Fantasy football Week 8 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were six teams on bye in Week 8, but that doesn’t mean the NFL was short of action.

In possibly the game of the year so far, the Seattle Seahawks outlasted the Houston Texans 41-38. Deshaun Watson went toe-to-toe with Russell Wilson in a game that featured huge days for a handful of players.

Watson made history Sunday by becoming the first quarterback in the league in the Super Bowl era to pass for more than 400 yards, throw four touchdowns and rush for more than 50 yards in a game. He also became the rookie with the most touchdown passes (19) through his first seven games. Watson had the most productive day of the week, 469 total yards, including 67 yards rushing. He was helped in large part by DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.

Wide receiver Will Fuller V #15 of the Houston Texans brings in a 59 yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson #4 in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 29, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Hopkins led all receivers this week with 224 yards, including a screen pass he took 72 yards for a score. Fuller had the first big play of the game, getting behind the Seahawks’ secondary for a 59-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. The play turned out to be a sign of things to come. Fuller caught a second touchdown in the second quarter, bringing his league-leading total to seven, though he’s played in just four games. He has just 13 catches on the season. You call that efficiency.

The only way the Texans lost the game was due to the few mistakes Watson made, he had three interceptions, and the stellar play of Wilson. Wilson finished with 452 yards and four touchdown passes, including the game-winning score to Jimmy Graham with less than a minute to play. Wilson also rushed for 30 yards and threw just one interception.

Graham gained just 39 yards receiving, but two of his four catches went for touchdowns. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett also came up big for Wilson. Richardson had six catches for 105 yards and two scores while Lockett led the Seahawks with 121 yards receiving on six catches.

The wide receiver that led the league in Week 8 was JuJu Smith-Schuster. The rookie kind of called his shot on Twitter when he said, “everybody loves me now, but these same people won’t start me in fantasy on Sunday.” He made those people regret their decision by catching seven passes for 193 yards and a 97-yard touchdown, a Steelers’ record. Smith-Schuster is making a lot of people forget who Martavis Bryant is.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), chased by Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs (28), runs 97-yards for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

As far as the best running back performances go, a couple of familiar names led the way. Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy were both fantastic. McCoy rushed 27 times for 151 yards and a touchdown while catching six passes for 22 yards. Elliott had season highs in rushes (33) and rushing yards (150) while scoring two touchdowns. He’s getting in a groove at just the right time to help the Cowboys get back into the NFC East race, but may come to a halt after Monday’s court ruling.

The reason Elliott got so many carries was the weather was pretty dreadful in Landover, Md. Rain had the Cowboys content to control the clock once they had the lead, leaving Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant owners up a creek without a paddle.

Prescott had his worst fantasy week of the season, throwing for just 143 yards and no touchdowns. It was the first time this season that he didn’t account for at least one touchdown. Bryant suffered from the game script alongside Prescott, catching four passes for just 39 yards.

Brandin Cooks, another receiver who had a bad week, continues to frustrate owners with his inconsistent play. He caught five passes for 26 yards, despite Tom Brady having a solid day.

A surprising disappointment was Nelson Agholor who had a great matchup against the 49ers. He caught just three passes for 26 yards. Despite Agholor’s poor performance, Carson Wentz still had a good day by throwing for 211 yards and two scores. Alshon Jeffery was the wideout that had success for the Eagles Sunday. He caught just two passes, but for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Other top receivers were Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, Marvin Jones and Adam Thielen. Jones had six receptions for 128 yards. Thielen had 98 yards receiving and a touchdown in the Vikings win in London.

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Atlanta Falcons’ Sharrod Neasman (20) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Also playing for the Vikings, Jerick McKinnon found success running and receiving. He had 50 yards rushing and a touchdown while catching six passes for 72 yards. In that same backfield, Latavius Murray didn’t fare as well. The encouraging sign is that he had 20 touches, but he gained just 47 total yards.

Week 8’s other top rushers were Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller and Isaiah Crowell. Gordon rushed just 14 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. Miller got the most touches in the Texans’ backfield, a bit of a surprise given that D’Onta Foreman seemed to be getting more action. Miller rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 19 yards and another score. Crowell scored for the first time this season as he rushed for 64 yards and caught four passes for 54 yards.

The Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots and Steelers are off in Week 9. Here are some waiver wire suggestions to help you survive the week without Gordon, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Tom Brady and Jordan Howard.

Top waiver wire picks

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers: With Martavis Bryant on the outs, Smith-Schuster is in a great position to contribute. He could also be available since the Steelers are on bye in Week 9.

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens: 18 rushes, 113 yards in Thursday’s win.

Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks: 6 rec., 105 yards, 2TDs.

Jack Doyle, TE, Colts: 12 rec., 121 yards, TD. He’s still available in a lot of leagues and he’s been heavily targeted since the Week 5 bye.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins: 9 rec., 123 yards. I thought he would be a lot better, but he’s starting to get more targets as Terrelle Pryor continues to disappoint.

Quality defenses on bye in Week 8: Sometimes owners have to drop good defenses in order to field a full lineup. Check the wire for the Rams and Jaguars defenses, which were off this week.

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: 6 rec., 104 yards, TD. He’s riding three straight solid outings.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 8

Week 8 is upon us and that means there are a ton of byes on the schedule. Players of note you’ll be missing: Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, Jordy Nelson, DeMarco Murray and Larry Fitzgerald. Hopefully you made the waiver claims I suggested Tuesday to help deal with the missing stars.

Thursday night Miami faces Baltimore and I’d feel good starting Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry and even Matt Moore as a possible streaming quarterback. Ajayi has a great opportunity to get on a roll against a run defense that allows a league-high 145 yards rushing per game. Here’s who else you should start, and sit, in Week 8.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 8 rankings.

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Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Though he faces the Patriots, who looked good against Matt Ryan, Rivers has been a model of consistency this season. With just one truly bad game on his log, I expect him to have success against the Patriots, especially after he had a good week against the Broncos.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: His run of solid outings came to an end against the Steelers last weekend, but I wouldn’t be afraid of starting him against the Colts this week. The Colts are second worst in passing yards allowed, giving up over 300 per game.

Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals passes in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 22, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: Watson takes on the Seahawks who are good against the pass, but they’ve had some issues against running quarterbacks. They allowed at least 27 yards rushing to both Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota. Both had at least a touchdown pass as well. I think Watson’s more talented than both of those QBs and he’ll be helped with a good rushing attack.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: Game script held him to just seven rushes last week as the Bengals had to try to catch up during the second half of the loss to the Steelers. Before that game Mixon had at least 15 rushes in each of the previous three games. He has a dream matchup against the Colts this week.

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins: The Cowboys are middle of the road in defending running backs, but they especially struggle against pass-catching running backs. They gave up nearly 94 yards receiving and a touchdown to Todd Gurley. Andre Ellington caught five passes for 59 yards and Shane Vereen had 51 yards receiving.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots: Lewis is taking control of the backfield in New England, carrying the ball at least 11 times in each of the last two weeks. He clearly looks like the most talented back for the Patriots and he should have a nice day against the Chargers who give up over 140 yards rushing per game.

Dion Lewis #33 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during the second quarter of a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: He’s on a touchdown streak and the Eagles are very hot right now with Carson Wentz entering the possible MVP conversation. Agholor’s been targeted at least four times in four straight weeks and should be productive against the 49ers.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: Cam Newton had another bad week after having a nice two-game stretch. He should bounce back this week against the Buccaneers to the benefit of Funchess. Tampa Bay gives up over 300 yards receiving per game.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins: I like Stills as a flex start this week since he plays well with Matt Moore at quarterback. Stills has three touchdowns in the last two games. Both of his scores this week came when Moore entered the game for an injured Jay Cutler.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter by tossing the ball to a fan against the New York Jets on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers: Although he’s had two scoreless weeks this season, he’s starting to become the consistent tight end target for Rivers. Henry has a good matchup against the Patriots this week.

Saints defense/special teams: They’re trending in the right direction and should keep it up against the Bears’ rookie quarterback who has few receiving options.

