Fantasy football Week 13 recap and top waiver wire picks

Week 13 was the regular season finale for most fantasy leagues around the country and the story lines were abundant.

For one, the Chief offense returned after Andy Reid handed over play-calling duties. Alex Smith had a monster game, playing even better than his season debut. He threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns and even had a single carry that went 70 yards. How’s that for a rushing average?

The only problem with this offensive explosion by Smith is that he was probably on many benches this week after a couple of poor performances after the Week 10 bye.

Alex Smith #11 throws to Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 3, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Tyreek Hill was the biggest beneficiary of Smith’s performance. Hill caught six passes for 185 yards—a 30.8-yard average—and scored twice.

Travis Kelce also got in on the action, catching four passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. That gave him the best performance by a tight end this week.

A Chief who continues to trend in the wrong direction is Kareem Hunt. The early rookie of the year candidate has had a rough go in recent weeks. Hunt tied a season-low in rushing attempts with nine as he gained 40 yards. He caught three passes for 23 yards to avoid a disastrous week.

The current rookie of the year candidate, Alvin Kamara, continued to impress. At this point he looks to be a sure first-round pick in redraft leagues next season as he’s currently in the top-3 in standard scoring at his position. He totaled 126 yards from scrimmage and scored two rushing touchdowns.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) his touchdown front of Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Mark Ingram had a great game as well, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 37 yards. The Saints backfield is how you want a running back tandem to work out. Their successful coexistence is rare and tough to duplicate.

As a result, you have backfields like the Titans’. There are two quality backs in Tennessee but it’s so hard to predict which one will go off in a given week. This week Derrick Henry was the big performer. He rushed 11 times for 109 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. DeMarco Murray had a decent game, but you get the impression that if Henry was the featured back, he’d dominate.

Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half at Nissan Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Someone who seemingly dominates week in and week out is the ageless Tom Brady. So it was odd to see he and Brandin Cooks struggle against the Bills. Brady threw for 258 yards and an interception. He failed to throw a TD for the first time since the first game of the season. Cooks caught just two passes for 17 yards.

Rob Gronkowski led the way for the Patriots’ passing attack, catching nine passes for 147 yards. They’re good numbers, but he will miss the first week of the fantasy playoffs after a personal foul penalty he committed. He was frustrated but could have caused serious injury when he dove on a prone Tre’Davious White. He was suspended Monday for one game.

Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots talks with back judge Dino Paganelli #105 during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills on December 3, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Other big receiving numbers were put up by Keenan Allen, Nelson Agholor and Larry Fitzgerald.

Allen is on fire, as are the Chargers, as he caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. He’s the only player in NFL history to catch at least 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in three straight games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Agholor caught seven passes for 141 yards and scored for the second game in a row.

Fitzgerald caught all 10 of the passes that came his way for 98 yards and scored. That’s three out of four games in which he’s caught passes for at least 90 yards.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after scoring a second quarter touchdown during the NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Jets’ top receivers both had big games in a somewhat surprising win for the Jets over the Chiefs. Josh McCown continued to hook up well with Robby Anderson, who caught eight passes for 107 yards. McCown finished with 331 yards and a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.

Someone who kind of reminds me of McCown is Case Keenum. He hasn’t been on anyone’s short list for quality quarterbacks during his career, but he’s putting up solid performances week after week. He was a top-12 QB once again in Week 13, throwing for 227 yards and two scores.

Some surprising performances this week were turned in by Kenny Stills and Mike Wallace. Stills seemed to play a bigger roll than DeVante Parker while Wallace turned in a quality performance for the third time in four games.

The biggest disappointment this week was Julio Jones, who caught just two passes for 24 yards. It was a jarring result after his 250-plus yard performance in Week 12.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is tackled by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes during the second half on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Atlanta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Demaryius Thomas and Mike Evans were also bad this week. Unfortunately, it’s not too surprising at this point. Both have unstable quarterback situations and have been up-and-down all season.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the return of Josh Gordon. I didn’t suggest you add him until we saw what he looked like in game action. Well, he looks pretty good. If he’s somehow still available, put in a bid or make the claim.

Top waiver wire picks

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: 4 rec., 85 yards.

Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers: 23 rushes, 102 yards. Rather than going with Jacquizz Rodgers, the Bucs leaned on Barber who added 41 yards receiving as well. He should still get decent action when Doug Martin returns.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers: Fantasy owners will see he had a bad fantasy game and may avoid him, but he threw for 293 yards on 26-of-37 passing.

