Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 10 was a week to remember, from teams winning despite only completing two passes, to the Cowboys posting their best winning margin in 31 years. But first, let’s get right into it with a game that had major playoff consequences.
As is nearly always the case with these two teams, the game went right down to the wire and was decided by a field goal. The Falcons are very physical, a style that usually matches up well against the Saints’ high-flying offense and is able to wear them down. However, these two teams have so much dislike for each other that it is always a competitive game. The Saints were even able to contain the bowling ball that is Michael Turner (and yes, 96 yards on 22 carries is containing him). Next week, look for the Falcons to vent their frustrations on the Titans in Atlanta and put up big fantasy points across the board. Also, look for the Saints to ride the high of that win into the bye week and then come out with coin-flip odds of being either inspired or overwhelmed when they face the New York Giants at home.
P.S. Speaking of coin flips, want to win a bar bet? I’d be willing to put serious money up that the Saints win every coin toss for the remainder of the regular season. They lost the opener to the Falcons to make it ten straight, then they lost it again in overtime. Eleven consecutive coin-flip losses is an anomaly that is simply unsustainable. I will be looking to cash in on the improbability of that streak continuing.
The Saints and Falcons both got points from receivers (Robert Meachem and Harry Douglas, respectively) who probably aren’t going to be valuable for the long haul. In the same way, I’m not expecting Jerricho Cotchery’s big points here to continue. Cotchery may have more worthwhile games in the future, but there are too many guys in front of him to make him an every-week start. A few weeks ago I stated that Cincinnati’s attitude and youth movement had righted their ship. And as I always say, I’ll take less-skilled guys on teams trending up before I take high-skill guys on teams in decline. If A.J. Green had stayed healthy, I’d be suggesting that Dalton may be a nice backup for Schaub, Roethlisberger, or Brees next week. Since Green is hurt, however, I can’t say that Dalton is startable in any game until Green returns.
I had really been hoping that the Bills would compete in this division for the whole season. Fitzpatrick and company had been circling the wagons and manufacturing those dangerously popular comebacks all season long. Now we’re seeing that style of play rear its ugly head in a few bad losses in a row. Truly good teams get up and stay up. I’m not saying the first eight weeks of the season were a fluke, I’m just saying the Bills aren’t going to be the Independent Party of the AFC East like I’d been hoping for. You’ve got to play Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson if you have them, but you should temper your expectations. This team is wearing down for the stretch.
For the Cowboys, I’d start all your guys and then close your eyes and plug your ears. The appropriately named Romocoaster will likely go crazy and inflate all of those Dallas playmakers’ numbers…or he’ll cost you your week by blowing up the INT column.
P.S. Pick up Laurent Robinson. He’s not going anywhere even when Austin comes back. He was good in St. Louis and he’s been phenomenal in Dallas.
If I could properly illustrate it verbally, my analysis of this game would describe my scrambling for a trash can before I threw up. Lloyd and Jackson are great, high-talent guys on a terrible team, despite their having one of my favorite young quarterbacks in Sam Bradford. For the Browns, the DST is the only part of this team I would start this year. If Peyton Hillis comes back, I’m not starting him against any defense until I see him chalk up two touchdowns and a hundred yards in one game. This Cleveland team is very bad and very conservative and will not net you many fantasy points. I continue to hold that these Browns would be better off now and in the long run had they just drafted Julio Jones instead of using the “lions share” approach and taking chances on a lot of lower-ranked guys.
I am not a crazy Tebow fan. I hated him when he was the all-star quarterback of the Florida Gators. I am, however, a believer in his will to win. Here are the facts through the eyes of an NFL scout: Kyle Orton has far better measurables and veteran knowledge than Tebow. Here are the other facts: Since the Broncos drafted Tebow, they’ve gone 5-4 with him and 4-14 without him. They’re in position to share the lead in the AFC West if they can somehow stump the Jets this Thursday. I’m not saying that’s an easy task, but the Broncos haven’t been in any sort of contention since Jay Cutler was under center.
It definitely isn’t pretty, but I would say there aren’t many teams that could win if their quarterback completed only two passes, even against the hapless Chiefs. To put it another way, I bet Curtis Painter would look better in training camp than Tebow, and look how the Colts are doing. Plus, if Tebow can get Denver to eight or nine wins this year, I’m sure he’ll start to win over that locker room.
