Sunday Scene, Week 9: Mark Sanchez returns to your fantasy life

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The Philadelphia Eagles left Houston with a 31-21 win, sitting atop the NFC East standings.

And so ends the good news for Philly.

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Sunday's win was a Pyrrhic victory for the Eagles, offset by horrible losses. Defensive leader DeMeco Ryans suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on a fourth-quarter interception, and quarterback Nick Foles couldn't return to action after being driven to the turf on an early sack. We don't yet have official word from the team on Foles' injury, but the early reports suggest a multi-week absence...

So that's terrible.

In relief of Foles, backup QB Mark Sanchez was productive if imperfect. He completed 15-of-22 throws for 202 yards (9.2 Y/A), tossing a pair of TD passes and two picks. Sanchez connected with Jordan Matthews for an early 11-yard touchdown — he lobbed a beautiful ball to the back of the end-zone — and he found Jeremy Maclin for the game's final score.

With Sanchez at the controls, the Eagles basically did what they normally do. They took deep shots, they ran a million plays (well, 79) and they piled up yards (478 total). Let's not assume that Sanchez can't deliver respectable stat-lines in the weeks ahead, in the event of a protracted absence for Foles.

I realize that many of you are hardwired to avoid Sanchez in fantasy (and I get it), but he did not appear over-matched against the Texans. Try to keep an open mind. Sanchez hit a deep strike to Maclin off play-action on his first snap, and generally delivered a decent Foles impersonation. (And really, it's not as if Nick has delivered a season-long quarterback clinic; he entered the day with 12 TD passes and nine interceptions.)

I'll be placing waiver claims on Sanchez this week, which is ... well, it's not where I expected to be at this stage. But I don't yet feel awful about it, either. Sanchez will be directing an offense that ranks top-five in both points per game (29.0) and yards (398.7), and his upcoming schedule isn't murderous. Philly gets Carolina, Green Bay, Tennessee and Dallas over the next four weeks. If you have bye-week or injury issues at QB, keep Sanchez in your plans. He was terrific in the preseason, completing 80.6 percent of his passes, and he impressed on the road in Week 9.

Jeremy Hill exceeded our high expectations (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)
Jeremy Hill exceeded our high expectations (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

Jeremy Hill was a layup fantasy start today, at home facing Jacksonville, and the rookie gave us the monster stat-line we all expected. Hill gave us a brief scare with an early knee malfunction, but he shrugged off the discomfort, returning to deliver 154 rushing yards and a pair of TDs on 24 carries. He scored from short-range, and he scored from distance — he ran away from the Jaguars D on a late 60-yard TD. Clearly the matchup was favorable, but Hill is legit, a big back with every-down ability. Cincinnati has a short week ahead, with a Thursday matchup against Cleveland on deck, so it's entirely possible the Bengals will again be without Giovani Bernard in Week 10. A.J. Green also had a productive Sunday in his return from injury, finishing with 44 receiving yards and one touchdown. Green had a second score wiped out by a penalty on himself, because he lined up like nine yards offside. (OK, maybe not nine. But it wasn't close.)

We should note that Denard Robinson had another productive afternoon, delivering 104 scrimmage yards and one score on 19 touches. Rookie receiver Allen Hurns returned to the end-zone for Jacksonville, giving us a pair of spikes and finishing with 112 yards and seven receptions on nine targets. On both of the scoring plays, Hurns made excellent adjustments on less-than-accurate throws. If for some odd reason you started Blake Bortles in fantasy in Week 9, you can thank Hurns for the non-disastrous day (247-2-1).

Terrance West wasn't particularly efficient on Sunday against the Bucs — 15 carries, 48 yards, receiving TD — but he was quite a bit more productive than Ben Tate (14 touches, 32 total yards). West proved useful in pass-pro, too. All things considered, it was a good day for the Towson rookie. The committee workload appears to be tilting in West's direction. Brian Hoyer certainly wasn't perfect against Tampa (two picks), but he managed to throw for an even 300 yards and two scores in a narrow win. Sorry, Manziealots.

Mike Evans makes yet another house call (AP Photo/David Richard)
Mike Evans makes yet another house call (AP Photo/David Richard)

Gigantic rookie Mike Evans had a huge afternoon for the Bucs, snagging seven balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. He accounted for nearly half of Mike Glennon's passing yards. Vincent Jackson was heavily targeted as well (12), finishing with six catches for 86 yards. V-Jax hasn't been hurting for opportunities, having seen double-digit targets in four of his last five games. He's a decent buy-low at the moment.

Even when the Jets pass defense makes a play (a rarity), things somehow go sideways. If you haven't yet seen Anthony Fasano's absurd batted-pass short-yardage TD catch, hit that link. Just silly. Dwayne Bowe was targeted on the throw, which is small consolation to the few of us who started him. New York's defense has allowed 24 TD passes through nine games, and they're stuck on one interception — one. That's awful. For those who stream at QB, here's the Jets rest-of-season schedule: Pit, bye, at Buf, Mia, at Min, at Ten, NE, at Mia.

Percy Harvin caught 11 passes for Gang Green, accounting for 129 yards via the air and another eight on the ground. So that's nice to see, if you held him post-trade. He's been targeted 22 times in two games for New York.

