Fantasy football Week 16 recap and DFS targets

With less than a minute to play, Jake Elliott nailed a 48-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead of the Raiders on Monday night. That wasn’t the final play of the game, however. The Eagles scored a defensive touchdown on a desperation play by the Raiders to end Week 16’s action and the fantasy football playoffs for most leagues.

It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to realize someone’s fantasy championship contest turned on that final field goal, or that final defensive touchdown.

It’s also probably safe to assume that an extremely high percentage of fantasy champions had Todd Gurley on their rosters.

Gurley has to be the sure fire fantasy MVP, not only given his year-long production, but also due to his performances during the fantasy playoffs. He held his best game for last, gaining 118 yards rushing and 158 yards receiving to go with two scores. It was the first time anyone has gained 100-plus yards rushing and 150-plus yards receiving in a game since Herschel Walker did so in 1986.

Gurley’s performance in Week 16 was highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass that he took the distance. That’s the kind of play that makes a quarterback look good.

Jared Goff had the best fantasy performance by a quarterback this week, throwing for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Other than connecting with Gurley on two scores, Goff also hit Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins with touchdown passes. He didn’t hook up well with Robert Woods, who looked like he was going to regain his spot as the No. 1 receiver for the Rams. He had just three catches for 33 yards in a disappointing start.

The biggest disappointments at wide receiver had to be Alshon Jeffery and Michael Crabtree. Each was shut out in the Monday night contest. What a time for that to happen with championships on the line. Nick Foles underwhelmed, after a solid outing last week for the Eagles, and failed to get the ball to Jeffery on two targets. I suggested you sit Derek Carr in Week 16, and he proved me right with a poor performance in which he couldn’t get Crabtree involved at all.

This week’s top receivers, outside of Todd Gurley, were Larry Fitzgerald, Jakeem Grant and Julio Jones. It was a real assortment of talent levels and experience.

Fitzgerald, once again topped 100 catches and 1,000 yards this year as he caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. We keep expecting him to fall off after 14 seasons, but he keeps putting up solid numbers.

Jakeem Grant is just in his second year and has now scored twice in the last three weeks after not being a factor all season. He caught four of his six targets from Jay Cutler for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Julio Jones caught seven passes for 149 yards in a bounce back from Week 15’s lackluster performance. If his owners were lucky enough to survive that week, they were rewarded in Week 16.

Outside of Goff, Kirk Cousins and Blake Bortles had he best days for quarterbacks. Both Cousins and Bortles continue to prove that you can get quality fantasy production out of a quarterback who is having a bad game. Cousins hit just 51 percent of his passes but threw for 299 yards and three scores.

I predicted Bortles would help a team win a fantasy championship, and if he was started on Sunday, he probably did. Bortles had three interceptions against the 49ers but also threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns. Add to that his 31 rushing yards and you have great fantasy production.

Also in that game, Jimmy Garoppolo convinced me to never doubt him again. The quarterback, who is now 6-0 as a starter, had 242 yards passing and two touchdowns. He rushed for another touchdown as he didn’t let the league’s top pass defense slow down his momentum.

If you were out of your fantasy playoffs entering the week, these are the kinds of performances you should stow away heading into next season. Fantasy owners tend to forget about the last couple of weeks of action, especially if they’ve been eliminated from contention. It’s a good idea to take notes for next season, though.

Someone you should be paying attention to is Dion Lewis. I had him listed as one of my starts for Week 16 and he delivered by rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown. He added five catches for 24 yards and another score on his way to having the second best day by a running back.

Gio Bernard also had a great day, though his upside beyond next week is extremely limited. He rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. It was Bernard’s third straight week of scoring in double digits in fantasy points. If Joe Mixon remains sidelined in Week 17, Bernard could start again.

Bilal Powell and C.J. Anderson can also be filed under, “productive running backs on teams with nothing to play for.” Powell rushed 19 times for 145 yards and a touchdown while Anderson gained 133 yards from scrimmage and scored.

Speaking of running backs who no longer have anything to play for, Ezekiel Elliott made his return to the field after his six-game suspension. Things were set up perfectly for the Cowboys, who had a good shot at making the playoffs if they had just won their final two games.

Elliott performed well, even, rushing for 97 yards and catching four passes for 21 more. The Cowboys couldn’t pull off the win, however, and it might make sense to shut down their franchise back in a meaningless Week 17 game with the Eagles.

