We’re getting to the point where it’s time to start expecting the unexpected.
Sure, there were plenty of fantasy performances Sunday that weren’t surprising, Aaron Rodgers’ monster numbers and Pierre Garcon’s flop among them. But if you thought Jay Cutler would score more fantasy points in a snowstorm than Peyton Manning would in a dome against the St. Louis Rams, well, we don’t believe you.
But such is life in fantasy football. In any given week, an unheralded fantasy backup can put up big numbers (we’re looking at you, Alfred Blue) while a normally reliable starter can lay a huge dud (thanks a lot, Matthew Stafford).
These boom and bust performances sometimes can be harbingers of things to come; other times, it’s best to just chalk them up as anomalies. Here’s our take as we sort through an exciting Week 11.
Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears: Didn’t think you’d see his name here, did you? The much-maligned QB finally turned it around Sunday, tossing for 330 yards and three touchdowns (and two interceptions, but still) to lead all quarterbacks not named Aaron Rodgers with 25 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues.
Jamaal Charles, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs: It’s time to give Charles his due as one of the most consistent backs in the league. Undeterred by Seattle’s stout defense, Charles went wild for 159 rushing yards and two scores, giving him double-digit fantasy performances in six of his last seven games.
Alfred Blue, Running Back, Houston Texans: If you snatched up Blue and gave him the start with Arian Foster on the shelf, you’re a smart man/woman. Blue paced the Texans’ offense in their win over the Cleveland Browns, churning out 156 yards on 36 carries. If Foster ever goes down again, here’s a reason not to be feeling Blue.
Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There’s no debating now: This guy is legit. The rookie out of Texas A&M caught two more long touchdown passes Sunday en route to 209 receiving yards, becoming just the fifth rookie to eclipse 200 yards in a single game. He now has 458 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his last three games.
Kenny Britt, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams: Who saw this one coming? Britt was a star in the Rams’ shocking upset of the Denver Broncos, hauling in a 73-yard touchdown pass and finishing the game with a season-high 128 receiving yards. If Shaun Hill gets the start again next week, Britt’s worth taking a look at.
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions: Sunday’s marquee matchup against the Arizona Cardinals turned into a defensive slug fest, which was bad news for Stafford. The Lions’ QB failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second time this season and mustered just 183 passing yards and an interception in a disappointing six-fantasy-point effort.
Ben Tate, Running Back, Cleveland Browns: Oh, Ben Tate. After scoring a touchdown last week, the Browns running back was an absolute non-factor Sunday, finishing the game with -9 rushing yards in his third abysmal performance in the last five weeks. With Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West in the mix, it’s impossible to trust Tate these days.
Bobby Rainey, Running Back, Buccaneers: The Bucs dominated in the passing game Sunday, but their ground game was a different story. Rainey gained just four yards on five carries before giving way to rookie Charles Sims, who managed just 36 yards on 13 carries. With Doug Martin possible to return next week, this backfield is looking like a cluster of mediocrity.
Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins: Garcon just isn’t a big part of this offense anymore, and it showed Sunday. Last year’s NFL leader in receptions caught one ball for six yards in a loss to Tampa Bay and now has eclipsed 10 fantasy points in standard leagues in just two of his 10 games this season.
Julius Thomas, Tight End, Denver Broncos: The Broncos didn’t have the best day Sunday. Not only did they lose for the second time in three weeks, but Thomas went down in the second quarter with an ankle injury and finished the game with two receptions for three yards. Thomas will undergo further tests on his ankle Monday.
Have a fantasy/NFL question for Darren? Send it to him via Twitter at @darren_hartwell
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images
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