Tom Brady, QB, NE - The Patriots offense looked phenomenal against what is supposed to be an elite NFL defense. Tom Brady has made his team into a serious Super Bowl contender with wins over the Steelers and now the Jets. If you’re a Brady owner, you have the new top QB for fantasy football and should need little convincing to start him each and every week. Tom-Terrific threw for 326 yards and 4 TDs last night to finish as the top scoring player in fantasy football for week 13. This makes seven straight games with out an INT too by the way.
Reggie Wayne, WR, IND – Wayne had his best game of the season with 200 yards and a TD on 14 catches. Even while the Colts struggle and have an astonishing 6-6 record, Wayne remains one of the most consistent fantasy WRs in the league… A quality that is incredibly difficult to find from this position.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA – Don’t expect another game like this for the rest of the season, but if you were in rough shape and started Lynch this week you lucked out! Marshawn saw 21 carries for 83 yards. Lynch also punched in 3 TDs and was the 4th highest scoring player in the league. Keep him on your bench from here on out, a season of disappointment and false-hopes isn’t repaired by one good game against the worst team in the NFL.
Greg Jennings, WR, GB – With Dwayne Bowe on the list below, Jennings is now the hottest receiver in the league and will be essential for his fantasy-owner’s playoff hopes. Jennings has double digit points in 6 of his last 7 games and with 2 TDs this week, he brings his season total to 11 (3rd in the NFL).
Chris Ivory, RB, NO – He just may have developed in time to eat into the workload that Pierre Thomas was in line to get when he was healthy again. Ivory had just 15 carries for 117 yards and 2 scores this week. Thomas looks to be back for Week 14, so you have to stay away from both of them for now… but you shouldn’t drop either of them just yet!
Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG – HOLY CRAP… he only saw 8 carries, but managed over 12 yards per carry (103 yards total) and scored twice! Ahmad Bradshaw saw 25 carries in this game, but misses this list due to his partner’ incredible success. There is no way that BOTH of these guys do so well, but for next week you really should start which ever one you own and both will make the top 20 in my rankings.
Sidney Rice, WR, MIN – This game was an announcement! Sidney Rice is back and every bit as good as he was last season. More impressively, Rice caught his 5 passes for 105 yards and 2 scores from his back up QB. Favre works well with a receiver like Rice too, he takes chances and trusts his receiver to make a big play. There is no one else on the Vikings that could do this in his absence and while you can argue Moss was that receiver… he hasn’t managed to be a major factor on any of the 3 teams that have been burdened by him this season. I don’t think this is a fluke either, if you haven’t seen the highlights… his catches were spectacular.
Wes Welker, WR, NE - He’s baaaack! Brady apparently just needed some time to adjust to his receiving corp without Randy Moss included among them. The lack of an elite deep threat does not appear to be a concern for the Patriots any longer. Welker managed 7 catches for 80 yards and a score against the best group of cornerbacks in the NFL. He is a top 20 WR once again and is still rising fast towards the top 10 performer that I expected when Moss left.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC – Just when it looked like he was fast becoming the top receiver in all of fantasy football, his hot streak comes to an abrupt end. Bowe was shadowed all day by Champ Bailey, who is aging and not quite as good as he once was. There was also a safety defending the deep ball on obvious passing situations and Bowe was not able to catch a pass. He has earned a free pass given all the TDs he has racked up this season, but there is a blue-print for shutting him down and he will not likely be in my top 5 any longer.
Mike Tolbert, RB, SD - I certainly expected a quality performance from Tolbert this week against the Raiders weak run defense. Tolbert was only able to get a staggeringly low 16 yards on the ground and almost equally surprising he was able to avoid a TERRIBLE game with 47 receiving yards. I also didn’t expect the Chargers to fail so hard in their first December loss in their last 19 games during that month. I expect him to rebound, but this was just in time to avoid a huge disappointment in the playoffs. Don’t expect Tolbert to crack the top 20 every week in my rankings.
Mario Manningham, WR, NYG - The Redskins are not a very good team this year and I expected a good performance out of Manningham this week… No such luck however, it looks like this was mostly due to his inability to beat a double team. Steve Smith is expected to be back this week and Manningham should do much better with the #2 spot on the depth chart. Unfortunately, once Nicks AND Smith are back he won’t have much value at all any longer.
Kyle Orton, QB, DEN – It is safe to say Orton didn’t cost Josh McDaniels his job with his first single-digit fantasy point performance of the season. He has earned a pass with how strong he was down the stretch, so if he didn’t cost you a playoff spot you can still count on him. Given the fact that their RB coach was named as the interim head coach, expect more balance from the offense. This lowers Orton’s upside some, but not too much as he will remain a top 10 QB.
Hines Ward, WR, PIT - While he remains crucial to the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he better not be crucial to your fantasy team’s playoff hopes! Ward had 19 points in week 7 and as many points since then. Do everything you can to keep him on your bench.