Just when you were ready to clear up your Stafford infection by trading him for a box of day old donuts (for the penicillin), he passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns, while also running one in. Of course he did this against the worst pass defense in the league, so, wait what? It wasn’t the Saints? The Seahawks you say? Hmm, let me check here, whoa, they had given up five passing touchdowns all season and Tom Brady is the only quarterback to throw for more than one? And besides Brady they had faced Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, and Cam Newton? Well heck, that’s not too shabby.
I can’t say I was expecting anything close to this game after watching Stafford flounder around this season and knowing what Seattle can do to opposing receivers and quarterbacks, so I’m officially impressed and happy to reinstate him to must-start status. He’s not the most sound quarterback to play the game, but he has a monster arm and now with Titus Young helping to stretch the field and hopefully take a little pressure off Calvin Johnson, I’m feeling much better about him going forward.
Matt Ryan – With the game under Frankenstorm alert, many were worried about Ryan facing a good Eagles pass defense in a typhoon, but he went ahead and completed 17-of-20 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. And that was just in the first half. The Eagles had given up just two passing touchdowns in their last two games against Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger. And Ryan didn’t need to do much after that, as displayed by Michael Turner’s 24 rushing attempts for 54 yards.
Trent Richardson – For the last two weeks Trent Richardson has received a game bust, which is a statue of JaMarcus Russell and Matt Leinart in a hot tub, but that’s neither here nor there. This week Richardson busted out in a good way, totaling 134 yards and a touchdown against a good Chargers run defense. It looks like his rib issue has abated and he has smooth sailing ahead.
Tom Brady – Brady had one of his best games of the season against a Rams pass defense that had, before facing Aaron Rodgers last week, been ranked near the top. Brady picked them apart, throwing for four touchdowns, his most on the season, before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. He’s okay at the football.
Titus Young Sr. – Senior hadn’t shown much this season while splitting time with Nate Burleson and nursing some minor injuries, but lose Burleson and triple cover Calvin Johnson and watch out! Young caught nine of nine targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns and looked good in the process. Besides Calvin Johnson being the best receiver in the game, Young Sr. is another good reason to buy low on Megatron.
LeSean McCoy – He only had 67 total yards, but found the end zone twice. He’s been dragged down this season by the inconsistent team play, but always looks like he’s ready to bust a long run. He’s still one of the best running backs in the league.
Rob Gronkowski – Gronk is back to Gronkin’ with regularity and authority. His two London-style touchdowns raised his career total to 35 touchdowns in his first 40 games while the all time leader through 40, Randy Moss, had 36.
Peyton Manning – Completing 22-0f-30 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints puts Manning at five straight 300+ yard games and four straight three touchdown pass games. Give me a break!
I think we truly can say, like Adrian Peterson coming back from knee-explosion surgery, Manning coming back from degeneration of his cervical spine at the age of 36 and stepping right back into being an elite quarterback is pretty mind blowing.
Julio Jones – Jones has played well this season, but with expectations at an all-time high there wasn’t much chance of him living up to them every game. This week he did. His five receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown might have been what his fantasy owners wanted to call a down game for him, but it was good enough for the third best wide receiver fantasy game this week.
Stevan Ridley – Ridley’s touches have gone down over the last three weeks, but on just 15 rush attempts he ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. Coach Belichick may cause us fantasy owners pain in the running game, but Ridley is fourth overall with 716 rushing yards for a nice 4.8 yards per carry. And after the bye he faces the Swiss cheese run defenses of Buffalo and Indianapolis.
Marshawn Lynch – Lynch finished the day with 105 yards on 12 carries. Most of his yards came on an untouched 77 yard touchdown run, but fantasy players will take every yard.
Jason Witten – Mr. Witten was open and open and open and then he got open again and caught 18-of-22 targets for 167 yards. Those 18 receptions were a record for tight ends, a Cowboys record and third on the all time list. Witten looks like he may be over his spleen thing.
Denarius Moore – On his first reception of the day he took a bubble screen 58 yards and looked as good as any player in the NFL. He went on to jump out of the stadium on a touchdown reception. He’s the real deal.
Demaryius Thomas – Nine targets, seven receptions, 137 yards and a touchdown. He is loving life right now with Peyton Manning behind center. Eric Decker caught two touchdowns, but Thomas is the more explosive play-maker and is third in fantasy points per game and total yards for wide receivers.
Vick Ballard – His overall numbers were good enough for a fantasy flex play, but his game winning twisting rocket shot dive into the pylon is the reason I’m giving him a fake fantasy/real game ball.