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And down the stretch they come!

Fantasy owners have made the final turn of the 2011 fantasy football season. The leaders are running neck-and-neck for playoff positioning, leaving bad luck and dead beat owners behind.

But as owners head down the final straight-away, a few contenders pull up lame! Owners jockeyed by the likes of Matt Schaub, Michael Vick and Frank Gore could fall behind the pack after a brutal Week 10.

Is there any hope for these, and other injury-ravaged, owners?

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans

Status: Schaub suffered the dreaded Lis Franc injury, which effectively put an end to Brian Westbrook‘s lucrative career a few years ago. Westy just was not the same player afterward. Schaub is not a running back, though, so he should be OK … Next season.

Name(s)-to-know: Matt Leinart

Verdict: Abandon ship. Leinart cannot throw the deep ball. He is going to kill Andre Johnson‘s value when Johnson returns to the lineup. The move to Leinart could be good news for Arian Foster and Ben Tate, but teams are going to stack the box.

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles

Status: Broken ribs. Vick has been dealing with injuries all season. Go figure. And the thing that made him such a great fantasy quarterback last year, the rushing touchdowns, are gone. He has zero of them. Owners who drafted Vick might be afloat, but the ship has been taking on water.

Name(s)-to-know: Vince Young

Verdict: Young could be a service-able backup and spot starter for Vick owners without a decent option on the bench. Good add this week as insurance.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

Status: Sore ankle, sore knee. Gore sat on the sidelines for much of the second half against the Giants last weekend. San Fran won without him, but fantasy owners probably did not.

Name(s)-to-know: Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon

Verdict: Buy on Hunter, watch Dixon in deeper leagues (14+). The 49ers surely know how important Gore is to this offense and will play it as safe as possible. Meanwhile, Hunter looks explosive. Could have a nice run here toward the fantasy playoffs.

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs

Status: Throwing hand injury. The Chiefs are not letting on to the severity yet, but it sounds like he will miss some time. Potentially the rest of the season, like Schaub. Not that fantasy owners were relying on Cassel. But Dwayne Bowe owners certainly are interested.

Name(s)-to-know: Tyler Palko (!)

Verdict: Palko is going to start on Monday night against New England in all likelihood. Ouch. The damage to Bowe is unknown right now, but this move cannot be good. Obviously you should not be adding Palko in fantasy leagues this week.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Jets

Status: Out for Thursday Night Football. Time is catching up to Tomlinson, who has had a great career. Tip of the hat to the old man. Shonn Greene figures to get an overdose of work against the Broncos.

Name(s)-to-know: Joe McKnight

Verdict: Greene has limitations, particularly in the passing game. The Jets seem inclined to get McKnight more involved this season — He returns kicks, has played running back and wide receiver on offense and even played a little bit of cornerback. Worth a speculative add in deep leagues, worth watching in 12-teamers.

Fantasy Notes

John Skelton will get another start for the Cardinals in Week 11. Larry Fitzgerald owners everywhere, rejoice! … Harry Douglas tore up the Saints’ secondary in the second half in Week 10 and should get a start this weekend with Julio Jones hobbled … Eagles’ wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has various ailments and could be out this weekend, along with Vick as mentioned above. Jason Avant and Steve Smith could be worth a look … Meanwhile DeSean Jackson, unhappy with his lack of a new contract, sounds disgruntled with the Philly front office … Peyton Hillis already has been ruled out for Week 11. Chris Ogbonnaya had a decent day in his stead against the Rams (109 total yards) … Michael Bush looks to be RB1 material again this week with Darren McFadden still ailing. Could be a couple more weeks for McFadden owners … Willis McGahee is iffy for Thursday night and Knowshon Moreno is out for the year. Name to know? Lance Ball … Bad news for Felix Jones owners: Jerry Jones said Felix will back up DeMarco Murray when he returns to the lineup.

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