Going into the Sunday night game it was looking like this week was going to pale in comparison to last week's shootout, but that all changed because of Ben Roethlisberger. For the second consecutive week he has made playing QB in the NFL look like anyone can do it. I have never witnessed anything like this from a QB in a two week span. Michael Vick may have had his one ridiculous game against Washington on Monday night when he was with the Eagles, but he wasn't able to follow it up like Big Ben did.
On a side note, I can't wait until the bye weeks are over, as I hate not having as many games to watch on a Sunday afternoon. This week with having 6 teams on bye and a few games out of hand early made the amount of watchable second halves less than I would like to see. Next week there will also be 6 teams on bye again, but in week 11 that number goes down to 4, and then in week 12 we wrap up the bye week with the last two.
A little longer of an intro to the top performer article, but the rest will still be the same as the past, and some of the players as well. After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each positon, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let's take a look at those who performed well in week 9.
QB - Ben Roethlisberger 340 Passing Yards, 6 TD's, 1 Fumble Lost, 35 Fantasy Points
This now marks the second consecutive week that Roethlisberger has put up the highest fantasy point total. It is truly remarkable to think that someone was able to have two games in a year with 6 TD's let alone have them in back to back weeks! If you told me that would have happened, my money would have been on Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. Last week I said that he was still a borderline fantasy starter because he has been a little inconsistent. At this point after watching him pick apart two straight defenses, he is now in must start territory as a top 10 QB. I mean he set an NFL record for throwing 12 TD's combined in a 2 game span! Also may be the perfect time to sell high on Roethlisberger if you already own one of these guys like, Manning, Luck, Rodgers, and possibly Brady. You could also wait another week and start him because they play the terrible Jets pass defense in week 10. The possibility of Roethlisberger throwing a modest 4 TD's actually has a decent chance at happening. Scary to think that would be his worst outing of the three.
QB - Tom Brady 333 Passing Yards, 4 TD's and 1 INT, 27 Fantasy Points
In one of my previous articles, I dismissed a great performance by Brady as he hadn't shown anything close to that performance this season. Now I am willing to say that he is a starter in all leagues, and is looking great. Rob Gronkowski, more on him later, looks to be back in his 2012 form and that is all Brady needs to be successful.
QB - Ryan Tannehill 288 Passing Yards, 3 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
San Diego couldn't get anything going on offense all afternoon, which led to Philip Rivers turning the ball over in good field position a few times. Tannehill was the primary beneficiary of this, as he took advantage of these opportunities. As great as this outing was for Tannehill, it could have been better if he wasn't pulled out of the game because it was out of hand. Either way Tannehill is a solid backup QB to have, so you can feel good about playing him if you need to because of an injury or bye week.
RB - Jeremy Hill 24 Carries for 154 Yards and 2 TD's, 1 Catches for 9 Yards, 27 Fantasy Points
This is why having the handcuff to your stud Running Back is a must. Hill played for the injured Giovanni Bernard Sunday and showed why he was drafted in the second round this year. He put up great numbers running against the Jaguars, who had done very well defending the run game as of late. Hill is probably owned already in your league, but if you are a Bernard owner I would try to see what it would take to acquire Hill from him. Going forward he will only be useful in games where Giovanni doesn't play, but if he has to sit out any more time, Hill is a borderline top 12 back each week he starts.
RB - Marshawn Lynch 21 Carries for 67 Yards and 2 TD's, 5 Catches for 76 Yards, 25 Fantasy Points
Lynch didn't have the greatest yards per carry on Sunday, but nonetheless he churned out a good performance against the Raiders. Now playing against the Raiders helped him out this week, as they have been poor against RB's up to this point. Next week Lynch gets to play the Giants, so he has a great chance of putting up top 5 numbers again in week 10.
RB - Matt Asiata 10 Carries for 26 Yards and 3 TD's, 4 Catches for 31 Yards and a 2 point conversion, 25 Fantasy Points
Asiata defined vulture Sunday afternoon with his three short yardage TD's, while Teddy Bridgewater and Jerick McKinnon did more of the work. This was an extremely frustrating performance for McKinnon owners to see as he will be tougher to trust going forward. The TD's may not be there for McKinnon going forward on a regular basis, but he should still be looked as someone who can get to 100 yards in any given week with his explosiveness. Asiata should not be started in the future, but if you own McKinnon, see if you can handcuff him with Asiata to get that Running Back situation locked down.
