Fantasy football Week 7 awards: Brees, Johnson rescue feast of byes
The Saints' disappointing defense has forced a push in offensive pace this season
Vincent Jackson has developed a growing ease with quarterback Josh Freeman
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has struggled more and more in recent weeks for Cincy
With fantasy owners fielding patchwork lineups thanks to the six(!) team bye -- NFL schedule makers, I'm looking at you -- Week 6 had a ton of highlights and stat-gorging. Drew Brees, Chris Johnson and Vincent Jackson were box score dynamite as points flowed freely. All three top this week's honor roll.
Best "I Got This" Performance: Maybe the only silver lining of the bounty scandal is that the Saints' defense has become matador-ish and New Orleans has been forced to outscore people. The only negative from Brees' killer performance was that most of his statistical rampage came in the first two quarters with 300 yards and four scoring passes by halftime. In the second half Brees added to the yardage but the pyrotechnics were just about over. The last three weeks alone he's averaged 397 yards and thrown 11 touchdown passes.
Most Vexing: Is it possible to be a "Fantasy Coach Killer?" Chris Johnson tore up the Bills yesterday to the tune of 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns, again making him the most frustrating player to own in fantasy. Thanks to the multiple teams on bye, Johnson was started in plenty of leagues and turned in a vintage 2009 performance. With a ceiling as high as the stratosphere and a basement that's subterranean, owners will have to grin and bear it for the rest of the way.
Catch of the Day: Vincent Jackson's arrow is trending up, way up. After scoring one touchdown the first three weeks of the season, V-Jax has four scores in the last three weeks. Sunday's 216-yard performance and touchdown catch was crazy clutch and is the latest example of why his stock is on the rise. Even if the Redskins, Chiefs and Saints pass defenses are far from world beaters, Jackson is building his repertoire with Josh Freeman, which is only going to help once the better defenses come calling.
Waiver Wire Fool's Gold: Felix Jones owners probably felt like Lucy was holding a certain football to kick, illustrated by Charles Schultz. The top free-agent pick-up of the week sputtered with a 42-yard outing yesterday. Filling in for DeMarco Murray and after posting a big game last week, Jones seemed set for success. He was facing a 20th-ranked rush defense that was allowing 120 yards per game. There's a reason his last rushing touchdown prior to last week came in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
Injury of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew on crutches is not a pretty sight, but after yesterday's Oakland game, it's a reality fantasy owners have to deal with. Jones-Drew's foot injury showed why he was the one and only Jaguar worth owning for fantasy. With a shortage of backs to be had, MJD owners need to do some lineup shuffling.
Injury of the Week, Part 2: Seeing Fred Davis crumpled in the end zone was a tough sight, and the news that he tore his Achilles and is losing the rest of the season is as tough as it gets. Luckily, a number of tight ends have been serviceable with guys like Greg Olsen or Scott Chandler floating around the waiver wire.
Pickup of the Week: MJD owners might want to rest their eyes here. Jonathan Dwyer broke out against the Bengals for 122 yards on 17 carries. It was a career-high mark for Dwyer, who also hit the century mark last season in a game but has seldom been a consistent backup. The one-time third string running back's rise may be short-loved depending when Rashard Mendenhall returns, but with more byes in the wings, play 'em if you got 'em.
The Vick of the Day: If he's still available, Vick Ballard makes for a fine flex play as long as Donald Brown is out and possibly even after he comes back. Ballard's debut as the Colts' starting running back never got off the launching pad last week after falling behind against the Jets so quickly. But Ballard's 80-yard day in Week 7 would have been even better had Andrew Luck not helped himself to a pair of short touchdown runs. Even when Jones returns, Ballard looks like a long-term solution.
Non-Injury of the Week: Trent Richardson owners had to feel like the rug was pulled out from under their lineups. A tasty matchup with the Colts after Shonn Greene single-handedly shredded them? Yes! A weird on-and-off again rib injury that left him sidelined most of the game yesterday? No! After claiming he was fine and wearing a flak jacket, Richardson hardly played yesterday and now says the coaching staff was right to leave him on the bench. Really? Making matters worse, Montario Hardesty did nothing to impress with the extra workload. Richardson's ribs might be a lingering question not only for his fantasy owners the rest of the way, but for the Cleveland Browns.
Broken Streak of the Week: Adrian Peterson rushing for 152 yards (and looking totally non-human while doing it) wasn't the biggest revelation from the win over the Cardinals; it was his trip to the end zone. Peterson, who hadn't scored since Week 1, got out of his slump with an electric 13-yard scoring run.
Broken Streak of the Week, Part 2: The Baltimore Ravens had not given up a touchdown pass to a tight end all season until yesterday, when during Matt Schaub's uncharacteristic air raid, when Owen Daniels scored. Daniels now has four touchdowns in his last five games.
The Trending Down Award: The Law Firm is in trouble. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, once a surefire mid-range No. 2 back or premium flex third back, has hit the skids. In the last five games Green-Ellis has one touchdown and is averaging around three yards. At this point he might only be a mid-range No. 3 flex back.
Free Agent Fine Print: To owners enjoying the James Jones and Randall Cobb production. Both players' stock will take a hit once Greg Jennings returns, and may not even usable.
No Place Like Dome: As if Aaron Rodgers needed any more intangibles tilted his way, his legendary production indoors continued yesterday. Counting the Rams game, the Packers quarterback has a mind-boggling 47 touchdown passes in 19 career dome games.
Bruins get their eighth straight victory with win over Hurricanes
Roberto Luongo, Panthers get best of Cory Schneider, Devils