Each week we are going to give a player from each division a “Player of the Week” honor. In an attempt to not cram the same info down your throat that you might find elsewhere, we are going to try to focus on players that weren’t draft day all-stars. In some cases they won’t even be rostered in redraft leagues, but guys that are worth stashing in dynasty leagues. We are going to focus on guys that have yielded the greatest return on your investment. You don’t need to be told Peyton Manning had a great day. He was drafted in such a spot that it was expected. Same with LeSean McCoy and Calvin Johnson. That’s not to say that we won’t honor a truly elite performance, especially from rookies.
As part of a group collaboration, members of the DLF Staff have chosen to represent a division and will be selecting which players will be getting the “gold star” for the week. As an added bonus, I will also include the most impressive IDP performances of the week for each division, because defensive players need love too!
Here is who is will be nominating players for each division:
- AFC West- Scott Peak @Scott_Peak
- AFC East- Jeff Beran @JefeBeran
- AFC North- Eric Olinger @OlingerIDP
- AFC South- Tim Stafford @DynastyTim
- NFC West- The FF Ghost @TheFFGhost
- NFC East- Karl Safchick @KarlSafchick
- NFC North- Dan Meylor @DMeylor22
- NFC South- Eric Hardter @EDH_27
C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball, RB DEN
This will be a follow-up to last week’s article in the Divisional Debriefing. As expected, Broncos head coach John Fox sent Ronnie Hillman to the doghouse. Hillman was inactive for the game against the Washington Redskins, in response to his untimely fumble that may have cost the Broncos a win against the Indianapolis Colts. Ball owners had to be elated when he scored his first touchdown of the season against the Redskins. Ball finished the day with 11 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Anderson also showed potential with four carries for 22 yards, a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. Ball played 30 snaps, compared to just one snap in week 7. Interestingly, Knowshon Moreno played 38 snaps, the fewest for him since week 4. As we discussed last week, Moreno has had a tough time staying healthy, and hasn’t played a full season since 2009. The Broncos reportedly want to reduce Moreno’s workload, and that came to fruition week 8. Ball is the most likely beneficiary, with Anderson third in the pecking order. Anderson looked good in limited action, so be sure to grab him if he is on waivers in all dynasty formats. It might also be a good time to send out offers for Ball, as his owners might still be frustrated with his performance this year, if the price is right. If Moreno gets hurt Ball and Anderson would gain significant value.
IDP- Sio Moore, LB OAK
Moore was one of my favorite pre-season rookie linebackers. His versatility at all three linebacker spots give him plenty of opportunity to get on the field. Unfortunately it hasn’t paid dividends yet but you see plenty of flashes when he gets his chances. Sunday he registered six tackles and two sacks. The six tackles doubled his season total but he has sacks in back to back games. Moore is going to be a key IDP asset down the road but only played in 49% of defensive snaps. If you have room you need to stash him.
David Nelson, WR NYJ
The Jets signed wide receiver David Nelson off the street in week five after Santonio Holmes went down with yet another injury. In his first couple of appearances with the team, Nelson didn’t produce much (three receptions, 20 yards total) but in his last two games against the Patriots and Bengals he has posted stat lines of 4/80 and 8/80, respectively. More importantly, he seems to have established a nice rapport with rookie quarterback Geno Smith who has targeted Nelson a whopping 19 times in the past two weeks. With the number of injuries to NFL wide receivers piling up by the week, Nelson should be rostered in all but the most minimal roster size leagues. He doesn’t possess very much long-term value despite the fact that he’s only 26 years old so consider him a “depth guy” who can help you through bye weeks and short term injuries for now. If the targets and receptions continue at the current pace, he may move quickly into sell-high territory as there was a pretty good reason why he was unemployed when the Jets picked him up.
IDP- Chris Jones, DT NEP
The “other C. Jones” in New England’s box score, Chris Jones has been on fire the last two weeks… minus his back breaking penalty against the Jets to give them another try at the game winning field goal. Over the last two games he has totals 17 tackles and three sacks. He’s a must add in leagues requiring defensive tackles. Don’t let the acquisition of Isaac Sapoaga worry you. He stinks.
Marvin Jones, WR CIN
While not completely out of the blue, this was very unexpected. Jones entered Sunday’s game having scored in each of the two previous games and three of the last five. The interesting part of this was he only played in 40% of the team’s offensive snaps and was targeted just eight times on the day, but he finished eight receptions for 122 yards and four touchdowns…four!!! The Bengals are desperate for anyone to step up across from A.J. Green and free up their juggernaut. Jones could be the guy and is without a doubt a dynasty hold. The first thing I would do is dangle him out to see if someone will give you more than he’s worth on a knee jerk reaction. He could be a viable NFL receiver but I have a hard time believing he will ever approach Sunday’s stat line again.
Editor’s note: Check out the Mythbusters article in our Premium Content for more on Jones today.
IDP- T.J. Ward, S CLE
Something has finally clicked in T.J. Ward. After having a great rookie year, Ward has battled injuries and inconsistency. He is tailor fit for Ray Horton’s scheme and it appears he is finally comfortable. Over the last three weeks he has registered 11 tackles, 11 tackles, and 10 tackles plus a sack. Those are legitimate DB1 numbers regardless of scoring rules. I think it’s time to start believing in Ward again.
