Week six in the NFL left us with just one unbeaten team after the Packers laid out the Texans last night. There’s no team that hasn’t won yet after the Cleveland Browns got off their first win against their in-state rival. Hopefully your fantasy team’s weekend went well and you were able to put on a show like RG3, Aaron Rodgers, and other big stars did as they carried their NFL and fantasy teams to victory.
Here’s our rundown of the stars, sleepers, and surprises from Sunday’s action. If you had the stars, congratulations are probably in order. If you need some help, check out the sleepers who are starting to emerge as fantasy options.
Atlanta Falcons 23, Oakland Raiders 20
Star: The star in the real game was Falcons kicker Matt Bryant who hit the game-winning field goal, but in fantasy sports it was Carson Palmer and his receiver Denarius Moore. Palmer finished with a solid 353 years and a touchdown as he outplayed Matt Ryan who threw three picks. Moore was the only 100+ yard receiver or rusher in the game with five catches on a team-high nine targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. Palmer is a solid QB2 moving forward and makes a nice play in the coming weeks against the Jags, Chiefs, and Bucs. Moore could easily be a WR2 if he continues to get the looks from Palmer.
Sleeper: If you need a tight end fill-in for a bye week coming up in the next three, check out Brandon Myers who hauled in five passes for 62 yards for Oakland. He has yet to find the endzone this year, but Myers is an emerging option at the tight end spot for a backup in standard size leagues.
Cleveland Brons 34, Cincinnati Bengals 24
Star: While playing from behind obviously isn’t where the Bengals want to be, A.J. Green benefitted from the Bengals needed to score quickly and put up 135 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. He was the second-highest scoring receiver for the week and continues to be a great weekly start regardless of matchup of game situation.
Sleepers: The Bengals used backup running back Cedric Peerman as part of their passing package and he delivered with eight catches and 76 yards while taking his only carry for seven yards. With the season-ending injury to Bernard Scott, Peerman is second on the depth chart behind a rapidly-fading BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Peerman’s long-term role is unclear, but he’s worth a look if you need depth at running back…. On the Cleveland side of things, Josh Gordon had another long touchdown catch and finished with 99 yards on three catches with his 71-yard bomb. The Browns aren’t going to be an elite passing team anytime soon, but Gordon is showing that he’s the only Cleveland receiver worth knowing at this point for fantasy use.
Miami Dolphins 17, St. Louis Rams 14
Star: There wasn’t much scoring in this one. Ryan Tannehill threw for 185 yards on an efficient 21/29 and a pair of touchdowns. Sam Bradford threw for 315 and ran for a touchdown, but Reggie Bush, Steven Jackson, Brian Hartline, and Davone Bess disappointed and failed to find the endzone.
Sleeper: The receiver who had the highlight reel catch, the most targets, catches, and yards in the game was Brandon Gibson of the Rams. He caught seven of the nine passes thrown his way for 91 yards including a circus one-handed grab on the Rams final drive. Gibson is the #1 option for Sam Bradford and should have a decent amount of value going forward as the Rams host the Packers and the Patriots who both should have St. Louis playing from behind and have secondaries that can be attacked down the field.
New York Jets 35, Indianapolis Colts 9
Star: Shonn Greene came out of nowhere and had a moster game. He had lost playing time the last few weeks to Bilall Powell, but when Powell left with an injury Greene became the focus of the Jets attack as he rushed the ball 32 times for 161 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Whether this is a breakout of an abberation remains to be seen, but it’s definitely more than he was expected to do and shows his upside still makes him an RB2. I don’t think he’ll have this kind of game again, but hopefully he was in your lineup for this point explosion which ranked him as the highest scoring running back in almost all formats and second only to Aaron Rodgers’ monster night (more below) in overall scoring.
Sleepers: While this offensive game isn’t a pattern that will be followed often in the future by either team, it’s worth noting that Donnie Avery and Jeremy Kerley led their respective teams in targets.
Detroit Lions 26, Philadelphia Eagles 23
Star: In contrast to some of the games this weekend, this one had plenty of points to go around. The leading scorer though was Jeremy Maclin who had six catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Michael Vick continued to struggle with turnovers but put up good numbers otherwise (311 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, and 59 yards rushing). Depending on how your league handles interceptions and fumbles, he continues to hold his value to a degree and you shouldn’t bench him until the Eagles do.
Sleeper: He still hasn’t fully reached his potential on the other side from Megatron, but Nate Burleson did get targeted nine times Sunday (second only to Johnson’s 13). He finished with four catches, 24 yards, and the Lions only receiving touchdown on the day. He’ll continue to be inconsistent, but he makes an intriguing if Matthew Stafford can get this Lions offense on track.
Tampa Bay Bucs 38, Kansas City Chiefs 10
Star: Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman made a great option if you started him due to injuries of bye-weeks or even grabbed him off of waivers. He was the third highest scoring quarterback in standard scoring with 328 yards and three touchdowns. Freeman took advantage of a bad matchup and continues to be a matchup-based QB2.Wide receiver Vincent Jackson was only on the receiving end of four of those passes but wo went for touchdowns to go with his 66 yards.
Sleeper: Freeman’s long passes were mostly thrown in the direction of Mike Williams who hauled in a 62 yard touchdown as part of his 113 yards on four catches. Only Jackson got more looks, and Williams will be a serviceable flex play in good matchups going forward.
