This was shaping up to be one of the best weeks of football. On Thursday we had the three Thanksgiving games to set the tone, and it would culminate on Sunday night with the Patriots vs. the Broncos. Well we were severely underwhelmed by the first two games on Thursday, as they were blowouts from the beginning. At least on Sunday we weren't let down, as there were some great games. The Steelers vs. Seahawks went down to the wire, and that Patriots game even with the weather was a close one. Once again it wouldn't be a week without injuries. Tony Romo is out for the year, finishing out the most disappointing season of his career.
After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each position, 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 10.
QB - Matthew Stafford 337 Passing Yards, 5 TD's, 2 Rushes for 13 Yards, 34 Fantasy Points
It has been an up and down season so far for Stafford. He went through a stretch in the beginning of the year where he went three straight weeks with single digit fantasy points. This game now marks his second consecutive 20+ point game, and second 30+ point game of the season. He is not someone you can rely on each week, but if the matchup is good, Stafford can still carve up defenses. Having a healthy Calvin Johnson also doesn't hurt, and with that Stafford is a guy who has some great matchups the rest of the way, and could be key to your title run.
QB - Russell Wilson 345 Passing Yards, 5 TD's, 4 Rushes for 14 Yards, 34 Fantasy Points
So this is now the second consecutive week Wilson has made his way into this column. I will be saying something similar to last time. He just doesn't throw the ball enough to be relied upon as a top option each week. You can always count on him to be consistent for you, but these last two weeks are going to be his best for the season. While he has a couple of nice matchups to close the season, he also has to play a great Vikings defense next week. Expect Wilson to go back to his 15ish points a game starting next week.
QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick 277 Passing Yards, 4 TD's, 5 Rushes for 21 Yards, 29 Fantasy Points
This is a quintessential Ryan Fitzpatrick game you get every year. At least once a year he will go out and put up a near 30 point effort when you can't predict it. While I would love to trust him going forward, I simply can't. Too many times I have seen him go from looking like a great QB, to looking like he shouldn't even be starting. While he actually is an average QB overall, the inconsistency just doesn't bode well. This year he has been more consistent, but it hasn't been with great numbers. He still turns the ball over too much, and is firmly in that streamer class. The only good thing about Fitzpatrick is his ability to sustain Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in that Jets offense.
RB - Adrian Peterson 29 Carries for 158 Yards and 2 TD's, 2 Catches for 29 Yards, 29 Fantasy Points
This is now Peterson's fourth straight game scoring a TD. There isn't much to say about Peterson, as he is a stud, and will continue to be. He is only 6 points away now from Devonta Freeman at the top of the position. My guess is that Peterson ends the season as the highest scoring back, as he has been playing his best lately, compared to the other backs who are starting to hit the wall.
RB - C.J. Anderson 15 Carries for 113 Yards and 2 TD's, 4 Receptions for 40 Yards, 27 Fantasy Points
Well Anderson made a late run here to get himself on this list. With the winning run in OT, Anderson vaulted his way up to being the second best back for the week. The big question still looms after this game, can we trust him? I still have my doubts. Sure the Broncos are trying to run the ball more without Peyton at QB, but Ronnie Hillman is still a factor here. Hillman had only one less carry than Anderson on Sunday night. This is a trend I expect to continue, as a 50-50 split seems right. Hillman will get more of the early down work, and Anderson will be the passing down back, and also in the game in other scenarios to keep that 50% split. I can't even put Anderson as a top 20 back the rest of the way, as I don't trust this to continue. Borderline top 25 for me, and will be heavily dependent on the matchup.
RB - Eddie Lacy 17 Carries for 105 Yards, 4 Catches for 34 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Fumble Lost, 17 Fantasy Points
Yet another back that appears to be getting better now. I don't know how to explain what Lacy is doing. I was close to completely writing Lacy off until last week against the Vikings. After that game I wanted to see if it was a fluke, or if he could sustain that production and workload. I think it is fair to say now that Lacy is back to being the lead back, and he can be productive in that role. I am willing to say in this weak state of the RB position, that he is at least a top 15 back, and maybe even top 12.
RB - Spencer Ware 19 Carries for 114 Yards and 1 TD, 3 Receptions for 1 Yard, 17 Fantasy Points
At least this time that Ware made this list you would have known to start him. West was ruled out before the game, leaving Ware as the starting back. What Ware did as the starting back was exactly what West and even Charles were doing before him. Now either all of the Chiefs backs are great, or the offensive line is better than we all thought. Either way, Ware is a guy you must start if West is out any more weeks. Even when West comes back, keep Ware, as he is a top 10 back when West is out.
