BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Lockhart sits down with CBSBostonSports.com’s Andrew Celani for a comprehensive fantasy football chat heading into Week 11 of the season.
The fantasy football season is more than halfway over, and as the playoffs approach most owners are at a critical juncture at this point in the schedule. The margin for error is razor thin this time of year, so people need all the advice they can get.
Week 11 kicks off Thursday night when the Bills travel to South Florida to take on the Dolphins in Miami.
Each team is coming off disappointing losses and both stand at 5-4. The Kansas City Chiefs, 6-3, hold the tiebreaker against both teams. Both Buffalo and Miami have playoff aspirations, so tonight’s matchup is essentially a must-win when you really break it down.
Despite the nature of the game, and the desperation on both sides, Mike Lockhart envisions another sloppy Thursday nighter.
“Crappy Thursday Night Football, as usual. It’s in Miami, and Miami has been very good at home. Twenty four points is the most they’ve given up all year there, and it was against Green Bay. Defensively they’ve been very good at home, but offensively it’s Thursday night. I think it’s going to be a struggle for both teams to score. I’m looking at like a 17-13 type of game. Buffalo’s defense has also been good this year.”
A sloppy game means limited fantasy options. Mike Lockhart isn’t expecting much tonight in terms of fantasy.
“I’m not loving anybody on either offense. I would start both defenses. If you need a kicker I would maybe get the kickers involved tonight too. I said it last week on the show, I’m not loving Sammy Watkins with that groin injury. It’s reoccurring. It held him to some dry time when it happened earlier in the season so I would stay away from him.”
Lockhart also weighed in on the Dolphins and the improved play of Ryan Tannehill.
“Tannehill has been on the move a little bit more, which I think suits that offense and makes his game more versatile. Offensively, I’m just not looking for anybody to explode tonight. Lamar Miller is banged up, he’s supposed to play but how much? That’s a question we won’t find out until tonight.”
Bills running back Fred Jackson (groin) is questionable tonight, and Lockhart suggests benching him unless you absolutely positively need a flex, nothing more than that.
The Broncos backfield situation gets even more complicated. Ronnie Hillman injured himself last week against Oakland and he’s expected to miss two weeks. Montee Ball (groin) is coming back from his injury and has been practicing this week alongside C.J. Anderson, who had over 160 scrimmage yards and a touchdown last week.
The Broncos have said they will use a “hot hand” approach to playing time, which is not what you want to hear if you’re the owner of these aforementioned players.
“Heading forward this is a tough game for the Denver running back this week against St. Louis in St. Louis. They’ve been pretty good against the run. I would go with Montee Ball this week over C.J. Anderson. Ball will probably get more touches. They want him to be successful. Denver drafted him in the second round and they envisioned this guy being their starting running back.”
Sticking with that same game, an intriguing player this week for Lockhart is running back Benny Cunningham.
“A guy who could be a sneaky spot start this week for St. Louis is Benny Cunningham, especially at home. He’s been catching the ball a lot and is involved in a lot of the big plays. If you need a flex he could be a good fit.”
The Patriots travel to Indianapolis Sunday night to play the Colts in prime time. Indy owns the best passing attack in the league, and because it’s a dome game many are expecting a shootout, and Lockhart shares that same sentiment.
However, even though New England is on the road, Lockhart wouldn’t shy away from starting the Patriots defense.
“I’m not staying away from playing the Patriots defense this week. Luck can force the ball. He’s a very good quarterback. He’s emerging, and will be the best quarterback in the game in a couple years. But he can definitely turn it over and the Patriots can definitely get a score out of it. The Patriots are going to play a ton of zone and basically force Luck to make mistakes.”
For quarterbacks this week, Lockhart has Andrew Luck ranked no. 4 and Tom Brady no. 3, which speaks to the type of game he thinks it’ll be.
“Luck is a very good option this week. It’s going to be an absolute shootout, like a 38-27 type of game — maybe even more.”
Lockhart also likes the Colts’ two tight ends, Dwayne Allen more so than Coby Fleener. He’s not expecting big nights from T.Y. Hilton or Reggie Wayne, but Hilton especially has the potential for a long score.
Listening to Gresh & Zolak earlier this week, I heard a segment in which Andy Gresh relayed some of the things he’s seeing from the Colts on film.
One of the things he brought to light about the Colts, and it makes sense because they don’t have Robert Mathis this year, is they have to blitz to get pressure.
When you bring an extra blitzer you leave the middle of the field wide open. This means Rob Gronkowski could have a field day.
“Huge day for Gronk this week,” Lockhart predicts. “I don’t see anybody being able to cover Gronk. They’re going to have to double or triple team him. I just feel like the Patriots are going to score 40 points this week and Rob Gronkowski is going to lead the way.”
Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett is making his first NFL start this week. Houston travels to Ohio to take on the Browns in Cleveland. As has been the case all year, this is another good week to own and start the Browns defense.
“That’s a tough matchup for him to go to Cleveland and get your first start. This is going to have to be an Arian Foster workhorse type of game. Hopefully he’s healthy. He injured himself two weeks ago [groin] and they had the bye last week, so maybe it’s not too bad now. I’m not high on Ryan Mallett at all. I’ve never seen anything from him at all. They waited to start him until he got familiarized with the offense, so maybe he has a decent day but I don’t expect him to blow it up by any means.
“Cleveland has one of the best cornerbacks in the game. I’d be worried about DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson. I’m shying away from them this week just because of the unknown. Definitely start Cleveland’s defense. They could get a touchdown and even a couple of interceptions.”
Lockhart also weighed in on Shaun Hill, Drew Stanton and much more.
For Lockhart’s full breakdown and positional rankings, visit fantasybuzz.net and listen below for the full discussion!
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