Well if the fantasy Gods chose to smile on your team this weekend, it is probably a safe bet that you had one of the players listed below. While some of these performances are surprising, most are from star caliber players that need to be in your lineup week in and week out. It is these type performances below that give credence to the phrase “Always Start Your Studs..” And if you did’n't? For shame…
QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos – Neck? What neck. The guy is just incredible and the record setting season continued against the Oakland Raiders. At one point, Manning completed 18 of 20 passes, for more than 264 yards and three touchdowns, and it wasn’t even halftime yet. Wow.
QB Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns – This performance would most definitely fall under the “Shocked The Hell Out of Me” category, without question. Despite mixing in a few interceptions, Hoyer was rock solid, finding his key weapons in WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron en route to a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. It’ll be interesting to see how he follows up his 321 yard, 3 touchdown game in week four against the Bengals. That said, the Browns brass really like this kid and yesterday we saw why.
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints – Just another day at the office for Brees, on his way to a 342 yard, three touchdown afternoon against the Arizona Cardinals. To add to his fantasy owner’s delight, Brees scampered in from seven yards out for a rushing score as well.
QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – Funny how fantasy fortunes change when the offense is opened up a little and tailored to a player’s strengths. This was evident yesterday, coupled with a completely hapless New York Giants squad as Newton tossed three touchdown passed and added 45 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Look for the fun to continue next week as the Panthers face the Cardinals.
QB Geno Smith, New York Jets – Granted the rookie will make his fair share of mistakes, but it was easy to see what the New York Jets saw when they picked him on draft day to ultimately be their man behind center. Smith completed 16 passes for 331 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, one each to WR Santonio Holmes and WR Stephen Hill. He also added a rushing score early in the first quarter. Be prepared for ups and downs associated with being a rookie in the NFL, but I have to admit I am excited to see what he does in week four against the Titans.
RB Demarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys– In a game that was expected to be more of a focused aerial attack from Dallas, it was one of their weapons on the ground that made some of the most noise against the St. Louis Rams. Murray carried the ball 26 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. The 28 yards receiving helped him eclipse the 200 yard barrier for the day. If he can stay off the trainer’s table, look out.
RB Jonathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers – While he isn’t a long term solution and someone you’d want to make a monster play for off the waiver wire, Franklin certainly made some noise and a case for usurping RB James Starks on the depth chart. Against the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, Franklin was a force with 13 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. That is almost an 8 yard per carry average and makes him worthy of mention here this week!
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts – The Colts coaching staff says Bradshaw is “an angry runner..” And he certainly ran with purpose this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. With newly acquired RB Trent Richardson still learning the ropes of the Indianapolis playbook, Bradshaw grabbed the bull by the horns and carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. It is crazy to think that this will continue, as you don’t trade a first round selection for a player and platoon him, but Bradshaw’s performance was fantastic nonetheless. He’ll continue to be solid compliment to Richardson, assuming he can stay healthy.
RB Lesean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles – The production as a result of Chip Kelly’s offense continues for McCoy, as despite the loss, he tallied 158 yards on the ground including an awesome 41 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He’ll be needed in all his glory next week, as the Eagles head to Mile High to face QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs– The player that was likely to do the most damage against a struggling Philadelphia Eagles defense did just that this past Thursday night. He carried the ball 20 times for 92 yards and a score and added 7 receptions for 80 yards as well. I think it’s safe to say that he made his fantasy owners proud with 172 yards of total offense and a score. And guess what campers – the Chiefs get the winless New York Giants next week!
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers – We figured a break out week was coming for Brown, but most didn’t expect it to happen this past Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. I have to imagine this performance was wasted as Brown languished on the bench of many a frustrated fantasy owner. Despite falling to 0-3, Brown was an absolute beast down field for the Steelers, with nine receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
WR Eric Decker, Denver Broncos – Decker chose the prime time stage of Monday Night Football to score his first touchdown of the season en route to an outstanding game against the Oakland Raider. He finished the contest with 8 receptions (incidentally on eight targets) for 133 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
WR Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans – This guy found his way in my sleeper piece last week and he did me proud. With WR Kenny Britt a non-factor and WR Kendall Williams coming off a concussion, QB Jake Locker looked to Washington for some stability and production. He was able to reel in 8 passes for 131 yards as he was targeted a team high 10 times.
WR Sydney Rice, Seattle Seahawks – While the offense will revolve around the run game for the Seattle Seahawks, it was nice to see them open things up through the air against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rice was able to grab 5 passes for 79 yards, making two receptions count for touchdowns. It is not every week the Jaguars come to town, but for this week, Rice was the man.
WR Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, New York Jets – As I mentioned above, Jets QB Geno Smith found these two guys all afternoon against the Buffalo Bills. Between the two of them, they combined for 262 total yards receiving and each hauled in a touchdown pass. As their quarterback will battle the inconsistencies associated with being a rookie in the NFL, both will ride this roller coaster with their young teammate. However, it is awesome he is setting up a nice rapport.
WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – While most figured Gordon would be a factor in the Browns passing attack and make an immediate impact following his return from a two game suspension, few expected this. Gordon was targeted an insane 19 times by QB Brian Hoyer, and grabbed 10 offerings for 146 yards and a touchdown. Welcome back, Josh!
TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints – Say hello to the master at the position, without question. Graham continued to be favorite down field option of QB Drew Brees this past week, with nine receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. I’d say that is pretty solid production from the tight end position, no?
TE Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns– I must be dreaming. Do we really have three Cleveland Browns players in the STUD category? Truth be told, Cameron was the only player I thought we’d have the possibility of mentioning here. The big tight end came through for his team, grabbing six passes for 66 yards and scoring THREE touchdowns. Can you imagine the guy who at the last second sat Cameron and started Chargers TE Antonio Gates?? What a dope.. Er….. Um…
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