All week long leading up to the Saints-Packers matchup, I kept hearing how good the Packers pass defense was, and that it would even present a challenge for the potent New Orleans offense. The Packers cornerbacks get up in the face of wide receivers, they successfully use press coverage, and they throw pass-catchers off their routes. Many fantasy leaguers considered benching some of their top Saints.
Hopefully, none of them were silly enough to bench Drew Brees, who is a must-start no matter the matchup. Brees sent the Green Bay pass defense back to the classroom to figure out how they allowed him to deliver his best game of the season. The New Orleans quarterback threw for 323 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. When the Green Bay defensive backs were too aggressive, he made them pay. When there were holes in the middle of the field, Brees exploited them. He put on a clinic, and you have to wonder how the Packers defense will respond. I say they will bounce back and still be worth starting. With Brees, it's simply a question of whether or not I rank him as the No. 1 fantasy quarterback after his performance. Check for my in-season rankings on RotoExperts.com Tuesday night.
Brees' top pass-catcher was Lance Moore, who finished with 115 receiving yards and two scores. I thought by now Moore would command enough defensive respect that his numbers would start to be erratic. Yet, he has been up to the challenge, and he fully won me over on Monday night. Moore has truly arrived as Brees' go-to guy, and with the Saints QB able top spread the ball around so effectively, there's no way Moore can face lots of double-teams and bracket coverage. He will continue to flourish for the remainder of the schedule.
Marques Colston caught a 70-yard TD pass, which was his only catch of the game. Despite the big play, I want to see more consistent production before I reconsider him for my starting lineup. I'm no doctor, but Colston looked like he was uncomfortably racing away from the defense on his score. I think his knee problem still lingers, and it bothers me as a Colston owner that he was shut out the rest of the night.
Jeremy Shockey caught five balls for 57 yards, and he is looking healthy again. I'd start him with confidence again, because as I have said so many times recently, anything you get from your tight ends this year is an added bonus to what you receive from your core players. Shockey will give you a nice 4-to-10 points each week, depending on whether he gets the occasional TD.
Pierre Thomas totaled 121 yards from scrimmage and scored twice. He's running much better than he did earlier in the season, running with good vision, and more important, displaying a complete desire to risk his body for the good of the team. Thomas ran inside very impressively on Monday, breaking tackles and battling hard for extra yardage. He'll continue to be a factor, even when Reggie Bush returns. He's a better runner from scrimmage than Bush or Deuce McAllister right now, so at worst, he'll be worth a flex spot when Bush comes back. McAllister scored, but he only finished with five yards on five carries. Deuce will be nothing more than a goal-line guy for the foreseeable future. Thomas is versatile and will continue to produce good combined yardage numbers, even if the TD production is inconsistent.
Aaron Rodgers played an uneven game, throwing two TD passes, but he was also intercepted three times. You will get these outings from Rodgers another once or twice in the final weeks. He plays in a timing-based offense, and when opponents disrupt or pick up on that timing, they can jump his routes, especially when he is throwing to his favorite targets. Rodgers needs to vary his decision-making more in tight games or when he gets behind. When the team falls far behind, Rodgers will struggle, because he is much better throwing slants and curls than the deep ball. It's hard to play catch-up with his skills and the Green Bay playbook. Still, he has played well overall and should remain a top-10 fantasy starter throughout the remainder of the schedule.
Greg Jennings caught eight passes for 101 yards and a TD. While many fantasy players and fans regard him as a speed guy, he continued to prove how tough and resilient he is, absorbing major shots that would have sent lesser players to the sidelines. Not only did he take a lick from safety Roman Harper that is destined to be replayed on highlight films for a long time to come, but he was also nearly knocked out of the Superdome at one point. On an interception return, few saw Saints linebacker Scott Fujita come out of nowhere to send Jennings flying into the sideline area. Both times, Jennings simply got up and returned to action. Jennings' owners should not only be proud of him, but they can also surely count on his durability during the fantasy playoffs. Heck, Fujita's hit was so fierce... I swore my digital cable signal started breaking up for a few seconds.-- Scott Engel
With the obvious exception of playing without Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh being held to a season-low four catches for 20 yards, things went pretty much as expected for the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 54 percent of his passes on the way to 168 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Those numbers have become the norm for Fitzpatrick, and with a rough upcoming schedule (Baltimore, Indianapolis, Washington), any real thought that he could help fantasy owners has been squashed. The same can be said for Cedric Benson, who was held to just 2.2 yards-per-carry on 16 attempts. Take away his 104-yard, one touchdown game against the Jaguars, and Benson is averaging 44.5 yards and hasn't scored in his four other outings since taking over for Chris Perry. While Johnson's deactivation and Houshmandzadeh's poor showing were very disappointing, they can be expected to perform up to their previous levels for the remainder of the season (with Johnson as a flex play and Houshmandzadeh a steady WR2).
