Week 9 is approaching and we are officially on the back end of the 2014 fantasy football season. Are you tired of your team yet? Have you officially labeled yourself a degenerate gambler after spending your kids college funds on a weekly fantasy football site? Well if that's the case, then that's dedication right there. I salute you.
Over the past week, there's been a few developments at the running back position. One is the injury to Bengals RB Giovani Bernard, and the other is the injury to Ravens RB Justin Forsett. Both injuries aren't severe, but could impact the starting matchups for Week 9. Jeremy Hill is a must start with A.J. Green back in the lineup keeping safeties more honest than George Washington. Forsett, on the other hand, may end up playing. So without further ado, here are your boom and bust RBs.
Start of the week
Arian Foster vs. Philadelphia — #2 in weekly rankings
Foster has turned into a fantasy monster once again after an injury-plagued 2013 left his value sandwiched between an RB2 at worst and RB1 when at best. He was an RB2 more often than not though.
This season, Foster is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, a scary good number when you consider he's averaging around 22 carries per game. He's rushed for more than 100 yards in all but one contest, and has strung together back-to-back four reception games. In short, Foster's value has skyrocketed just like we all thought when Bill O'Brien took over as offensive coordinator.
This week against Philly, Foster will deal with a rushing defense that ranks 21st in the league and is giving up more than 115 yards per game to running backs. Jadaveon Clowney is out, so Eagles quarterback Nick Foles should get a slight break with the pass rush. Philadelphia will likely keep moving the ball down the field as they've done all season and while that may impact Foster's rushing numbers slightly, the second best RB in fantasy should get some receptions if Houston has to throw their way back into the game.
Some under the rader potential booms
Lorenzo Taliaferro vs. Pittsburgh — #16 in weekly rankings
With Justin Forsett listed as probable, it's probably wise to only use Taliaferro as a flex guy in a deep league, but there's still lots of potential here. The Steelers have given up seven touchdowns to running backs this season (20th worst in the league) and are coming off one of their worst defensive efforts of the year despite defeating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8.
Forsett will likely be the starter, but Taliaferro could easily snag a goal line touchdown or two if Forsett comes out a bit slow. Taliaferro is averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry and the Ravens defeated the Steelers handily 26-6 earlier in the season.
isaiah Crowell vs. Tampa Bay — Unranked
Yes, we didn't rank Crowell and opted to list Ben Tate way too high, which deserves a 'come on man.' To make it up to you, we'll talk about Tate's struggles. He's only averaging 3.6 yards per carry in a run-based offense with a coaching staff that considers him a bellcow. He's also coming off a game where he averaged a measly 1.7 yards per carry against a bad Oakland run defense. He's got only one 100-yard game so far this season and aside from a two-touchdown effort against Pittsburgh, hasn't been much of a factor on the goal line.
Enter Crowell. There's been talks around the Cleveland locker room that Crowell could be in line for more carries this week against the Buccaneers. The rookie out of Alabama State already has one more touchdown (4) than Tate and is slowly starting to create a buzz in the backfield. Tampa Bay ranks 23rd in the league in rushing defense so even if Tate plays well, expect Crowell to see some of the workload and hopefully grab a touchdown in the event of a blowout.
Andre Williams vs. Indianapolis — Unranked
With starting RB Rashad Jennings still sidelined and the Colts' defense surrendering a ton of yardage to Pittsburgh last week, it may be tempting to think Williams is in line for a big day. But that's not the case this week. The Colts are expected to have cornerback Vontae Davis back for an entire game. Davis' physical play has been a nuisance to nearly every receiver he's covered and more importantly, has allowed the Colts to blitz more which causes all sorts of problems for the offense. Expect the Colts' defense in Week 9 to resemble the defense of Week 7 that shut down Giovani Bernard and the Cincinnati Bengals.
As for Williams, he hasn't shown much since taking over for Jennings in Week 4. He's a plodding back who needs to get running down hill before in order to plow over defenders. While that style has been effective at times, Williams hasn't rattled off a carry longer than 23 yards and is averaging a mediocre 3.1 yards per carry. He's likely to be shut down on Monday night.
