Here are 20 random and NFC-based deep thoughts from a captivating Week 6:
1. I recall a Twitter follower executing a Rashard Mendenhall-for-Jordy Nelson trade last week before Mendy incurred an injury against Tennessee and before Nelson rolled for nine catches, 121 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans on Sunday. For Jordy's new owner, here's more good news: In last year's 15-TD campaign, Nelson didn't record his first 100-yard game until Week 6. Just like 2012.
2. The Texans simply had no answer for Aaron Rodgers, who passed for 338 yards and a career-best six touchdowns on Sunday. (The NFL single-game record for passing TDs is seven—Joe Kapp, Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle). Rodgers shredded a formidable defense for 42 points. For good measure, he also cemented his standing as a top-two fantasy quarterback (along with Drew Brees). Guess who's No. 3?
3. Fantasy owners of both Brees and Robert Griffin III, are you sold on the concept of trading either superstar yet? Or are you strangely proud of capturing your league's "Bench Points" title every Sunday? Now that Brees' bye week has passed, there's no tangible excuse for holding onto both quarterbacks from this point forward. And Griffin's fantasy value, thanks to the 320-yard, three-TD performance against Minnesota, remains sky-high.
4. As an Ahmad Bradshaw owner in six leagues, I honestly had no expectations beyond 50 total yards against the 49ers. And I certainly didn't envision a rushing touchdown, either. But to my amazement, Bradshaw (120 total yards, one TD) became the first opposing tailback in three years to rush for 100 yards at Candlestick Park. (Chris Johnson accomplished the feat in November 2009.) In the last two weeks, Bradshaw has 349 total yards (316 rushing) and two TDs.
5. Last week, I might have laughed off any one-for-one trade offer for Frank Gore, short of Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, Rodgers or Brees being involved. But after his 56-yard effort against the Giants (off only 12 touches), perhaps I shouldn't be so stubborn here. After all, Gore didn't collect 100 total yards in any game from Weeks 10-17 last year.
6. I'm not shocked Michael Vick and Matthew Stafford posted identical numbers in passing yards (311) and total TDs (two). Leading up to Sunday's clash of NFC clubs, I must have transposed their rankings at least three times. The end result: Both stars crossed the QB-elite threshold of 275 total yards and/or three TDs.
7. When playing at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay's Mike Williams (four catches, 113 yards, one TD vs. Kansas City) and Vincent Jackson (four catches, 66 yards, two TD) should be regular starters in 12-team leagues. For the season, Williams is 3-for-3 in netting 100 yards or one TD at home.
8. I'm not too worried about rookie Daryl Richardson (99 total yards vs. Miami) stealing potential Steven Jackson touches between the 20s. I'm more concerned with Jackson's diminishing value in the red zone, especially now that Sam Bradford has mastered the QB-sneak-and-jump around the goal line. The Jackson of yesteryear would have scored the Rams' short-yardage TD and subsequent two-point conversion.
9. For the first time in his career, Dez Bryant (13 catches, 95 yards, two TD vs. Baltimore) racked up double-digit targets in successive weekends. In fact, his 15 Sunday targets doubled that of any other Dallas playmaker. Bottom line: Bryant (21 catches, 28 targets, 200 yards, two TD in his last two games) may finally be settling into the role of a dominant fantasy asset.
10. I'm not a big believer in jinxes, but I certainly recognize the karmic element of fantasy. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have publicly mocked a Twitter fan for pondering Indy's Vick Ballard over Marshawn Lynch in Week 6. Lynch may be the smarter play each time, but Sunday's 52-yard ennui also confirms that he's not in the super-elite strata of Arian Foster or Ray Rice.
11. I have no regrets about dealing Jeremy Maclin two days before his six-catch, 130-yard, one-TD explosion against the Lions. As the old saying goes, To get something, you have to give something...and I'd gladly surrender quality wideouts (among other assets) for a chance to land one big fish at tailback (Marshawn Lynch, 4- for-2 trade).
12. IF DeMarco Murray (97 total yards) should miss significant time to injury, then Felix Jones (105 total yards, one TD vs. Baltimore) would most likely be Wednesday's No. 1 waiver-wire pickup. But I'm torn on whether Jones projects as a better fantasy option than last week's most coveted free agent (scroll down one spot).
13. I'm actually encouraged by Alex Green's non-memorable outing of 73 total yards (65 rushing). The Texans have a stout defense, and yet the Packers willingly tabbed Green for 20-plus carries. Bottom line: Expect at least 95 total yards and a touchdown the next time Green logs 23 touches.
14. Perhaps the Cardinals' situation at running back isn't so dire. William Powell (78 total yards on 14 touches) looked smooth and powerful against the Bills—prized qualities of an every-down asset. My thinking: Powell's Week 7 clash with Minnesota should paint a broader picture of his seasonal worth.
15. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (310 total yards, three TD vs. New England) merits mad fantasy props for rallying his team to victory and getting receiver Sidney Rice (three catches, 81 yards, one TD) back on track. But for Wilson to garner a permanent roster spot in 12-team leagues, he'll need a few more efforts like this.
16. I'm no longer hesitant to attach a top-20 weekly ranking, among running backs, to rookie Doug Martin (131 total yards vs. Kansas City). Through five games, Martin (431 total yards, one TD) has the look of a reliable starter at the flex slot.
17. Of Sunday's losing teams, the Vikings' Big Four of QB Christian Ponder (365 total yards, two TD), RB Adrian Peterson (129 total yards), WR Percy Harvin (11 catches, 14 targets, 133 yards) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (six catches, 56 yards, one TD) might have had the most prolific fantasy weekend. To be fair, though, the Redskins had the NFL's second-worst pass defense entering Week 6.
18. I whiffed badly on my Thursday prediction of Redskins tight end Fred Davis (three catches, 46 yards) breaking his touchdown drought against Minnesota. But when you're only being targeted four times, and your quarterback is "selfishly" (sic) closing games with insane 76-yard touchdown runs, finding the end zone can be very difficult.
19. The stars were seemingly aligned for Michael Turner (39 total yards)—and every Falcons dynamo—posting monster numbers against the hapless Raiders. But alas, only Roddy White (six catches, 72 yards, one TD) came through with big-time stats. Go figure.
20. If the Lions had one more timeout during their goal-line flurry at the end of regulation (resulting in a game-tying field goal), we'd be talking about Mikel Leshoure's 95 total yards and one touchdown against the Eagles instead of 94 yards (70 rushing) and zero scores.
On the plus side, though, that one little yard will help keep Leshoure's trade-market price at a reasonable level this week. Better act now!
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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