Last year it was Tim Hightower.
Two years ago it was Odell Beckham Jr.
There’s always that midseason revelation that smart owners either stowed away early or picked up as a free agent to take their team from a contender to a champion. Will it be Jay Ajayi this year?
Ajayi, a second-year running back, turned in just the fifth back-to-back 200-yard rushing performance in NFL history on Sunday. He joined Earl Campbell, O.J. Simpson, who did it twice, and Ricky Williams as the only other backs to accomplish that feat. You’ve got to believe he’s solidified himself as the lead running back in Miami now that Arian Foster has announced his retirement. Ajayi’s had two straight weeks with at least 25 carries, including 28 for 214 yards on Sunday. If for some reason he’s not owned in your league, snatch him up ASAP.
Among the many running backs that had big weeks Melvin Gordon cashed in the most, scoring three times while amassing 121 yards of offense.
Matt Forte, who I admit to giving up on, turned in a great game as he rushed for more yards than he had in the three previous weeks combined. He also scored twice.
Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson continue to be the best dual threats around. Bell totaled 149 yards, including 10 receptions while Johnson amassed 171 total yards to go with 8 receptions.
Another great performance came from Jeremy Hill who rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. But does it really count when it’s done against the Browns? I suppose it does.
One semi-surprise performance came from LeGarrette Blount, who rushed 24 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers. It was thought he’d make a smaller impact once Tom Brady made his return, but the big back has been used to protect, and even expand, leads for the Pats.
DeMarco Murray, Spencer Ware, Latavius Murray and Jacquizz Rodgers also had big weeks. Jordan Howard, Ryan Mathews and Christine Michael all disappointed. LeSean McCoy teased owners when it was determined he was healthy enough to play, only to reaggravate his hamstring early in the game.
At wide receiver, your usual suspects had great weeks. A.J. Green, Mike Evans and Julio Jones all performed as you’d expect. T.Y. Hilton bounced back from a subpar week and scored his fourth touchdown in his last five games. Davante Adams was outstanding on Thursday night for Green Bay, catching 13 passes for 132 yards and two scores.
Kenny Stills surprised with a 5-catch, 100-yard performance to go along with a touchdown. Michael Thomas, Tyrell Williams and Mike Wallace all had 100-yard games as well.
Amari Cooper, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all stunk up the field. Even Odell Beckham had a bad week. And it’s time to realize that Jeremy Maclin and Allen Robinson are just not going to get it done this year. Some blame goes to their quarterbacks.
Blake Bortles couldn’t even be successful against a bad Oakland defense. Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and Carson Wentz all had forgettable games as well.
Outside of those signal callers, the ones you expected to do well did. Special recognition goes out to Tyrod Taylor, Alex Smith and Marcus Mariota for exceeding expectations.
Waiver wire suggestions:
Payton Barber, Tampa Bay (12 touches-84 yards, TD)
Chris Thompson, Washington (19-113)
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay (19-126)
Russell Shepard, Tampa Bay (5-77, TD)
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis (9-78, TD)