Josh McCown, QB, Jets: 331 yards passing, TD, 2 rushing TDs. If you’ve gone with a QB-zero roster, consider McCown as a streaming option. He’s been very productive two weeks in a row.

Mike Davis, RB, Seahawks: 101 total yards. He put on some great moves as the lead back, something the Seahawks have desperately needed.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots: 78 yards, 2 TDs. He’s been productive in four out of the six games he’s played in and is available in a lot of leagues.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: 8 rec., 99 yards. Goodwin is still available in a lot of leagues. Jimmy Garoppolo looks like the real deal.

Trent Taylor, WR, 49ers: 6 rec. 92 yards. Even the diminutive Taylor benefited with the addition of Garoppolo to the starting lineup.

David Njoku, TE, Browns: 4 rec., 74 yards, TD. It’s been two straight games that the rookie has caught at least four passed. Josh Gordon’s return opens things up for other pass catchers.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: 309 yards passing, 2 TDs. He’s always been a better fantasy quarterback than a real-life quarterback. After next week’s tough matchup against the Seahawks, he has nice opponents in the fantasy semifinal and championship week.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets: 9 rec. 157 yards. It’s his second straight big game after missing the bye week. He could be a decent addition for depth, though he faces the Broncos next week.

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

Fantasy football Week 12 recap and top waiver wire picks

Congrats if you have been waiting on Julio Jones to have a breakout game that justified your use of a high draft pick on him. The wide receiver for the Falcons has been good all season, but he hasn’t had a performance that could win your week until Week 12. Jones caught 12 passes for 253 yards, including a 51-yard score from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu. That makes three 250-plus yard games in Jones’ career. No other receiver in NFL history has more than one.

Sanu also had a good game as a result of the long touchdown pass. He added eight catches for 64 yards, though the single TD pass already gave him a double-digit performance in six-point TD fantasy leagues.

Keenan Allen also put up a huge game for owners who had possibly been regretting drafting him too high. For the most part, though, he hadn’t been overvalued during drafts this season due to his injury history. He caught 11 passes for 172 yards and a 42-yard touchdown in the win over the hapless Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball in for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

On the other side of the ball, Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott continue to be big disappointments. Bryant has played below his asking price all year while Prescott has gone into a deep swoon over the last three games. In six-point touchdown leagues he’s scored 13, minus-2 and 3 points in that stretch.

Bryant had just three catches for 37 yards on Thursday. The touchdown-dependent wideout hasn’t scored since Week 7 against the 49ers. He has single-digit fantasy performances in non-ppr leagues in each of his last five games and has yet to gain over 100 yards in a single game this year.

The NFC East has fallen out of the hands of the Cowboys due in large part to the successes of the Eagles this season. Philadelphia is running away with the division title and it’s mostly because of Carson Wentz and his offensive weapons.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes the ball to Zach Ertz #86 against Christian Jones #52 of the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

If it’s not Zach Ertz hauling in passes from the second-year signal caller, it’s Alshon Jeffery or Nelson Agholor, or one of many out of the backfield. Wentz and Ertz are the centerpieces of the offense, however. The quarterback proved it again with a ho-hum 227-yard, 3-TD performance. Wentz also rushed for 29 yards against the Bears.

Ertz caught 10 passes for 103 yards and a 17-yard touchdown. Both Jeffery and Agholor caught touchdowns as well on the day.

A big disappointment this week was Jay Ajayi. The Eagles’ running back situation is starting to look like that of New England, where you can’t predict who will be the most productive from week to week. This week it was LeGarrette Blount, who carried the ball 15 times for 97 yards. Ajayi had just six total touches for 33 yards.

A running back that hasn’t disappointed in many weeks is Alvin Kamara. He continues to impress and makes a case as the No. 1 running back in New Orleans. He outscored Mark Ingram this week against the Rams. Kamara’s versatility and high efficiency are huge values in fantasy leagues. He finished with 84 yards rushing, but he also added six catches for 101 yards and totaled two scores. Usually it’s safe to play both Saints running backs and come away with either RB1 or high-RB2 numbers. This week Ingram was hurt by a pass interference penalty that took away a touchdown for him as he totaled just 36 yards.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, top, jumps over Los Angeles Rams cornerback Kayvon Webster during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

One rookie who has struggled to gain solid footing is Joe Mixon. He finally broke out in Week 12 as he ran for 114 yards and scored. It was the first time he eclipsed 100 yards on the ground this season. He also caught three passes for 51 yards.

