With slightly more effort than Blake Bortles running down a pick-six, here’s what we learned in Week 10.
Two of the best games in at least a month were Cowboys-Steelers and Seahawks Patriots. But more importantly for fantasy purposes, Seattle’s QB finally looks healthy and the team appears to have a new starting running back - at least for now.
Russell Wilson went three games without a touchdown pass before bouncing back with five scoring passes the last two weeks. He started the season with 5 TD passes the first four games and has matched that in just the past two weeks. Another sign of hope, last season Wilson had the same kind of slow start in 2015 - 10 TD passes in the first nine games, then from week 10 to 17, he exploded for 25.
Staying in the backfield: CJ Prosise was precisely what the Seahawks have been missing. OK, so maybe he’s just the latest back in the rotation to get a crack at the carries, but he showed speed and hands (catching all seven of Wilson’s targets) in a breakout performance. With Christine Michael slowed by injury and general ineffectiveness, Prosise is coming along at just the right time to throw his hat into the ring. One problem - Thomas Rawls is due back this week. Look for a possible timeshare but keep in mind, Prosise has untapped upside, whereas we've kind of seen Rawls, whose biggest accomplishment is being inconsistent and injury prone. He might be the late season pickup in these running back-needy times that could reap big rewards. Pick him up, ASAP. Christine Michael will still be a factor but Prosise looks like he will be a factor going forward.
More Seahawks: The enigma known as Doug Baldwin who exceeded his SEASON production of two TD catches with three in one game. Frustrated owners who will likely read this after getting out of therapy today should take heart, if Wilson goes on his late season tear as expected, a rising tide lifts all ships - including Baldwin and better days are ahead.
As far as the Patriots, it’s a weird day when he hits the 300-yard mark and goes touchdown pass-less. Also, never bench LeGarrette Blount. Ever.
AND: Fake spikes are awesome and so is last-minute touchdown runs by rookie phenom running backs. Can the Steelers and Cowboys play every year? In what might be the game of the year thus far, every single fantasy star seemed to shine with big moments.
They don’t come bigger than Ezekiel Elliott’s winning run continued his assault on rookie running back record book. A staggering 209 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns for Elliott who broke the 1K mark and is well on his way to breaking Eric Dickerson's 1,800 rookie season rushing record mark. Elliott has been a force of nature and basically cemented his spot as next year's top fantasy pick.
QUICK TAKE: Next year’s top 6 fantasy picks in standard leagues: 1) RB Elliott, 2) RB David Johnson 3) RB LeVeon Bell 4) RB Melvin Gordon 5) WR Antonio Brown 6) WR Julio Jones
Packing it in: The Packers lose their third straight game while the defense didn’t look good enough for the Arena League. In a weird way, a sieve-like defense could really be a good thing for Aaron Rodgers, who always puts up nice numbers in catch-up mode.
Titan rising: But a good dose of credit has to go to Marcus Mariota who is the best fantasy QB nobody talks about, but should be starting in almost every league. This wasn’t just making good on a golden opportunity, the second-year QB has been quietly building to this After four scoring passes in his first four games, ever since Week 5 he’s thrown 17 TD passes - nearly three per game.
Purple reign: Stefon Diggs looked unstoppable yesterday against the Redskins with 13 catches 164 yards. The Vikings might be circling the drain with four straight losses, but Diggs’s star is ascending. The past three games he has 34 catches for about 300 yards and a touchdown. It's been hard getting him into the end zone, but the production and targets are there. Consider him a low-end WR2 or solid flex the rest of the season.
Washington takeover: Jamison Crowder is the Redskins’No. 1 receiver. Period. He has scored in three of the last four games and with injury-prone DeSean Jackson playing as if he wants to wear a different jersey color next season, he's been one of Kirk Cousins' most reliable targets.
Welcome back: Doug Martin and James Starks. None had earth shattering performances but both scores. And with the attack on running backs this season (Sean Baligian TM), getting some familiar faces back in the fold was a timely lift.
Doug Martin didn’t do much, with 16 carries, 33 yards and a garbage time touchdown - but it was enough. The last time Martin had been on the field was Week 2 before a serious of unfortunate hamstring injuries. He's back and that's what matters.
Pick these guys up:
Starks: Sure he’s just a placeholder until Eddie Lacy returns but, he’s probably gone for most of the fantasy season. Starks gives you a starting back on a very good offense that will get his chances.
Jeremy Langford Bears: No question Chicago is cratering but with news that Jordan Howard is injured opens the door for Langford. Early reports suggest Howard might be suffering from an Achilles which would leave the former MSU star and Kadeem Carey to pick up the pieces. Langford offers the most upside and in these RB-thin times, he's not a bad choice.
Robert Kelley, Redskins: Kelly might be a better back than Matt Jones. With Jones injured, the former Tulane product has had 21 carries in back to back games and 184 yards rushing in that span. He may not have won the starting job yet, but is staking a claim and looks to be involved the rest of the way in what should be a time-share.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs: If you are hard up for a receiver, grab Hill who looks like the only other WR worth having. The Kansas City passing game is mostly abysmal but with Jeremy Maclin injured and or doing little, it is a good pickup.
Doug Pederson update: Philly RB Ryan Mathews is good when the Eagles remember to use him. Yesterday he posted 109 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. The problem is trusting the Doug Pederson RB rotation which has included Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood.
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