It may be a cheap and lazy comparison, but Jonathan Dwyer has definitely earned the spotlight for this week. With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman out again, Dwyer capitalized with more than 100 yards on 17 carries for the 2nd straight week. Now, for a guy who is anything but a “speed-back”, running behind a depleted offensive line, that screams impressive! Don’t think so? Check this out – on the season, he’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry, with a whopping 4.1 yards of that coming after contact. Are you kidding me!? Do you see the Jerome Bettis comparisons now? Unfortunately though, in very un-Bettis-like fashion, Dwyer was stuffed on two 1st-and-goal situations that ended up as play-action TDs to Leonard Pope and Will Johnson on subsequent plays, otherwise his day would have been much bigger!
Truthfully, the Steelers really have no choice but to keep riding Dwyer, even when Mendenhall and Redman return. Mendenhall hasn’t been himself, and he no longer fits this offense since he refuses to pound the ball between the tackles, the way Dwyer does. Redman had his chance as the starter at the beginning of the season and failed, so no reason to believe the Steelers will give him another shot. And to be honest, Chris Rainey looks like he could have a strong grasp on the 3rd down and change-of-pace role, so there may not be a defined role for Mendenhall or Redman when they return. If you own either of these guys, sell now and buy Dwyer.
Also, don’t jump out on him if he struggles against the Giants this week because there are much brighter matchups on the horizon. In fact, he doesn’t play another good run-defense until Dallas in week 15. The rest of his schedule is filled with the Chiefs, Chargers, Browns, 2 against the Ravens, and the all-important cupcake matchup with the Bengals in the fantasy Super Bowl.
QB – Josh Freeman – TB – He’s officially broken out. If you’re an owner of one of the many struggling QBs in fantasy right now (Vick, Romo, Newton, Rivers), it’s time to pick up and start Freeman. He’s got a pretty soft schedule the rest of the way – besides a week 14 matchup with the Eagles.
QB – Russell Wilson – SEA – Strictly a matchup play this week, since he faces a Vikings team that got obliterated by Freeman last week.
WR – Titus Young – DET – Mentioned him last week in hopes his latest production (albeit in garbage-time) would spark something. Apparently it did, he caught all 9 of his targets on Sunday for 100 yards and 2 TDs. Teams aren’t going to stop focusing on Megatron, so if Young can keep his head on straight, I expect Randall Cobb-type numbers from here on out.
WR – Cecil Shorts – JAX – Seems to have worked his way into the starting lineup after all those long TDs in past weeks. Caught 8 of his 12 targets for 116 yards on Sunday and could have another solid output this week against the Lions.
RB – JacQuizz Rodgers – ATL – Finally looked like the player the Falcons so desperately want him to be – the anti-Turner. Hopefully his 8 rushes for 60 yards and 5 catches for 20 yards will earn him more touches this week against the Cowboys.
RB – Peyton Hillis – KC – If he got dropped in your league due to injury, he needs to be picked up. I realize he didn’t get much work Sunday, but neither did “lead back” Jamaal Charles. I expect Hillis and Charles to split carries right down the middle every week, with Hillis getting the goal line chances. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not the Chiefs can actually get to the goal line!
TE – Logan Paulsen – WAS – It’s unclear if Cooley will take this job over, so for now, Paulsen is the guy set to benefit from Fred Davis’ absence.
DEF – Green Bay vs. Arizona – San Diego vs. Kansas City – Atlanta vs. Dallas – Detroit vs. Jacksonville – Tampa Bay vs. Oakland – Kansas City vs. San Diego – Denver vs. Cincinnati
Good luck to everyone this week! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us on Facebook or Twitter!