We find ourselves in week 7 of the fantasy season. A time when most teams have a good idea of what to expect from their squad. Unfortunately though, fantasy isn’t that easy. Injuries in week 7 have made it tough, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Dallas Clark owners, I feel your pain. As if it’s not bad enough that some of the best fantasy players had byes this week. I wasn’t at all upset though when I went up against a team this week missing Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Arian Foster. Sometimes those bye weeks can be oh so sweet! Let’s take a look at some of the players who hit it big this week…and also those players who missed worse than a Jay Cutler post pass.
As happens almost every year some of the best fantasy quarterbacks come out of virtually nowhere. In a week where Drew Brees throws 4 picks against the Browns, it’s the absolute fantasy dynamo Ryan Fitzpatrick whose tossing 4 TD’s. As much as it must pain some owners to look at Ryan Fitzpatrick in your starting QB spot, keep in mind in his 4 starts this season, he’s thrown at least 2 Td’s in each game. The past 2 weeks alone Fitzpatrick has gone for 594 yards and 7 TD’s to just 2 INT’s. Trust me, you can do a lot worse, take it from a guy who had to start Brett Favre this week.
Fitzpatrick isn’t the only one putting up some impressive numbers. Carson Palmer got stuck in a shootout, and surely angered many owners who have him on their bench. 412 yards and 3 TD’s later, you may be hoping Cincy’s D struggles enough to warrant Palmer airing it out all game. His countepart in this one was Matt Ryan. Ryan took a little hit in his draft position this year due to a drop in his numbers from his rookie season. Many thought with a healthy Michael Turner that Atlanta would pound the ball more. However Ryan has done a nice job through the air, throwing at least 1 TD in 6 straight contests. In 4 of those games he’s thrown for at least 2 scores.
Early on it looked as if the Jay Cutler/Mike Martz duo would be bringing a high flying act to Chicago. Wow, how that has crashed and burned. Yes, it’s an easy shot at Cutler after he threw 4 INT’s on sunday. The bigger concern for fantasy owners is the fact that Cutler has only 1 TD pass in his last 3 games. Fitzpatrick looks a lot better now doesn’t he?
Chris Johnson was the consensus number 1 pick in most fantasy drafts this summer, and for good reason. Is he having as great a season as he did last year? No. Is he still on pace for 1,400 yards rushing? Yep. Don’t let yourself get down about this week. 66 yards and only 2.8 YPC. The story of the day was Kerry Collins and Kenny Britt, CJ will have plenty of opportunities down the stretch.
Last year the Vikings were able to rely on Brett Favre to sling the rock around. Adrian Peterson had a great year, yes, but Favre was incredible through the air. Well, this year things aren’t so pretty in Minnesota. Seeing Favre throw wildly to Green Bay all night, the Vikings were handing off to Peterson till late in the 4th quarter knowing they had to score. I think the Vikings realize that their best chance to succeed is handing it off to number 28. AP accounted for 171 total yards and a TD. If Favre misses any time, teams will surely stack the box against the run. Unfortunately for defenses, AP is not one to be contained. He’ll still put up numbers no matter who takes the snaps.
A year after Adrian Peterson exploded on the league, another back was coming into the league with as much hype as any back in recent memory. Once your labeled a “Bust” it can be almost impossible to have it removed, but Darren McFadden is making quite a case. After seeing time behind the likes of Justin Fargas and Michael Bush, McFadden took the opportunity awarded him by a pre-season injury to Bush to make a fantasy statement. Although injuries are still a big problem for McFadden, who has already missed 2 games this season, he’s been a revelation when healthy. No performance was better then his 196 total yards and 4 TD’s this sunday.
The leading rusher in the NFL? None other then the spark plug that handles the ball out of the backfield for the New York Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw. Over the past 4 weeks Bradshaw has eclipsed the 100 yard mark 3 times, while averaging 111 yards a contest. The only negative for Bradshaw owners is the sudden case of LenDale White disease that Brandon Jacobs has come down with, snatching Touchdowns away from Bradshaw who only has 3 on the season.