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Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: He’s been blessed with a pretty good schedule early on, but this week he faces a really tough Steelers defense. Pittsburgh allows just 147 yards passing per game. They give up a league-best 5.6 yards per completion.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Big Ben is on the road this week so you’re automatically wary. The Lions pass defense is better than average. They give up more than 244 yards passing per game, but they intercepted Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan three times each. They also picked off Drew Brees twice.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: He finally broke a streak of terrible performances with a big game last Thursday. Carr has a tough matchup against the Bills on Sunday. Add a rainy forecast to the mix and I don’t think he puts up another top-12 performance this week.

Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings: Murray had a great game last week, but I don’t think he can keep it up against the Browns. They allow just 83.7 yards rushing per game. I’d expect Jerick McKinnon to have the most success as he’s a bigger receiving threat.

Latavius Murray #25 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled with the ball in the first half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 22, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: I’m not sure if it’s even necessary to tell you to sit him at this point. He’s facing the Vikings so he’ll have a tough time. They give up just 76.6 yards per game and have allowed just one touchdown on the ground.

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears: The Saints defense has played well in four straight wins. Cohen looked good to start the season, especially as a passing option, but he probably won’t have success against New Orleans. The Saints have been doing a great job of limiting running backs catching out of the backfield.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: I don’t trust him at this point. He’s got a tough matchup against the Bengals this week and the Colts offense is just terrible.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: I’ve given him a lot of chances this season, but it’s not looking like he’s coming around. He’s frustrated and it’s hard to see him being productive while being a distraction. With the team demoting him to scout team, he’s definitely a player you can drop. Holding out hope for a trade may end up being foolish.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: Parker is dealing with an ankle injury and has a tough matchup with the Ravens. He doesn’t have the same rapport with Moore that Stills has.

Broncos defense/special teams: They’re not the same dominant defense they have been in the recent past and they face a potent offense in the Chiefs. Kareem Hunt is on a great roll and should continue to play well.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 7 recap and top waiver wire picks

Week 7 had its share of disappointing performances, with three teams being shut out, but there were some big days by the usual suspects.

Ezekiel Elliott finally put a complete game together as the Cowboys trounced the 49ers 40-10. Elliott rushed 26 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He only had one catch out of the backfield, but he took it 72 yards for a score as he tight-roped the sideline and cut back to get into the end zone. Despite having the top performance of the week, Elliott’s future remains very much in question. He’s going to play Week 8, but after that his status is up in the air.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 8 rankings.

In that same game, Dak Prescott accounted for four touchdowns. Prescott threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns. He ran four times for 26 yards and another score. He’s a must-start every week at this point in his career. If Elliott can stay on the field, Prescott’s value will stay high.

The quarterback that had the best week played on Thursday night. Derek Carr threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scores went to Amari Cooper, who finally had a big game this season. He caught 11 passes for 210 yards.

Amari Cooper #89 of the Oakland Raiders scores a 38-yard touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 19, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Raiders kept their season alive with a big win and it could possibly spark better play all around. Tight end Jared Cook is starting to earn a reputation as a big-play receiver. He had six receptions for 104 yards, including a big sideline catch to set up the winning score. Michael Crabtree continued to play well, scoring the game-winning touchdown.

The biggest disappointment for the Raiders was Marshawn Lynch, who rushed just twice for nine yards before he left the bench during a dust up and put his hands on an official. He’s been suspended for a week, making Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington possible waiver pick ups.

Also playing Thursday night, Tyreek Hill continued to put up nice numbers. He caught six passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.

A week doesn’t go by without Kareem Hunt gaining over 100 yards from scrimmage. He became just the second NFL player to reach 1,000 scrimmage yards in his first seven career games, joining Eric Dickerson.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) is forced out of bounds by Oakland Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LeSean McCoy, Aaron Jones and T.J. Yeldon all had big weeks from the running back position as well. McCoy totaled 122 yards and scored twice. Jones rushed for over 100 yards, including a 46-yard score, for the second time in three weeks as he continues to be the go-to back for the Packers.