WR - Jeremy Maclin 7 Targets, 6 Receptions for 158 Yards and 2 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
Maclin was the top performer at the Wide Receiver positon last week as well. Even with Nick Foles getting hurt and Mark Sanchez entering the game, Maclin was his usual self. His time with Sanchez was encouraging for fantasy owners to see because now you don't have to worry about his production falling off if Foles is out for an extended period of time. The offensive scheme will allow for Maclin to constantly be a top producer in their offense no matter who the QB is.
WR - Mike Evans 11 Targets, 7 Receptions for 124 Yards and 2 TD's, 24 Fantasy Points
Evans still had less targets than Vincent Jackson, but Mike Glennon has been looking for both enough for them to be startable in all leagues. Evans will be ranked higher going forward between the two, as Glennon seems to trust Evans more with the tougher passes down the field. Evans is a top 20 guy the rest of the way, and is trying to make a case as the top rookie WR. Watkins is still higher, but the gap is closer than it was a week ago.
WR - Allen Hurns 9 Targets, 7 Receptions for 112 Yards and 2 TD's, 23 Fantasy Points
Is Allen Hurns going to be the new Eddie Royal? Hurns had a 23 point outing in week one, but after that fell off the face of the earth. Now he resurfaces with this great performance, which hurt all those Allen Robinson owners. I think that Hurns might do this once more this year, but for the next few weeks will go back to being an afterthought in this offense. I wouldn't worry if you're an Allen Robinson owner, as sometimes there will be a week where he isn't able to put up a solid performance. I expect him to get back on track against the Cowboys in week 10.
TE - Rob Gronkowski 10 Targets, 9 Receptions for 105 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
Only half the points as his outing last week, but that is only because he put up 32 fantasy points in week 8. The top TE again, but this outing is what is going to be close to the norm for him. Tom Brady looks great, and Gronkowski is playing phenomenal, so get ready for more Gronk spikes.
TE - Mychal Rivera 11 Targets, 8 Receptions for 38 Yards and 2 TD's, 15 Fantasy Points
I had mentioned Rivera as being a potential sleeper this week when doing my TE rankings, so it was nice to see him come through on it. Now the reason I thought he could have a good outing this week was because the Seahawks have been susceptible to the TE position all year long. Clearly those woos still exist, but it is also not encouraging to see only 38 yards on 8 receptions. Next week he gets the Broncos, so his streak of playing well should continue. If you are in a bind to find a TE, Rivera is a decent pickup as he has been more involved in the offense each week.
TE - Jimmy Graham 7 Targets, 7 Receptions for 83 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
Jimmy Graham is now back, so those owners who still have a backup TE on their roster can free up that roster spot. The reason to worry about Graham getting reinjured have started to fade away, and I don't see any lingering effects. Start him with confidence, as he is a top 3 TE going forward.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Carson Palmer 249 Passing Yards, 3 TD's and 1 INT, 19 Fantasy Points
Since Palmer has returned from his injury, he has thrown for at least 2 TD's in each outing. This week he had his lowest yardage total of the season, but that can be chalked up to playing against the tough Dallas defense. Palmer should be viewed as a top 10 QB the rest of the way, and for those of you with him as your backup to a stud, you should look to trade Palmer to upgrade elsewhere.
RB - Ben Tate 10 Carries for 3 Yards, 4 Catches for 29 Yards, 2 Fantasy Points
There is no reason for Ben Tate to have this bad of a performance against the poor Bucs run defense. This now marks 3 straight terrible outing for Tate, and moves himself out of the automatic starter territory. Terrence West was more effective this game, and also received more carries for it. What was once viewed as Tate's backfield, now is a timeshare.
WR - Michael Crabtree 9 Targets, 5 Receptions for 40 Yards, 4 Fantasy Points
Why is Crabtree still owned in so many leagues? He has done nothing outside of his two week stretch at the beginning of the year with 14 points in weeks 2 and 3. Anquan Boldin is the main guy in San Francisco this year, but he is owned in less ESPN leagues than Crabtree. In 10 team leagues he shouldn't be owned, and in 12 team leagues I'm sure there is a guy who has higher upside currently out there on the waiver wire.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy's performance and where he stands going forward.