Finally Joe Flacco! His poor team has been ravaged by injuries and poor play calling but he really answered the call this past weekend. Oakland's terrible secondary certainly helped out but this is the first time we've been impressed by Baltimore in at least a month. He almost passed for 350 yards and totaled 4 touchdowns with one on the ground. He'll face a much steeper test against Pittsburgh this week but if Big Ben plays he may jus be in game manage mode.
Honorable Mention: Matt Ryan / Matthew Stafford / Andy Dalton
Matt Ryan's numbers were better than those of the winning quarterback on the other end, and even more impressive he did it without Julio for most of the game. Tony Gonzo was on fire and he threw for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns. Matthew Stafford threw a ton because Detroit was playing from behind for most of the game - his 329 yards and 3 touchdowns were great for fantasy owners. Andy Dalton didn't gash for lots of yardage but his 4 touchdowns sure were a pleasant surprise.
Goat: Eli Manning
Eli Manning has made the goat list quite a but this year. We'll wait and see if his usual playoff tear begins but it is troubling how bad he's been especially to his supporters that now must try to defend high draft position for him (me). No touchdowns and two picks against a solid but not spectacular Cincy defense and barely over 200 yards when his team needed it. If he's our starter you probably don't have a winning record unless you picked up Josh Freeman or Carson Palmer as a backup.
Top Scorer: Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson is the only player in discussion against Arian Foster as the best back this year in football and his doing it after a serious injury is all the more app laudable. And in the last three weeks in particular he's been on a serious tear. He's peaking at the right time. He totaled over 175 yards and a rushing touchdown in a crucial divisional game.
Honorable Mention: Fred Jackson / Marshawn Lynch
Fred Jackson gave a heroic performance only to finish Sunday's loss with a concussion that will keep him out of Thursday night's game. He only rushed for 80 yards but scored twice and added 35 yards in a game that he singlehandedly kept close. Marshawn Lynch meanwhile was his typical self, crossing the century mark and scoring - but impressive for him was his 27 yards through the air. He was the closer and he was iffy heading into this game to boot.
Goat: Michael Turner
Make no mistake about it, this New Orleans defense isn't just bad, they are historically bad. Their talent level isn't in discussion for all time bad, but Drew Brees putting up points on the other side is causing other teams to keep gouging and scoring too. Michael Turner should have had a much better game pounding the rock. Especially with the game on the line in a goal to go situation to win the game at the end. The Falcons inability to run in short yardage is the biggest reason they are finally defeated. 15 yards total rushing out of the Burner.
Top Scorer: Calvin Johnson
The Madden curse took a week off. Calvin Johnson finally scores which just sounds strange to type, and he crossed 200 yards receiving. His 12 catches were a career high and he was needed and answered in a game that the Lions tried so hard not to lose. Let's hope he can string two games together, he'll get his chance against a banged up Packer secondary on Sunday.
Honorable Mention: Danario Alexander / Jacoby Jones
Safe to say that no one drafted either of this players over the summer. And it's pretty safe to say that none of you had either in your starting lineups this past weekend. But if you played in a deep league that commanded it, they helped you out. Danario's numbers might be inflated a little bit because of a broken tackle 80 yard touchdown on a short slant but Phillip Rivers will need someone to catch balls. Jacoby Jones meanwhile added a special teams touchdown again and proved to be a reliable deep threat adding over 50 yards receiving.
Victor Cruz / Eric Decker / Steve Smith
Victor Cruz hasn't had much to dance about in the last month. Cincy really shut him down and he managed a very meek 3 catches for 26 yards. Many a giant make the goat list not just this week but for much of the year. Eric Decker was just not needed as Demaryius on the other end did well and the Broncos played with a strong lead for most of the game. He had only 15 yards. But he did catch one more ball than Steve Smith. Ole' Steve sure had some fantasy wow games in the past but it may be time to realize that he's on the wrong side of 30 and may be too old to be a consistent producer. He only had 19 yards receiving and now has a new injury for owners to fret over.
Top Scorer: Jimmy Graham
I've admitted already that I was wrong this year on the Gronk / Graham debate 2012. But this week I looked sage at the very least. Graham was key in the New Orleans win as he scored twice and had WR1 numbers with 146 yards and a whopping 7 catches. He appears to be past his nagging injury that prevented his earlier breakout. Let's hope for continued performances like this.
Honorable Mention: Tony Gonzalez / Greg Olsen
Jimmy Graham wasn't the only bigtime tightend to show up in the crucial Falcons-New Orlean showdown. Tony Gonzalez has continued his All Pro season with two touchdowns of his own and even out caught Jimmy Graham for 11 catches for 122 yards. He dropped one touchdown earlier in a big time passbreakup from Roman Harper. Greg Olsen reminded people that he's a viable tight end. He was the top target with Steve Smith out and had 9 catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Anytime your tight end catches two touchdowns you're almost certainly going to win a fantasy matchup
Espn had a pretty good inside look at Vernon Davis as a team player and a dad off the field in their pregame show and all of that was teary good, but Vernon ain't getting it done on the green. Michael Crabtree has passed him as the top receiving threat this year and he's just not getting the looks. Having the young new quarterback Colin Kaepernick in there didn't help. He did get four catches but 30 yards may finally convince people that he has regressed to being just a middle of the pack option at tight end.DEF:
Top Scorer: Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos turned in the highest scoring defensive day for any fantasy team this week in their win over Carolina. 7 sacks, a safet, a pick six, another pick and a special teams touchdown. And if you play in a league that keeps track of total yards, they limited Super Cam to only 250 total yards. Champ Bailey, Von Miller and Jon Fox are fielding quite the defensive outfit.
Honorable Mention: Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys salvaged the day with two 4th quarter defensive touchdowns and they were helped out by playing a rookie quarterback. Nick Foles didn't play all that bad, but the two turnovers at the end were pretty devestating to Philly. Add in a special teams touchdown and Dallas didn't do too shabby.