The biggest thing we learned from Sunday’s slate: Julio Jones is still good at football. Not to toot my own horn (OK, of course I’m tooting my own horn), but my top 3 WRs of the week (Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, and Julio Jones) combined for 33 catches, 594 yards, and 5 TDs. Jones led the way hauling in 12 for 253 yards and 2 TDs. We could see this coming last week, when he had a much better showing than the much of the rest of the year. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be that crazy or I would have ranked him #1, but a big day was certainly expected. What does this mean moving forward? Nothing, Julio Jones should be in your lineup each and every week unless he is physically not on the field. But, Julio Jones owners can at least release a sigh of relief that their stud finally broke out and lived up to the top 5 pick in your draft that I’m sure he was.
Alvin Kamara, in my opinion, has taken over the top spot in the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year. A list that has had a new lead dog every couple of weeks, I believe. Kareem Hunt exploded into the season, then cooled off. Leonard Fournette was the model of consistency rarely seen by a rookie until he wasn’t. Deshaun Watson was the prodigy that Dabo Swinney predicted he would be, until he had season-ending ACL surgery. Alvin Kamara is now the guy. I believe he is slowly going to take more and more touches away from Ingram and establish himeself as the #1 back in New Orleans. The touches were more even this week for the two (Kamara – 11, Ingram -13), but Kamara took advantage of his opportunities where Ingram didn’t. Let’s face it, Kamara is simply much more talented. He’s quicker, a better pass catcher, better at reading the defense and finding holes to run through. Ingram has always been a “lower his head run straight” type of guy. Kamara reminds me a lot of Le’veon Bell. He’s patient, gives his blockers time to provide room, then bursts through the hole with speed and decisiveness. He also fits the NO offense better; they like their funky formations and wild plays. He has the ability to fit in with that, he may be the best screen back in football, outside of Pittsburgh. I love this guy, and fantasy owners should as well. He has become matchup proof. If you are lucky enough to have drafted him in your dynasty leagues, well, kudos to you, my friends.
Big Ben is looking like his old self again. He’s thrown 4 TDs in two straight games, both in prime time. I had him ranked as the #3 QB this week, and rightfully so as he posted a fantastic fantasy outing. I’m still hesitant moving forward. These past two games were home against Tennessee who are ranked 27th against opposing QBs in fantasy, and at home against Green Bay who rank 14th, but were without Clay Matthews, their best pass rusher. His next two games are in Cincinnati, who have been playing better as of late, and at Baltimore, who boast the 2nd ranked defense against opposing QBs in fantasy this season. He’s definitely looked much better, his completion percentage over the past 2 games is 70.0% compared to the 61.1% he posted through the first 9 games. He’s averaging 325.0 yards per game, up from 255.3; and his TD:INT ratio is 4:1, a vast improvement from the 6:5 clip he posted before the Tennessee game. I’d like to see it continue. I’m not ready to play him every week. I’d place him with the likes of Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jared Goff heading into Week 13.
Jordy Nelson has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for me. Drafted in the 8-12 range in most leagues, there was some high expectations for him this season. Aaron Rodgers going down with a broken collarbone in Week 6 obviously played a huge role in Nelson’s struggles. In the 5 games with Rodgers, Nelson averaged 18.0 PPG. In 5 games without him, he’s averaging just 4.7. Now, as a WR, when your star QB goes down, naturally your numbers will as well. However, for someone of Jordy Nelson’s caliber, he should be able to provide the backup QB with a safety blanket and numbers shouldn’t decline this drastically. Let’s look at other #1 WRs who’ve lost their starting QB. DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans lost his starting QB in Week 9. With Deshaun Watson running the show, Hopkins averaged 21.5 PPG in 6 games. In 4 games without his QB, he averaged 18.5 PPG. A decline, sure, but certainly not one that’s worthy of a fantasy benching as is in Nelson’s case. Carson Palmer went down in Week 7 with injury this season for the Arizona Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald didn’t lose a step. In 7 games with Palmer, Fitz put up 15.8 PPG. In 4 games without his QB, he’s scored 15.9 PPG. Deshaun Watson and Carson Palmer do not possess the abilities that Aaron Rodgers’ does, but they are very good QBs in their own rights. Superstar receivers are still there if their QBs go down. Nelson is not a superstar receiver, and he is showing that this season. If someone dropped Jordy in any of my leagues, I wouldn’t go rushing to waiver wire to pick him up, unless of course a healthy Aaron Rodgers reappears when eligible in Week 15 (hint hint).