Roddy White is the best receiver in the league. It’s easy to say that when he’s the top fantasy receiver, coming off a week in which he caught 11 balls for 201 yards and two scores. But he’s also been consistently good. His lowest single-game production of the year was in Week 6 when he scored eight points. He scores consistently, and, perhaps most importantly, Matt Ryan looks for him. He was targeted 13 times on Sunday, which makes 82 in seven games this season. He leads the league in catches and yards. What more could you possibly want from him?
Darren McFadden is healthy. And when he’s healthy, he can apparently do that. It’s important to note that Denver currently has the worst run defense in the NFL, but still. Last time I checked, those were professional football players, and McFadden made them look silly on Sunday. With three scores on the ground, and one through the air, he reclaimed that starting job in Oakland once and for all, making him an attractive target for trade negotiations – a classic sell-high for his owners. The only problem is that the price may be too high. He’s a high-end RB2 the rest of the way, but is an injury risk.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a borderline stud. Fitzpatrick took his Bills offense into Baltimore, where we all thought the Ravens would pound Buffalo without mercy. But Fitzpatrick displayed that Harvard athleticism, going for 374 yards and four touchdowns. Even with the two picks, you’ll take that day. He’s currently the 12th ranked quarterback, ahead of guys like Matt Schaub, Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre, and he’s only played in four games. And he’s getting better. His fantasy production has steadily increased since his first start. Steve Johnson and Lee Evans are hot commodities, with Johnson scoring five times in his last four games and Evans heating up with four scores in his last two contests. Buffalo may have a bad NFL team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t provide value to your fantasy squad.
By not playing, Michael Vick has secured the starting job in Philadelphia. Who’d have thought his best course of action would be to let Kevin Kolb play? Kolb put up another shaky performance, causing folks everywhere to scratch their head regarding the offseason roster decisions. While not exactly a spring chicken, Donovan McNabb could at least run the offense. But, he was traded for a second round pick so Kolb could take over. Once we saw his early season work, we were wondering if that wasn’t a mistake. Vick should be under center once again following the Eagles’ Week 8 bye, and should upgrade everyone in the offense, except maybe Brent Celek.
Jay Cutler should’ve played baseball. Seriously. The way he’s slinging passes to no one in particular, it looks as though the Bears got some fan to come in and play. And couldn’t you actually see Cutler as a reliever, maybe a closer, firing pitches as hard as he can for one inning at a time? I could. Since Cutler chose football, we’re left to ponder his seemingly immense talent and tool set, as well as his struggles on a new team, with a new coordinator and a new offensive system. His decision making is shaky at best, and he should not be considered a starter in a 12-team league. I drafted him for one of my teams, and took Ben Roethlisberger a few rounds later. Roethlisberger will start for me from now on, and Fitzpatrick, not Cutler, will be my backup.
I’m taking a sort of joy out of Brett Favre’s struggles. Is that wrong? I apologize if you’re a Vikings fan, but it seems that bad karma has caught up to Favre, and there’s a saying about karma being something, but I forget what. He’s been awful this year. And Sunday night in Green Bay was no exception. Like the aforementioned Cutler, Favre’s decision-making is terrible. He makes more “Oh no, oh no, oh no, YES!” plays than any athlete we’ve ever seen. He throws into coverage, across his body, across the field, and that was all on one play in last year’s NFC championship game. The same things that impress people are the same things that have the city of Minneapolis tearing its hair out. And now he’s got a pair of fractures in his ankle? If he’s not playing at a high level, how long before Randy Moss gets that far away look in his eyes and shuts down? Favre was the first player I ever drafted in fantasy, so there’s a fondness there, but he’s a different guy now, and should have gotten out last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.
Eli Manning is making a case for himself. Manning’s the seventh ranked quarterback in fantasy, and his last three weeks have been fantastic. He’s throwing the occasional interception, but he’s offsetting those with touchdowns. The Giants are balancing their offense with a solid ground game, and they have a fantastic receiving corps. Manning may have finally made the leap to elite fantasy quarterback status. And I didn’t see it coming.
Jon Kitna could be a solid fantasy quarterback again. How is this possible? Because Tony Romo got drilled on Monday night, breaking his left collar bone. Rookie fullback Chris Gronkowski missed a key block, leaving a pass rusher untouched as he charged Romo. The injury typically requires at least six weeks to heal, but Dallas’ season may be over by then. In his absence, Kitna came in and, while unimpressive, threw for 180-plus and two scores. He targeted Jason Witten and Dez Bryant a lot, which makes sense with the reps he’s probably gotten with Bryant. Dez Bryant becomes a more intriguing receiver, while I believe Roy Williams goes away a bit. Kitna is a reasonable No. 2, and possible matchup play.
Kenny Britt is close to being a WR1. Right now, he’s a Top 5 fantasy receiver, scoring seven times in his last five games. Granted, he had 225 yards and three scores in Week 7, but he’s been solid thus far. The confusing thing about this season is that the stud receivers aren’t really producing. Andre Johnson’s been hurt, Randy Moss has been shaky on two teams, Miles Austin has been inconsistent and Greg Jennings has been a mess. So is it that crazy to think that Britt could be closing in on the top 10 or 12 receivers? Not saying he’s there yet, but soon. But, I wouldn’t target him after a career performance.
Carson Palmer is the best losing quarterback ever. There’s a direct correlation from how much he’s throwing the ball to the result of the game for Cincinnati. He threw for 412 yards and three scores, but the Bengals once again lost. He brought them back in this one, but at some point the “Bungals” need to figure out that they need to run the ball to be effective. But he’s got the weapons and is using them right now. Ride the wave while you can.
Remember that Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, the New York Giants and Philadelphia are on a bye this week. With six teams on byes and a rash of key injuries, play matchups and plan ahead.
Drew Magyar is a FantasySharks.com staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.