Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 11, the most bizarre week of football viewing in my life, was quite entertaining nonetheless. With the Saints, Steelers, and Texans all on bye, I suppose the mice came out to play. Backups went bananas, starters disappeared, bad teams won, good teams lost, et cetera. Let’s see if we can sort this mess out.
The Broncos defense may be keeping it together for 55 minutes while their quarterback plays his position like a running back, but it is Tebow in the last few minutes that is stealing all the thunder. I wouldn’t say I’m a Tebow apologist, but I am a Tebow hopeful. I would love to see him succeed and I would love to see the Broncos win the division to cement his place with the team. Due to his extreme popularity and single-handed comeback ability, yours truly will refer to the Denver Broncos as the Denver Tebow from now on.
As for the Jets…Wow, how ‘bout them Jets! I’ll tell ya what, I’ll always take a quarterback with faulty playing mechanics and the right attitude over a quarterback with good coachables but who lacks those intangibles. I don’t mean to come down too hard on Sanchez, I think he’s a fine quarterback, but he just doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor that star quarterbacks have. If the Jets can get a running game going, however, they might not need a star quarterback. For that matter, the Tebow might not either.
If someone had asked me in Week 4 or 5, “Which passer will throw three touchdowns in Week 11, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Moore?” Needless to say, I would’ve picked Fitzpatrick. In fact, I was near certain that Andrew Luck would be a Dolphin this time next year. However, the Dolphins are looking like world-beaters, and the plucky Bills are regressing more and more with each passing week. I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting any Buffalo player, even Fred Jackson; though if you’ve got Jackson, I’m sure you have to start him.
For the Dolphins, how is Matt Moore slinging the way he is yet Brandon Marshall was outgained in yardage by five other Miami players? I’m going to desperately hope this was a fluke (Marshall did have two end zone targets) and that he will be back to form next week against the Cowboys in what should be a shootout, given the Dolphins’ recent success.
At least for one week, Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson became the future superstars they’ve been touted as by fans. Anquan Boldin’s stat line looked as it should, and Smith had his second great game on the season. Simpson is a talented receiver and should continue to produce for the Bengals, and he’ll also continue to contribute heavily to your fantasy team as long as A.J. Green is out.
Just to make sure some piece of the world remained sane, the Jags and the Browns both stank. It is my belief that any team that enters Cleveland Browns Stadium, and EverBank Field to a lesser degree, instantly degrades. If the Packers played the Browns in Cleveland, I’m sure they would score less than 30 points. As for fantasy, MJD was the only man on the field worth a weekly start. Marcedes Lewis showed up long enough to sucker some people into picking him up, but I’m certain that passing attack will disappear in Cincinnati next week.
DeMarco Murray proved that he will be the starting running back of the future, and Laurent Robinson continues to be a fantasy force this season. I’m playing all Dallas starters for the foreseeable future, and I’m not starting a single Redskin.
I really liked Kevin Smith in his rookie season, and then injuries ruined his career, or so I had assumed. However, this performance will make Smith the Lions’ starter until he gets hurt or Jahvid Best comes back (good luck). How about Calvin Johnson’s zero touchdowns in a Brandon Marshall-esque performance? I’m not worried in the slightest, but I’m sure this added to the frustration of this week’s weirdness for many fantasy owners. For the Panthers, Cam Newton is going to be a great quarterback and Steve Smith will continue to produce as this year continues, so I wouldn’t change my opinion on either based on this game.
Twenty-nine points and I nearly won?!
This week yours truly had the worst fantasy week of his career: 29 points. In standard scoring, Eli Manning, Ryan Mathews, Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and Jake Ballard all did nothing for me. Funny thing about this week, though, I only lost by 20 points! Like I said at the beginning, while the cats are on bye, the mice…will…fly?
Let’s say this first, I’m not buying much of this Bucs offense, passing or rushing, until I see it in consecutive weeks. Now for the team with far more fantasy impact, Jordy Nelson has nearly doubled Greg Jennings’ output for the season. It is extremely hard for me to say that any receiver is much better than Jennings, even Calvin Johnson, but Nelson has made a strong case for himself. At this point, the only advice concerning Green Bay players is, sit them at your own risk. If you own a Packer who will take the field on game day, there is a favorable likelihood that he catches a touchdown.
Dear Adrian Peterson, please, please, please come back to us soon. We don’t need another injured RB! Whether or not Peterson plays next week, pick up Gerhart and start him against the Falcons. I would also do the same with Percy Harvin, as he may prove to be flex-worthy for the remainder of the year. It has taken the Vikings over half a season to get it together, but it is possible that this offense may be coming alive a little bit. For the Raiders, here are your starters: the starting running back and Sebastian Janikowski. Sea Bass is the man, and whichever running back is the starter is going to be lethal every week.
The Color Silver
The Raiders had a nifty 12 penalties for 117 yards this week. That is epic. To put it in comparison, Carson Palmer threw for only 164 yards and the rushing attack combined for 162. So, essentially, the penalties cancelled out nearly one half of their offense. Amazing! If this collection of players played for another team, they’d probably be winning their division by a landslide right now.
