What Did We Learn - Week 10 fantasysharks.com Aug 24 '78
Andy Dalton is heating up at the right time. After a shaky start in Week 7 against Pittsburgh, Dalton took the bye week to get his game back in order. He put up 299 yards and a score against Denver in Week 9, and he followed it up with a spectacular 21-for-30, 199 yards and four touchdowns against the New York Giants on Sunday. He certainly won't have that stat line every week, but doing it against a fairly accomplished defense is always a plus. He has Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego in the next few weeks, and if you're in a bind, or you happen to need a better option with Michael Vick and Jay Cutler possibly sitting due to injuries.
What do we do with Eli Manning? Ugh. Manning has been brutal for a few weeks now. Stories have surfaced suggesting arm fatigue, and it appears that no player in the league needs the bye week more than he does. In his past three games, he has compiled just 532 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. He just looks off, and he has been utterly frustrating in fantasy circles as well. In Week 12, he returns on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. That said, if he were on my team, I'd be starting him.
C.J. Spiller is about to blow up. If you own the guy on the short end of the running back committee, you hope he proves himself. If he happens to get the job via injury, so be it. With Fred Jackson already being ruled out for Thursday night's matchup with Miami, Spiller figures to be the guy in Buffalo. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been openly pleading to get Spiller more involved, even at the expense of Jackson. He's more than capable of carrying the load, and now that he'll be the primary backfield option, I feel like he's an RB1 going forward.
Danario Alexander is worth targeting. When Vincent Jackson left via free agency, he left a void in the receiving corps. Initially, the San Diego Chargers looked to Robert Meachem, Vincent Brown, and Malcom Floyd to step up. Meachem has been unable to get on the same page with Philip Rivers, Brown broke his ankle in the preseason, and Floyd has health issues of his own. Alexander was signed on October 18th and started in his first action on November 1st. After a three-catch, 61-yard debut, he exploded for five catches, 134 yards, and a touchdown. His value may be tied to big plays (meaning inconsistency), but he's at least a flex play in deeper leagues.
Demaryius Thomas is a legit wide receiver. Last week, I was impressed with Eric Decker, especially his targets in the red zone. But keep in mind that Peyton Manning will throw wherever he has the advantage. Thomas has been living up to his first-round billing of late, catching nine balls for 135 yards on Sunday. He's now caught 54 passes for 891 yards and four touchdowns. I don't think Manning has ever actually had a receiver that matches his combination of size and speed. Thomas is definitely a guy to target, if his owner is actually willing to listen to offers for him.
Carson Palmer proves that garbage stats still count. With Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson out with ankle sprains, the Oakland Raiders predictably turned to a pass heavy attack. However, Carson Palmer and Co. were unable to keep things close for long, falling behind and then giving up tons of points. But when Baltimore started to throttle down, Palmer started to find open receivers to the tune of 368 passing yards and a pair of scores. The numbers could continue, as he faces New Orleans, Cincinnati and Cleveland in the coming weeks.
Joe Flacco got back on track against Oakland. Perhaps I'm biased - I own Ray Rice in several leagues, and I've never been a big Flacco guy - but I just think the Baltimore Ravens are forcing him down our throats. He's OK, and he has enough talent and weapons to put up numbers, but I feel like the Baltimore coaching staff saw a weak opposing defense and decided, "Let's get Joe going and remind everyone that he's not terrible." He finished with 341 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception, making it the first game since September that he'd topped 235 yards. Still, if the coaching staff gives him opportunities, he's an interesting option, but he'll get Pittsburgh in two of the next three games.
Dallas can't wait for DeMarco Murray any longer. The Dallas Cowboys escaped Philadelphia with a win, but I doubt they want to rely on their defense and special teams scoring a combined three fourth quarter touchdowns. Felix Jones has shown improvement lately, but he's no substitute for Murray, who has been nursing a foot injury since Week 6. If the Cowboys are going to make any run at a wild card spot, they'll need the balance that Murray provides in the running attack.
Michael Vick: exit stage left; enter: Nick Foles. It was only a matter of time. The Philadelphia Eagles had lost four games in a row, and Vick had been a primary reason for that poor stretch. The volume and timing of his turnovers were destroying a team with more raw talent than most teams. With his concussion on Sunday afternoon, Foles got his first regular season game action, and completed 22-of-32 passes for 219 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Not fantastic, but not bad either, right?
When head coach/dead man walking, Andy Reid, announced that Vick's concussion was "significant," it may have signified the end of the short-lived Vick era in Philadelphia. Foles may get the rest of the season to take his licks and showcase his talents. He's got tons of weapons around him and a depleted offensive line, but he's still a rookie, so expect growing pains.
Danny Amendola went right back to being a high-volume receiver. Amendola broke his collarbone back in Week 5, but looked pretty healthy en route to 11 catches and 102 yards on Sunday. The day could have been even bigger, if not for a penalty negating an 80-yard catch and run in overtime. If he can stay healthy, he's the Rams top receiver and a points per reception stud. If he was dropped and happens to be available, he won't be for long. Grab him if you can.
Good luck in Week 11.
Drew Magyar is a fantasysharks.com staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. "What Did We Learn" will be posted each Tuesday morning during the season, and "Rock and a Hard Place" will be posted each Friday morning.