Willie Parker aggravated his balky knee, and was removed from the game in the third quarter. He has now missed all or part of seven contests this year, and simply can't be trusted in your starting lineup at this critical juncture of the season. His replacement, Mewelde Moore, filled in admirably once again, rushing for 56 yards on 15 carries, and catching four balls for 41 receiving yards. If Parker is out for any length of time, Moore is a nice RB2 play because of his versatility, although it appears that Gary Russell, who's seen increased action in short-yardage situations over the past few weeks, may turn into a touchdown vulture. With Ben Roethlisberger finally settling into a consistent groove (he's averaging 275.6 yards with four scores and no picks over his last three games), the Steelers three main receiving threats (Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller) will see an uptick in production over the next few weeks. Holmes led the team against the Bengals with five catches for 84 yards, while Ward was held to only one catch for 37 yards. Ward had been the primary target over the past few weeks, so it makes sense that Holmes saw a little less attention being paid in his direction, and he took advantage. Both should be considered borderline WR2/strong flex options. Miller returned to action after missing the previous three games, and had four catches for 44 yards while scoring his second touchdown. It's been a trying season for Miller's owners, but their patience will be rewarded with a nice stretch run. -- Chris Ryan
After rushing for over 200 yards as a team last week against the Ravens, the Giants -- minus Brandon Jacobs -- were held to 87 yards against the Cardinals. Derrick Ward carried the majority of the load, running the ball 20 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. He also had another 30 yards receiving, and solidified himself as the go-to running back when Jacobs is unavailable. Ahmad Bradshaw handled the ball only four times, totaling nine yards, and should be released back into free agency. With the running game not as effective as usual, Eli Manning had his first 200-plus yard game since Week 5. He also threw for three scores and didn't turn the ball over a single time. While it was good to see him have such a big day, it doesn't change the fact that Manning is a borderline start on a week-to-week basis. Plaxico Burress played one series due to injury, and as was the case earlier in the season when Burress was out, his replacement, Domenik Hixon, led the Giants in receiving. If Burress remains sidelined, Hixon is worth adding. Kevin Boss caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, and has now hauled in a scoring toss in four of his last five games. He's emerged as a must-start at the tight end position.
The bad news for Tim Hightower's owners was that for the third straight week, he was held under 13 carries and 35 yards. The good news was that he scored twice and J.J. Arrington didn't receive any carries. Hightower hasn't emerged as the fantasy stud that many thought he would become after taking over for Edgerrin James, but he does have nine touchdowns, and can still be useful, although more in a RB3/flex role. Even though Arrington didn't have any carries, he did catch five passes for 38 yards. He shouldn't be started in any formats. What more can be said about the Cardinals passing game? Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner remain top options at their positions, and Steve Breaston has become a productive, yet inconsistent commodity. -- C.R.
With 70 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards (on seven catches), Joseph Addai posted back-to-back 100 total-yard games for the first time this year. He's rounding into shape at the perfect time for fantasy owners, although Dominic Rhodes continues to see action, and caught a touchdown pass against the Chargers. Rhodes' presence does hurt Addai's value, but in this age of time-shares, owners can't be too nitpicky. The Colts had five players with five or more catches (Reggie Wayne was not among them), with Anthony Gonzalez delivering the best day, with six grabs for 95 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison also hauled in six passes, marking the first time that Harrison has posted consecutive good outings in 2008. With Peyton Manning operating at an increasingly high level, it's becoming harder and harder to predict which of the Colts pass-catchers will be the right play on a weekly basis. Wayne is still the best option, but he's no longer a top 10 receiver, while both Marvin Harrison and Gonzalez are nothing more than high-upside flex plays.
