Rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson shined in their teams come-from-behind wins. Heath Miller caught a touchdown pass from veteran Charlie Batch in the Steelers shocking victory at Baltimore. Tony Romo threw for over 300 yards for the third consecutive week and became Dallas’ all-time leader in touchdown throws. Dez Bryant grabbed two of Romo’s scoring strikes for the second week in a row... The races for the wild card spots are heating up in both conferences and the elite players from the teams on these fights should be highlighted on our fantasy radar...
ON: WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, $3m.
After having only two touchdowns catches in the first eight games of the season, Bryant has six in the last four, including four in the last two. Besides the six scores, in his last four outings the Cowboys go-to-receiver has amassed 475 yards.
ON: QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, $3m.
Romo has reached 20 fantasy points in his last two outings, and is also on pace to surpass 4,500 aerial yards in a season for the first time in his career.
ON: RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles, $1m.
Fumbles do not count in our fantasy game, so Brown’s three miscues in the past two weeks have not deducted points from two consecutive performances of over 30 fantasy points.
ON: K Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions, $1m.
After missing a game-winning field goal on Thanksgiving Day against the Texans, the veteran came back strong and nailed four in four tries yesterday vs. Indianapolis, from 31, 33, 48 and 52 yards.
ON: QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, $4m.
In another losing cause, Stafford stayed at the top of the NFL in passing by recording his second consecutive game with over 300 yards to lead the league with 3,742 total yards.
ON: WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, $4m.
Johnson had another incredible performance, grabbing 13 balls for 171 yards and a score. After catching only one touchdown pass in the first half of the season, Johnson, who paces the NFL with 1,428 receiving yards, has caught a scoring throw in each of his last four games, having reached at least 140 aerial yards in all of them, and registering four 20-point plus fantasy performances in a row.
ON: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, $2m.
The tougher the games, the better he performs. In an amazing come-from-behind win Sunday at Detroit, Luck threw for 391 yards, four touchdowns, and gained 33 yards on the ground to come up with a monster fantasy figure of 28 points.
Gonzalez reached 70 receptions for the 10th consecutive season, thanks to grabbing four balls on Thursday against New Orleans. He also has seven touchdown catches, which makes him a very valuable fantasy tight end.
ON: QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, $1m.
The rookie has three come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter or overtime in just 12 NFL games against the Patriots, Packers and Bears, which tell us he is ready for crunch time. Sunday at Chicago, he destroyed the Monsters of the Midway with his arm and legs, throwing for 293 yards and two scores and rushing for 71. His 22 fantasy points were heroic considering Chicago’s fierce defense.
ON: WR Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks, $1m.
The pair of Seattle starting wide receivers Sidney Rice and Golden Tate definitely represents two of the best bargain picks in our fantasy game. Yesterday, both had more than 90 receiving yards and a score. In the season, they both have very similar numbers with seven touchdown receptions apiece.
The most targeted receiver in the NFL on third down, Marshall had another stellar performance yesterday, catching more passes alone—10 for 165 yards—than the rest of his teammates combined.
ON: TE Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings, $3m.
With wide out Percy Harvin injured, Rudolph is the go-to receiver in the weak Vikings passing offense. Yesterday at Green Bay, he had another touchdown catch to increase his season total to eight.
ON: RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, $3m.
The Vikings lost, but Peterson had another amazing performance at Green Bay. Against a Packers defense that had only allowed three runs of 20 or more yards this season, Peterson had gallops of 82, 48 and 23 yards, resulting in the third game of his career with over 200 rushing yards (210) and his first since 2007. Peterson, who leads the NFL with 1,446 rushing yards, collected 28 fantasy points yesterday at the Tundra.
For the second consecutive week, Newton broke the 20-fantasy point mark (23). The Panthers lost to Kansas City, but Newton threw for 232 yards and three scores, and also led the Panthers with 78 rushing yards.
ON: TE Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots, $3m.
Hernandez did not score at Miami, but showed he is 100% healthy, grabbing eight passes for 97 yards. With Rob Gronkowski injured, Hernandez will be an important weapon in Tom Brady’s offense as the Patriots try to conquer a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
ON: K Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams, $1m.
The rookie made a 53-yard field goal as time expired and a 54-yarder to give the Rams a huge overtime win over the 49ers. Zuerlein has converted seven field goals of 50 or more yards this season and is only one short of tying the NFL record (8) which still belongs to Morten Andersen.
