October 15, 2012

The only thing that could have upstaged a heroic return to the field by the Redskins' Robert Griffin III was the Green Bay Packers against the undefeated Houston Texans and their top-ranked defense Sunday night. Consider Griffin upstaged. By a lot.

It's one thing to shake off an inconsistent start to the season against the matador Saints defense, but the Packers pummeled Houston under an avalanche of fantasy points with a beatdown that truly was bigger in Texas.

The Packers and Griffin headlined the week that was, and are at the top of Week 6's honor roll ...

Best Performance in a Blowout: If Sunday night was a stat-gorging box score buffet, Aaron Rodgers was the chef. Rodgers, whose pedestrian stats, save for the Saints win, were deserving of criticism, used the us against the world mentality to stage an air raid on the Texans. The points flowed, and the player who arguably was the top fantasy pick played like a monster. Every fantasy-owned Packer came along for the ride, especially Jordy Nelson, who shook off a sluggish start with a trio of touchdowns.

Best Post-Concussion Performance: RGIII. A pedestrian passing day for the Redskins rookie was helped out by a team record 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns, putting to rest any fears that coach Mike Shanahan and Co. would hold back on the playbook to protect him. Griffin's legend has become Newton-esque, but thanks to Shanahan, I can't see a sophomore slump rivaling Cam next season. Owners who took it on the chin last week had the last laugh yesterday.

The Kryptonite Award: Antonio Cromartie and the Jets, which held NFL receiving leader and early favorite for biggest fantasy comeback, Reggie Wayne, to mere mortal numbers. Wayne was targeted 10 times for five catches and 87 yards following his 13-catch, 212-yards, one score demolition of the Packers last week.

The Not Greg Jennings Award: James Jones continues to make Greg Jennings owners without his handcuff green with envy. In the past three weeks Jones has been crushing the box score with six touchdowns and has remained healthy while doing it. Jennings, playing in a contract year, might be making Old Spice commercials in a different jersey next year if Jones (and Randall Cobb) continues to make him look so utterly replaceable. Jennings owners might have to worry about where he fits into the Packers' aerial circus going forward.

The Cowboy Up Award: Dez Bryant broke a six-game scoreless streak with his first two touchdowns of the season Sunday. It might not be a time to buy high, but more more buy medium on Bryant. With 21 catches for 200 yards in his last two games, Bryant's best days are here. The former Oklahoma State standout has never had as many yards and catches in back-to-back games in his career. After a brutal early start for Bryant this season, Miles Austin and Jason Witten's production is about to take a hit.

Shutdown of the Week:1) Frank Gore. The hardest part to swallow about Gore's disappointing 36-yard rushing performance against the Giants was that it flew in the face of this season's body of work. Gore has been as steady they come this season with four touchdowns in the last five games prior to Sunday's Giants disappointment. Consider it a rare mulligan for the high-end RB2, who faces another stiff challenge Thursday against the No. 2-ranked rushing defense of the Seahawks.

Shutdown of the Week:2) The Kansas City Chiefs. NFL rushing leader Jamaal Charles getting shut down by the fourth-ranked Tampa Bay rushing defense? Maybe. The passing game sputtering for 180 yards and two interceptions against the 31st-ranked pass defense? With apologies to fans of The Princess Bride, inconceivable. It's not uncommon for former first round NFL picks to enjoy second acts after being left for dead, but if it quacks like duck, ... it's Brady Quinn. Since misery loves company, Charles owners and Dwayne Bowe owners can relate this morning.

Timeshare of the Week: The Rams' running game took another twist , one week after Steven Jackson had his first solid fantasy performance. Enter rookie Daryl Richardson, whose 76-yard yard outing not only outshined Jackson's 52 yards but could signal the beginning of the end for the running game to only go through S-Jax. Jackson, who has hit the 100-yard mark once in his last 13 games, isn't helping through the air, either. Through five games, he's averaging a little more than one catch per game and under 10 receiving yards. At this point, Jackson is a low-end flex at best.

It's Not Easy Being (a) Greene (owner): Thanks to the bye week, there were at least a handful of fantasy owners that enjoyed the rare Shonn Greene breakout on Sunday. For the fourth time in 47 regular season games, Greene hit the 100-yard mark. This explosion was so rare and uncalled for, unlucky opponents running into this buzzsaw might want to file this under "pianos falling from the sky." Greene's still a low-rate RB4 at best, going forward.

Strangest Trend for a Pass-Heavy Offense: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's streak of not throwing more than one touchdown pass in a game continued Sunday. His second rushing touchdown of the season helped make the final stat line palatable for owners suffering buyer's remorse. The most frustrating aspect of the Lions offense has been conservative play-calling and a lack of targets for Calvin Johnson, who is still putting up solid, if unspectacular, numbers.

Throwing Away the Training Wheels Award: It wasn't quite like getting a green light to run with scissors, but finally the Seattle coaching staff opened the offense up with quarterback Russell Wilson. The biggest beneficiary was Sidney Rice, who, when not suffering from his annual injury, hasn't had much of a chance to even be targeted, let alone post usable stats this season. Wilson carved up the Patriots defense Sunday, outplaying Tom Brady with nearly 300 yards and three scores as Marshawn Lynch and the running game took a back seat. Wilson is still a fantasy backup, but with any luck more passing attempts might restore some of Rice's value into at least an every week WR3.

Longest Big-Name Scoring Drought: Remember Adrian Peterson's triumphant return in Week 1 when he twice hit pay-dirt with end zone runs? Me too -- but barely. Peterson, despite some solid all-purpose yardage work, has not had scored since. Look for AP to bounce back this week against Arizona, which allowed 165 yards on 33 carries and allowed both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to rebound Sunday.

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