Just when you think you've got the NFL figured out, this league of parity is quick to prove you wrong.
Nobody expected the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers to head into Seattle and give the mighty Seahawks a scare at home.
Similarly, you'd be hard-pressed to find many non-Jets fans who thought New York had a chance in hell to take down the New Orleans Saints—especially considering the way New York was annihilated by Cincinnati in Week 8.
This week's surprises weren't relegated to scores, either. There were plenty of shockers in the realm of fantasy football, such as breakout performances by Nick Foles and Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Foles incredibly threw seven touchdown passes on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, as noted by ESPN's SportsCenter, before the fourth quarter had even arrived:
Nick Foles just threw his SEVENTH TD pass of the day, tying NFL record for most Pass TD in a game. There is 4:28 left in the 3rd quarter.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 3, 2013
Needless to say, Sunday in Week 9 provided fans and fantasy owners with plenty to talk about.
With that in mind, here's a look at the box scores from every game on Sunday, followed by a rundown of the top fantasy stars from each game.
|Carolina Panthers||Atlanta Falcons||34-10|
|Dallas Cowboys||Minnesota Vikings||27-23|
|New York Jets||New Orleans Saints||26-20|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Buffalo Bills||26-13|
|Tennessee Titans||St. Louis Rams||28-21|
|Washington Redskins||San Diego Chargers||30-24 (OT)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Oakland Raiders||49-20|
|Seattle Seahawks||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27-24 (OT)|
|Cleveland Browns||Baltimore Ravens||24-18|
|New England Patriots||Pittsburgh Steelers||55-31|
|Indianapolis Colts||Houston Texans||27-24|
NFC East Still Up for Grabs
Halfway through the season, we still have no clue which NFC East team will emerge to win the division.
The Dallas Cowboys barely fended off the Minnesota Vikings at home on Sunday, winning 27-23 thanks to a last-minute touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Dwayne Harris.
Dallas' defense struggled to contain Adrian Peterson, who finally had his number called after three straight weekends of 13 or fewer carries. He finished the game with 140 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but Tony Romo emerged with a masterful 90-yard drive to win an ugly game, as noted by Ed Werder of ESPN:
Cowboys victory was not artistic but it was necessary. Needed last-minute TD to beat a one-win team at home. But Romo superb on 90-yd drive— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) November 3, 2013
But Dallas didn't gain any ground this weekend, thanks to a gutsy overtime victory by the Washington Redskins over the San Diego Chargers and a blowout win in Oakland by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Alfred Morris and Darrel Young carried Washington over the Chargers for a 30-24 overtime victory, combining for 133 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Nick Foles erupted for seven touchdowns to lead Philly in a blowout 49-20 victory over the Raiders.
At 5-4, Dallas holds a tenuous lead in the division.
Which team will win the NFC East?
Philly and Washington are just one game behind the Cowboys in the loss column heading into the final months of the season, and New York is just two games behind with six losses.
Just like last season, when the Washington Redskins won the division in Week 17, we're headed for a compelling finish by these four teams. This division is up for grabs, and even the Giants, at 2-6, have a legitimate chance to win it with a strong finish.
Stay tuned, folks. This is going to be fun to watch.
Box Scores for Fantasy Stars from Each Game
|Falcons vs. Panthers||Panthers Defense||Defense||Carolina||20||10 pts. allowed, one sack, three interceptions and one touchdown.|
|Vikings vs. Cowboys||Adrian Peterson||RB||Minnesota||29||177 total yards and one touchdown.|
|Saints vs. Jets||Jimmy Graham||TE||New Orleans||23||Nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.|
|Chiefs vs. Bills||Chiefs Defense||Defense||Kansas City Chiefs||16||13 pts. allowed, two interceptions, a forced fumble and two touchdowns.|
|Titans vs. Rams||Zac Stacy/Chris Johnson||RBs||Both||29||Both backs totaled 170-plus yards with two touchdowns.|
|Chargers vs. Redskins||Darrel Young||RB||Washington||19||12 total yards and three touchdowns.|
|Eagles vs. Raiders||Nick Foles||QB||Philadelphia||45||420 total yards and seven touchdowns.|
|Buccaneers vs. Seahawks||Russell Wilson||QB||Seattle||21||253 total yards with three touchdowns.|
|Ravens vs. Browns||Jason Campbell||QB||Cleveland||24||282 total yards with three touchdowns.|
|Steelers vs. Patriots||Tom Brady||QB||New England||33||431 total yards with four touchdowns.|
|Colts vs. Texans||T.Y. Hilton||WR||Indianapolis||30||121 total yards with three touchdowns.|
Zac Stacy Emerging as NFL's Next Fantasy Star
The big news surrounding fantasy football in Week 9 was Nick Foles' explosion in Oakland. Philly's offense isn't consistent from week to week, however, and in the long-term scope of things, the emergence of Zac Stacy is of more import to fantasy football owners.
For the past few weeks, fantasy football experts (as well as yours truly) have been touting rookie running back Stacy as a legitimate must-start running back.
After he stunned the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 with 134 yards rushing, Stacy followed up his fantastic performance with another this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. He finished the game with 178 total yards and two touchdowns, earning fantasy owners 29 points in ESPN.com standard leagues.
With two straight monster performances, Stacy has emerged from the shadow of "potential" to become one of the NFL's most exciting fantasy stars.
Zac Stacy is _____ after his two huge games.
The St. Louis Rams have leaned heavily on the rookie running back to carry the offense of late—especially in light of Sam Bradford's season-ending knee injury. He's received 20-plus touches in each of his last four games, and he's touched the ball an astonishing 60 times in the past two games since Bradford's injury.
Going forward, you can count on the fact that Stacy will continue to see a high volume of touches on a weekly basis as the Rams attempt to move the chains on offense with Kellen Clemens behind center. He's a must-start running back from here on out—regardless of the team St. Louis is facing.
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