Chris Vadney with his weekly look back at the weekend’s fantasy football action.
I sound like a broken record at this point in the season but this week was a rollercoaster as usual. For our purposes, this week may have been the tipping point for a couple of supposed stars. There were plenty more telling performances as well.
Vikings versus Buccaneers 17-36
Adrian Peterson- Well folks, AP is back and is as good as ever. Since his five-week touchdown drought, he has posted back-to-back games with a touchdown and over 100 yards rushing. Peterson will be the biggest bargain this entire season.
Doug Martin- He averages 20.7 touches per game and has accrued 767 yards in seven games. It looks like Martin has the goods and will be a solid back for the rest of at least this season. This week he led all backs with 32 FP and is only getting better.
Rams versus Patriots 7-45
Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson- Stephen Jackson may be out of St. Louis by Wednesday and one of these two gentlemen will be taking over as the starter. Richardson has been the backup so far this season, but Pead was originally slated as the backup when the season began. Both of these backs average more than five yards per carry and have nearly identical measurables. Essentially they are the same back but keep an eye on this situation if Jackson is traded.
Tom Brady- Four touchdowns and over 300 yards is what Brady threw for across the pond on Sunday. The 28 FP were the highest output from Brady this season but probably won’t be his highest this season. The Patriots offense looked better than it had all year and Brady is poised to have more similar games after their week-nine bye.
Brandon Lloyd- He came away with just two catches for 28 yards on four targets. It just so happened that the two catches were for touchdowns. You obviously can’t count on this type of production, especially considering the lack of targets. The four targets were the fewest Lloyd got all season and yet it was his best game. Expect the inconsistent play to continue after the bye.
Rob Gronkowski- The top tight end produced like it with a couple touchdowns and over 100 yards on Sunday. I see no reason that this won’t continue the rest of the season, especially considering Brady’s affinity for targeting him.
Bears versus Panthers 23-22
Justin Medlock- I am sure this name doesn’t look familiar and that is because he’s a kicker. This week he went nuts for 18 FP. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up but he deserves some recognition for almost single-handedly winning this game for the Panthers.
Browns versus Chargers 7-6
Trent Richardson- Well, this is the good Trent that his owners were hoping to see last week. Some owners, myself included, decided to bench him this week considering his rib injury; those owners were sorely disappointed when Richardson had 19 FP. He seems good to go for the rest of the season.
Philip Rivers- He’s terrible. Drop him if you like. He isn’t even in the top 25 among quarterbacks this year.
Lions versus Seahawks 28-24
Matthew Stafford- His 352-yard, three-touchdown, 31-FP game led the Lions over the Seahawks on Sunday. He has underwhelmed in real life, but in fantasy, he has performed pretty well. He is the eighth-ranked quarterback and is a prime buy-low candidate.
Titus Young- Nine catches, 100 yards, two touchdowns, and 22 FP was the stat line for Young in his first game as the number two receiver in Detroit. Calvin Johnson is proving to be a decoy for the Detroit offense and Young is the beneficiary so far. He is available in 50 percent of leagues still.
Packers versus Jaguars 24-15
Cecil Shorts- It feels weird for me to recommend a Jaguars receiver but Shorts is shaping up to be a consistent option. Four of his seven games this season are in double-digit FP and he has been targeted 22 times in the two games after their bye. He is available in 97 percent of leagues.
Titans versus Colts 13-19
Kendall Wright- He was the Tennessee receiver that caught the touchdown this week, making him the notable performer. The Titans’ receiver situation isn’t ideal but Wright seems to be the guy who gets the most attention from Matt Hasselbeck. Nate Washington is the other receiver that is on Hasselbeck’s radar.
Donald Brown- He returned from knee surgery this week and split carries with Vick Ballard. Brown had 14 carries to Ballard’s 12, and outperformed Ballard despite the fact that Ballard scored the game-winning touchdown. Brown, who is likely in a time-share with Ballard, is available in 40 percent of leagues.