If you have Marshawn Lynch and can pull this off, I’d find Jahvid Best or Darren McFadden’s owner and try to unload Lynch in exchange. He’s scored a good amount of touchdowns this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his point total right now is very close to what his point total will be when the season wraps up. For the poor, sad, helpless Rams, you’ve got to just keep holding out hope. Bradford was brilliant in his rookie year, and I had high hopes for him in his second year behind center. Unfortunately, the skill positions are so mediocre on this team that there are simply too few options for him to be successful with. Similar to Lynch, Steven Jackson might find that his best days of this season are behind him, and he might be another player you should try to trade, if you can find a good deal.
The Color Silver, Part 2
The Seahawks, also in epic fashion, had 13 penalties for an even 100 yards. In a performance fit for a jester, Seattle tripped all over themselves for 60 minutes. It was as if they said, “Alright, Marshawn Lynch, we’ll see your semi-productive fantasy day and raise you a whole heap of silly mistakes!” Well done, Seahawks, well done.
Hey, remember that time when the Cardinals were excited about the prospect of John Skelton? No? Okay, how about the time when they paid up a whole bunch of money and picks for Kevin Kolb? You’d like to forget? I understand… Well how about that time Richard Bartel averaged eight yards per pass attempt and John Skelton threw three picks? Ah. Amnesia, I see.
You could argue whether it was Arizona’s quarterback play or the 49er defense that actually kept the Cards to just 11 first downs, but that wouldn’t be fair to the San Fran D. They have been rock solid this season and should be started every week from here on out. It has been a rough year for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, but, if they can recreate some of this magic come early December against the Rams (which, believe it or not, is actually harder said than done), they may yet be fantasy stars in the playoffs.
The Falcons deviated just slightly from their winningest game plan, which is running the ball with Michael Turner more times than they pass. Technically, Turner ran only 21 times to Ryan’s 22 passes, but it was enough to slay the sleepy Titans. For the Titans, it was business as usual. And by business as usual, I mean Chris Johnson not being worth a fantasy start and a random receiver raking in a lot of yards. This week it was Nate Washington, but I wouldn’t count on that type of production from him again this year.
Somehow, all of a sudden, the Bears are looking nasty on offense and defense. They’re in a scary position with Cutler possibly being out for the remainder of the regular season, though if they can hang in there for a wild card spot, they might have him back for the playoffs. I say put Hanie out there, let Forte run for 30-plus times every game, and let your defense do the rest. I wouldn’t start any Bear involved with their passing game.
For the Chargers, they were awfully proud of their 4-1 start and claimed they were bucking their trend of starting slow. It seems now that they are continuing to buck that trend by slowing down in the second half. The Chicago D is strong, possibly the best defense in the NFL of late, but this Chargers offense has the personnel to be the best in the league if they’d just play like it. That being said, I’m still starting any San Diego skill-position players against weaker defenses.
Hey, remember that time when DeSean Jackson went crazy and won the matchup with late-game heroics in the return game? Yeah that was awesome. Remember the first half of this season when Jeremy Maclin was playing like a dominant receiver? Yep. He sure was. However, in this game, it was Riley Cooper and Steve Smith scoring the touchdowns. And while Jackson did have 88 yards receiving, he didn’t have any more receptions than Brent Celek. In fact, while Vince Young is the starter, I’m not starting any Philly pass catcher not named Celek. You just can’t guess which receiver he’ll target at this point.
For the Giants, what a miserable and hideous performance, and that’s not just because they had a major hand in ruining my fantasy week. So far, in this rough stretch of their schedule, they’ve got only one win, and that was against an especially bad New England secondary. Look for the Giants to struggle again next week versus the Saints in a Superdome that is always electric on Monday Night. I’ll pass on all Giants next week.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On Julian Edelman’s playmaking in all three phases of the game:
“Where does Bill Bellichick find these guys?!”
This week, I was unable to hear the always delightful Chris Collinsworth, so Coach Gruden stepped in for him. I wonder how many players since the merger have a punt return for a touchdown, a tackle on a kick return, a pass target, and a defensive tackle all in the same game. Now that would be a hyper-specific stat for the ages.
Did Chris say something that deserved to be in this space? Let me know in the comments section!
Believe it or not, this 34-3 Patriots blowout was a 3-0 Kansas City lead in the waning minutes of the second quarter. In fashion with the rest of the week, Wes Welker was out-received by running back Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen was the New England running back with a touchdown by the game’s end. If the Patriots continue to roll, look for them to be the AFC’s fantasy version of the Packers. By that I mean, sit any Patriot at your own risk.
For the Chiefs, it was a promising first half. Palko made some nice throws and good decisions, and the Chiefs defensive line was fired up. Classically, the Chiefs came out in the second half and blew it because they’re not used to winning. We’ve seen this a few times this year out of a number of historically bad franchises that had a chance to hang in there or ice a game. The Redskins, the Bills, and the Lions have all been in that situation this year. Right now I wouldn’t touch any Chief with a ten-foot pole. Not even Dwayne Bowe. Not even if Dwayne Bowe had some Ollie Gates barbeque.
P.S. No wonder they’re the Patkowskis, Rob can fly! Well, it was more like falling with style.
And that’s it! An absolutely maddening Week 11 is in the books. Hopefully the world will revert to normal as three of the four likely division winners return to the field. Next week, look for the Saints to get up big against the Giants in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Yuck. I can’t believe it’s called that now.