Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 10 Power Rankings

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Meet Rooney, my family’s adorable not-quite-puppy-anymore. He’s a three-year-old beagle, a feisty little guy who spent the first few months of his life on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania.


Now let’s get one thing straight. Rooney is the best friend you could ever ask for, a true ride-or-die homie who will always be there to lick your face or chase you around the house when you need a pick-me-up. But in his young adulthood, he’s become quite the player-hater (think Silky Johnson with paws). Rooney and I will always be best pals, but now that he’s a grizzled veteran (if he were in the NBA he’d have Bird Rights), the cookie-loving rascal has no tolerance for neighbor dogs or any other fun-loving pups he may come across in his day-to-day travels.


A couple weeks ago, Rooney was greeted by a run-of-the-mill dog-off-his-leash who hoped to do a little rough-housing with his furry companion. No dice. Rooney big-timed this pooch like he was an intern taking his coffee order. “Double sugar on the hop, you peasant.” Needless to say, it was a supremely disappointing development in Rooney’s season-long character arc.


Which brings me to my point about Troy Aikman, the grouchy beagle of NFL announcers. John Smoltz spent last month lecturing us all about what baseball was like back in his day (dude, you retired nine years ago), but now that his sport is on hiatus, Aikman is back to being sports broadcasting’s resident wet blanket. Sitting beside Joe Buck (who is still seething from Randy Moss’s tasteless display against the Packers over a decade ago), Aikman went into full get-off-my-lawn mode after Michael Thomas commemorated his game-sealing touchdown against the Rams with a throwback to Joe Horn’s famous flip-phone celebration. It was outlandish and probably deserving of the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag that it garnered, but boy was it a welcome change-of-pace for a sport that continually eschews personality to the detriment of its audience.


Unprofessional, selfish, childish—whatever name you reserve for Thomas’ end-zone theatrics, the truth is it didn’t cost New Orleans anything. The game was well in hand when Thomas dusted off a classic while giving the Saints fans in attendance a little extra bang for their buck. This would be a different conversation if that was Thomas’ only catch, but instead it was the cherry on top of a 211-yard tour-de-force. It was also the knockout blow that finally ended L.A.’s perfect season.


I’ll always be a proponent of players having fun, which is why I’m a card-carrying member of Team Bat Flip, Team Helmet Toss or any of the other various sub-groups devoted to athletes showing traces of humanity instead of being soulless robots. Elaborate as it was (Carrot Top would admire his use of props), Thomas is really only guilty of one thing—having fun. When did that become a crime?


Anyway, here is a photo to remind you that despite his recent crankiness and utter disdain for lesser canines, Rooney is, at his beagle core, a very good boy. On that note, here are my Week 10 Power Rankings. Ready for a new No. 1?


1. New Orleans Saints

Record: 7-1

Last Week: 4


Most players will go their whole career without scoring three touchdowns in a game. Alvin Kamara has already done that three times this year including Sunday in the Saints’ win over the previously undefeated Rams. Kamara seems to have distanced himself from backfield accomplice Mark Ingram, out-touching the veteran 62-40 since the Week 6 bye. After a surprisingly long hiatus, Dez Bryant has finally resumed gainful employment after beating out Kamar Aiken and Brandon Marshall in his New Orleans tryout. Congratulations to Ben Watson, who announced his wife’s pregnancy with this touchdown celebration.


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2. Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 8-1

Last Week: 2


Kareem Hunt gave Cleveland the business in Week 9, throttling the Browns for 141 yards and three touchdowns as the Chiefs won a laugher, 37-21. Remarkably, Hunt has more touchdowns in his last seven games (12) than he did all of last year (11). Patrick Mahomes bested Baker Mayfield in a showdown of Big 12 gunslingers, setting a career-high in passing yards for the third time in four weeks. The Cardinals are next up on the schedule for KC but you can bet the Chiefs are already looking ahead to their Week 11 clash with the Rams in Mexico City.