Jets versus Dolphins 9-30
Daniel Thomas- He stole all of the goal-line work from Reggie Bush and had more carries than Bush. This has been unexplained thus far but I suspect the workload was split the way it was because the Dolphins were in control of the game from the start. For what it’s worth, Thomas is available in 57 percent of leagues.
Eagles versus Falcons 17-30
LeSean McCoy- He continues to underwhelm as far as yards-per-carry is concerned, but makes up for it with touchdowns. He has scored five touchdowns in seven games and is trending toward a solid second half of the season. The game against New Orleans next Monday night could be the breakout game that McCoy owners have been waiting for.
Michael Vick- Rumors are swirling about him being benched for Nick Foles. Just keep an eye on this situation going forward. Foles could be an interesting replacement if he gets to play against the Saints this week.
Julio Jones- For whatever reason, Jones has been great on an every-other-game basis. It could continue at least for the next two games, given that the Falcons play a great Cowboys defense next week, then a horrible Saints defense the following week.
Michael Turner- This is bad. Turner carried the ball 24 times for 58 yards on Sunday. This is just an unacceptable performance from Turner and it looks like my preseason hatred of him was warranted after all. Sell him if you can.
Steelers versus Redskins 27-12
Jonathan Dwyer- He toted the rock 17 times for 107 yards, marking the second straight week he has done so. This is a feat that Rashard Mendenhall hasn’t accomplished in his entire career! Dwyer has a serious shot at keeping the starting gig even when Mendenhall returns. He is available in 70 percent of leagues.
Santana Moss- By no means does Moss put up flashy numbers, but he does get in the end zone. He’s on pace for a 10-touchdown season and is the favorite target for Robert Griffin, III in the red zone.
Chiefs versus Raiders 16-26
Jamaal Charles- He touched the ball just eight times against the awful Oakland defense. Coach Crenell couldn’t explain why Charles got so few touches and I am just as baffled. Based on how well Charles played after his last underwhelming performance (see weeks two and three) I wouldn’t hesitate starting him next week.
Denarius Moore- His five-catch, 96-yard, one-touchdown, and 15-FP game led the Raiders past the struggling Chiefs. My love of Moore is documented and warranted given he has scored a touchdown in four of six games this season. I still think he is more valuable than Darren McFadden.
Cowboys versus Giants 24-29
Jason Witten- He recorded an NFL record number of receptions for tight ends on Sunday with 18! That’s unbelievable and although it won’t be replicated, it is a trend considering he was targeted 22 times. He leads the NFL in tight end targets with 70. Romo loves him.
Broncos versus Saints 34-14
Willis McGahee- He gained 155 total yards on 25 total touches. That isn’t unbelievable or anything, given it came against the 31st-ranked run defense, but it was good to see Willis keeping up his great season. It’s worth noting that he has lost three fumbles in just seven games. I wouldn’t look into that too much, but if the Broncos are in a big situation late in the game, I wouldn’t count on Willis getting the ball.
Demaryius Thomas- Peyton Manning is back and his best receiver is benefiting from that mightily. Thomas had over 100 yards receiving for the fourth time this year. Through 21 games in his career prior to the arrival of Manning, Thomas had just two 100-yard receiving games. He is a stud and you should use him as one.
Eric Decker- It took a couple games for Manning and Decker to get on the same page, but their relationship has clearly grown over the last five games. In those games Decker has recorded five touchdowns and 65 FP. Decker is absolutely a starter going forward.
Cardinals versus 49ers 3-24
Alex Smith- He only had one incompletion on his way to 21 FP! That one incompletion was a drop also, so Smith was essentially perfect on the night. He is inconsistent for fantasy purposes but I needed to give him his due for the remarkable performance.
Michael Crabtree- He was the main beneficiary of the perfect game by Smith, catching a pair of touchdown passes on his way to 19 FP. His consistency leaves much to be desired but if the 49er offense starts to click, he will be a mainstay among the top receivers.
I’ll have my matchup column up in the near future so check back soon.