Cecil Shorts, WR JAX
On a week where three of the four AFC South teams were on bye, the Jaguars were destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers and making it difficult to find any silver lining. The best fantasy player in the ugly helmet continues to be Cecil Shorts. In PPR leagues, he’s a good WR2 but a great WR3. Since the Jags get off the bus in catch up mode Shorts collects a ton of short to intermediate catches. Garbage time is a fantasy owner’s best friend sometimes.
IDP- Daryl Sharpton, LB HOU
I know, the Texans didn’t even play this week, so how could he have had the best week? Simple – he was officially named the player to replace Brian Cushing in the middle of Houston’s defense. He has immediate LB2 appeal in tackle heavy leagues, but don’t expect Cushing level production.
Golden Tate, WR SEA
I was totally going to go with Andre Ellington in this spot until Monday night rolled around. Tate blasted the Rams for 93 yards on five receptions and gathered up two touchdowns in a 14-9 win over the Rams. Tate stepped up beautifully to help his team when Rice went out and the running game wasn’t able to get anything started. Tate’s big play came from an 80 yard reception where he fought off the defender and went the length of the field to score a touchdown. The only downside of his night came on a boneheaded taunting penalty which was completely unnecessary. Otherwise, Tate likely scored owners a win who were brave enough (or desperate enough) to start him. Going forward Tate will be a nice flex play, but the return of Percy Harvin will limit his value and long term upside.
IDP- Chris Long, DE STL
After a painfully slow start to the season, Chris Long busted out in a real big way on Monday Night Football. He and teammate Robert Quinn both registered three sacks each. Long is up to 21 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the season. Games like this is a reminder why he is considered a top 12 defensive end in dynasty leagues.
Peyton Hillis, RB NYG
Hillis is quickly becoming the feature back for the New York Giants. David Wilson is struggling to stay healthy and may not see the field again this year. Hillis doesn’t have much dynasty value, but he is definitely worth a roster spot to a team that is contending this year. Fellow running back Andre Brown will be back with the team soon, but he is not the definition of health either. At this point, Hillis is the safe play in a bad backfield. If you have running backs on bye weeks coming up, take a look in Hillis’ direction. His stat line of 20 carries, 70 yards rushing, three receptions, five targets and 15 yards receiving should be repeatable. He historically has a nose for the end zone, so he may even surpass this week’s fantasy point total.
IDP- Barry Church, S DAL
Church is very quietly having a heck of an IDP season. The Cowboys are the first team to give up four 400 yard passing games in league history, but that doesn’t matter for fantasy purposes. It just means the defense will be on the field longer for more opportunities. Church collected seven solo tackles, two assists and a tackle for loss. He also got a hit on the quarterback, but was not able to get the sack. He has at least seven tackles in six of eight games this year and three forced fumbles. He’s definitely worked his way into DB1 consideration.
Eddie Lacy, RB GB
Choosing Lacy is less about a “Player of the Week” honor and more about honoring a workhorse who has become a weekly RB1. Don’t get me wrong, his 29 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings in week eight were impressive, but when you look at his overall production since returning from a concussion in week four, it’s easy to realize how imposing Lacy has become. Over the last four games, no running back has more carries than him (97) and he hasn’t had less than 97 total yards from scrimmage in any game. Added to that, he’s staying on the field on third down, has nine catches over the last two games and is proving to be a good goal line back. The Packers rookie tailback is one of the up-and-coming NFL stars and dynasty owners will be happy to have him for years to come.
IDP- Khaseem Greene, LB CHI
Similar to the AFC South, there really wasn’t anything worth noting in the NFC North this week so we’ll award it to Greene who was named the starter for the injured Lance Briggs. The Bears will give us at least a five week preview of their linebacking group of the future with him and Jon Bostic. Briggs has been a key IDP asset this season so Greene has the potential to put up some solid numbers if he doesn’t have to come off the field on passing downs.
Tim Wright, TE TB
A week seven drubbing by the Carolina Panthers once again afforded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an opportunity for supreme garbage time production, and tight end Tim Wright didn’t disappoint. Down 25 points with barely three minutes left, Wright corralled a 10-yard pass from quarterback Mike Glennon and struck pay dirt for the first time this season. While this score went down as a futile gesture by a team likely quitting on its coach, it also capped an impressive four-week run by the rookie.
Excluding a week seven clunker, Wright’s past four weeks have put him squarely on the TE2 radar, including respectable lines of 5-41-0, 7-91-0 and 5-48-1 – that averages out to 13.7 PPR points per game and it’s not a mirage. Since his insertion into the starting lineup in a week four tilt with Arizona, Wright has received 6.5 weekly targets and that number figures to increase with the recent losses of running back Doug Martin and receiver Mike Williams. While it’s always tough to trust rookie tight ends, Wright should continue to get better and function as a solid backup or bye week starter.
IDP- David Hawthorne, LB NO
The forgotten linebacker in the Big Easy, Hawthorne is returning to IDP relevancy. This week he had eight tackles, all solo and a sack – that’s 20 tackles and three sacks over the last three weeks. During the bye week crunches, Hawthorne is going to find his way into a lot of lineups.
Eric is on Twitter @OlingerIDP.