Yeldon put up great numbers when it was expected that Chris Ivory would be the beneficiary of Leonard Fournette missing the game. Ivory was decent and had the bulk of the carries, but Yeldon rushed just nine times for 122 yards and a touchdown. That said, there’s really no reason to pick up Yeldon with the Jaguars’ bye week coming up and Fournette expected back in Week 9.

Speaking of the Jaguars, their defense pitched a shutout, as did the Rams and Chargers. Jacksonville recorded 10 sacks against a terrible Colts offense. The team is in shambles without Andrew Luck, but even if he returned tomorrow, they would still be in trouble with that offensive line. The Chargers shut out the Broncos while making five sacks and picking off one pass. The Rams blanked the Cardinals and severely jeopardized Arizona’s season as they knocked Carson Palmer out of commission with a broken arm.

The Palmer injury will be a big blow to the value of Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had just three catches for 29 yards Sunday. It also makes me wonder if the Cardinals will hold out David Johnson once he’s healthy if their season is beyond saving.

T.Y. Hilton had a terrible day as well, catching two passes for 27 yards. The Colts are 2-5 and with Luck’s recent setback, it seems like a lost season for the Colts and its skill players.

The worst nightmare came true for fantasy owners of the Packers receivers. Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson combined for five catches and just 40 yards a week after Aaron Rodgers went down to injury. Anyone who picked up Brett Hundley thinking he’d be somewhat adequate were severely disappointed. He threw for 87 yards and one interception. Hundley did rush for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Another disappointing quarterback this week, though unexpectedly, was Matt Ryan. He had a great matchup with a struggling Patriots defense and only managed 233 yards passing and a touchdown. Ryan’s regression is real and he’s looking like he did before his big year last season.

On the bright side, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston are all healthy and each had outstanding performances. Smith threw three touchdown passes in a losing effort while Wilson had a big second half to beat the Giants.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Rich Barnes)

Even Josh McCown, a suggested streaming quarterback from last week, had a great day, throwing for 209 yards and three touchdowns.

Winston hooked up well with rookie tight end O.J. Howard for the first time this season. Howard caught all six of the passes sent his way, gaining 98 yards and scoring twice.

Another rookie tight end who keeps playing well is Evan Engram. He caught six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. The Giants are a mess offensively, but Engram is probably the only quality start.

Top waiver wire picks

Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders: 9 rushes, 31 yards; 4 rec., 45 yards.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins: 6 rec., 85 yards, 2TDs. He’s played well with quarterback Matt Moore in the past.

Ted Ginn, WR, Saints: 7 rec., 141 yards. He’s had two quality games in a row and Drew Brees can utilize a speedster.

Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings: 18 rushes, 113 yards, TD. Jerick McKinnon was the hot name last week, and the duo were virtually even in touches, but Murray had the most success.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Bills: He hasn’t been with the team for a week yet and he’s already proving to be valuable. He caught four passes for 104 yards Sunday.

Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins: Jay Cutler is out and Moore can be productive as a streaming QB.

O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers: 6 rec., 98 yards, 2 TDs.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Updated Week 7 Fantasy Football rankings

Week 7 starts today and there have been a few injury updates ahead of the action. Leonard Fournette isn’t expected to play, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. I moved Fournette down on my rankings, but make sure there’s not a game time surprise before you sit him. Here are the rest of my updated Week 7 fantasy football rankings by position.

RELATED: Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 7

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Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 6 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were a lot of headlines in Week 6 of the fantasy football season but none bigger than the broken collarbone suffered by Aaron Rodgers.

Packers fans, relax? No, it’s time to worry. Unless Brett Hundley improves significantly, the Packers have no shot to make the playoffs after losing their leader.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 7 rankings.

Though this season has seen its share of huge injuries affecting fantasy football, none can be bigger than the one suffered by Rodgers. Odell Beckham Jr. and Dalvin Cook each suffered injuries in successive weeks before Rodgers in Week 6. If your team was being carried by Rodgers, then you’re going to have a tougher time than Beckham and Cook owners. It’s why I advise on waiting on a quarterback during the draft, so that you can balance out your roster with quality at the running back and wide receiver positions.

