1. Fantasy Flashback, Part I: After a disappointing start to the season, we saw the best of Terrell Owens in a loss to Cleveland, as the veteran star caught 10 passes for 222 yards, including his first TD as a Bengal, a 78-yarder. It was Owens' best game since Week 11 of last season when he caught nine passes for 197 yards and a TD against the Jaguars. Keep in mind, though, that his explosion against Jacksonville was his only 100-yard game in 2009, and you may still be disappointed by Owens during the remainder of this year. Owens obviously still commands defensive respect, and can still make plays against single or busted coverages. Carson Palmer, however, has been erratic so far this year, and Owens has not been a major factor on a regular basis. Defenses still have to "pick their poison" when defending Owens and Chad Ochocinco, yet rolling more coverage to Owens now becomes more necessary, and upcoming opponents will be much more wary of him. Owens is going to face close, physical coverages in the near future, and he can no longer break free as often as he used to. There may be more T.O. heroics on the way, but they will not come consistently, so sell high to a reactionary fantasy owner if you can. Owens is still capable of the occasional impressive performance, yet one week certainly does not constitute any sort of trend with a former standout who is past his prime for sure. There will be some glimpses of the "old Owens" now and then, but there will also be some statistical frustration.
2. Fantasy Flashback, Part II: LaDainian Tomlinson erased any lingering doubts about his ability to deliver a "comeback year" with the Jets. Tomlinson rushed for 133 yards and two TDs in a win at Buffalo, and is clearly a top flex player and also worth consideration as an RB2 right now. Tomlinson's friendly surroundings and his strong desire to prove the naysayers wrong will spur him to continued success. New York's offensive line has been doing a terrific job of opening holes for Tomlinson, who came through with a classic L.T. outing on Sunday. The other offensive players, including the WRs, also are contributing to the blocking chores in impressive fashion. Mark Sanchez is making sound decisions and throwing the ball well, loosening up the defense for the running game and putting Tomlinson in position to get many goal-line opportunities. Tomlinson still has great vision and determination, even if he is not quite as elusive as he once was. The quality performances will continue to roll in. Shonn Greene also looked much more confident rushing for 117 yards, and more such outings appear to be just around the corner. Tomlinson and Greene will continue to split the workload, yet both players can produce good numbers when the offense is rolling. Tomlinson should continue to be the better choice of the two, though, as experience seems to give him an edge. Greene is still a work in progress.
3. What a relief:Maurice Jones-Drew's owners can settle down, for at least one week, after the Jacksonville RB provided them with the type of performance that fantasy leaguers drafted him for. Jones-Drew was becoming an increasing source of fantasy chagrin and concern after not meeting expectations in the first three games. In a dramatic win over the Colts, though, Jones-Drew was the crux of a winning attack, rushing for 105 yards and scoring his first two TDs of 2010, one rushing and one receiving. Jones-Drew was primed for a strong outing, as the Jaguars were desperate for a win and faced a familiar rival. Inconsistency still lies ahead for Jones-Drew and his owners during the remainder of the season, though. The Jacksonville offense will continue to sputter often under David Garrard, who can easily follow up a solid performance with a stinker. The offensive line will also not perform as hoped on a regular basis. Jones-Drew will still come through with some very good outings. Yet there will also be some disappointing weeks ahead for sure. What you have seen over the first four full weeks could be the same type of trends that mark Jones-Drew's 2010 season overall. Do not hesitate to trade him.
4. Unlikely fantasy hero: All of a sudden, Kyle Orton has morphed into a Top 10 fantasy QB. He has attempted 107 passes and thrown for over 800 yards in the past two games. Orton came into 2010 with the label of "mediocre game manager." His role was to limit errors and keep the offense moving, and most fantasy types considered him to be nothing more than an adequate backup. Well, Orton is clearly a new man, and no one in Denver is longing for the return of Jay Cutler right now. Orton is making crisp reads and throws, and spreading the ball around to all of his talented wide receivers. Defenses cannot seem to fully contain Orton, as he is finding holes in coverages and doing an outstanding job of taking what is given to him. Of course, lack of a dependable running game has forced Orton to throw more often than planned. When Knowshon Moreno returns, Orton may see a dip in production. Yet he is clearly much more reliable than many other passers who were expected to easily outperform him this year. If you had been worried about your QB position, you can settle in with Orton for now and put your concerns to rest.
5. Missing Michael: While we have to wait for more official news to come in on his status, it is clear the Eagles offense is not the same without the reborn Michael Vick. After Vick suffered injuries that put him out of action against Washington, Kevin Kolb was very ineffective in relief. Kolb threw for 201 yards, one TD and one interception in relief of Vick, yet looked much worse than the numbers would indicate. Kolb's confidence has clearly been shattered by his recent relegation to a backup role. He made many ill-advised throws and baffling decisions, and it was surprising that he did not finish with more turnovers. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, who were true playmakers with Vick getting them the ball, combined for just 34 receiving yards with Kolb running the show for the majority of Sunday's game. LeSean McCoy totaled 174 yards from scrimmage, but when opponents have a full week to prepare for a Kolb-led offense, they can key more on the RB and dare Kolb to beat them in the air. Kolb certainly has the talent to turn things around, so he may not always look as bad as he did in Week 4. For now, though, the Philly offense cannot be counted on for quality fantasy production until we know Vick will be back in full form.