Analysis by Michael Fabiano
Matt Ryan posted a solid 353 yards in the contest, but he threw for just one touchdown with an interception to finish with a respectable 15.42 fantasy points. He will be a must-start next week against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night. ... The team used more of a committee approach in the backfield, as Michael Turner (13 carries) and Jacquizz Rodgers (10 carries) shared the workload. Turner's yards-per-carry average has been dreadful, but he did find the end zone once again. He's now scored at least one touchdown in three of his last four games. As for Rodgers, he's worth a look off the waiver wire in deeper leagues. ... The fantasy hero for the Dirty Birds was Julio Jones, who went off for 147 yards and a touchdown. He appeared to be over the ankle ailment that has hindered him, so owners should once again start him with confidence. ... Roddy White (5.7 points) and Tony Gonzalez (6.2 points) posted mediocre totals for fantasy leaguers, but both remain solid starting options.
Josh Freeman had been one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy football, but he failed to throw a touchdown and finished with 10.24 fantasy points. It was the first time he scored fewer than 16 fantasy points since Week 4. ... Doug Martin mustered just 50 yards on 21 carries, but he found the end zone twice. He's been one of the top three fantasy runners for over a month now. ... Vincent Jackson led the Buccaneers with 96 yards but didn't find the end zone. Still, he's well on his way to the best statistical season of his career. ... Mike Williams once again posted a substandard stat line with just 28 yards. He has now failed to score seven fantasy points in three straight games. What's more, Tiquan Underwood has outscored him in two of those contests. ... Dallas Clark had a respectable 65 yards and has averaged 8.2 fantasy points in his last three games. Consider him off the waiver wire. ... Matt Bryant could have had a huge game, but he missed two field goals and scored just six points.
Analysis by Akbar Gbajabiamila
The Raiders on the road were still able to eke out two worthy fantasy players in Denarius Moore and Marcel Reece. With the fantasy playoffs around the corner I believe that Carson Palmer, Brandon Myers, and Marcel Reece are the only players that you can take into consideration to play. Palmer's 5.84 fantasy points was his lowest performance since Week 4. Marcel Reece now has four consecutive games with 10-plus point games -- he is the most versatile fullback in the league.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is running with authority: He now has rushed for 100-plus yards with a touchdown in two consecutive games. You can ride the Law Firm through the playoffs. Andy Dalton's performance showed why the Bengals were willing to move forward: His connection with A.J. Green has made him a solid spot starter in case of a QB injury crisis. Green not getting a TD against the Raiders was surprising but don't worry, he's still the man who will lead your roster to success.
Analysis by Jason Smith
A surprise this week as Knowshon Moreno got the start for Denver, and there was no backfield committee to speak of. I wouldn't count on Ronnie Hillman to cut into his touches after this game, in which the Broncos used him to help kill the clock. He's absolutely a top pick-up this week and just as good a flex play as Willis McGahee was. ... A good day for Peyton Manning could have been better if not for a few drops but I give Kansas City credit. Manning failed to reach 20 fantasy points but still gave you nearly 18 which is a very viable start for a fantasy QB. ... Demaryius Thomas continued to cement his status as the Broncos' No. 1 fantasy WR. He saw as many targets as Eric Decker except he saw most of his down the field. Decker had a couple of drops and overall has seen very little production the last three weeks (eight total catches). You're not benching him but he's now a low-end number two or a flex until he snaps out of his mini-slump.
I was stunned the Broncos defense couldn't force more than the one Hail Mary interception on the final play of the game by the Chiefs. Denver had just two sacks, and while they held K.C. in check yardage-wise, this was a game in which I expected much more from them. Still trot them out every week, as they have one of the easiest schedules the rest of the way in the NFL. ... Jamaal Charles put together a double-digit day in fantasy points and remains the only viable fantasy option for your starting lineup. Kansas City can't muster any sort of offense other than Charles, whose production will be limited but you still have to play him at a flex at the very least. He's had three straight games of at least 17 carries which hopefully means those six- and 12-carry days are a thing of the past. ... Dwayne Bowe has simply disappeared from fantasy relevancy. It's killing me because I had him as a Top 5 WR at the beginning of the season, but I can't even recommend him as a flex right now. The Chiefs' QB situation is so messy and limited, it's going to be hard to merit starting him. I've even seen him waived in a few leagues.
Analysis by Elliot Harrison
There are a few players from 49ers-Saints whom you need to know about to make your final approach to the playoffs, starting with the kid quarterback. As we discussed on "NFL Fantasy Live," Colin Kaepernick was a solid start in fantasy vs. the Saints, and should be a good option going forward. As anticipated, Kaepernick made some hay with his legs, rushing for 27 yards and a touchdown. He will be a threat to do that every week. He also has a live arm, allowing him to get the ball up the field vertically when need be. ... Unfortunately, you don't want to play any 49ers WRs right now. Michael Crabtree was supposed to be a great start, but he only tallied 26 yards receiving. Mario Manningham scored 6.9 fantasy points, but he's been mostly a nonfactor this season. Vernon Davis got one target, and remains a difficult play, despite being considered one of the best tight ends in football. The Niners passing game is unpredictable. ... Frank Gore, meanwhile, might not have had an incredible rushing performance (83 yards) but he did catch a touchdown pass to give him a very nice 16.1-point fantasy day. He will continue to get carries and is a solid flex play at the least going forward. ... Lastly, the 49ers defense is a must play at this stage of the season, when the quality teams begin to assert themselves. This group scored 21 points Sunday in New Orleans, courtesy of two pick-sixes. That should be enough for you to click "submit" in your lineup.
