Fantasy Clicks: Week 10 Revelations
Donovan McNabb: AP
From the Chargers' perspective, it was great to see LT, Rivers (231 yards, 2 TDs) and Gates (7 catches, 78 yards) put their indelible stamp on a clash of offensive powers. But what could possibly explain Vincent Jackson's disappearance, in the form of one catch for 10 yards? Yes, we know Philly's Asante Samuel is the greatest cornerback since Sliced Bread (a Harvard grad, FYI), but still, should we be checking out milk cartons at supermarkets, in hopes of finding Jackson's mug photo? And what about Darren Sproles (45 yards)? Is this what happens to fringe backs, upon signing big-money deals? If so, perhaps this is a friendly reminder to avoid Leon Washington, Ladell Betts, Correll Buckhalter, et al in next year's fantasy drafts. Back to LT for a moment: Now that we've found an NFL team -- at least one that doesn't rhyme with "Schmaiders" -- for which he can dominate, is it safe to put Tomlinson back in starting lineups, beginning with Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland and Dallas in Weeks 11-14? We're guessing 'yes' ... but then again, we also took the Vegas under on "Jason Avant and 150 yards." (Kidding!)
Speaking of Avant, who had only 198 total receiving yards prior to Sunday, should we chalk up the 8 catches/156 yards to 1) dumb luck, 2) an undisclosed deal with the devil or a 3) random act of kindness on McNabb's part? No matter the answer, it's pleasing to see his unexpected breakout didn't come at the expense of Jackson (8 catches, 91 yards), Maclin (6 catches, 76 yards, 1 TD) or Celek (6 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD). It's also comforting to know he'll be available on waivers this week, conveniently right before Philly battles Chicago in Week 11. And in case you're wondering, the Vegas over/under for McNabb passing TDs is 11.8 -- which seems a tad high.
Indianapolis 35, New England 34
Regarding Randy Moss (9 catches, 179 yards, 2 TDs) and Reggie Wayne (10 catches, 126 yards, 2 TDs) ... we believe their Sunday shakedown may have been the greatest WR-combo day in the history of fantasy football -- at least in games NOT involving Jerry Rice. Perhaps we'll do some digging this week to confirm this belief; and if we're wrong, we'll probably let the issue resolve itself through the magic of silence.
Tennessee 41, Buffalo 17
On the flip side ... there are three positives/negatives to derive from Buffalo's most recent flameout: 1) RB Fred Jackson (98 total yards, including a 27-yard TD pass) may be a better fantasyland quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick; 2) Marshawn Lynch (55 total yards) currently wears the stench of fantasy roadkill; and 3) Lee Evans (4 catches, 50 yards, 2 TDs) is a must-consideration at the flex spot every week -- especially when Trent Edwards (or Jackson) is flinging the ball. If anything, that'll serve as a nice distraction for the Bills having zero December games of real-world importance.
Arizona 31, Seattle 20
There's also a certain sadistic enjoyment of predicting when Anquan Boldin (8 catches, 105 yards) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (9 catches, 165 yards) will reclaim their once-lofty posts on the fantasy-wideout totem pole. In Housh's case, it's a little easier to forecast greatness ... or darkness (given Seattle's dearth of top-notch WRs). In Boldin's case, though, we simply recommend handcuffing him to Steve Breaston (4 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD) -- no matter the cost. Even if Larry Fitzgerald (7 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD) is already on the fantasy payroll.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Rich Kane/Icon SMI
Speaking of the Big Apple, it was neither a stellar nor yawn-inducing day for the Jets playmakers (minus Shonn Greene's 26 total yards). Mark Sanchez has evolved into a regular starting consideration, depending on matchups; Jerricho Cotchery (6 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD), Braylon Edwards (3 catches, 79 yards) and Dustin Keller (6 catches, 58 yards) reaffirmed their worth in New York's typically run-first, run-second attack; and Thomas Jones (77 total yards, 1 TD) made another case for being a top-15 pick in the 2010 fantasy drafts -- regardless of his age (he'll be 32 then) or which team signs him in the offseason.
Kansas City 16, Oakland 10
Regarding the Raiders, it'd be easy to take potshots at JaMarcus Russell (67 yards passing, zero TDs) for failing to win a one-man quarterback competiton (and no, Bruce Gradkowski doesn't really count). But who's to say the dysfunctional QB carousel in Oakland won't spin back into Russell's favor -- maybe next week against Cincinnati? Bottom line: The Raiders' passing game is such a train wreck right now, we're not sure either Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica, George Blanda, Kenny Stabler or Todd Marinovich (sic!) could remedy this mess in the short-term. Thankfully, the running game is solid with Michael Bush (129 total yards), Justin Fargas (41 yards, 1 TD) and back-from-injury superstar Darren McFadden (11 rushing yards -- he gets a one-time free pass). But ay the rub: Good luck guessing which tailback will play the starring role from game-to-game, week-to-week.
