Analysis by Michael Fabiano
This contest was chock full of fantasy points on both sides. Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with 337 yards and two touchdowns, but two turnovers kept him from scoring 20-plus fantasy points. Still, he's proven to be a nice matchup-based starter. ... Fred Jackson led the Bills backfield with 20 touches, posted 115 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, though he was forced to leave in the final drive after a hard hit from LB Brandon Spikes. It was a nice performance for fantasy owners, but Jackson's touches have been hard to predict with C.J. Spiller in the mix. The Clemson product had 13 touches for 131 scrimmage yards and would have scored had he not stepped out of bounds at the 4-yard line on one drive. Neither Jackson nor Spiller should be seen as more than a No. 2 fantasy back or flex option. ... Steve Johnson posted a nice PPR total with six catches for 86 yards, but Donald Jones (13.4 points) had the best wideout stat line for Buffalo. Still, he's not someone to target off the waiver wire. ... Fantasy sleeper Scott Chandler caught five balls and scored a touchdown, his third against the Patriots this season. He remains a risk-reward fantasy option.
Tom Brady didn't have a huge game in the stat sheets, but his 237 yards, two touchdowns and 17.38 fantasy points was still a nice performance. He should post a bigger line next week against the Indianapolis Colts. ... Stevan Ridley led the Patriots with 22 carries, 99 yards and one touchdown, scoring a solid 15.80 fantasy points. He wasn't the best fantasy back in New England, though, as Danny Woodhead put up 61 scrimmage yards and found the end zone twice. Despite the solid line, Woodhead is still tough to use as a regular fantasy option. ... None of the Patriots wide receivers did much despite the great matchup, as Wes Welker (7.4 points) and Brandon Lloyd (4.5 points) had modest totals. That was disappointing since Aaron Hernandez was inactive with an injured ankle. ... Rob Gronkowski caught just three passes for 31 yards, but one of those receptions was good for a touchdown. He finished with 9.10 fantasy points.
Anaylsis by Jason Smith
Denver wasn't sharp offensively. Peyton Manning had a below average fantasy game, and Eric Decker was invisible with just four targets overall. ... Demaryius Thomas' 135 yard day could have been even better had he been able to stay inbounds on a deep pass from Manning late in the 4th quarter, but he was the lone bright spot fantasy-wise. ... Willis McGahee was his normal flex self - he's good for giving you somewhere in the 6-12 point range of fantasy points, and Sunday was no exception. What worries me is his continued fumbling problem. If he keeps putting the ball on the ground like he did Sunday, Ronnie Hillman is going to get more opportunities. ... The Broncos D/ST are just rolling right now. Roll them out every week - they are a must play for the next month. Outside of the Bears, there's not a better fantasy defense right now.
Cam Newton gave you a below-average fantasy game, as he's become impossible to predict this season. He's a matchup-based QB right now and you need to have another option on your team for that reason. He stayed in the pocket for long periods of time, and tried to force things because no one else was making plays offensively. ... The Carolina backfield is still a mess. Yes, Jonathan Stewart saw the majority of the carries but he gave you next to nothing fantasy-wise. Continue to avoid everyone who plays the running back position for the Panthers. ... We talked about the Week 10 sleeper potential for Greg Olsen and he delivered in a major way. He's become Cam Newton's full-fledged number two target behind Steve Smith, and with the tight end position in fantasy being a roulette wheel this season, he can be someone you play for awhile. Olsen even had more targets than Smith Sunday and Newton zeroed in on him repeatedly throughout the game.
Analysis by Adam Rank
The Saints ended the Falcons' winning streak and it looks like New Orleans will have something to play for down the stretch. Drew Brees was, again, statistically solid, as he notched 21.82 fantasy points. ... The big story for the Saints was tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham came off back-to-back weeks of at least 12 points as we headed into Sunday, but he exceeded all expectations with 26.60 fantasy points against the Falcons. ... Marques Colston had kind of a weird game. Colston caught a touchdown, which is good. But he didn't have many yards, which can be kind of troubling. Whenever you see your guy had a touchdown, you start to dream of a huge fantasy stat line. But Colston settled for 8.60 fantasy points. That's less than Lance Moore who had 91 receiving yards. ... Chris Ivory will end up as a hot name on the waiver wire this week. Ivory did most of his damage on a huge touchdown run. But when Darren Sproles returns, we're going to have an even more-muddled running back situation in New Orleans. It's going to be tough to pick the hot hand. I mean, even Mark Ingram had 67 rushing yards.