One other breakout back this past week was Michael Turner. Turner owners have been waiting for a breakout all year and finally received it with 121 yards and 2 TD’s from the Falcon’s back. Turner is a health risk, and the Falcons know this. Sunday was only the second game this season that Turner has gotten 20 carries.
Has their been a more disappointing running back this year then Beanie Wells? Wells came on strong at the end of last season and was listed as a breakout candidate in most fantasy publications. An injury to start the season didn’t hurt, but after playing in 4 games wells has accumulated only 183 yards rushing and pushed across the goal line for the first time this week. That sound you hear coming from New Orleans may very well be Christopher Ivory falling back to earth. Last week he broke out with 158 yards on the ground, and this week the undrafted free agent played…well…like an undrafted free agent.
Quick, who’s the best fantasy receiver in the NFL right now? Let’s take a little trip down south to Atlanta…Rowdy Roddy White. White hauled in 11 passes for 201 yards and 2 scores on Sunday. Nothing impresses me more than a receiver who the defense knows is getting the ball and still can’t stop. White has been a top 10 receiver for the past few years, and it’s about time he gets some respect as one of the most consistent fantasy performers week in and week out.
Hakeem Nicks seemed to make a disappearing act last week against Detroit when he caught 3 balls for a mere 8 yards. But take it from someone with the honor of watching Nicks perform every week the only thing disappearing will be a roster spot on the Pro Bowl roster in the NFC. Nicks bagged 9 balls for 108 yards and 2 TD’s on Monday Night. This marks the third week this season Nicks has secured at least 2 TD’s. Nicks’ 8 TD’s lead all receivers, and anyone who doubted Nicks spot as a bonafide WR1 better start believing now.
Kenny Britt makes for an odd fantasy conundrum. He absolutely exploded with 7 catches for 225 yards and 3 scores on Sunday. And he’s scored in 5 straight contests. However up until Sunday he’d managed less than 3 catches a contest. Britt needs to also find away to keep out of the spotlight off the field. For now though, as long as the TD’s keep rolling in, keep rolling the dice on Britt.
Somebody tell Terrell Owens it’s not 2003. Over the past 3 weeks T.O. has gone off. 26 catches, 412 yards and 3 TD’s. Chad Ochocinco and T.O. may not bring many wins for the Bengals, but us fantasy owners don’t really care do we?
Some other receivers had monster weeks this week as well. Steve Johnson…yes…Steve Johnson. If you don’t know him, well, not a lot of people do. But he’s a guy who’ll be finding ways onto rosters in the coming weeks. Sunday Johnson pulled in 8 balls for 158 yards and a score. The 4th consecutive week he’s found the end zone. Johnson’s teammate Lee Evans found the end zone 3 times this week and went over the 100 yard mark for the first time this year. Out of the two however, it’s Johnson you want on your team. Trust me. Dwayne Bowe drops a lot of passes. Fantasy owners don’t mind though as long as the Chiefs still throw it to him. Bowe has scored 2 TD’s in each of the past 2 weeks. Since Ben Roethlisberger has come back, Mike Wallace has found the end zone in both games. Wallace’s value will only go up.
Time to take a look at the value, or lack thereof, of Miles Austin. The past 2 weeks combined, Miles Austin has a measly 5 catches for 50 yards and 0 scores. Surely the loss of Tony Romo hurts his value even more. Am I saying that you should sit Austin? Absolutely not. But be aware that with Romo hurt and Dez Bryant getting more acclimated to the offense, Austin isn’t the sure bet he was early in the season.
While Dallas Clark fans weep, Antonio Gates owners jump for joy. The past couple years other tight ends have tried to knock Antonio Gates off the throne as best tight end in fantasy football. This year Gates has responded. Gates looked to be shaken up after last week, but owners let out a collective sigh of relief as he came back with another big week. Gates had one week where he caught only 2 passes for 12 yards. In every other game this year, Gates has gained at least 50 yards and scored in each one. I can tell you this, Antonio Gates owners do not miss Vincent Jackson. Vernon Davis was one of those tight ends last year, making a run at fantasy tight end MVP. Don’t look now, but he’s heating up. The 49ers may be struggling mightily as a team, but Davis has found the end zone in each of the last 4 games.