Anyone who drafted Rodgers early missed out on a high quality running back or wide receiver that could come in handy right about now.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) lies on the ground after being hit by Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) in the first half of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The other big headline from this week was the big week turned in by Adrian Peterson after being traded to the Cardinals. A lot of people thought he was washed up by now, and who could blame them? He was getting very few touches with the Saints. Peterson needs touches to flourish, and that’s just what he got with the Cardinals on Sunday. He rushed 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The Arizona offense looked rejuvenated with him in the backfield and I don’t see why his production would drop off.

Not only did his move to Arizona help his fantasy value, it helped the values of the running backs on the team he left. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both had great days. Ingram rushed 25 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 36 yards. Kamara rushed 10 times for 75 yards and caught four passes for 12 yards.

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) scores a touchdown in front of Detroit Lions free safety Glover Quin (27) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The top performing running back in Week 6 was Melvin Gordon who rushed 25 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. He also caught nine passes for 67 yards and another score.

Le’Veon Bell had a great day as well, rushing 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season.

Also in the Steelers game, Antonio Brown led all receivers this week. He caught eight passes for 155 yards and a spectacular 51-yard score.

Larry Fitzgerald also had a big day as a wideout. He caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald, Peterson and Carson Palmer look like the best 30-plus-year-old triplets in the NFL. Palmer looked like a new man, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns.

Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals catches an 11 yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer #3 during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The best quarterback of the week was Kirk Cousins. He threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Cousins also rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown.

The signal caller that leads the league in touchdown passes is Deshaun Watson with 15. He had another great week, throwing for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Watson has tossed at least three touchdowns in each of the last three weeks. With Rodgers out for the rest of the season, is it that far fetched to think Watson could be the best fantasy QB the rest of the season?

Watson has been utilizing second-year player Will Fuller extremely efficiently. Fuller has five touchdowns in three games on just eight receptions.

Demaryius Thomas had a big day for the Broncos, catching 10 passes for 133 yards.

Both Lions receivers had productive days, and nearly identical stat lines. Golden Tate had seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones had his best day of the season, catching six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones pulls in a one-handed touchdown reception overNew Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley (20) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

In a game that totaled 90 points, the Saints vs. Lions, there were a few fantasy disappointments. Michael Thomas had just three catches for 11 yards for the Saints. Lions running back Ameer Abdullah had just 54 total yards.

The biggest disappointments of the week were Derek Carr, Jonathan Stewart, Sammy Watkins and Chris Hogan.

Carr returned from an injured back and didn’t inspire confidence in his owners. He threw for just 171 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Sitting Amari Cooper continues to be the right move as he caught five of Carr’s passes for just 28 yards.

Stewart had a dreadful Thursday night game, rushing eight times for minus-four yards. He’s one of the least reliable starting running backs in the league.

Watkins’ poor performances are becoming commonplace and he can’t be trusted until he strings a couple of good games together.

Hogan had been doing well, but he had just one catch for 19 yards this week. Before Week 6 he had five touchdowns in his previous four games.

Rob Gronkowski led the Patriots in receiving, catching six passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns.

Another tight end that produced well was Evan Engram, who is the last good remaining target for Eli Manning. Engram caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Cameron Brate’s scoring streak continued in Week 6. He caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Zach Ertz was in danger of not having a good game this week as he caught just two passes on Thursday night. Both catches happened to be touchdowns.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins should have had two touchdown receptions, but apparently crossing the goal line with complete control of the ball isn’t a touchdown anymore. The officials ruled that Seferian-Jenkins lost control of the ball and didn’t regain it until he touched out of bounds on a play. The replay seemed to show him cross the goal line with control, but that’s just my opinion. He finished the game with eight catches, 46 yards, a touchdown and an unjustified fumble lost.

New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) is tackled by New England Patriots’ Malcolm Butler (21) and Duron Harmon (30) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. After further review the play was ruled a fumble into the end zone. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

On the defensive side, the Saints once again surprised me, scoring three times, making five sacks, forcing two fumbles and intercepting three passes. The Giants and Rams also had big weeks defensively.

Top waiver wire picks

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: Darkwa had the best day of a Giants running back on Sunday night. He rushed 21 times for 117 yards.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots: He carried the ball more than 10 times for the first time this season.