Entering the game, the Indianapolis defense had surrendered just two touchdowns through the air. Philip Rivers doubled that number, with two scoring strikes. He's now thrown multiple touchdowns in eight out of 11 games, and leads the NFL in that department. Considering Atlanta, Oakland, and Kansas City are the Chargers' next three opponents, there are zero excuses for not having Rivers in your starting lineup. With Rivers expecting to post very healthy touchdown totals over the next few games, Chris Chambers is a great play for your playoff run. He looked to be fully recovered from his ankle injury against Indianapolis, as he caught a season-high six passes for 61 yards. LaDainian Tomlinson had a decent outing, totaling 84 yards on the ground and 30 more on receptions, but in what is becoming a startling trend for the NFL record-holder for touchdowns in a single season, he was held without a score for the seventh time. There's no reason to ever consider benching Tomlinson, but he's doesn't look capable of single-handedly carrying fantasy teams any more. -- C.R.
Trent Edwards was very good for those fantasy owners brave enough to start him. Edwards finished with 311 total yards and four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing. One of his two touchdown passes went to Josh Reed, who caught five balls for 50 yards. That was Reed's first touchdown catch, and despite this effort, he doesn't deserve a place in your lineup. Lee Evans also had five receptions, and finished with 110 receiving yards. Marshawn Lynch finished with 104 total yards and one touchdown, but considering that Buffalo scored 54 points, those totals are slightly disappointing for fantasy owners. Backup tight end Derek Schouman caught his first career touchdown, and totaled 25 yards on three receptions. Tyler Thigpen easily played his worst game of the season, but still put up meaningful fantasy points, with 269 total yards and three touchdowns. The negatives were two interceptions and one fumble. Don't let the turnovers deter you from starting Thigpen, as he has multiple touchdowns in four of his past five games. Thigpen's favorite target was Tony Gonzalez, who matched season highs in receptions and yards, with 10 and 113 respectively, including one touchdown grab. Dwayne Bowe finished with three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, and now has four touchdowns in his past four games. Mark Bradley reeled in two balls for 52 yards and a touchdown, and has had a reception of 30 yards or more in four consecutive games. Larry Johnson had 105 total yards, but failed to get in the end zone. Johnson is a low-end RB2. Jamaal Charles had 67 total yards and a touchdown reception, and the coaches may give Charles more playing time with the Chiefs having nothing to play for the rest of the season. -- Matt Wirkiowski
Matt Cassel soared over the 400-yard mark again and totaled four TDs. He is emerging as a top-level fantasy starter late in the season. If you own Cassel, you can comfortably keep plugging him in if your other option is unreliable, but you still shouldn't consider him over truly elite alternatives just yet. The Patriots are 4-0 when Randy Moss has at least 100 receiving yards. Against Miami, Moss hauled in three touchdown catches among his eight receptions for 125 receiving yards, and spearheaded many fantasy victories this week. There should be no more lingering questions about starting him going forward. Wes Welker matched Moss' eight receptions and totaled 120 yards. Jabar Gaffney snagged five balls for 88 yards, and now has consecutive 80-yard games. Gaffney is worth a spot on your bench if you have room. While the Patriots top three running backs split carries evenly, the clear winner was Kevin Faulk. Faulk totaled 105 yards, and scored one touchdown, while Sammy Morris had 48 total yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis totaled 20 yards, but did score one touchdown. Faulk is the only one of the three even worth a start at your flex spot, but hopefully you have better options.
Chad Pennington had his best game, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, against only one interception, while rushing for three yards, including one touchdown. With the Dolphins having a favorable schedule the rest of the way, Pennington is startable, depending on your other quarterback options. Greg Camarillo had his first touchdown since Week 5, and finished with six receptions for 75 yards. He is now done for the season because of a knee injury. Ted Ginn Jr. totaled 88 yards on five catches, while Davone Bess had his best game, nabbing five balls for 87 yards. Bess could step forward with Camarillo out. Ricky Williams had 40 total yards and one touchdown. With Pennington throwing the ball 41 times, the Dolphins didn't run much, and Ronnie Brown had 10 carries and finished with 47 total yards. Backup running back Casey Cramer caught a two-yard touchdown pass as Pennington, running for his life, found him all alone in the back of the end zone. -- RotoExperts Staff
Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter were the only players who put up significant fantasy numbers. Johnson had 10 receptions for 116 yards, while Walter had seven catches for 93 yards and a nice leaping touchdown grab. Owen Daniels added three receptions for 28 yards. Steve Slaton wasn't able to generate much, and finished with 73 yards. Slaton is nothing better than a flex play, as he has only one touchdown in his past four games. Ahman Green carried the ball often in short-yardage situations, and totaled 47 yards on the afternoon. Sage Rosenfels had all day to throw the majority of the game, but still made bad decisions. Rosenfels threw for 275 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Do not consider Rosenfels at all; he has four touchdowns and eight interceptions in his past four games, and in the next five games, he faces defenses who are in the top-11 in picking off opposing quarterbacks.