For the Chiefs, the sad tale of this downward spiral continues as Matt Cassel was lost for the season. They may go the rest of the season without another win in his absence, as they were absolutely slaughtered early on when his elbow was injured.
P.S. Pick up Lance Ball.
Jones-Drew 09 (YouTube it) was a stud once again, this time against a team that has sadly quit on their season. Peyton Manning must be so frustrated at those guys! Since the Dolphins inexplicably won another game and effectively dashed their own hopes of drafting the coveted Andrew Luck, it seems that the inexhaustible imagery for the next decade will be the Stanford quarterback and the horseshoe. As for fantasy advice, my only advice for Colts owners is to find someone else. I’d think long and hard about Jerome Simpson over Reggie Wayne the rest of the way, as unfortunate as that is.
I saw a certain author on the net call Chris Johnson CJ0K. Hilarious! I’m all for it. I think this particular game was a flash in the pan. The Titans have a fairly soft rushing schedule coming up, but I’m still not touching this mess. If Johnson can look impressive on the field and in the stat line, I might consider him an RB2. He’s a flex play otherwise. In the same light as Meachem, Douglas, and Cotchery, I think Damian Williams is too inconsistent to be trusted. For the Panthers, pretend this game didn’t happen. Newton and Smith will be back to their old selves next week against a Detroit defense that is burnable in the secondary and easy to run against between the tackles.
Mike Shanahan proved why players on his teams are ineligible for fantasy starts. I’m sure if he didn’t fear for his job, he would change starting quarterbacks and running backs every week, if not every series. I almost picked up Roy Helu this week, but conventional wisdom told me it was better to take a player with less upside than try to guess what is going on in the wacky world of Shanahan. For the Dolphins, I think Reggie Bush is legit. I don’t think he’ll get two touchdowns every game, but I do think this will be his most statistically impressive year yet. Maybe it’s the Pizza Hut.
In opposite fashion of Cam Newton, John Skelton put up crazy numbers in this game but is still underwhelming overall. I’m sure Skelton felt as if he had something to prove, fresh off his rare two-safeties-allowed performance last week. I believe this game would have garnered a lot more media attention had Kevin Kolb been able to give it a go, as the “versus his old team” bit always gets the crowd going. For the Eagles, they’re not close to mathematically eliminated, but I think their chances are pretty slim all the same. If the news regarding Michael Vick’s two broken ribs is accurate, however, Philly may be eliminated from contention sooner rather than later.
The Buccaneers, similar to the Eagles, are not mathematically removed from contention, but there is little hope of their making the playoffs. It’s been a bad year for their promising young franchise quarterback, but he has plenty of time to jump right back into the elite quarterback discussion next year. This year, however, Tampa Bay is a lost fantasy cause, a la the Browns and Rams. There may be some fantasy goodness yet to be squeezed, but looking elsewhere will probably yield higher rewards.
For the Texans, it’s time for another quarterback—whom most have no faith in—to step up. Matt Leinart will take the reins for the Texans the rest of the season, and I personally hope he does extremely well. Just as with Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, and Tim Tebow, I feel like we’re far too hard on Leinart and that he needs to be given a real chance to shine. I’m not saying he’ll be Kurt Warner, I’m just saying I’m probably picking him up in case he proves himself.
P.S. Andre Johnson will be back after the bye. The No. 1 RB and WR sure can make a good QB look great.
Most of the nation got their first look at the red hot San Francisco 49ers this weekend, and surely they were impressed. Even though Frank Gore didn’t really get it going on the ground, OSU alum Kendall Hunter did well enough to keep the Niners in for the win. Many, including yours truly, thought the Niners would be great last year under Singletary, but they proved to be miserable. Precious few had faith this year, yet San Francisco is likely to receive a first-week bye as they head into the playoffs. Let it be known, if the 49ers and Packers meet in the NFC Championship game, my money is on the super vindictive Aaron Rodgers throwing ten touchdowns just to stick it to the team that passed on him as the No. 1 overall pick.
For the Giants, I am all in. They are always overlooked in their division, and Eli Manning is the anti-Romo, in that his skill far surpasses his popularity. That isn’t to say the Romocoaster isn’t skilled, only that his fame exceeds his accomplishments. I’m starting Eli, I’m starting Hakeem, Mario, and Victor, and I’m starting whichever RB is first on the depth chart every Sunday from here on out.
