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Ugly. In a week owned by backups and injuries, you either won ugly or lost ugly. I won a big game 78-75...ugly. I lost two running backs, Justin Forsett and Frank Gore, in that game. Ugly. I lost a game 98-95, losing Devonta Freeman early. Ugly. I want to put this no good, very bad week behind us and get into the full strength schedule for the final 3 weeks of our regular season.
- Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton squared off in a wildly entertaining Sunday Night game and used a few late game drives to climb over the 300 yard barrier that held every other quarterback in the league in check this week. Both of these guys were likely draft day bargains or even free agent pickups and have delivered great years. Palmer can be streaky and showed both sides of that in this game, throwing two picks followed by 4 TD passes. Dalton only threw for 2 scores but was fairly impressive against a good Cardinals defense. Both guys will be major components to championship rosters down the stretch.
- It's fitting that an ugly stats day would result in Cam Newton leading all QBs. Cam threw for 245 yards and somehow found five different receivers to connect for scores. I'm an unapologetic Newton supporter and while you can't expect 5 TD days from him regularly, he's having an MVP caliber season and looks like he's having a ball doing it.
- The other 5 TD performance came from Jameis Winston in a similar stat line to Cam's, throwing for the exact same yardage the only difference being no rushing yards for Winston. This is the kind of game Bucs fans dared to dream on draft day and Winston-Evans looks like a combo that is finally starting to find a real rhythm.
- Tony Romo made it through his start in one piece and while the numbers weren't eye popping (227, 2 TD, 2 INT), he's instantly relevant and makes Dez Bryant a game changer. The Cowboys might not be able to climb back into the playoffs but your fantasy Cowboys might help you get there.
- I'm not sure I understand this game anymore. Thomas Rawls, the Marshawn Lynch handcuff, led the way at RB this week as Lynch was a late scratch. Rawls went wild, topping 250 yards from scrimmage and two scores. Keep an eye on Lynch as an extended injury instantly vaults Rawls into the RB1 conversation.
- Doug Martin somehow ran for 235 yards against the lifeless Eagles defense. Seriously, the Muscle Hamster is all the sudden looking like a top 5 back with all the injuries. What a brave new world we're living in.
- Charcandrick West hurt his hamstring, opening the door to something called Spencer Ware, who took 11 carries and turned them into 96 yards and 2 scores for the Chiefs. If West is out, you need to add Ware as it looks like he's the next man up in that running back printing press.
- Finally, we'll pour one out for the Baltimore Ravens who are taking one on the chin this year. After Justin Forsett broke his arm and Joe Flacco tore his ACL, the Ravens have lost their version of the triplets (Steve Smith), not to mention Breshad Perriman and Terrell Suggs to season ending IR. The actionable player here is Javoris Allen, also known as Buck Allen. I don't know what we can expect from Matt Schaub under center but Allen should be the workhorse and in the worst year ever for RB injuries, volume is as good as we can hope for.
- DeAndre Hopkins did his usual thing - tons of targets, a few catches, over 100 yards, two scores. Hopkins is over 1,000 yards with 9 scores. This is with Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet throwing the football to him. He's in the conversation for a first round pick next year and with this ridiculous AFC South situation, we may get to see Nuk in the playoffs as the 5-5 Texans are tied with the Colts for 1st place.
- After scoring 4 TDs in the first 3 weeks, Julio Jones has only crossed the stripe twice in 7 games. He's still soaking up the targets, receptions, and yards, but some scoring would help him realize his full fantasy value. With two games against Carolina remaining in the fantasy schedule, Jones may not carry your team to victory like you might expect.
- I don't know what you do with a guy like James Jones, who started the year as the hot Aaron Rodgers target, disappeared for a month, only to reemerge for a big day against the Vikings. He was of course on my bench in one league and in the starting lineup against me in another. Cruel, cruel world. Jones seems to kill us so you almost have to start him on Thursday night if you're in need.
- I didn't know who JJ Nelson was before Sunday night and I'm not sure it's fair to the rest of the league that the Cardinals can go 5 deep at WR and have these types of results. Nelson stepped up for an injured receiver on the Cardinals that shall remain nameless to produce a whopping 142 yards on 4 catches and a score. I don't think this is a guy you can trust at this point but put him on the radar. He's fluid and slippery quick - the Cardinals are going to be legit for a long time.
- This is the first time we've mentioned Kyle Rudolph in this column. He had a nice day. This is all.
- I needed one point out of Rob Gronkowski for a win this week. I'm just glad I didn't need 5 points. Gronk was held to 2 catches for 37 yards against that stingy Bills defense. He's got another tough one against Denver coming up but c'mon, we need the beast unleashed!
- I really like Travis Kelce but I don't understand the Chiefs &/or Alex Smith in not getting him the ball more. Kelce flashes regularly but can't seem to get the steady supply of targets needed to be an elite TE in the fantasy game.
- Jeremy Langford - All things considered, you can't be that upset about getting 9 points from Langford given the matchup. We've seen the Langford tape, there's a lot to be excited about for the future, but he's going back to a backup role with Forte on the mend.
- Jay Cutler - This was obviously a tough matchup and a bad week to rely on Jay. It was clear that this offense just isn't as explosive without Alshon and credit Jay for only turning the ball over once against a very good defense. I'm curious to see what Jay looks like in Green Bay, a place he's historically not fared well in.
- Alshon Jeffery & Matt Forte - Did not play. Please hurry back.
- Martellus Bennett - Bennett is entering "dead to me" territory in real life. He's already there in fantasy.
Who's still fighting for the playoffs? I could use a big week to stay in the hunt in one league and clinch in another. Fight on!