Baltimore Ravens 31, Dallas Cowboys 29
Stars: The star from a fantasy perspective was Dez Bryant although his inability to pull in the two-point conversion that would have tied the game is sure to sour some Cowboys fans on him. He finished with 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but those in points-per-reception leagues will love him for his 13 catches on 15 targets. He definitely has the tools to be elite…. Baltimore’s star was Ray Rice (as usual) who continued his steady production with 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 carris and added a 43-yard reception. Rice was the second-highest scoring back behind only Shonn Greene and currently ranks third on the season among running backs in standard scoring leagues and second in PPR leagues. If you spent a high draft pick on him, you’re not regretting it.
Sleepers: The Cowboys rushing attack was impressive against the Ravens defense. After DeMarco Murray left with a sprained foot, Felix Jones reminded us why everyone loved him as a breakout candidate last year as he rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries and added a touchdown. If Murray is out, Jones has serious value next week as Dallas visits Carolina who ranks 23rd in average rushing yards allowed.
Buffalo Bills 19, Arizona Cardinals 16
Stars: In another relatively low-scoring game, C.J. Spiller showed glimpses of pre-injury form carrying the ball 12 times for 88 yards and a touchdown and adding 22 yards on four catches. His backfield-mate Fred Jackson also showed he can have value alongside Spiller as he ran for 53 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown and added 30 yards through the air with five catches… Larry Fitzgerald had another solid game despite revolving quarterbacks with 6 recpetions, 93 yards, and a touchdown.
Sleepers: The Cardinals rushing attack showed signs of life with William Powell taking the rock for 70 yards on 13 carries and adding a catch for eight more yards. Especially considering with LaRod Stephens-Howling’s effort (11 carries, 22 yards), expect to see more of Powell going forward for Arizona.
New York Giants 26, San Francisco 49ers 3
Stars: In a completely one-sided game, the Giants Defense was the second-highest scoring defense in standard scoring. Other Giants who had solid games were Ahmad Bradshaw who ran for 116 yards and a score, and Victor Cruz who hauled in a TD for the third week in a row while hauling in six catches for 58 yards.
Sleepers: Even with Hakeem Nicks back from injury, Domenik Hixon was able to pull in four passes and finish with 78 yards. As Nicks returns to full strength, Hixon’s role may decrease but last year Mario Manningham was a solid flex play as a third wide out in the G-men passing attack and Hixon looks to be in line for that role and value the rest of this season… Speaking of Mario Manningham, he led the 49ers in targets with 10 and made five catches for 72 yards. He continues to be a go-to guy in pressure situations and should continue to have solid numbers as the Niners offense hopes for better days than yesterday.
Seattle Seahawks 24, New England Patriots 23
Stars: No question in this one, Russell Wilson out-Bradied Brady throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns including the big game-winner to Sidney Rice with 1:18 remaining. The poise and composure Wilson has shown is remarkable and he’s worth a QB2 start whenever Seattle is at home or he faces a nice matchup. Thursday night at San Francisco though is a horrible matchup so I wouldn’t play him next week… For the Patriots, Tom Brady (395 yards, 2 TD, 2 ING), Wes Welker (10 catches, 138 yards, TD), and Rob Gronkowski (6 catches, 61 yards) all lived up to expectations from a numbers perspective.
Sleeper: Aaron Hernandez isn’t much of a sleeper but if somebody overreacted and dropped him, pounce now after his six-catch, 30-yard, 1-touchdown performance showed he’ll be right back to being a huge part of the New England offense. If you need a deeper sleeper and are looking for depth at wide receiver Sidney Rice and Golden Tate were each targeted six times and caught touchdowns but they both may prove inconsistent due to the play of their rookie QB.
Washington Redskins 38, Minnesota Vikings 26
Stars: One of the stars of the day and definitely the story of the afternoon game was Robert Griffin III. RG3 ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns including a 76 yard run that sealed the win for the Redskins and was one of the highlights of the week. He added 182 yards and another touchdown passing finishing third among all players in standard scoring systems. He got the Redskins a big win at home, came back successfully from his injury, and made winners of many of his fantasy owners with another monster game… Percy Harvin Continued to be a point-per-reception league standout with 11 catches and 133 yards. He failed to find the endzone this week but as a focal point of the rejuvenated Viking offense is a WR1 virtually every week.
Sleeper: The Vikings must be pleased with the progression of Christian Ponder. Ponder looked good again for most of yesterday’s game throwing for 352 yards and a pair of touchdowns as well as a pair of interceptions. He’s been a top 10 QB three of the last four week (#9 this week) and makes a great QB2 as the Vikings head home for games against Arizona and Tampa before heading to Seattle for a tough matchup.
Green Bay Packers 42, Houston Texans 24
Stars: In our last game of the day, we got the highest point scorer of the day as Aaron Rodgers went off and changed the face of one game per league as he piled up six touchdowns, 338 yards, and added 17 rushing yards just for fun. In the first two weeks, owners may have been tempted to move on after he threw just one touchdown and one interception. Since then though, Rodgers has piled up 13 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions the last three games. At least one A-Rod is lighting up October… Jordy Nelson was the leading beneficiary and also the leading point scoring wide receiver as he caught nine passes for 121 yards and three scores… Arian Foster found the endzone twice saving what would have been a disastrous 17 rushes for 29 yards.
Sleepers: The Packers receivers stepped up in the absence of Greg Jennings with Randall Cobb went for over 100 yards on seven catches and James Jones hauling in a pair of touchdowns. If you need a deeper sleeper look at Alex Green who did enough to keep Houston honest while rushing for 65 yards on 22 carries. One other note of interest was the season-high three targets for Tim Crabtree who could see an increased role if Jermichael Finley’s struggles continue. He finished with 2 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Watch his usage going forward to see how much value he has.