3. Los Angeles Rams

Record: 8-1

Last Week: 1


The Saints handed L.A. its first loss of 2018, foiling the Rams on the strength of four Drew Brees touchdown passes. Marcus Peters had nowhere to hide in Week 9, getting massacred by flip-phone connoisseur Michael Thomas (11-211-2). Among corners, only Tennessee’s Malcolm Butler has yielded more touchdowns (seven) than Peters (six) this season. It wasn’t all bad for the Rams as Cooper Kupp looked sharp in his return from a knee injury (5-89-1) while Jared Goff won Halloween with his pitch-perfect B-Rad costume from Malibu’s Most Wanted.


4. New England Patriots

Record: 7-2

Last Week: 3


Tom Brady’s much-anticipated showdown with Aaron Rodgers didn’t live up to the hype, though Sunday served as a great showcase for Josh Gordon, who bled the Packers for 130 yards, his most in a game since Week 14 of 2013. Jack-of-all-trades Cordarrelle Patterson filled in admirably for an injured Sony Michel (knee) in Week 9, handling 11 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 31-17 victory. ESPN rewarded the sixth-year chameleon by gifting him running back eligibility in fantasy leagues. Former Kent State QB Julian Edelman completed his first regular season pass in Week 9, hooking up with James White for a 37-yard pickup.


5. Los Angeles Chargers

Record: 6-2

Last Week: 5


Melvin Gordon wasted no time in his return from a hamstring injury, getting down to brass tacks with 123 yards (113 of the rushing variety) and a touchdown against the Seahawks in Week 9. The Caleb Sturgis Era in Los Angeles ended Monday when the Bolts sent him packing in favor of practice squadder Mike Badgley. It was probably for the best—Sturgis has been a disaster this year, converting just 9-of-13 field goals while shanking six of his 15 extra points. Is Hunter Henry (ACL) angling for a late-season return? It sure seems like it.  


6. Carolina Panthers

Record: 6-2

Last Week: 6


Christian McCaffrey had a feeding frenzy in Week 9, busting up the Bucs for 157 yards (79 rushing, 78 receiving) and two touchdowns. Four of C-Mac’s five end-zone visits this year have come in his last two outings. Greg Olsen was also on the prowl, roasting Tampa Bay for a season-high 76 yards on six catches while extending his touchdown streak to three games. James Bradberry owned Mike Evans on Sunday, limiting the Pro Bowler to a season-low 16 yards as Carolina captured its third straight victory. 


7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 5-2-1

Last Week: 7


Antonio Brown left a few bullets in the chamber against Baltimore, but he still gave fantasy owners their money’s worth by supplying his weekly touchdown in a 23-16 Steelers victory. That gives AB nine touchdowns for the year, the same number he had all of last season. Breakout star/elaborate mullet-haver James Conner continues to move mountains, compiling an absurd 689 yards from scrimmage with seven touchdowns throughout Pittsburgh’s four-game winning streak. Ben Roethlisberger’s left-footed punt on Sunday was the sixth of his career.


8. Minnesota Vikings

Record: 5-3-1

Last Week: 9


The Vikings went psycho against the Lions, thrashing Matthew Stafford (10 sacks) in a savage Week 9 beat-down. Dalvin Cook was expected to be on a tight snap count in his return from a hamstring injury but instead the second-year Florida State alum rolled to 109 yards (89 rushing, 20 receiving) while reasserting himself as the Vikes’ lead back. Adam Thielen's run of 100-yard receiving games came to an end but his touchdown streak continued Sunday with his sixth end-zone visit in as many games. Stefon Diggs (ribs) couldn’t go against Detroit, but he’ll have the bye week to get healthy.


