AARON RODGERS INTO OVERDRIVE
Heading into Week 6 the Dallas Cowboys ranked next to last in the league with 271 yards rushing. So to say much was expected from them heading into Baltimore this week would be a flat out lie. Coach Jason Garrett told the media heading into the contest that he felt it was the team’s top priority to balance out their offense attack by establishing the run.
Well he wasn’t kidding. Dallas ran the ball 42 times for 227 yards and a score in their 31-29 defeat. Demarco Murray sprained his left foot, but not before rattling off 93 yards on 14 carries. He looked extremely impressive and was on his way toward a monster performance prior to the setback. X-rays came back negative but an MRI taken on Monday revealed some ligament damage. His status remains up in the air for the time being.
Murray going down meant we saw our first extensive action from Felix Jones. After looking disinterested throughout training camp and in his sporadic early season use, it was a surprise to see him pile on 92 yards on 18 carries while adding a 22 yard score. He showed the burst we saw from him in the past was indeed still there and he would see the bulk of the team’s rushing work should Murray not be able to go next week’s juicy matchup against Carolina. If Jones is available on your waiver wire he is worth an immediate add until we get some more clarity in terms of Murray.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t at least comment on the performance put forth by Dez Bryant. Tony Romo targeted him 15 times and he hauled in 13 of them for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Outside of a drop of the possible game-tying two-point conversion he played arguably his best game as a pro. He has now been targeted 15 more times than Miles Austin on the season and has emerged as Romo’s new top option in the passing game.
The NFL never ceases to amaze me. Heading into the Sunday night game there had been just three 100-yard rushing games in Week 6. The first was provided by the Jets Shonn Greene, who racked up 161 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries against the Colts. It was his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 14 of last season and the first time all season he averaged better than 3.5 yards-per-carry in a game. If you don’t already know, sell high right now on this guy for anything you can get of use. Ahmad Bradshaw rumbled for 116 yards and a score in San Francisco. He looked angry and quick in the process. Two traits I love in a running back. The other 100-yard rushing game belongs to none other than Robert Griffin III. The 138 yards he rolled up against a stout Minnesota rush defense ups his season total 379 yards. That total gives him more rushing yardage than the likes of Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden and the aforementioned DeMarco Murray. Each of those guys had ADP’s in the first round of Fantasy drafts this season. The kid is special folks.
La’Rod Stephens-Howling got the start for the Arizona Cardinals this week against Buffalo but was only able to gain 22 yards on his 11 carries and failed to make a grab. William Powell on the other hand rolled up 70 yards on the 13 totes he got and also added a catch for eight yards. This game was likely an audition between the two of these guys to see if someone would step up and seize the job. Stephens-Howling got the first look based on seniority, but Powell proved the superior option in Round 1 of this battle. Based on what I saw, there likely won’t be a Round 2. Powell should see an uptick in work moving forward, relegating Stephens-Howling back to his customary third down role. Expect a 70-30 split in work in favor or Powell, which makes him a 20-touch back moving forward and worth using as a flex option at the very least on a weekly basis.
[caption id="attachment_26066" align="alignright" width="300" caption="<em><strong>Rodgers was up to his old tricks on Sunday Night Football.</strong></em> Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikemorbeck/">Mike Morbeck</a>"][/caption]
The real Aaron Rodgers just stood up. That’s right folks, all you doubters out there were served a huge piece of humble pie as he headed into Houston on Sunday Night Football and throw for 338 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-24 drubbing of the previously undefeated Texans. His huge day now has him on pace to throw for 4,365 yards and 42 touchdowns. Those are the type of numbers Fantasy owners were signing up for when they invested a first-round pick on him. Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb have all been fantastic while stepping up to help replace the injured Greg Jennings. His eventual return to health will only make Rodgers more dangerous. RGIII is the only player standing between Rodgers and the top spot among quarterbacks in scoring. There is no doubt in my mind that he will make the pass and finish in the top spot for a second consecutive season.
Tampa Bay easily handled the Chiefs on Sunday and in the process Josh Freeman had his best game of the season. He threw for 328 yards, three touchdowns and an interception while completing 15 of his 26 pass attempts. His 12.6 yards-per-attempt were by far the highest of his career and a result of his willingness to just put the ball up and let his receivers make plays for him. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams each do a fantastic job when it comes to getting to the football at its highest point, meaning throws into single coverage come with less risk. While I like the fact that he is exhibiting confidence in his guys, I also know that Freeman’s questionable accuracy means that he will continue to be prone to poor performances as well. You won’t find him turning into a QB1 option anytime soon. You can however plug him in next week as a bye-week filler against a porous Saints pass defense.
Everyone loves to grab the next best thing off the waiver wire. It is just the nature of Fantasy football. After setting career highs in passing yardage (293) and tossing three touchdowns against New England, I think it’s pretty safe to say Russell Wilson will be getting picked up by plenty of teams this week. The obvious question now is should he be? For one I will go on the record and state I like the kid. He passes the eye test. He doesn’t panic in the pocket and is accurate. The problem is Seahawks coach Pete Carroll just isn’t going to take the reins off and let him heave away. Seattle is 4-2 and wins using a combination of stifling defense and ball-control offense. Wilson hasn’t attempted more than 34 passes in a game thus far and has averaged just 25.3 a game. A quarterback can’t succeed on a regular basis in Fantasy with that limited of a workload. If you are in a keeper or dynasty league this guy is worth stashing, otherwise let someone else make grab onto him in redraft leagues.
I normally try to avoid writing about players that play on Thursday nights but I will make an exception this week in an effort to let you know about a guy I think is ready to explode. Kenny Britt scored his first touchdown of the season against Pittsburgh while hauling in four passes for 62 yards. After the game he went on the record saying he played the worst game of his life because he ran wrong routes and had multiple drops. Coach Mike Munchak insists Britt is still learning the offense and lack of playing time is now the only thing holding him back. With how bad Britt was, Matt Hasselbeck still peppered him with a team high 11 targets. They know how special of a player he can be, and will continue to give him every opportunity to succeed. If you can get your hands on him via trade or he found his way onto your leagues waiver wire (he is available in 13 percent of CBS Sports leagues) do so. His unique blend of size and speed makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses with the ability to post WR1 numbers.
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