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What Did We Learn – Week 10 Edition

Matt Ryan is matchup-proof at home. Ryan was fantastic on Thursday night against a very tough Ravens’ defense. He threw for 316 yards and 3 scores, as the Falcons held home court. This year, Ryan is averaging 270 yards passing and 2 touchdowns per game played in Atlanta. On the road, those numbers drop to 230 yards and 1 score. It should come as no surprise to fans and fantasy owners that Ryan is playing at a high level, especially at home, but he can be plugged into your lineup the rest of the season, even against Green Bay in Week 12 and against New Orleans in Week 16.

Fred Jackson will be an interesting play down the stretch. One can’t get too carried away with starting Buffalo Bills, but Jackson will be one to watch. His 25 carry, 133 yard rushing performance (with a score) on Sunday was big time, even against a poor Lions’ rush defense. But he added 6 catches for 37 yards and scored once through the air as well. He’s been hit by injuries this year, and has been challenged for the starting job. But with Marshawn Lynch now in Seattle and C.J. Spiller banged up, no one is there to take touches away. And Jackson will continue to make the most of it. His remaining schedule against the run, with the exception of Week 12 against the Steelers, should make him an appealing RB2 most weeks.

Colt McCoy will be serviceable. I was one of the guys who said Colt McCoy was too small and couldn’t play effectively at the NFL level. He still may be those things, but he’s gotten better with each week, and the Browns have been tough. He threw for 205 yards and score this past weekend against the vaunted Jets’ defense. And looking forward, the Browns schedule sets up beautifully with @JAC, CAR, @MIA, @BUF, and @CIN before ending the year with home games against the Ravens and Steelers. I’m not saying bench your stud for him, but I think he makes for an interesting guy going forward.

Shonn Greene is going to be more valuable than LT. The Jets have been talking about a time share all season, but it’s starting to look like they’ll actually come through on that talk. Greene received 20 carries to LaDainian Tomlinson’s 18, racking up 72 yards to LT’s 57. Those aren’t fantastic numbers, but looking back a few weeks now, Greene has been the more effective back. LT started out hot, but will need to pace himself to be ready for the playoffs, while Greene is well-rested. If Greene owners have been impatient with him and you can get him, I think he’s a great guy to target.

Knowshon Moreno will open up the Denver offense. The Denver Broncos are one of the more frustrating teams in the league. They have a passing attack that can make defenses nervous, but until now, haven’t had an effective running game. A healthy Knowshon Moreno gives the Broncos the balance they need. On Sunday, he ran for 106 yards on 22 attempts, and added 50 yards and a score through the air. With production like that, defenses will need to be more honest, meaning open throwing lanes for Kyle Orton, more production for a deep Denver receiving corps, and don’t forget Moreno himself. Denver’s schedule down the stretch is very appealing, Moreno should finish strong.

LeGarrette Blount will be a stud going forward. I am high on Blount. Have been for weeks. He’s a big, strong, fast back, and the Bucs offense has been better than people think. He picked up 19 carries for 91 yards and a score on Sunday. He’s become the guy, and seems to be taking the opportunity seriously. He provides a valuable running threat to a team that is surprisingly in contention for the playoffs.

Dez Bryant will be safe to plug into your lineup for the rest of the season. Sometimes, you can watch a player for a few games and know. Watch a Cowboys’ game. That guy you noticed was Dez Bryant. He’s built like Calvin or Andre Johnson, big, strong, fast, the prototypical wide receiver. Add to that the fact that Jon Kitna is very aware of his talents, and Bryant is extremely dangerous. He caught just 3 balls, but racked up 104 yards and a crazy touchdown catch. He’s the front-runner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and might have an even better second half. Get him in your lineup, and forget about that spot.

Mike Wallace has become more than just a deep threat. Mike Wallace nearly killed me on Sunday night. Up 15, my opponent had just Mike Wallace on Sunday night, and after a slow first half, Big Ben started chucking it all over the place, and Wallace always seemed to be there. He hauled in 8 balls for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I won eventually on David Akers’ leg, but Wallace has clearly established himself as a go-to guy in Pittsburgh. Hines Ward left early in the game, which may have influenced his numbers, but I think Wallace is a no-brainer top-20 guy the rest of the year, and may be top-10 depending on the matchup.

It doesn’t matter who’s running for Washington, as long as it’s not Clinton Portis. Washington’s lone bright spot on Monday Night was third-string running back Keiland Williams. He ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards and 2 scores, and added 4 catches for 50 yards and another touchdown. The Redskins’ rushing game has come alive since Clinton Portis went down. Portis ran for just 96 yards in two games to start the season. Ryan Torain stepped in and became a household name, and now Williams has stepped into the role. If nothing else, Torain and Williams have proven what Mike Shanahan learned in Denver years ago: his offense is built on a system that doesn’t need a big name back. And the “fill-ins” are doing just fine.

Michael Vick has become a great “quarterback.” Watching his performance on Monday night in Washington was unbelievable, as he continues to write one of the craziest Disney movies based on a true story ever. Through five games and change, He’s thrown for 1,350 yards, and 11 touchdowns, and still hasn’t thrown an interception. He’s added 341 yards and 4 scores on the ground. On Monday, he threw for 333 yards and 4 scores, and ran for 80 yards on the ground and 2 scores. But what isn’t showing up in those numbers is how far his quarterbacking has come. He’s being effective. He’s reading defenses. He’s running when necessary, but not forcing it. He’s a top-5 guy the rest of the year, joining Rodgers, Manning (IND), Rivers, and Brees atop the ranks.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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