In most fantasy leagues across the country, this was a colossal week for fantasy points. In standard leagues there were 6 players that scored 30 or more fantasy points. Naturally most of them will be featured in the “Studs” category:
Cedric Benson: Benson has been a solid running back the entire year, but I don’t think many people saw the effort he put up against the Bears. Everyone knew that he was going into the week with a chip on his shoulder because he was playing his old team, but 189 yards and a TD against the 6th ranked rushing defense is a larger then just a chip. Benson has emerged as one of the top 10 fantasy backs after becoming a felon and jobless a couple years ago. Benson has gone from a must start to a top fantasy player with his effort against the Bears that most owners will start counting on for points.
Carson Palmer: Following with his stud running back is Carson Palmer who tied his career high in passing TDs with 5. Palmer looked flawless and even with the Bears blitzing and getting some hits on him; he stepped up and made huge throws, especially to Chad Ochocinco. Many people had deemed Palmer a backup or a shaky fantasy QB coming into the 2009 season. But with the running game and the steady play of Ochocinco, Palmer can easily start for any fantasy team. If you disagree, look at Week 11-13; he plays Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit.
Miles Austin: Who needs TO or Roy Williams when you have a WR who has put up 16 receptions, 421 yards and 4 TDs in his past two games? Honestly I thought Miles Austin was just a flash in the pan when he had that big game against Kansas City, but the way he tore up the Falcons is proof enough that he has tons of talent. However, fantasy owners should be cautious to deem Austin one of their top fantasy players for the rest of the year. Now that defenses know he is the go to guy, he is going to get double covered often. This doesn’t mean he isn’t a solid starter on your team, but we will find out if he is a top flight WR when he doesn’t get a clean break off the line and has safety help on every play.
Thomas Jones/Shonn Greene: I know that they played against the Oakland defense and I know the game was so easy that by the end Mark Sanchize was eating a hot dog on the sideline; but still they put up 365 yards and 3 TDs. With Leon Washington out for the year, Greene will be the one stealing carries from Jones. But don’t expect too much decrease with Jones because the Jets lead the league in rushing attempts and I don’t think they will stop the good thing they have going with Jones carrying for nearly 5.0 per rush.
Alex Smith: Yes I said Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers. I don’t think he is a good player either but he had a great game coming cold off the bench and down 24 points. This is with a passing game that hasn’t been good all year and with a rookie starting at WR and playing in his first organized football game since last January. That’s huge odds stacked against anyone. Smith gets knocked on for his small hands and that he was product of the system at Utah, but he almost won the game at Houston against my favorite offensive in the Texans. Oh, that and he just won the starting job after playing in one half and throwing 3 TDs when he had only thrown 3 in the past two years. He may not be good in future games, but I got to give him his props on this one.
Bears D: Just check out these stats: TD, TD, TD, TD, FG, TD, TD. That should look familiar to the Bears because those were the Bengals first 7 possessions. That is a horrible effort on every part of the Bears Defense. Bengals ran all over them and let Benson redeem himself and also let Palmer throw all over them. Urlacher isn’t there, but that is no excuse for that kind of effort. If Bears defense doesn’t recover against the Browns next week, something is seriously wrong.
Eli Manning: I know that the Cardinals defense is solid, but Eli threw 3 INTs with just 1 TD at home in a game that the Giants were favored by 9 points. It’s not that Eli had an awful game statistically; it’s that he didn’t command his team in a home game that the Giants should’ve won after coming off an ugly loss to the Saints. Eli once looked like a top 5 fantasy quarterback, but that was against very weak pass defenses such as KC, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. If owners have Eli as a starter they better think twice about starting him against an Eagles defense that feasts on INTs off the blitz.
Hines Ward: Hines Ward owners have loved their mid-round draft pick of the usually solid Hines Ward because he has been a top WR for the past 3 weeks. However, this week he put a 0 on the board and did worse than Steve Smith did against the Bucs. Ward had 1 catch for 3 yards. It is true that the Vikings are better than the Bucs, but as Roethlisberger’s top WR recently, Ward has to get more catches then just one right? Three total yards against any team is not an effort that Hines Ward owners can be happy with. And his next two matchups are against stingy pass defenses in Denver and Cincinnati, which means that Hines has to step up in order to redeem his status as a solid WR to start.
Redskins: In all my years watching football I have never seen a team compare more to a circus freak show then the Washington Redskins do right now. They are in disarray both on and off the field. Their owner strips the head coach’s ability to call plays only to hire an out of work old coordinator who doesn’t have a very good first outing. And on the field it’s the quarterback’s job to step up in the pocket to avoid pressure; however Jason Campbell thinks it’s good to step into pressure in the pocket and/or turn the ball over. It was humorous to watch the Monday Night game for how long I did, which was up to the 4th play when DeSean Jackson ran for 67 yards and a TD. I think even the Raiders are laughing at the Redskins….
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