Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — October 30, 2012 @ 10:44 am
Michael Vick, Eagles
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is pondering a change at quarterback. The wife of Eagles head coach Andy Reid is pondering which real estate agent to hire.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
The days of Rivers being an elite NFL signal caller are over as are the days of him being an elite fantasy option. With the Browns on tap, he threw for just 154 yards, his 2nd sub-200 passing yard performance of the season. He’s also a turnover machine with nine interceptions and three lost fumbles in seven games.
A soft schedule has Doug Martin's value on the rise.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Martin owners are hoping the team has a few more nationally televised games on the schedule. He introduced himself to the league’s fans in a big way last Thursday, running roughshod over a solid Vikings run defense for 135 yards and a touchdown and adding 79 yards and another score through the air. That was nice. Equally as nice is his schedule the rest of the way, which features just one top 10 run defense between now and the end of the season.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
I keep asking myself why the Steelers would hand Rashard Mendenhall his starting job back and I can’t come up with one. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, he can’t stay healthy and oh yeah, Dwyer has solidified the run game with a pair of 100-yard efforts over the last two weeks while averaging a nifty 6.7 yards per carry. You have to assume the job is his until he puts up a clunker.
Darren McFadden, Raiders
Mr. Buy Low is about to become Mr. Easy Sledding. Run-DMC ran well this week, gaining 137 yards on 33 touches against the Chiefs and faces a solidly ranked yet so-so Bucs run defense this week. After that, its swiss cheese as the Raiders will face run defenses ranked 20th or lower every week except one (the 15th ranked Broncos in Week 14) between Weeks 10 and 16. Make your offer NOW.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
The Broncos said they were going to start feeding their rookie 3rd round pick and they did it this week, handing the ball to him 14 times with Hillman having the best game of his young career, gaining 86 yards on the ground. He brings a speed element to the Broncos offense out of the backfield and he could be in line for a big second half of the season. At this point, he’s a bit too speculative to start in most standard leagues but I would roll with him in the flex spot in 12-team leagues.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
After a pair of monster performances in Week 5 and 6, injuries have caught up to Bradshaw and he has struggled mightily over the past two weeks, gaining 121 yards on 34 carries and looking pedestrian. A touchdown in Week 7 saved his fantasy performance but look for Andre Brown and David Wilson to get more work until Bradshaw proves he has returned to full health.
Alex Green, Packers
Moving Down three weeks in a row! It’s a MU/MD record. How much longer can the Packers start this guy? While Green has averaged a respectable 7.0 points per game over the last four games, it is all volume based as he is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Either James Starks is still suffering from the effects of a turf toe injury he suffered in the preseason or he keeps taking Mike McCarthy’s parking spot.
Steven Jackson, Rams
It’s officially a timeshare in St. Louis with Jackson basically splitting reps 50/50 with rookie 7th round pick Daryl Richardson. And with the Rams offense failing to top 20 points in their last six games, Jackson is no better than a RB3 for the balance of the season.
Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Dude is back. Time to ditch the Michael Clayton comparisons. Tampa Bay’s offense is rolling and Williams is part of the reason why as he has hauled in 25 receptions for 436 yards and four touchdowns over their first seven games of the season. He had a modest performance this week with six receptions for 68 yards and a score but would have padded those numbers if the Vikings would have kept the score closer. Williams is proving he can beat single coverage and that means something with the running game on the uptick.
Titus Young, Lions
I told you last week that Young or Ryan Broyles was in line for more work and that Young was the guy to gamble on. Sure enough, this week he had his best game of the season and of his two-year career, hitting the 100-yard receiving mark for the first time. Young caught all nine of his targets for 100 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-winner against the Seahawks.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Sometimes numbers lie. Crabtree had five receptions for 72 yards and a pair of scores this week – nice numbers but not eye popping. However, this was clearly a superb performance as he lit up Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, catching all five of his targets while showcasing some run after the catch ability and excellent hands. Tough to rely on him given the 49ers propensity for running the ball but this was possibly the best game of Crabtree’s four-year career.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
He’s the Jaguars number one wide receiver at the moment and was targeted a healthy 12 times this week, giving him 22 over his last two games. He topped 100 receiving yards for the first time this week, gaining 116 yards on eight receptions, giving him his 2nd game in a row with double digit points.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks
Since I had basically written him off, Rice has 168 receiving yards and two touchdowns over his last three games. Let’s call him a low end WR3 over the balance of the season on the assumption that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson shows some improvement.
