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Since I questioned the fantasy value of Alshon Jeffery a few weeks ago, I feel the need to follow up now and give credit where it's due: Jeffery has been nothing short of awesome since returning to regular play three weeks ago.
In that span, he's had outings with receiving yard totals of 147 yards, 116 yards, and most recently on Monday night, 151 yards. Any concerns about lingering injury effects or Jeffery's ability to handle No. 1 receiver status have fallen away.
The most amazing part is that he probably still isn't completely in synch with Jay Cutler - he made a couple moves Monday night that were just poor play and reaction on his part, and one of them resulted in a pick-six. Imagine what happens when he shakes off more of this mental rust. He could have a 200-yard game before the season is done.
So, good for you if you kept the faith and kept him on your fantasy team, and even better for you if you managed to obtain him in a buy-low trade. Right now, I'm just glad the one trade offer I did package him in weeks ago was rejected.
Week 9 Winners
QB: Marcus Mariota, TEN.
In case we forgot while he was out with an injury for a few games, this rookie is having a pretty good year. Week 9 was his best outing so far, with 371 yards passing and four TDs. Next up is a tough assignment against Carolina.
RB: Jeremy Langford, CHI.
Several RBs ran for more than 100 yards this past week, but I've got to give the local guy some love. With 140 total yards and a TD on 18 rushes and three receptions, he did a pretty good Matt Forte impression. Not sure how long he will get a chance to be the Bears' lead back, but he may have locked himself in for some touches even when Forte returns.
Interesting question, however: Could Forte take it easy the rest of this season for a losing team, since his contract runs out after this year? That would give Langford a touch more value the rest of the slate. In any case, if Forte the free agent leaves this offseason, Langford looks like a good bet to start and earn a high fantasy draft rank next year.
WR: Antonio Brown, PIT.
With Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury, Brown looked every bit the No. 1 WR and first-round pick he was before Big Ben was injured. Week 9 featured an astounding 195 yards, a total that may have been disappointing if you saw he already had 138 of it in the first half. The big problem for Brown the next week or two is that Big Ben got hurt again.
TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.
Not a whole lot of catches or yards - just five for 53 - but he was in the end zone when he caught three of those balls. That kind of game is what this sleeper draft pick's year has been all about. He has nine TDs in eight games, and while Andy Dalton looks for his WRs most of the way down the field, he relies on Eifert inside the 20. That shouldn't change anytime soon.
Week 9 Losers
QB: Phillip Rivers, SD.
There is nothing all that bad about 280 yards and a TD with no INTs, but the league's passing yards leader this season was expected to do so much more against the Bears. You can chalk some of it up to a bad run of injuries among his favorite WR targets. With San Diego now at 2-7, Rivers may be intent to keep hurling passes at an epic pace, but have to wonder if his team decides it's time to give rookie RB Melvin Gordon more work to log experience for next season.
RB: Eddie Lacy, GB.
He's landed on our loser list at least three times this year, but that's how terrible he continues to be. After 10 rushing yards and a fumble for negative fantasy points in some leagues last week, he's the biggest first-round draft disappointment if you discount top players lost for the season to injury.
WR: A.J. Green, CIN.
While Eifert enjoys a lot of red zone love, the Bengals' superstar WR has been mostly average this year - frequently targeted, but with only four TDs and only two games with more than 100 yards receiving (granted one of those was a 227-yard whopper, but that was way back in Week 3.) CIN used to rely so much more on getting Green long bombs for scores, but with Dalton and Eifert connecting, they don't need him to reach the end zone with every catch.
TE: Gary Barnidge, CLE.
After a great run, he finally stopped playing out of his head in Week 9, though that may have had to do with Johnny Manziel starting instead of Josh McCown. Barnidge caught two passes for 35 yards and somehow neither of those were the kind of amazing circus catches he has become famous for this year.
Big Play of the Week for Week 10: James Starks, RB, GB.
Finally named the starter over the perpetually struggling Eddie Lacy, Starks is almost certain to have a big game on the ground against the feeble Detroit Lions, especially since GB will probably get way ahead fairly early, and won't need to do much more than run out the clock.
* SI.com likes Langford among its fantasy risers, though they also point out some tough defenses ahead, along with the eventuality of Forte's return.
* CBS Sports.com advises to sit Cutler this week despite a pretty good recent run of fantasy scoring. He's had at least 20 fantasy points in three straight games, but St. Louis's defense is just too tough.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Oct 11, 2021