Another running back worth mentioning, not because of a huge week but because he is consistently putting up solid weeks, is Latavius Murray. After being relegated to single-digit carries when Dalvin Cook was the lead back in Minnesota, Murray sputtered out of the gate when he took on the featured role. In Week 7 he rushed for over 100 yards and scored to spark a nice run in which he’s scored in four of five games. Murray is currently on a three-game scoring streak and faces the Falcons next.

Murray’s quarterback, Case Keenum, is starting to look like more than a spot start candidate at the position. He threw for 282 yards and two scores while rushing for 20 yards and another touchdown. That performance made it four straight solid outings. He’s thrown nine touchdowns to three interceptions in that span.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum rushes for a 9-yard touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Detroit. The Vikings won the game 30-23. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Sharing the field with Keenum on Thanksgiving was Marvin Jones of the Lions, who came through with six receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. It was a bit of a surprise performance against a tough Vikings defense.

Something that didn’t come as a surprise was the performance of Antonio Brown. The guy just performs week in and week out, elevating the play of Ben Roethlisberger in the process. Brown had 10 receptions for 169 yards and two scores. That helped Roethlisberger reach 351 yards to go with four TD passes.

Le’Veon Bell had a great game as well, rushing for 95 yards while catching 12 passes for 88 more.

Also playing Sunday night was Brett Hundley, who finally looked like an NFL quarterback. He threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns against a tough Steelers defense. Davante Adams was the beneficiary of most of Hundley’s throws. Adams caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Jamaal Williams also had a touchdown reception in the best game of his career. He gained 135 yards from scrimmage and scored twice.

Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers runs upfield after a catch for a 54 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 26, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Among the biggest disappointments this week were Kareem Hunt, Jordan Howard and Leonard Fournette. Danny Amendola, T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate had some of the worst performances for wideouts.

Along with Prescott, Marcus Mariota had one of the worst weeks for a quarterback against a bad Colts team.

Top waiver wire picks

Brett Hundley, QB, Packers: 245 yards, 3 TDs.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets: 7 rec., 105 yards, TD. He had fallen off in previous weeks and was dropped by a lot of teams. His performance against the Panthers could be a sign of things to come.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals: He still isn’t owned in many leagues, likely because last week could have been a fluke. But when you see that his success has been tied to the play of Blaine Gabbert, it might be smart to add him.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: 70 yards from scrimmage. He’s doing a little bit of everything and serves as a nice complement to Melvin Gordon. A must-have handcuff for Gordon owners.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: 4 rec., 40 yards, TD. If JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hamstring heals up sooner rather than later, you’ll have to temper your expectations of Bryant. He’s finally out of the doghouse and performing well.

Chargers defense/special teams: Their last two games have been spectacular and they get to face the Browns in Week 13.

Dontrell Inman, WR, Bears: 4 rec., 64 yards. He’s been somewhat productive in his three games with the Bears.

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

Fantasy football Week 11 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were some hard lessons learned in Week 11 as we get ever closer to the fantasy football playoffs. Hopefully it’s not too late and the lessons learned will help you qualify for the playoffs.

If Dak Prescott is on your team and you entered Sunday night with a small lead, you probably lost this week. Prescott scored negative points as he was responsible for four turnovers and failed to score a touchdown in any capacity.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 12 rankings.

Without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup, Prescott looks like a mediocre quarterback at best. You couldn’t really blame the running game Sunday night, though. Alfred Morris rushed 17 times for 91 yards. The biggest issue facing Prescott is the lack of adequate pass protection. With Smith missing from the left tackle spot for two straight games, the Cowboys have given up 13 sacks. It was clear that Prescott was off the mark due to concern with the pass rush Sunday night.

Prescott isn’t a typical gunslinger. He needs solid protection, a good play-action game and his receivers to get clearly open. Prescott’s receivers aren’t doing that for him right now. In fact, one of his picks was off a tipped pass by Terrance Williams.

Even if Smith returns to action on Thanksgiving, Prescott may struggle against the Chargers who have a strong pass rush and intercepted five passes Sunday. Fantasy owners should not view him as an automatic start anymore with back-to-back bad games.

Dez Bryant also hasn’t had a strong game in four straight weeks. He’s been a big disappointment this season and has to be considered a weak WR2 to strong flex option from here out.

Another tough lesson learned in Week 11 was that the Patriots pass defense isn’t as bad as their numbers indicate. Derek Carr looked like a decent play this week, but he managed just 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The Patriots surrendered 350 yards passing per game in the first two weeks of the season. Since then, they’ve allowed 265 yards per game over that last eight games. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 237 yards in each of the last four weeks. You probably won’t want to start Matt Moore of Miami or whomever Buffalo throws out there to play quarterback against the Pats in the coming weeks.