Calvin Johnson, Lions
Just the facts, folks. Six receptions on 19 targets over his last two games for 80 yards. For a guy this talented to put up those numbers tells us that his knee is bothering him more than he’s letting on. With just one touchdown in seven games, Johnson has no chance to match his 16-touchdown count from a year ago.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Similar to Johnson, Nicks just hasn’t looked healthy and has nine receptions for 99 yards and no touchdowns over his last two games.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Those of you (and us since I grabbed him as a TE2 in a 12-team league) who gambled on Witten and his lacerated spleen have been rewarded in recent weeks but the piece de resistance came this week against the Giants, with Witten grabbing a Cowboys franchise record 18 receptions for 167 yards. That gives him 43 receptions for 411 yards over his last four games with, alas, one touchdown.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Stating the obvious here but after finding the end zone just (for him) three times and topping 61 receiving yards just one in his first six games, Gronkowski has scored two touchdowns in each his last two games and scorched the Rams this week with 146 receiving yards. His services were needed to block for a couple of games but the O-line has improved leaving Gronkowski able to go out on patterns on a more frequent basis.
Greg Olsen, Panthers
After a decent start to the season, Olsen has gone stone cold in the Panthers last three games as his usage has declined. He has caught just nine passes for 91 yards over that span of games.
By: Aaron Williams — @ 10:24 am
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 8 was a week of affirmations. Most of the teams and players that we expected to do well, did. And many of the questions about some players and teams on the bubble were answered. Let’s get right into it:
The Bucs once again looked fantastic in a blowout victory, with Josh Freeman and Doug Martin leading the way. Freeman’s three touchdowns and 262 yards made for a great fantasy day, but it was Martin that truly sold me on this Buccaneers offense. Perhaps I was too hard on him early on. I really believe his running ability allows the passing offense to click. It appears that the Tampa Bay rushing game is for real.
For the Vikings, Ponder improved from his epic, eight-completion victory last week, but once again it was ADP who attained the lion’s share of the fantasy points. However, the draft position value award has to go to Percy Harvin, who was undrafted in some leagues. Even one 17-point game will get a guy picked up from the waiver wire, and Harvin accomplished just that, in addition to his moderate success week in and week out.
The sophomore slump continues.
Poor Cam Newton. The Preacher’s son is getting lambasted in the media for his turnover rate. Maybe he and Michael Vick should become better friends! Sadly, I would find another fantasy QB if Newton is your starter this year. However, next year he will be a great value pick. We had a healthy discussion in the comments section last week regarding Steve Smith’s career dominance of the Chicago Bears. That logic proved to be sound, and hopefully he can carry some of that momentum into future games as the rest of his offense is stalling.
For my preseason darling Bears, it was a great day for Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall but a horrific day for Jay Cutler. Not only was his yardage total unacceptable for fantasy (186 yards), but he threw a pick that negated most of those yards. Despite his feast-or-famine nature, I would still gladly release Newton for Cutler regardless of matchup. Cutler’s team is winning and spirits are high in Chicago; Newton’s team is losing and the criticism is only going to get worse.
The Chargers, in classic San Diego Charger fashion, are falling apart. This must be the final season for Norv Turner and A.J. Smith, right? How long will the organization and the fans put up with a team that can’t find it within themselves to play well for a full season? This team is in definite need of a culture shock, and until that happens they are going to be virtually useless on the field and in fantasy. My condolences to Chargers owners (hang in there—they may flip the switch when the win-loss record gets out of hand).
Also, what another success for the city of Cleveland! I won’t say the Browns played well, but Cleveland once again worked its deadly black magic on the visitor. Like an ugly, soggy, unapologetic Venus flytrap, they drew in the energetic Chargers and sapped their life from them until they were no more. I don’t have the numbers, but I would wager that Cleveland owns the record for most games with less than 21 total points scored.
The Seahawks couldn’t have asked for a better 55 minutes of football. Russell Wilson was accurate and Marshawn Lynch hit 105 yards on 12 carries. They were up with five minutes remaining, and their clamp-down defense had to hold a struggling Lions offense to close out the game. But they just couldn’t pull it off. Also of note, 13 of Wilson’s 25 completions went to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice for 64 and 55 yards, respectively. These wideouts will be promising low-cost options in next year’s draft.
