Most of the time, fantasy football numbers come in right around where people expect them too, but every once in a while numbers come along that jump up and smack you upside the head. Week 9 in the NFL had a bunch of those numbers some positive and some negative.
It was a huge day for rookies around the league and a good day to own players from the NFC North. This week, I’ll pass out congratulations to those of you who started some players and condolences for some other starts:
Congratulations if you started…
Doug Martin-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-RB: Doug Martin’s day was historically good. Darren Rovell explains how good in this tweet: [blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/darrenrovell/status/265300898744504320"]
Martin finshed with 21 yards receiving on four catches and an incredible 251 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The Bucs are playing well and Martin is beyond breaking out. This is way beyond a fluke since he’s getting the carries and has improved his yardage total in each of the last five weeks. He now has back-to-back multi-touchdown games with over 200 all-purpose yards. He’s a RB1 as he heads into next week’s matchup with the Chargers who will offer more resistance than the Raiders but won’t be able to stop the muscle hamster (great nickname btw. click here for background)
Andrew Luck-Indianapolis Colts-QB: The Colts rookie QB would have been the headline for his 433-yard day if it weren’t for Doug Martin. Luck was 30-48 against Miami and threw for a pair of touchdowns and no picks. Luck is shaping up to be all he was projected to be in the pre-draft hype machine and he already has Indy fans asking, “Peyton who?” Luck’s a great QB2 and a solid matchups play even in single-QB leagues. He’ll be a great keeper pick depending on if and how your league rules allow for that.
Brandon Marshall-Chicago Bears-WR: Marshall had a career-high three touchdowns as the Bears hung 51 on Tennessee in Nashville. Marshall finished with nine catches for 122 yards and was targeted a team-high 10 times by Jay Cutler. Marshall is as strong a WR1 as there is at this point since the Bears lack many other weapons in the passing game.
Adrian Peterson-Minnesota Vikings-RB: The Vikings had a unsuccessful trip to Seattle, but Peterson had a great game against the Seahawks tough run defense. AD finished with 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries and added 11 yards on three catches. The Vikings offense struggled along with Christian Ponder erratic and inconsistent, but Peterson looked as good as he did pre-knee injury. He’s a locked in matchup proof RB1.
Mikel Leshoure-Detroit Lions-RB: Leshoure was in good situations all day in Jacksonville as Detroit dropped the Jags. He only totaled 70 yards on 16 carries but was able to find the end zone three times and reward those fantasy owners who made the matchup start. The Jags run defense isn’t good so whoever is against Jacksonville is worth bumping up a few notches in your positional rankings.
Eric Decker-Denver Broncos-WR: The only way Decker disappointed was if you get big points for hitting 100 yards. Decker had 99 to go with a pair of touchdowns on eight catches. He and Demaryius Thomas have paid off for owners who gambled on the Peyton-factor and Decker is a solid WR2 with major upside in any given week.
T.Y. Hilton-Indianapolis Colts-WR: Sure to be one of the hot names on the waiver wire, Hilton pulled in six of his team-high 11 targets for 102 yards and a touchdown as he and fellow-rookie Andrew Luck continue to show a chemistry making Hilton worth a roster spot and possible a flex start if bye-weeks or injuries thin your receiving corps.
James Starks-Green Bay Packers-RB: Starks led the Pack in rushing with 61 yards and got five more carries than Alex Green as the Packers continue to seek some level of balance in their offense. Starks will get the chance to contribute after the Packers bye week but isn’t explosive enough to grab and stash unless your really thin at RB. I’d go elsewhere if you need RB help.
Russell Wilson-Seattle Seahawks-QB: At home, Russell Wilson continues to get the job done. he threw for only 173 yards but was able to connect with Golden Tate twice and Sidney Rice once for his three touchdowns while avoiding turning the ball over. He added 27 yards on the ground and can be a plug-in starter when Seattle plays at home, but he continues to struggle on the road.