View Keith Allison's Flickr page here.
As part of their special mid season edition of the podcast, the Helpers go over their favorite surprises, busts and waiver wire pickups at the midpoint of the fantasy football season. They also vent their frustrations in the 'I can't bench this guy because ________' segment.
All surprise team
QB — Tom Brady
Why he's a surprise: Brady has thrown for 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions since the Pats blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night. Brady is the No. 6 fantasy quarterback this season and a healthy Rob Gronkowski has had a lot to do with that.
RB — Ahmad Bradshaw
Why he's a surprise: The Colts have perfected the way to use him. He's averaging 4.9 yards per carry and has eight total touchdowns. His ADP was the 34th best RB and he's in the top 5 right now.
RB — Christopher Ivory
Why he's a surprise: Drafted as the 46th best running back and has helped the Jets become one of the best run teams in the league. Ivory is on pace for 1,150 yards and 10 touchdowns.
WR — Jeremy Maclin
Why he's a surprise: Maclin is finally breaking out after a series of seasons where he disappointed. Drafted like a WR3 due to his injury last year and inconsistent play throughout his career, Maclin is currently the No. 3 receiver in all of fantasy. He's on pace for more than 1,400 yards.
WR — Golden Tate
Why he's a surprise: Tate has played a lot like Antonio Brown this season. He's making a lot of his yards after the catch and he keeps on producing despite Calvin Johnson being injured and teams keying in on Tate. Tate has also benefited from the Detroit Lions' high octane passing offense, which he didn't have in Seattle's run heavy system last year.
TE — Antonio Gates
Why he's a surprise: Gates has recaptured his touchdown magic this season. His 10 red zone targets is a big reason why.
All bust team
QB — Geno Smith
Why he's a bust: Smith played well at times in 2014. Smith scored 13, 19, 16, 10, -1, 18, 18 and then -6 when he got benched against Buffalo. His rushing numbers gave him some great upside as well. But he just struggles at times still and doesn't have the best team in New York.
QB — Matt Ryan
Why he's a bust: Only putting up 12-to-15 points a game and with the weapons he has, his numbers should really be higher. His offensive line has battled injuries, which hasn't helped either.
RB — Reggie Bush
Why he's a bust: Bush has battled injuries and has just 171 yards on 49 carries and just one touchdown
RB — Toby Gerhart
Why he's a bust: 52 carries, 133 yards and a touchdown led Gerhart to the bench after the Jaguars invested a lot of money to bring him in as their workhorse back.
RB — Zac Stacy
Why he's a bust: His yards per carry average hasn't been where it need to be, and it's looking like Stacy is more of a plodder than we thought.
WR — Danny Amendola
Why he's a bust: Hailed as the next Wes Welker, he hasn't performed like it. Just seven catches for 47 yards.
WR — Brandon Marshall
Why he's a bust: Though he has five touchdown, Marshall has only had one big yardage game which came in Week 6 where he 116 yards.
WR — Pierre Garcon
Why he's a bust: Garcon has proved to be less reliable with the addition of DeSean Jackson and a healthy Jordan Reed. We expected his numbers to go down from last year, but he hasn't been much of a factor with just 39 catches for 443 yards.
TE — Vernon Davis
Why he's a bust: He had that 16 point game in Week 1, but since he hasn't had more than three fantasy points. He was the No. 4 tight end last year and now he's No. 28.
An all-out Eifert will be required to ensure your team is among the best it can possibly be. As the fantasy playoffs near, it's always good to have depth at each position on your roster so you can plan for injuries and give yourself a shot at a more favorable matchup.
When it comes to the tight end position, quality performances on a repeat basis can be hard to come by at times. So far this fantasy season, only about seven tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, Julius Thomas, Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, Dwayne Allen and Jimmy Graham) have more than 60 fantasy points. The first five of those TEs could be considered in the top tier this year, while the next two make up the 'slightly below No. 1 tier'. After those seven, there's a bit of a drop off with Travis Kelce, Larry Donnell, Heath Miller, Owen Daniels and Zach Ertz making up the 'feast or famine' No.2 tier.
