Can you believe that, including this week, there are only 5(!!) regular season weeks left in the fantasy football season? It’s scary how quickly this season is going, and, as always, is ripe with some juicy headlines. What’s up with the veteran QB’s such as Rodgers, Brady, Stafford, and Russ? Why are most second year QBs, outside of Justin Fields, struggling? Will the Eagles run the table? There’s truly no shortage of headlines this year. It’s been an absolute whirlwind, but one that we have had an absolute blast trying to make sense of it all. Let’s take another look at the best fantasy performances that were, and were not, of this past weekend.
Eagles 29, Texans 17
Eagles top performer(s): The usual suspects from this elite offense remained busy on Thursday night in their win. Jalen Hurts had another strong game with a 128.9 QB rating. Add in strong performances from Dallas Goedert, AJ Brown, and Miles Sanders, and one can see how they won, even though they played far from a clean and perfect game. Multiple guys on this offense are capable of producing monster fantasy weeks at any time. I expect another big showing next Monday night against the Commanders. Texans top performer(s): As I stated last week, the only fantasy relevant option from the Texans is stud rookie Dameon Pierce. I predicted he would have a strong game, mainly due to Philly’s weak run defense, especially without Jordan Davis, who was placed on IR due to a high ankle sprain. How did Pierce respond? Well, how’s 139 yards rushing? Pretty good, although I’m sure his fantasy owners would have loved a score. Pierce is easily a weekly must-start.
Chargers 20, Falcons 17
Chargers top performer(s): As the Chargers offense continues to struggle for the most part one thing is crystal clear, and that would be Austin Ekeler being a fantasy rockstar. Another 2 scores on the day as he continues his crazy end zone outburst. Joshua Palmer also had over 100 yards receiving as he was LAC’s WR1 on the day due to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen missing this one due to injuries. Falcons top performer(s): The Falcons are a pesky bunch. Always in games and playing tough. Cordarrelle Patterson had 2 scores in his first game back from IR, and his second score was a thing of beauty. Absolutely truck sticked the LB on his way into the end zone. Missed it? Watch the highlight. As long as Patterson is active, you should be playing him weekly.
Dolphins 35, Bears 32
Dolphins top performer(s): Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle continue to produce big numbers for the Dolphins in their win over the Bears. Raheem Mostert scored as well, and newly acquired Jeff Wilson Jr looked good running the ball as well. All of these players, including Tua, are viable weekly plays. The Dolphins won’t have trouble scoring, regardless of the opponent. Bears top performer(s): Remember when I said a few weeks back that Justin Fields was getting into the zone? I stated that he was looking more and more like Jalen Hurts last year. Could we be witnessing the same ascension? Bears fans certainly hope so. The bottom line is this: Fields is the QB of the future for the Bears. That was the goal this season, and it’s been answered halfway through the season. Fields is the best fantasy storyline coming out of Chicago this year.
Bengals 42, Panthers 21
Bengals top performer(s): Holy smokes Joe Mixon! After AJ Brown had his scoring outburst in the first half of his game last week, Mixon one up’s him by scoring four (4!) TDs in the first half. He ended up scoring 5 total for the game, which is obscene. Sorry if you had to play against him this week. Could this be the start of a hot streak from Mixon? Obviously, you are never benching Mixon, but with Chase out these next few weeks I expect Cincy to lean on him even more. Panthers top performer(s): As Ron Burgundy once said, “Well, that escalated quickly.” This game was over pretty quickly, as the Bengals got up to a 42-7 lead before cruising to the finish line. Just when DJ Moore put together two nice games in a row, he lays a dud. The “star” of this one for Carolina was Terrace Marshall Jr, who scored in garbage time. This offense is going to be inconsistent from a fantasy standpoint, so if you’re counting on big performances from Moore and Foreman weekly, it’s going to drive you crazy more often than not.
Lions 15, Packers 9
Lions top performer(s): Pretty down day for the Detroit offense in the win over Green Bay. The fantasy stars include Jamaal Williams and Amon-Ra St Brown. D’Andre Swift continues to be on a snap count as the team slowly brings him back after his shoulder injury. As long as Amon-Ra and Williams/Swift are healthy and active, you have to play them. No questions about it. Packers top performer(s): Man, the Packers STINK. Aaron Rodgers threw 3 INTs, yet he was their leading rusher with 40 rushing yards. Allen Lazard had over 80 yards and a score which gives him the nod of “fantasy star” of the day. Outside of Aaron Jones, I really don’t see a weekly “must-start” from a fantasy standpoint in this offense.
Patriots 26, Colts 3
Patriots top performer(s): The Patriots defense absolutely dominated with 9 sacks in this one. Rhamondre Stevenson also had a nice receiving TD. Other than these two, as well as Jakobi Meyers, no other Patriots should be considered for lineups at this time. Colts top performer(s): Well, another horrific offensive showing from Indy, which ultimately led to Frank Reich’s dismissal as Indy’s head coach earlier this week. Honestly, it’s not an overly surprising development based upon their offensive struggles, especially at the QB position, which was supposed to be Reich’s strength. What is surprising, however, was the aftermath with Indy naming Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach, and then Saturday entrusting his play calling duties to a 30 year old assistant. Now, let me be clear, this could work out terrifically for the Colts. But, until it does, I’ll be the world’s biggest pessimist regarding this situation. I just don’t see a scenario where this works out well the rest of this year. I’m benching ALL Colts players from here on out. This includes JT. Yes, Jonathan Taylor, the consensus number one overall pick in drafts this year.