Matt Ryan was brilliant once again with 411 passing yards and three touchdowns. Although, could one of those touchdowns have gone to Roddy White? The veteran receiver had a solid fantasy game with 11.40 fantasy points. The true heartbreak was when White couldn't catch the potential winning touchdown pass in the closing moments. Fantasy enthusiasts and Falcons fans could commiserate. Well, you know, if there was such a thing as Falcons fans. ... Julio Jones missed some time in the game, but still finished with 75 receiving yards. But he, too, was kept out of the end zone. ... Tony Gonzalez had a nice game, as he notched career touchdowns No. 100 and 101. Career touchdown No. 102 would have made him the top scoring tight end in a Jimmy Graham-less world. ... A tweet came in during the early games and asked the question, "Why is Michael Turner still on my fantasy team?" That's a good question. Jacquizz Rodgers was much more effective.
Analysis by Adrian Mojica
Thirty five points per game - that's what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense is averaging their last five games. Simply stated, that's a whole lot of fantasy goodness to go around. Today, it was the usual suspects again, led by Josh Freeman. Sure, his 16.80 fantasy points wasn't lights out production, but when you consider this is his lowest score in the last five games, setting this as the low mark is nothing to scoff at. ... A big part of their success has been Doug Martin. He wasn't able to find the end zone, but his 51 yards receiving and 68 yards rushing against the Chargers fourth ranked rush defense proves he is a steady play regardless of the matchup. His ability to break one from any point of the field is too much for fantasy owners to ever contemplate sitting him. ... In the passing game, both Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson were vultured by Tiquan Underwood and Dallas Clark, but Williams still posted 64 yards while Jackson added 59 yards of his own. Most important for fantasy owners, the duo is Freeman's top two targets every single game. With defenses forced to guard against "Dougie Fresh," these wideouts are either taking advantage of man coverage, or finding holes in zone coverage. Who would have thought two Buccaneers wideouts would be deserving of being in your lineup each week?
Philip Rivers continued his Jekyll and Hyde routine against the Buccaneers, ending the first half with by going 16 of 18 for 218 yards and three touchdowns. In the second half, he completed 13 of 19 passes to go with two interceptions and no scores. The veteran still posted 21.98 fantasy points due to his stellar start, but considering this was against one of the worst secondaries in the league, he is only dependable as a spot start in matchups such as this. ... For owners searching for help at wideout, look no further than Danario Alexander. He's surpassed Robert Meachem in just two games and will be the starter opposite Malcom Floyd from here on out. Alexander posted 134 yards and a score to rack up 19.40 fantasy points this week. ... Antonio Gates was adept at finding the soft spots in the Buccaneers defense, posting 57 yards and a touchdown. He's not the elite tight end of previous seasons, but I think owners will take an 11.70 performance from him any day. ... One player who isn't benefiting is Ryan Mathews. Yes, the Buccaneers defense is stout, but Mathews has posted double-digits just once in seven games this season. He is lacking the explosiveness he showed at times last season and has become too predictable. On just one carry, Jackie Battle posted 21 yards - and looked way more explosive in the process. A change could be on the horizon.
