Every year, without fail, it seems like there are a number of seasons within the full NFL season. For example, if you cluster the games in 3-4 group increments, you can start to see some trends from various teams and individual players. Take Justin Fields for example. Was pretty awful the first four weeks of the season, right? Was most likely just chilling out on the waiver wire minding his own business. Now? Fields has erupted over the last 3 weeks, however the progression trend was beginning a few weeks before that. These trends occur all over the NFL, whether it pertains to whole teams or just a few individual players. So, what’s the valuable lesson? Fantasy football takes some skill to identify these trends before the rest of your league mates do. Stay ahead of the curve. Look ahead at schedules in a few weeks, including playoffs. You don’t want to be underprepared come playoff time. Notice the trends. Act on them. As always, try not to overthink it!
Let’s check out and recap this past week's games.
Panthers 25, Falcons 15
Panthers top performer(s): In a game that featured sloppy weather conditions one Panther stood above the rest. D’Onta Foreman. After bursting onto the fantasy scene of 2022 in week 8, he followed up with a dud in week 9 (as did all of the Panthers). However, he was the focal point of the Panthers offense in this one. Foreman received 31 carries and churned out 130 yards and a score. Great fantasy production, and Foreman could be the waiver wire pickup of the year, assuming he continues to be a staple of the Panthers offense.
Falcons top performer(s): Terrible loss for the Falcons in this one. Just when some of us were beginning to think the Falcons had a shot of winning the NFC South, they lose a game to the Panthers. It’s clear that this team is average at best, and Marcus Mariota limits the ceiling of this offense. Why hasn’t Desmond Ridder gotten a chance yet? Drake London had a TD in this one, so I’ll give him the nod for being Atlanta’s fantasy star. Kyle Pitts? Another disappointing stat line of 2 catches, 28 yards. If you’re still being stubborn and rolling out Pitts weekly, I almost feel like applauding you for sticking with something that clearly is not working. Just madness that Atlanta drafts two skill position players in the first round of back to back drafts and hardly gets them
Buccaneers 21, Seahawks 16
Bucs top performer(s): Was great to see Chris Godwin have his first significant impact since suffering the knee injury last year. Ended up catching 6 balls for 71 yards and a score. The bigger news? Rachaad White was already cutting into Leonard Fournette's time prior to this one, and after Fournette's injury, White finished with over 20 carries and over 100 yards. Does this signal a changing of the guard in Tampa? I'm not ready to go there yet, but it's something to watch closely.
Seahawks top performer(s): Relatively down performance from the Seahawks offense in this one, but they still received decent performances from Geno, Lockett, Metcalf, and Kenneth Walker. Until further notice, continue rolling out all of those guys.
Vikings 33, Bills 30
Vikings top performer(s): Man, what a game. You've probably seen the Justin Jefferson highlight reel catch a thousand times, but watch it once more. Do it. It was THAT good. A game that saw fantasy points a plenty produced strong stat lines from Justin Jefferson & Dalvin Cook. TJ Hockenson continues to fit in seamlessly in the offense as well. As I've said many times, elite fantasy offense.
Bills top performer(s): Let's be clear: The Bills had NO business losing this game. Should have been over on that QB sneak. Awful mistake from Josh Allen there. The Bills mysteriously went away from their ground game in the second half after Devin Singletary had 2 rushing scores in the first half. If they continue to run the rock, I think they would have won this game. Strong performances all around from Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Josh Allen (although he did have those awful turnovers) & Singeltary. Another elite offense where you should take your chances and start them weekly.
Lions 31, Bears 30
Lions top performer(s): Another crazy fun game, albeit these teams are significantly less talented than the Bills and Vikings. The fantasy stars in this one were Jamaal Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Both of these individuals will continue to thrive the rest of the way out, especially Williams, as Swift continues to get reintegrated into the offense after his shoulder injury.
Bears top performer(s):Justin Fields breakout season is in full effect. Continues to absolutely shred stats on the ground, and his passing is improving as well. One thing is clear, and that's that he has strong chemistry with Cole Kmet. I could see Kmet being a weekly starter at a thin TE market at this juncture. And, by the way, continue rolling out Fields.
Titans 17, Broncos 10
Titans top performer(s): For all of those that predicted Nick Westbrook-Ikhine would be the fantasy star in this one, please stand up. Yeah, everyone is still sitting naturally. In a game we all thought Derrick Henry would thrive, he disappointed against a stout Denver run D. Outside of King Henry, no fantasy options are present from this squad.
Broncos top performer(s): One thing I really DON'T like looking forward to every week is writing
this blurb about the Broncos. I mean, their offense is atrocious. Asinine. Abysmal. All the adjectives. Russ continues to look like a shell of himself. The "star" in this one was Courtland Sutton who caught 6 balls for 66 yards, mostly because Jerry Jeudy was forced to leave this contest due to an ankle injury.
Chiefs 27, Jaguars 17
Chiefs top performer(s):Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes continue to do incredible things on the football field together. Mahomes threw another 4 TDs, and is making a huge midseason push for MVP. The other big storylines from KC in this one include Kadarius Toney's increased usage on offense as well as his TD, and Isaiah Pacheco becoming the unquestioned RB1 with 16 carries. Can these new additions to the offense continue to pay dividends? I'll sure be watching closely against the Chargers on Sunday night, and might even toy with the idea of plugging Pacheco in as a flex due to LA's poor run defense.