Jets 20, Bills 17
Jets top performer(s): J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS baby! A huge win over Buffalo has folks in New York and New Jersey pretty darned hype about their team, and they should be. The big fantasy stars in this one were Michael Carter and Garrett Wilson. Wilson seems to be increasing his targets weekly, and it won’t be long until he’s undoubtedly the WR1 on this team and a weekly flex option, which is where I consider Carter at this time. Other than these two, no other Jets should be in lineups. Bills top performer(s): They started off great. Then, the Jets defense really settled down and did a good job containing Josh Allen. Granted, Allen still had 80 yards rushing and two scores, but his passing was far less effective. Add in the injury to Allen’s throwing elbow, and folks (including myself) have a right to be worried. It’s reportedly a UCL sprain, which could be problematic for Allen when it comes to his grip strength and sensation in his hand. Regardless of who is under center, you do NOT bench Stefon Diggs. Just in case you had that inkling of doubt, do NOT do it. Trust me.
Vikings 20, Commanders 17
Vikings top performer(s): Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and now add in TJ Hockenson as weekly must starts from the elite Minnesota offense. Adam Thielen is a solid option each week too. All of these players had strong weeks in their win over Washington, and they should continue rolling each week. Never bench the Vikings players. Commanders top performer(s): Curtis Samuel had a long TD grab and Terry McLaurin had 5 catches for 56 yards. Nothing overly sexy, but these two WRs can be counted on with relatively safe floors each week. Their RB situation is impossible to figure out, as Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson are essentially at a dead split for playing time.
Jaguars 27, Raiders 20
Jags top performer(s): As I wrote last week, it is Travis Etienne SZN to the max. This was looking to be the case before the James Robinson trade, and then after the trade, the stars were aligned for a ETN breakout, and breakout he did. Another over 100 yards and 2 TDs. ETN and Kirk are safe plays each week and should not be benched. Raiders top performer(s): After a dud last week, Davante Adams balled out this past week. Goes without saying, but start Adams and Josh Jacobs each week.
Seahawks 31, Cardinals 21
Seahawks top performer(s): The usual suspects scored for Seattle in this one. In case you haven’t watched the Seahawks this year that includes stud rookie RB Kenneth Walker II, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Even Noah Fant had a strong game for the Seahawks. Geno Smith is the comeback player of the year. Crazy and fun year in Seattle. Can they keep it up against the tough Tampa Bay defense in Germany this week? We’ll see, but I would still play all the usual suspects. Cardinals top performer(s): Kyler Murray continues to run more in recent weeks, which elevates his fantasy ceiling significantly. Rondale Moore, Zach Ertz, and Deandre Hopkins all had strong performances in this one as well. Hopkins, Murray, and Ertz continue to be no doubt about it starters. Remember when Robbie Anderson was a “good get” for Arizona? He had 1 catch for -4 yards.
Buccaneers 16, Rams 13
Bucs top performer(s): Vintage comeback Tom performance from Brady in this one. He actually looked semi decent in this one as he avoided any turnovers and passed for close to 300 yards. Their rushing attack continued to struggle and only gained 51 yards TOTAL on the ground. This won’t cut it. Do they give more volume to Rachaad White? That’s something I would keep an eye on. Also, with Cade Otton having a strong game, I could see him being used as a TE streamer. Rams top performer(s): Like I said last week, outside of Cooper Kupp, I’m done with the Rams. Can they still make a push here? Sure. Does it look likely? Absolutely not. Their running game is atrocious. Kupp is the only viable play on a weekly basis, which is something most of us did not see coming.
Chiefs 20, Titans 17
Chiefs top performer(s): Mahomes threw for almost 450 yards and distributed the ball pretty well overall, but continued to pepper Travis Kelce with a majority of targets. Juju Smith-Schuster has been solid in recent weeks and is now a weekly flex option. Mahomes also rushed for over 50 yards and a TD. Remember a few weeks back when I predicted in my “Talkin’ Crazy” column that Mahomes would be MVP? Well, it’s starting to look not so crazy after all. Titans top performer(s): King Henry is a bad man. That’s it. He is the Titans offense, and will continue to be the rest of the way. 17 carries, 115 yards, 2 more TDs. Dominance. They will continue to lean heavily on him the rest of the way out.
Ravens 27, Saints 13
Ravens top performer(s): The fantasy star in this one was Kenyan Drake. Close to 100 yards and 2 rushing scores. Don’t scramble to pick him up just yet, however. Gus Edwards should be back after the bye week, and JK Dobbins shouldn’t be much further behind him. Mark Andrews should be back after the bye as well, which is coming at a perfect time for Baltimore. Saints top performer(s): Chris Olave had a pretty solid performance. Alvin Kamara, who was performing great over the last couple of weeks, did not. However, you still should start Kamara and Olave. Everyone else on the Saints, not so much.