(This is just a Tribute…)
We’re going back in time, folks.
Back to a simpler time, when you needed two solid running backs to win your fantasy league. Back to when there were three solid fantasy options at tight end, otherwise you were praying for your starter to score a touchdown. Back to when teams had two starting wide receivers that got most of the targets. Back to when base defenses were 4-3, not the “exotic”3-4 alignment.
That’s right, we’re heading back to 2005, when FFToday ran the FF In The Groin article every week courtesy of Mike MacGregor. Mike’s busy with other FFToday tasks at the moment but I wanted resurrect his column, if only for a week. I can’t promise you the excellence you got back then but I’ll give it my best shot.
We all know the wide receiver position is fickle. Quarterbacks can decide to look elsewhere, opposing defenses can smother top receivers with constant double teams, your starting quarterback gets injured or your team jumps out to a lead and proceeds to grind out the clock on the ground. Or maybe, just maybe, your guy is in line for a huge play but the DB yanks him to the ground before the ball gets there – sixty-yard penalty for the offense and zero fantasy points in your starting line-up. I hate when that happens. There were a lot of goose eggs and poor performances posted by wide receivers this week causing an extraordinary amount of abdominal pain in Week 4.
Groin Shot of the Week Candidates
If you faced these guys, you likely got burned…
RB LaDainian Tomlinson (138, 2) – We knew he would be solid against the Bills but we didn’t know he would run roughshod over them. LT looked like the LT of old (circa 2005 even) and the Bills were no match.
WR Terrell Owens (222, 1) – Another “Oldie But a Goodie” who played like it was 2005 all over again. T.O. found his game this week in the Bengals loss to the Browns, topping 200 yards for the first time since Week 12 of 2008 . In the process, he surpassed former Rams’ WR Isaac Bruce, to move into second place on the NFL’s career receiving yardage list, behind only the immortal Jerry Rice.
QB Shaun Hill (331, 2) – Interesting little dynamic going on in Detroit. The Lions get behind, Hill chucks it all over the field for big yardage. He chipped in 53 rushing yards on his way to a 29-FPt effort this week.
QB David Garrard (163, 2) – Garrard padded his fantasy points total on the ground also with 44 rushing yards and a touchdown. Even with the modest passing totals, he still finished with a tidy 26 FPts. Not exactly what his opponents were expecting.
TE Antonio Gates (144, 2) – Should Gates even be here? Doesn’t he put up these kind of numbers every week? At this point, it’s safe to assume that Gates is just adding Vincent Jackson’s 2009 production to his usual production and will finish the year around 2,000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.
WR Brandon Lloyd (115, 0) – Come on, man, how does this guy keep doing it? Lloyd has been given up for dead for several seasons now but has been reinvigorated this season in Denver. He torched the Titans and is remarkably the second leading receiver in the NFL. Wow!
WR Davone Bess (93, 1) – The Dolphins facsimile of the Patriots Wes Welker did his best impersonation this week getting plenty of looks with Brandon Marshall getting double-teamed on every play. With the bye weeks beginning, Bess was in plenty of lineups with his opponents likely banking on a typical 40-50 yard performance. No such this luck this week.
New England D/ST – It’s not often that a team has a kickoff return touchdown, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown and a blocked punt. When that happens, you can expect them to win and if you had the New England defense in your fantasy league, you likely won. Throw in a pair of sacks and three other interceptions for good measure. Maybe their defense isn’t so bad after all.
Take your picks from the multitude of bad performances at wide receiver this week. We all started these guys and got burned in the process.
RB Ray Rice (20, 0) – There it goes across the wire on Sunday at noon – “Ravens running back Ray Rice is active and will play this week against the Steelers.” Here’s what should have went across the wire – “Ravens running back Ray Rice will play against the Steelers only if every other running back on the roster gets hurt.”
WR Randy Moss (0-0, 0) – Hmmm. Three zeros from the second rated fantasy wide receiver entering the season. It’s one thing get shutdown by a stud cornerback like Darrelle Revis but has Vontae Davis of the Dolphins been elevated to Island status? If so, it’s news to me. He pitched the shutout on Moss who has yet to top 60 receiving yards in a game and is on pace to finish the year with 556 yards.
WR DeSean Jackson (3-19, 0) – No Michael Vick, no big plays for the Eagles. Jackson is a boom or bust kind of guy who usually goes boom but he relies on big plays and that wasn’t happening with Kevin Kolb checking down to LeSean McCoy on every play.
WR Mike Sims-Walker (0-0, 0) – This is a recurring theme for the Jaguars disappointing wide receiver. Hopefully, he’s not your disappointing wide receiver. If so, I don’t need to tell you this is his second game putting up three zeros. That’s just ugly for a guy who was a consensus WR2 entering the season.
QB Jay Cutler (42, 0) – Nope, those aren’t Cutler’s rushing statistics. You can thank the Bears offensive line for this one as well as Cutler’s utter refusal to get rid of the ball in the face of a withering Giants’ pass rush. Quarterbacks have thrived playing for Mike Martz because of their ability to beat the blitz but Cutler still needs some (plenty?) of work in that area. He might not be doing much work in that area this week since his eggs got scrambled.
WR Johnny Knox (1-26, 0) – Two targets for Knox and one measly reception. As noted above, you can blame the offensive line and Cutler for part of this but reality is Knox isn’t helping his fantasy owners much because he isn’t making the big plays he made as a rookie. He has yet to find the end zone in 2010.
QB Michael Vick (49, 0) – Vick left the game after the Redskins used him as their own personal human pinball machine. Those hits had to hurt and it hurt if you were expecting Vick to light up a suspect Washington secondary only to see him finish with five fantasy points.
And the winner is…
Hey, if we’re going back in time, how about we hand the award this week to LaDainian Tomlinson. I told countless people in the preseason that LT looked better than his stats indicated and that he came close to breaking a number of long runs last year in San Diego. The blocking prowess of the Jets offensive line allows him to actually break loose on those plays in New York. Clearly, LT is not finished and we’re all happy to see it, except maybe Shonn Greene and his owners.
And if you want to give an award for this weeks’ Dud, here’s to you, Nate Clements. With your team stumbling badly at 0-3 and with a chance to upset the Falcons in Atlanta, you grab what should be a game-clinching interception and then try to take it to the house; only to be stripped by Roddy White when he catches you from behind. The Falcons recover and proceed to march down the field for the game winning field goal.