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Fantasy Takeaways: Shady shines once again

LeSean McCoy continues make his case for the elite RB class (Getty)

1. LeSean McCoy pure gold against 49ers

Sunday’s San Francisco-Buffalo matchup provided further confirmation about two things we already knew: 1) LeSean McCoy is the heart and soul of the Bills offense with Sammy Watkins out with a foot injury, and 2) The 49ers run defense is atrocious.

[Fantasy Freak Show Podcast: Packers’ struggles among biggest Week 6 stories]

McCoy became the latest running back to victimize San Francisco, rushing 19 times for 140 yards a TD hat trick. It marked the fifth consecutive week that a RB reached the century mark on the ground against the Niners, who are now allowing an average of 5.2 yards per carry to the RB position. Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin, expected to return from a hamstring injury in Week 7, is the next back fortunate enough to draw the Niners — and if you haven’t already pitched a trade offer for the Bucs’ back given his ridiculously easy rest-of-season schedule, you might as well forget about any idea of buying on the bear, because his secret is out.

As for McCoy, the best news on Sunday might be that he was able to return to action mid-way through the contest after leaving the game with a knee injury that initially had a dire look to it — after being tackled, he immediately curled up in the fetal position while holding his knee.

Health is really the concern for McCoy going forward. He proved last season that he could thrive in this run-oriented system, clocking in as the No. 7 RB in fantasy points game (min. 10 games), but was forced to the sidelines for four games because of health issues. For as long as he can keep himself active, he has to be considered a top 5 fantasy RB commodity.

2. Odell Beckham back to doing Odell Beckham things

You can be sure that Beckham had fun on Sunday in the Giants’ dramatic comeback 27-23 victory over Baltimore on Sunday, one in which Beckham played a starring role. It was just two weeks ago, after a Week 4 loss to Minnesota in which OBJ was able to contribute just three catches for 23 yards, that he stated, “I’m not having fun anymore.” At that time, Beckham was still searching for his first TD of the season, just the second multi-game scoreless streak of his career. His comments led to reports that further outbursts by the receiver could lead the team to impose a suspension that would force him to sit out a game (or two). But Beckham kept quiet after an ugly loss to Green Bay in Week 5 in which he contributed a modest five catches for 56 yards, and a garbage time score (finally!). And, on Sunday, while Beckham was far from quiet, that was only because he was celebrating a performance in which he caught eight passes for a career-high 222 yards and two touchdowns, the second one (a 66-yarder with 1:24 remaining) proving to a be the game winner.

Sunday certainly didn’t start out looking like it would end up being one Beckham’s best fantasy days of his career. He hauled in just two catches for 11 yards in the first half, fumbling the first of those catches away to the Ravens. He also suffered a hip pointer while diving for an Eli Manning pass just before halftime which forced him to the sidelines for a short time. Also injured in the first half was Ravens top corner Jimmy Smith, who suffered a concussion. With Smith out of action, Beckham returned in the second half like a shark tasting blood in the water against a depleted Ravens secondary. With his two second-half scores, he now has 28 touchdowns in 33 career games. And he topped 100 yards for the 17th time in his career. Look for the good times to continue to roll next week against a Rams secondary that allowed four wide receiver touchdowns to Detroit on Sunday.

3. Marcus Mariota enjoying matchup advantages

In Week 5, against a suspect Miami pass defense, Mariota paced all fantasy quaterbacks in Yahoo default leagues with 30.5 points (including 3 TD passes and a TD run). The performance, and his sub-50 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, made him a buzzy fantasy plug-n-play option for Sunday facing a Cleveland defense entering the week as the fifth-most generous to the fantasy QB position. And Mariota did not disappoint against the Browns, delivering what will likely be his second-straight top 5 fantasy QB finish, pounding the Puppies for 284 passing yards and three scoring tosses. He also flashed his rushing talent to the tune of seven carries and 64 yards.

The rushing aspect of Mariota’s Sunday line is, perhaps, the most encouraging part of his day. It was the second week in a row that he has reached 60 rushing yards, after opening the year with no more than 22 rush yards in any of his first four games. In his rookie campaign, Mariota was under 30 rushing yards in all but two contests. So, despite possessing some of the best QB wheels in the league, we really haven’t seen him use them much until recently. With a rest-of-season schedule that ranks among the top 10 easiest at the QB position, Mariota makes a strong case to finish as a fantasy QB1, assuming Tennessee doesn’t try to rein him in on the ground.

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