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Fantasy Doc: Gates' bad Week 11 situation

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By The Fantasy Doctor

Now that the regular season is in full swing, the Fantasy Doctor will be making regular house calls, answering readers' fantasy questions each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Send your questions to the Doc at fantasydoctor@pfwmedia.com.

Dear Doc, I haven't mailed you this year due to the fact that my lineup is actually stacked. My question is who is the better flex play with week between LeGarrette Blount vs. San Francisco or Antonio Gates and that bum foot against Denver. I'm the two-time defending champ and trying to three-peat this league. Thanks for your input.
 
— Stan, Richland, Wash.


All things being equal, Stan, this would be an easy call. However, things are far from equal in this case.

The main reason for that is because of Gates' injury. Normally he'd be a must-start, but he's dealing with problems to both of his feet that caused him to miss the Chargers' Week Nine contest. Although he had the Week 10 bye to rest, he said Wednesday that he's only 50-50 to face the Broncos this week. The problem with that is the game isn't until Monday night, so you probably won't be able to make a last-minute substitution if he's inactive. Because of the timing of the game, it would be very difficult for me to roll with him.

Blount, meanwhile, has been running well with 329 yards and three TDs over his last four games. He should continue to be the Bucs' bell cow this week, but he faces a 49ers "D" that has been fairly stout against the run. It's not the greatest matchup, but at least you know he's going to play. I wouldn't take the chance on Gates when you have a good alternative in Blount.

Hi Doc,
I may be suffering from delusions brought on by over-self-analysis, but am I crazy for even considering benching the top fantasy running back this week? Arian Foster has been my workhorse RB through 10 weeks, but now he faces the Jets in N.Y., and I'm concerned that he will have a really subpar day against the Jets' run defense. In our PPR league, the Jets are rated No. 1 in least fantasy points allowed to RBs.
 
Should I start LaDainian Tomlinson against the Texans instead? I know it flies in the face of conventional fantasy wisdom to always start your studs, but even Adrian Peterson had a rough day facing Gang Green, and I feel that the Jets will stack the box to neutralize Foster and force the outcome of the game on an inconsistent Matt Schaub and a hobbled Andre Johnson. Thanks Doc!
 
— John, San Diego, Calif.


This may be a case of simply overthinking a situation, John, as I could not recommend sitting the No. 1 fantasy back regardless of his opponent.

I know the Jets have been very good against the run this season, but Peyton Hillis showed last week that they're not impenetrable. Foster has been ridiculously productive in almost every game in 2010, with only the Giants really shutting him down. The Jets definitely could give him trouble, but with Schaub not at full strength, the Texans will commit to the ground game in this one. Expect Foster to find a way to churn out yards and find paydirt this Sunday.

Plus, L.T. is no sure bet to have a big outing. He has been running for only about 55 yards per game over the past month, and Shonn Greene has slowly gained a more significant role in the offense. The Jets are trying to keep Tomlinson fresh for the postseason, so they're not going to overwork him if possible. Houston isn't anything special against the run, but I don't think the matchup is as important as L.T.'s shrinking number of carries.

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