Things we learned in Week 7
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - While everyone is focusing on the Sunday night matchup between returning hero Peyton Manning and his heir apparent Andrew Luck, there was some pretty good football played this afternoon.
In particular, if you started a quarterback or a star receiver in the Cincinnati-Detroit matchup you probably had a great day in your fantasy league.
Below are a few more things we observed on Sunday afternoon.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Julio and Roddy who? Harry Douglas proved he's worthy of starting in fantasy leagues by catching all seven of his targets for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Vincent Jackson owners are enjoying the quarterback styling of Mike Glennon. Glennon has targeted Jackson 47 times in his three starts and hit him 19 times for 252 yards and two touchdowns the last two.
If Doug Martin cannot play in Week 8, the Bucs will have no problem giving backup Mike James 20-plus carries. James took over lead-back duties after Martin exited Sunday's game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury had 14 carries for 45 yards.
Jacquizz Rodgers was initially in a timeshare with Jason Snelling with Snelling getting most of the catches and goal-line touches, but Rodgers appears to have moved ahead of him. While he only had eight carries for 16 yards on the ground, he caught eight of his nine targets for 46 yards and two scores against the Buccaneers, while Snelling had 14 yards and seven carries and zero targets. Rodgers has scored four touchdowns his last two games.
St. Louis at Carolina
The Rams' running back hierarchy is now clear after Zac Stacy had 17 carries and four targets to Daryl Richardson's three carries and one target Sunday. Stacy has 49 carries in three games since becoming the team's starter, while Richardson has 19.
Fantasy owners couldn't trust any Rams' receivers with Sam Bradford at the helm, and they definitely won't be able to start anyone if Kellen Clemens has to play. Bradford was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
Cam Newton was very efficient, but the Panthers didn't need him to do much to beat the Rams, and it inhibited his fantasy production. He only threw 17 passes, completing 15 for 204 yards and one touchdown. Newton also rushed 10 times for 26 yards.
Steve Smith is not creating big plays like he did in the past. His 19-yard gain Sunday matched his season long and he's averaging just 10.5 yards per reception.
Cincinnati at Detroit
Calvin Johnson's knee is healthy enough. He had nine receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns, out-leaping triple coverage for his second score.
As long as Johnson is active, Matthew Stafford can be counted on as an every- week starter. Stafford had 357 passing yards and three touchdowns, giving him seven scores over the last two games.
The Bengals are not getting consistent results from their running game. They had just 57 yards on 18 carries as a team Sunday, with Giovani Bernard running for 27 and BenJarvus Green-Ellis picking up 24.
A.J. Green had a huge day with six receptions for 155 yards even though he only saw eight of Andy Dalton's 34 targets.
Dalton threw at least four passes to five different players, including six to Marvin Jones. Jones caught four for 57 yards and a touchdown, his second score in as many weeks.
Dalton has thrown for 709 yards, six touchdowns and one pick over the last two games after failing to throw a touchdown pass in Weeks 4 and 5. He's just as likely to throw zero touchdowns as he is three, but you could do worse with your bye-week fill-in.
San Diego at Jacksonville
Ryan Mathews has quietly turned into a trusted weapon for San Diego. Aside from Oct. 6 against Oakland when he suffered a concussion, Mathews has at least 16 carries in every game since Week 2 and rushed 43 times for 212 yards and a touchdown over the last two games.
The Chargers do a good job of rotating Danny Woodhead into the game and getting him double-digit touches. He's a better PPR player but is in the standard league conversation after producing four touchdowns and an average of 81.2 yards from scrimmage over the last five games.
Philip Rivers looks for Keenan Allen often when the Chargers are in the red zone. They didn't connect for a touchdown Sunday, but Allen should make for a trustworthy WR2 going forward.
Chad Henne is at least competent and he'll continue to target the Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon combo a minimum of 20 times per game.
Buffalo at Miami
Despite leaving the game early on with a sore knee, backup tailback Fred Jackson returned and continued to outshine starter C.J. Spiller. Against Miami Jackson combined for 86 yards and a score while Spiller could only muster seven yards on nine touches. Spiller is in the running for "worst first-round pick of 2013."
Thad Lewis did just enough to get his team the victory (21-of 32 for 202 yards, 1 INT), but he's not a fantasy-worthy quarterback.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but wasn't very efficient going 11-for-23 with a pair of interceptions. In the second half he only threw for 65 yards and that wasn't enough for the win.
Third wideout Brandon Gibson was the receiving star ahead of fantasy starters Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. He caught five balls for 40 yards and two scores.
New England at NY Jets
On the Pats' first drive, tight end Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady looked in mid- season form with a pair of catches for 42 yards. He finished with eight receptions for 114 yards (17 targets), cracking the 100-yard bonus, in "extra time." Not bad for his first game action this season.
