1. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was held without throwing a touchdown during this week’s Monday night loss to the Seahawks, marking the first time since Week 3 of the 2011 season that has happened. Green Bay has clearly failed to move the ball as consistently as they did last season and Rodgers currently sits as the 24th ranked fantasy quarterback. With plum matchups against the Saints and Colts on tap, the odds are that Rodgers will end his slump with a pair of solid outings. However, it is worth noting that dating back to last season, Rodgers has thrown for under 300 yards in five of his last six regular season starts and looking further back, eight of his last eleven starts.
2. Another stud performer who has had an uneven start to the 2011 season is Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Once again suffering from the poor performance of the team’s quarterbacks, Fitzgerald has caught just 14 of his 25 targets for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, he had a solid performance with Kevin Kolb at quarterback this week, catching all nine of his targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. That has to be considered an encouraging sign since the two failed to be on the same page since the early part of the 2011 season.
3. Sticking with Fitzgerald, he became the youngest player to top 700 receptions, doing it just after his 29th birthday which was on August 31st.
4. Here’s to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and all the fantasy football owners who lost this week because Schwartz failed to trot out Jason Hanson for a chip shot field goal during overtime of the Lions loss to the Titans. Rather than kick the tying field to extend overtime, the Lions ran a quarterback sneak inside the Titans 10-yard line with Schwartz later claiming there was a communication error on the play. Nothing like throwing your quarterback under the bus, coach.
5. If you are looking for a buy low candidate at running back, one option has to be the Rams Steven Jackson. Sjax has had a slow start to the season, struggling in Week 1 against the Lions, suffering a groin injury that cost him most of Week 2 and then struggling while playing hurt this past week against a stiff Bears defense. With a pair of solid run defenses up next in the Seahawks and Cardinals, the road doesn’t get any easier for the Rams main offensive threat. However, those who drafted Jackson did it on the premise that the Jeff Fisher led team would run the ball plenty (which they have) and on Jackson’s distinguished performance over the past seven seasons. During that time, he has topped 1,000 rushing yards every year and averaged 1,605 total yards per season while topping 1,300 total yards six times.
6. Here is a toast to the high-flying Tennessee Titans. What’s that, you say? During the Titans overtime win over the Lions this week, Tennessee became the first team in the history of the NFL to score five touchdowns of 60 or more yards in a single game.
7. Sticking with the Titans, quarterback Jake Locker didn’t look quite ready for primetime during the team’s thrashing losses to the Patriots and Chargers to open the season with the Titans chalking up a combined 23 points. However, he had a career outing this week against the Lions, despite the continued struggles of running back Chris Johnson, throwing for 378 yards and a pair of touchdowns while completing 29 of 42 passes. Locker makes for an interesting QB2 and a solid prospect in dynasty leagues due to the presence of a number of solid young playmakers at wide receiver and tight end coupled with Johnson’s continued struggles, which now date back to the latter stages of the 2010 season.
8. And if you are wondering whether Johnson is a buy low candidate, you might want to think again. Over his past 21 regular season starts, Johnson has topped 100 rushing yards just four times while averaging 9.6 points per game.
9. With his first rushing touchdown of the season this week against the Colts, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew eclipsed Fred Taylor’s franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 63 during just his 7th season in the league. That is an impressive accomplishment considering that MJD spent the first three seasons of his career backing up Taylor and the sorry state of the franchise during his time in Jacksonville.
10. Opening the season, the San Francisco 49ers were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC West but they now sit a game behind the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals and tied with the 2-1 Seattle Seahawks. Both the Cardinals and Seahawks feature upper tier defenses that while not yet comparable to the 49ers, have helped their organizations quickly close the gap on San Francisco. With their win this week over the Eagles, the Cardinals are now a very impressive 10-2 over their past 12 games dating back to last season while the Seahawks are 7-4 over their last 11 regular season games.
11. Rashard Mendenhall owners can thank Isaac Redman for letting the cat out of the bag during the Steelers Week 4 bye as to who was going to be starting for the team when they return to action in Week 5. Redman told the Pittsburgh Tribune that the Steelers were looking for Mendenhall to come in and “be the feature guy”. With 195 rushing yards over the first three games and a 2.6 yards per carry average, look for Mendenhall to resume his starting role during the Steelers Week 5 home game against the Eagles.
12. Giants backup running back Andre Brown gave New York’s rushing attack a jolt this week with his 113-yard, two-touchdown performance over the Panthers. That game brought Brown’s yearly totals to 33 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns. While the common assumption is that Ahmad Bradshaw will remain the team’s starter and that is likely an accurate assessment, there are certainly major question marks as to how the workload will be split up over the balance of the season. With Bradshaw leading the rushing attack in 2011, the Giants finished last in the league in average rushing yards per game and in average yards per carry. While some of those poor results could be laid at the feet of the departed Brandon Jacobs, Bradshaw was also to blame as his career low 3.9 average yards per carry attests. Throw in his inability to stay healthy and it is safe to assume that Brown is in line for a healthy dose of carries over the balance of the season, provided he can hold off 1st round pick David Wilson.