One of the toughest truths to come to terms with in Week 11 is that there’s something wrong with the Chiefs offense. Alex Smith has struggled in three of the last five games, but I’m a lot more worried about Kareem Hunt.

After he started his career by gaining at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven straight games, Hunt hasn’t gained more than 77 yards in three in a row. Even more concerning, Hunt hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3.

You could say at least Tyreek Hill is playing well, but his consistency is seriously lacking. He was decent on Sunday, catching seven passes for 68 yards. Not knowing when he’ll pay off leaves owners in a pickle as the playoffs approach.

One wide receiver that’s a model of consistency this season is Adam Thielen. He’s the only receiver with at least five catches in every game this year. Thielen and the Vikings earned a big win over the upstart Rams Sunday. His 65-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter put the game away for Minnesota. Thielen finished with six catches, 123 yards and a TD. He’ll try to extend his three-game scoring streak going against the Lions in Detroit. They held him to five catches and 59 yards in Week 4.

The Lions had a strong defensive performance that week and there were some big ones in Week 11. The Ravens, Jaguars, Chargers and Eagles all had huge performances.

The Chargers had an amazing first half against the rookie quarterback for the Bills. Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions and got benched. The Chargers also scored twice to go with a forced fumble and a sack.

The Jags had five sacks, three forced fumble and a touchdown. The Ravens had six sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Defenses are an overlooked starting position and you’d do well to have a couple of options available in the final weeks of the regular season.

As you get ready for the final push, feel comfortable riding the usual suspects to big weeks. Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Roethlisberger are safe bets to keep being productive. Brady threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns while Brees topped out at 385 yards and two scores. Roethlisberger had the best performance in Week 11, throwing four touchdown passes. He has just one tough matchup the rest of the season.

Carson Wentz had a nice week as well, but it will be interesting to see how he does in the next three weeks. He faces the Bears, Seahawks and Rams, all teams in the top-10 in points allowed to quarterbacks. You have to respect what he can do at this point, however.

As for running backs, the dynamic duo in New Orleans continues to be outstanding. Mark Ingram rushed just 11 times for 134 yards and a touchdown. That’s 12.2 yards per carry. Alvin Kamara caught six passes for 74 yards and had a great juggling touchdown reception. He gained 116 yards from scrimmage.

LeSean McCoy, Latavius Murray and Jordan Howard also had big weeks. McCoy rushed for 114 yards and had both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Murray was more effective than Jerick McKinnon this week, rushing for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Howard rushed for 125 yards and scored.

Two rookies impressed in Week 11 as well, but face two different roads to end the season. D’Onta Foreman had his best game as a Texan, rushing for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he may have torn his Achilles on his final carry of the day. Samaje Perine broke out for the first time this season as he rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a big waiver wire addition this week, especially since Chris Thompson is out for the season with a broken leg.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that Antonio Brown had the best week for wideouts this week. He gained 144 yards and scored three times on Thursday night.

It probably would surprise you to hear that Keenan Allen had the next best week among receivers. It was his most productive week as he caught 12 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Another surprise came from Kenny Stills. It’s apparent that Moore likes the receiver. Stills finished with 180 yards and a touchdown.

Here are some waiver wire options to help you try to get to the postseason.

Top waiver wire picks

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins: 117 yards, TD.

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Cardinals: 257 yards passing, 3 TDs, 2 INTs. He didn’t look bad against the Texans and could serve as another option for your team if you’re weak at quarterback.

Corey Coleman, WR, Browns: 6 rec., 80 yards. He returned to action and looks pretty good if you’re in desperate need for an outside option.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals: 3 rec., 54 yards, 2TDs. The converted wide receiver seems to be a decent target for Gabbert.

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

Fantasy football Week 10 recap and top waiver wire picks

Just two running backs rushed for more than 100 yards in Week 10. Lucky for the New Orleans Saints, both running backs are on their team.

In what has become one of the best addition-by-subtraction moves this season, the departure of Adrian Peterson has unleashed a dangerous backfield for the Saints. Mark Ingram rushed 21 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns for his most productive game of the year. Alvin Kamara rushed 12 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, in addition to catching five passes for 32 yards. I suggested starting both in my start-sit column last Thursday because there’s enough opportunity to go around.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 11 rankings.

In a game in which the Saints nearly scored 50 points, it was somewhat puzzling that Drew Brees didn’t have a touchdown pass. The Saints were so successful rushing the ball that they didn’t need to put up points through the air. Even Brees rushed for a score while only throwing for 184 yards.

