The top quarterbacks of Week 6 is the funniest list I have ever seen in my life. All three are big-name guys who were seen as bottom-of-the-barrel options two weeks ago, when nothing was going well for them, and all of a sudden they put up three of the season's handful of 30-plus-point fantasy days. I'm not even going to say their names here. It's hilarious.
Anyway, welcome to the Best of the Week, a trip through the best fantasy performances of Week 6. Not everything was quite as crazy as the quarterback numbers, but there is a lot to digest:
Best quarterbacks in Week 6
Cam Newton, CAR (284 passing yards 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 107 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 33 fantasy points)
Pretty cool that Newton waits until literally every last person who believed in him had given up to have one of the biggest games of his career. After 14 rushes all season entering Sunday, Newton ran the ball a career-high 17 times against the Bengals, for 107 yards and a score. That's 16 fantasy points on top of the 17 he put up as a passer, en route to a tie against the Bengals. Seriously, his best two games combined this season totaled 32 fantasy points before Sunday's explosion.
Next game: The Panthers play at the Packers next week. If Newton keeps running like he did Sunday, there's no reason not to believe in him at something approximating his old level. And with the team's running back problems, he very well might run that much.
Joe Flacco, BAL (306 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, 32 fantasy points)
So I didn't actually watch the early games Sunday, spending that time at a cookout, introducing my girlfriend to my mom (I have a girlfriend, wooooo). I followed along as best I could on Twitter, which meant it was an extended period of "OMG FLACCO" tweets. And they were wholly warranted, as Flacco threw for four touchdowns in the first quarter and five in the first half in the Ravens' shellacking of the Buccaneers. There's no real reason to think he couldn't have thrown for more, except that Tampa Bay couldn't do anything on offense, so Flacco slowed it down.
Next game: The Ravens host the Flacons next week. The Falcons defense, on the road -- no, you can't expect this kind of performance out of Flacco, but another big game is certainly on the table.
Tom Brady, NE (361 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 rushing yards, 30 fantasy points)
Remember the 2013 Dodgers? They were struggling mightily to start the season, Don Mattingly was almost fired, and everyone kind of gave up on them. And right as they were left for dead, they won 46 of 56 games on their way to the playoffs. That's very "2014 Tom Brady." The future Hall of Famer averaged less than nine fantasy points a game through the season's first quarter, and now has 50 combined points in his last two games after Sunday's huge showing. It's like Brady called up Yasiel Puig.
Best running backs in Week 6
Matt Forte, CHI (80 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 77 receiving yards, 27 fantasy points)
For a little exercise, ignore Forte's Weeks 2 and 3. In his other four games, Sunday's 157 yards from scrimmage was his worst total. He's averaged just under 20 fantasy points a game in that set of games. Sure, his 10 combined points in Weeks 2 and 3 do count, but this is one of the league's top running backs, and he needs to be treated as such.
Arian Foster, HOU (109 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 32 receiving yards, 25 fantasy points)
Well, I guess he's healthy. After missing Week 3 and being too hindered to dominate in Week 4, Foster now has 53 combined fantasy points the last two weeks, which would be a great performance for a quarterback, let alone a running back. Healthy Foster now has three straight 20-point games, and we're blaming that bad one on Injured Foster. Sure, there's always the chance Injured Foster could come back, but unless and until he does, this is a top-flight running back.
Next game: The Texans get an extra-long week, going from a Thursday game one week to the Monday game the next, when they travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers. That bodes very well for Healthy Foster. Enjoy.
Giovani Bernard, CIN (137 rushing yards 1 rushing touchdown, 20 receiving yards, 21 fantasy points)
This was the absolute antithesis of a surprise. With A.J. Green out (and Marvin Jones still out), the Bengals were running seriously low on offensive options, meaning they leaned heavily on Bernard and Mohamed Sanu in their 37-37 tie with the Carolina Panthers. Those preseason worries about Bernard losing touches are long gone now, as the running back has at least seven fantasy points in every game and more than 15 points a game so far.
Next game: The Bengals play against the Colts in Indianapolis next Sunday. That would be the Colts who have let Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles put up monster games this year. No reason Bernard shouldn't continue.
