In a year in which I thought the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons would dominate to challenge the Green Bay Packers for the Super Bowl, both teams lose while the 6-10 San Francisco 49ers of last year are now 8-1, and are looking at their 8th straight victory against a crappy Arizona Cardinal team this weekend.
The Packers future Hall of Fame quarterback is on track to break some records, as is the New Orleans Saints quarterback, looking back to the explosiveness he had in 2008. And while Alex Smith of the 49ers is throwing up average numbers, they’re safe numbers that are good enough to win games; 5 games up in the division, and second place overall in the entire NFL. SF is looking at a first-round playoff bye, if you can imagine that.
I’m wearing my throwback Steve Young jersey today at work to celebrate the awesomeness that has become this season.
- Aaron Rodgers – Can he break Dan Marino’s record? Rodgers completed 23-of-30 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns and added six rushes for 21 yards Monday against the Vikings. Aaron was spectacular again, and is now up to 28 passing touchdowns against just three interceptions. He also tied Peyton Manning’s record of nine straight games with a passer rating above 100, and with the reeling Bucs on deck at home, he should have no problem eclipsing that mark. Rodgers added 28 fantasy points to your team’s total, and is still 1st overall.
- Tom Brady – It’s been an average year in Brady-numbers this season. Tom completed 26-of-39 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Jets. Brady and the Patriots got back on track after back-to-back losses and he looks like a strong play in Week 11 against the Chiefs next Monday. Brady added 25 fantasy points and is now 4th overall.
- Tony Romo – He’ll have his ups and he’ll have his downs, but this past weekend was definitely one of the better plays you’ll see. Romo was nearly perfect Sunday, completing 23-of-26 passes for 270 yards and three TDs. Up 28-7 at the break, the Cowboys learned the lessons of their blown lead earlier in the season against the Lions and shut down Romo and the passing game in the second half, otherwise his day could have been even more fantasy-friendly. Tony looks like he’s completely recovered from his rib injury, and with a stretch of three potentially soft opponents coming up (at the Redskins, home to the Dolphins for Thanksgiving, then at the Cardinals) he’s a must-start right now in all but the shallowest of formats. Romo gave 22 fantasy points and is ranked 10th for the season.
- John Skelton – Here’s a perfect example as to why you don’t sell the farm for an unproven Kevin Kolb -like quarterback. Coach Ken Whisenhunt was non-committal when asked about the possibility of Skelton remaining the Cards’ starter even when Kevin Kolb returns from his turf toe injury. “I’m just going to enjoy this,” Whisenhunt said of the win over the Eagles, “and worry about that later,” the team’s official site reports. Skelton passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two almost-costly interceptions in Sunday’s surprising win in Philadelphia. Interestingly enough, both Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts have improved with Skelton under center: Fitz posted his best numbers in a month, while Roberts had back-to-back solid games. It’s also worth noting that Roberts’ breakout games in 2010 came with Skelton as the signal caller. Keep an eye on this situation; the rumblings of a quarterback controversy are starting to be felt in the desert. John gave an amazing 21 fantasy points, and is ranked 37th overall, which isn’t bad considering he has only played in 2 games this season. Another big game for Skelton and Kolb won’t have a job to come back to.
- Drew Brees & Matt Ryan – Both quarterbacks gave 20 fantasy points to their owners.
The other frontrunner to take Dan Marino’s record! Brees completed 30-of-43 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns at Atlanta. After back-to-back weeks of sub-300 yards passing, Brees returned to form Sunday in a much needed way with the Saints’ run game stalled. The Saints will be on bye in Week 11, so plan accordingly. Drew is 2nd overall ahead of Cam Newton.
Ryan threw for 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Matt completed 29-of-52 passes on the day, and spread the ball around to nine different players. Harry Douglas was Ryan’s go to receiver in the second half, as Douglas led all receivers with eight receptions for 133 yards. The Falcons host the Titans in Week 11. He is currently 11th overall for QBs.
- Arian Foster – It seems as if those injuries are permanently gone! But even with Arian going crazy, Ben Tate still is a decent flex pickup for your team. Foster rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and added four receptions for 102 yards with another score in Houston’s 37-9 win over Tampa Bay in Week 10 on Sunday. He is blowing up as a receiver in 2011, having posted more than 100 receiving yards in three games this season while averaging a career-high 14.4 yards per catch. His touchdown reception Sunday went for 78 yards. He gave your team 30 fantasy points and is now 2nd overall. Not bad considering the first 3 weeks were dumped; he has only had 1 game under 10 points since, and has had 4 of 20 or more in that 7 week time-span.
