Knowshon Moreno – Let’s start with full disclosure here, I hate him. No two ways around it. I’m fully in support of LeSean McCoy’s “he sucks” comment. Moreno was a full buy-in player in his rookie season when he just missed a 1,000-yard season and pitched in mightily in the receiving game. Then the wheels fell off. Moreno pulled three hamstrings (that’s right, three) the following season and then suffered a significant knee injury. Adding insult to literal injury is the fact that Moreno was then arrested in the offseason for DUI. Heading in to this season, rumors swirled around Moreno being supplanted on the roster by rookie Montee Ball and being downright cut from the team. Things have certainly turned around for Moreno as he’s been one of the best fantasy producers to date and is coming off a triple touchdown game. Is Moreno an unquestionable top-10 fantasy football running back? This game, and the rest of 2013, could lead us to believe so. If he continues on this pace, there is no doubting a top-10 designation next season.
Brandon Jacobs – The new, old New York Giants runner had more than 20 carries last Thursday against the always powerful Chicago defense. He turned those carries into more than 100 yards and two touchdowns. With David Wilson’s neck injury looking to bother him for the rest of the season, Jacobs could be in line for about 20 touches a game. It’s extremely rare to find a player with such a workload at this point in the season on the waiver wire. The question is: Can Jacobs keep converting those carries into meaningful fantasy stats? Added to the question of Jacobs being able to handle such work at his age, with his offensive line, and his below average speed, is the recent pickup of Peyton Hillis. Will Hillis cut into Jacobs’ touches? Will Hillis, more importantly, be utilized in the red zone, all but ending Jacobs’ true value? This week will show if Jacobs is for real or just a one-and-done performer.
Kyle Rudolph – Last week he had a nine-catch effort for just less than 100 yards with a touchdown. These are the kind of numbers owners were expecting from Rudolph here in 2013. The change at quarterback from Matt Cassel to newly acquired Josh Freeman could either be a blessing or a curse. In his time with Tampa Bay, Freeman leaned heavily on his wide receivers and often overlooked the tight end. There were games where Dallas Clark was effective but more often than not it was the wide receivers who handled the load. That means that Greg Jennings could be in for a value bump but it leaves Rudolph’s projections up in the air. Will Freeman use Rudolph as a checkdown option and rely on him in the red zone in the same manner he used to with jump baller Mike Williams? Or will Rudolph go unnoticed and underused in the same manner that Greg Olsen was while with Chicago? That’s a lot of unanswered questions that need answering on Monday Night Football.
Justin Blackmon – After his four-game suspension, Blackmon walked onto the field and dominated with a 100-yard receiving game and a score. Little did we know that was just a warm up, an appetizer for what was to come in Week 6. Blackmon was targeted an astronomically high 20 times en route to a 14-catch day for 190 yards. Those are the kind of numbers that would make even Calvin Johnson blush. It’s amazing to think that Blackmon is piling up these kinds of numbers given the state of the Jacksonville offense and the quality of quarterbacking that he has to play with. Blackmon is stuck in the same kind of situation as Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona where he has to make his own value. Given his display of talent over the past two weeks, it looks as though Blackmon is more than ready to tackle the task. If Blackmon can pull through with a third straight elite game, he’ll find himself cemented in the top-10 for the remainder of the year.
Matt Ryan – It’s going to be very telling to see how Ryan handles the dismantled Atlanta offense this week. With Julio Jones down for the season and Roddy White looking likely to miss the game or at least be less than 100 percent, all while waiting for Steven Jackson to return, things are looking to go from bad to worse. Matt Ryan will likely find himself in the same situation as Tom Brady. He’ll need to step up and make things happen himself as the surrounding cast will be less talented than what he normally plays with. Harry Douglas will chip in and Tony Gonzalez remains a stud, but outside of those two, things look bleak. We find ourselves now questioning if Ryan can hold onto his QB1 label. If Ryan can’t find a way to put up stats here we may be forced to locate a different option until White is back to his normal self.