Jamaal Charles, RB, KC – Charles totaled 238 yards on just 26 touches Sunday, and he is now averaging a whopping 6.5 YPC this season. Nothing has drastically changed with his fantasy prospects recently – Thomas Jones keeps seeing his share of the carries – but Charles is on pace to finish the year with 1,959 total yards on just 272 touches. Charles is also averaging a very impressive 3.4 YPC after contact, has yet to commit a single penalty this season, and is a better blocker than Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, so a legitimate argument could be made that Charles is the best running back in football. If, and when, he is given a full workload, the history books could be rewritten.
Calvin Johnson, WR, DET – Johnson is finally living up to his talent, and his production has matched his expectations of late. Over his last four games, Johnson has racked up 24 catches for 387 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson has eight touchdowns in all, which ties him for the most among wide receivers, and it was encouraging to see him connect with Matthew Stafford upon his return to the lineup in Week 8. Johnson’s shoulder is still bothering him a bit, so he is an injury risk moving forward, but there is not a more talented receiver in football. Johnson should continue dominating in the red zone and must be considered a top-three fantasy WR.
Jacob Tamme, TE, IND – Making his first career start, Tamme wasted no time making an impact, catching a touchdown in the first quarter of Monday’s win over the Texans. He finished with six catches for 64 yards, and while that came against a poor Texas secondary, Tamme immediately becomes a viable weekly TE option in fantasy leagues because of Peyton Manning’s ability to hit his tight ends. Tamme is going to remain involved in the Colts’ offense due to their depleted receiving corps, and there are few better situations in the league.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB – Blount gets upgraded for the second straight week, and deservingly so after he totaled 129 yards and two touchdowns on 24 touches Sunday. Blount is averaging 5.2 YPC during his rookie season and is exhibiting a nice blend of power and speed that will make it increasingly more difficult to keep him off the field. He will lose some snaps to Carnell Williams in passing situations, but Blount simply has to be Tampa Bay’s primary ballcarrier at this point.
Terrell Owens, WR, CIN – One was a gift that should have been intercepted, but Owens recorded two more touchdowns Sunday and has five over the past four games. His 85 targets are the most in the NFL, and there is little reason not to expect that to continue considering the Bengals’ declining defense and mediocre rushing attack. Owens is defying the odds at age 36, but it’s clear he has plenty left in the tank.
David Garrard, QB, JAX – Garrard averaged 12.4 YPA and posted a 4:0 TD:INT ratio while also recording a rushing score against Dallas in Week 8. While it may not seem like he is having a good season, over his last three games (not counting the one he left with a concussion midway through the second quarter), Garrard has posted a 9:1 TD:INT ratio. Garrard also completed 79.4 percent of his passes, averaged 9.5 YPA, and scored two touchdowns on the ground over that span. After the team’s upcoming bye, Jacksonville gets home games against the Texans and Browns (and they also have a highly favorable fantasy playoff schedule as well), so Garrard will be a factor in fantasy leagues down the stretch. The Jaguars’ poor defense and inability to run block are both positives for Garrard’s value.
Jason Witten, TE, DAL – Witten was targeted 12 times during Jon Kitna’s first start for the Cowboys on Sunday, and he will likely be relied upon heavily moving forward. With Dallas Clark joining Jermichael Finley on IR and Zach Miller and Vernon Davis both banged up, Witten could easily be considered the No. 2 tight end in fantasy leagues right now.
Felix Jones, RB, DAL – Jones was held to just 22 yards on eight carries Sunday against a Jaguars defense that has allowed the second most rushing touchdowns in the league this season. He has averaged fewer than 4.0 YPC in each of the last three games and has yet to score a TD this season. Moreover, Jones missed Wednesday’s practice while dealing with arm and ankle injuries, putting his status for Week 9 in question. It might be worth grabbing Tashard Choice.
Randy Moss, WR, TEN – After recording just one catch for eight yards against New England in Week 8 and making some comments after the game, Moss was released by the Vikings. While he has scored five touchdowns in eight games, he is on pace to finish with just 626 receiving yards. Moss was claimed by Tennessee, and while that is a pretty good real-life situation for him, it is hardly an ideal spot for him fantasy-wise. As a team, the Titans have attempted just 26.1 passes per game (the third fewest in the league) and thrown for only 187.6 yards per contest. Moss also deserves a downgrade for berating that catering company, which is not cool at all.
Kenny Britt, WR, TEN – Britt clearly has the talent to be a No. 1 WR for Tennessee for years to come, but the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 8 appears to be quite significant. The team is hoping it won’t land him on IR, but fantasy owners will not be guaranteed significant production from Britt from here on out. He is worth holding onto if you have an extra roster spot, but those who don’t should probably just cut bait. The subsequent claiming of Randy Moss off waivers suggests the Titans are not banking on Britt returning to action anytime soon.
Tom Brady, QB, NE – Over the last four games, Brady has averaged just 6.6 YPA, 211 passing yards, and one touchdown per contest. The Patriots offense has looked dramatically different with Randy Moss gone. Defenses have been able to defend a less than 100 percent Wes Welker with ease, and a hobbled (and aged) Deion Branch has not been the answer. With no downfield threat, New England plans to win games like they used to (spreading the ball around, moving the ball in small chunks), which has certainly worked in the record column but is bad news for Brady’s fantasy value. He’s still a top-10 option, but he’s no longer a top-five.
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS – Torain left last week’s loss to the Lions after suffering a hamstring injury. A subsequent MRI revealed no tears and nothing overly serious, but he has been slow to recover from injuries in the past and this highlights just how much of a health risk he is. Torain catches a break with Washington’s Week 9 bye, but Keiland Williams needs to be owned at this point.
Chris Ivory, RB, NO – Ivory gained only seven yards on seven carries Sunday night, and while Pittsburgh’s stout run defense helps explain that poor production, he also suffered a mild concussion in the second half and was held out of action in the fourth quarter. Ivory practiced fully Wednesday, but Julius Jones has been getting more involved in New Orleans’ offense and both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas could return following the Saints’ Week 10 bye. Ivory’s days as a fantasy factor could be growing numbered.
Donovan McNabb, QB, WAS – McNabb completed just 56.7 percent of his passes with one touchdown against a vulnerable Detroit secondary last week, which resulted in him getting benched in favor of Rex Grossman in a six-point game with two minutes left. Varying explanations have been given as to why McNabb was removed, but none of them made any sense, mainly because the alternative was Grossman. Still, McNabb has posted a 7:8 TD:INT ratio over eight games, and he is fortunate none of his four fumbles have been lost. He has also taken 22 sacks and has produced a QB rating below 80.0 in seven of the eight contests. McNabb has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in any game this year, and put simply, he has been one of the least effective quarterbacks in the NFL in 2010.