I knew we couldn't get through one week without a devastating injury taking place in the NFL! This week QB Nick Foles suffered a "cracked" collarbone, shelving him for 6-8 weeks. The injury puts Mark Sanchez in the driver's seat of the Eagles high-octane offense. Sanchez did manage to throw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns in just three quarters of play on Sunday, so he is a real option for QB-needy fantasy teams going forward.
Then we have the fantasy football gems of Blake Bortles, Denard Robinson and Allen Hurns this week. All three players put up top-10 fantasy numbers at their respective positions while playing a tough game on the road in Cincinnati. Robinson has been quite the gem off the waiver wire the past few weeks, seeing his ownership rate go from virtually nothing to 33.6 percent owned on NFL.com as of the closing of the waiver wire on Sunday. Bortles and Hurns have been more matchup-based plays thus far, but both are going to be valuable commodities for years to come in keeper leagues.
And finally we saw Ben Roethlisberger become the first QB in NFL history to throw six touchdown passes in back-to-back games. Of all the guys in the NFL to set a passing record, Big Ben wouldn't be the guy I'd choose if I were a betting man. If there was ever a guy to sell high on, it would be Roethlisberger right now. The Steelers do play the Jets in Week 10, so he has a real chance to do some damage again next week. But as Isaac Newton said, "what goes up must come down."
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: I don't think there was a single person in the world who thought the Dolphins would absolutely destroy the Chargers by a score of 37-0. What I found most impressive was Tannehill's efficiency on offense, throwing for 288 yards, running for 47 yards, and totaling 3 touchdowns. There has been a lot said about Tannehill and his ability to connect with his WRs on a consistent basis, but Dolphins fans have to hope that Week 9 was his turning of the proverbial corner.
Carson Palmer – Cardinals: Palmer is one of those quarterbacks that fantasy owners love to hate. And I don't say that in the Peyton Manning or Tom Brady way where they are so good, that you either love them or hate them. Palmer is a QB that likes to take shots down the field and push the ball, either gaining a big play or turning the ball over. On Sunday he found pay dirt as he finished with 249 passing yards and 3 TDs on the day. He did throw 1 interception, but we can deal with one if you find the end zone three times. Palmer is someone that can be a real asset in the right matchup, so make sure he isn't on any waiver wires in 2 QB leagues.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars: The more I watch Bortles the more I am convinced that the Jaguars made the right move on drafting him as their franchise QB. Bortles is young, but he is making strides every time he steps on to the football field, and he took another big step forward on Sunday as he tossed the ball around for 247 yards and 2 TDs. The future looks bright for the Jaguars offense as the QB, WRs, and RBs are all young enough to where they are learning the NFL game together. With the Jaguars taking on the Cowboys in Week 10, Bortles has a chance to head into the bye (Week 11) with back-to-back great games under his belt.
Jeremy Hill – Bengals: With Giovani Bernard out, Jeremy Hill got the chance to show the Bengals what he was made of by racking up 154 yards and 2 TDs on 24 carries. Hill is owned in 68.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, so there is little chance he is available at this point. But if by chance he is, word is that Bernard is questionable at best to play on Thursday for Week 10. The Browns have a leaky run defense, making Hill a very interesting RB1 play next week.
Denard Robinson – Jaguars: Shoelace did it again in Week 9 as he ran the ball 17 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in 2 passes for 10 yards, putting him at 104 total yards on the day. Robinson finished as a top-10 RB on NFL.com, and is proving that he is a legit RB2 going forward with his strong play since taking over the starting RB role. With Robinson only owned in 34.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, you need to check your waiver wire today and make sure he isn't available.
Matt Asiata – Vikings: Matt Asiata had one of those Jerome Bettis-type of fantasy days in Week 9, whereby he finished as NFL.com's #3 ranked RB but only put up 57 total yards. His value came from his 3 TDs and a successful 2-point conversion, proving once again that touchdowns are king in fantasy football. Asiata's value is extremely limited as he is little more than a handcuff for Jerick McKinnon.
Mike Evans – Buccaneers: Evans is clearly the future of the Buccaneers passing game, and he showcased his ability this week as he hauled in 7 catches (on 11 targets) for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Evans now has 53 targets on the year, giving him real value in leagues going forward. The Bucs offense is a fickle one, but one that is trending upwards lately with Mike Glennon at QB. Next week the Bucs host the Falcons and their helpless defense, so make sure you don't jump off the Evans bandwagon just yet.
Allen Hurns – Jaguars: It isn't often that a guy goes undrafted and has a meaningful impact on NFL games more than the fluke game once in his career. But that is exactly what Hurns is doing as he had yet another standout day on Sunday with his 7-112-2 line. This was not only his second 100-yard game of the season, but it was also his second multi-touchdown game of the season. Both of those milestones are things that a lot of big-name WRs around the NFL are still looking to do as we head into Week 10. Hurns and Allen Robinson will split time as Bortles' go-to guy on the field; but no matter what, they both deserve to be owned in most formats to finish out the season.