So if you don't have one of those seven (and there's about a 50 percent chance you don't if you're in a 12 or 14 team league), you might want to take a look at a few other options especially as the playoffs near. If you have one of the lower tier tight ends listed above, giving another guy a shot at being your No. 1 tight end could make a difference when it matters most.
The case for Eifert
One of the players most owners will be looking at in the coming weeks is Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, a second-year man out of Notre Dame who's due to return from I.R. by Week 11 after suffering an elbow injury in Week 1. He caught all three of his targets for 37 yards before going down in that one game.
Possessing soft hands, Eifert stands an impressive 6'6, 250 lbs and his speed is something of a mystery still. While he was initially dubbed a Jason Witten clone coming out, Eifert impressed scouts with his speed after he ran a 4.6 40, which was the fourth fastest time among all tight ends. You factor that in with his height and this is somebody who has all the tools to be great.
the Bengals are also invested in him since they drafted him in the first round of the 2013 draft. Plus, on a team riddled with injuries to its receiving core, Eifert steps into a favorable situation where his services could be relied upon much more than last year.
As a rookie in 2013, Eifert recorded at least one catch in 15 games and finished with 39 catches for 445 yards and two touchdowns. While his two touchdowns were a bit underwhelming and he never recorded a 100-yard game, Eifert displayed a knack for remaining involved in an offense that was crowded with the likes of fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Giovani Bernard and of course, A.J. Green.
When you factor in the fact that Bernard was one of the most targeted running backs in the league last season, it made it that much more difficult for Eifert to find his spot within the offense. It's no surprise he wasn't making a huge impact. Eifert finished the 2013 season with 59 targets, which ranked sixth behind Gresham, Sanu, A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Bernard.
Keep in mind, young receivers often take a little longer to become difference makers in the first few years of their career. Guys like Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez didn't begin to put up fantasy worthy numbers until their second and third years. Not saying Eifert will put up those numbers eventually, it's just worth noting that receiving tight ends don't come out and crush it immediately.
A brighter picture for him in 2014
Eifert won't have to compete with so many other receivers for targets like he did last season. With Jones out for the year, there's 80 targets up for grabs right there. Bernard isn't seeing the kind of targets he did last year as the Bengals have become more of a run team under new coach Hue Jackson.
Also, There's less of a chance Gresham interferes with Eifert's production like last season, as the fifth-year tight end hasn't been much of a factor with just 28 catches for 211 yards and zero touchdowns in 2014. There were even talks of him possibly getting traded which would've given Eifert's value an even bigger boost, but now that the trade deadline has passed it's unlikely that will happen.
Eifert is currently on schedule to return for Cincy's Week 11 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, a team that ranks 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game (289). The next three games are good matchups as well with Houston (28th against the pass), Tampa Bay (30th against the pass) and Pittsburgh (19th against the pass).
What you should do about it
Since he's not due back until a few more weeks, it'd be wise to grab Eifert either now or next week before he becomes more of a wanted man. It'd be best to acquire him without wasting a waiver pickup unless your tight end spot is your greatest weakness. Still, there's not a lot of receiving tight ends with more upside than Eifert at the moment. He's well worth the acquisition especially if your team appears destined for the playoffs and needs a few more quality depth guys to ensure you don't get snake bitten by an unlucky injury.
View Navin Rajagopalan's Flickr page here.
On Monday's episode of First Aid, the Helpers discuss rumors of Vincent Jackson headed to the Patriots and what he could do for Tom Brady's fantasy value. They also get passionate about the Colts/Steelers fantasy barn burner, the state of the Chicago Bears and why the New England Patriots are such a frustrating fantasy team. Plus weekly awards for the 'can't win with him' player and 'hottest player' and 'best player nobody started' players of the week.
