The fantasy football regular season is now roughly 60% over and trade deadlines and stretch runs are looming, which means this is the point where disappointing players need to turn things around. In a breakthrough for fake football players everywhere, the Detroit Lions chose to remind the world of what 2011 felt like as Matthew Stafford finally got himself going and Titus Young continued his tear. Let’s begin with Detroit as we touch on some notable highs and lows from Sunday;s action in our week 8 recap:
Matthew Stafford: After a disappointing 6 game stretch to begin the season, Stafford finally dialed up his 2011 form and gave his owners a shiny 352 yard, 3 touchdown performance. Stafford was even nice enough to chip in a rushing touchdown as an extra apology for two months of impersonating Jay Cutler. This great performance came against the much hyped Seattle defense as well, which adds more spice to the promising output from the Lions quarterback. Detroit gets Jacksonville next, which could keep Stafford’s mojo rolling.
Titus Young: After Nate Burleson busted up his leg in week 7, Titus has been incredible for the Lions. While seeing added attention from Matthew Stafford without Burleson in the picture, Young has raked in 15 grabs for 181 yards and two scores in the last two weeks. As Stafford (hopefully) builds on his solid week, Titus will continue to be a great play at wide receiver.
Calvin Johnson: ‘Tron had a bit of a bum knee on Sunday as he had another quiet day. 3 catches and 46 yards isn’t what fake footballers are looking for from Calvin Johnson, but things like this happen in fantasy football. The most important thing here is this: Please, for the love of all things sacred, do not trade Megatron right now. He will resume his Decepticon ways shortly.
Tony Romo: Romo was up to his old tricks on Sunday, as he hucked a four pack of interceptions. However, the good news for fantasy owners is that Romo matched his vintage performance with a mountain of passing yards (437). As Romo typically rolls, it was a bonus for fantasy owners and a junker for Cowboy fans.
Jason Witten: While the Cowboys were in comeback mode on Sunday, Witten snared 18 passes in a monster effort (also known as 14 more catches than the Giants defense). Witten is now the proud owner of four October games with averages of 10.8 catches and 102.8 yards per game, which is extremely impressive. Perhaps Witten is trying to fill in for Jimmy Graham while he’s dinged up.
Peyton Manning: Armed with two of the better weapons in the NFL in Decker and Thomas, Manning diced up the Saints on Sunday night with 305 yards passing and three touchdowns. Manning didn’t let up on the throttle until this game was long over and half the Saints team was already making post game dinner plans. This game marked the 5th straight outing in which Peyton has topped 300 yards passing and is averaging 302 yards per game to go with his 17 touchdown passes through seven games. I would go out on a limb and say his neck is feeling alright these days.
Demaryius Thomas: Thomas continued his terrific season this week by hauling in 7 passes for 137 yards and a score. The young beastly wide out has now cracked 100 yards receiving in four games this year and will be a VERY hot commodity in 2013 drafts after he carries teams to fantasy titles this December.
Rob Gronkowski: Gronk smashed through London and the Rams Sunday with 8 catches, 146 yards, and 2 scores. With Graham slowed by his ankle issue, Gronk is the unquestioned king of the tight end universe and things will only get better with an upcoming slate of soft defense for the Pats.
Darren McFadden: DMC wasn’t electric, but when the man gets 29 carries in a single game he is going to rack up some fantasy goodness. 137 total yards for McFadden as his owners pray that there is light at the end of this silver and black tunnel.
Michael Vick: As the Eagles continued to disappoint, Vick had a mediocre game with 191 yards passing, and 42 yards on the ground. No turnovers was the key for Vick in this one, but there are still rumors swirling about the Eagles benching Vick in what would be one of the worst personnel decisions since the Panthers dropped $2.7 billion on three running backs. Vick gets New Orleans next week, which is exactly what the struggling quarterback needs to get back on track.
Jonathan Dwyer: Back-to-back 100 yards effort from Pittsburgh’s new tank, as Dwyer now has 229 on 34 carries in two games (6.7 ypc). The great performance from Dwyer means that we are looking at yet another confusing time share backfield once Rashard Mendenhall returns from injury. Hooray! Hold onto Dwyer but don’t expect him to turn into Jerome Bettis.
Trent Richardson: After causing mass hysteria in the world of fake professional football with news of his rib injury, Richardson calmed the storm with a huge game of 122 yards rushing and a touchdown. Richardson looked great Sunday and appears back at full strength. Next up for the Browns are the Ravens, who are vulnerable on the ground. The big time rookie should continue to roll.
Jamaal Charles: In EXACTLY the type of game that Charles owners fear, the Chiefs got smoked by the Raiders and JC was a forgotten man amidst countless Chiefs turnovers and miscues. When Kansas City is in a closer game Charles will be fine, but these games may happen while the Chiefs are a mess of this magnitude. Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, this type of disaster does not occur in weeks 14-16.
Antonio Gates: As the Norv Turner farewell tour stopped in Cleveland on Sunday, Gates had himself a clunker after a nice week 6 game before San Diego’s bye week. There is nothing to worry about here, as there wasn’t much going on for the Chargers offense, and Gates should bounce back on Thursday against the Chiefs.
Steven Jackson: SJax got 7 carries as the Rams got smoked by New England in old England, but the main focus surrounding Jackson is the NFL trade deadline. Daryl Richardson could become a very hot fantasy commodity if Jackson is indeed dealt before this week’s trade deadline. As a likely part of a committee, Jackson’s stock won’t be revived, but it is still a story to keep tabs on while you eat candy corn this week.