For the Lions, it was the same old same old on offense. Running backs fought tooth and nail (unsuccessfully) for 50 yards, and the passing offense flourished on 49 attempts. If you’re hurting for WRs, though I can’t imagine that you would be, Ryan Broyles‘ arrow is definitely pointing up. Watch for his role to steadily expand in the Lions offense.
The most reassuring thing about the Jaguars lackluster showing in Green Bay was Rashad Jennings‘ 17 rush attempts. Even though the result was only 59 yards, those yards will eventually be augmented by touchdowns. For the passing options, the Jaguars continued to look mediocre at best. I’m not buying Cecil Shorts or Justin Blackmon with Gabbert at quarterback this season, but I am buying the six receptions Rashad Jennings had in addition to his rushing. If you’re playing in a dynasty league, you should consider holding onto Jennings, as MJD may find himself in a new home next year.
For the Packers, it was a rough day for Aaron Rodgers but a structurally sound day for the receiving core. I thought this might finally be the week that James Jones and Randall Cobb both have a great fantasy day, with Nelson and Jennings out, and while they scored similar points, neither was really worthwhile among this year’s bevy of WRs. Jermichael Finley was still unable to do much with both of the Packers top pass catchers out and is essentially droppable at this point.
Yikes! It was a bad day for Miami quarterbacks. Tannehill went down early with an injury (shown to be not too serious via MRI) and Matt Moore, last year’s starter, proved to be quite a downgrade. With Moore at quarterback, all of your Dolphins are suddenly virtually worthless in fantasy. However, Bush and Hartline may be able to produce next week against a weak Indy Defense.
Yikes! It was a bad day for New York Jets quarterbacks! Mark Sanchez is not the worst problem on this team by far, but he is going to take all of the blame. And with a fan favorite like Tebow waiting in the wings, it is only a matter of time before Sanchez takes the fall for the ineptitude of the players on this roster. However, if Tebow does start, Keller and Greene may actually see an uptick due to the absolute failure of the intermediate and deep passing game.
What is left to say about these Falcons? A few players stand out on paper, such as Jacquizz Rodgers, D.J. Davis and Jason Snelling, but when you see that the majority of their scoring came from single plays on just a few touches, all of a sudden their performance is less impressive. These Falcons get great production from their stars, and their stars are the only players you want on your fantasy team.
For the Eagles, see the Chargers comments above. These Eagles are stuck in a rut and nothing less than a complete restructure will dig them out. This isn’t a statement against Andy Reid, similar to Jeff Fisher’s exit from Tennessee; it’s simply a statement of fact. Until something brings these players together under a new banner, no one will be a guarantee…And fantasy is all about looking for guarantees.
I don’t think there are any fantasy owners bailing on RGIII after two less-than-perfect performances, but if you find one, take advantage. I trust that Griffin will be back in swing next week versus the woeful Carolina defense. The Steelers defense is as complex and difficult to play as they come, and no rookie quarterback should be expected to excel against them. Keep starting RGIII and Alfred Morris, and if you feel like taking a shot, think about Santana Moss.
For the Steelers, this was an example of a quarterback having a field day using every resource in his offense. Big Ben completed passes to nine different receivers, and all three of his touchdowns went to infrequent targets. That being said, this Steelers passing offense looks better each week, and I would be very optimistic about the falling Antonio Brown next week against a possibly gassed Giants D.
Unfortunately, blowout games like this say very little about the winner or the loser. There are all sorts of Patriots with gaudy numbers, and Chris Givens is one 50-yard touchdown from joining every single other St. Louis Ram in fantasy nonexistence. If there is any info to be gleaned, it is that Daryl Richardson and Steven Jackson both carried the ball seven times on Sunday. Is it finally time for Richardson to break into the starting workload and fantasy relevance?
Andrew Luck, who quietly has been more impressive than Robert Griffin III in my opinion, had a great day on 38 passes, despite a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio. There is possibly some fantasy gold on this team, as Donald Brown, Dwayne Allen, Donnie Avery, and T.Y. Hilton all made a splash on Sunday. Brown should definitely be picked up from the waiver wire if someone in your league dropped him out of necessity.
P.S. If you missed Vick Ballard’s sweet barrel-roll touchdown, Google it.
The Titans played on the arm of Matt Hasselbeck and the legs of Chris Johnson on Sunday, and they looked pretty good doing it. They’re no offensive or defensive juggernaut, but the defense kept them in the game and the offense hung in there against one of the best young arms in football. Credit CJ2K’s 99-yard rushing performance and Kendall Wright’s continuation of his excellent rookie campaign. If Wright is still floating around in your league, he is a must-have for the rest of the season.