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots
It's still amazing how Patriots QB Tom Brady has turned things around so quickly after being written off just a month ago by just about every body in fantasy. Just a month ago, he was considered
He threw for five touchdowns and provided fantasy owners with one of the best performances of the week.
New England gave up nearly 400 yards of offense to the Bears, but they still got some points off turnovers.
Brandon Marshall finished with just 35 yards. A disappointing performance considering his WR1 status. While quarterback Jay Cutler finished with three touchdowns, we still don't suggest running with him as a QB1 and consider him a bye week filler instead.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger was incredible this game and posted the best game of his career. The offensive line played lights outs, giving Big Ben ample protection for the entire game. The receivers were on fire as well, as Roethlisberger completed 40-of-49 passes for 522 yards and six touchdowns.
The big takeaways for fantasy include the ascension of Steeler wideout Martavis Bryant. In just two starts, Bryant has recorded two touchdowns and over 100 yards receiving. He's worth a stash as a WR4/flex in deep leagues especially considering fellow Markus Wheaton has been a little less consistent.
The Pittsburgh defense was also pretty good considering they gave up more than 30 points to Indy. The Steelers' defense picked off Andrew Luck twice, had a interception return for a touchdown. They also had a safety. It's always great to have those pick six touchdowns to mitigate a lot of points allowed.
Andrew Luck played just as good, but turnovers were the difference in his otherwise stellar stats. He finished 26-for-45, 400 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He continues his run as the best quarterback in fantasy this season aside from Peyton Manning.
The big takeaway for fantasy owners in this game has to be the emergence of Colts wideout Donte Moncrief. Dubbed a freak athlete who we discussed further on last week's podcast, Moncrief finished with seven receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown. More importantly, he led the team in targets with 12, which shows Andrew Luck trusted him despite his lack of game experience. As long as Reggie Wayne is sidelined, Moncrief is a strong WR3/flex in standard 12-team leagues.
T.Y. Hilton turned in another strong performance with six catches for 155 yards and one touchdown. He's still a strong WR2 with WR1 upside going forward.
Dwayne Allen continued his run as a strong TE2 with his sixth touchdown catch of the season.
Hakeem Nicks saw six targets but only reeled in one. He was open on several occasions and Luck just missed him. He has some limited flex upside but only in deep leagues.
Editor's note: This article is to further explain our weekly running back rankings, which you can find here.
On this episode of diagnosis, the Helpers go through their hits and misses from last week, they rave about how great the Colts' defense is and also give you some deep waiver wire options to try out in Week 8.
The wild running, the wild running, the ripping and the tearing, the ripping and the tearing.
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris ran the ball with a sense of anger during his first season in the NFL. He was one of the toughest tackles in the league, often dragging several defenders on his back as he chugged along for extra yardage. He looked like a man possessed at times.
I mean look at this run from 2012, where Morris explodes through a hole on an off tackle play, loses his helmet and doesn't miss a beat as he rumbles for a few more yards. Always has to be a drag to be a defender closing in on a tackle when you know the guy you're tackling doesn't have his helmet on. It's good that now a helmet loss is an automatic dead ball.
Morris burst onto the scene immediately as a rookie in part due to Mike Shanahan's run-heavy version of the west coast offense, a scheme Morris flourished in. He totaled 1,613 rushing yards which was good for third in the league, and proved one of the best bangs-for-draft buck after getting selected in the sixth round by the Washington Redskins.
Morris suffered a minor sophomore slump in 2013 but still managed 1,275 yards despite playing on a bad Redskins team that won just three games. Morris crossed the 100-yard plateau only three times last season but more importantly, he had four more other games of at least 90 yards. So while his numbers dipped slightly, he was still an effective running back and his 4.6 yards per carry average was more than respectable. Overall, he gave fantasy owners consistent production.
