Fantasy Clicks: Week 9 Revelations
Josh Freeman: J. Meric/Getty Images
As for the Packers, there's really nothing much to say: QB Aaron Rodgers (292 total yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) is on his way to becoming the best fantasyland QB to flame out in real-world football. Running back Ryan Grant (96 rushing yards, 1 TD) looks every bit the part of a conservative Round 2 pick in the August drafts. Donald Driver (4 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD) has officially surpassed Greg Jennings (5 catches, 61 yards) as Green Bay's best receiver (for this year, at least) and James Jones (4 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD) has finally earned the right to NOT be mocked when claimed off waivers. Outside of that, we're staring at another Green Bay club that looks sweet on paper but simply cannot finish during crunch time. Thankfully, that's not a major concern in fantasyland.
New England 27, Miami 17
Regarding the Dolphins, isn't it funny how a team's fantasy numbers can seem underwhelming when NOT artificially boosted by multiple Ted Ginn, Jr. kick-return touchdowns? To call Miami's Sunday effort "satisfactory" would be an insult to the guy/gal who invented RC Cola (it beats Shasta) ... and to call it "horrible" would be a tad hyper-critical, as well. So, let's just find a happy medium when saying the fantasy work of Chad Henne (219 yards passing, zero TDs), Ronnie Brown (65 total yards, 1 TD pass), Ricky Wiliams (36 total yards) and Ginn (1 catch, 7 yards) was just enough to prevent us from napping through the Lions-Seahawks pregame show.
Seattle 32, Detroit 20
On the flip side ... we're not going to go overboard on Lions QB Matthew Stafford (203 yards, 2 TDs) and his five interceptions; after all, even borderline Hall of Famers (like Warner) throw five picks every now and then. However, that one fourth-quarter, jump-ball interception to Calvin Johnson was an absolute travesty, perhaps the worst pass of any NFL quarterback all season. If anything, it reminded us that Stafford is still 4-5 weeks away from being emergency-start relevant. Stafford's teammates had a mixed fantasy day, as well, starting with Calvin (2 catches, 27 yards), Kevin Smith (76 total yards) and WR Bryant Johnson (2 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD). The only reliable source of goodness was Brandon Pettigrew (7 catches, 70 yards) ... and he's only worth starting in 14- or 16-team leagues. One last thing about Calvin: Every receiver, even all-world talents, deserves a grace period when coming back from injury; so, we're extending a one-week free pass, on the assumption/hope of 6 catches/75 yards/1 TD in Week 10 against Minnesota.
Indianapolis 20, Houston 17
Regarding the Colts, we'd love to give RB Joseph Addai (112 total yards, 2 TDs) full credit for his five catches, but the Texans were just wayyyyy too accommodating against the pass -- especially in the red zone. Did you see how open Addai was at times? It was almost as if the Houston players and coaches were completely blinded by the sunsphere that engulfs LucasOil Stadium between the hours of 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. ... and couldn't find their bearings in time to make a short-yardage tackle. Speaking of the sunsphere, the CBS announcing crew of Kevin Harlan/Solomon Wilcots offered a juicy little nugget during the game, saying that Indy intentionally steers clear of the sun-drenched areas on pass plays. It's too bad Houston didn't know that. Otherwise, Peyton Manning (one TD) wouldn't have cracked the 300-yard-passing mark again ... and maybe tight end Dallas Clark (14 catches, 119 yards) wouldn't have set a modern-day PPR record for most fantasy points WITHOUT scoring a touchdown.
Kurt Warner: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Regarding the Bears, this would be a prime example of how garbage time can positively affect one's fantasy standing. Look at the results: Jay Cutler with 386 total yards and three TDs? Devin Hester and Earl Bennett combining for 13 catches and 187 receiving yards? Matt Forte racking up 111 total yards on just 11 touches? Thank goodness for blowouts, eh? Tight end Greg Olsen (5 catches, 71 yards, 3 TDs) also got some juice from garbage time, but we're willing to give him credit for initially deadlocking the score at 7 ... before Arizona rattled off something like 27 unanswered points. Either way, Chicago's playmaking core is looking pretty, pretty good! on the trade market right now, which is a good thing for owners who've already taken a gander at the Bears' difficult slate during the fantasy-playoff weeks (Green Bay, Baltimore, Minnesota).
San Diego 21, N.Y. Giants 20
On the flip side, the Giants came through with a predictable, yet productive outing, which speaks to their fantasy bankability. From Eli Manning (215 passing yards, 2 TDs) and RB Ahmad Bradshaw (66 total yards) to WRs Steve Smith (8 catches, 57 yards, 1 TD) and Mario Manningham (6 catches, 52 yards) ... the whole day brought a measure of fantasy goodness to the masses. We do have one complaint, though: How does Brandon Jacobs (68 total yards) only warrant 12 touches in a nip-and-tuck affair? How is he not toting the rock at least 25 times, regardless of weather? It's enough to drive Jacobs' owners batty, especially those without enough ammo to find a RB upgrade, via trade.
Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16
The Eagles, come to think of it, didn't light the fantasy world on fire, either. Aside from LeSean McCoy's 115 total yards ... there was absolutely nothing to glean from the experience -- which is why we're handing out mulligans to Donovan McNabb (227 yards, 1 TD), DeSean Jackson (2 catches, 29 yards), Jeremy Maclin (3 catches, 44 yards) ... and shifting the focus back to Dallas, and Roy Williams, in particular.
Maybe Williams (5 catches, 75 yards) should proclaim himself to be the Cowboys' No. 1 receiver every week. Perhaps his lack of media-driven candor -- and not a noticeable decline in atheltic grace -- stands as the true reason for just 14 catches entering Sunday's clash. Whatever the case, he certainly brought sidebar comic relief to a game that had virtually no spark at all.
New Orleans 30, Carolina 20
The Saints may have better across-the-board talent than the Panthers ... but DeAngelo Williams takes a backseat to no one in fantasy circles. With each passing game, one gets the inescapable feeling that D-Will (161 total yards, 2 TDs on Sunday) will win the touchdown crown amongst running backs. And at bare minimum, he seems like a lock to finish top-5 in yards from scrimmage. All this begs the question: What's it going to take for you to finally swing a blockbuster deal here ... likely surrendering three solid starters for Williams? And if three solid regulars isn't enough to consummate a deal, you can always sweeten Owner B's offer with a free Big Mac -- every day until Dec. 9!
Chris Johnson: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The 49ers, for what it's worth, actually have a deeper cast of playmakers at their disposal. From Frank Gore (158 total yards, 1 TD) and TE Vernon Davis (10 catches, 102 yards) to WRs Michael Crabtree (3 catches, 30 yards) and Jason Hill (4 catches, 50 yards, 2 TDs), this club is oozing with fantasyland and real-world potential. Of course, the only must-start consideration remains Gore -- and that includes the fantasy-playoff periods of Week 14 (vs. Arizona) and 16 (vs. Detroit). In fact, can you just picture Gore singlehandedly carrying owners to a fantasy title on Dec. 27, as a direct result of destroying the Lions? It oughta be enough to make one forget about getting tube socks for Christmas just two days earlier.
Atlanta 31, Washington 17
From the weary Portis, we subtly transition to the all-powerful Michael Turner, who bullrushed his way through the Washington defense for 180 total yards (166 rushing) and two touchdowns. Remember those reports of Turner being slow and out of shape -- from two weeks ago? Well, after 317 total yards and three scores -- against two respectable defenses -- it's safe to say Turner shall remain a top-7 star from this point forward. And with a fantasy-playoff schedule that includes home dates with New Orleans and Buffalo ... owners should already be moving heaven and earth to land him before the trade-deadline period of Thanksgiving Week.
Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 7
For a 6-2 club playing in arguably the NFL's toughest division, the Bengals really only have three fantasy stars: Cedric Benson became the first running back in perhaps the entire Ray Lewis era to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back meetings against the Ravens (or something like that). Chad Ochocinco (5 catches, 66 yards) had a a solid day in PPR leagues; and Carson Palmer (224 yards passing, 1 TD) didn't come close to sniffing five TDs (his Week 7 output) -- although no one thought he'd duplicate that feat again. So, what does this mean for December? For 12- or 14-team leagues, Palmer, Benson and Ocho shall remain must-start considerations every week -- including next Sunday's grudge match with Pittsburgh. Maybe Carson will even throw four touchdowns.
Jacksonville 24, Kansas City 21
The game's bankable stars had decent-to-great days, as well: Matt Cassel (265 total yards, 2 TDs) edged David Garrard (293 yards, 1 TD) in the competitive QB derby; Maurice Jones-Drew (134 total yards, 1 TD) topped Jamaal Charles (55 total yards) in the RB battle; and Mike Sims-Walker (6 catches, 147 yards, 1 TD) used the game of his life to outshine Dwayne Bowe (4 catches, 74 yards). Funny thing about Sims-Walker/Bowe: Yours truly dealt both wideouts in a 2-for-1 swap with NBA.com guru Scott Wraight this week (SI.com & Friends fantasy league) ... for the right to watch Calvin Johnson limp up and down the field against Seattle -- all the while telling people, "Come to think of it, Calvin's never been in my kitchen either."
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.