Both Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden found the end zone and all three running backs in the game rushed for at least 4.0 ypc. Is this part of the "Gronkowski Effect"?
Geno Smith once again had trouble figuring out the Patriots' coverage. He threw three interceptions in their first meeting and gave up an 80-yard "pick-six" to Logan Ryan in Sunday's contest.
Dallas at Philadelphia
These two teams were ranked 31st and 32nd (last) in yards allowed (combining for an average 832 ypg), yet the score was 0-0 after one quarter. Fantasy owners had to be disappointed with the half-time score of 3-0. Not a single player stood out in the first 30 minutes.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo ended up throwing for over 300 yards, but he had to work hard for it - throwing 47 times. He was also picked off twice.
Terrance Williams' fourth-quarter touchdown was his third consecutive game with a score. He should be valued ahead of Miles Austin, but behind Dez Bryant.
Third-string Matt Barkley proved he's not ready to lead an NFL offense going 11-of-20 for 129 yards and three interception. Nick Foles wasn't much better (11-of-29 for 80 yards).
Chicago at Washington
Devin Hester scored on a punt return, his first kick return for a score in 29 games. He has 19 of them in his career. The Bears defense/special teams has been very consistent in their ability to put points on the board with five touchdowns this season after nine last year.
Starting quarterback Jay Cutler left with an injury and though Josh McCown played fairly well on Sunday fantasy owners of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey hope the injury to Cutler isn't serious.
Matt Forte has yet to run for 100 yards this season, but he should get more respect from fantasy owners. Including his receiving yards he's never failed to crack at least 90 combined yards from scrimmage in a game this season. He's also scored six touchdowns (three on Sunday).
In the first quarter, Robert Griffin III was intercepted for the sixth time this season - one more than he had all last year. The Redskins scored 42 points over the final three quarters and RG3 was part of 382 of them, though his passing total came up two yards short of earning the 300-yard bonus.
Roy Helu is officially a pain for all Alfred Morris owners. Helu scored three times Sunday, including twice from the 3-yard line, which used to be Morris' bailiwick.
San Francisco at Tennessee
The 49ers emphasized defense and the running game in the first half against Tennessee and rushed for two scores - while pitching a shutout. They ended up allowed 10 points at garbage time to the dismay of their fantasy owners, but did turn a fumbled punt into six points.
Frank Gore (70 yards rushing, 2 TDs) has posted double-digit fantasy points in six of seven games this season.
Titans' quarterback Jake Locker looked like a guy who hadn't played since Week 4, with an ugly first-half interception that ended in a 49ers' Frank Gore rushing touchdown. A 66-yard screen pass for a touchdown to Chris Johnson and garbage time yardage padded what otherwise would have been pedestrian stats into solid fantasy numbers (326 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT).
Johnson couldn't find much running room as happens against San Francisco, but his hands and open-field running ability saved the day for his fantasy owners.
Cleveland at Green Bay
Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron owners saw very little out of quarterback Brandon Weeden which would make them excited about the future. Weeden started slowly (5-of-14, 1 INT) and except for a late fourth quarter drive for a touchdown at garbage time finished slowly too.
The Packers promised more attention to the running game with both Randall Cobb and James Jones sidelined and they followed through on the plan, rushing 25 times. Eddie Lacy saw 20 of the carries for 78 yards and a score.
Aaron Rodgers said before the game that they might have to win ugly and his fantasy owners would probably say they were more than happy with the 260 yards and three touchdowns they got from their quarterback.
Jarrett Boykin stepped up in the absence of Cobb and Jones to catch eight balls for 103 yards and a score. He'll be high on the waiver claim list this week.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Just your typical division battle between these two teams where defenses ruled the day.
The Ravens produced no touchdowns and just 110 yards in the first half. Torrey Smith, a fantasy stud over the first five weeks was "MIA" for a second consecutive week with one first-half catch for four yards.
It didn't get much better for Baltimore after the break as their two primary weapons Ray Rice and Smith couldn't find the end zone.
Le'Veon Bell had a solid game with 93 yards on 18 carries, but now has to begin getting involved in the passing game if he's going to become a fantasy star.
Houston at Kansas City
Arian Foster left with an injury in the first quarter leaving the rushing offense to Ben Tate, who also got nicked up and produced just 50 yards.
Case Keenum's first NFL touchdown pass was a 29-yard thing of beauty to DeAndre Hopkins. It could be we saw a glimpse into the future of the Texans' passing game. Keenum was a very respectable 15-of-25 for 271, 1 TD and zero interceptions. Playing in front of the hostile Chiefs' crowd he showed a lot of promise.
Alex Smith's second quarter rushing touchdown was the first running TD by anyone other than Jamaal Charles. Thank you for finally sharing Jamaal.
10/20 19:41:59 ET