Zac Stacy delivered a yards-after-contact clinic on Sunday, breaking off punishing runs like this thing, a 32-yarder that shamed multiple defenders. On that play, three different Titans put helmets on Stacy; none brought him down. Goodness. Next time, maybe try helmets tipped with tranquilizer.
The rookie finished with 178 total yards and two scores against Tennessee, answering all open questions about his ability to thrive as the only significant weapon in a uni-dimensional offense.
Stacy even hauled in six passes for 51 yards on seven targets this week, once again flashing a skill that was rarely apparent in his collegiate career — he caught only 10 passes as a senior at Vanderbilt. The kid is so technically sound, and his combination of balance and power is ... well, it embarrassed the Titans all afternoon.
And in the weeks ahead, Stacy's schedule finally gets friendly. He'll face the Colts in Week 10, then he'll feast on the Bears following St. Louis' bye. When we reach the most important weeks of your fantasy season (15-16), Stacy faces the Saints, then the woeful Bucs. So yeah, I definitely wish I had a few more shares of this particular back. He entered the week ranked among the NFL leaders in yards-after-first-contact (2.8 per attempt), and he no doubt jumped a few spots up the leaderboard on Sunday.
• Nick Foles has started three games for the Eagles so far this season. In his most favorable matchup — at home against Dallas two weeks ago — he went 11-for-29 with 80 passing yards and no scores. In his other two starts, both on the road, he's delivered 702 yards, 10 touchdown passes and no picks, plus a rushing TD.
Foles wasn't merely great on Sunday at Oakland — he was historically great. He completed 22 of 28 throws for 406 yards and an NFL-record-tying seven TDs. SEVEN. Check this box score.
Foles was crazy-accurate, clearly, and he spread his targets evenly among his receivers, shredding Oakland's helpless secondary. When he was pulled in the second-half, he left with more TD passes than incompletions. That's nuts. Notably, Foles connected with Riley Cooper for three scores and 139 yards; Cooper has now topped the 100-yard plateau twice in his career, both times with Foles.
We've now seen Foles play fantastically well and shockingly bad. He's set a new standard for schizophrenic QB performance. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea if his connection with Cooper is a Volek-Bennett phenomenon, or something much better and more sustainable. There's little question that Foles will continue to start for Philly, and his team has plenty of talent at the skill spots. (DeSean Jackson delivered a 5-150-1 line on Sunday. Shady McCoy caught a touchdown, too.) The Eagles travel to Green Bay next week, and Foles is suddenly looking like more than a desperation play.
Naturally, I benched Foles for Terrelle Pryor on Sunday in a 16-teamer. Because I'm an expert. Pryor wasn't awful for fantasy purposes, however — he passed for 288 yards and rushed for 94 before checking out with a knee malfunction (severity not yet known. And Darren McFadden re-re-tweaked his hamstring, so that's a worry).
• Chris Johnson carried the ball 23 times for 150 yards and two TDs against St. Louis, adding three catches for 20. The touchdowns were his first and second rushing scores of the year. If you'd begun to doubt whether CJ could still exploit an opening and burn defenders, just check the highlights. He's not yet cooked. The Titans still have two games remaining against the Colts and another two versus the Jags (including a Week 15 date at Jacksonville), so Johnson has a shot at a useful second-half.
Shonn Greene had a nice day in a supporting role, we should note, finishing with 66 scrimmage yards and one score on his 10 touches. He's clearly back on the radar as well, available in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• Drew Brees battled a respectable Jets defense on Sunday in a losing effort, and the most reliable weapons in his offense were either dinged (Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles) or inactive (Marques Colston). Still, Brees managed to pass for 381 yards and two scores. Not too shabby. Sproles suffered an early concussion in the loss to New York, leaving his availability for next week's stellar Sunday night matchup in doubt (vs. Dal).
Chris Ivory was a terror against his former employer (139 yards, TD), once again surging past Bilal Powell in his team's backfield hierarchy. Ivory carried six times for 11 yards against the Bengals last week. I'm kinda glad the Jets have a bye in Week 10, so we don't have to consider this situation for a while.
• This Adrian Peterson touchdown run is, um ... well, just what the hell is that? How can that be possible? AP was actually lifted off his feet by a would-be tackler, yet still found the end zone.
I have no answers. Peterson finished his day with 177 total yards, yet it wasn't quite enough to topple Dallas. Christian Ponder was as good as anyone had a right to expect, accounting for 265 combined yards and two touchdowns. Cowboys QB Tony Romo had the day we've come to expect from him (337, 2 TDs), while Jason Witten had his most useful day in a month (102, TD). DeMarco Murray carried the ball only four times in a win, which seems absurd.
