Fantasy Focus: Hot & Not
It has been a season full of ups and downs thus far in the NFL, as the football gods have been fickle with performances. This week's hot list features a few unlikely names and a few players with breakout performances. Meanwhile, the "not" list includes a few players who went quite early in drafts and probably disappointed their owners this week. Time to take a look at who over-performed and who underperformed with this week's Hot and Not list.
Hot Fantasy Updates
Josh McCown- QB- Cleveland- Josh McCown, welcome to fantasy news! The veteran Browns QB passed for a remarkable 457 yards, throwing for two touchdowns over the air and adding another on the ground. McCown has been trending up lately, with increasing yardage totals in each of his last three games and three consecutive 300+ yard performances. The Browns offense is not amazing every week, but McCown should be a decent streaming QB option because of his relatively high weekly yardage totals.
Doug Martin- RB- Tampa Bay- The “Muscle Hamster” followed up on his best game of the season from last week with an even better one on Sunday vs. the Jaguars. Martin had 24 carries and 123 yards, scoring two rushing touchdowns. As if that was not enough, Martin had 35 receiving yards on three catches and a receiving touchdown. Martin was the focal point of the Bucs’ offense this week, scoring 27 of Tampa Bay’s 38 points. Martin is on bye next week, but should be a high-end RB2 from now on.
Thomas Rawls- RB- Seattle- Rawls took advantage of the absence of Marshawn Lynch again Sunday, putting up his best performance yet against the normally stingy Bengals defense. Rawls rumbled for 169 yards on 23 carries, also finding the end zone on a big 69-yard TD run. Even apart from his big run, Rawls still had a solid day, and should be a fantasy starter for as long as Lynch is out. Lynch may return as soon as next week, however, relegating Rawls back to bench duty and fantasy irrelevance. But keep Rawls’ name in mind, as if Lynch retires after this season, Rawls should be the favorite to become Seattle’s running back of the future.
Emmanuel Sanders- WR- Denver- Sanders followed his weakest performance of the season from Week 4 with a bounce-back performance in Week 5. In Sunday’s win over the Raiders, Sanders hauled in nine catches on 111 yards receiving. Peyton Manning targeted Sanders 12 times as the Broncos’ primary short-to-medium range threat. Sanders did not score Sunday and has only two receiving touchdowns all year, but those numbers should improve as Sanders continues to receive a large number of targets.
Not Fantasy Updates
Randall Cobb- WR- Green Bay- After a combined 31 targets in the last three games, Cobb only received six targets on Sunday vs. the Rams, only hauling in three for a relatively paltry 23 yards. Cobb didn’t find the end zone as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers found Ty Montgomery and James Jones for a pair of long TD passes. Cobb may have been feeling the effects of his lingering shoulder injury, but the bad performance can be attributed to what was a generally anemic Packers offense on Sunday. Cobb has been playing through the shoulder injury all season and has still been a high-end WR1, so that should continue next week vs. the Chargers.
Matt Ryan- QB- Atlanta- Ryan put up a satisfactory yardage total on Sunday vs. Washington, but struggled with just about everything else. Completing 24 of 42 passes, “Matty Ice” failed to find the end zone while throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Ryan looked poise to take advantage of a favorable matchup against a Washington defense sans star cornerback DeAngelo Hall, but since the Falcons scored most of their points Sunday through their defense and special teams, Ryan was the one who lost out. Expect him to bounce back next week against the Saints.
Jason Witten- TE- Dallas- Witten is normally one of the best and most consistent options at tight end, but he struggled along with the rest of the Cowboys’ offense in the loss to the Patriots Sunday afternoon. The veteran tight end and former Tennessee Volunteer hauled in five catches for just 33 yards, also fumbling the ball once. Witten struggled as the Patriots defense focused on containing the Cowboys’ top receiving option and as part of a generally bad day for Dallas’ offense. Witten and the Cowboys are on bye next week, but look for him to receive many targets in two weeks vs. the Giants.
Ameer Abdullah- RB- Detroit- It was a rough day at the office for the rookie running back against a touch Cardinals defense, as the PPR threat rushed for only 17 yards on six carries while also catching only one pass for nine yards and losing a fumble. Making matters worse, fellow Lions passing down back Theo Riddick caught 10 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Abdullah was benched after another (unofficial) fumble on a kickoff, with Riddick and Zach Zenner handling the backfield work. Abdullah should still get the bulk of the work next week vs. the Bears, but watch out since the Lions may bench him if he can’t hold onto the ball.
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