Isaac Redman-Pittsburgh Steelers-RB: Redman destroyed the Giants rushing for 147 yards, the game-winning touchdown, and a game-sealing long run for a first down. He added a pair of catches as well for four yards. The Steelers backfield situation is murky with Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer ahead of Redman on the depth chart but dealing with injury. It’s hard to know who will get the carries going forward, but whoever it is will have fantasy value. Good luck trying to figure it out.
Darren McFadden-Oakland Raiders-RB: Bad news for run-DMc owners. Not only did McFadden finish with just seven carries for 17 yards, but the Raiders also say that he susteained a high-ankle sprain and is considered week-to-week. McFadden could be done for the rest of the fantasy football regular season if that’s the case so get your backup plans in place-he could be gone a while.
Eli Manning-New York Giants-QB: The Steelers flew in the morning of the game, but it was Eli and the Giants that were “off” for some reason. They failed to get a first down in the fourth quarter going three-and-out on three consecutive possessions while the Steelers came back and got the win. Eli finished 10-24 with just 125 yards and no TDs. Manning and the G-men will look to bounce back against the Bengals next week before heading into their bye week. He’s still a QB1, but bad Eli definitely reapperaed Sunday much to the chagrin of Giants fans and Manning-owners.
Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers-WR: Brown wasn’t involved in the Steelers comeback after injuring his ankle and not returning. Initial reports were that he had sustained a dreaded high-ankle sprain, but subsequent news is that it was “minor” and that he expects to take the field next week against the Chiefs. If he does, he’s a must start WR2. However, monitor his status and have a backup plan in place in case Brown misses week 10 or even beyond.
Robert Griffin III-Washington Redskins-QB: RG3 got knocked around a bit in the Redskins loss to Carolina headed into their bye week next week. Griffin was X-rayed but his ribs were just “really sore” and apparently not broken. For the second week in a row he appeared mortal and failed to get in the end zone despite 215 yards passing and 53 yards rushing. He didn’t turn the ball over, and his receivers dropped a ton of passes. Don’t give up hope yet on Griffin, but don’t expect him to save you the rest of this season unless the Washington receivers play much better than they did Sunday.
Percy Harvin-Minnesota Vikings-WR: Harvin caught a pair of passes for 10 yards and ran for 24 on four rushing attempts. He messed up his ankle and was trying to play through a hamstring injury prior to that. He’s a must play in week 10 against Detroit if he is anywhere near healthy, but monitor his status throughout the week to see what his availability and limitations may be.
Hakeem Nicks-New York Giants-WR: It’s hard to tell if Nicks is all the way back from his injury. He finished with just one catch for 10 yards and was only targeted four times all game (as opposed to 11 for Victor Cruz). The problem on Sunday seemed to be Eli Manning more than Nicks since he did draw a long pass interference call and could have had a long TD catch if Eli hadn’t overthrown it on the first Giants’ play of the day. I’m still starting him as a WR2 and hoping he regains his WR1 form, but owners are definitely starting to become impatient waiting for his return to form from knee and foot issues.
Stevie Johnson-Buffalo Bills-WR: Steve Johnson had a rough matchup as the Bills hit Houston, but he only finished with three catches for 29 yards. He also sustained a thigh bruise which limited him, so check on his status heading into next week.
Titus Young-Detroit Lions-WR: The best option on the waiver wire last week surely disappointed those who made the move and started Young against the Jags. He finished with just two catches for 20 yards as Calvin Johnson and Ryan Broyles received most of the attention from Matthew Stafford. Young could have had a TD which would have salvaged a decent fantasy day but he couldn’t pull in a second-half pass despite being wide open. I still like his long term prospects, but today was definitely not his day.
Christian Ponder-Minnesota Vikings-QB: Ponder looked like he was on the rise earlier this season but has regressed the last few weeks and could only muster 63 yards on 11-22 passing with one interception and no touchdowns Sunday in Seattle. Granted, it’s a tough matchup, but Ponder’s recent struggles make him virtually un-ownable outside outside of the deepest formats.