, has an issue with his wheels, and his production of late hasn't exactly been stupendous as he has just one score in four weeks and three of his last four games he's produced less than 65 yards. Add in to that mix the probable start of Vince Young under center, and Maclin would seem like a pretty dicey play this weekend.