Every week, every game brings a storyline or two that fantasy-footballers had better follow. Week 9 was no different.
While Matt Forte and Steve Slaton continued their downward spiral, Chris Johnson and Ray Rice continued their strong play.
Also, Clinton Portis got hurt and Chris Chambers scored twice. Yes, Chris Chambers. What does all of that mean from a fantasy perspective? Well, that’s a little more complicated.
Let’s discuss a bunch of Sunday’s storylines:
Ryan Moats – Got the full-time back carries, but didn’t do much with it. Steve Slaton was equally as ineffective coming off the bench. The surprising thing was that Slaton was supposed to be the passing down back, but Moats scored a receiving TD.
Joseph Addai – Speaking of receiving TDs, Addai played well again in Donald Browns’ absence. He scored rushing and receiving TDs and finished with 112 total yards.
Dallas Clark – Not really storyline to monitor here, just a further example of Clark’s awesome: 14 catches, 119 yards.
Michael Turner – 166 yards on just 18 carries and scored twice. He averaged 9.2 per carry against what had been a pretty stout Redskins run defense this season. Jzak’s trying to trade him away, but I think he’ll be better in the second half and worth trading for.
Ladell Betts – Consider Betts a waiver pickup with Clinton Portis injury. Betts averaged 4.7 per carry, racking up 70 yards and a score with a 23-yard reception against Atlanta.
Kurt Warner – When Ben Patrick and Anthony Brecht are scoring TDs, you know there’s something crazy going on. Warner threw five TDs in the win, two of them to L-Fitz, who finished with a 9-123-2 line.
Tim Hightower – Edged Beanie Wells in one of the more talked about fantasy battles. But he only did it barely. Finished with 88 total yards on 16 touches. Wells had 72 yards on 13 touches.
Greg Olsen – Tried to single-handedly outdo Kurt Warner, catching three TDs from Jay Cutler and finishing with 5 catches and 74 yards. He was targeted seven times.
Ray Rice – Struggled to run against the Bengals early , but still finished with a respectable 12-48-1 line and added an awesome 8-87-0 line receiving. I wasn’t sure if I should trade for him in response to jzak’s trade post, but I’m a believer now.
Ronnie Brown – Ricky Williams stole another rushing score, but Brown finished with a cornucopia of statistics that accumulated to more than 10 points in standard leagues. He threw for a one-yard TD, rushed 15-48 and had two catches for 16 yards.
Tampa Bay Defense – I don’t normally focus on defenses, so you know something insane has to be coming. The Bucs had a blocked punt return for a TD, an INT returned for a TD, 3 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions and six sacks against the lowly packers. Oh, and Clifton Smith nearly broke a kick return for a TD, being brought down after 83 yards.
Josh Freeman – The rookie QB led the Buccaneers to their first win of the season. His numbers weren’t out of this world, but add three TDs and 1-for-2 on 2-pt tries to his, 14-31-1 for 105 yards line and he was pretty good. He’s a waiver pickup if he’s still available in your league and you need QB help.
James Jones – Had a 74-yard TD catch, finishing with a 4-103 line. Meanwhile Donald Driver and Greg Jennings each had twice as many targets as Jones had catches, but didn’t do as much with them. If the Packers continue to trail in a lot of games, I’d expect Jones to have another game or three like this over the rest of the season.
Chris Chambers – With 3 minutes to play in the game, Chambers was an afterthought. He scored twice after the 2:32 mark and finished with 3 catches for 70 yards on just four targets. It came against he Jaguars, so temper your expectations, but if he can compliment Dwayne Bowe…
Lance Long – Who? Yep, this guy led the Chiefs in targets this week with 11. He finished with eight catches for 74 yards. Maybe Long is the compliment the Chiefs need for Bowe. Maybe it’s both Long and Chambers. Maybe it’s just another offense having a field day at the Jaguars expense.
Jaguars rookies – Jarrett Dillard had a catch for 33 yards. Anyone who reads this site knows I had high expectations for Dillard in the preseason. Rashad Jennings, the man who would be the new Fred Taylor busted out a 28-yard TD run. He finished with 38 yards on three touches.
Mike Sims-Walker – After an off week against the Titans… Wait, I gotta let the sting from that statement wear off for a second… Sims-Walker bounced back with a 6-catch, 147-yard, 1-TD game. He’ll be one of the most sought after WRs in 2010.
Matthew Stafford – Stafford started the game off by scoring consecutive TD passes, one to Brandon Pettigrew and another to Bryant Johnson. However, he didn’t throw another TD and recorded five picks.
Casey Fitzimmons – Led the Lions in targets with 11. Finished with 6 catches and 41 yards. I have no idea why. No, you shouldn’t pick him up.
Brandon Pettigrew – Is it Pettigrew time in Detroit? He had eight targets, caught seven for 70 yards and a score. Interesting.
Calvin Johnson – Had nine targets, but so did Nate Burleson, TJ Houshmandzadeh and John Carlson and that trio each had more than six catches and 34 yards. Johnson finished with just two catches and 27 yards.
Matt Hasselbeck – Threw the ball a Brady-esque 51 times, completing 39 for 329 yards, one score and one interception. I know it came against Detroit, but Hasselbeck seems to be back.
Julius Jones – Was supposed to be a good play for the garbage rushing yards he could amass after Seattle was up a few TDs against Detroit. He only finished with 36 yards on 13 carries, but he scored a TD and had six catches for 78 yards.
Jake Delhomme – He didn’t get picked off! And he had 208 yards passing. But he didn’t throw a Td and fumbled twice, losing one of them. Delhomme!
DeAngelo Williams – An impressive game, scoring the first two TDs of the game, rushing for 149 yards on 21 carries.
Robert Meachem – The chosen receiver for New Orleans this week, Meachem had five catches for 98 yards and a Td.
Vincent Jackson – Philip Rivers only targeted Jackson five times, but he caught all five, for 58 yards and two scores.
Steve Smith (NYG) – Continues to make a case for being THE Steve Smith. Had eight catches for 57 yards and a score. Meanwhile, Mario Manningham was the second guy this week with six catches and 52 yards. Smith has been, and will continue to be the only constant receiving threat for the Giants.
Vince Young – Another workmanlike performance out of VY, 12-for-19 for 172 yards. No TDs, no picks. He did run for a score and finished with five carries and 14 yards.
Chris Johnson – One of the few 2008 rookies who continues to amaze, Johnson had 135 yards on 25 carries and scored twice, both one-yarders.
Alex Smith – Touted by jzak as a trade for candidate, Smith didn’t disappoint. He threw three picks, but also threw for 283 yards and two scores.
Vernon Davis – Alex Smith’s favorite target Sunday, he threw Davis’ way 11 times and the tight end continued to impress with 10 catches and 102 yards. Frank Gore was second on the team iwth 9 targets and seven catches for 75 yards respectively.
Jason Hill – The big surprise out of San Francisco this week was Hill’s four catches on four targets for 50 yards and two scores. He might be worth an add if he played he Titans defense every other week.
LeSean McCoy – In place of the injured Brian Westbrook, McCoy finished with a solid 13-54 rushing line and led the team with five catches for 61 yards. He had the second most targets for the eagles with seven. Jeremy Maclin led in that category with nine.
Marion Barber – Had 70 total yards on 15 touches. He needs more touches. Tashard Choice finished with 21 yards on four touches and scored a rushing touchdown. He needs more touches, too.
Miles Austin – Invisible for the entire Sunday night game and targeted only four times, Austin scored the go-ahead TD on his only catch, a 49-yarder that showcased his skill and took advantage of the Eagles lack of coverage.