Manning had another huge game as a Bronco, throwing three more touchdown passes to reach 29 in the season, setting a club mark that was previously held by John Elway. Manning also tied Aaron Rodgers for second place in the league this year only behind Drew Brees (31 td passes). A very safe pick, Manning has reached 15 fantasy points in nine of his last 10 games.
ON: WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, $3m.
Thomas has emerged as Manning’s most dangerous weapon at Denver. Yesterday he caught eight balls for 99 yards and had his first multi-touchdown game of the season.
ON: RB Jim Dywer, Pittsburgh Steelers, $1m.
With or without Ben Roethlisberger, Dywer should carry the bulk of Pittsburgh’s rushing attack for the rest of the season. He showed his power yesterday at Baltimore, carrying the ball 16 times and scoring the first touchdown of his NFL career.
ON: TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers, $2m.
The offense established this year at Pittsburgh by coordinator Todd Haley really suits Miller. The Steelers tight end led his team yesterday at Baltimore with five grabs, 97 yards and scored his seventh touchdown of the season, tying a career best set in 2007.
ON: TE Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders, $1m.
Myers has become one of the top bargain players in our fantasy game. Yesterday, he set new career marks for receptions (14) and yards (130), scored a touchdown, and collected 19 fantasy points.
ON: QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, $3m.
Dalton keeps delivering in fantasy terms both over the air and on the ground. At San Diego, the second-year quarterback threw for 211 yards and one touchdown, but also scored on the ground to post 16 fantasy points. Dalton has two rushing scores in his last three outings.
OFF: TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys, $3m.
Witten leads NFL tight ends with 88 receptions, but he has only one touchdown this season. Romo will keep looking for wide outs in opposing end zones and fantasy owners should choose tight ends that are capable of scoring in fantasy double digits, which Witten has only done three times this year.
OFF: QB Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings, $2m.
Despite getting huge support on the ground by Peterson, Ponder was again unable to deliver. He threw a lonely touchdown and two costly interceptions and ended the day at Green Bay with 119 passing yards and 28 rushing yards on six scrambles to post a very poor fantasy figure of eight points.
OFF: K Greg Gano, Carolina Panthers, $1m.
Regardless who is kicking for them, the Panthers simply do not try any field goals. Carolina has attempted less than one field goal per game this season (lowest in the NFL). No matter how accurate he could be, Gano will not have many chances to come out onto the field this season. Since taking over for Justin Medlock last week, he has only attempted and made one field goal with Carolina.
OFF: Carolina Panthers defense, $1m.
It is true the Chiefs are protecting the ball better with Brady Quinn at quarterback, but the Panthers were unable to generate any turnovers against a team that has given the ball away 32 times this season. The Panthers defense collected a lonely sack for only three fantasy points.
OFF: QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins, $1m.
In his last six games, Miami’s rookie quarterback has been able to throw only three touchdown passes: a clear indication that he should be off our radar until the end of the season.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley completed only 10 passes in 31 attempts at the Meadowlands for a ridiculous 72 yards. Lindley has no touchdown throws in three games. Fitzgerald, one of the best wide outs in the NFL, has accounted for only five catches and 65 receiving yards in his last three outings and should start to look for another team to play in 2013.
OFF: K David Akers, San Francisco 49ers, $2m.
The top NFL kicker last year, Akers keeps missing key long field goals for San Francisco. Again against the Rams he had the opportunity of winning the game in overtime for the 49ers and he missed again (from 51 yards). After missing only eight attempts in 52 tries last season, Akers has already failed to convert nine field goals in 30 tries this season.
OFF: TE Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, $3m.
After an impressive start of the season (four touchdowns in his first three games), Davis has gone downhill since with only one game over 100 yards and one scoring grab. Yesterday at St. Louis, he only caught two passes for 15 yards.
I really thought they would get high figures this week, but their fantasy slump continued and with the way quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and Andy Dalton are delivering, Brees and Rodgers should probably be put on the fantasy bench. Brees has only thrown for more than 300 yards once in his last six outings. Rodgers has not thrown three or more touchdown passes since Week 10, failing to reach 15 fantasy points in three consecutive weeks.
I know Flacco was facing a very tough Steelers defense, but he managed to throw for only 188 yards and a touchdown, and was unable to gain 10 fantasy points for the fourth time in his last six games.