A good amount of Brees’ passing yards went to Michael Thomas, who isn’t getting the credit he deserves this season as a fantasy asset. He may not be an exciting, high-ceiling type of player, but he’ll give you a nice scoring minimum each week. Thomas hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since Week 4, but he crossed the century mark for the first time this season with 117 yards receiving Sunday.

Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints attempts to catch the ball as Leonard Johnson #24 of the Buffalo Bills attempts to defend him during the second quarter on November 12, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Robert Woods had the best week catching passes, hauling in eight balls for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams. His biggest play came on a 94-yard connection with Jared Goff. It was Woods’ second straight week scoring two touchdowns. I suggested you pick him up last week and if you did then he paid off for you right away.

Goff was one of my starts of the week and he came through with 355 yards passing and three touchdowns. He has nine touchdown passes and just one interception over his last four games. Goff is nearly a must-start every week. His three worst games came against the Redskins, Seahawks and Jaguars.

Speaking of the Redskins, Kirk Cousins had a nice bounce-back performance as he faced the Vikings. He threw for 327 yards and a touchdown in addition to rushing for two more scores. Cousins has had a solid season in terms of fantasy production despite lacking a true No. 1 at the wideout position.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins throws the ball during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

A couple of quarterbacks that had some surprisingly productive days were Case Keenum and C.J. Beathard. Keenum put up 304 passing yards and tossed four touchdown passes for the Vikings. Beathard led the 49ers to their first win of the season as he threw for 288 yards and a touchdown pass.

Keenum’s success was due in large part to the play of Adam Thielen, who had eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. He’s the top receiver for the Vikings, even when Stephon Diggs is healthy in my opinion, and has been targeted at least eight times in every game since Week 3.

Another No. 1 receiver, who hasn’t been playing like one, is A.J. Green of the Bengals. The big-play receiver didn’t even finish last week’s game due to being kicked out for fighting in the first half. Green finally broke out of a three-week funk in Week 10 as he caught five passes for 115 yards and a 70-yard score.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green scores a touchdown on a 70-yard pass play against the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

One receiver who has been thrust into a No. 1 role is Sterling Shepard. With both Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall out for the season, Shepard will have to be Eli Manning’s top wide receiver target. The second-year player hasn’t disappointed for fantasy purposes. He caught 11 of his 13 targets for a career-high 142 yards receiving. I saw him as a top waiver wire target last week and he could end up being worth it with a great schedule coming up.

One final top-trending wideout I’ll mention is JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Steelers. I suggested picking up the rookie after his huge Week 8 performance even though he was off last week. If you waited out the Pittsburgh bye then you were rewarded with a great performance. Smith-Schuster caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Even the return of Martavis Bryant didn’t put a damper on the rookie’s three-game TD streak.

On the defensive front, the Falcons led the way by sacking Dak Prescott eight times, forcing two fumbles and allowing just seven points to a once potent Cowboys offense.

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by Adrian Clayborn #99 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Without Ezekiel Elliott and starting right tackle Tyron Smith, Prescott definitely struggled to get going. He rushed for a touchdown early but was disappointing after that. Of course, if Prescott struggles that means Dez Bryant wasn’t productive either.

Other disappointing performances were turned in by Tyrod Taylor, Adrian Peterson, Devonta Freeman and Jordy Nelson.

Taylor was a victim to an emerging Saints defense. Peterson couldn’t match his Week 9 performance on a short week in which he rushed 21 times for 29 yards. Freeman left his game early due to a blow to the head and Nelson still can’t get on the same page with Brett Hundley.

You don’t have much room for poor performances as you ready for a playoff push. Here are the top waiver wire targets heading into Week 11.

Top waiver wire picks

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: 10 rushes, 42 yards, 5 rec., 77 yards, 2TDs. He’s a must-own handcuff for all Melvin Gordon owners.

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars: 6 rec., 55 yards, TD. He’s still owned in less than 60 percent of leagues on some platforms. He has caught at least 72 yards or at least one TD in his last four games and has a favorable schedule coming up.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants: 14 rushes, 70 yards. Darkwa is definitely the No. 1 running back for the Giants at this point. He passes the eye test and just needs a handful more touches in order to have real value.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots: 10 rushes, 36 yards, 3 rec., 27 yards, TD. He’s getting involved and could end up being a winning flex play as you hit the playoff push.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cardinals: 5 rec., 64 yards, TD. He’s scored in each of the last two weeks and has a favorable schedule coming up and through the fantasy playoffs.

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

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.

START THESE GUYS

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.

SIT THESE GUYS

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.

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.