Carson Palmer, Raiders
I told you in my Dave’s Take column last week that Palmer would improve on his 16th place quarterback ranking by season’s end and he started that process in a big way this week. Palmer torched the Bucs 414 yards and four touchdowns, putting up 37 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues, easily his best fantasy performance since joining the Raiders.
Andrew Luck, Colts
The Colts are 5-3 and in playoff contention. In a tight game with Miami this week, Luck was lights out, completing 30 of 48 attempts for a rookie-record 433 passing yards and two touchdowns. The rookie signal caller is now on pace to finish the season with 20 passing touchdowns and 4,808 passing yards, which would set another rookie season record.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Dude is clearly talented but his owners should be concerned due to the huge portion of fantasy points that are coming from rushing the ball and his struggles as a passer over the last five games. During that stretch, RGIII has thrown for just 923 yards and four touchdowns and failed to top 215 passing yards four times.
Doug Martin, Bucs
On fire, folks. Meet the league’s new top ranked fantasy running back. If you have the you know whats, it might be time to sell high. Martin has gone gangbusters over the last two weeks, piling up 214 totals yards and two touchdowns against a declining Vikings run defense and then gaining 251 yards and four scores against the pathetic Raiders run defense. The schedule over the balance of the season looks good (just one top-10 ranked run defense) but consider this a friendly reminder that rookie running backs tend to hit a wall before season’s end and Martin is on pace to finish the season with 348 touches.
Isaac Redman, Steelers
Every week, a Steelers running back gets the Moving Up treatment. This week, it is Redman’s turn. Pretty much given up on, Redman unexpectedly rolled over the Giants this week with both Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall unable to play, gaining 147 yards and a score on his 26 rushes. The Steelers are going with the hot hand and Redman is that guy at the moment with the Chiefs, Ravens, Browns and Ravens again over the next four weeks. Not one of them is ranked higher than 22nd in run defense.
James Starks, Packers
Starks got the start this week and played decent (61 yards on 17 carries) but ended up splitting time with Alex Green (17 touches to 13). Look for the Packers MO in their backfield to be using Starks as the starter with Green being used as a change of pace back and on passing downs. If one of them gets hot, the other may spend a lot of time sitting. For now, Starks is the guy to own.
Mikel Leshoure, Lions
He’s here because I don’t want to take the heat for not putting him here but I’m not sold on him just yet. His three touchdowns and 70 yards this week were nice but it was against the Jags and he hasn’t topped 100 total yards in his last five games.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Some reports out of Indianapolis suggest Donald Brown suffered a hip injury. Others said he had swelling in his knee. Other cited both injuries as the reasons for his one touch performance this week. For Ballard owners, one Brown injury is good and two is better. Ballard has been quietly effective when given the majority of the work and was solid this week with 98 total yards against the Dolphins. If only he could get a map to the end zone (one touchdown in 2012).
Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reece, Raiders
Darren McFadden apparently suffered a high ankle sprain this week but Goodson may have as well. That would leave Jones, whose only carry this season came last week, and Reese, who carried the ball once in Week 1 but hasn’t since. Keep your eye on this situation. If Goodson is a go, he will get the majority of the carries. If he can’t go, look for Jones and Reese to split carries. In either scenario, Reese will get the work on passing downs.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins
Bush was barely respectable this week against the Colts bottom feeder run defense, gaining 41 yards and a score on ten carries and chipping in 25 yards on two receptions. Unfortunately for his owners, that was just his second double-digit fantasy performance over his last six games. The schedule is up and down with two easy matchups, followed by three tough ones and then two more patsies.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
Cards are on a bye this week and Beanie Wells is eligible to return in Week 12. Stephens-Howling’s 15 minutes are almost up.
Eric Decker, Broncos
Demaryius Thomas might be more talented but Decker is on fire with touchdowns in five straight games and seven in total over that span. Over his last six games, he is averaging 14.9 FPTs per game and looks like a bona fide WR1 over the balance of the season.
Michael Jenkins and Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Percy Harvin looks like he’s going to miss some time so for the first time ever a guy that caught two passes for eight yards is Moving Up (that would be Jenkins) So is a guy that caught one pass for 14 yards, also a Moving Up first. Let’s see how this works out.
Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers
Antonio Brown is likely to miss time with a high ankle sprain, meaning Sanders and Cotchery figure to see more targets. The old pro had more yards this week (50) but Sanders hauled in a touchdown. If you need to pick one, go with the young blood.
Mike Wallace, Steelers
Wallace has been decent but not spectacular this season. However, occasionally one spectacular catch and run play will get you Moving Up. This guy has afterburners that other players just don’t have.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
The Chargers like big, fast wide receivers so they hauled Alexander off the street, stuck him in the starting lineup and watched him catch all three of his targets for 61 yards. Robert Meachem hasn’t exactly lit it up in his first year in San Diego and he is hurt.
Percy Harvin, Vikings
I’m guessing that an ankle sprained in three places means a guy won’t be playing in a while.
Josh Gordon, Browns
After scoring four touchdowns in three games, Gordon has, not surprisingly, gone cold with just five receptions for 84 yards in his last two games. The kid has talent but the combination of his inexperience and that of quarterback Brandon Weeden has resulted in Gordon catching just 19 of 43 targets this season.
Devery Henderson, Saints
It’s back to the doghouse for Henderson. After a couple of solid efforts, he failed to catch a pass in Week 8 and hauled in just one reception for eight yards this week. With Lance Moore back, Henderson isn’t worth owning in standard leagues.
Logan Paulsen, Redskins
As expected, Paulsen has relegated Chris Cooley to benchwarmer status. Somewhat unexpectedly, Paulsen has actually proven to be a decent receiver, hauling in 13 of his 20 receptions over the past three games for a very respectable 178 yards. With RGIII spreading out thin amongst his wide receivers, Paulsen led the team in receiving yards in Week 9 and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that is a common occurrence over the balance of the season.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
Sure it was the Bucs and their sad sack pass defense but Myers had a career game in Week 9, catching eight passes for 59 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With the Raiders behind early, he was targeted a healthy 13 times and is averaging 8.25 targets over his last four games.
Robert Housler, Cardinals
The starting job appears to be his but, while Housler is talented, there isn’t much upside here given the play of the team’s quarterbacks. He had a career high nine targets this week, catching five of them for 55 yards, also a career high. With Todd Heap and Jeff King nearing the end of their careers, Housler is a decent dynasty league prospect.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
After scoring four touchdowns in his first five games, Gonzo has gone gonzo from the Falcons passing attack, failing to score in his last three games or top 42 receiving yards and accumulating just 107 yards in those games. It’s worth noting that he faded down the stretch last season, failing to score in his final six games and catching just seven passes for 63 yards over his final three games.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
One of the biggest wastes of talent in the league. One reception for six yards this week brings his totals over the last five games to ten receptions for 84 yards. And he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1.