This week’s high scores include members of teams you wouldn’t expect to produce fantasy powerhouses. The Browns? The Lions? The Raiders? Parity is the name of the game this season, as even these recently terrible franchises have produced fantasy gold.
Hillis looks like a top back the rest of the way. The Raiders continue to put up points no matter who has to catch the ball and clear the way for Darren McFadden. And the Lions continue to scare teams who don’t take them seriously.
If you had one of these scoring leaders on your roster, you should have won this week. If not…well, at least there’s hope for the future.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: 184 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 3 catches for 36 yards vs. Patriots
You have to wonder how former Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels felt watching Hillis destroy the Patriots on the ground for another former Patriots coordinator’s team. Eric Mangini certainly looks like he won on this trade. The Broncos have no running game, and the Browns are all running game with Hillis.
Now that he’s fully healthy after their bye and with Colt McCoy starting for the Browns, Hillis should continue to grind out these tough yards. As long as he can get in the end zone, he’ll produce at a high level. His schedule poses few challenges.
Next week he gets the Jets, and the only other two teams who might stand a chance at slowing him down are the Dolphins in Week 13 and the Ravens in Week 16. He also get the Steelers in Week 17 if you play your fantasy championships the last week of the year — but why, WHY are you doing that?
Green Bay Packers D/ST: 7 points against, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 TDs vs. Cowboys
The Cowboys gave up this game before the kickoff, and the Green Bay defense took advantage of Jon Kitna, who seemed like the only player other than Dez Bryant who had any interest in playing.
As many have stated throughout recent weeks, somehow the Packers manage to put together a great defensive game plan no matter how many players they lose to injury. But they hardly had to try against the Cowboys.
Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals: 10 catches for 141 yards, 2 TDs vs. Steelers
The fact that T.O. is good this year still puzzles me. He stepped into a team with a proven wide receiver and replaced him entirely (and with more success). Those who drafted him will continue to benefit from Palmer’s force-feeding of the ball to T.O., especially late in games when the Bengals are down. That happens often.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: 218 passing yards and 1 TD, 74 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Colts
Those owners who held onto Vick throughout his injury should reap the rewards now. He stepped onto the field and right back into his previous form. Other than two matchups against the Giants, the Eagles schedule should be a big bag o’ fun for the Eagles.
Circle Week 13 if it’s the first week of your fantasy playoffs. The Eagles face the Texans very terrible defense at home in Philly.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: 240 passing yards and 2 TDs, 1 INT, 11 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Jets
Stafford surprised many by dismantling the Jets defense right up until he got hurt again. That’s right: Hurt. AGAIN. Stafford could have been a savior for many a fantasy team late in the season, and this showdown against the Jets only proved how talented he is (and how good he can make the Lions). But it looks like he’ll go back on ice for a few weeks.
Stafford’s fantasy owners have to hope that Shaun Hill is healthy enough to start Week 10. Drew Stanton just doesn’t cut it as a Stafford stand-in.
Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, Chargers: 4 catches for 111 yards, 2 TDs vs. Texans
Yeah, you try to say that. I’m glad I just have to type it. But Seyi Ajirotutu showed up big for those who took a chance on him as a sleeper.
After the Chargers bye, he’ll probably be relegated to a lesser role with Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Legedu Naanee likely to return to the field. Vincent Jackson will also soon be in the mix. But those who benefited from Ajirotutu’s big Week 9 should hold onto him if possible. Philip Rivers might not soon forget his big play potential.
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings: 446 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs vs. Cardinals
Does the old man still have it? I don’t think so. But he showed signs of life this week against the Cardinals in willing the Vikings to a win in overtime. The rest of his schedule shouldn’t be so kind — other than possibly the Bills. It’s hard to trust Favre as a fantasy quarterback down the stretch as the games matter more than ever.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders: 6 catches for 148 yards, 1 kickoff return TD vs. Chiefs
Jacoby Ford is proof of one thing: ANYONE is better than throwing to Darrius Heyward-Bey. With every receiving weapon for the Raiders out due to injury, DHB still managed to catch nothing.
On the other hand/side of the field, Ford emerged as a great deep weapon, which could mean he keeps the speedster role when Louis Murphy returns to the lineup. He’s on bye but worth a pickup this week, for sure. Other than against the Steelers in Week 11, the Raiders could make good use of Ford throughout the rest of their schedule.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers: 42 rushing yards and 1 TD, 4 catches for 26 yards and 1 TD vs. Cowboys
The Packers defense created so many turnovers that the Packers had to run the ball, and Jackson proved his worth in the short-yardage situations he was given. Those who paid a high price for him early in the season (as I did) can only hope that the Packers look to develop their ground game as the weather turns cold late in the season.
Clearly, Jackson will put points on the board when he’s given a chance, but this game against the Cowboys was not the norm. Let’s see what they do against a real opponent (if you can call the Vikings that) after their bye week.