An event-filled slate of football games took place last weekend, with many divisional rivalries heating up as the race for the postseason continues.

​One such rivalry game took place on Sunday night, with AFC West heavyweights battling for supremacy.  At the end of the night, it was Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos handing the surprising Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the season.  The Chiefs’ story is an inspiring one, with them becoming the first team in NFL history to win two or fewer games the previous season, and win the first four of the current season.  Both teams sit at 9-1, and look poised to meet again in the playoffs.  They will face off again a week from Sunday, which will give the Chiefs a chance to rebound and show that their season thus far has not been a fluke.

​Another exciting game took place on Monday night, with the Carolina Panthers handing the New England Patriots a shocking loss on a controversial final play.  Fantasy-wise, the Panthers have been all over the place this season, with pedestrian numbers from their receiving corps and a jumble at running back.  Earlier in the season, veteran back DeAngelo Williams became the team’s featured rusher, but with Mike Tolbert’s return from injury and the resurgence of Cam Newton’s running game, Williams has become lost in the rotation and has not had much production.  I would recommend looking elsewhere for impact players (unless you have Newton, of course), since most of the Panthers are doing well in real life, but not so well in fantasy.

​One player that has been breaking out recently is Oakland Raiders backup running back Rashad Jennings.  Since being thrust into the starting role when normal starter Darren McFadden went down with a hamstring injury, Jennings has performed admirably, rushing for 340 yards and two touchdowns in three games.  He is currently averaging around 114 rushing yards per game, which isn’t bad for somebody who doesn’t generally start.  Jennings has put up decent fantasy numbers, gaining 30, 11 and 23 points respectively in my league (although it is a PPR league, which may be different than yours).  He is currently available in 43.7 percent of ESPN leagues, and should be claimed off of the waiver wire if your team is in need of a running back (as mine is).

​Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White finally scored his first touchdown of the season on Sunday, although the amount of time it took him to do so may be shocking to some people.  Normally a fantasy superstar, White has seen his numbers take a drastic hit as a result of multiple injuries he has been dealing with, as well as the season-ending injury suffered by teammate Julio Jones.  Jones and White were a great combo at wide receiver, as one would usually get open as a result of the other being targeted by the defense.  Once Jones got injured, White became the focus of opposing defenses, limiting his effectiveness.  Things may be looking up for White, however, as breakout wide receiver Harry Douglass has continued his recent success, catching six passes for 134 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  His effectiveness may now distract opposing defenses from White, which may just be the spark that White needs to become relevant again this season.  White is owned in 93.9 percent of ESPN leagues, but there is a chance that he may be available in some leagues (he is in mine).  White is well worth a waiver claim if available, as he has the potential to break out, and resume his old form.

​Finally, Trent Richardson, the former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, is not finding the kind of success with the Indianapolis Colts that many assumed he would.  Richardson has rushed for only 272 total yards and two touchdowns since joining the Colts in Week 3 of the season, and has recently been eclipsed by teammate Donald Brown.  With these numbers, Richardson is averaging 34 yards per game as a Colt, with a paltry 2.8 yards per carry, as compared to Brown’s gaudy 6.1 yards per carry.  Although Richardson is owned in 100 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, Brown is only owned in 7.8 percent, which is rather surprising.  It is true that Brown has gotten hot only during his past two games (he scored a receiving touchdown and had a good amount of receiving yards in Week 10 while rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11). However, he is starting to see his workload increase as a result of his recent success, and may get more even more work in the future if Richardson continues to struggle.  Brown is not exactly the greatest running back in the NFL, but he is a viable replacement if one of your running backs has recently gotten injured or is on a bye (Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Giovanni Bernard, and Marshawn Lynch all have byes this week), and I recommend putting in a waiver claim for him.

​That’s all the advice I have for this week, I’ll be back next week as the playoff hunt continues to heat up.

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