Yet another Hali-Houston celebration. Not a rare sight (USAT Images)
Entering the week, the Kansas City Chiefs ranked first in the NFL in scoring defense, fourth against the pass, and first in sacks. Exiting the week, this defense will actually look much better.
Kansas City held Oakland to just seven points and 239 total yards on Sunday, piling up 10 sacks while intercepting Terrell Pryor three times, returning this pick for a 44-yard score. KC's defense now has a ridiculous 31 sacks through six games; Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have combined for 17.
If you snagged this D/ST off the wire early in the year ... well, congrats. You won't bench 'em anytime soon. The Chiefs faces the Houston pick-six machine next week, then Cleveland, then Buffalo. There's a decent chance this team will head into its bye undefeated, with two full weeks to prep for Denver. As of this writing, the Broncos and Chiefs rank first and second in the league in point differential, having taken different paths to dominance.
So yeah, the AFC West is looking like the roughest division in football. Just like we all knew it would be.
Jamaal Charles had his usual massive fantasy day, leading KC in both rushing and receiving while breaking the plane twice. Charles has now gained 100-plus scrimmage yards and found the end zone at least once in every game this season. He's on pace for 2067 total yards. Alex Smith's checkdown-ishness may not be a desirable real-life trait, but it's a boost to Charles, fantasy-wise. The lone concern with Jamaal entering the season was his usage near the goal line, but that's clearly no longer a worry — just check the distances on his TDs. Achievement unlocked. Much appreciated, Coach Reid.
• Green Bay earned a narrow win at Baltimore on Sunday, but it's looking like a pyrrhic victory. The team lost both James Jones and Randall Cobb to leg injuries of as-yet-unknown severity. (Cobb's knee issue appeared scarier; he was carted to the locker room.) Aaron Rodgers tried to turn Jarrett Boykin into a useful receiver, but that did not go well (six targets, one catch, multiple drops). Eddie Lacy was a beast for the Pack, carrying 23 times for 120 yards. If we held a re-do draft today, he'd be a top-12 back for me. That kid will almost never see a stacked front, not with Rodgers behind center.
• This was supposed to be a get-well week for the Houston Texans. Instead, things got much worse. Way worse. Exponentially worse. Houston gave up 38 points to the Rams, a team that entered the week averaging just 20.6. Sam Bradford tossed three touchdown passes on just 16 attempts. The Texans' offense managed to score just 13 points on 420 net yards, which ain't easy. A significant number of Houston fans cheered when Matt Schaub suffered an ankle injury, a line-crossing display that rightly disturbed players on both sides. TJ Yates was lousy in Schaub's absence (98 yards, 2 INTs), which of course is no surprise.
You know things have taken a bad turn when Vince Young offers up his services...
Let them know VY is in shape and ready to go! I always loved my birth place and everyone who lives in it IM READY
— Vince Young (@VinceYoung) October 13, 2013
...and the idea doesn't seem so crazy. Let's hope Schaub's injury isn't too serious.
• Detroit's Joseph Fauria saw three targets against Cleveland, caught 'em all, and scored three touchdowns. Not such a bad day for the 6-foot-7 tight end. Fauria has hauled in just seven balls this season, but five have resulted in TDs. The key to his success is no great mystery, and it's not really about scheme...
How has Fauria been so successful for you? Schwartz: "He's tall as hell" — Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 13, 2013
Calvin Johnson had a relatively quiet day for the Lions (3-25-0), but he was targeted plenty (8). Calvin creates uncommon stresses for opposing defenses, obviously. It was a huge win for Detroit to simply have him in uniform.
Browns QB Brandon Weeden threw a pair of picks to DeAndre Levy on Sunday, the second of which was unimaginably bad. Weapons-grade bad. Just look at this thing. You wouldn't see that throw from a punter after a botched snap. Incredible. Comedy gold, old man.
Darren Sproles, not totally enjoying his hug (Getty)
• When Bill Belichick is cracking jokes after a game — "sorry we had to re-write some of those stories at the end" — then you know his team just won a thriller. The Pats and Saints certainly didn't disappoint the fantasy community on Sunday, combining for 57 points and 737 total yards. Tom Brady was so good on New England's final series that I'm not even gonna make jokes about that postgame sweater. He directed an eight-play drive in the final minute, capped by a 17-yard TD strike to Kenbrell Thompkins. Without that late sequence, Brady's stat line would have been miserable (199-0-1), raising all sorts of difficult questions. The man could really use some Gronk in Week 7 against the Jets. Danny Amendola suffered a new injury in Sunday's win, likely a concussion; he's no lock to be active next week.
Stevan Ridley made a notable return to fantasy relevance against New Orleans, rushing 20 times for 96 yards and a pair of scores. Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount were mere supporting players, finishing with seven touches apiece.
The Saints really outdid themselves in terms of distributing stats to lightly owned players, as Travaris Cadet, Khiry Robinson and Kenny Stills accounted for this week's TDs. Stills led the team in receiving, with 64 yards on three catches (and a subtle, un-flagged push-off on the scoring play). Robinson ran like a fiend, as he usually does, gaining 53 yards on seven carries. Jimmy Graham was shut out on six targets, which may never happen again. (Hat tip, Talib.) Graham also tweaked an ankle, but a Week 7 bye offers recovery time.
• At this point, perhaps we have to consider DeSean Jackson recession-proof. He faced a rough matchup at Tampa, with Nick Foles at the controls of Philly's offense, and he still feasted. D-Jax talked, then backed it up, convincingly. Foles was terrific for the Eagles, too, completing 22 of 31 throws for 296 yards and three scores, plus another TD on the ground.