Ravens – Seahawks
In an interesting turn of events, Ray Rice had a better passer rating in this game than Joe Flacco. Now, Rice only threw one pass for one yard but it was for a TD in a game where points were at a premium. Seattle is truly a tough place to play on the road and the Ravens have long been beatable when outside of Baltimore, so this isn’t a complete surprise. There is no shame in losing to the Seahawks at home. However, when you can only muster 17 points and 331 yards from scrimmage against them, there is no excuse. Start Rice every week and consider all else a matchup play as smart owners have been doing all season.
For the Seahawks, beware of anyone who is bad to mediocre for weeks then all of a sudden dominant. In a week full of flash-in-the-pan fantasy performances, I’m sure many will be picking up Sidney Rice and Marshawn Lynch this week. Here is my advice to you: don’t. Unless your waiver wire has been absolutely bled dry, there should be someone out there who can help your team more.
Bears – Lions
If yours truly had been asked during the preseason, “When the Bears and the Lions play, who will be the better quarterback?” I would’ve answered, “Matt Stafford if he’s healthy.” Cutler has made great strides this year and has really risen from the ashes of his infamy with a new public perception of courageousness and toughness. He didn’t put up any great stats and his completion percentage was below average but he also didn’t throw any picks and made sure his team didn’t blow the lead. If Cutler had been able to do that his whole career he’d be a heck of a lot better than hovering around .500.
For the Lions, don’t take this game to heart. Along with Cutler, the Bears D is really stepping up down the stretch. I’m still starting all of the regulars from this Lions team, but I’m probably also sitting some of the fringe starters like Titus Young and “Detroit RB” until further notice.
The Jets—and namely Mark Sanchez—gave the Patriots a gift on Sunday Night. This was, to me, a classic example of the Jets letting their emotions get the best of them. The Patriots are the Jabberwocky of Rex Ryan’s team, and the Jets are little more than a mosquito annoyingly nipping at the skin of the Patriots. The teams are equally talented and both are greatly coached, but the Patriots mean far too much to the Jets. As far as fantasy goes, I’m starting New England offensive stars if I’ve got them and I’m hanging onto Ochocinco for one week longer, as there was a little spark between him and Brady on Sunday night.
For the Jets, I’ve always felt that their offense is too conservative to be effective in fantasy. I think Holmes and Burress are both overrated in both ability and accomplishments, despite both having clutch grabs in Super Bowls of old. I’ve lost faith in Shonn Greene or Mark Sanchez ever becoming statistically dominant. If New York plays well against the Broncos on Thursday, I suggest selling high on any Jets you have.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On the Patriots lack of depth in the defensive secondary:
“Guess who made the tackle? Julian Edelman, the wide receiver, playing Troy Brown’s role now from days gone by. That’s how thin they are right now at corner, they don’t want to take any more chances with the corners they have left.”
If defensive players were clothing, the Patriots would be in their skivvies. If defensive players were food, the Patriots would be starving. If defensive players were money, the Patriots would be the national deficit. Ok, I’m sure you get the idea. They have no defense. They’re not just bad, they’re non-existent.
Carson Palmer, despite a couple more interceptions (he now has eight in three games), looked pretty good on Sunday. Personally, I don’t see Housh having a chance at staying on the field ahead of the tremendous athletes that the Raiders have behind him. It is my prediction that he will be relegated to a mentor role or be cut within the next few weeks, barring a crippling injury to an Oakland starter. For the Chargers, I am on a warpath trading for any Charger I can get on the cheap. Now that the bye is over and Rivers and V-Jax have both had their worst games of the season, it’s time for the Bolts to turn on.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of analysis here. As already established, not starting any Packer is done at your own risk; they’re as likely to score five touchdowns as most offenses are to score two. For the Vikings, they actually played far better than the final score showed. Christian Ponder is going to be a great sleeper quarterback next year with his running ability. As we’ve all seen with Tim Tebow, just a little bit of running ability adds up to big fantasy points. Ponder has Peterson behind him, so he won’t be the goal-line choice like Tebow, but his passing proficiency is far superior. Look for the NFC North to have four great quarterbacks next year.
P.S. Remember when all the great teams played in the AFC?
And that’s it! Week 10 is in the books. Next week, fantasy owners are going to have a rough time playing without their Saints, Steelers, and Texans. Look for Oakland, Buffalo, Miami, and Cincinnati players to be great bye-week fill-ins.