Fantasy owners got nothing from the Browns. Brady Quinn threw for 94 yards and two interceptions before being pulled for Derek Anderson, who managed only 51 yards and one interception. Braylon Edwards continues to be the most-targeted Brown, despite three more drops, and finished with five receptions for 85 yards. Kellen Winslow Jr. was able to play, but had only one catch for 11 yards. Donte' Stallworth had one reception for 18 yards. Jamal Lewis ran the ball well, gaining 58 yards on 10 carries, but isn't getting the ball enough, which is odd because the Browns are 19-1 when Lewis gets 20 carries or more. Jerome Harrison, who has been getting more touches as of late, finished with 39 yards. Bench all of your Browns, including Edwards and Winslow, as their production is too erratic. -- M.W.
Shaun Hill threw for 303 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, marking his third consecutive game with multiple touchdown passes. Hill is worth stashing on your bench and depending on matchups, even worth a spot start. Isaac Bruce had his best game of '08, corralling eight balls for 125 yards and one touchdown. Bryant Johnson added four receptions for 56 yards, and Vernon Davis had one reception for 47 yards. DeShaun Foster had one catch that went for nine yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys did a fantastic job containing Frank Gore, limiting him to 26 rushing yards on 14 carries, easily his worst game.
Tony Romo threw 39 times for 341 yards and three touchdowns, as the 49ers pass defense could not stop the Cowboys. Terrell Owens (finally) posted his first 100-yard receiving game, and finished with 213 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown. Roy Williams continued to appear lost since joining the Cowboys, finishing with three catches for 36 yards. Williams has one touchdown catch since joining the Cowboys, so don't start him. Patrick Crayton added two catches for 16 yards and one touchdown. Jason Witten is mired in a slump, catching just four passes in the past four games. If you haven't already, bench Witten, as his rib injury appears to be affecting his play. Marion Barber III finished with 109 total yards, but failed to cross the goal line.-- M.W.
We had a Drew Stanton sighting again, but dynasty leaguers should cool their heels. He left with a concussion and even when he was in, Stanton completed just two of six passes for 18 yards. Meanwhile, Daunte Culpepper completed eight of 20 pass attempts for 121 yards and a TD, in addition to the interception he tossed to Ronde Barber, who returned it the other way for a Buccaneers touchdown. Neither Stanton nor Culpepper should be anywhere near your team in a yearly league. Calvin Johnson, yawn, scored again despite catching just three passes for 66 yards. Kevin Smith had another solid game with 86 rushing yards. Smith has become a strong RB3.
Warrick Dunn met expectations with a touchdown and 90 rushing yards. Those expecting Cadillac Williams to cruise received 27 yards on 16 attempts against a weak defense. Dunn's owners should continue to start him with no fear of Williams taking his carries. Jeff Garcia remains a decent QB2 , as he was 13 of 18 for the day for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Ike Hilliard caught one of those touchdowns, but he often does well against Detroit, and should not be started in any league that requires only two WRs. The other TD was caught by Jerramy Stevens. who should also be avoided in most leagues. -- Mark Strausberg
David Garrard did slice up the Minnesota secondary to the tune of 317 yards, but could only find the end zone once. It was mostly a lot of short passes that turned into big gains. Maurice Jones-Drew saw the most action through the air, hauling in nine passes for 113 yards. Garrard has not been able to build on his success from last season and should not be a starting fantasy quarterback. Jones-Drew on the other hand, rarely delivers big rushing yards, but often scores.
Adrian Peterson continues to reward those owners who bought low on him earlier, as he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown. Even Chester Taylor saw significant action, rushing for 25 yards on nine carries, including a touchdown. Visanthe Shiancoe led all Vikings receivers with 60 yards and is becoming a solid play in deeper leagues. However, before you rush to grab Shiancoe, realize that Gus Frerotte had to be helped from the field three times. Should Frerotte be unable to play at any point, Tarvaris Jackson would become the starting quarterback again, and all your Vikings would see a drop in production. -- M.S.