While Week 17 is meaningless for most of the NFL, it should be meaningless to all season-long fantasy football leagues everywhere. Any fantasy league that has Week 17 as a factor in determining its fantasy champion is doing a tremendous disservice to its owners. Some think a two-week final is appropriate, in which the championship is played across Week 16 and 17. I’m not one of those people, especially given the fact that real NFL teams often have different goals in Week 17.

With that in mind, that’s why I won’t be suggesting waiver wire pick ups for Week 17. Instead I’m providing inexpensive options for those interested in daily fantasy sports and one-week competitions.

DFS targets for Week 17

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers: This should be an easy call by now. If he can do what he did to the Jaguars, he can do it to the Rams.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars: Though the Jaguars have nothing to play for, as their seeding is locked in, Cole may still end up seeing a lot of action. Jacksonville has injury issues at the position and Cole has been on fire.

Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals: There won’t be a rush to bring Joe Mixon back and Bernard has the versatility to put up nice numbers given the opportunity.

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans: He’s getting more carries than Lamar Miller and is doing more with them. He faces the Colts in Week 17.

Jakeem Grant, WR, Dolphins: Grant is impressing, but he does have a tough matchup with the Bills in Week 17.

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: Jacksonville won’t risk injuring Leonard Fournette before the playoffs. Yeldon gets to face a Titans defense that got killed by Gurley.

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

Fantasy football Week 15 recap and top waiver wire picks

Even if you were from a galaxy far, far away, and your first experience watching the NFL was Week 15, you would still recognize how dramatic and crazy the week was.

Football is often called “a game of inches,” but a game of folded sheets of paper? One of those quite possibly helped decide the Cowboys’ win over the Raiders on Sunday night. Head official Gene Steratore used a folded sheet of paper to prove that the football was indeed touching the line to gain on a fourth-and-one quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott in the final quarter.

Another play that helped decide that game was Derek Carr’s fumble into the end zone to seal the win for Dallas. Marshawn Lynch can’t seem to find a quarterback that makes the right decision down near the goal line.

Speaking of plays down near the goal line, how about Big Ben’s decision to go for a fake spike and drill a slant to the middle of the field? Of course, the play ended in an interception by the Patriots to seal the win. That was after an unbelievable 69-yard catch and run by JuJu Smith-Schuster that set the Steelers up in great position. As for New England, sometimes it’s better to be lucky and good.

All this and I’ve yet to mention another superstar going down to injury. Antonio Brown partially tore his calf and will miss the rest of the regular season at least. But he’s out of your fantasy playoffs for sure.

Aside from the crazy endings, there were some big-time fantasy playoff performances turned in this week.

No performance was bigger than the one turned in by Todd Gurley, who helped the Rams decimate the Seahawks. With a young nucleus and a rookie head coach you couldn’t help wonder if this were a changing of the guard. The Seahawks are aging, especially on defense, and it’s been a long time since they’ve been treated the way the Rams treated them.

Gurley rushed for 152 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns, including a 57-yarder to all but end the game in the first half. He also caught three passes for 28 yards and another score. Gurley, who was disappointing last season, has thrived now that Jeff Fisher can no longer stunt his production. He’s definitely a fantasy MVP candidate and will very likely be on most fantasy championship teams.

The next best performance by a running back was the one turned in by Kareem Hunt on Saturday. That made it his second straight great start in a row. His resurgence is coming at the perfect time for fantasy owners in the playoffs. Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown. He also caught seven passes for 51 yards and another score.

It was a nice week for a lot of the best rushers. Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy all put up the types of numbers they were expected to get for fantasy owners.

A few unexpected names led the charge for best wide receiver performances through Sunday night. A pair of Jaguars and another pair of Giants had the biggest days.

Sterling Shepard caught 11 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown as Eli Manning played great against the Eagles. Manning also hooked up with Tavarres King twice for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Manning probably didn’t start for a lot of fantasy playoff teams, but he finished with 434 yards and three touchdowns.

Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens helped Blake Bortles stay on a roll. Bortles was on of my starts of the week and did great against the Texans. He connected with Cole on seven passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Bortles hit Mickens four times for 61 yards and two more scores. Bortles faces the 49ers and I was serious when I said he could possibly help some owners win their leagues in the playoffs. He was a good pick up for Carson Wentz owners last week.