Analysis by Elliot Harrison
Tony Romo had another strong outing in reality, but for lack of a better word, the reality is that he's still not a great fantasy play going forward. His line stinks, thus meaning he doesn't have ample time to get the ball down the field vertically. He had scored 16.26 points, a viable start but not a fantasy bonanza. ... Felix Jones had a nice game, as Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett decided to get him involved early. With a touchdown, Jones got you over 15 points. Again, with the status of the offensive line he's tough to trust. Plus DeMarco Murray is expected to be back soon, possibly in Week 11. Murray is clearly the better back in both reality and fantasy. ... Dez Bryant disappears in games and can't be counted on, either. He had a cutesy fantasy game with over 14 fantasy points, but his TD "catch" should have been overturned. His running mate on the other side of the field, Miles Austin was a non-factor with 3.2 points. Either wideout is a risky play given the Cowboys trouble in giving Romo time to throw the football. Meanwhile, tight end Jason Witten is a must start, especially in PPR leagues, despite only getting 47 yards receiving. He gets targets, and should be good for 60-70 yards per game going forward. The problem with Witten is a lack of touchdowns. Take the guaranteed points and hope for a score. By the way, the Dallas defense had a big day 24 fantasy points. With five of their next seven games at home, Rob Ryan's group is a matchup-based play.
Nick Foles looked okay at times. Cool. The Eagles backup quarterback is not a guy you want to play at this point of your fantasy season unless you're in a 64-team league. We'll monitor Michael Vick's health status (concussion), but right now he's not a great start anyway. There are better options on the waiver wire. ... LeSean McCoy is amazing. He could've been used so much more Sunday, yet Andy Reid legislated him out of the game plan in the second half...and McCoy still had over 10 fantasy points! ... DeSean Jackson scored 6.2 fantasy points. He's so hit or miss, I have trouble playing the guy. If he were a tight end, that would be one thing, but Jackson is only a bye week play at WR or a flex normally. Jeremy Maclin is a flex...maybe. He had 15 plus points, but his touchdown came courtesy of complete blown coverage where he was open by 185 yards. He also alligator-armed (in honor of Ricky Watters) another pass. Play with caution. Or not at all. ... I've given up on Brent Celek. Vick just doesn't look for his tight end down the field. Alex Henery is the 25th best kicker in fantasy this season. He made up for it though by banging an extra point off the upright. Good stuff.
Analysis by Matt "Money" Smith
Not much to be learned from a contest between two of the best defenses in the league. On a rainy Chicago evening, only the "must-start" players showed up. While Brandon Marshall didn't score a touchdown, he still posted 10.7 points against the Texans defense, and had a whole half of Captain Checkdown, Jason Campbell working against him. Arian Foster was the only other human that was worth your fantasy emotions, and while 17 points isn't an Adrian Peterson like effort, you'll take it against this Bears defense.
The two defenses starred, the Texans with their four turnovers, the Bears with two of their own and a sack to boot. And had the referees got the call right with Tim Jennings and the "down by contact" rule, who knows if the '12 edition of the Monsters of the Midway don't hang another score in there.
Moving forward, many of the things I've professed in the passed held in this contest. Andre Johnson isn't a No. 1 wideout by any interpretation of the definition. While he had his nine targets, none of them were downfield, and he even left this game at times with assorted ailments.
Jay Cutler is to never be started. I don't care what he put up last week against Tennessee, there's far too much risk that he'll pull out an effort like the one we saw tonight, where he actually got you negative points if you were foolish enough to have him in your lineup. Actually he got you one point...my mistake.
If you're in a tight spot, you can roll with Matt Schaub, but only in the most extreme circumstances. His ceiling is right around the 18-point mark, and I get the feeling Gary Kubiak is content to let his defense and Arian Foster win games for this team.
Analysis by Akbar Gbajabiamilia
Joe Flacco's 29.74 fantasy points now gives him his third game with 22-plus fantasy points. When a quarterback can produce those types of games, he is considered an explosive player. The Ravens high tempo offense can produce more games of this caliber as we head into the playoff season. Torrey Smith continues to deliver, his 18.70 fantasy points gives him back to back double digit performance. This game got out of hand so fast it didn't allow Ray Rice to put up big fantasy numbers. Rice 12.80 was supposed to be more like 20 fantasy points against the Raiders.
Despite the bad loss against the Ravens, Carson Palmer has been consistently putting up good fantasy production. Palmer's 18.72 now give him five games with 14 or more fantasy points. He needs to be considered as your No. 2 quarterback in standard leagues, but in deeper leagues, he should be considered starting caliber as we move into the playoffs.