Yes, Maurice Morris rushed for 103 yards, for his first 100-yard game since '06. No, you should not try and get Morris. Clinton Portis sure didn't look injured, rushing 29 times for 143 yards. Santana Moss led all Washington receivers with 72 yards, and remains a must-play. Antwaan Randle El scored, but had only two catches for 18 yards. Randle El remains a gamble, even at WR3. Bobby Engram "led" all Seattle receivers with 34 yards. Meanwhile, I should have known John Carlson would score, because I jumped off his bandwagon this week. I still say that Carlson is a TE2 at best for the remainder of this year. Chris Cooley had five catches for 52 yards and has some more good games left. With low receiving numbers, it should be no surprise that the quarterbacks were both rather pedestrian, as Matt Hasselbeck was intercepted twice to go along with his two touchdowns and 103 yards, and Jason Campbell threw for 206 yards and a touchdown. Both quarterbacks are matchup plays at best. -- M.S.
After Donovan McNabb completed just eight of 18 pass attempts and threw two interceptions, Philly fans got a glimpse of the future. But the future didn't look too bright, as Kevin Kolb completed 10 of 23 passes for 73 yards and two interceptions. Kolb will probably return to the bench, but it is clear that Andy Reid does not have a lot of confidence in McNabb. Joe Flacco actually looked like the most experienced quarterback on the field, passing for two touchdowns, but throwing for his usual sub-200 passing yards (183). Much of Flacco's 183 yards were on Mark Clayton's 53-yard touchdown catch. Clayton led all Ravens receivers with 76 yards. Clayton should remain in your free agency pool, but is becoming an interesting guy to monitor. Derrick Mason had only three catches for 40 yards and it appears that Flacco is starting to spread the ball around. Flacco's second touchdown was a beautiful one handed-grab by Daniel Wilcox, who is looking stronger every week. Le'Ron McClain was this week's Ravens rusher to excel, rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown, but start any Ravens running back at your own risk.
The Ravens shut down Brian Westbrook (39 yards on 14 carries) who looked like he was still injured, but Correll Buckhalter could do nothing either, mustering just 16 rushing yards. Expect Westbrook to remain the primary running back, but his owners should be nervous until we fully know he is healthy again. DeSean Jackson led all Eagles receivers with 47 yards on five catches. Jackson appears to be the only Philadelphia player you can confidently rely on down the stretch. Baltimore does not have a lot of options either, but the Ravens D/ST should not be benched in any week. -- M.S.
Matt Forte had his best game of the season, as the Bears got out to an early lead and never looked back. Forte rushed for a season-high 132 yards and punched in two touchdowns. Forte is quickly becoming an elite running back, but the next two games against Minnesota and Jacksonville should bring a brief decline in his production. Kyle Orton threw for 139 yards and a touchdown, but spent much of the game handing off to Forte. Orton hasn't been reliable since his ankle injury in Week 9, and he is no longer a serviceable fantasy starter. Devin Hester led the Bears with five receptions for 57 yards and added 32 rushing yards out of the Wildcat formation. Hester remains a WR3 with limited touchdown potential. Desmond Clark caught five passes for 40 yards, while Greg Olsen was held without a catch. Olsen hasn't become a weekly starting option as expected. Rashied Davis caught only one pass for 10 yards. Davis is no longer worthy of a roster spot.
Marc Bulger took a hard hit on the Rams first possession and sat out the rest of the game. Trent Green took over and threw for 219 yards and four interceptions. Green was sacked four times and had no time to look for any of his receivers downfield. The severity of Bulger's injury is uncertain, but neither quarterback deserves to be on a fantasy roster. Torry Holt caught four passes for a season-high 84 yards. Holt is no longer a top fantasy option, but remains a WR2. Donnie Avery was held to one catch for 14 yards and is clearly going through typical rookie ups and downs. Avery is a WR3 with high upside. With Steven Jackson sidelined again, the Rams running backs totaled 18 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Kenneth Darby did add three receptions for 29 yards and seems to be the top running back option with Jackson out. -- Brad Rysz
Brett Favre threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Favre has an intriguing remaining schedule and will be a great option during the fantasy playoffs. Laveranues Coles broke a streak of three ineffective games and caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Coles has been boom or bust, but is a good WR2 option in the coming weeks. Jerricho Cotchery caught six passes for 55 yards and has produced similar to Coles. Consider Cotchery a WR2. Thomas Jones' ascent to RB1 status continued as he rushed for 96 yards and caught a touchdown pass. Jones has now scored in five straight games, and the Jets trust him in crucial situations. Leon Washington scored twice and rushed for 82 yards on only eight attempts. Washington has become a nice flex play, as his rushing, receiving, and return yards combine for plenty of opportunities to produce, even if return yards don't count in your league. Dustin Keller caught six passes for 42 yards and now has 20 receptions over the last three weeks. Keller is coming on at just the right time for his owners.