The Raiders were a nice, safe play this week in most situations. Palmer threw enough touchdowns to make up for a subpar yardage total and an interception, Darren McFadden had high yardage but no score, Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey performed up to snuff, Sea Bass kicked field goals with all the force and style of the General Lee, and the Raiders D nearly held Kansas City to a third week of no touchdowns. Overall, each Raider you started gave you exactly what was expected.
For the Chiefs, however, no one should have seen fantasy light-of-day unless you were so hurt in your flex position that you needed to start Dexter McCluster. There isn’t much else to say about these Chiefs. Avoid them like the plague until something changes at quarterback—which is a likely prospect for next season.
The result for the Giants was familiar, but the stat line was bizarre. Eli Manning didn’t touch 200 yards or complete a touchdown pass, Reuben Randle was the leading receiver, and Ahmad Bradshaw couldn’t outscore Andre Brown in fantasy points despite rushing for 19 more carries. However, Lawrence Tynes and the Giants D performed admirably and proved why they are worth their spots on your team, regardless of matchup.
Hey, remember when the Cowboys beat the Giants in the opening game of the season, and how this was finally going to be the Cowboys year, and how Eli and the Giants were going to finish third in the division behind the Cowboys and the Eagles? Here is the issue with every Cowboys team over the past 15 years: No discipline. The Cowboys are always in competition with the Raiders for most penalties on the season, and they are always in competition with no one for sloppiest route running and least inspiring play downfield. Until the Cowboys have a GM not named Jerry Jones, they will never be week-in, week-out starters for your fantasy team, and they will never compete for 16 games in a row.
Wise Saints fans knew before the previous season ended, before the bounty scandal, before the coaching suspensions, that this season would be for naught. How so, you say? Because the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. Having the Super Bowl in your home town is a death knell for your football team, and that is far less arguable than the more popular, “Madden Curse.” Thankfully, those rules don’t apply to fantasy. Though this week was somewhat lackluster for the Saints, there are a heap of them that can get you into your fantasy playoffs—despite the fact that they will not make their own playoffs. Keep starting all of your Saints.
Football Demigod Peyton Manning has already set the Broncos record for most consecutive 300-yard games (5) and has tied his own record with the same performance. For that specific reason, above all others, look for Denver to head to Cincinnati and push for a great fantasy day for the receiving corps. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas should definitely be starters next week, and strong consideration should be given to Brandon Stokley as well.
The 49ers attained the first really great overly complicated, hyper-specific record of the season:
Alex Smith set the NFL record for most passes thrown with only one incompletion: 18 of 19. What is more impressive to me than his unsightly accuracy is that on his 18 throws he managed 232 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. That is phenomenal for Alex Smith and was good for sixth best this week among fantasy performances by QBs in standard scoring.
Amazingly, this same pitiful Arizona team that took the field on Monday Night started the season as 4-0. Now they are at 4-4 with no light at the end of the tunnel. The defense didn’t look great against a game-management style offense, but truly, the lack of rushing is their biggest Achilles’ heel. There were eight total rushes by Cardinals running backs in this game, and none of them were particularly astounding. As long as John Skelton is passing 52 times per game, this team will not win, and no Cardinals deserve your roster spots until that changes.
And that’s it! Week 8 is in the books and so is the first half of a season of epic proportions. As the races for the playoffs, MVP, and various in-season records heat up, we should see fantasy explosions all over the board in the second half. We luck out in Week 9, as very few startable fantasy players are on bye (Rams, Pats, Jets, 49ers), but if you should need assistance, look to your Broncos, Bears, Panthers, Redskins, Texans (blowout material—start Ben Tate!), and Saints. Also, please leave questions and comments in the section below or on Twitter, and I will respond on Wednesday. Have a great week!
By: Dave Stringer — October 26, 2012 @ 4:14 pm
1. With the Rams playing the Patriots this week in London, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took a little of the shine off 2nd year running back Stevan Ridley, basically drooling over St. Louis running back Steven Jackson. While reminiscing about how Jackson was a player he personally made a trip to see on an individual basis prior to the 2004 rookie draft, Belichick heaped praise on Jackson for his toughness, ability to make tacklers miss on the second level, pass block and catch the ball out of the backfield, reminding Ridley owners and New England fans of the team’s long history of acquiring veteran backs through trades or free agency. With none of New England’s current backs providing the type of dual threat and punishing running style that Jackson has displayed throughout his career and the Rams in a rebuilding phase and satisfied with the play of rookie 7th round pick Daryl Richardson (and having 2nd round pick Isaiah Pead also on the roster), it won’t be a complete surprise if Jackson ends up going home with the Patriots on Sunday night.
