The Packers are still undefeated, and the 49ers seem as if they won’t stop for anybody. Two of this week’s top players originate from the Green Bay versus San Diego game, and while San Francisco can garnish no real weekly threat, they (especially their defense) remain a spectacle to behold.
Miami is still in the running for a grand prize of Andrew Luck, but their latest Quarterback dominated this past weekend, and is out to show people that he’s an every week starter. Believable, or not? The Saints’ old running back on that team proved that he isn’t a bye-week fill-in, either. And, doubling his touchdown total for the season, The Chargers’ top receiver makes the statement to everyone that he is on top. Good luck with the remainder of your fantasy season, and..
- Aaron Rodgers – Sunday’s gem made it eight consecutive games of 21 or more fantasy points, this week with 30! Throwing for 247 yards, 4 touchdowns, and again no interceptions gives Rodgers the title of the best. Heck, I’d rank him above Tom Brady or Peyton Manning without hesitation, at this point; and he still has a long career to go.
- Philip Rivers – The Chargers QB was 26-for-46 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions against the Packers. The three interceptions now give Rivers 14 on the season, and once again the picks were all critical errors as two were returned for touchdowns. On the bright side, the offense looked great for the first time all season as they were able to put up 38 points despite being without Ryan Mathews and Malcom Floyd. Philip scored 25 fantasy points for his owners, and is now 11th overall for the year.
- Tim Tebow – The 2nd year quarterback replacement threw for 124 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and ran for a season-high 117 yards in Sunday’s comeback win at Oakland. Tebow struggled a bit early, but turned things on in the second half, and did a much better job in general of protecting the ball and minimizing sacks. This was a much-needed performance for him, and should solidify his status as the team’s starter. Tim racked 23 fantasy points and, despite not starting the season for the first month, is now 25th overall quarterback. With the 4 games he has played giving him a high of 23 and a low of 12 with an average of 18, Tebow should be considered a starter for your team from here on out.
- Matt Moore – A bit of a surprise here, Moore completed 17-of-23 pass attempts, did not take a single sack, and looked very competent for a team that was previously winless. The rib injury he had been dealing with was obviously not a factor. He passed for 244 yards and 3 touchdowns, and should be next year’s Miami Dolphins starter, assuming no Andrew Luck in the picture. Matt gave the waiver wire 21 fantasy points and is 32nd overall QB, despite not being fully active up until last week’s (week 8) 12 point performance against the Giants.
- Matt Ryan – Honestly, I’m going against my Saints, and feel as if the Falcons can pull out a win at home. Ryan threw for 275 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in Sunday’s win over the Colts. He averaged nearly 20 yards per completion, as he completed 14-of-25 passes on Sunday. Ryan’s big numbers are due in large part to the play of Julio Jones, who had touchdown catches of 50 and 80 yards. Don’t get too crazy, but this should build confidence. Matt Ryan gave his owners 21 points and is 14th overall on the QB list.
- Willis McGahee – This old veteran ex-Ravens runningback did what? McGahee had 20 carries for 163 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s win at Oakland. He was doing very little until he ripped off a nice 60-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, and later added a 24-yard touchdown with two minutes left to ice the game for the Broncos. Meanwhile, Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball combined to run the ball just six times for 18 yards. It appears that McGahee and his hand injury will be fine moving forward. Willis nabbed 28 fantasy points for the waiver wire, but will soon be in everyone’s starting lineup. He’s 16th overall among RBs.
- Reggie Bush & Arian Foster – both players added 20 points to their owners roster, although for Reggie it was likely on the bench.
Is he back?!? Bush had 13 carries for 92 yards with a touchdown and caught three passes for 50 yards in Sunday’s win at Kansas City. Reggie ran hard and effectively, just missing out on his second straight 100-yard rushing game. Meanwhile, Daniel Thomas played, although he was a non-factor, rushing for just 12 yards on seven carries. In fact, Thomas didn’t even touch the ball until late in the third quarter with Bush performing well. At this point, expect Bush to continue to see between 15-20 touches per game with Thomas still not 100 percent. With the revitalized Miami passing game, Bush should be considered a starter for your team. He is 24th overall.