While Morris established a reputation for an aggressive running style which involved mowing down defenders as opposed to avoiding them with his agility, it wouldn't be fair to suggest Morris maintain that crazy, explosive running ability throughout an entire career. It's obviously dangerous to your long-term health and we've seen how many tough runners have faded out early in their careers (Marion Barber from the Cowboys being a prime example). Still, 2014 Morris just hasn't lived up to the bill of one of the most consistent running backs in the league.
What has gone wrong
Morris kicked off 2014 with a series of decent performances, rushing for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins' first two games, but he's tapered off since. Over the last three games, Morris hasn't rushed for 100 yards in a game and his yards per carry average is down to a mediocre 3.8 yards per carry, nearly 1 yard less than a season ago.
His workload started off strong enough, as he averaged slightly over 20 carries for the first three games of the season, but has seen his attempts drop to around 15 per game over the last three weeks. He also hasn't recorded a touchdown in three games.
The offensive line has struggled as well, with pro bowl tackle Trent Williams battling a knee injury that forced him out of the team's Week 4 matchup against the New York Giants.
Competition creeping in
Fellow running back Roy Helu Jr. has started to make a case for more touches as of late. Previously viewed as a goal line back who can catch the occasional pass out of the backfield, Helu saw five carries last week against Tennessee and turned them into 29 yards, nearly half of what Morris had with nearly 1/3 of his carries. Helu's five carries were the most he's seen since the Redskins 41-10 blowout win against Jacksonville.
It's not so much saying that Helu getting slightly more carries ups his value as much as it lowers Alfred Morris's. It's a deathblow to fantasy value when another running who isn't exactly going to replace the RB1 but instead siphons a few more carries which eventually washes out both of their value. It's just one more thing to worry about when it comes to owning Morris.
Jay Gruden's offense
After RG3 went down in Week 2, the Redskins shifted to a more pass-based offense. After filling in for Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins threw 204 times in roughly 5.5 games played. That's about 38 pass attempts per game. Morris has never been a reliable receiver and his one dimensional game has proved limiting so far in a pass-heavy offense.
Is RG3 the answer?
People tend to think Morris is only valuable if quarterback Robert Griffin III is on the field due to another added run threat. While Morris' numbers were better in the first two games when RG3 was healthy. it's tough to think he'll all of a sudden flip a switch and morph into 2012 Morris when RG3 returns in 2-3 weeks.
When you watch Morris run in 2014, the problem isn't all scheme-based or RG3-based, Morris simply isn't breaking tackles or running with the desire we've seen in the past, which is probably the biggest concern for this value going forward.
A favorable schedule and a new QB
One thing Morris has working in his favor is the Redskins' upcoming schedule. Four of the next five defenses Washington plays (Dallas, Minnesota, Indianapolis) are all giving up at least 4.4 yards per carry to running backs. Also, third-string quarterback Colt McCoy is expected to start against Dallas on Monday night. Largely known as a game manager, it wouldn't be surprising if Morris is given more carries as Gruden relegates the weak-armed McCoy to more of a game manager role.
Overall, even with a slate of easier defenses upcoming, Morris probably won't improve all that much until he regains his desire to run the ball with the same kind of purpose he's displayed in his first two seasons. Until then, consider benching him for another RB2.
View Keith Allison's Flickr page here.
On Monday's First Aid podcast, the Helpers talk about the woes of the Chicago Bears and what's going on with Jay Cutler's fantasy value. They also assign fantasy value to players from the Redskins/Titans game. Plus weekly awards and a few waiver wire pickups.
Start of the week
DeMarco Murray vs. New York Giants — #1 in weekly rankings
It's impossible to rank Murray behind anyone else at this point. If his owners aren't already fist pumping for all his production so far this season, his matchup for Week 7 is also decent. The Giants defense allowed 203 rushing yards last week from the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that has struggled in the run game due to a battered offensive line.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, have one of the best offensive lines in the league and Murray has yet to run for less than 100 yards in a game this season. Dallas also has the added benefit of playing at home, where a rocking crowd that finally has a reason to cheer a winning team will no doubt add another advantage.