- Michael Bush – With Darren McFadden out, who do the Oakland Raiders lean on? Bush will make his third straight start in Week 11 with Run DMC ruled out. Michael will take on a Vikings team that is allowing just 93.9 rushing yards per game, but considering he will receive nearly all the carries, and has racked up 482 total yards over the last three weeks, he should be considered a viable starting option in nearly all formats this week. Bush gained 29 fantasy points and is 15th RB overall this year.
- Chris Johnson – Are the days of CJ2K coming back? Johnson had his way with the Panthers on Sunday. He ran 27 times for 130 yards, a touchdown, and caught four passes for 44 yards in a big win. After an embarrassing start to the year, Chris seems to have to come to life over the last two weeks. Last week he averaged 4.6 yards per carry against a good Bengals’ defense, and this week he broke the century mark for the second time this year. CJ .5k gave 23 fantasy points and is 23rd overall.
- DeMarco Murray – Grab him if he’s still there! Murray ran for 135 yards with a touchdown and caught six passes for 36 yards in Sunday’s 44-7 win over the Bills. DeMarco briefly left the game with an apparent shoulder injury, but came back in to go over 100 yards rushing. It would be surprising to see the Cowboys rush Felix Jones back from his ankle injury considering how well Murray has performed. he gained 22 points to owners who picked him up this year, and is now 21st overall – for someone who didn’t get real play time until week 7, you need to go all-in here.
- Marshawn Lynch – Once in awhile, he’s a total beast. Last weekend he was ferocious! Lynch had his second straight 100-yard rushing game in Sunday’s win over the Ravens, finishing with 109 yards on 32 carries. He also had five receptions for 58 yards, and scored a short rushing touchdown. It took Lynch a ton of carries to go over 100 yards, but he ran extremely hard and made something out of nothing on several runs. Baltimore defends the run very well, so despite the low average, it was an impressive performance by Lynch. He entered the game with just 12 receptions, so his five catches Sunday were a season best. Marshawn gave owners 21 points and is ranked 20th overall.
- Larry Fitzgerald – It’s about time that 8-year 110 million dollars begins to shine! Fitzgerald had seven receptions for 146 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s upset win over the Eagles. Larry received 13 targets, and made a couple of long catches, including grabs of 42 and 37 yards. Fitzgerald got lucky on his second touchdown, as the ball bounced off a defender’s hands right into his, but he got unlucky on his 37-yard catch, getting tackled inches short of the goal line. This was Fitzgerald’s best performance in weeks, and a very encouraging since John Skelton may start more games with Kevin Kolb still hurting. Fitz gave owners who still believe a nice 26 point bonus, and is 6th overall for wide receivers.
- Denarius Moore – How many receivers are the Raiders going to turn to? Moore caught five passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday’s victory over the Chargers. Denarius has established a quick rapport with new quarterback Carson Palmer and has quickly become a viable fantasy option again. Moore has shown tremendous playmaking ability all season and has found the end zone in each game he has seen extensive action. He’ll clearly remain a key part of the offense moving forward, and with beatable pass defenses on the schedule for the Raiders each of the next four weeks, Moore might be the receiver that helps you reach the fantasy postseason. He has 24 points from Thursday night and is 22nd overall WR.
- Laurent Robinson – Another guy that didn’t have a big name before the season, but at 27th overall with a nice 19 point fantasy week, he’s on people’s radar. Robinson had three receptions for 73 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s blowout win over the Bills. Laurent had only three targets, but made the most of them with a couple of scores, including a 58-yard bomb from Tony Romo. Miles Austin is expected to miss at least one more game with an injury, so Robinson will continue to be a factor.
- Jordy Nelson – Go Pack Go! Nelson caught five passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns Monday against the Vikings. Both of his touchdowns came in the red zone, the first on a powerful tackle breaking run from 17 yards out and the other on a play kept alive by Aaron Rodgers from four yards out. Jordy was tied with Greg Jennings in targets (five) in another easy win for the Packers, and is 7th overall with this week’s 18-point performance.
- Damian Williams – When Kenny Brit goes down, the bottom of the bucket benefits. Williams had team-highs in both catches (5) and yards (107) in a win against the Panthers on Sunday. He also caught a touchdown pass for the second week in a row. Damian is turning from an expected possession receiver into a big-play receiver for the Titans. He had two 43-yard catches against the Panthers, one being for his third touchdown catch of the season. He is shaping up to be a real solid receiver for the Titans and could overtake Nate Washington as the team’s top wideout. He added 16 fantasy points and is a lowly 48th overall, for now.
Special shout-outs go to Mr. Rob Gronkowski (8 receptions, 113 yards, 2 TDs – 23 fantasy points / 2nd overall) and Ed Dickson (10 receptions, 79 yards, 2 TDs – 19 fantasy points / 15th overall) for big games in the Tight End position. Make your quarterbacks safe, and proud!
Six more weeks to go, and the last of the teams on a bye. Good luck!