Carolina 28, Atlanta 19
On the flip side ... the Falcons' future is more of a hot-button issue than their fantasy present. Yes, Michael Turner rushed for 111 yards on just nine carries ... but he's likely out for 1-2 weeks with an ankle injury. Yes, Jason Snelling racked up 93 total yards and one touchdown in relief of Turner ... but he's not necessarily built like a classic, every-down back (especially when opposing defenses have time to prepare). And yes, Jerious Norwood may return to the Falcons next week against the Giants ... but what's the point of placing all your fantasy marbles with an injury-plagued back? Of course, none of the above problems would be so profound if Matt Ryan (226 total yards, 1 TD) was playing at a high level OR Roddy White (7 catches, 98 yards) could recapture some of his Weeks 5-8 magic. Instead, everyone will just have to pull together and absorb a club-wide slump that's slowly devolving into a drought.
Miami 25, Tampa Bay 23
The Buccaneers' prospects are a little more concrete: QB Josh Freeman (232 total yards, 1 TD) will one day be a fantasy force -- perhaps earlier than Sanchez, Stafford, Tebow, Bradford, Snead, Locker, etc. -- but he most certainly won't escape backup purgatory for the remainder of this season. Kellen Winslow (7 catches, 102 yards) has quickly become Freeman's go-to guy and could possibly crack the Tight End Top-5 during the fantasy-playoff weeks (Jets, Seahawks, Saints). And Cadillac Williams (52 yards, 1 TD) only holds tangible value in TD-only leagues ... or 16-teamers, like the SI.com & Friends super-conference. Other than that, try not to whine and moan too much when WR Maurice Stovall (4 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD) and RB Derrick Ward get the occasional crumb from the table. It's not like they're stealing bread from a Saints superstar.
Reggie Bush: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
As for the Rams, instead of going ga-ga over Steven Jackson's 9-catch, 176-yard, 1-TD performance -- putting him just behind Chris Johnson in the pantheon of Week 10 dynamos -- we're too distracted by the following questions: Who in the heck is WR Brandon Gibson? ... And why did it take sooooo long for Donnie Avery (4 catches, 67 yards, 2 TDs) to resemble a fantasy-relevant receiver this season? For those desperate for help at the WR slot, Avery represents a slight upgrade over the bigger Gibson (7 catches, 93 yards); but then again, we'd rather have Tennessee's Justin Gage during the fantasy-playoff weeks ... broken back and all. (Writer's Note: We're aware of Marc Bulger's 305 total yards and two touchdowns, but he's still quarterbacka non grata for the foreseeable future. So please, don't go there.)
Green Bay 17, Dallas 7
The Packers didn't fare much better at Lambeau ... but at least there were pockets of goodness sprinkled in with long periods of inactivity. Aaron Rodgers (204 total yards, 2 TDs) hardly lived up to his No. 1 overall ranking in standard leagues, but he's entitled to the occasional fantasy mulligan. Donald Driver (4 catches, 50 yards) and Greg Jennings (4 catches, 45 yards) were passable, as well. As for RB Ryan Grant (87 total yards), here's something to keep your hot chocolate warm Monday morning: He's a shoo-in for 120-plus total yards in Weeks 11 (San Francisco) and 12 (Detroit).
Cincinnati 18, Pittsburgh 12
Regarding the Cincy offense, let's just write off the numbers from Palmer (178 passing yards, zero TDs), Ochocinco (2 catches, 29 yards) and Benson (22 rushing yards) and assume they'll be a fantasy force from this point forward -- especially with Pittsburgh and Baltimore cleared from the schedule. And in Benson's case (health permitting), let's assume he's a shoo-in for 450-plus yards and four touchdowns during Weeks 11-13 (Raiders, Browns, Lions). Cha-ching!
Washington 27, Denver 17
Other than those comical findings, there's nothing much to see here -- unless you believe Broncos rookie Knowshon Moreno (104 total yards) is worth moving heaven and earth before the trade deadline ... or that backup QB Chris Simms (13 yards passing, 1 TD) can sufficiently lead the Broncos offense, should Kyle Orton miss significant time to injury.
Minnesota 27, Detroit 10
In an uncertain, topsy-turvy world, it's nice to know we can still depend on the fantasy contributions of Adrian Peterson (143 total yards, 2 TDs) and Brett Favre (344 yards passing, 1 TD). It's also good to know that WR Sidney Rice (7 catches, 201 yards) has gone out of his way to prove he's not a fluke ... while nearly justifying a certain know-it-all's summertime prediction of 1,100 receiving yards. But then again, that's what fantasy stars are supposed to do against Detroit ... they're expected to expose an injury-ravaged Lions defense that must (over)compensate for a stunning lack of creativity on offense (featuring an O-line that would make a United Football League quarterback sweat). As for Peterson, it's not too late to trade for him -- as long as you're prepared to surrender your first born in the process. And even then, Owner B might need more collateral -- like the Rose Bowl Electric Football Game (with lighted stadium) that you're saving for your first born. How's that for irony?
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night (@SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.