Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Stating the obvious but if Big Ben’s not here, then you’re done reading, right? Roethlisberger became the first quarterback in the history of the league to throw for over 500 yards twice, completing 40 of 49 attempts for 522 yards and six touchdowns. While the Colts aren’t to be confused with the league’s top pass rushing teams, the Steelers offensive line seems to be coming together at the midpoint of the season and with rookie Martavis Bryant emerging as a weapon outside, Roethlisberger’s fantasy outlook is on the upswing.
Tom Brady, Patriots
Probably a week late on this one. Brady has multiple touchdown passes in four straight games, a stretch in which he is averaging 30.3 PPG (1,268 passing yards and 14 touchdowns). While the Patriots face four straight top 10 pass defenses between Weeks 12 and 15, Brady should nonetheless be considered a top 5-6 fantasy quarterback over the balance of the season.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Let’s take this opportunity to note that with Wilson, you never really know what you are going to get fantasy wise. He put up a dud this week with 199 passing yards and a single touchdown against a less than stellar Panthers defense. That gives him four games this year where he has failed to top 202 passing yards. And that’s pretty sad considering the Seahawks have played from behind much more this year than last. If you think they are ready for a run, that probably means even fewer attempts going forward.
Mark Ingram, Saints
If you watched the Saints-Packers tilt, there basically wasn’t any way you could not conclude that Ingram is running like a top 10 running back. By game’s end, he had amassed career highs in rushing attempts and yards, totalling 172 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. While Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas didn’t play, I don’t think that matters much given how impressive Ingram looked.
Arian Foster, Texans
After his 151 rushing yard, 22 receiving yard and three total touchdown performance this week, Foster has now topped 100 rushing yards in six of his seven games this season. The lone flop was an injury marred performance in Week 4. If Foster had been healthy for the entire season, he would be challenging DeMarco Murray for the league’s rushing title.
Anthony Dixon, Bills
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Dixon who ascended to the top of the depth chart and not Bryce Brown with both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson out of the lineup. Actually, it’s not that surprising since the Bills coaches prefer Jackson’s power to Spiller’s speed and elusiveness. Hey, who wants dynamic playmakers at the running back position? Not the Bills. While Dixon is a plodder (22 carries for 44 yards this week) and the Bills are on a bye this week, it looks like he will remain the starter until Jackson returns.
Jonas Gray, Patriots
Meet New England’s new power back, replacing the injured Stevan Ridley. Given an extended workload this week, Gray looked solid in the Patriots blow out win over the Chicago Bears, totalling 86 yards on 17 carries. With New England’s offense hitting its stride at the midseason point, Gray certainly has appeal as a flex option over the balance of the season (provided he holds onto the football).
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Let’s roll through the numbers. One game with 100 rushing yards. Three games with over 100 total yards. No rushing touchdowns in four games. Hasn’t topped double digit fantasy points in three straight games. Averaging 65.6 total yards over his last three games. Beast Mode may return but the sad state of the Seahawks offensive line isn’t helping matters.
Bishop Sankey, Titans
Despite topping double digit touches in each of his last three games, Sankey averaged 61.3 total yards in those games and failed to find the end zone. With just one touchdown on the season and a 4.0 yards per carry average, keep Sankey nailed to your bench until after he posts his first solid performance.
Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey, Bucs
Rookie 3rd round pick Charles Sims is close to returning to the lineup and neither Martin nor Bobby Rainey has done much to solidify their spots in the running back rotation.
Bernard Pierce, Ravens
Healthy scratch. Enough said.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers
The rookie 4th round pick hauled in a 35 yard touchdown on his first career reception last week and followed that up with a five reception, 83 yard, two touchdown performance this week against the Colts. He has solid size to go along with outstanding speed and leaping ability. Even if Bryant doesn’t supplant Markus Wheaton in the starting lineup, he should have more fantasy value given his big play ability on deep balls and effectiveness in the red zone.
Brandon LaFell, Patriots
Over the past five games, LaFell is the 11th ranked fantasy wide receiver on a PPG basis. Not a typo, folks. After catching all 11 of his targets this week (again, not a typo) for 124 yards and a touchdown, LaFell is averaging 13.1 PPG during those games (topping 100 yards three times). Looks like the Patriots are set on him as the big wide receiver in their offense. Consider LaFell an upper tier WR3 the rest of the way.
Kenny Britt, Rams
Britt heads to the top of the pecking order in St. Louis with Brian Quick on injured reserve. Keep your expectations in check but Britt probably rates as a solid WR4 with upside at this point.
Donte Moncrief, Colts
After sporadic use over the first seven weeks of the season, Moncrief took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself with Reggie Wayne out of the lineup, hauling in seven of his 12 targets for 113 yards and a score against the Steelers. While the target count was a reflection of the Colts playing from behind, the rookie 3rd round pick displayed obvious playmaking ability and speed, especially on his touchdown reception. He is a solid prospect in dynasty formats and a decent option as a WR3 until Wayne returns.
Julio Jones, Falcons
Pretty much hate to go here but . . . Jones hasn’t scored in five straight and has failed to top 70 yards in three of those games.
Brian Quick, Rams
Out for the year.
Julian Edelman, Patriots
One touchdown on the season. Hasn’t scored since Week 2. Just 13 targets in his last two games. Only 207 receiving yards in his last five games, averaging 4.1 PPG in those games.
Hakeem Nicks, Colts
With Reggie Wayne inactive, Nicks failed to take advantage, catching one of his six targets for 27 yards. Worse yet, rookie Donte Moncrief looked like a future star, further pushing Nicks down the depth chart when Wayne returns.
Jared Cook, Rams
While Cook has just six targets in his last two games, he figures to see plenty more in St. Louis with Brian Quick out for the year. It’s worth noting that he was targeted 30 times during a three game stretch between Weeks 3 and 6. If only the Rams could generate a more consistent passing attack.
Coby Fleener, Colts
Hopefully you’ve given up on Fleener by now. If not, please do so. He is averaging just 4.5 targets per game over the last five games and even with Reggie Wayne out, Fleener was targeted just four times this week against the Steelers when the Colts played from behind for most of the game.
In the NOT CONVINCED JUST YET category, we present:
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – outstanding this week but can he keep it up?
Theo Riddick, Lions – while Riddick has playmaking ability, especially as a receiver out of the backfield, the Lions are loaded at running back.