WR - Doug Baldwin 8 Targets, 6 Receptions for 145 Yards and 3 TD's, 32 Fantasy Points
When Russell Wilson throws for 5 TD's, someone has to benefit from it. This week that man was Doug Baldwin. Over the last three weeks Baldwin has had at least 6 receptions in each of those games. The problem however, is that in the 6 games prior to that, he didn't have a game with more than 3 receptions. Baldwin is a guy who you can feel good about starting as your WR3 in 12 team leagues or deeper, but outside of that, I would stay away from starting him, no matter what the matchup is.
WR - Calvin Johnson 14 Targets, 8 Receptions for 93 Yards and 3 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
Calvin has been playing great since week 6. This game was more of a statement that he can actually still catch TD's, and get them in bulk at that. Johnson is borderline top 5 the rest of the way, but is still in a different tier than the top few guys.
WR - Sammy Watkins 10 Targets, 6 Receptions for 158 Yards and 2 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
This is Sammy Watkins. You get the great performances like this one, but you also get the games like the past two weeks. He is that boom or bust guy, but the boom is so good he is a WR2 for most. I think that the Bills will try to get Watkins involved more in the offense going forward. If this happens, he could put up some great numbers down the stretch. Even if they don't feature him more in the offense, I am willing to bet you will see at least 2 more games similar to this before the season is over.
TE - Antonio Gates 6 Targets, 4 Receptions for 53 Yards and 2 TD's, 17 Fantasy Points
This is the kind of game I expected out of Gates for the past few games. With players like Keenan Allen out for the season, I expected Gates to be the one who benefited the most. It took until this game against the Jaguars for that to happen though. With the TE position being a giant mess outside of a couple of guys, Gates is someone you should always trust starting. For me Gates is a top 5 guy the rest of the way. With that you should see a few more great games were he goes for a couple of TD's. In addition to those games however, he will have some where he goes for only 40 yards, but I guess that is everyone at the TE position now isn't it.
TE - Julius Thomas 10 Targets, 9 Receptions for 116 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
Thomas has now put together his second consecutive game with a score. The difference between this game and the last one is nearly 90 yards. While the big yardage output like this won't happen again this year, there is no reason to suspect he can't go for 50 yards and a TD each week. Bortles has been playing great for fantasy purposes, and if he really is looking for Thomas more, only good things will come of that.
TE - Rob Gronkowski 10 Targets, 6 Receptions for 88 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
So Gronkowski being here is no surprise. He is a cut above the rest of the position. Sadly though Gronkowski left the game on Sunday night with an apparent knee injury. No word is out as of my writing this on Sunday night, but hopefully it isn't bad. It wasn't a non-contact knee injury, which means there is hope this won't derail his season. Best case scenario is that this is contusion or a sprain, something he can either play next week with, or sit out a couple of games. Either way, you may want to start looking at a contingency plan on your waiver wire.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Matt Ryan 230 Passing Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT's, 9 Fantasy Points
This has been a down year for Ryan. Only once has he put up over 20 fantasy points in a game. That is not the Matt Ryan we are used to knowing. Before he would always have these weeks were he would go for nearly 400 yards and 3 TD's. Those days appear to be gone, as Julio Jones is his only viable target, and the Falcons are running the ball more. I thought that with Freeman out the Falcons might try to throw the ball more, but that just wasn't the case. The Vikings defense was too good for Ryan. With two matchups against the Panthers still to come, and the matchup against the Saints not happening till week 17, you may not be able to take advantage of his best game.
RB - Mark Ingram 9 Carries for 52 Yards, 6 Catches for 45 Yards, 9 Fantasy Points
What will it take to get Mark Ingram more touches? Can I start a petition to the Saints requesting that Ingram touches the ball at least 20 times a game? This marks the second straight week that Ingram had a great game based on the amount of touches he had. I know that the Saints get behind early in games, but Ingram is the one constant on this team. One of these weeks they will give him the ball a lot, and when that happens he will find himself in the first part of this column.
WR - DeVante Parker 10 Targets, 4 Receptions for 80 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
I can't quit this guy. I know that his TD came in garbage time, but I don't care. Parker is the guy I was the most wrong about at the beginning of the season. He never saw that expanded role I expected him to have, and then he saw that foot injury come back and haunt him the past few weeks. It appears now that he is fully healthy, something his teammate Rishard Matthews can't say. Matthews left the game on Sunday with a rib injury. At this time we don't know his status going forward, but I have a feeling Parker will get an extended look regardless. Parker has probably the most upside of any receiver you will find on your waiver wire, so if you have a space to stash a guy, Parker should be your guy. The Dolphins need to know what they have in Parker, not in guys like Greg Jennings or Rishard Matthews. There are also some great matchups coming up, like the Ravens next week, and Indy in week 16.
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.