This article is part of our Run 'N' Shoot series.
In a flash, fantasy's top four quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees) became a top five. Such is the power of Cam Newton. We won't see 17-107-1 on the ground every week, of course, but whatever ailment was causing Cam not to run is clearly a thing of the past. With a suddenly terrible Panthers defense and the worst compilation of running backs in the NFL, Newton is unquestionably a top-five option at the position from this point forward. In fact, with Jimmy Graham out a few weeks, I'd even put Cam above Brees. Yes, it's time to trade for Newton. Go get him.
Has anyone compared the 2014 Cowboys to the Dallas teams from the early 90s? If not, let me be the first. Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Jason Witten serve the roles of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, and Jay Novacek quite well, and both units had/have dominating offensive lines. Dallas' current O-line isn't just the best offensive line in the NFL, it's the best unit of any type (O-line, D-line, receivers, special teams ... any unit). And where on earth did this Dallas defense come from? Make no mistake, when you go into Seattle and win like that (the game wasn't as close as the score indicates), you're a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They have to be the favorite in the NFC now, right?
"Riverboat Ron" Rivera lived up to his nickname mid-way through the fourth quarter, converting a 4th and 2, leading to the go-ahead touchdown. The coaching decision of the week, though, was the one Rivera flubbed in overtime. It was 37-34 Bengals with 2:19 left in OT and the Panthers facing 4th and 1 from the Cincy 19. If you kick in that spot, you're almost assured of no better than a tie (with just 2:19 left, you're unlikely to get the ball again with enough time to score, so a 37-37 tie is your best-case scenario), and there's a good chance you'll lose by kicking (you might miss the kick, or the Bengals would still have 2:19 left to score - plenty of time in a game where they already had 37 points). If you go for it, though, you could lose, obviously (if you don't convert the 4th and 1), but you have a good chance of winning (scoring the winning TD after converting), and your worst-case scenario if you convert is a tie (kicking the tying FG with no time left for the Bengals to do anything). In a game played in the 30s, when the Bengals couldn't stop Newton on the ground all game, going for it on that 4th and 1 would have been the right play.
With A.J. Green already declared "out" for this week and Marvin Jones slow to return from his foot injury, Mohamed Sanu is going to be awfully valuable for the next few games, at minimum. For some perspective, here are a few players I'd cut or trade to own Sanu: Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Brian Quick, Kendall Wright, Marques Colston.
Davante Adams is not getting enough love from the fantasy community. He has draft pedigree, size (6' 1", 215 lbs), Aaron Rodgers as his QB, and the Packers run three-WR sets constantly. I love how Rodgers trusted Adams on the fake-spike play (if Adams is tackled in bounds, the game is over), and Rodgers told Adams he'd get him the ball on the first play of the game - and did. I'll go so far as to say Adams has a 40% chance of posting better stats than Randall Cobb (who's TD production has been a fluke) from this point forward.
Jace Amaro is 6'5", had 1,352 yards at Texas Tech last year, and went 10-68-1 on Sunday. Yes, he plays for the Jets, but he's probably the second option in their passing game after Eric Decker. I'd rather own Amaro than any Colts TE, any Packers TE, Ladarius Green or Tim Wright.
With all the hype surrounding Johnny Football, as well as Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles already getting a chance to start, who'd have thought the most impressive rookie quarterback so far this season would be Derek Carr? Carr's play makes Andre Holmes (age 26, 6' 4", 210 lbs, 20 targets and 3 TDs the last 2 games) the priority add of the week, along with Brandon Bolden.
How awful is the Falcons defense? They're giving up an NFL-worst 8.6 YPA and have allowed an NFL-high 12 rushing touchdowns, five more than any other team. That's Chicago Bears 2013-level bad. Look for Justin Forsett to pad his rushing stats this week.
When Rob Gronkowski is healthy, the Patriots offense is a different unit and the landscape of the entire AFC East is different. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
If you don't think one player (and a non-QB at that) can make that big of a difference, look at what the Jets offense has done with and without Eric Decker.
Remember how the Lions held the Packers to 7 points a few weeks ago? In retrospect, that game looks less and less like a fluke (or simply a bad day for Green Bay) and more about a dominant Lions defense, a unit which has somehow allowed the fewest touchdowns to opposing QBs (5) and opposing RBs (2) of any team in the NFL. When giving credit, look no further than Ndamokung Suh, who has gone from renowned hothead to the best defensive player on the team leading the NFL in points allowed. With Suh's free agency looming, it wouldn't be a bad time to be his agent.
How's this for a side-by-side comparison?
QB A: 71.6%, 1,767 yards, 15 TDs, 8.40 YPA, 111.9 QB rating
QB B: 66.5%, 1,530 yards, 15 TDs, 8.01 YPA, 110.5 QB rating
B is Peyton Manning.
A is the combined stats given up by the Bucs to opposing quarterbacks.
Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell, two-time Super Bowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger, and 10 points to the Browns. It sure is maddening trying to figure out the Steelers. The lack of a second option in the passing game doesn't help (Markus Wheaton went 4-33-0 on 12 targets, yuck), but the bloom sure has fallen off of Mike Tomlin's rose.
The Browns run game has been fantastic, but it's sure to suffer a bit with the downgrade from Alex Mack at center to whoever replaces him. Such a shame for a team clearly on the rise.
Keenan Allen is too talented, and Philip Rivers too good, for Allen to stay out of the end zone much longer. I'll be looking for Keenan in DFS this week, where his salary is sure to be low (just $4,600 on DraftKings), and I'd float trade offers in our fake game, too. This isn't the same situation as, say, Cordarelle Patterson - my outlook for Keenan is much brighter.
If Bishop Sankey can't do better than 18-61-0 (and just one target in the passing game) at home against the Jaguars, who entered the week allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs, then it's hard to be to optimistic about him going forward.
The Eagles entered Week 6 having allowed an NFL-high 13 passing touchdowns (having been torched by everyone they faced, including Chad Henne), and Eli Manning looked as good as ever the last few games. So, naturally, Philly pitched an eight-sack shutout. Was that an anomaly for both teams? The start of a new trend? How much weight do we give that game? When you can answer those questions, you let me know.
I was wrong about C.J. Spiller this year. Again. Sigh. Sadly, I can't see anything changing in 2014, either (absent perhaps a Fred Jackson injury, but even then Spiller would probably split carries). I'd target Spiller in dynasty, though.
If you're like me, this is not shaping up to be a terribly easy week in Survivor.
Teams facing the Seahawks have targeted the tight end 31 times this season. Seven of those targets (22%) have gone for touchdowns. The Jets aren't much better - they've allowed 7 TDs on 37 targets. As Julius Thomas says, "it's too easy."