You didn’t have to go far for another solid choice to replace Wentz. Nick Foles looked like he did in 2013, throwing for 237 yards and four touchdowns passes in his first start in relief of Wentz. I suggested you pick him up last week when Wentz went down, but it looks like he’s still available in a lot of leagues.

Cam Newton also threw for four touchdowns and is looking like his old self again as he added 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

Outside of Newton, it was quite a mix of unusual suspects scoring well this week from the quarterback position. Brock Osweiler, Tyrod Taylor and Joe Flacco all had big games.

Someone we’re used to having good numbers is Aaron Rodgers. He had a nice return, but he may get shut down since the Packers have nothing to play for anymore. Rodgers’ game benefited Randall Cobb more than Jordy Nelson.

Case Keenum, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith all had solid weeks as well.

Another quarterback that I have to mention is Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s picked up Kyle Shanahan’s offense in mere weeks and looks great moving around the pocket. Garoppolo already has good chemistry with his receivers, especially Marquise Goodwin. It’s early, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns in QB1 numbers next season.

As far as tight ends go, it’s been a tough road for the position this season. This week they scored in droves, but no tight end had a bigger week than Rob Gronkowski. He caught nine passes for 168 yards.

Greg Olsen also had a great week, his first one of the season, catching nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.

On the dark side…

Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton probably knocked a lot of owners out of the playoffs.

Dalton, A.J. Green and the Bengals have been huge disappointments. It’s one thing to be untalented and bad, but this team is talented and terrible.

Running backs that probably cost owners wins this week were Jonathan Stewart, Jamaal Williams, Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde.

Of course, Week 16 is championship week so these waiver wire suggestions are obviously if you’re desperate at this point.

Top waiver wire picks

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: 237 yards, 4 TDs.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars: 7 rec., 186 yards, TD. I thought Dede Westbrook was the better add of the two last week, but Cole is still putting up bigger numbers.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: 4 rec., 59 yards, TD. With Antonio Brown out, Bryant will likely see more targets and he’s available in a decent amount of leagues.

Kapri Bibbs, RB, Redskins: He caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown and could be utilized the way Kirk Cousins used Chris Thompson earlier this season.

Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants: He totaled 79 yards from scrimmage and is proving to be a pass option out of the backfield.

Kerwynn Williams or Elijhaa Penny, RB, Cardinals: Williams suffered a quad injury, but whomever starts next week will have a good matchup against the Giants.

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

Fantasy football Week 14 recap and top waiver wire picks

A bit of a sibling rivalry is developing between the City of Brotherly Love and Sixburgh, Pa. The teams from Pennsylvania won their divisions Sunday but are heading in two different directions. The Eagles are the NFC East champions while the Steelers are kings of the AFC North. The Steelers are firing on all cylinders offensively, but the Eagles just lost their MVP candidate, Carson Wentz, to a torn ACL.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 15 rankings.

Ben Roethlisberger and Wentz had a couple of the best fantasy performances for quarterbacks in Week 14, typically the first round of playoffs for fantasy leagues. Roethlisberger looks to gain a first round bye while Eagles fans are hoping Nick Foles can do enough to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive.

Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns in a big comeback win over the Ravens on Sunday night. He had a lot of help in the process. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 213 yards. Fantasy owners will forgive him for not scoring a touchdown.

Le’Veon Bell also put up big numbers, catching one of Roethlisberger’s touchdown tosses while gaining 77 yards receiving. He also rushed for 48 yards and scored twice on the ground. It was Bell’s fourth time scoring a rushing touchdown and catching a touchdown pass in the same game. That’s tied for most since he entered the league in 2013, according to NFL Research on Twitter.

Not to be completely outdone on Sunday night was Alex Collins. He’s been fantastic for four straight weeks. Collins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. He’s currently riding a four-game scoring streak and faces the Browns and Colts in the next two weeks. Collins could end up being a playoff MVP for a lot of owners.

Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) plays in an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Bell wasn’t the only player to rush for a touchdown and catch another this week. Two other running backs, Rod Smith of the Cowboys and the Packers’ Jamaal Williams, completed that task.

Smith rushed for 47 yards, at 7.8 per carry, and scored on the ground before he caught a game-breaking 81-yard touchdown reception. He totaled 115 yards receiving on five catches.

Williams totaled 118 yards and scored twice in the Packers’ comeback victory over the Browns.

Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a first down in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Jonathan Stewart had one of the biggest weeks as well, scoring three touchdowns as he rushed for 103 yards. He’s on a three-game scoring streak as the Panthers seem to be picking up steam.

