I'm not sure what happened to all the defenses this week, but it resulted in a lot of big scores in fake football this weekend. There's something about getting beat by a big score from a random player that is extra irritating. I received a beat down from Delanie Walker catching passes off tipped balls in two leagues and I knew that it was just going to be that kind of week. I did give the green light to play all Titans this weekend and they did not disappoint - I just wish they would've been a little less lucky. Let's get into the rest of the week, bullet style.
- Let's start off with those Titans and Marcus Mariota. The rookie passed for 371 yards and 4 scores plus a 2-pt conversion in a big win over the Saints. Mariota feasted on a bad Saints defense and is shaping up as a dangerous playmaker with his arm and not just his legs. He'll get a much stiffer test next week against the Panthers but at this point, I like what I see. It goes without saying, but you need to play everyone you can against this Saints defense.
- Cam Newton was very effective with the passes he did complete as it took only 15 completions for 297 yards and a score. He had an ugly INT at the end of the game that almost allowed Aaron Rodgers to bring the Packers all the way back, but his defense bailed him out. What makes Cam such a fun player to lead your fake team are the rushing yards (57 in this one) and his ability to convert goal line carries into scores. Squaring off against Mariota next week will likely land these guys in a spotlight later on this week...
- I'm not sure how good you can feel about Aaron Rodgers after that Panthers game as most of his fantasy production came in a furious comeback attempt. However, he did connect with Randall Cobb more than he has all year. Rodgers gets Detroit next week so he'll almost certainly get back to his normally inflated stats.
- I can't begin to describe how disappointing Matt Ryan aka Matty Floor has been to me this year. Carrying a 12:7 TD:INT ratio into their bye is not what I expected from someone throwing to Julio Jones. He just simply isn't getting enough TDs to be a reliable fantasy winner and he's burned us a couple times this season with terrible efforts. If you can get a guy like Derek Carr, I can see a case for benching Ryan after he gets back from bye.
- We talked about it last week in the preview, but DeAngelo Williams is going to be a huge difference maker to whoever was lucky enough to win him off waivers. Rushing for 170 yards plus another 55 through the air, Williams took in two scores and a 2-pt conversion. Watch him back that up against the Browns this week.
- Karlos Williams would have been a much better Toss Sweep Sleeper last week than my pick Bilal Powell, who didn't even dress, so we'll just move on from that one. Similar situation to what I was saying about Powell, Karlos Williams was coming back off injury but got even more of a chance with LeSean McCoy getting hurt. Williams converted 9 carries into 110 yards and 2 scores. I wouldn't feel good about playing him this week against the Jets, but he's worth stashing on the roster if you've got room.
- There was a time this season when the Washington defense was thought to be good against the run. LeGarrette Blount thought otherwise as 29 carries led to 129 yards and a score. Blount is likely to see more snaps after Dion Lewis was lost for the year with a torn ACL, but his usage, as ever, will be game plan dependent. Use at your own risk.
- In the Todd Gurley vs Adrian Peterson bowl, AP won the matchup (125-89) and the game. I was hoping for a changing of the guard game but the Vikings defense had other ideas. Gurley currently sits in 4th place for the rushing title, less than 100 yards behind Peterson. I'm excited and terrified at the same time of seeing Gurley up close and personal this weekend against the Bears.
- Antonio Brown is pretty good at football. 17 catches on 23 targets for 284 yards plus another 22 on the ground. Brown has to be going absolutely crazy with the Big Ben injuries as he could be setting some records. As it is, he cleared 1000 yards for the season through 9 games and will look to make due with Landry Jones next weekend. Brown can put up video game numbers and this is why you drafted him as early as the middle of the first round. I think he's so good, you could make a case for drafting him #1 overall next year.
- Cole Beasley came out of nowhere to grab 9 of 11 for 112 and 2 scores. I don't think you can count on this guy at all into the future but he has been able to exploit matchups for the Cowboys in the past. If you were absolutely desperate, you could make a case for Beasley against Tampa Bay next week.
- Sammy Watkins, welcome to the show (on my bench). A game time decision, Watkins converted all 8 of his targets for 168 yards and a score. There's a reason the Bills spent so much draft capital on this guy but he just can't stay healthy. With Tyrod Taylor and Watkins getting healthy, this duo could make a big impact down the line. You might have to play Watkins this week but temper your expectations against the Jets elite corners and his questionable health status.
- Dez Bryant is going to be a big deal down the stretch. Dez was able to exceed 100 yards and got a score in a wild game against the Eagles on Sunday Night. We're still one week away from the expected return of Tony Romo, but if you held onto Dez this long and are still contending, this looks like a big boost to your chances.
- Delanie Walker led all TEs with 7 catches for 95 yards, two scores and a two point conversion. Walker is a nice player and now that Mariota is back, he projects to be a useable one in a thin position group. Walker has a mixed bag of matchups coming up but he's firmly on the radar with Mariota back.
- Owen Daniels must've been motivated by the trade for Vernon Davis, posting 6 catches for 102 yards and a score. I don't think he's particularly useful for the rest of the year but it's an indication to temper your expectations for Davis as they will share snaps even when Davis is up to speed.
- Antonio Gates led all TEs with 11 targets but the Bears defense was able to limit him to 6 catches for 69 yards. Most of those yards came on one pass play. However, he did catch a TD in the corner of the end zone that was called back by an illegal man downfield penalty. Gates was operating at less than 100% and will have two weeks to rest up. With Keenan Allen hurt, Gates will have an opportunity to put up huge numbers down the stretch if he can get and stay healthy.
- Jeremy Langford - While Ka'Deem Carey got the start (what the heck happened there?), the rookie was the clear favorite of the coaching staff on the night, posting 142 total yards with a short TD run and a 2-point conversion. Langford's numbers were helped by a fantastic 31 yard diving reception, flashing hands that failed him last week. This was the game you hoped for if you started Langford but beware of the Rams next week.
- Jay Cutler - It's strange to see such consistency from Cutler, as the fantasy book on him is wildly variable. Cutler did turn the ball over twice last night but managed to throw for 345 yards and 2 scores. Depending on your league scoring, Cutler has hovered around the 20 point mark for the last 5 games. He's not winning you games, but he's not losing them either. Challenging games up ahead but keep Cutler in mind for championship week when we go to Tampa Bay to see Lovie.
- Alshon Jeffery - I'm incredibly biased, but Alshon Jeffery is a top tier WR and I'll be shocked if he doesn't get paid like one this offseason - it just better be by Ryan Pace. Alshon caught 10 of 16 targets for 151 yards. He was close to hauling in a couple end zone targets and was brought down at the 6 and the 1 on two other catches. In other words, he just missed a monster night. Alshon should be fixed in your lineup despite the tough matchups ahead.
- Martellus Bennett - Bennett caught 8 of 9 targets for 57 yards and a score. He had a really nice night as a real-life tight end and an acceptable outing as a fantasy tight end. I've said it a few times but he's just not a guy you want to trust in your fake lineup if you can help it.
How are you sitting after Week 9?