9. Chicago Bears

Record: 5-3

Last Week: 11


Even with Khalil Mack sitting for the second week in a row, the Bears had little trouble dismantling the Bills in Week 9, rolling to win No. 5 of the Matt Nagy Era on the strength of a two-touchdown effort from Jordan Howard. The 24-year-old has been a top-notch vulture recently, poaching four touchdowns in a three-game span. We’re still waiting for Anthony Miller to crack the fantasy radar, though the rookie’s workload appears to be on the rise. He’s seen a team-leading 20 targets over his last three contests.


10. Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 4-4

Last Week: 10


After taking a much-needed siesta in Week 9, it’s back to business for the Eagles, who return for a Sunday night battle royale with Dallas. Understandably, Philadelphia is chomping at the bit to show off its shiny new toy, slot behemoth Golden Tate, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal with Detroit. Sunday will also feature the return of Swiss-army knife Darren Sproles, who hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in the Birds’ season opener.


11. Houston Texans

Record: 6-3

Last Week: 13


The Texans’ Jekyll and Hyde backfield took another interesting turn in Week 9 as Alfred Blue one-upped Lamar Miller, winning the touch battle by a thin 15-14 margin. Deshaun Watson has kept the scrambling to a minimum since injuring his chest last month, but he made an exception to that policy on Sunday, cruising to 38 rushing yards in a win over Denver. Hey Demaryius, the shade police are here. They’d like a word.


12. Washington Redskins

Record: 5-3

Last Week: 8


Atlanta pasted the Redskins in Week 9, halting Washington’s winning streak at three. The injuries are piling up in D.C. with deep threat Paul Richardson (shoulder) and Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff (pectoral) each headed for season-ending surgery. It may be time for fantasy owners to get acquainted with Maurice Harris. The 25-year-old Cal-Berkeley product went ballistic in Sunday’s loss, flaming the Falcons for 124 yards on 10 catches. Both were career-highs. Josh Doctson’s touchdown grab Sunday was his first since Week 16 of last year.


13. Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 5-3

Last Week: 15


Bye weeks are usually uneventful but that wasn’t the case for Cincinnati as the Bengals learned that A.J. Green will miss at least two games with a toe injury, though fortunately he won’t require surgery. Tyler Boyd could flirt with WR1 status throughout his absence. In a more positive development, Giovani Bernard appears to be on the mend after resuming practice earlier this week. The sixth-year back out of UNC hasn’t suited up since injuring his knee in Week 4.


14. Baltimore Ravens

Record: 4-5

Last Week: 12


It’s been Struggle City for the Ravens, who couldn’t find the antidote in a disheartening loss to division-rival Pittsburgh in Week 9. With John Harbaugh quickly running out of rope, now would be as good a time as any for Baltimore to switch out listless starter Joe Flacco for exciting rookie Lamar Jackson, though the Ravens still seem reluctant to make that change. Alex Collins has been racking up touchdowns (four in his last four games) but not much yardage. The third-year pile-pusher hasn’t cleared 60 yards rushing since Week 3.


15. Atlanta Falcons

Record: 4-4

Last Week: 17


Julio Jones got an enormous monkey off his back in Week 9, registering his first touchdown of 2018 in a win over Washington. He went 343 days—a span of 12 regular season games—between end-zone visits. Tevin Coleman jogged all over the Redskins, supplying 156 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in Atlanta’s 38-14 victory. That extended Tev’s scoring streak to three games. Meanwhile Calvin Ridley leads all rookies with seven touchdown receptions and is second in receiving yards (463) behind only Saquon Barkley (497).


16. Green Bay Packers

Record: 3-4-1

Last Week: 14


The Packers no-showed in Foxboro, crumbling at the feet of Tom Brady in a Week 9 trouncing. With Davante Adams drawing shadow coverage from Stephon Gilmore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (who only has the second-craziest name in Green Bay’s receiving corps) lit it up with 101 yards on three catches, topping the 100-yard threshold for the second time in three games. We’ll be seeing a lot more of him with Geronimo Allison (core surgery) out for the year. Aaron Jones logged a season-high 14 carries against the Patriots but ruined the Packers’ comeback bid by coughing up a fourth-quarter fumble.


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco

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