Finally. Last year’s #1 rusher decided to show up this year, partly because the Texans had Andre Johnson out and Matt Schuab realized there were fewer players to throw to. Arian Foster reminded us all why he should be on the top, and he’s making his play for the remainder of the season.
This past weekend also featured a Cowboys NFL rushing record that made Emmitt Smith get off the couch and make a phone call, as rookie DeMarco Murray filled in for injured Felix Jones, and will now be highly sought after on the waiver wire if he wasn’t picked up last week.
Flashy passing by one of my favorite quarterbacks, Drew Brees, caused the Saints to roll over the Colts once again. And with that, I take you to…
- Drew Brees – Quite the performance in Sunday’s 62-7 slaughtering of the Colts. He finished 31-of-35 for 325 yards and five touchdowns. Even though it was against a win-less team, this was a great bounce-back for Brees after his three interception performance at Tampa Bay last week. He is right there with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers at the top of the fantasy quarterback hill. He gained 33 fantasy points for his owners like myself, and is 3rd overall in the ratings.
- Ben Roethlisberger – I actually picked up Big Ben in one of my leagues, and despite my hatred of his conduct off the field, I cannot complain on what he did to the Cardinals. He completed 26-of-39 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, gaining 26 fantasy points and being placed in the top-10 at 8th overall.
- Aaron Rodgers & Cam Newton – Each gave their owners 25 solid points in the quarterback slot.
My favorite quarterback stays on top of the list, completing 30 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Vikings. Rodgers did take 4 sacks, but still gave his owners a great game, tying with…
Newton has been a bit up-and-down this season, but he was very up on Sunday with only five incompletions. He completed 18-of-23 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Redskins. He also added 10 carries for 59 yards and another score, making him the 2nd overall QB.
- Tim Tebow – Did we ever think we’d see him on any top list? Tebow threw for 161 yards with a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 65 yards in Sunday’s 18-15 comeback win at Miami, giving his owners who took a chance on him 22 fantasy points. He was shaky for three and half quarters, misfiring badly on a number of passes, but made some key plays late in the fourth period to help Denver rally from a 15-0 deficit. He doesn’t have a ton of weapons to work with, so he’ll need to compensate with some ground-game action. Tim is 33rd among quarterbacks, and will only improve that number from here.
- Arian Foster – He had a monster game in Sunday’s blowout win at Tennessee, rushing for 115 yards with a pair of touchdowns and posting 119 receiving yards with another score in the air. Foster rebounded from a couple of disappointing games to post a rare 100-yard game rushing and receiving. Even Ben Tate went over 100 yards on the ground, so it was an all-around explosion for the Texans on Sunday. Arian is the 8th overall RB for this year after giving his owners 40 points this weekend.
- DeMarco Murray – He set a Cowboys single-game record, and averaged 10.1 yards per carry. Tashard Choice was a non-factor, rushing for just eight yards on two carries, so it looks Murray will be the primary runner as long as Felix Jones (ankle) is out. With Sunday’s performance, Murray might even eat into Jones’ carries when he returns. He rushed for 253 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown on the first run of the game. In his sixth NFL game, and the first he was expected to have a big role, the third-round pick from Oklahoma ran 91 yards for a touchdown on his first carry of the afternoon. It was his first career touchdown and the second-longest in franchise history. He cracked 200 yards and passed Tony Dorsett’s best day on his 22nd carry, then a few handoffs later outran the best day by Emmitt Smith, the leading rusher in NFL history, and any other Dallas player. His total was ninth-best in NFL history, behind a list of greats such as Walter Payton and O.J. Simpson, and current stars such as Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. He also replaced Jim Brown for the most yards ever gained against the Rams, erasing a mark that had stood since 1957. DeMarco now lands himself as 34th among running backs.
- Adrian Peterson & Matt Forte – Both leading rushers gave their owners 23 fantasy points, which is your typical rock-solid effort these days.
AP had 24 carries for 175 yards, including a one-yard touchdown, in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. He left briefly in the fourth quarter after twisting his ankle, but said the issue was minor. He is currently 2nd among runningbacks this season, and is behind only…
Forte had 25 carries for 145 yards with a touchdown and added two catches for 38 yards Sunday against Tampa Bay. He leads the league in yards from scrimmage, and continues to benefit from a more balanced Chicago attack. The only thing that can stop Forte is the Bears’ Week 8 bye.
- Darren Sproles – Yet another running back I would not have imagined would make this list. Sproles had 88 yards on 12 carries, 19 yards on six receptions, and two total touchdowns in Sunday’s victory over the Colts. He’s nicely replaced Reggie Bush for the Saints high-powered attack. Darren is 21st overall among RBs.
- Marques Colston – When Drew Brees has a big game, his #1 receiver will have one as well. Colston had a big game Sunday Night versus the Colts, blowing up for seven catches, 98 yards, and two touchdowns, giving owners who still believe in him 21 fantasy points. He is currently 23rd among receivers.
- Plaxico Burress & Greg Jennings – Both players gave their owners 20 fantasy points.
Is Plax finally back from his Giants Super Bowl victory days? Burress finally had the big game that he and the Jets were waiting for, catching three touchdowns in New York’s Week 7 win over the Chargers, despite only having 25 yards. Burress is 21st among receivers. Just when owners had given up and sent him to the waiver wire, too.
Jennings is the top receiver for Aaron Rodgers, and caught seven passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Vikings. He got 79 of his yards on his touchdown reception. He has a bye next week before playing the Chargers, which may prove to be big since Plaxico just proved it’s possible.
- Michael Jenkins & Calvin Johnson & Mike Wallace – A three-way tie for 4th-6th spot, these guys gave owners a strong 17 fantasy points.
Jenkins had three receptions for 111 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown, in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. He’s the 4th overall receiver in an offensive attack that will likely lead to another Super Bowl.Johnson continued his fantastic play with a 115-yard, one-touchdown performance Sunday against the Falcons. Megatron simply can’t be stopped at this point, he’s still #1, as long as the Lions continue to throw to him. Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s health is again an issue, though, as he was injured Sunday. An MRI on his ankle came back clean, making Stafford day-to-day. Johnson’s upside is clearly higher with Stafford under center, but, with how well he is playing, he wouldn’t take a significant hit with a quarterback change.
Wallace caught three passes for 118 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown in Sunday’s win at Arizona. He’s continuing to climb, and is the #3 overall wide receiver this season. His QB had a big game, and this was the reason. Ben Roethlisberger tried to go deep to Wallace a few times in the first quarter before connecting with the speedster on a major bomb.
Another shout-out goes to Jimmy Graham who once again had a huge fantasy day, giving his owners 17 points as a tight end. Graham continued his fantastic 2011 with six receptions for 54 yards and two scores in Sunday Night’s 62-7 blowout of the Colts. He failed to continue his four-game streak of 100-yard outings, but fantasy owners aren’t complaining. His two scores make five for the year, and at this point, Jimmy looks to be the most dynamic tight end in the league.
See you next week, good luck with your team while players are out on their bye!