It's always a good thing when you can pick up a player off the waiver wire, plug him into your line, and get 225 total yards, 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion out of him. Not that 110 yards and 2 TDs is anything to sneeze at, but better is always more. That is just what happened this weekend as [DeAngelo] Williams and [Karlos] Williams burst onto the scene after taking over lead-back duties following injuries.
D. Williams is the clear starter in Pittsburgh with Le'Veon Bell out for the remainder of the season, and he is owned in virtually every league on the planet. K. Williams' role is a bit of a question mark with LeSean McCoy still atop the depth chart. McCoy did hurt his shoulder, and he is slated to have an MRI, but that doesn't mean anything is certain just yet. With the Bills playing on Thursday night, K. Williams is a hot waiver wire commodity this week.
Staying with the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger injured himself (again) this week. Word is he is could miss just one game since the team plays the Browns in Week 10, but then has a bye in Week 11. Obviously this hurts, but his owners have been filling the gap at QB most of the season anyway.
Last, but not least, PPR stud RB Dion Lewis has been diagnosed with a torn left ACL, and is done for the season. Brandon Bolden is likely to form a committee at RB with James White, but both are likely to cancel out each other's value. If you want to pick up one, I'd give White the edge since he filled in for Lewis in Week 7.
Marcus Mariota – Titans: The Saints defense was just what the doctor ordered for Mariota, as the rookie QB returned after missing two games with a knee injury. Mariota completed 28 of 39 passes for 371 yards and 4 touchdowns in a huge win over the Saints. Rookies are always tough to trust in fantasy football, and Mariota has shown that he is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL game. With the Panthers next up for the Titans, I'd stay away from starting him in Week 10.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars: Nobody expected Bortles to put up numbers against the Jets vaunted defense this week, but the underappreciated Jaguars sophomore finished with 381 yards passing, 2 TDs, 2 Interceptions and another top 10 fantasy ranking at the QB position. Bortles has possibly the best remaining schedule for fantasy QBs, so I'd try and trade for him while you can if the price is reasonable.
DeAngelo Williams – Steelers: Williams piled up the stats like he was shopping for them at Costco, finishing with 27 carries for 170 yards, 2 receptions for 55 yards, 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion. The only available fantasy stat that Williams didn't have this weekend was in passing. With Big Ben out next week against the Browns, I am looking for the Steelers to give Williams another heavy workload. He is a must-start player in Week 10 already.
Karlos Williams – Bills: On to Williams #2, who came in to replace McCoy and finished with 110 yards and 2 TDs on just 9 carries. McCoy was present at the Bills walkthrough on Monday, meaning he very well could play even in a short week. Williams is worth owning, but I'd wait until Wednesday before deciding if I play Williams against the Jets.
Antonio Brown – Steelers: I would normally never put a player of Brown's caliber on this list because he is expected to produce every week. But when a WR hauls in 17 of 23 targets (yes, 23 targets) for 284 yards, I have to show him love! You have to wonder how a guy can have that many receptions and yards, but not find the endzone once! However, with Big Ben out next week at least, I'd give some thought to benching Brown if you have another option against the Browns.
Cole Beasley – Cowboys: Only a tiny fraction of people in the fantasy world own Beasley, but the ones who do looked like geniuses this weekend as Beasley racked up 9 receptions, 112 yards and 2 TDs against the Eagles. Dez Bryant is the obvious No. 1 WR for the Cowboys, and Terrance Williams is the No. 2, putting Beasley at No. 3 on the depth chart. I wouldn't worry about picking up Beasley unless you are in the deepest of leagues. We all missed out on his big game.
Allen Hurns – Jaguars: Hurns entered the season near the bottom of every big-box website's draft list, but that is why you come here for fantasy info and not there. Hurns continued to provide his owners a good R.O.I. (return on investment) this week as he beat the Jets secondary for a 5/122/1 line. Bortles, Hurns, and Allen Robinson (6/121/0) have proven time and time again that they can't be benched because they WILL put up stats every week regardless of the defense.
Delanie Walker – Titans: Walker was the biggest beneficiary to Mariota's big fantasy game this week, reeling in 7 catches for 95 yards, 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion. Walker is always a TE1, but most weeks he is closer to the lower-middle end of that spectrum. His production depends solely on the decision and playmaking ability of a rookie QB who has been up and down as rookies always are. He'll remain a mid-level TE1 next week when the Titans take on a Panthers defense that gives up the 14th-most fantasy points (7.7 PPG) to TEs this season.