Jaguars top performer(s): Remember when all of us, and I mean ALL of us, mocked the Christian Kirk contract? Oh stop it, you knocked it at the time too. Well, after he had an absurd 9 catches for 105 yards and 2 scores, I think it's safe to say no one is laughing now. He’s had a breakout season so far in Jacksonville, and I am not benching him or Etienne any time soon.
Dolphins 39, Browns 17
Dolphins top performer(s): The Dolphins just won’t stop scoring! This time, they did it a little non traditionally. While Waddle and Hill still had decent games from a fantasy perspective, it was some of the other names who made the biggest impact in this win. Newly acquired Jeff Wilson Jr had over 100 yards and a score. Trent Sherfield and Alec Ingold also had receiving TDs as well. I see Mostert and Wilson Jr both as flex level players. Hill, Waddle and Tua are weekly starts.
Browns top performer(s): Was expecting the Browns to be a tad more competitive in this one, as they await the last few weeks of Deshaun Watson’s suspension. Nick Chubb found the end zone again, and Donovan Peoples-Jones led the team in receiving. Until Watson comes back, Chubb and Amari Cooper are the only players worth plugging into lineups.
Giants 24, Texans 16
Giants top performer(s): As Saquon goes, so do the Giants. An absurd 35(!!) carries for over 150 yards and a score. This week, he gets the Lions offense too. Should be another huge fantasy day for Barkley.
Texans top performer(s): Another loss for the Texans, who will probably continue to add L’s to the column for most of the way on out. The only player worth playing, or even rostering, from this team is Dameon Pierce. Had close to 100 yards rushing again. Looks like he could be a runaway winner for offensive rookie of the year.
Steelers 20, Saints 10
Steelers top performer(s): Welcome back Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson! Two fantasy stars from last year were key in the Steelers win over the Saints. Now, if you have Harris or Johnson, you probably have to continue playing them, due to lack of alternative options. The production will continue to be incredibly frustrating, however.
Saints top performer(s): The Saints are in a bad spot. They’ll be competitive the rest of the way out, but I just do not see them securing many wins. They already traded their first round pick away to the Eagles, and they don’t seem to have a real plan at QB. The fantasy star of this one was Juwan Johnson. Outside of Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave, no Saints players should be considered for lineups at this time.
Colts 25, Raiders 20
Colts top performer(s): The return of JT! Now, if you read my “Talkin’ Crazy” column, I predicted JT would have his breakout game, and he sure did. Will it continue this week against the Eagles softer-than-expected run D? I’m playing Taylor, that’s for sure. I expect them to lean on Taylor heavily.
Raiders top performer(s): The Raiders stink, but Davante Adams does not. Neither does Josh Jacobs. That’s all I have to say about the Raiders.
Packers 31, Cowboys 28
Packers top performer(s): Just when you’re out, they pull you right back in! Rodgers and rookie WR Christian Watson had a DAY! So did Aaron Jones. I expect Green Bay to lean again on their running game on a short week against Tennessee. I’m fine with picking up Watson, but I need to see it one more time before I plug him into lineups. I would caution the same with Rodgers. Aaron Jones, on the other hand, should be started each week.
Cowboys top performer(s): The Cowboys should not have lost this game, bottom line. They had the lead and choked. However, they turned out more strong performances from Tony Pollard, Ceedee Lamb, and Dalton Shultz. As long as Dak is under center, all should continue to be played.
Cardinals 27, Rams 17
Cardinals top performer(s): In a game of backup QBs, Colt McCoy leaned on the usual suspects from the Cardinals offense. James Conner had two rushing scores and Rondale Moore and Deandre Hopkins caught everything thrown their way. I really like Moore’s upside now with Zach Ertz sidelined indefinitely.
Rams top performer(s): A QB change (due to injury) did not change the result. This offense is driving the struggle bus across the whole league. Now Cooper Kupp injured his ankle, requires surgery, and will be out a few weeks. Fade ALL Rams players. Never thought I would be saying that at this point of the year, yet here we are.
49ers 22, Chargers 16
49ers top performer(s): Relatively lackluster showing from the offense in this one, but Brandon Aiyuk continued his strong play. Elijah Mitchell returned from his sprained MCL and received 18 carries for close to 90 yards. Where is Deebo Samuel? You have to keep playing him due to the ceiling, but the floor is dangerously low this year, due to all of the options on the San Fran offense.
Chargers top performer(s): Pretty down game for the Chargers overall, even though they were faced against the tough 49ers defense. The star was Deandre Carter who scored a receiving TD. I don’t have any concerns about this offense, but they need Mike Williams and Keenan Allen back, who both could return this week.
Commanders 32, Eagles 21
Commanders top performer(s):The Washington run game and Terry McLaurin. Remember what I said about trends in the intro? Well, since Taylor Heinicke became the starter, it was clear he was feeding Scary Terry. For those who bought low, they are reaping the rewards now. Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson split time and both found the end zone. Both are viable RB2/flex starters, and McLaurin is clearly a must start at this juncture.
Eagles top performer(s): Bad game for the Eagles offense. Looked out of sync. Turnovers & penalties make it impossible for an offense to really get going. Jalen Hurts accounted for all 3 TDs in this one. Look for them to bounce back this week against Indy. Fire up all the usual lineup locks including Hurts, AJ Brown, Miles Sanders, and even fire up Devonta Smith. I know he has been a miss more than a hit this year, but I think the injury to Dallas Goedert opens things up in a big way for the slim reaper.