• CJ Spiller is back, you guys. His familiar live-wire quickness was on display on Sunday, as he gained 116 yards on only a dozen carries against an excellent Kansas City defense. So that was nice to see. The Bills could have dealt the Chiefs their first loss, in fact, if they'd had competent quarterback play. But, alas, they had Jeff Tuel. The game-changing play in Buffalo's loss was a third-quarter pick-six, a terrible throw from Tuel returned by Sean Smith for a 101-yard score. Stevie Johnson was wide open in the back of the end zone, but Tuel was looking elsewhere. Brutal play.
• Somewhere out there, I'm sure there's a first-time fantasy player with Alfred Morris on their roster, just learning what it means to be Shanahan'd.
Hurts, doesn't it?
Believe me, I know. Your leaguemates know, too. We've all been there. This is a fantasy trial that all must endure.
Morris had an effective day against San Diego in Week 9, carrying 25 times for 121 yards and one score. He perhaps could have had a galactically huge fantasy day, were it not for the persistent vulturing of Darrel Young — yup, Darrel Young. The veteran fullback entered the day with two carries on the season, and just 26 in his four-year career. He took five hand-offs on Sunday, gained 12 yards, and crossed the goal line three times. Of course he did.
This is obviously not a case where Shanahan is suddenly featuring some new must-add back. Instead, the Chargers simply wouldn't stop the dive. So it goes.
Keenan Allen posted another big line for San Diego, catching eight balls for 128 yards and one score — and it's not like he had a flawless day, either. He's basically made himself un-benchable.
• Check out the mess we've got in the Carolina backfield, now that Jonathan Stewart is back in the game...
Not pretty. DeAngelo Williams, not Mike Tolbert, probably takes the biggest hit with Stewart back in the mix. Tolbert still gave us nine touches and his usual touchdown on Sunday.
After a solid game against Atlanta (in a decisive win), Cam Newton now has three rushing scores over the past four weeks. No need to fret about the loss of his contributions on the ground. He's cruising at the moment, an every-week play.
• Can't believe I'm writing this but here goes: I'm anxious to watch the Jason Campbell tape from Week 9. He put up yet another big number, passing for 262 yards and three scores against the Ravens, a not-terrible defense coming off a bye. And somehow, Campbell posted those numbers without relying on his offense's two most intimidating weapons; Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron combined for four catches and 48 receiving yards. All the stats went to Greg Little (122 yards) and Davone Bess (2 TDs).
On the Baltimore side, Ray Rice was a notable dud. He carried 11 times for just 17 yards, the fifth time he's finished with less than 40 rushing yards this season. I've got no reassuring words for Rice owners today, except to say your guy faces the Bears in Week 11. No way he can screw that up.
• Tampa Bay nearly destroyed your suicide pool on Sunday, taking Seattle to OT in a hostile environment. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon was an efficient 17-for-23, finishing with 168 yards, two TDs and zero turnovers. Mike James was unexpectedly outstanding, gaining 158 yards on 28(!) carries and passing — yes, passing — for a 2-yard TD. Here's the highlight.
Nevertheless, the Seahawks pulled out an overtime win, just barely. Marshawn Lynch delivered his best rushing total of the year (125), shrugging off a knee issue. He'll feast on Atlanta's defense next week, health permitting.
• If you still get nervous when you see Pittsburgh on the schedule for one of your fantasy assets, have a look at this stat sheet. Tom Brady and the Pats did all kinds of bad things to the Steelers on Sunday, scoring 55 points and gaining 610 total net yards against a once-feared defense. Brady passed for 432 yards, reminding us that he is not, in fact, a bum. Three different New England receivers reached triple-digit yardage (Gronk, Amendola, Dobson), and Stevan Ridley delivered 115 on the ground, with two scores. The Patriots now head to a bye, with reason to believe that they've solved a few problems — and guys, if Dobson is unowned in your league, consider the add. That dude just keeps scoring.
• As of this writing, Case Keenum and Andre Johnson have already connected on a pair of long touchdowns, and the first-half is still underway at Houston. I'm not ready to declare Keenum an all-timer just yet — although Brad is, just for the record. But as an AJ owner, I approve of Keenum's work. Please, kid, more plays like this.
PRIORITY ADDS FOR WEEK 9
QB Nick Foles, Phi (at GB)
QB Ryan Tannehill, Mia (at TB)
QB Mike Glennon, TB (vs. Mia)
RB Joique Bell, Det (at Chi)
RB Rashad Jennings, Oak (at NYG)
RB Mike James, TB (vs. Mia)
RB Jonathan Stewart, Car (at SF)
WR Riley Cooper, Phi (at GB)
WR Lance Moore, NO (vs. Dal)
WR Aaron Dobson, NE (bye)
WR Mike Brown, Jac (at Ten)
WR Jermaine Kearse, Sea (at Atl)
TE Garrett Graham, Hou (at Ari)
TE Tim Wright, TB (vs. Mia)