Week 9 is nearly in the books and we are getting close to separating the fantasy contenders from pretenders. And yes, I am looking at Mike Shanahan, who announced that Roy Helu would be his running back going forward. So in other words, prepare for the Tashard Choice era.
Winner: Aaron Rodgers
I laughed when Rodgers went in the first two picks of our NFL Experts league draft. Some experts, I thought. But it's a savvy move to take Rodgers in the first round. Who else can you count on for more than 20 fantasy points each week? Imagine how much better your life would be if Rodgers was your quarterback.
Loser: Curtis Painter
Well, it looks like the Colts are moving closer to the first overall pick in the draft and Painter is leading the way. Painter actually had a decent fantasy matchup, but did nothing against the Falcons defense. But come on, that hair is sweet, right?
Winner: Willis McGahee
Who needs a hand to play football? What's next, Alex Morgan playing soccer with a broken foot? I was worried about putting McGahee into the lineup on Sunday because it looked like one of those instances where a player would give it a go, be unable to compete and then spend the rest of the day in a ball cap while watching from the sidelines. Instead, McGahee put up huge numbers. So long, Knowshon Moreno.
Loser: Beanie Wells
The kind of savvy analysis that kept me away from McGahee would have come in handy when looking at Wells this week. But the matchup against the St. Louis Football Club was just too good to pass up. Wells figured to torch St. Louis, but instead burned fantasy owners who trusted him. Wells needs to pass the eyeball test because he just doesn't look like he can turn the corner anymore.
Winner: Vincent Jackson
Hey, look who decided to join the 2011 fantasy season. Jackson will be a great play going forward. If you are worried about Philip Rivers throwing too many pick sixes, don't be. In fact, the Chargers falling behind forces the team to throw the ball which is only a good thing for Jackson. He has a great matchup coming up against the Raiders.
Winner: Julio Jones
Jones figured to help improve Roddy White's fantasy value by spreading out defenses, but he took all of the fantasy value in Week 9. Jones was the Falcons big-play maker against the Colts and he should be stretching defenses going forward. Jones is the Falcons receiver to own right now and is actually available in 25 percent of fantasy leagues.
Loser: Pierre Garcon
Remember when Painter was making a star out of Garcon? Yeah, those days are over. Garcon was targeted six times, too bad it's Painter who is doing the throwing. Garcon is a low-end No. 3 going forward, especially with no team on a bye in Week 10. Don't expect much.
Winner: Rob Gronkowski
Hey look, Gronkowski is back. The Giants were particularly tough against fantasy tight ends going into this matchup, but Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were both good. The only tight end I would now start over Gronkowski or Hernandez is Jimmy Graham. And if you actually have that problem, deal one of your tight ends.
Loser: Fred Davis
The Redskins embargo now extends to tight ends, too. Davis was once thought to be the one Redskins player you could count on in this offense. At least that is what I thought. I was wrong. I'm done with the Redskins. Just done.
Winner: David Akers
Akers has been a great fantasy performer this year and the reason why is Alex Smith. The 49ers offense is just good enough to get the team into field goal range, but not actually score touchdowns. It's a perfect storm for fantasy points.
Loser: Adam Vinatieri
Vinatieri has struggled at times this year and the reason why is Painter. The Colts offense is just good enough to not get near mid-field, which means that you don't get field goals or extra points. You might recognize his name, but it's time to move on.
Winner: Cardinals D
The Cardinals are going to be a good defensive player going forward against teams like St. Louis and Seattle because there are opportunities for turnovers. Plus, Patrick Peterson's punt returns have been a great boon, including yesterday's winner in the desert.
Loser: Raiders D
The Raiders were the pick to click going against Tebow on Sunday. Instead, the Raiders produced negative points. That's right, negative points.