Week 11: 10 things to watch
Changing of the guard in Washington, Part 1. Big changes are abound in Washington, not only in Congress, but also on the football field, where the Redskins will be using new starters at both quarterback and running back on Sunday. Let's look at the quarterback first, as second-year player Jason Campbell will be making his first career start, and in fact, will be taking his first snaps in any regular-season NFL game. He's an entirely unknown commodity, and as we always say for fantasy, don't even think about activating an unknown commodity, regardless of the quality of matchup. But can we completely write off Campbell as an effective passer, if not this week, then for the rest of the season? Statistically speaking, in two preseasons since being named the 25th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, Campbell completed only 48.9 percent of his passes, throwing one touchdown pass and five interceptions, so it's not like he was a great option even against second-string defenses in most of those games. That's not an encouraging sign, though the Redskins did trade up to draft him, and he did display a strong arm and a winning attitude at Auburn. Campbell's a guy more useful for us to watch on his own terms for future seasons, but for you Santana Moss and Chris Cooley owners, how well he can deliver them the ball is critical to their short-term success. Plus, there's another player whose fantasy value is closely tied to Campbell's status, and we'll discuss him next
Changing of the guard in Washington, Part 2. Clinton Portis is out for the season following surgeries for a broken hand and his shoulder, finally creating a potential long-term starting opportunity for Ladell Betts at running back. While Campbell lacks experience, Betts does not; he has four career starts and 57 games' experience, in which he has averaged 4.1 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns. In short, he's one of the most talented backups of the game, and now he's a starter. Betts might struggle to adapt to his new role, especially if opposing defenses key on him and force the untested Campbell to beat them through the air, but there's fantasy value in him in the season's final seven weeks. How much? We'll soon see, though Betts' free-agent status at season's end could serve as a motivating factor, so watch how he responds to his new assignment on Sunday. A standout game would probably cement his status as a weekly No. 2/flex option, while a poor effort could mean T.J. Duckett, a pending free agent himself, gets a longer look. That's strong evidence that Duckett is also worth stashing on your bench, just in case.
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