1. Tavon Austin
First things first, let’s not get carried away. Austin drew all of three targets in the passing game Sunday. Nevertheless, he turned them into two catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns — two scintillating touchdowns — and flashed the kind of play-making ability he showed on the reg at West Virginia. When you add in his 98-yard punt-return touchdown, total return yardage and four-yard rush, you get 314 all-purpose yards from the No. 8 overall pick of the draft. Not by any stretch does it mean Austin can suddenly be trusted as a WR3, but if you’ve got an open roster spot, you might as well add a guy coming off one of the best individual efforts by any player in the NFL this season.
2. Jarrett Boykin
Many wrote Boykin off after his one-catch, 15-yard Week 9, including this author. The fill-in jig was supposed to be up with Seneca Wallace under center. No one said anything about Scott Tolzien, however. Working primarily with Tolzien on Sunday, Boykin not only bounced back for eight catches and a career-high 113 yards, he led the Pack with 13 targets. That kind of success should never be expected for a No. 3 wideout playing with his No. 3 quarterback, but Boykin merits re-adding as a WR4 fill-in if he was tossed back to your league’s waiver wire following Monday’s dispiriting loss.
3. Andre Brown
Brown entered Week 10 on a “snap count.” He exited it with 31 touches, a new career high in rushing yards and a firm grip on the Giants’ No. 1 job. What Brown lacks in special qualities, he makes up for it with hard-boiled competence. He’s a vast improvement on damaged goods Brandon Jacobs, and rusted-out truck Peyton Hillis. Brown will be more of a FLEX option than RB2, but he’s a pair of fresh legs both fantasy owners and the Giants should be able to rely on down the stretch.
1. C.J. Spiller, why must you do this to me?
2. So, uhh, Colts, what the hell?
3. Dallas, you are aware that game was being televised, right?
Stats of the Week
The Saints’ 40 first downs Sunday night? Yeah, they were the most in NFL history.
The 626 yards the Saints gained Sunday night? Yeah, they were the most the Cowboys have given up in franchise history.
Tony Romo’s 128 passing yards were his fewest in a non-injury shortened game since Week 2, 2009.
Eli Manning’s pick six was the 17th of his career. That’s … a lot.
With 56.3 percent of the season in the books, Peyton Manning remains on pace to rewrite the record book with 5,776 yards passing and 59 touchdowns. That would be 1,117 more yards and 22 more touchdowns than he threw for in 2012.
Alfred Morris’ 91.7 rushing yards per game are the second most in the league, but by all means, keep bringing up Roy Helu and Darrel Young.
Morris and Terrelle Pryor are the only two players in the league with at least eight rushes of 20-plus yards.
Andre Johnson is on pace for his fourth 1,500-yard season.
Case Keenum and Nick Foles are the combined owners of a 23:0 TD:INT ratio. That one probably would have sounded weird in August.
Keenum has just two fewer passing touchdowns than both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.
The Sure, Ok, Why Not Award: Mark Ingram carrying the ball 14 times for 145 yards against the Cowboys. Sure, ok. Why not. Why shouldn’t Mark Ingram have had the first 100-yard game of his career completely out of nowhere in a nationally-televised game in the middle of the season. Makes sense when you think about it (it doesn’t make sense when you think about it).
The Well This Further Complicates Things Award: Jake Locker suffering yet another significant injury. In theory, it makes things easier for the Titans: He can’t be trusted as a franchise quarterback. In practice, however, there are few thornier issues than deciding when to throw in the towel on a first-round quarterback. Tennessee’s decision will be a tough, and fascinating, one.
The Ryan Mathews’ Career In A Nutshell Award: Ryan Mathews tied his career-long run of 39 yards (!) on Sunday. Only he didn’t. It was called back by penalty. Said run could have also been longer, but Mathews stumbled and fell down. He hurt himself in the process. Ryan Mathews’ career in a nutshell.
Week 10 Fantasy All Pro Team: QB Drew Brees, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Mark Ingram, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Tavon Austin, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Julius Thomas, TE John Carlson
Sell High: RB Andre Brown — Brown is going to be a fantasy asset for the season’s stretch run. But he’s going to be a mid-range FLEX option, not the RB2 he produced as on Sunday. If Brown was the No. 3 running back you’ve been waiting for, by all means, keep him. But if he’s someone you picked up off the waiver wire as your No. 5 running back, trade him to someone searching for a savior. WR Tavon Austin — Austin certainly earned himself more snaps and targets in Sunday’s win, but as we outlined above, it’s not like he can suddenly be counted on as a WR3. If you’ve held onto him for all this time, see if you can turn him into someone you might be more compelled to use on a weekly basis.
Buy Low: QB Andrew Luck — One of fantasy land’s favorite players to panic over, owners will presumably spend the week fretting about Luck’s lack of weapons and his poor performance against a bad team. Take advantage of them by acquiring an every-week QB1. WR Cecil Shorts — Some owners will see Shorts’ two catches for 42 yards in Sunday’s win and think it’s the new world order in Jacksonville’s post-Justin Blackmon offense. That couldn’t be further from the truth for the No. 1 receiver on a team that’s still going to be playing from behind for a vast majority of the stretch run. Shorts’ numbers will be there.
Most Absurd Moment(s) Of Week 10 Award: Nick Foles getting not one, but two deep-ball touchdowns on passes that should have been picked off in double coverage.
Least Valuable Player, Non-Trent Richardson Division: Rashard Mendenhall, whose No. 1 contribution in his return from a toe injury was a fumble deep in Cardinals territory.
Well played, Rob Ryan, well played.