Tampa QB Mike Glennon wasn't a disaster, either, we should note. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Vincent Jackson, on his way to a 273-yard performance. Philadelphia's D isn't really the stiffest test, true, but any positive data on Glennon should be encouraging to those who've invested in the Bucs offense.
• Last week, the Bengals defense held Tom Brady to 197 passing yards and no TDs. This week, they allowed Thad Lewis to pass for 216 yards and three scores (two pass, one rush). Because the NFL makes zero sense. Cincinnati escaped with an OT win, but Lewis was a fun watch. He exits Week 6 in a walking boot, but the early reports aren't too troubling.
Andy Dalton passed for 337 yards and three scores for Cincinnati, connecting six times with Giovani Bernard for 72 yards and this obscene second-quarter score. Bernard is giving us at least one wow-play per week, despite sharing backfield responsibilities. He is not to be benched next week at Detroit.
• Cam Newton's numbers weren't anything special a week ago, but the game tape really wasn't so bad. Drops were a big part of the story for the Panthers. This week, Cam gave us the stats we generally expect from an early-round quarterback, facing a user-friendly defense. He went 20-for-26 with 242 yards, connecting on TD passes with Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and the irrepressible Mike Tolbert. (The Kool-Aid Man added a 1-yard rushing score.) Newton also carried nine times for 30 yards and a third-quarter TD. He remains inside the circle of fantasy trust.
Matt Cassel, on the other hand, is standing well outside the circle. He was picked twice by the Panthers and averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt. The one-win Vikes face the winless Giants next Monday night, and it's tough to believe we won't see Josh Freeman in the mix. That may not be a great thing, obviously, but at least it would be a different variety of bad.
Knowshon Moreno, post-TD (USAT Images)
• Knowshon Moreno was probably Mr. Irrelevant in a substantial number of fantasy drafts this season. Seven touchdowns later, he's looking like an upper-tier fantasy back. Moreno broke the plane three times against the Jaguars on Sunday, in a mostly sloppy game that didn't quite deliver the garbage-time goodness we were all chasing. Knowshon isn't necessarily the game's most exciting runner — or even its 30th most exciting runner — but, right now, he's the one Broncos back who can hold onto the football. No one's threatening him. Ronnie Hillman fumbled once on Sunday, and Montee Ball had a pair of brutal drops.
Chad Henne put up 303 empty passing yards for Jacksonville (no TDs, 2 INTs), Justin Blackmon had a huge yardage day (190) without a score, and Cecil Shorts suffered a shoulder injury. Maurice Jones-Drew delivered a perfectly respectable 71 rushing yards, plus a score. The Jags will have an easier time taking MJD to the trade market than fantasy owners will, I'm afraid. But you're welcome to try.
• Vernon Davis caught eight balls for 180 yards and two scores on Sunday, taking full advantage of an Arizona D that's been punished by tight ends all season. Colin Kaepernick was unusually reliant on Davis in Week 6, completing just eight throws for 72 yards to his other receivers.
Larry Fitzgerald was a question mark entering the day, but he starred for the Cards in a losing effort (6-117-1). Unfortunately, Fitz also tweaked his previously un-tweaked hamstring, and his team has a Thursday date with Seattle. He's hardly a lock to play in Week 7. Andre Ellington continued to outproduce Rashard Mendenhall, you'll note, as he gained another 92 yards on 12 touches and made a second-quarter house call.
• Marshawn Lynch steamrolled the Titans, gaining 155 yards and scoring twice on 25 touches. But you already knew he was a Balrog with the ball in his hands. Here's the Seattle rushing stat I'd like you to notice: Russell Wilson had 10 carries for 61 yards against Tennessee, the fourth time in his last five games that he's had double-digit rush attempts. Wilson doesn't have a rushing touchdown yet this year, but he's now up to 50 carries and 294 yards. The TDs are clearly coming.
• DeMarco Murray was off to a solid start on SNF (50 yards, TD), but he checked out with a left knee sprain. I'm willing to donate any two of my knee ligaments and up to 75 percent of my meniscuses, if they would help. Just let me know, Dallas trainers. If DeMarco's injury becomes a multi-week issue, another Cowboys rookie gets interesting...
PRIORITY PICK-UPS FOR WEEK 7
RB Joseph Randle, Dal (at Phi), 1 percent
RB Brandon Jacobs, NYG (vs. Min), 24 percent owned
RB Zac Stacy, STL (at Car), 38 percent
RB Andre Ellington, Ari (vs. Sea), 35 percent
RB Mike Tolbert, Car (vs. STL), 5 percent
WR Rueben Randle, NYG (vs. Min), 51 percent
WR Terrance Williams, Dal (at Phi), 43 percent
WR Emmanuel Sanders, Pit (vs. Bal), 50 percent
WR Brandon LaFell, Car (vs. STL), 11 percent
WR Andre Roberts, Ari (vs. Sea), 11 percent
WR Austin Collie, NE (at NYJ), 3 percent
WR Kris Durham, Det (vs. Cin), 1 percent
QB Chad Henne, Jac (vs. SD), 4 percent
QB Nick Foles, Phi (vs. Dal), 12 percent
QB Josh Freeman, Min (at NYG), 10 percent
TE Jordan Reed, Was (vs. Chi), 9 percent
TE Joseph Fauria, Det (vs. Cin), 2 percent
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