Best wide receivers in Week 6
T.Y. Hilton, IND (223 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 28 fantasy points)
It was the first touchdown of the season for Hilton, who had been good-not-great before Thursday, with 7.4 fantasy points a game to that point. This was basically what Hilton did last year -- he bookended a 124-yard game with a 20 and a 13, he followed a 27 with a 121, he went from 7 to 78 to 52 to 155. He's the new Vincent Jackson, the kind of receiver who could win you any given week, but will really disappoint you in many others. He's a frustrating type to own, but when it's good, it is so good.
Next game: The Colts host the Bengals next week. This is a Bengals team that was great on defense to start the season, but has fallen apart in recent weeks. But regardless, the ball is all in Hilton's court. You'll start him if you have him and cross your fingers.
Andre Holmes, OAK (121 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 24 fantasy points)
It only made sense that Holmes' usage and productivity would go way up, with Rod Streater injured and Denarius Moore seriously in the doghouse. This was a little crazy, though. Holmes' first touchdown came less than a minute into Sunday's game, on a blown coverage that sent him 77 yards. So over the game's last 59 minutes, Holmes had three catches for 44 yards and a score, numbers that make far more sense. Still, the Raiders offense appears to be on the upswing, so Holmes could be the beneficiary.
Next game: The Raiders host the Cardinals next Sunday in a late-afternoon game. Holmes has a bit more work to do to be a sure-fire fantasy starter, but he needs to be added in all leagues.
Brandon LaFell, NE (97 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 21 fantasy points)
LaFell had four fantasy points total in the Patriots' first three games. Since then, though, he has 40 points in three games, including a 17-pointer and Sunday's 21-pointer. Of course, if you did math, you figure out that the other game in that three-game set was light, with only two fantasy points. So LaFell hasn't really proven he can put up these numbers on a week-to-week basis, but he's certainly on the radar.
Next game: Short week against the Jets' awful pass defense? LaFell won't be a Week 7 must-start, but he'll certainly be a Week 7 strong consideration.
Best tight ends in Week 6
Julius Thomas, DEN (51 receiving yards 2 touchdowns, 17 fantasy points)
I guess this will get old eventually, but not yet. Seriously, nine touchdowns in five games. Nine touchdowns on 24 receptions. These numbers are just silly. I'll let Thomas tell you about it himself:
Next game: Straight up honesty? Didn't even look. Don't care who the Broncos play next, where it is, how long his rest is. Best tight end in the game, and not even very close right now.
Jordan Cameron, CLE (102 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16 fantasy points)
We've been waiting for this game out of Cameron, who has been disappointed so far in the season. That disappointment wasn't entirely his fault, though -- he left one game early with an injury, missed the next, and wasn't quite healthy for the one after that. Sunday might have been the first time all season he's played a full, healthy game, and the numbers showed -- he might have had even better numbers if the Browns hadn't jumped out to such a lead, with the team only attempting 17 passes in the game vs. Pittsburgh's 42.
Next game: The Browns travel to Jacksonville for Week 7, which I'd call a get-right game if Cameron hadn't just gotten right. He'll be in your lineup if you have him.
Clay Harbor, JAC (91 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15 fantasy points)
This was supposed to be Marcedes Lewis, dangit. Sorry, I miss him. But Harbor, who was never supposed to be the starter, now has 70-plus yards in two of three games. He went about it in very different ways, though -- his 70 yards in Week 4 came on eight catches, mostly short gains that accumulated. Sunday, his 91 yards came on only three catches, including a 51-yarder and a 20-yard touchdown. Still, at a position where production has been lacking, Harbor suddenly becomes interesting.
Next game: The Titans host the Browns next week. Feels like I just mentioned that. Harbor shouldn't be a fantasy starter for most, but in a desperate situation, he's a fine play in a pinch.
Best kicker in Week 6
Stephen Gostkowski, NE (3/4 FG, 4/4 XP, 16 fantasy points)
This is the second week in a row Gostkowski has been the league's top fantasy kicker, as sure a sign as any that the New England offense has turned things around. He was never out of starting consideration among kickers, but he's now solidified his status as one of the top options.
Best defense/special teams in Week 6
Detroit Lions (3 points allowed, 3 interceptions, 8 sacks, 20 fantasy points)
The Lions' defense has been as good and consistent as any in the league so far, sitting in second in fantasy scoring and with no games of fewer than five fantasy points. The unit has gone from largely undrafted in the preseason to an every-week must-start.