Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It was the week for "lesser-known" players to shine...except of course for Peyton Manning who is as consistent as the sun coming up in the morning and Phil Mickelson missing a three-foot par putt in a major.
David Garrard, Jacksonville - Garrard posted his first three-touchdown game since Week 16 of 2007 and his first 300-yard passing day since Week 16 last year. His 26 fantasy points led all quarterbacks. Considering he was facing the Tennessee Titans and their 29th-ranked pass defense it shouldn't have come as a such a surprise, yet he was started in less than 15% of all leagues.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis - Manning now has six 300-yard passing games in his last seven games, his streak marred only by a 2008 Week 17 outing in which he sat out most of the game in preparation for the playoffs. With Drew Brees now having gone two weeks without throwing a touchdown pass, is there any doubt who is the best fantasy quarterback in the NFL?
Running Back -
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh - The news out of Pittsburgh is that "Fast" Willie Parker said he is "looking forward" to playing in Week 5. It's amazing how quickly an injury heals when your "understudy" has a huge week as your replacement. Mendenhall ran hard, well and didn't fumble, all qualities coach Mike Tomlin was looking for. Mendenhall racked up 191 total yards and two touchdowns and is one of the favorites for Fantasy Player of the Week.
Ronnie Brown, Miami - Brown ran 20 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. A solid day worthy of a top-25 fantasy selection (RapidDraft ADP 24.8). He's getting plenty of carries, though we'd like to see him more involved in the passing game (six receptions for 50 yards in four games).
Wide Receiver -
Steve Smith, New York Giants - Smith is showing to be a viable replacement for Plaxico Burress and along with Mario Manningham has helped Eli Manning become a top-10 fantasy quarterback. Considering that Steve Smith had a RapidDraft ADP of 133.7, making him a 12th-round selection, he's already overachieved with 34 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns.
Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville - Who would have expected that Sims-Walker and not veteran Torry Holt would be the key player in the Jacksonville passing game? Three consecutive games of six receptions or more and three scores is quality work from this 18th-round draft choice (RapidDraft ADP 210.9).
Tight End -
Antonio Gates, San Diego - It's about time Gates showed up for the 2009 season. After three consecutive weeks of five catches and no touchdowns, Gates broke through for a nine-catch, 124-yard, two TD evening against Pittsburgh.
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay - Monday night was mostly about Brett Favre, Jared Allen and the Minnesota Vikings, but Finley displayed some excellent skills in a six-reception, 128-yard, one TD performance. The effort jumped him up to 10th in fantasy points among tight ends.
And the winner is.........the San Francisco 49ers' defense.
With a total of 39 points earned on the day, San Francisco's defense became the overall fantasy leader at 65. They not only tossed a shutout against division rival St. Louis, but scored three touchdowns, sacked Kyle Boller five times and collected three turnovers. The 49ers are owned in less than 30% of all leagues and unfortunately less than 12% of all owners started them. Still, they earned this week's Fantasy Player of the Week award.