Every week in the Engel Eye, I'll take a look at some key performances from Sunday. We'll determine which players are ones to keep watching, and I'll pinpoint emerging trends.
The "other" rookie sensation: While all the hoopla surrounded Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on Sunday, there was another first-year player making a major impact in fantasy leagues again. Yes, we've covered him in this space before, but Marshawn Lynch deserves more praise. The Bills' rookie enjoyed the best game of his young career against the defenseless Bengals, rushing for 153 yards on 29 carries. He also finally displayed his explosiveness, scoring on a 56-yard run against a worn-out Cincy defense in the first quarter. Lynch seems to be getting better every week, and is a must-start fantasy player. He has battled hard for yardage against some of the league's tougher defenses, and he is a regular goal-line presence. He has already rushed for five touchdowns, and has been regularly dependable even though the Buffalo passing game doesn't help take much defensive pressure off him. Peterson is running away with the offensive rookie of the year award and could very well be the best running back in fantasy football right now. Lynch, however, has emerged as a top-10 fantasy running back in his own right.
Give up on the run: The Jets are now 1-8 and have handed their season over to Kellen Clemens, who looked confident and poised in his first start. New York lost the game, but Clemens played respectably against a solid secondary, throwing for 226 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Clemens will have to continue to carry the Jets' offense, because the running game is simply dead. The addition of Thomas Jones has turned out to be a big disappointment. He was limited to 49 rushing yards on Sunday and has still not scored a touchdown this season. It's time to stop waiting for Jones to turn things around. The line doesn't consistently block well for the run, and when it does create openings, Jones doesn't hit the hole quickly enough. Unless you are desperate for running back help, Jones should be relegated to your bench. Clemens will guide the offense, and that means continued quality production for wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles, when he is healthy again. Clemens is a quality fantasy backup who is owned in only 7.6 percent of ESPN leagues.