C.J. Beathard, QB, 49ers: Only a streaming option, but could be a good one.

Josh McCown, QB, Jets: Another streaming option who does well against bad defenses.

Aldrick Robinson, WR, 49ers: 2 rec., 66 yards, TD. He caught a TD with the Niners new starting QB.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Week 6 rankings

The fantasy football season is in full swing. Here’s hoping you’re sitting high in the standings. The Cowboys, Seahawks, Bengals and Bills are off this week so keep that in mind as we take a look at the Week 6 rankings.

RELATED: Week 5 recap and top waiver wire picks.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 5 recap and top waiver wire picks

Another week, another devastating injury hits the NFL and the fantasy football world.

This time around it was Odell Beckham Jr. who was carted off the field after fracturing his ankle. He was having a good game, too, catching five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 6 rankings.

Another huge injury that could significantly impact fantasy came in Sunday night’s game. J.J. Watt had a fracture occur in his knee, putting him out for the rest of the season. He wasn’t the only Texans defender to suffer a likely season-ending injury. Whitney Mercilus also went down with a torn pectoral muscle.

The Texans defense isn’t the only fantasy “player” affected by these injuries. It may actually help increase the value of Deshaun Watson. Take Sunday’s game as an example. Houston was trailing for most of the game and Watson showed he has the firepower to put up big numbers, even in garbage time. He threw five touchdown passes, most of which were in desperation to get back in the game. The Texans are more likely to need him to have big days in order to stay competitive.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Another quarterback that had a huge day was Carson Wentz. He’s entering must-start territory based on his passing attempts alone. He hasn’t thrown the ball less than 30 times in a game this year. In fact, Wentz had his lowest attempts Sunday (30) and translated that into 304 yards and four touchdowns.

For the fifth straight week Dak Prescott has improved his fantasy scoring, throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for another. His team fell once again to Aaron Rodgers, who threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 32 yards.

Cam Newton, once again proved that you can’t just write guys off in the world of fantasy football. He had another big day, throwing for three touchdowns. He’s thrown for six TDs over the last two games after throwing just two in the first three weeks.

At this point you’d rather be starting Newton over Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben had one of his worst games, throwing five interceptions in the loss to the Jaguars. Despite the terrible game for the quarterback, Antonio Brown still produced like always. He had 10 catches for 157 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) makes a catch in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

What’s strange is Blake Bortles had an even worse game than his counterpart. Though Roethlisberger threw five picks, he managed 312 yards. The Jaguars didn’t want to risk Bortles throwing too much so they only allowed him to drop back 14 times. He didn’t even eclipse 100 yards and threw a pick.

The Jaguars’ game plan was to the benefit of Leonard Fournette, who had a career game as he rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. His 90-yard score late in the game was music to some fantasy owners’ ears. The late-game big plays can save your day or break your heart.

That wasn’t more apparent than during the end of the Texans-Chief Sunday night contest. Watson’s final touchdown pass came with no time on the clock and gave DeAndre Hopkins his third score of the day. There were definitely fantasy owners that had the Watson-Hopkins stack that got a bonus 12 points on a meaningless play.

Speaking of Hopkins, he finished with just four catches but three of those were touchdowns. Another Texan, Will Fuller, continued to make a big impact since his return to action last week. He scored twice in Week 5, including a 48-yard score.

Another receiver that had two scores was Davante Adams, who recovered quickly from a brutal hit on Thursday night of Week 4.

The wide receiver that had the biggest week was A.J. Green, who has benefited from the change in offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. He caught seven passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. Even losing a fumble didn’t ruin his fantasy day.

T.Y. Hilton continues to bide his time until Andrew Luck returns to action. Hilton caught seven passes from Jacoby Brissett for 177 yards. He has a great matchup against the Titans next week.

A teammate of Hilton’s who had a great day was Marlon Mack. The backup rookie running back rushed just nine times for 91 yards and a touchdown. He’s making a strong case that he deserves more touches than the aging Frank Gore.

After Fournette, Melvin Gordon had the best day among running backs. Gordon rushed 20 times for 105 yards and caught six passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns.

Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts after rushing for a 2 yard touchdown in the second quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Another running back that cashed in through the air was Duke Johnson. He caught three passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Johnson also rushed for 20 yards and is seemingly the best running back in Cleveland, despite a lot of preseason hype surrounding Isaiah Crowell.

One player who had zero hype entering the season was Aaron Jones. The rookie out of UTEP was behind Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams entering the season. With Montgomery out this week and Williams slightly banged up, Jones made the most of his opportunity. Jones, a top waiver wire pick from last week, rushed 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.

In the same game Ezekiel Elliott posted another strong performance. The Cowboys will likely have more of the same out of the second-year back if he stays eligible. The run-heavy game plan is their best chance to win and they won’t have to play Aaron Rodgers every week.

The worst performers of the week out of the backfield were Carlos Hyde, Eddie Lacy and Todd Gurley. Hyde took a back seat to Matt Breida for some reason. Lacy had just 19 yards rushing despite getting the most attempts for Seattle. Gurley had a real letdown after a great game in Week 4. He was inches away from a touchdown in the first quarter, but Earl Thomas forced a fumble that resulted in a touchback for Seattle.

Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams runs a 12-yard touchdown which was overturned and ruled a fumble that went out of bounds in the end zone during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The biggest disappointment in the Rams-Seahawks contest was Sammy Watkins. He didn’t haul in one of the four passes sent his way.

As far as tight ends go, nobody had a better day than Ed Dickson. He’s replacing Greg Olsen in the Panthers offense and could turn out to really help Newton stay a strong option. Dickson caught five passes for 175 yards.

Zach Ertz, Cameron Brate and Travis Kelce performed well as usual while Austin Sefarian-Jenkins proved to be a solid spot start.

Top waiver wire picks

Ed Dickson, TE, Panthers: If he continues to be Newton’s favorite target, he could be a nice addition.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: 4 rec., 93 yards, TD. Wentz is getting hot and Agholor could be the one to benefit.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets: 4 rec., 38 yards, TD. He’s the No. 1 option on a surprising 3-2 team.

Nick O’Leary, TE, Bills: 5 rec., 54 yards. He’ll fill in for an injured Charles Clay when coming off a bye in Week 7.

Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys: 4 rec. 23 yards, 2TDs. If Terrance Williams continues slumping, Beasley could benefit. He’s on bye in Week 6 so he should be available.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: 5 rec., 115 yards. His season-high 11 targets makes him one to stash.

George Kittle, TE, 49ers: 7 rec., 83 yards, TD. He has a good matchup in Week 6 for any Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham or Charles Clay owners. Those guys are on bye.

Fantasy football Week 4 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were some huge performances in Week 4 of the fantasy football season, but the biggest disappointments were the handful of major injuries that marked this week.

Of course, the biggest news of the week has to be the torn ACL of Dalvin Cook. The exceptional rookie burst through the line of scrimmage for a nice gain before he crumbled to the ground and grabbed his knee as he fumbled. He had already rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown before his third-quarter injury.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Detroit Lions strong safety Tavon Wilson (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Minneapolis. Cook was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Latavius Murray will be pressed into action for Minnesota, but he won’t be nearly as productive as Cook has been. Still, if he’s available in your league, pick him up.

Another rookie highlighted the week for a good reason. Deshaun Watson became just the third rookie in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes and rush for another. He’s a great option to stream at quarterback if you’re a Matt Ryan, Drew Brees or Kirk Cousins owner. All three are on bye next week.

Watson’s best target on the day was DeAndre Hopkins. He caught 10 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Speaking of Ryan, he had one heck of a dud performance against the Bills. He turned the ball over three times and lost Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu to injury during the contest. With the Falcons off next week, those two should make it back healthy in Week 6.

Someone who started the season struggling but has found a bit of a groove is Andy Dalton. He finally looked decent last week with a new offensive coordinator and had a great game this week against the Browns. That Cleveland defense was just what the doctor ordered. Dalton finished with 286 yards and four touchdown passes.

One of Dalton’s touchdowns went to A.J. Green, who is starting to play well for fantasy owners.

