Ben Roethlisberger - PIT: After an up-and-down year, Big Ben has gotten the job done over the course of the past two games, averaging 363 passing yards with 5 total touchdowns and 1 interceptions. Yes the teams he faced bad defenses (Arizona and New England), but his output still gave owners something to smile about. And his utter dominance over the Patriots showed that New England clearly doesn't have enough on defense to make it to the Super Bowl this year. Not unless they outscore their opponents. Big Ben has a much tougher outing this weekend against the Ravens.
LeSean McCoy - PHI: I have written this several times, but it still rings true. When the Eagles run the ball, their offense is unstoppable. They showed this over the last two games, giving McCoy an average of 29 carries against the Redskins and Cowboys. Both wins by the way. And in the course of those two games, McCoy has totaled 311 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. His value as a pass catcher has fallen a bit, but owners are quite pleased with McCoy's play as of late. The biggest question mark will be if Andy Reid continues feeding McCoy carries against the Bears because he has been known to abruptly stop something that's obviously working.
Antonio Brown - PIT: Like Roethlisberger, Brown has been clicking on all cylinders in the last two games. With Hines Ward dealing with an ankle injury, Brown has racked up 16 catches, 169 receiving yards and a touchdown, his first of the season. Ravens CB Lardarius Webb went so far as to say Brown is better than Mike Wallace. Emmanuel Sanders could sit this week's game against the Ravens with a knee injury, making Brown a strong fantasy option for the third-straight week.
Antonio Gates - SD: Despite Philip Rivers playing well below expectations, Gates has taken up where he left off after sitting 4 weeks with a foot injury. He's been targeted 14 times and has totaled 127 receiving yards between Weeks 7 and 8. Rivers will continue to look Gates' way, especially in the endzone, making Gates a continued TE1 for the rest of your league season.
Tony Romo - DAL: Romo has been on a slip-and-slide recently. After a strong start in which he gained 300+ passing yards in 4 out of 5 games, Romo has totaled 369 yards combined in Dallas' last two contests. Owners shouldn't fret, however, as the Cowboys face a soft Seattle secondary in Week 9. Romo will need to throw the ball quite a bit with Seattle's rushing defense continuing to dominate.
Chris Johnson - TEN: This wouldn't be a bonafide Risers and Fallers article if I didn't bash Johnson every chance I could. After signing a big fat contract, Johnson has clearly mailed it in and gotten lazy and unfocused. Many times, we see subtlety in players who have underperformed when getting a big payday, but Johnson is the poster child of such incidents. Johnson is averaging 66 total yards. Yes, total yards and has scored a mere 1 touchdown. Some may think that it's the offensive line, the playcalling or both that has affected Johnson's play. But many have stated that it's Johnson himself who isn't playing up to his potential. NFL Network's Sterling Sharpe was the most recent analyst to have watched game-tape and saw that Johnson isn't "The Chris Johnson that we’re used to seeing." I personally don't expect a switch to flip in Johnson's play. If anything, I see Javon Ringer eating into his touches more and more.
Vincent Jackson - SD: While Antonio Gates continues to dominate, V-Jax has taken a tumble with Philip Rivers' play. As of now, Jackson is on pace to catch 54 passes, tally around 944 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Definitely not the type of numbers we were hoping for. But most of the blame shouldn't be on Jackson as Rivers continues to deal with flawed mechanics, which is said to be mostly blamed on an unknown injury. Jackson owners can't do anything except continue to plug him in every week and hope the passing problem eventually solves itself.
Lance Kendricks - STL: Kendricks wasn't a hot commodity in the preseason, but I had put the sleeper label on him in the hopes he could have somewhat of a breakout season in Josh McDaniels' offense. But as with all of McDaniels' tight ends, Kendricks isn't doing much in the way of catching passes. He only has 13 on the season. With Brandon Lloyd the focal point, Kendricks' numbers don't figure to improve over the latter half of the season.