Week 14 was a resurgent week for a couple of players. Kareem Hunt finally rushed for more than 100 yards again and Dak Prescott finally rid himself of his month-long funk. Hunt gained 116 yards on the ground and scored while adding three receptions for 22 yards. Prescott threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time he threw for at least 300 yards this season. In fact, he hadn’t thrown for at least 200 yards since Week 9.

This week’s list of quarterback duds is very long. Most of these guys lost playoff games for fantasy owners: Josh McCown, Derek Carr, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota.

A surprising performance came from DeShone Kizer. He threw three touchdown passes as the Browns came up just short of their first win against the Packers. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up now, as he has a tough schedule coming up.

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) scrabbles against the Green Bay Packers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Another QB1 performance came from Brett Hundley, though you shouldn’t pick him up with Aaron Rodgers likely to return in Week 15.

The injury to Wentz wasn’t the only one with fantasy impact. What happened to Alvin Kamara can’t be overlooked. He suffered a concussion Thursday night. Most owners who had Kamara likely had byes this week, so they could at least adjust or work on a contingency plan for Week 15. If they had to play this week, it’s very likely they didn’t make it out of the first round.

Owners of injured tight end Zach Ertz were worried about not advancing beyond the first round. All they had to do was pick up Ertz’s teammate Trey Burton by Sunday to save the week. Burton caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

With Wentz out, Foles might be a decent waiver wire pick this week. Here’s who else you should look into picking up off the wire.

Top waiver wire picks

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: 268 yards passing, 2TDs. He’s still available in some leagues and, with matchups against the Texans and 49ers, he could very well be a fantasy championship quarterback for Wentz owners.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: 6 rec., 106 yards. Goodwin is still available in a lot of leagues despite his solid play the last few weeks. He’s a decent start in Week 15, but that may be it since he faces Jacksonville in championship week.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: You could do a lot worse in terms of streaming a quarterback to replace Wentz. Foles has been relegated to backup roles in recent years, but in 2013 he threw 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions.

Rod Smith, RB, Cowboys: If you need help at the position, this isn’t a bad addition. He’s on a three-game scoring streak and is effective catching out of the backfield. Plus there’s one more week before Ezekiel Elliott returns.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers: 4 rec., 132 yards, TD. With Keenan Allen having a lot of success, things opened up for Williams. He’s not a consistent receiver, but he can have big days. If you’re looking for a glory play in the next couple of weeks, he’s got great matchups.

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions: 29 rushing yards, 2TDs, 6 rec., 64 yards. Ameer Abdullah isn’t in good standing with the Lions so Riddick is benefiting from the extra touches.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: 269 yards passing. He’s had two good games in a row and faces the Browns next week.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: 4 rec., 90 yards, TD. If you’re confident about your matchup this week, you may want to stow Lockett away for his matchup in Week 16 when he faces the Cowboys.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars:  5 rec., 81 yards, TD. He gets to face the Texans and the 49ers in the next two weeks. Adding him would be a luxury and a backup plan if you have injury concerns with your regular starters.

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

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 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 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.

Fantasy football Week 3 recap and top waiver wire picks

A chaotic fantasy football season continued Sunday, but we actually got to see some quality games.

Of the 14 games played on Sunday, eight of them finished with a margin of victory within 10 points. Seven of those games finished with a margin of victory within six points. Even Monday’s game was close until late as the Cowboys topped the Cardinals 28-17.

Sunday didn’t start out with a quality game, however. The Jacksonville Jaguars must have felt at home as they trounced the Baltimore Ravens 44-7 in London, England early.

Blake Bortles made you think he’s still a viable fantasy option as he threw four touchdowns on the day. Three of those scores went to Marcedes Lewis, the Jaguars’ tight end who hadn’t caught three touchdowns in a game ever. In fact, he hadn’t scored that many TDs in a whole season since 2013 when he had four.

The Ravens skill players were non-existent in terms of fantasy. It’s hard to trust the results of this game, given the unique circumstances. Suffice it to say Bortles may have some viability left while the Ravens running backs aren’t actually as bad as they appeared. One thing is undeniable, though, and that’s that the Jags’ defense is a real option to start for you.

