- Rock Cartwright, Redskins – Two weeks ago, Ladell Betts was the pickup of the week. Well, Betts is finished with a knee injury and starter Clinton Portis doesn’t look ready to return from a concussion. Meanwhile, Cartwright had the best game of his eight-year career with 140 total yards on 20 touches against a solid Cowboys defense. Giddy up on this one.
- Ricky Williams, Dolphins – Ricky was moving up last week but after his 138 total yards, three TD performance against the Panthers, he’s moving up again. Based on his schedule, Ricky is likely a top five back over the balance of the season.
- Jason Snelling, Falcons – After Snelling’s 76 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, there’s no point in the Falcons hurrying Michael Turner back from injury. The 13 receiving yards on three receptions were a nice reminder that this guy can also catch the ball.
- LeSean McCoy, Eagles – The Eagles showed a little commitment to the run this week for a change and McCoy turned his 20 carries into 99 yards and a score. There wasn’t anything in the passing game but that’s just nitpicking. Be forewarned, however, that you can’t expect the Eagles to run this much every week because that would be like taking the stripes off a zebra. [Editor’s note: “spots off a leopard”?]
- Justin Forsett, Seahawks – Nine yards and eight carries is just pathetic but he got a touchdown and it was against the Vikings. Plus, he turned eight receptions into 80 yards and the schedule looks decent with the Rams, Texans and Bucs.
- Laurence Maroney, Patriots – Holding on real tight here – the trust factor is creeping up there with Maroney. This week he put up 77 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Jets, giving him double digit fantasy points in four of the last five games and touchdowns in five straight games. Now watch him stink it up next week.
- Greg Jennings, Packers – I spoke to Jennings yesterday and he told me that he and Donald Driver had changed jerseys for the first ten weeks of the season. Thanks for letting us know, Greg, now starting scoring touchdowns like you did in 2008 and 2009.
- Fred Jackson, Bills – Freddie was looking nice early in the season but Marshawn Lynch‘s return from suspension killed his fantasy value. Well, Lynch has been putrid (3.1 yards per carry and one touchdown) and now he’s hurt, so hopefully the injury is the excuse the Bills need to increase Jackson’s workload.
- Mario Manningham, Giants – This year’s prime example of it’s tough to put him in and it’s tough to leave him out. Sure enough, this week he lit up the Falcons for 126 yards on six catches. It looks like Eli Manning and Manningham are now on the same page and Hakeem Nicks may be hurt. Let’s see if Manningham keeps it going.
- Terrell Owens, Bills – Just when you were ready to put him on the waiver wire, he explodes for 282 yards and a score over the last two weeks. You might say it’s a fluke, I might say that it took the Bills nine weeks to figure out how to use him and the 21 targets over the last two weeks are indicative of that.
- Robert Meachem, Saints – He doesn’t get many targets so he doesn’t get many catches but somehow he’s managed to score four touchdowns in the last three games, including two this week against the Bucs. The next two weeks don’t look great (Patriots and Redskins) but weeks 14-16 feature the Falcons, Cowboys and Bucs once again. Not bad.
- Kevin Boss, Giants – Four touchdowns in his last three games as well as a pair of games with 70 yards or more. The Giants are looking his way in the red zone and he’s rewarding them so I don’t see the formula changing in the coming weeks.
- Brandon Gibson, Rams – Nothing special this week with 61 yards on five catches but it’s worth noting that he was targeted 17 times this week, bringing his two week total to 26. He also had a red zone look that didn’t work out due to poor timing with quarterback Marc Bulger. At some point, that will get corrected.
- Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – The Lions are throwing the ball to the tight end a lot and Pettigrew has 22 targets over the last three weeks. He’s turned that into 15 catches for 165 yards and two scores. If they’d quit throwing to Will Heller and Casey Fitzsimmons (18 targets over the same period), Pettigrew might just bust out.
- Jermichael Finley, Packers – In his first game back from injury, the Packers gave him 10 targets and he caught seven for 54 yards. If they were easing him back into action, things can only go up from here.
- Khalil Bell, Bears – In his pro debut, Bell took his first carry for 72 yards and finished with 81 yards on four carries. That gave him the 3rd best rushing performance by a Bear this season. I’m not saying it means anything but it sounded too good to leave out.
- Brandon Marshall, Broncos – He was a sell high last week based on concerns about Kyle Orton‘s ability to play on an injured ankle and Chris Simms ability to, well, play at all. Sure enough, Simms couldn’t play at all and Orton couldn’t play hurt. End result – 26 yards for Marshall.
- Roy Williams, Cowboys – Man, I was good last week. Another sell high and sure enough Williams puts up a bunch of zeroes against the Redskins.
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – Okay, now I’m just bragging. Sell high last week and then 36 yards against the Vikes. I’m done – honest.
- Matt Forte, Bears – I keep putting him here (okay, not last week), you keep putting him in your starting line-up. I’m getting bored and you’re getting mad.
- Kyle Orton, Broncos – I didn’t think he could play well hurt and sure enough, he can’t.
- Joe Flacco, Ravens – Averaging 10 fantasy points a game over the last three weeks and hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass over that time.
- Josh Freeman, Bucs – Note to self at 1:30 – “That was a composed looking rookie throwing a touchdown pass to Michael Clayton. Check his stats for inclusion in Moving Up.” Note to self at 4:30 – “Don’t be so stupid next time.”
- John Carlson, Seahawks – After averaging nine targets a game over the first three weeks, he’s down to just over five targets per game the last seven weeks including six over the past two weeks. This week he failed to catch a ball. With blocking challenged Justin Forsett at running back, the Seahawks are forced to use Carlson in a blocking role to help their woeful offensive line which means he’s no longer startable.
- Michael Bush, Raiders – Bush had a nice game in Week 10 so the Raiders named him as their starter this week only to give him fewer touches than Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden. Good luck figuring out this mess.
Not Sold Yet
- Matthew Stafford, Lions and Brady Quinn, Browns – Meet fantasy football’s top two performers this week. And just in case you were thinking otherwise, you’re dreaming if you think either guy is going to repeat their Week 11 performance.
- Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns – See above – another 115 yard, touchdown performance is likely to happen only if the Browns get to face the Lions again, which they don’t. If you’re looking for something positive, he was worth starting in three of ten games this year. There, that’s as nice as I can be.
- Eli Manning, Giants – Eli beat up on the Falcons secondary this week but really, he was supposed to, wasn’t he? He gets Denver in Week 12 which looks decent but it’s downright ugly after that with the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins and Panthers on tap. There isn’t much you can do about it at this point so my advice is to pray or drink heavily, or both.
- Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – Kind of shaping up as a solid option only when facing soft defenses kind of guy. The 80 yards on the ground, 36 through the air and a receiving touchdown against the Chiefs were nice but any decent back should get that. He’s fine against the Raiders and Browns but I wouldn’t want to use him against the Ravens (twice) and Packers.
- Kevin Smith, Lions – I told you last week to sell high on Smith based on his expected performance against the Browns. Sure enough, he blew up the Browns with 149 total yards and a score. Now watch Smith get blown up by the Packers (4th ranked run defense), Bengals (2nd), Ravens (5th), Cardinals (8th) and 49er (3rd) run defenses.
- Mike Bell, Saints – Ah, the Saints backfield. Just when it’s trending towards Pierre Thomas, Bell puts up 75 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s a decent flex play but hopefully you’re not riding him as a RB2.
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