Fantasy Football Sunday Wrap: Alex Smith to Vernon Davis?
Risers of the Week: Alex Smith and Vernon Davis were first-round picks of the 49ers in consecutive seasons (Smith was first overall in 2005, Davis went sixth overall in 2006). They were supposed to be the main building blocks of a highly successful passing attack in the Bay Area for years to come. Instead, each was a colossal bust for several years. Sunday, 49ers fans -- and fantasy owners of Davis -- were treated with a much-belated version of what was originally planned.
Once Smith took over for the struggling Shaun Hill, he threw three touchdown passes, all to his dreadlocked tight end. Davis is clearly a must-start every week at this point. Smith wouldn't be a QB1, but would certainly be worth owning if handed the keys. Wait and see.
Faller of the Week: Pierre Thomas got all the work in the Saints backfield in the first half. In the second half, he lost carries to Mike Bell, who was much more effective. Bell ran 12 times for 80 yards while Thomas carried eight times for 30 yards. Forgetting fantasy stats for a second, it has to mean something to head coach Sean Payton that the Saints began to move the ball effectively once he started using Bell. Also, Drew Brees ran for two touchdowns while Reggie Bush added one of his own. For all the love Thomas received in the preseason, he's only delivered on his potential twice and you could argue Bell has looked like the better back when healthy.
Other Shifts in Value
Randy Moss - So Tom Brady completes 23 passes, but only five to Moss. Brady throws for 308 yards, but only 69 of those were to Moss. Brady heaves three touchdown passes, but none were to Moss. This isn't the work of an elite wideout.
Cadillac Williams - Derrick Ward got more carries and was more effective. The Bucs aren't paying him all that money to play second fiddle all season anyway. Caddy's moving down to option 1b instead of 1a -- and it may eventually just become No. 1 and No. 2.
Colts Defense - Not that it was against a real opponent, but the Colts had three sacks, two takeaways and only allowed six points in the return of former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders. Sanders left the game late, but it was not due to an injury. The Colts were just being careful with him. This is a good defense without him and great defense with him.
Steven Jackson - Why both arrows? He had 134 rushing yards against a really solid defense, but his team is just so bad he's still without a touchdown on the entire season. This is such a shame.
Sidney Rice - Do we need to continue to hammer home the fact that he's a weekly play? Um, OK. He's a weekly play.
Ben Roethlisberger - He entered the game as the NFL's leader in passing yards, but was only able to air it out for 175 against a Vikings secondary that was shredded by Joe Flacco last week. This was vintage Ben (circa 2005 or so), where he was a better real quarterback than fantasy. Don't worry, though, we expect the fantasy monster to return -- though he does have a bad stretch here with the bye week followed by a trip to Denver.
Jamaal Charles - Seriously, Todd Haley -- what in God's name are you waiting for? This is ridiculous. Larry Johnson had 16 carries for 49 yards, while Charles gained 33 on just four runs. The difference in yards per carry for the entire season is almost two full yards. Charles is much younger and doesn't have near as much tread on his tires. I just don't get it. Until Haley wakes up, though, Charles doesn't have any value.
LaDainian Tomlinson - So much for his rebirth. If you can't gain more than 71 yards on 23 carries against the Chiefs, you are definitely not an RB2.
Kevin Walter - He's been rendered pretty meaningless, as he only accounted for 29 of the Texans' 336 total yards. Even with Andre Johnson leaving the game injured -- and receiving tons of attention from the Niners prior to injury -- Walter still only caught three passes.
Mohamed Massaquoi - Again, this is why I've never been high on him. You cannot count on anything even resembling consistency from the Browns.
Ryan Grant - I was admittedly pretty down on him after last week's rather pedestrian point output against the Lions, but Sunday he made up for it, gaining 151 total yards and punching one in the end zone.
Carson Palmer - He'd been mostly average this season heading into the game. All he did against the Bears was connect on 20 of 24 passes for 233 yards and five touchdowns.
The Bears - Pathetic. Disgusting. Abysmal.
The Raiders - Even worse.
Shonn Greene and David Clowney -
It was such a laugher the also-rans had a great game during the Jets' throttling of the Raiders. Greene is definitely a great own in keeper leagues, but Thomas Jones still has the job (and had 121 yards and a score of his own). With Leon Washington out for the season with a horrific leg injury, Greene will see work when he spells Jones, so he does retain some value. As for Clowney, he's worth a look in bigger leagues against bad opponents.
Miles Austin - Apparently he wanted everyone to know the ridiculous stat line against the Chiefs wasn't a total fluke. Get him in your lineups as a weekly starter for now.
Matt Ryan - He did throw two touchdowns, but the three turnovers did a good job wiping away much of his production. He also failed to reach 200 yards.
Jonathan Stewart - The Bills' run defense had been brutal, so it looked like Stewart would be a good play even with the presence of DeAngelo Williams ahead of him on the depth chart. Instead, he had just seven carries for 25 yards, as the Panthers looked awful.
Lee Evans - We had already buried Evans, but he's had two consecutive good games with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. He's definitely better than Terrell Owens at this point (but is that really saying much?).
Ricky Williams - He's the second back in Miami, but they run the ball so often and so effectively, both players are worth using on a weekly basis in larger leagues. If you went with Ricky on Sunday, he rewarded you with 80 yards and three touchdowns. It was his fifth straight week with at least 55 rushing yards and he now has six total touchdowns.