The hamstring injury that dogged him early in the season is way behind him. Foster rolled up 124 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Houston’s win over Cleveland on Sunday. He was also a threat in the passing game, catching five passes on a team-high seven targets for 26 yards. It was the third straight game over 100 yards and Arian has five touchdowns in that time. He’s #6 overall after this performance.
- Marshawn Lynch & Mike Tolbert – Both average runners had a solid day, giving owners 19 fantasy points.
Lynch rushed for a season-high 135 yards on 23 carries Sunday at Dallas and scored his fourth touchdown of the year. Marshawn’s rushing total is his most as a Seahawk in the regular season. Seattle turned in perhaps their best blocking effort of the season, though the Cowboys clearly gameplanned to limit the pass at the expense of giving up yards on the ground. The Seahawks next face the Ravens, which doesn’t bode well for Lynch’s rushing chances. Lynch is #23 overall.
Tolbert had 19 carries for 83 yards with a touchdown and caught four passes for 59 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Packers. He didn’t have a rush of longer than nine yards, but was still very effective as a runner. Jacob Hester was the only other running back to receive a carry, so the Chargers obviously felt confident enough to lean heavily on the bruising runner. He had 15 carries for 68 yards at halftime, so he would have had a good shot at 100 yards, but the Packers opened up a big lead early in the fourth quarter. Still, it was a nice game for Tolbert in a losing effort. Watch out, however, for Ryan Mathews returning next week.
- Vincent Jackson – No leg injury problem here! He had seven receptions for 141 yards with three touchdowns in Sunday’s loss to the Packers. Jackson went bananas in the first quarter, going over 100 yards on five catches. He was quiet until late in the fourth quarter, however, when he scored a couple of touchdowns to help the Chargers get back in the game. His 32 point performance ranks him as 6th overall wide receiver.
- Julio Jones – Finally the rookie comes through! showing up Roddy White too, I’m sure. Jones had a big game in Sunday’s win at Indianapolis, catching three passes for 131 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He got off to a great start, scoring the first touchdown of his career on a 50-yard bomb in the opening quarter. He followed that touchdown up with an 80-yard score on a short pass in the second quarter, showing off his impressive speed. Atlanta’s offense looked much better in general with Jones back in the lineup (he had missed a couple of games), and he should be in line for more big outings with his blend of size and speed. His 28-point day grants him 22nd overall receiver of the year.
- Brandon Marshall & Jordy Nelson & Jacoby Ford — All three of these guys haven’t been producing high numbers for their teams, but they are valuable members. In the unlikely scenario where you started any of them, 16 fantasy points was your reward.
Marshall had eight receptions for 106 yards and a TD in Sunday’s win over Kansas City. The diva was almost targeted more than all of the other Miami receivers put together (11 versus 12), and he responded with a big game. Brandon Marshall was constantly covered by Brandon Flowers, a standout corner league-wide. If Matt Moore can even remotely sustain the effectiveness he displayed Sunday, it would be a boost to Marshall’s fantasy value, which is currently 15th overall.
Nelson caught five passes for 105 yards and a score. Despite having enough receivers on this prolific offense, Jordy finds ways to squeeze in value from time to time. Jordy surprisingly is 9th overall receiver of the year.
Ford had one of his best games of the season, catching five passes for 105 yards with a touchdown. Jacoby easily led the team in receiving, and saw six looks from Carson Palmer. His 18-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter showed some nice footwork to keep his feet from going out of bounds. Ford is a lowly 71st in receiving value, which will hopefully rise with Palmer throwing the ball.
Your tight end of the week goes to Rob Gronkowski, who had 16 fantasy points from 8 catches off of 15 targets, giving 101 yards with a score.
Come back next week for the 10th edition of the Top NFL weekly players!