Meet the backup QBs
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Concussions took the place of ankle sprains as the injury of the week for Week 10.

Fantasy owners lost three quarterbacks after taking big blows Sunday: San Francisco's Alex Smith, Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Chicago's Jay Cutler.

That came one week after Oakland running back Darren McFadden, Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown and Minnesota receiver Percy Harvin suffered severe ankle sprains.

To make matters worse, another QB injury hit owners on Monday night as Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to leave his game after being driven to the turf on his throwing shoulder. It wasn't a concussion, but it was a potentially devastating injury nevertheless; Roethlisberger suffered a sprained SC joint.

McFadden, Brown and Harvin all missed Week 10, a fate that could befall each of the four QBs in Week 11.

Let's meet the next man up in each of those situations and explore how they'll affect fantasy teams in Week 11 if the starters can't go.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles - Foles is the best option of the bunch since he plays the dreadful Washington Redskins' pass defense in Week 11. He also had his moments in his NFL debut Sunday against Dallas, throwing for 219 yards on 22-of-32 passing with one touchdown. Unfortunately, he also turned the ball over twice and had both returned for touchdowns. Foles will have plenty of weapons with receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson on the outside and Brent Celek at tight end, but the player who might benefit from the QB change the most is running back LeSean McCoy. With a rookie under center, we might actually see coach Andy Reid give McCoy 20-plus carries for the second time this season.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers - Forget five yards per carry; Kaepernick runs so smoothly it looks like he picks up five yards per stride. However, he might not have much room to run against the vaunted Chicago Bears defense. We recommend sitting your 49ers skill players this week even if Smith plays -- Chicago has allowed the ninth-least fantasy points to receivers and the sixth- least fantasy points to tight ends on average this season. You can take a chance that Frank Gore will do something with his 15-20 carries -- the Bears have allowed the third-least fantasy points to running backs but gave up big games to Chris Johnson and Arian Foster the last two weeks.

Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers - Leftwich hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since Week 2 of 2009, so it would take some major desperation to start him. The good news is that Rashard Mendenhall could return in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens, just in time to handle 20-plus carries against the team allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The question is, do you play receiver Mike Wallace? He had just three catches for 14 yards Monday, but he did catch a short touchdown. Like I said last week, Wallace is always one play away from erasing any fantasy frustrations, so I'd leave him in the lineup for Week 11. Speedy Oakland Raiders receivers Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey burned Baltimore for touchdowns Sunday and Wallace is a good bet to do the same, even with Leftwich throwing the passes.

Jason Campbell, Chicago Bears - Campbell was awful in relief against the Houston Texans Sunday, plain and simple. It won't get any easier against the 49ers this week. While we'd never suggest benching running back Matt Forte, a second straight disappointing performance seems likely against the team that has allowed the least fantasy points to RBs in the NFL, especially with no passing threat to take some pressure off him. Brandon Marshall's outlook is more rosy than Forte's. Marshall caught eight passes for 107 yards in Week 10, with six of those receptions coming from Campbell.

It's probable the biggest fantasy advantage will go to the defenses opposing these quarterbacks. Chicago, San Francisco and Baltimore are first, seventh and 12th, respectively, in defensive fantasy points, and now they get to face players who were backups for a reason.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at

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