Hopefully you read last week's preview column and dialed up Kirk Cousins and Matt Jones as they both had monster games against Rob Ryan's New Orleans Saints defense. We've had some fun picking on the Saints defense this year and now that Rob is wandering the streets of NOLA aimlessly, looking for a shrimp po'boy and a job, we may have to go elsewhere for our offensive explosions from available talent. Cousins and Jones were almost certainly enough to get you a W this week as most of the biggest scores came from unlikely sources. Let's recap.
- Kirk Cousins paced the field with 324 yards and 4 TD passes. What's crazy about that performance is that the Saints offense was unable to keep up and Cousins was mostly quiet late in the game. This could've been another Eli Manning 6 TD game against this defense had Drew Brees kept the Saints in it. This is why we exploit the Saints. Cousins can be thrown back in the pool.
- I have to mention Ben Roethlisberger and his giant performance coming off the bench in relief of Landry Jones, who got stepped on early in this one. The thinking appeared to be that the Steelers could get by with Jones against Cleveland and rest up Ben for a more challenging opponent, only for Jones to get hurt and Ben to go off. 379 yards and 3 TD later, Ben owned the 2nd highest QB mark of the week. What's even better about this is that he sat on everyone's bench who paid attention to injury reports, and those that slept in were rewarded.
- I think Jay Cutler is worth mentioning in these bullets this week as he went for 258, 3 TDs, no INTs, and chipped in 24 yards rushing, all against a very good St. Louis Rams defense. Cutler is 40% owned right now and as we've talked about before, he's a good QB to have in a committee situation. Jay has usable weeks ahead, particularly Week 16 against Lovie's Buccaneers.
- Let's talk about Peyton Manning for a minute. I happened to be in Denver for this game and it was brutal. I will tell you that, from my opinion, fans have no faith in Manning and want the Brock Osweiler era to start. I heard a lot of "at least the offense will now be okay" type comments once Manning was benched. Whatever happens, I'm just happy he passed Brett Favre for #1 in passing yards. My bold prediction is that Drew Brees will come to Denver next year and be the next QB savior for the franchise.
- I'll lead off with a mea culpa to Jeremy Langford. I predicted that he wouldn't hold value against the Rams or the Broncos but boy was I wrong. I did say that he'd be a better receiver than people thought, but that's not the point. Langford was big time in a game against a stout defense and across the field from Todd Gurley, rookie running back sensation. Langford was buoyed by the big catch and run but he was overall fantastic, racking up 182 total yards and 2 scores. These performances are great because we don't have to rush Matt Forte back but we're also getting a glimpse of the future.
- On the other side of the field, I thought Todd Gurley played well with the chances he was given, but the Rams went into hurry up mode early and got away from what they do best. This Rams team isn't built for coming from behind so even when they got down early, I was surprised at how quickly they gave up the run game. 12 carries seems like a mistake but we'll take it.
- Charcandrick West has been nothing short of brilliant the last 3 weeks for the Chiefs as he combined for 161 yards from scrimmage and 2 scores. I missed out on West everywhere including a brutal tie in FAAB bidding where I lost the tie breaker. Sometimes, you just need to overbid to secure the guy and West is making everyone pay for not going after him.
- Way back in that Thursday night nightmare of a color splash game, LeSean McCoy looked really good against what is probably the best d-line in football, tallying 159 yards from scrimmage. If you held onto McCoy or got him for cheap in a trade, he's almost certainly going to help down the finish.
- No one was happier than Antonio Brown when Landry Jones got stepped on and Big Ben had to step in to play. Brown caught another 10 balls for 139 yards and 2 scores plus a 2-pt conversion. Not to mention Martavis Bryant was right behind him with 178 yards and a score. This passing game is something special and now they get a late bye week to rest up before a stretch run.
- It seems like forever ago that I was talking up Doug Baldwin as the #1 receiving threat for the Seahawks and how he's a decent play when desperate. Baldwin looked fantastic against a stingy Cardinals defense grabbing 7 of 10 targets for 134 and a score. Russell Wilson simply does not get enough time to make good throws in the pocket and there isn't enough volume here normally to rely on Baldwin, but this was a nice game if you were in need this week.
- I haven't had a chance to see a lot of Arizona Cardinals football yet this year but wow, Larry Fitzgerald looks really good. Fitz caught 10 or 15 targets for 130 yards. The chemistry between Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald was obvious and I really want to see what these guys can do in a playoff run.
- What's crazy about Odell Beckham Jr. is that he can have an overall terrible day but completely save it with one play. Beckham managed only 4 catches on 12 targets but one of those went for an 87 yard score. In what was a wildly entertaining game, let's not forget about Malcolm Butler's overall good game against Beckham and those awesome shoes Beckham wore.
- Zach Miller. Zach freakin' Miller. Miller hauled in all 5 targets for 107 yards and 2 scores including a ridiculous 87 yard catch and run. Miller is a feel good story, fighting back from a ton of injuries over his career, and having a big game like this is fantastic. Martellus Bennett owners are wondering what's going on but this is so good for the Bears offense right now.
- A shout out to friend of the column Rob Gronkowski for coming through when I sorely needed a big play. Gronkowski was quiet most of the day before a wonderful 76 yard score, aided no doubt by a collision between two Giants defenders.
- The targets and yards are down for Jordan Reed the last two weeks but he found the end zone twice again this week. The drop in targets would absolutely worry me as you can't count on TDs from this offense when they aren't playing the Saints. I'd be very worried about the Panthers next week.
- We covered Cutler, Langford, and Zach Miller above. I'd still be worried about playing Cutler and Langford next week against the Broncos defense, but at this point, I won't argue with you if you want to run them out there. It's a good feeling to play your guys.
- Alshon Jeffery - The game play clearly did not feature Alshon this week as he only had 4 targets, catching 3 for 23 yards. Alshon is normally a big part of this offense but it was refreshing to see the Bears develop other weapons in this one and not pepper Jeffery with targets. Alshon has a tough draw next week with Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.
- Martellus Bennett - Bennett caught all 3 targets for a measly 18 yards. We've talked about it before but I wouldn't trust Bennett as my fantasy tight end.
We've got 10 weeks in the books heading into the final 4 games. How many wins do you need to make the playoffs? I'm alive everywhere but need to make a clean sweep in one league to get in.