It's not to say the Giants can't surprise and keep Murray in check. They're one of the most resilient teams in football as evidenced by their three straight wins following an 0-2 start. Still, they haven't fared too well against the run this season. They've allowed 116 rushing yards per game on average (17th in the NFL) and surrendered seven rushing touchdowns which is tied for third worst in the league.
If Murray somehow doesn't have a good game, it will be more because they opt to use their backups in a blowout or they simply scale his carries back and rely on Romo a bit more. That's unlikely to happen though based on how well the formula has worked so far for Dallas. Also, the Cowboys (5-1) will want to keep the pedal to the medal to gain some distance from another 5-1 team in Philadelphia while the Eagles rest on their bye week. Murray is as much of a lock as any RB in the league this week.
Andre Ellington @ Oakland — #12 in weekly rankings
Ellington has yet to the cross the 100-yard plateau this season, with the closest coming in Week 2 against the New York Giants where he rushed for 91 yards. But this week is his best chance to do just that. The Raiders are coming off a game where they allowed more than 100 yards to Chargers RB Branden Oliver.
Oakland has been dismal against the run. They'r allowing 149 rushing yards per game this season, which is second worst only to Green Bay. Carson Palmer is expected to play, which should help Ellington's numbers in the receiving game as he recorded a season-high six catches last week against Washington. Ellington is one of the more versatile running backs in fantasy and should give owners a decent outing in Week 7.
Fred Jackson vs. Minnesota — #18 in weekly rankings
Old Mr. reliable. Running backs in the NFL often age like milk, but Jackson is aging like wine. He always finds a way to make fantasy owners who start him happy. If he doesn't rush for a lot of yards, he scores a touchdown. If he doesn't score a touchdown, he gets you some good PPR numbers and 30-40 rushing yards. He never explodes for big games, but he always hovers around the 5-8 fantasy point mark, which is all you need out of a flex guy. Jackson's 30 total targets is second most in the NFL among running backs, trailing only Matt Forte.
While Jackson has more upside than Spiller, there's some still points of concern. The Bills offensive line is just not good, as evidenced by their recent struggles in the run game against both Detroit and New England. If you watched those games, you noticed running backs like C.J. Spiller getting surrounded by defenders before they even have a chance to get up the field. The difference is, Spiller runs east and west while Jackson bursts through for all the yards he can get. Spiller could have more upside if the line was better since he's more a straight line speed guy.
But that's why Jackson is the better fantasy option — he's more versatile. The Bills like to split him out wide from time to time and use him in the screen game, which gives him added value in the receiving game. Laterally, he can make guys miss in a way similar to Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis (who also suffers from a bad offensive line). He's better in pass protection as well. Overall, Jackson's just a better player than Spiller for this scheme.
Jackson's best chance for a big week may very well be against Minnesota. The Vikings' defense ranks 17th against the run, having allowed 117 yards per game through six weeks. They've also allowed six rushing touchdowns which is tied for 24th in the league. Quarterback Kyle Orton, while not playing his best football as of now, still has more upside than E.J. Manuel and should target Jackson plenty in the backfield. Expect Jackson to rush for anywhere between 60-70 yards and add 6-10 catches for 50-70 yards. A goal line touchdown is not out of the question either and would be icing on the cake.
Marshawn Lynch vs. St. Louis — #2 in weekly rankings
I know we have Lynch ranked high this week and you should definitely still start him, but beast mode hasn't been activated in a while which is cause for concern. Lynch only carried the ball 10 times last week against Dallas in a 23-30 loss. Those 10 carries were his second lowest output since Week 2 against San Diego. In that game, he ran just six times in a 21-30 loss. It would seem the Seahawks might be starting to realize their success hinges on Lynch being used more in the run game. It's also worth noting Lynch hasn't run for more than 100 yards since Week 1 against Green Bay.
The Seahawks play the Rams at home, a division rival with a history of giving Seattle trouble no matter what the records are. The Rams defense are also playing better as of recently. They kept Frank Gore in check last Monday night, allowing him just 2.8 yards per carry on 16 rushing attempts. They held LeSean McCoy to under 100 yards a week earlier as well.
