Last year, our Big Ten fantasy league turned out to be an anti-climactic clobbering in favor of my team, Non-Gingervitis. This year, we should have an exciting race to the finish line.
Rittenberg's Trombone Shorties eked out a 120-109 victory to tie up our season series 5-5 with three weeks left to play. Who will end the year strong and claim the coveted fantasy title?
Adam got two huge performances last week from Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (46 fantasy points) and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell (30 ), plus another 21 from Penn State's Matt McGloin. I got 30 points from Braxton Miller and 31 from his Ohio State teammate Carlos Hyde, and my waiver-wire pickups of Iowa's Damon Bullock (16) and Purdue's Antavian Edison (15) worked out pretty well. But I was killed by Denard Robinson not playing at Minnesota despite Michigan coach Brady Hoke saying all week that Robinson was fine. Even a subpar game from Shoelace would have been enough to put me over the top. Not that I'm bitter. (Hoke!!!!)
My team has some serious decisions to make this week with Ohio State on a bye and Robinson again questionable. Do I gut my roster and go for the win this week but risk losing studs like Miller, Hyde and Robinson on waivers? Or do I ride out the storm and hope to finish with back-to-back wins in Week 12 and 13 for a narrow victory?
Let's find out. I'm up first with this week's pickups:
Brian adds Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and drops Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde
Rationale: Hyde has been terrific the past several weeks, but he can't help me versus Idle. So I'll happily welcome back Ball to my team so we can relive our championship memories from 2011 -- and hopefully create some new ones if he can steamroll Indiana's defense.
Adam adds Northwestern running back Venric Mark and drops Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell
Rationale: Bell is off this week, and while Mark faces a formidable Michigan defense, the Wolverines are better against the pass than the run, and Mark is good for at least one big play a week, either on offense or on special teams. He'll be a factor Saturday.
Rationale: My hunch on Stoneburner didn't pay off last week as he failed to score any points, and Ohio State is off this week. So I'll give Latimer a shot after his three-touchdown performance last week versus Iowa.
Rationale: Maybe I'm a bit too Husker-heavy this week, but Abdullah has done an excellent job filling in for Rex Burkhead, and he has recorded three straight 100-yard rushing performances. With Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill banged up, I think Abdullah plays well again Saturday.
Brian adds Iowa's defense and drops Penn State's defense
Rationale: Nothing against the Nittany Lions, but playing on the road against the conference's top offense is not a good fantasy formula. I'll roll the dice with the up-and-down Hawkeyes, who get a badly struggling Purdue team at home.
Adam adds Minnesota's defense and drops Ohio State's defense
Rationale: Ohio State is off this week, and this pickup has a little more to do with Illinois' offensive ineptitude than anything else. Minnesota's defense has been better, though, especially against the pass, and I expect the Gophers to force some takeaways in Champaign, where they've been very good as of late.
Brian adds Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and drops Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson
Rationale: And there's the risky move. I already have Miller on a bye and refuse to drop the fantasy MVP. I don't like the vibes coming out of Ann Arbor, where Hoke still won't say whether Robinson will play this week. I can't risk not having any quarterbacks this week, so even though I don't love Colter's matchup on the road at Michigan, I've got to make this move.
Adam adds Indiana's kickers and drops Nebraska's kickers
Rationale: Like many of my waiver pickups, this one looked pretty good at the time but hasn't paid many dividends. Indiana has received good production from Mitch Ewald in Big Ten play, and I think he'll be a factor in the game against Wisconsin.
Our complete rosters for Week 11:
The Trombone Shorties
Penn State QB Matt McGloin
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Venric Mark
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Northwestern QB Kain Colter
Iowa RB Damon Bullock
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Purdue WR Antavian Edison
Indiana WR Cody Latimer