Here's a quick-hitting recap of key performances and news from the tenth week of the NFL season, complete with in-depth fantasy analysis.
A fantasy festival: The Chargers and Bengals combined for 90 points in what was the most amazing statistical clash of the 2006 season. Many fantasy players everywhere watched or monitored the game with great joy as a few statements were made by prominent players with their incredible outings. LaDainian Tomlinson left no doubt that he is the premier player in fantasy football right now, tying his career high of four TDs. He needs only three more rushing TDs to establish a new career standard of 19. Chad Johnson proved that he is still a fantasy standout, and it was just a matter of time before he exploded again. He set a Bengals record with 260 receiving yards and caught two long TD passes. Those who have suffered through some disappointing weeks with Chad Johnson so far were rewarded for their patience in sticking with him, and should look forward to more fine performances. Carson Palmer threw for 400 yards for the first time in his career and threw three TD passes with no interceptions. Palmer took quick drops and was very accurate as a he regained the faith of his owners just in time for the fantasy playoff push. His performance should at least temporarily erase any lingering questions about his ability to produce good numbers, as he was very accurate on all types of throws. Rudi Johnson, who didn't start for disciplinary reasons, proved that not being in the starting lineup doesn't mean a player will be benched for the whole day. Rudi didn't open the game in the Cincinnati lineup, but fantasy leaguers should take note of the fact that he was still the team's leading rusher. Not starting doesn't mean deactivation, especially for a player of Rudi's caliber. He rushed for 85 yards and scored for the fourth consecutive game. San Diego QB Philip Rivers had the best game of his young career, throwing for 337 and three TDs without an interception. Rivers has clearly arrived as a top-level fantasy QB who is often steady and occasionally spectacular. WR Malcolm Floyd caught five passes for 109 yards and a TD, and he'll be one of the hottest free agent pickups of the upcoming week. But Floyd will have to deliver more than just one impressive outing to be considered a quality fantasy starter.
Fantasy festival II: The exciting Saints and the now-defenseless Steelers combined for 79 points. Not surprising was another fine game from Marques Colston, who caught 10 passes for 169 yards and a TD. What was surprising was the Saints getting a TD from the much-maligned (in fantasy leagues) Reggie Bush. He scored on a picturesque 15-yard run, and finished with 89 yards from scrimmage. Bush might finally be starting to hit his stride, but another disappointing performance could easily follow, so keep him on your bench for at least one more game. Another surprise was the stellar performance of Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 264 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. Roethlisberger could finally be regaining his full confidence after a few much-publicized setbacks. He looked more poised in the pocket than ever this season, and he didn't display any of the poor decision-making skills that had plagued him recently. As for Willie Parker, who enjoyed a career day with 213 rushing yards and two TDs, only Tomlinson and Larry Johnson might be better fantasy RBs right now. Hines Ward caught five passes for 86 yards and he is a must-start in most fantasy leagues again.