Kerry Collins passed for 243 yards and a touchdown, but couldn't seem to figure out the Jets defense. Justin McCareins led the Titans with four receptions for 43 yards. McCareins isn't reliable enough to warrant consideration for any team's roster. After performing strongly the past few weeks, Justin Gage had only one catch for 37 yards. Gage is a WR3 who occasionally has a big game. Bo Scaife caught three passes for 40 yards and remains one of the best tight end options. The Jets stopped the Titans rushing attack, as Chris Johnson rushed for 46 yards, and LenDale White totaled one negative yard. Johnson hasn't scored in three weeks and hasn't topped 100 rushing yards since Week 7. Johnson remains a RB2. White has a good chance to score each week, but has five games with less than 15 rushing yards. White is only valuable when he scores, and is a low-end RB2 or flex play.-- B.R.
Michael Turner bulldozed over the Panthers' defense, rushing for 117 yards and four touchdowns. Turner hasn't been the most consistent running back, but it's games like this that make him a must-start each week. Matt Ryan passed for 249 yards, making it six straight weeks with at least 220 yards. Ryan is going to be a star, but he won't be a legit starting option until next season. Harry Douglas caught four passes for 92 yards and scored twice, one on a rush and the other on a punt return. Douglas isn't a threat in the receiving game, but he can be a WR3 in leagues that count return yards. Roddy White caught four passes for 70 yards. White is still productive even when he isn't finding the end zone, and is a top WR1. Michael Jenkins caught four passes for 48 yards and is becoming a reliable WR3 in PPR leagues.
Jake Delhomme passed for 295 and a touchdown, a nice rebound from one of his worst games as a professional in Week 10. Delhomme has a tough schedule with Green Bay, Tampa Bay and the Giants still on the docket. Steve Smith caught eight passes for 168 yards, both season-highs. Smith has only four touchdowns, but is a fairly reliable WR1. Muhsin Muhammad caught four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. Muhammad is WR3 material. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 101 yards and a score, his fourth consecutive 100-yard game. Williams has been unstoppable lately, and the presence of Jonathan Stewart isn't limiting his value. Williams is currently a RB1. Stewart received only five carries and rushed for 15 yards. With Williams rushing the way he is, Stewart will take a back seat for the time being. Consider Stewart a flex play. -- B.R.
Jay Cutler threw for 204 yards and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time in '08. Playing at home against a brutal Raiders team, this was a mysterious stat line for Cutler, but he should be counted on in the weeks ahead. Brandon Marshall caught four passes for 84 yards. Marshall has scored only once in his last seven games, but is still catching enough passes to warrant being a WR1. Eddie Royal caught only two passes for 14 yards. Royal and Marshall are top options on a weekly basis, so chalk this up as an anomaly. Tony Scheffler had one catch for 12 yards. Scheffler is obviously still recovering from a nagging groin injury and isn't performing like his normal self. Peyton Hillis scored and rushed for 74 yards on 17 attempts. In a system known for substituting running backs regularly, Hillis has been a nice surprise the past few weeks. He has established himself as a RB2 due to his ability to score and his efficiency in the passing game.
Justin Fargas rushed for a season-high 107 yards, but was still unable to score his first touchdown. Fargas has 145 carries and not a single touchdown to show for it. Fargas seems healthy and should receive the bulk of the carries each week. Darren McFadden returned to fantasy relevance, as he scored two touchdowns. McFadden has been fighting injuries all season, so while his touches may be limited, he is always a threat to score. Fargas and McFadden are both ideal flex play options. JaMarcus Russell completed 90.9 percent of his passes, however it only resulted in 152 yards and a touchdown. Russell shouldn't be counted on in any format. Ashley Lelie led the way with four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Lelie hadn't scored since Week 1, so he seemed to be the random Raiders receiver to step up this week. Lelie has little fantasy value. Ronald Curry followed up his six-catch, 73-yard effort last week with a big fat goose egg. Needless to say, Curry should be cut immediately if you picked him up. Zach Miller caught three catches for 41 yards, and is a startable tight end in PPR leagues. His lack of touchdowns (one) makes him less valuable in standard formats. -- B.R.