- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Curtis Painter, QB, Colts
Nobody will confuse Painter's work with the artistry of Peyton Manning, but the 26-year-old apprentice has been impressive, averaging 279 yards and two touchdowns in two starts. For now, Painter has value as a bye-week substitute. At the very least, he keeps Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garçon fantasy relevant.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders
Al Davis got the last laugh in Houston on Sunday, when his much maligned '09 first-round pick had a career-high seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. That came after a 115-yard, four-catch performance against the Patriots a week earlier. Despite competition for Jason Campbell's attention, DHB is finally living up both to his billing as a deep threat and to the enduring legacy of Davis's commitment to the vertical passing game. This week he'll rock Cleveland.
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers
With Rashard Mendenhall & Co. ailing, Pittsburgh turned to the fourth-stringer against the Titans, and he ran for 107 yards on his first 11 carries of the season—the first 100-yard game for the Steelers in 2011. Dwyer's explosiveness and cutback ability meshed well with Pittsburgh's makeshift offensive line, earning the second-year man from Georgia Tech at least another look while Mendenhall's hamstring heals.
Jackie Battle, RB, Chiefs
Jamaal Charles isn't coming back, Thomas Jones isn't getting any younger, and Dexter McCluster isn't a true running back, so Kansas City has gone to the fifth-year special-teamer. Battle responded with 119 yards on 19 carries against Indy. With productive backs scarce, Battle is worth a bench spot, even with the Chiefs on a bye this week.
There may have been more to Michael Vick's four-interception meltdown in Buffalo than an errant left arm. The Bills have picked off more passes this season (12) than they did all of last year (11). With Eli Manning (three interceptions last week) up next, Buffalo is a worthy fill-in.