Observations from the late games
- Very quietly, LeSean McCoy has been one of the best backs in fantasy all year long. Sunday, he did it again by rushing for 102 yards and three touchdowns. Heading into Sunday night’s game, McCoy was the top scoring RB on NFL.com, with a 16-point lead over Ray Rice. He should be considered a top-three running back next season.
- Just in case you forgot that Bill Belichick hates your fantasy team, Aaron Hernandez helped remind you by catching nine balls for 129 yards and a touchdown. Those are Rob Gronkowski-like numbers. Meanwhile, Gronk played the role of Hernandez this week, being held to just 53 yards on four receptions. Regardless, if you made it to your fantasy championship game, don’t outthink yourself. Stick with Gronk against the Dolphins next week.
- Tim Tebow continues to be a fantasy monster, scoring more than 26 points Sunday against the awful Patriots defense. And as usual, much of his damage came on the ground with 93 yards and two TDs. Tebow did throw for 194 yards — 116 of them to Demaryius Thomas, who has completely usurped Eric Decker’s spot as Tebow’s favorite target. Next week, the Broncos face the Bills, making Tebow an attractive option yet again.
- It’s a case of too little, too late, but a pair of Browns finally stepped up Sunday. Peyton Hillis had one of his best games of the season with 99 rushing yards and a TD while preseason rookie sleeper Greg Little had 131 receiving yards and his first career touchdown. Sadly, after a lack of production all year long, neither made a big impact for fantasy owners who had long since given up on them. And with a trip to Baltimore coming next week, there’s no reason to jump on their respective bandwagons.
- Sunday, the Raiders receiver roulette wheel stopped on Darrius Heyward-Bey, who pulled in eight catches for 155 yards and a TD. There always seems to be an Oakland WR who ends up with a big day, but similar to situations in Green Bay and New Orleans, it’s hard to tell which one it’s going to be. That makes it extremely hard to endorse one pass-catcher over another.
- The day was full of reminders on how important it is to stick with your fantasy studs. Calvin Johnson was chief among them. After a string of mediocre performances, Megatron exploded for 214 receiving yards and two TDs on nine catches. The Lions face the Chargers next week in another game that could turn out to be a high-scoring affair.
- Expect a QB controversy in Arizona next year. John Skelton is having another pretty good day in place of Kevin Kolb, throwing for 247 yards and a TD. The interception hurts the numbers, but he’s looked good and is effective in getting the ball to his playmakers.
- Carson Palmer still has something to offer. The veteran threw for more than 200 yards and a TD in the first half. It’s hard to advocate starting him in your fantasy championship, however. Especially with the suddenly resurgent Chiefs defense on the schedule next week.
- Still early in the second quarter, LeSean McCoy has 44 rushing yards and a TD. With the Eagles running off to a 28-0 lead over the Jets, there could be plenty of carries for McCoy in the second half.
- Calvin Johnson is rebounding from a string of less-than-stellar games, with 75 receiving yards and a TD midway through the second quarter. Just what fantasy owners were hoping for.
Observations from the early games
- Eli Manning picked the worst possible time to revert to his old self. With a large number of fantasy owners counting on him to advance in the playoffs, Manning laid a stinker, throwing three interceptions. If your team somehow survived, Eli’s matchup next week against the Jets won’t cause any excitement.
- Lost in the Packers’ first loss of the year is the performance by Kyle Orton. While he didn’t throw a touchdown, he scored double-digit points thanks to a 299-yard effort. If he was able to get a few more weeks under his belt, he could have had some fantasy value.
- We haven’t written much about the Colts, and for good reason. But we’d be remiss not to note Donald Brown’s 161-yard, one-TD effort. Any Indianapolis players are still a huge fantasy risk, but looking ahead to next season, Brown could have the inside track to the starting RB job.
- File under “better late than never”: Arian Foster fumbled early and didn’t have a lot of carries (just 16), but still managed 109 rushing yards and a TD. He also added 58 yards receiving. Just more proof that you always trust your studs.
- The Seahawks defense has quietly been one of the better units in the NFL this season. Sunday, they took advantage of a confused Caleb Hanie, grabbing four interceptions, a fumble and scoring two TDs to tally 30 fantasy points. Next week, Chicago faces a deflated (and possibly angry) Packers defense. If you’re searching for options, you might want to consider the Pack.
- Reggie Bush: 25 carries, 203 yards, TD. It’s going to be tough for Daniel Thomas to win that job next season.
- Adrian Peterson wanted to help his fantasy owners, instead he was upstaged by Toby Gerhart, who had 68 total yards and two receiving TDs. What this means for Minnesota’s next game against Washington is anyone’s guess. It’s always hard to advocate sitting Peterson, but it’s easy to feel like you’ve been burned today.
- While Rodgers was struggling for a large part of the day, Drew Brees was having no such problems with the Vikings, carving them up for 412 yards and five touchdown passes — two to Lance Moore. With New Orleans still in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC, Brees is likely to see quite a bit of playing time in the next couple of weeks.
- Reggie Bush continues to increase his fantasy value for next season. Approaching halftime, Bush has 81 rushing yards on 15 carries. Yes, there was a fumble, but his productivity is becoming hard to deny.
- The high-powered Packers have hit a snag in Kansas City. At halftime, Green Bay has no points while Aaron Rodgers has just 59 yards passing. They’re fortunate to be down just 6-0, but it’s hard to think this can continue into the second half.
- Adrian Peterson made it a point to tell fantasy owners that he would play to try and help their teams. It hasn’t helped so far, with A.D. having just three yards on three carries.
- So far, Kyle Orton has yet to connect with Dwayne Bowe. His seven completions have been spread amongst Le’Ron McClain, Terrance Copper, Steve Breaston and Thomas Jones. Bad news for Bowe owners.
- The Dolphins have been good against the run this year, but C.J. Spiller is having his way early, rushing for 57 yards and a touchdown.
— Marcas Grant
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