Travis Kelce – Chiefs: When it comes to fantasy TEs in the NFL, you either have one or you don't. Kelce was only drafted in 26 percent of leagues, so that means a lot of people out there in fantasy football got themselves an absolute steal off the waiver wire for free when they picked up Kelce after Week 2. This week he managed to reel in 4 receptions for a team-high 67 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Chiefs aren't known for being a passing team, so Kelce's numbers do tend to fluctuate more than you and I would like. But in the end, TEs are hard to come by and Kelce has proven this season that he can produce at a TE1 level.
Miami Dolphins defense: If there was a training film for how a defense should operate, I'm pretty sure the Dolphins would be featured in it after what they did to the Chargers in Week 9. They took one of the better offenses in the NFL and exploited every one of their weaknesses as they piled up 4 sacks, 3 INTs, and 1 recovered fumble. Oh, and did I mention they shut the Chargers out? The Dolphins had the perfect defensive gameplan for the Chargers, but will face a much tougher Lions offense in Week 10.
Philip Rivers – Chargers: Speaking of what the Chargers couldn't do this week, Philip Rivers was the leader of that group as he threw 3 INTs, lost a fumble, and only managed 138 passing yards on Sunday. Because of the turnovers and no touchdowns to offset them, Rivers lost his owners 2.18 points on NFL.com! It's rare for a QB owned in 99.1 percent of NFL.com leagues to actually be a worse play than a QB on a bye, but that is exactly what happened to Rivers in Week 9.
Brandon Weeden – Cowboys: Far too many people who claim to be fantasy experts talked up Weeden heading into this week, and he made them pay the price for that misplaced confidence on Sunday. Weeden wasn't able to get much going against the Cardinals as he finished with 183 passing yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. The Cowboys are doing everything they can to get Tony Romo back on the field for Week 10 against the Jaguars, so keep Weeden far off your fantasy radar until we hear otherwise.
Chris Ivory – Jets: In truly frustrating fashion, Chris Ivory took a backseat to Chris Johnson this week and finished with a modest 22 yards on 8 carries. That is the bad thing about Ivory, that when the Jets are losing he sits down as CJ2K is the primary passing down back. The Jets have another tough matchup against a red hot Steelers offense next week, which could limit Ivory's touches once again as the Jets defensive weakness is against the pass.
Ben Tate – Browns: Owning anyone on the Browns offense in fantasy football is as about as risky as it gets because there are very few things you can count on with them this year. Tate came back in Week 5 from an injury and hit the ground running (literally) as he ran the ball 22 times for 124 yards. That sounds good, right? Well, when you consider that his carry totals since that game have been on the decline (25, 16, 15, and 10), you can understand why he's been dropped by almost 5,000 people on Yahoo since Sunday. This week Tate finished with 10 carries for 3 yards, and 4 receptions for 29 yards. The Browns have stated they will go with the RB that displays the hot hand, putting Tate on the boom-or-bust table most weeks. He'll be a risky flex play against the Bengals on the road in Week 10.
Andre Johnson – Texans: Remember when I talked about WRs wishing they had milestone games earlier this season to talk about? Well, Johnson is one of those WRs as he has a season-high 99 yards and just a single touchdown this year. On Sunday he managed a season-low 12 yards on 2 receptions, prompting his owners to wonder if they should cut him and go with someone else to finish out the season. Here is the truth with Johnson and the Texans passing game: they have a sub-par QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick and a backup in Ryan Mallett that has never started an NFL game. Even if they make the swap at QB, there is no track record for us to know if Mallett will do any better. I wouldn't cut Johnson for just any WR on the waiver wire. But if [Allen] Robinson is out there I'd strongly consider it.
Pierre Garcon – Redskins: Garcon is No. 1 on the Redskins depth chart at WR in name only, because it is as clear as it can be to anyone who knows football that DeSean Jackson is the first option in the passing game. Garcon did receive 5 targets on Sunday, but was only able to reel in 3 of them for 15 yards. Garcon was the "X" receiver under Coach Mike Shanahan and put up career highs of 113 receptions and 1,346 yards last year. All that did was overvalue Garcon in drafts this year with Jackson taking the featured role in Coach Jay Gruden's scheme.
Zach Ertz – Eagles: Ertz is easily one of the biggest TE busts of this season after he was drafted in virtually every league format. While he did start the season out on a positive note (3-77-1), his play since then has not only been erratic, but his playing time has shrunk to a season-low 24 snaps in Week 9. Ertz finished this week with a single catch for 4 yards, barely enough to register a blip on the fantasy radar. I personally don't see Ertz as a viable TE option with the way Eagles Coach Chip Kelley is using him, and I would bet there are better options on the waiver wire right now.
Denver Broncos defense: Playing either the Broncos or the Patriots has become a must-sit game for fantasy defenses this season. This week the Patriots played the Broncos, and as strange as it may seem, the Patriots finished Week 9 as NFL.com's #6 ranked fantasy defense, while the Broncos were #25. The Broncos gave up 43 points to [Tom] Brady's Bunch, while registering just an interception and a sack for defensive stats. All-in-all the Broncos put up -1.00 fantasy points for the 86.3 percent of people who own them on NFL.com. Yes, you could have played a bye week defense and been better off than playing the Broncos this week!
So this week I missed on starting Russell Wilson and Allen Robinson, and sitting Percy Harvin and the Dolphins defense. Going 100 percent would be nice, but 12-16 and 75 percent will just have to do.