- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Now that the bye weeks are complete, both for NFL players and yours truly, fantasy football owners have a lot more options. That said, I'm still not real excited about the running back options when it comes to the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. Reggie Bush is apparently back in the lineup for Week 11, and hey, good for him and anyone who has waited two months for his broken leg to heal. But I didn't rank him or any Saints running back particularly well this week, and I could see a scenario in which that remains the case for the rest of the season.
I settled on Bush at No. 42 among running backs, which means he's certainly not a starter for me and probably won't be ranked well in Thursday's flex rankings either. I just don't trust that Bush is going to get enough touches to matter statistically, because, well, it has been a really long time since he has. I think his presence, whether as a receiving decoy out of the backfield or actual threat, will help Drew Brees, whom I ranked third at quarterback this week -- yes, ahead of the great Michael Vick! -- but I still expect marginal numbers overall.
Then there's Pierre Thomas. I dropped him in a shallow league recently because I have little faith he will play in November, and let's face it, once you get to December, fantasy playoff time, it's tough to rely on someone who has missed so much time. Thomas has not been officially ruled out of this week's contest against the Seattle Seahawks, but I didn't bother ranking him, just like my fellow rankers.
That leaves Chris Ivory, a player who also didn't fare real well in the rankings. I ranked him a bit ahead of Bush, thinking he will overcome his shoulder problems and bear the brunt of the carries for this team. But placing a guy 40th at his position also doesn't inspire much confidence. What's odd is that if Ivory was healthier, he would have received a better rank from me. With Bush, I'm more skeptical since even if he does play, his upside in running the ball isn't great.
Will any Saints running back crack the overall top 50 at the position this season? Currently Thomas and his 32 points are 51st, one spot ahead of Ladell Betts and Ivory, who have 31 points. I'll still take Thomas winning the season battle on his team for fantasy scoring, but I think fantasy owners waiting for big things from Bush or his running back pals will ultimately be disappointed.
Here are a few other thoughts about the Week 11 rankings:
On the Mark: I thought about placing New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez among the top 10 at the position this week, based on the fact that he has averaged 22 fantasy points the past two weeks, and because he will face the horrific Houston Texans pass defense this Sunday. I settled on No. 11 for him, and we as a group have him ranked 14th. Perhaps we all ranked Sanchez a bit worse than the matchup suggests because of who he is and his lack of a proven track record, or maybe we think LaDainian Tomlinson will run wild. Regardless, I like Sanchez this week; I just liked 10 other quarterbacks a bit more.
Felix the cat: I noticed how good Felix Jones looked in Week 10 against the New York Giants, and still I couldn't muster up a top-30 running back ranking for the guy. Predictably, the other rankers liked him, and he ended up at No. 23 at the position. I guess I just can't buy into the theory that the Cowboys are a "new team" since the coaching change, just as I can't buy into the possibility that Jones has turned the corner and become a reliable fantasy asset. Most of his fantasy production came on the 71-yard jaunt off a short Jon Kitna pass. Have another big game and maybe I'll buy in.
Oh, Danny boy: St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola has scored in three consecutive games, and knowing this week's opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, one would think I would have ranked the kid pretty well. Well, I didn't. I ranked Amendola 38th, which I think is actually a fair spot for him, because touchdowns might not be enough in his case. In those three games Amendola has a total of 30 fantasy points (10 per game) and 108 receiving yards. He hasn't exactly had his Kenny Britt game, if you know what I mean. I like Amendola and have sung the praises of Sam Bradford all season, but this is my way of cautioning owners that he's still not a safe fantasy wide receiver.
Eric Karabell analyzes this week's tough rankings decisions, focusing on the Saints' backfield, Mark Sanchez's value, Felix Jones and more.