Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Has the light finally come on for the Bucs 2009 1st round pick? Freeman lit up the Saints this week, throwing for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns. Freeman now has two consecutive 300-yard performances after posting just three such performances over the first 45 games of his career. Over the past three weeks, the Bucs signal caller has thrown for 1,047 yards and seven touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
It’s been an ugly start to the season for Stafford and now he will be without Nate Burleson for the rest of the season due to a broken leg. After throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011, Stafford is on pace to finish 2012 with 4,677 yards and just 13 touchdown passes. This might be a buy low opportunity but it’s not a great one since the Lions face six passing defenses ranked 11th or better over the next nine weeks.
Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
Jennings isn’t chopped liver as a running back and he proved it this week, subbing in for an injured Maurice Jones-Drew and gaining 102 yards and a score on 28 touches. With MJD likely out for an extended period with a foot injury, Jennings is in line for a major workload over the next few weeks.
Chris Johnson, Titans
Look who is back. Finally. Johnson torched a sad sack Bills run defense for 195 yards and a pair of scores this week, bringing his two-week total to 312 total yards. His performance gives Johnson three double digit point performances in his last four weeks and a reasonable schedule makes him a low end RB1 the rest of the way.
Jamie Harper, Titans
It’s official. Harper is the Titans goal line back and that seems unlikely to change given his performance over the last two games which includes three touchdowns (two this week against the Bills). That makes him decent flex material against soft run defenses.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
In the “so what” category, I present LaRod Stephens-Howling. He had his first 100-yard rushing game this week, with 104 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, and also chipped in 45 yards on four receptions. Grab him if you are absolutely desperate but keep in mind that he needs a favorable matchup in a game the Cardinals coaches think he gives him the best chance to win over William Powell or Alfonso Smith. It’s likely Stephens-Howling had his first and last game with 100 rushing yards.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
Dwyer proved this week that he can produce when healthy and if given enough touches, putting together the best game of his three-year career (122 yards on 17 carries). If Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman can’t go again this week, Dwyer is startable in a home game against the Redskins.
Alex Green, Packers
Stringer – 2, Comment Board – 0. Take that! Two weeks ago, I took it for not having Antonio Gates Moving Down and then he then went out and had 81 yards and a pair of scores. Last week, I got a pile of hate for having Green Moving Down after his 22 carry, 65-yard performance against the Texans. This week, Green was even worse, carrying 20 times for 35 yards against the Rams and gaining 29 receiving yards. The fact is that if you take away his one solid run this season, he is averaging 2.2 yards per carry. At some point the Packers are going to explore their other running back options.
Felix Jones, Cowboys
If Andre Brown can roll all over the Panthers so can Jones. At least, that was the line of thought for much the entire fantasy community entering this weekend. But what we all forgot was that Felix is Felix and so he laid an egg against a Charmin soft Panthers run defense, gaining 44 yards on 15 carries and failing to find the end zone. Speaking of the end zone, Jones has found himself there twice in his last 21 games, four times in his last three seasons and just ten times during his four and a half years in the league.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Two touches this week, folks. Hard to be a useful fantasy starter when that happens. Looks like Williams is out of favor but I would hold onto him until the trade deadline passes. If he isn’t moved then he isn’t worth owning.
Randall Cobb, Packers
Cobb has become a bit of a target machine in Green Bay with 18 over his last two games and 30 over the past four weeks. And he’s producing with 26 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns during that stretch. Coming off a career best performance against the Rams (eight receptions for 89 yards and a pair of scores), Cobb shapes up as a low end WR2 until Greg Jennings returns to the lineup.
Chris Givens, Rams
Givens is clearly the Rams big play guy at receiver, with a pass play of at least 50 yards in four straight games. With Danny Amendola out and rookie 2nd round pick Brian Quick out of favor, Givens has emerged with eight receptions for 261 yards and a touchdown over his last four games. He should be line for more targets (just 20 in those four games) and hopefully an uptick in his fantasy production.
Santana Moss, Redskins
There are conflicting reports out of Washington as to whether Pierre Garcon has torn tendons in his foot but one thing is clear – this injury isn’t going to heal without rest. That should mean more targets for Moss who is coming off his best game of the year, a three-reception, 67-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Giants. That gives him 193 yards and three scores over his past three games.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
I had him here last week but let’s give it to him two weeks in a row after seven receptions, 216 yards, one touchdown… a one man demolition of the Saints secondary despite playing with a calf injury that cost him a touchdown.
Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, Lions
Neither of these former 2nd round picks has done much this year but with Nate Burleson out with a broken leg, they figure to be in line for more targets going forward. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they will do anything with them. If you need to pick one, go with Young.
Torrey Smith, Ravens
After playing at a high level for the first four games of the year, Smith has leveled off with just nine receptions for 103 yards over this past three games. A touchdown in Week 6 was a bit of a saving grace but he saw just four targets in Weeks 5 and 6 and caught just four of his 13 targets in Week 7.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
Lloyd struggled in Week 7 against the Jets, catching just one of eight targets for six yards and missing a couple of catchable balls. That gives him just ten receptions for 120 yards on 25 targets over the past three weeks.
Dustin Keller, Jets
Finally healthy, Keller hauled in all seven of his targets this week against the Patriots for 93 yards and a touchdown. With Santonio Holmes out for the season and only Jeremy Kerley a consistently productive target at wide receiver, Keller could be in line for plenty of targets and production as the season enters its second half.
Logan Paulsen, Redskins
The Redskins re-signed Chris Cooley after starter Fred David was lost to an Achilles injury this week. However, Paulsen might end up getting most of the receiving work and he looked good in relief of Davis, catching four passes for 76 yards.
Scott Chandler, Bills
Chandler has gone cold over the past three weeks, catching just seven passes for 59 yards and failing to find the end zone. With four scores in his first four games, Chandler was shaping up as a solid TE2 but he is Moving Down this week after a two-reception, 15-yard performance against a suspect Titans secondary.