There have been two incredibly gutsy performances that stick out in my mind this year. No matter who you are, what team you root for, or how you feel about these particular players – you just can’t help but smile.
Torrey Smith’s Sunday Night game against the Patriots, just hours after his brother’s death, showed more heart than I’d ever seen on a football field. Playing like that for a brother who had left this Earth just hours prior to kickoff was nothing short of amazing. Smith showed that football players are tough between the ears. They have the ability to focus in ways that others cannot. And that’s part of why they get paid the big bucks.
From a physical standpoint, Danny Amendola’s game against San Francisco this past weekend was also breathtaking. Amendola, just weeks after breaking his collarbone, was hit hard multiple times against one of the most brutal defenses in the NFL. And each time, he got back up and ran back to the huddle. How? Why? Because he’s a football player.
These two performances were game specific. Both deserve all the accolades one can give.
But from a season-long perspective, one player has blown me away more than any other. His name is Adrian Peterson, and he is more than likely not part of the same species as you and me.
Peterson’s numbers have been unbelievable. While I love to praise Amendola and Smith for what they’ve done, I simply cannot keep Adrian Peterson off this list considering where he was less than a year ago. He is the best running back in the NFL right now, and looks just as good as he did before tearing up his entire knee.
How? Why? Because he’s a football player. And you should never, ever doubt football players.
Week 10 Numbers
Philip Rivers led all quarterbacks (minimum 10 passing attempts) in completion percentage.
Rivers was shaping up to have a great game against Tampa Bay, and then he played like the typical post-2010 Philip Rivers.
Matt Schaub had fewer passing yards than 8 running backs rushing yard totals.
When you face the Bears in pouring down rain in Chicago, you’re bound to throw for only 95 yards.
Josh Freeman had the highest yards per pass attempt.
Freeman continues to look downfield, which is a great thing for Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson owners. The Tampa Bay offense is really fun to watch.
Matt Ryan was the only quarterback to throw for over 400 yards.
He may easily, at seasons end, be the fantasy football MVP for teams who were able to get him late.
Andy Dalton was the only quarterback to throw for 4 touchdowns.
He also did it with under 200 yards passing. I think part of the takeaway for Dalton here is the lack of running game BenJarvus Green-Ellis is producing. He’s for sure a flex play, and I wouldn’t want him as my RB2. I’ve been saying that since July.
Collin Kaepernick rushed for the most yards at quarterback.
If Alex Smith were to miss significant time, which it doesn’t look likely, Kaepernick could be a very, very interesting fantasy play.
Eli Manning had the second most attempts, and was the 30th best fantasy quarterback.
Want some perspective as to how poorly Manning is playing? He’d played the entire game and still finished with less fantasy points than Byron Leftwich, Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel, Chad Henne, Nick Foles, Jake Locker and Collin Kaepernick.
Steven Jackson tied Arian Foster for the most rushing attempts in Week 10.
It was quite a surprise to see Jackson run on the 49ers great rush defense. It could be a small sign that Jackson is rejuvenating his slow season.
Of running backs with 7 or more attempts, Chris Ivory had the best yards per carry average.
Can he please get a starting job somewhere? He’s clearly the most pure running back in New Orleans, and is a thrill to watch every time he touches the ball. Ingram would probably still be the back to own for the Saints as long as Sproles is out, though.
Jamaal Charles had more rushing attempts (23) than he did the previous two weeks combined.
His misusage has been a head scratcher, but it looks like he got back on track against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Marcel Reece had 20 total touches (13 carries, 7 catches).
He’s clearly the running back to own with McFadden out, as he’s their third down back and was their primary running back this week on early downs. Reece was also targeted 9 times through the air. There’s a chance, however, that McFadden could return this week.
Jonathan Dwyer had 11 more carries than Isaac Redman.
To me, this was the result of a costly fumble by Redman. Moving forward, with Mendenhall in the mix, I don’t see either having much value outside of being flex guys.
CJ Spiller received 7 less attempts than Fred Jackson.
The way the Bills are running this team makes very little sense. Spiller gained 70 yards on his 9 carries, while Jackson accumulated 80 on his 16. Isn’t it pretty clear that Spiller needs the ball in order for Buffalo to win?
Laurent Robinson led all receivers (not tight ends) in Week 10 targets with 15.
I still wouldn’t trust a Jacksonville Jaguar anything.
Calvin Johnson caught 12 of the 13 balls that were thrown his way.
Megatron and Stafford love to put up their numbers in the fourth quarter. Could you imagine if they got things going earlier in a game?
Sidney Rice and Torrey Smith each had two receptions for two touchdowns.
This is what you need to expect from both of these guys. Their “go big or go home” kind of plays nearly every week.
Jason Witten received 40% of the Cowboys receiving targets.
Romo continues to look Witten’s way, and he’s still that top option we’ve all been used to.
There were 15 tight end touchdowns and 27 wide receiver scores in Week 10.
Compare that to Week 9, where there were 8 tight end scores and 29 wide receiver touchdowns. The tight end position was big this week.
Danario Alexander was second in yards per target, first among receivers with 3 or more targets.
Alexander had 7 targets against the Bucs, and is now the clear number two option in San Diego with Robert Meachem not performing well.
Some Year to Date Statistics
Andre Brown has scored in four consecutive games.
Ahmad Bradshaw owners looking for a playoff run should be a little frightened. Brown is also just 10 fantasy points behind Bradshaw’s season total.
Sidney Rice has five touchdowns over the last five weeks.
From the looks of it, Rice seems to be a good play when he’s home, and a mediocre one when he’s away. He’ll ride and die with Russell Wilson.
Adrian Peterson has more rushing yards than Doug Martin over the last three weeks.
Though Martin had two monster games, AP continues to surprise us all with his unbelievable abilities at running back.
Fred Jackson leads all running backs in receiving targets over the last 5 weeks.
Where is CJ Spiller?
Carson Palmer leads the NFL in passing touchdowns over the last 3 weeks.
He also has the most interceptions. I wrote about this yesterday, but Palmer’s numbers are skewed tremendously by garbage time points. But hey, that’s still alright in fantasy!
Jason Witten has 40 targets over the last 3 weeks.
We can credit this to his huge 22-target Week 8, but he’s still averaging 9 per week aside from that.
Denarius Moore has the 4th most fantasy points at wide receiver over the last 5 weeks.
I guess someone has to catch all of Palmer’s garbage time pass attempts.
Brian Hartline is 9th in the NFL at wide receiver in percentage of team targets.
Unfortunately, there’s a mediocre rookie quarterback throwing him the ball.
Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith both have 548 yards on 64 targets this season.
The difference? Torrey Smith has gotten into the end zone 7 times, while Boldin has scored just once.