Miami's defense pretty much owned the Chargers in Week 9, start to finish. The Dolphins made Philip Rivers look like the 2012 version of himself, forcing three interceptions and a fumble, limiting San Diego to just 178 total net yards (138 passing). Rivers also suffered a hand injury of unknown severity, so the bye couldn't arrive at a better time for the Bolts. Ryan Tannehill was the clear fantasy headliner for Miami as he completed throws to 10 different receivers, finishing with 288 passing yards and three scores. Tannehill also punished the Chargers on zone-read, rushing for 47 yards. Fantasy owners should also note the line delivered by tight end Charles Clay (5-65-1), who looks livelier than he did in the early weeks of the season. Clay dealt with a knee injury throughout the preseason, and he's become a fixture on the injury report.

Arian Foster exited his team's loss to Philly with a groin injury, which is terrible news for those of us who hadn't got around to selling high. Some of the initial reports were hopeful...

...while others were kind of terrifying...

So we wait for the MRI, hoping for the best. Alfred Blue remains the handcuff. Houston is headed for a bye, giving all tweaked Texans an opportunity to get right.

Matt Asiata, touchdown hoarder (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Matt Asiata, touchdown hoarder (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Resolved: Whenever a running back averages less than 3.0 yards per carry yet still delivers three touchdowns, we shall say he "Asiata'd." Somehow, Matt Asiata has become the unrivaled master of that uncommon line. He memorably did it last season on a 30-carry, 51-yard performance, and he repeated the feat against Washington on Sunday (10-26-3). As a multi-league Jerick McKinnon owner, I am not [profane] amused, Minnesota.

Cordarrelle Patterson returned to the island of misfit fantasy toys, catching just one pass for nine yards. Teddy Bridgewater went 26-for-42 on the day, though he was 25-for-35 when throwing to anyone other than Patterson. Teddy missed a W-I-D-E open Cordarrelle in the first-half, on a play that should have resulted in an easy score (and where Patterson may have simply lost the ball in the sun. Have a look for yourself. Either way, no fantasy points.)

Branden Weeden was mostly horrendous against Arizona, completing 18 of 33 throws for 183 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Dez Bryant was heavily targeted (10), but rarely found (two receptions). A late score partially saved Dez's fantasy day, but it couldn't save the Cowboys. Carson Palmer tossed three touchdown passes to teammates, plus another to Dallas' defense, finishing with 249 yards. Palmer re-entered the circle of fantasy trust after last week's late 75-yard mega-completion to John Brown; he's thrown multiple TD passes in every game since returning from his shoulder/nerve injury.

Tony Romo has a shot to return next week for the matchup with Jacksonville in Wembley, which seems crazy considering the nature of his injury. (No way would I blog with even one fracture in my back.) But if he plays, it's no doubt a good thing for Bryant, Williams & Co.

Sorry we ever doubted you, Julian Edelman (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Sorry we ever doubted you, Julian Edelman (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The Pats and Broncos managed to combine for 64 points and 870 yards, on a day when many of you were afraid to start the featured skill players because of wintry conditions. My advice is simple with regard to weather: Unless we're talking about a state-of-emergency situation — like, blinding precipitation and/or hurricane winds — start your stars. Tom Brady in particular has been beastly in the past, when playing in conditions far worse than what we just saw in Foxborough. He finished with 333 yards and four TD passes against Denver, while Peyton Manning delivered 438 yards and two scores. Brady and Manning combined for 110 pass attempts, showing no fear of any meteorological phenomena.

Marshawn Lynch had the get-right game that most of us expected, leading Seattle in both rushing and receiving on Sunday. He finished his day with 143 total yards and two TDs on 26 touches, no doubt making a favorable impression on Oakland, his future employer (probably). It's not much of a surprise that Russell Wilson was quiet on an afternoon that saw Lynch blow up, but it's unusual to see him deliver a fantasy dud while attempting 35 throws (179 yards, no TDs). All is not completely well for the Seahawks just yet. Seattle's defense gave away most of a 24-3 halftime lead, allowing the Raiders a whiff of hope in the final minutes. Derek Carr wasn't great — two interceptions, including a pick-six (and nearly another) — but the kid directed a pair of second-half touchdown drives, finding tight end Mychal Rivera for both scores.

This week, Tre Mason again found himself atop the backfield hierarchy for the Rams, carrying 19 times for 65 yards (also catching one pass, for a loss). Zac Stacy was notably absent from the box score. St. Louis pulled out a 13-10 win in Santa Clara, somewhat miraculously, when Colin Kaepernick put the ball on the ground at the goal line in the final seconds. Kaepernick definitely thought he broke the plane — what else is he gonna say? — but the call certainly couldn't be overturned, based on replay. Ugly game, ugly finish. Let's hit the pickups...

EARLY ADDS FOR WEEK 10

QB Alex Smith, KC (at Buf)
QB Mark Sanchez, Phi (vs. Car)
QB Mike Glennon, TB (vs. Atl)
QB Ryan Tannehill, Mia (at Det)
QB Brandon Weeden if you're desperate, Dal (at Jac, in Wembley)
RB Alfred Blue, Hou (bye, then at Cle)
RB Bobby Rainey, TB (vs. Atl)
RB Matt Asiata, Min (bye, then at Chi)
RB Terrance West, Cle (at Cin)
RB Charles Sims, TB (vs. Atl)
WR Dwayne Bowe, KC (at Buf)
WR Allen Hurns, Jac (vs. Dal, in Wembley)
WR Jordan Matthews, Phi (vs. Car)
WR Jarvis Landry, Mia (at Det)
TE Charles Clay, Mia (at Det)
DEF Dallas (at Jac, in Wembley)
DEF Pittsburgh (at NYJ)