A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images)

Other wideouts that shined were Tyrell Williams, Devin Funchess and Michael Thomas. Williams, alongside Keenan Allen, finally looked like a solid duo Philip Rivers could rely on. They both gained over 100 yards receiving and Williams scored. Funchess scored twice to go with 70 yards as his teammate Kelvin Benjamin went over 100 yards receiving. Thomas caught eight passes and scored as he remains a player with a high floor.

Someone with a low floor, but great upside is rookie running back Alvin Kamara who’s also on the Saints. He’s getting more touches as Adrian Peterson seems to be the odd man out in New Orleans. Kamara rushed five times for 25 yards, but where he makes his money is in the passing game. He caught a whopping 10 passes for 71 yards and scored.

Among the best rushers this week were Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. Bell looked like himself against the Ravens, rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Gurley and Elliot played exceptionally well in the same game. Gurley rushed for 121 yards and caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Elliott had a rushing and a receiving touchdown.

Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath (38) attempts to stop a leaping Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) as Gurley carries the ball in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Lamar Miller was also great, totaling 121 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ offensive explosion.

Bilal Powell finally showed up, with Matt Forte out, and rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown against a Jaguars defense that looked great last week. Jacksonville was awful defensively as they even allowed Elijah McGuire to rush for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Speaking of bad defense, it’s time to start worrying about the Patriots. When Cam Newton, who struggled against the Saints, can throw for three touchdowns and run for a fourth, it’s time to reevaluate the defensive strategy.

Staying with the Saints defense, I have to give them credit after picking on them a lot this season. They pitched a shutout against the Dolphins in London Sunday. Don’t get too confident in them, however, since that game was played in a unique situation. Let’s see them play well stateside before you pick them up.

One of the most disappointing receivers this week had to be Sammy Watkins, who blew a good matchup with the Cowboys by catching one pass for 17 yards. Demaryius Thomas also had a rough day with just one catch. It was his worst game so far this season. Amari Cooper suffered his seventh drop already this season in that game against Denver. He severely disappointed even with Michael Crabtree sidelined.

As for the running backs, Terrance West had back-to-back 0-point games and Marshawn Lynch has scored practically nothing for the second week in a row.

Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Chris Thompson finally came back down to earth after a tremendous run. He had seven touches for just 24 yards and lost a fumble on Monday night.

A running back that was supposed to finally have a breakout performance was Joe Mixon. He managed just 48 total yards on 21 touches.

In Sunday night’s matchup, Chris Carson was carted off in an air cast, a very unfortunate turn of events for the surprise find.

Don’t worry too much, there’s a lot on the waiver wire this week.

But before we get to that. I have to, just this once, talk about a kicker. Have to give kudos to Greg “the leg” Zuerlein who hit seven field goals, including a long of 49 yards against the Cowboys. He won the week for some owners.

Top waiver wire picks

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: 283 yards passing, 5 total TDs

Will Fuller, WR, Texans: Strike while the iron is hot. He scored twice in his season debut and the Texans offense is heating up.

Jaron Brown, WR, Cardinals: The struggles of John Brown make Jaron Brown valuable. He’s scored well in three straight games.

Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Still owned in less than 40 percent of CBS leagues. 255 yards, 2 TDs

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: Ty Montgomery may miss Week 5 and Jones did well in relief on Thursday.

Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: He led the Cardinals in receptions and totaled over 100 yards of offense.

J.D. McKissic, RB, Seahawks: He looked pretty dynamic, scoring two times with just five touches.

Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals: At least one Tyler is producing from the tight end spot for Cincinnati. Kroft had 6 catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns in Tyler Eifert’s stead.

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens: Had 82 yards rushing for second straight week.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: He’s had three straight weeks with at least four catches and 58 yards.

Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys: Just in case Elliott is ruled against in court this week.

Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets: Stash him for later this season if you have room. 133 total yards, TD

Wayne Gallman, RB, N.Y. Giants: 13 touches, 50 yards

Austin Ekeler, RB, L.A. Chargers: Another possible stash, if Melvin Gordon gets hurt. 3 touches, 58 yards, TD

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.