Tennessee Titans defense: Staying with the Titans, since they did have their best game of the season, the defense did a number on Sean Peyton's Saints this week. Even though they did allow 28 points, they also racked up 4 sacks, 1 INT and 1 defensive touchdown. They finished ranked in the top 10 for fantasy defenses this week, a winner since they are owned in fewer than 10 percent of leagues worldwide. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then, so don't go picking up the Titans defense and plugging them into your lineup.
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: Tannehill was able to put up 309 yards this weekend, but he failed to find the endzone against the tough Bills secondary. We all know TDs are king in fantasy football, so when a QB has none he is going to find himself on the loser's list. Tannehill has always been far more of a low-end QB1 than a true plug-and-play starter, meaning his owners need to always have a backup play for the tougher matchups.
Eli Manning – Giants: The only real difference separating the Manning brothers this week was 68 yards. But it was those 68 yards that kept Peyton off the list and put Eli on it. Eli managed to put up just 213 passing yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs against the soft Buccaneers defense to finish the week ranked around #20 for fantasy QBs. Owning either Manning brother is more about name recognition than fantasy value this season.
Eddie Lacy – Packers: When you see 5 carries for 10 yards, you would naturally assume this is rock-bottom for an NFL running back, right? Well, you'd be wrong since Lacy already had that honor back in Week 6 against the Chargers when he ran the ball 4 times for 3 yards. Lacy failed to finish with 11 or more yards rushing for the 3rd time this season! While he's been one of the most consistent RBs in fantasy football the past few seasons, that was then and this is now.
Ronnie Hillman – Broncos: The Broncos offense is really a mess for fantasy owners, with their QB struggling to put up numbers, a guessing game as to which WR will be worth playing, and which RB will get hot and see the lion's share of the touches. This week it wasn't Hillman, who ran the ball 7 times for just 1 yard. That's right, 1 yard! You need to keep your ear to the ground this week to see what happens on the Broncos RB depth chart.
Doug Martin – Buccaneers: Martin had a juicy matchup this week against a struggling Giants defense, but an early fumble put him in a funk that he never got out of. Martin finished the day with just 11 carries for 31 yards, and 2 receptions for 12 yards. Martin was looking like an every-week RB1 after Week 4 when he ran for 106 yards and a TD against the Panthers' tough defense. But the last two weeks he has just 102 total rushing yards. The good news is he gets a chance to rebound against the Cowboys next week.
DeSean Jackson – Redskins: I was on board for D-Jax's return, hoping he would give a much needed shot in the arm to the Redskins anemic offensive attack. Instead of proving me right for having faith in him, he has me wondering if he is going to work out as a deep threat in a passing game that is built around short pass after short pass. Jackson finished with 3 receptions for 15 yards, and no endzone visits. He gets a Saints defense next week that got roasted by the Titans this week.
Travis Benjamin – Browns: I saw a writer on NFL.com say "why should the Browns worry about nickels and dimes, when they have a Benjamin on the field?" I'll tell you why: Johnny Manziel was starting. Enough said. Benjamin finished with 3 catches for 22 yards and no TDs against the Bengals. As long as Manziel is under center, the entire Browns offense should be avoided.
Stefon Diggs – Vikings: I picked up Diggs after his first good game in my league when I was in desperate need of a WR, and he was everything I had hoped for. Until this week that is, when he decided to put up just 42 yards on 3 receptions. Diggs is still worth playing as a WR3, but needs Teddy Bridgewater to get cleared (concussion) before Week 10 against the Raiders' appalling secondary.
Vernon Davis – Broncos: Way too many people got excited when Davis was traded to the Broncos. They naturally assumed he was going to be the new "Julius Thomas," and be a must-start fantasy TE with Peyton Manning throwing TDs to him every game. The problem is Manning is blinded by the light at the end of the career tunnel, Davis is 31 years old himself and well past his prime, and [Davis] simply doesn't know the playbook or the offense. So, his 1 target and 0 reception day didn't really come as a shock to me on Sunday. I'd keep playing whoever you had at TE until Davis shows he is clearly on the same page as Manning.
St. Louis Rams defense: When a defense is owned in virtually every fantasy league in existence, it's a little surprising to see them as the 3rd -worst fantasy defense this week. Not only did the Rams allow 21 points to the Vikings, but they managed just 1 sack and 1 INT for defensive stats. This only goes to show why streaming defenses is the best strategy when it comes to fantasy football. Rarely will you find a plug-and-play defense (Broncos this season) where you draft them, and don't think about it again until their bye week.