Oct. 10, 2011
Oct. 10, 2011

Table of Contents
Oct. 10, 2011

  • Three years ago they suffered through a winless season. Now, behind an offense that loves the comeback and a defense with a warrior at its core, the unbeaten Lions are restoring the roar

  • The stage for the 2011 postseason was set long before Opening Day. Go back to '09, when three teams shuffled seven players in a trade that—unlike the playoffs—sent everyone home happy



With four weeks gone by, role players and rookies are beginning to emerge, although not all of them have fantasy staying power

Jared Cook, TE,Titans

This is an article from the Oct. 10, 2011 issue

A freakish athlete with speed and soft hands, Cook picked up some of the slack created by Kenny Britt's season-ending knee injury. Against the Browns, Cook produced an 80-yard catch and run for a touchdown and had 93 yards overall. Scoring in Cleveland has never served as a launchpad for anyone not named Drew Carey, but look for Cook to evolve into a hybrid receiver, which will maximize his production.

Stevan Ridley, RB,Patriots

A third-round pick from LSU, Ridley is giving BenJarvus Green-Ellis some competition as chairman of the Pats' running back committee. Over his last two games Ridley has carried the ball 16 times for 139 yards, raising his rushing average to an eye-popping 8.2 yards per carry. Available in nearly 98% of all leagues, Ridley is a victim of the Patriots' multipronged attack, but he's on the rise and there are a lot of touchdowns being scored by New England.

Kendall Hunter, RB,49ers

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh is looking—desperately—to commit offense. The backfield of Hunter and Frank Gore may be a good start. With 127 yards and a TD against Philly, Gore is clearly the lead horse, but the diminutive Hunter (5'7", 199 pounds) showed that he deserves a place in the stable. The rookie from Oklahoma State has scored one of the team's eight offensive touchdowns, and last week he gained 100 yards on 11 touches from scrimmage. Unless the Niners' passing game becomes less offensive, Hunter will remain a solid flex option.

Laurent Robinson, WR,Cowboys

Dallas coach Jason Garrett probably didn't have Robinson on his fantasy roster. The former Ram and Falcon was buried on the Cowboys' depth chart, but he came up huge against Detroit, hauling in seven passes for 116 yards. Don't get too excited, though. Dallas has a bye this week, and its top wideout, Miles Austin, will return from a strained hamstring for Week 6. That will send Robinson back to the bench and the fantasy waiver wire.

PHOTONICK MORRIS/SOUTHCREEK/ZUMAPRESS.COM (HUNTER)GOLD RUSHER The 49ers have struggled to move the ball, and Hunter has provided some help, churning up yards and finding the end zone.