On the other side of things, Drew Brees is almost always a must start unless you have RG3. Despite throwing a couple of picks, Brees was his usual effective self, scoring 18.48 points for his fantasy owners. Funny, but for him, 18 points sounds disappointing. That's still a nice start. ... While Jed Collins caught a touchdown pass, and Chris Ivory got some run (eight carries), Darren Sproles is the only play for your team when it comes to the Saints' crowded backfield. He's dangerous out of the backfield as a receiver, and posted a healthy 65 yards receiving. Of course, the hope is that he will score. He didn't Sunday, but don't overlook the defense he was up against. By the way, Mark Ingram carried the football 12 times, but didn't produce. ... As for the receivers, Marques Colston put up 9.6 points despite getting hurt in the third quarter. He's the red-zone target in the Saints' offense and should be at least a flex in your lineup. Lance Moore is a dicier play, but is still a viable flex option. He scored 6.1 points, but more importantly, Brees looks for him both vertically and in the short passing game. Is he a must start? No. But he faces the Falcons next week, a team he put up over 90 yards against a couple of weeks ago. If your flex has a bad matchup, or is injured, Moore is your man.
Analysis by Matt "Money" Smith
If you had LaRod Stephens-Howling, his run is over. It was all Beanie Wells all day, and while he didn't get a lot of production from a yards, or efficiency from a yards per carry standpoint, he was the hammer. He scored a touchdown on a plunge from the half yard line and again on a stretch play from just inside the five yard line. Moving forward there's no denying he's a viable starter based on the match up. Ryan Lindley had a solid first drive, one that featured Larry Fitzgerald considerably, but that was undone almost immediately, when he threw a pick-six to Janoris Jenkins on the Cards second offensive series.
From that point on, we never heard from Fitz again, as his day ended with those three catches for 31 yards. It was a near mutiny from the Cardinals receiving corps as they were confounded by the erratic play of the rookie. Lindley threw four picks in all, two went for touchdowns, and nearly every one of the mistakes was thrown directly to a defender after the receiver and quarterback weren't on the same page. The Cards defense is still stout and worth starting every week moving forward. As for Larry Fitzgerald, I can't say the same.
Don't get too excited about the Rams defense putting up the second-best week of any team in the league. They were going against a rookie quarterback as well as rookie left and right tackles, none of them taken higher than the fourth round. It's the first time since the 1970 merger a team has tried to pull that one off.
The one takeaway from the Rams is they're back to believing in Steven Jackson. He had a monster of a day, and was your game MVP. Nearly six yards-per-carry, 139 total, and while he didn't put one of the end zone, he was the reason that Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens did, both of those throws coming off of play action. Danny Amendola was a gamer and stepped out for a couple plays, caught one ball for 38 yards, but quickly realized he wasn't able to go as he limped off the field. Speedster Chris Givens stepped in, and the rookie Demon Deacon was a load. He caught five balls for 115 yards and a score, and was clearly the preferred target for Bradford. With a playoff run that includes Buffalo, Minnesota and Tampa Bay, you may want to consider Givens for a playoff push if you have injury concerns at the receiver position.
Analysis by Adam Rank
Congratulations to Norv Turner, he finally got a quarterback on track. Too bad it was Ravens' signal caller Joe Flacco. The Ravens quarterback had struggled on the road this season, and he did for nearly 58 minutes in San Diego. But Flacco racked up a ton of yards in the final two minutes (nearly 30 on one fourth-down pass to Ray Rice) and in overtime to finish with nearly 18 fantasy point, easily his highest total on the road this season.
Rice struggled for most of the first 58, but did finish with a solid stat line of 164 scrimmage yards, which has been typical for him on the road this year. Rice typically doesn't score in road games, but he does do well in yardage just like he did on Sunday.
Dennis Pitta got into the act, too, as he caught Flacco's lone touchdown pass. But it was pretty much the only thing he did all day. Pitta is going to be tough to trust going forward.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers wasn't terrible. And that's what it has come to, just don't be terrible. Rivers had 228 yards and a touchdown, but did nothing inspiring. And he couldn't move the ball in overtime, either.
Ryan Mathews had a fair-to-middling day. He had 88 scrimmage yards. But he was going up against a team he crushed for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season. You really don't have many No. 1 running backs in the NFL, but Mathews clearly isn't somebody you can count on weekly.