Another interesting twist is the Percy Harvin trade, a move which reportedly made Lynch and a few other players irate.
With Harvin gone, the Seahawks might need to rely on Lynch even more so if the Seahawks receiving core doesn't pick up the slack. The Rams could easily stack the box and force more throws from Russell Wilson, something that would keep Lynch from getting more carries. He's still startable, but there's some uncertainty this week.
View FFSwami's flickr page here.
The Helpers discuss their hits and misses from Week 6, give you some good buy low candidates to help fortify your lineup and analyze the San Diego Chargers/Oakland Raiders Week 6 game and its fantasy implications. They finish it off by answering a few of your fantasy questions.
Hits and misses
They nailed Matt Forte, Justin Forsett and Ben Tate. All running backs were among the Top 10 in the rankings this week and all of them performed well. They also nailed Andre Williams, who struggled in his first start against Philadelphia after many claimed he was in for a big week in the absence of Rashad Jennings.
Their misses include Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin, who they predicted as busts against Cincinnati and who instead went off for big days. Keep in mind, they did have an entire overtime to accumulate more stats. But yeah, they missed those.
It will be interesting to see what Jonathan Stewart will do to Newton's rushing stats if Stewart does in fact return this Sunday. Just something to keep in mind if you own Cam Newton.
Oakland/San Diego analysis
The Helpers analyze Week 6's game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers. A shootout game, there were a couple break out fantasy stars in this one. Derek Carr put together his best game as a pro, throwing for 282 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
A few things about Carr. He throws a remarkably accurate deep ball. Had the Raiders not dropped five passes in the first half, Carr could've put together a near perfect game. He's a boarderline QB2 going forward.
They then ogle over Philip Rivers stats for a second. Rivers, who was drafted as a QB2 in most leagues, has the most fantasy points of any quarterback not named Andrew Luck through six weeks. He has five games of at least 20 fantasy points, which is fantastic consistency.
Another break out fantasy star was Raiders WR Andre Holmes. A guy dubbed a sleeper by many experts coming into this season, Holmes broke out for his first 100-yard game and added two touchdowns. His speed is unquestionable and when you add his size (6'4), he can do things on the field reminiscent of another former Raider by the name of Randy Moss. He's a fantastic flex option right now.
As far as tight ends go, Ladarius Green led the Chargers' TEs in receiving yards with 60 yards on four catches. Antonio Gates got the touchdown, but was held under 30 yards receiving. Gates remains a force in the red zone, and will continue to score touchdowns with his big body as long as he's matched up in 1-on-1 coverage. We like Gates more as a TE1 right now, but Green is slowly creeping his way into flex status.
Buy low candidates
Carson Palmer — When healthy, he has great weapons at receiver to work with in Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown. He's also projected for 16 points in ESPN leagues this week. Those 16 points are more than many starting quarterbacks including Matt Ryan (who is only projected for 15). He has got an easier schedule coming up. The Cardinals play Atlanta, St. Louis, and Oakland in the next five weeks.
Sammy Watkins — Guy is an unbelievable talent. Though inconsistent at times, he's utilized in the offense and sees plenty of targets. He is also still developing chemistry with quarterback Kyle Orton, a guy who was basically plucked off the street after the Bills coaching staff was worried about E.J. Manuel's confidence. Orton has been on successful passing offenses in the past (most recently with the Denver Broncos in 2010) and if he starts getting more comfortable with the offense, expect Watkins to see more consistent numbers.
The Bills also have an easy slate of games coming up. They play the Jets twice, Minnesota, and also have Oakland around fantasy playoff time. We've seen rookie receivers come on late in their first year (think Cordarrelle Patterson last season) and Watkins is as good a threat as any to do just that. His value also isn't very high right now. He's a WR3 who you could trade a solid TE2 or even an RB2/3 to get. So if you play it right, you probably won't have to give up much.