Speaking of what looked like a good start, turns out Trevor Siemian isn’t John Elway just yet. He feasted on a poor Cowboys secondary last week but didn’t find such success against the Bills. Though he turned the ball over twice, he managed to provide enough for Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to avoid turning in dud games.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) gestures during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

One thing to keep an eye on from this game was the use of Jamaal Charles. C.J. Anderson was great in the first two weeks, but Charles had the same amount of touches as Anderson and scored. Charles also outgained Anderson 57 to 43.

Another running back tandem that had better success was the one in Chicago. Jordan Howard, though banged up, had his best game of the season with 138 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including the game winner against the Steelers in overtime. Tarik Cohen nearly scored the winning touchdown but was ruled out of bounds, negating an electrifying play. He finished with 102 yards of offense.

On the other side of the ball, Antonio Brown was reliable as always with over 100 yards and a score. Le’Veon Bell had his best fantasy game of the season as he finally got into the end zone.

The best running back performance of the week came from Todd Gurley on Thursday night. He scored three times and totaled 149 yards.

Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams rushes for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on September 21, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Another back that came through was the ultra-efficient Chris Thompson of Washington. I didn’t think he would be able to keep making the most of his few touches like he did in the first two weeks. Well, the Redskins gave him 18 touches for 188 yards and a touchdown. Shut me up.

A running back that has to have few doubters left is rookie Kareem Hunt. He scored once again, this time from 69 yards in the fourth quarter. Hunt became the first player ever to score a touchdown from beyond 50 yards in each of his first three career games.

Dalvin Cook, another rookie, Devonta Freeman and DeMarco Murray all had big days. Murray surprised with a 115-yard performance, highlighted by a 75-yard score. Cook totaled 169 yards and scored while Freeman rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown.

On the flip side, Terrance West, Jay Ajayi and Marshawn Lynch were terrible in what looked to be decent matchups.

In a far cry from last week, 13 wide receivers caught passes for over 100 yards. The best performance of the week came from Stefon Diggs, who caught eight passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. It was quite the surprise given that Case Keenum was his quarterback Sunday. Even Adam Thielen had a serviceable five catch-98 yard game.

Stefon Diggs #14 of the Minnesota Vikings catches the ball for a touchdown over defender Vernon Hargreaves #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter of the game on September 24, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

T.Y. Hilton had a surprisingly good game with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Hilton caught seven passes for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Brandin Cooks had his best game as a Patriot, catching five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in the final minute.

Larry Fitzgerald had a huge game for the Cardinals, like I thought he would, taking advantage of a banged up Cowboys secondary. He caught 13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.

Fitzgerald’s counterpart nearly had a terrible game, but Dez Bryant was able to turn a short pass into a highlight score as he dragged four defenders into the end zone with the help of his teammates. The Cowboys’ best receiver of the night turned out to be Brice Butler. He caught just two passes but gained 90 yards and scored.

Sammy Watkins had his best game as a Ram on Thursday. He scored twice and gained 106 yards.

Chris Hogan, Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham Jr. each scored twice as well. Beckham Jr. made another one-handed highlight catch for his second score of the day.

New York Giants’ Odell Beckham, left, catches a touchdown against Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Mills during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The worst receiving performance of the day was put up by Kelvin Benjamin, though it was mostly due to his leg injury. With him and Greg Olsen already out, Cam Newton was terrible.

The only worse performance from a quarterback was by Joe Flacco, who scored negative fantasy points.

It’s important to mention that Russell Wilson finally looked like he did in the second half of last season. He threw for a career-high 373 yards and four touchdowns. If you bought him low after his first two weeks, good for you. Wilson even hooked up with Jimmy Graham well. The tight end caught seven passes for 72 yards.

It’s been a tough two years for tight ends. Fifteen of them caught touchdowns this week, though. Vernon Davis was a big factor in the Redskins’ win on Sunday night. If Jordan Reed stays sidelined, Davis can be a nice pickup.

Top waiver wire picks

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: 7 rec., 133 yards, TD.

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons: 5 rec., 79 yards, TD.

Case Keenum, QB, Vikings: A great streaming option for as long as Sam Bradford is out.

Robert Woods, WR, Rams: 6 rec., 108 yards.

Brice Butler, WR, Cowboys: 2 rec., 90 yards, TD. If he can continue to stretch the field and catch jump balls, things could open up for the passing game.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos: He’s owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues. Stow him away if you have room.

D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans: 10 touches, 90 yards.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles: Darren Sproles is out with a broken arm and Smallwood stepped up.

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: 3 rec., 95 yards, TD

Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins: 5 rec., 58 yards, TD