Fantasy football Risers, Sliders: Nick Foles lights up the Raiders
By this point in the fantasy season, it's clear whether you're a contender for the playoffs of not. Some teams may have even already wrapped up playoff spots. Others are fighting to sneak into one of the final spots in the league. As we head into the final weeks of the season, it's more important than ever to make sure you have the best possible players in your starting lineup. Let's check out the stock of some key fantasy players around the NFL after Week 9.
• Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles -- Here's hoping you picked up Foles if you were looking for a replacement quarterback for your bye week. The Raiders' pass defense isn't good, but they were middle-of-the-pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks this year: In standard scoring they hadn't allowed more than 25 fantasy points to a quarterback. Then Nick Foles comes in, ties the NFL record for touchdown passes thrown with seven and drops over 45 fantasy points (or more, depending on your league). Before the swoon against the Cowboys and Giants, the Eagles' offense was humming along. Could it be back? A weak Green Bay pass defense awaits next week.
• Tom Brady, New England Patriots -- Another quarterback who's been struggling recently, Brady looked like his old self in a 55-31 win over the Steelers. He threw for 432 yards and four TDs in what was by far his best performance of the year. The Steelers had been one of the better teams against opposing quarterbacks, fantasy-wise. A tougher test comes next week in a road game against the Panthers.
• Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders -- He looked primed for a big day against the Eagles' defense at home on Sunday. Instead, he went 22-for-41 for 288 yards and two interceptions and the Raiders were blown out. Though he did have 94 rushing yards, he also lost a fumble and was sacked three times. Pryor has thrown seven interceptions in the last three weeks. Most concerningly, he left the game with a knee injury (though the team says it's not serious, and the Eagles were ahead 49-13 when he left).
• Mike James, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Although Tampa Bay blew a 21-0 lead in a loss to the Seahawks, James shone, rushing for 158 yards on 28 carries against a good defense. With the Buccaneers unsure of when Doug Martin can return, James could be a fantasy starter for your team down the stretch. At 0-8, the Bucs are unlikely to rush Martin back into the lineup.
• Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams -- That's two big games back-to-back for the rookie Stacy, a fifth-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt. Against the Titans he rushed for 127 yards on 27 carries; the previous Monday night he had 134 yards on 26 carries. He also caught six passes for 51 yards against Tennessee. It took a few weeks for Stacy to get going, but he's been in double-digit carries for five straight weeks. It appears the Rams have their starting running back.
• Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans -- Amazingly, Johnson scored his first touchdown of the year in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Rams. He'd add another in the fourth quarter, finishing with 150 yards on 23 carries. This was against an above-average Rams run defense that had been playing well, limiting Marshawn Lynch to just 23 yards the week before. Shonn Greene is still getting work in Tennessee -- he scored a touchdown in Week 9 -- but there's an enticing matchup against the Jaguars next week.
• DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys -- Dallas called 55 passes and eight runs on Sunday against the Vikings. Murray carried just four times for 31 yards in the 27-24 win over Minnesota. Coach Jason Garrett said Murray wasn't injured during the game; he did catch six passes but for just 19 yards. Garrett said postgame he needed to run the ball more. Dallas plays the Saints next week.
• Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins -- Yes, it's silly to put him here: Morris had an excellent game -- 121 yards and a TD on 25 carries. But he had three touchdowns vultured from him by fullback Darrel Young. Morris is still going to start in every league, but if Young is getting short-yardage carries this hurts Morris' value a bit. That inside handoff to Young can't keep working, can it? It worked three times against the Chargers.
• Andre Johnson, Houston Texans -- He's back! Well, for one game at least. Johnson caught nine passes for 229 yards and his first three touchdowns of the season on Sunday. Case Keenum targeted him 13 times as Johnson produced his biggest game of the season by far. His looks have never fallen that far -- he's been targeted 84 times this season -- and if Houston's quarterback situation is more stable with Keenum, then Johnson could vault back into the fantasy elite.
• Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins -- Even though he hadn't produced a 100-yard game since Week 2 coming into Sunday's game against the Chargers, Garcon was still getting looks. He'd been targeted more than 10 times in every game except two. This week he turned 11 targets into a huge fantasy output: seven catches for 172 yards.
• T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts -- Hilton has double-digit targets in back-to-back games. In Week 7, he turned those 11 targets into just two catches. Sunday night against the Texans, Hilton caught seven passes on 12 targets. He racked up 121 yards receiving with three touchdowns. With Reggie Wayne out for the year, Hilton is going to keep putting up big numbers.
• Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots -- Dobson scored for the second straight game, grabbing five catches for 129 yards and two scores against the Steelers. He was the second option after Rob Gronkowski and is now second on the team in targets behind a rapidly declining Julian Edelman.
• Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders -- He's still Oakland's top guy, but owners have to be a little disappointed with just 82 yards receiving on 11 targets against the Eagles' shaky secondary.
• Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles -- Ertz caught his first NFL touchdown on Sunday, a 15-yarder from Nick Foles. He had five catches for 42 yards and the score. While he's not a great option, he's becoming the Eagles' top receiving tight end over the last few weeks. Over the last four, he has out-targeted Brent Celek by eight, 20-12.
• Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns -- Cameron's been trending downward since his hot start. He was targeted five times against Dallas, catching just one pass for four yards. After being targeted 43 times in his first four games, he has just 28 looks his way in his last five. Jason Campbell isn't looking his way much. Cleveland has a bye this Sunday before playing the Bengals the following week.
• Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs -- Kansas City's continued inability to get into the end zone should give Succop lots of looks at field goals. He has 77 points so far this season, on pace for a career high.
• Randy Bullock, Houston Texans -- Bullock missed three of four field-goal atempts in Sunday night's loss.
• Carolina Panthers -- Sure, the Falcons are a mess, but Carolina still forced four turnovers, sacked Matt Ryan once and held Atlanta to 10 points. The 49ers and Patriots will be tough the next two weeks, though.
• Oakland Raiders -- At home, the Raiders didn't force any turnovers and allowed a second-year quarterback to tie the NFL record for touchdown passes in a game. The Eagles' offense had scored three points the previous two weeks. The Giants and Texans were good matchups the next two weeks, but maybe not anymore.
MORE WEEK 10 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Jennings poised to make an impact versus the Giants
SI STAFF: Weekly Roundtable -- What's the fantasy impact of Rodgers' injury?
MCQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Foles takes on a weak Packers defense next week
BELLER: Early Week 10 Advice -- Stacy could be a top-15 RB for season's remainder