VD: A good buy-low candidate.
2. Veteran 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has had a bit of an uneven run to start the season, scoring four touchdowns in his first three games but failing to find the end zone and being held to under 37 receiving yards in three of his last four games, including a Week 7 performance in which he was not targeted once. That marked the first time since Week 13 of the 2008 season that Davis failed to catch a pass, a streak of 58 consecutive games. A consummate team player, Davis hasn’t whined about his lack of use but team observers are certainly questioning the team’s failure to get the ball to their most explosive playmaker on offense. However, the attention that Davis has been receiving from opposing defenses has opened up holes for the running game, an area that opposing defensive coordinators are likely to focus on in the upcoming weeks. The bottom line is that head coach Jim Harbaugh will make the required adjustments to get Davis involved in the team’s passing attack, making him a solid buy low candidate if you can grab him in your league.
3. Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill dropped a key pass this week that would have given New York an opportunity to upset the Patriots but the team has been pleased with his performance during the games that he has been healthy this season. A hamstring injury caused him to miss two games and he failed to catch a pass in two others but Hill has displayed big play ability when given an opportunity, averaging 13.9 yards per reception and scoring three touchdowns. Look for him to improve on his performance over the 2nd half of the season and emerge as a solid option in the Jets passing attack.
4. With a tear in the plantar plate of his right foot, Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon is unlikely to return to the lineup after Washington’s Week 10 bye and with tight end Fred Davis having been placed on injured reserve, there is an opportunity for a player to emerge amongst the team’s group of receivers and tight ends. Over the past three weeks, veteran receiver Santana Moss has been targeted the most with 13, catching nine passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns. That makes him the Redskins receiver to target if you need a bye week fill-in but the player with the most upside is 2011 3rd round pick Leonard Hankerson. Unfortunately, Hankerson hasn’t received a steady diet of targets, getting seven or more three times and three or less three times. However, having caught six of his eight looks this past week against the Giants, that might change going forward.
5. Signed in the offseason to be the leading receiver in the Jaguars offense, Laurent Robinson had a pair of decent games to start the season before putting up a dud in Week 3 and suffering a concussion in Week 4. While he is back on the practice field this week, there are no guarantees of when he will return and also no guarantees that he will resume his spot in the starting lineup. With the team struggling to a 1-5 record and now without the services of their main offensive weapon in running back Maurice Jones-Drew for several weeks, look for Jacksonville to continue to utilize 2011 4th round pick Cecil Shorts in the starting lineup. While Shorts has made some mistakes on the field and caught just 12 of his 29 targets, he has also displayed playmaking ability in an offense desperate for it. He has averaged 23.7 yards per reception on his 12 catches and found the end zone three times and is coming off the best game of his career with four receptions for 79 yards and a score. With Robinson proving to be injury prone once again this season and fellow $6-million a year receiver Mike Thomas having caught just nine passes for 61 yards, look for the team to cut ties with both players prior to next season.
By: Aaron Williams — October 23, 2012 @ 10:55 am
Welcome to Week 7 of the Tuesday Morning Buzz! This week was an exciting display of offensive and defensive prowess across the league which resulted in many inflated scores across the board. Let’s get right into it:
What is the opposite of a shootout? 13-6 felt more like 9-6 on Thursday. For fantasy, however, the Thursday night game should have had little do with your perception, and if you looked at fantasy first, you’d probably guess a higher score. Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, and the kickers are the prime fantasy players from their respective teams, and each performed up to snuff. All in all, there was little to glean here.
Chris Johnson owners rejoice! Rejoice that CJ2K was finally able to break out against one of the worst defenses in history. Rejoice because you can now off-load him to a believer. A performance like that says a lot about a player. However, it is indicative of potential fantasy hemlock if it requires a matchup against a defense whose stench will linger for ages. If you need a QB, find the owner who drafted RGIII, see who he or she drafted to be their starter, and offer them CJ2K for that QB.
For the Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to be a fine stand-In QB and finished fifth overall in standard scoring this week. Spiller and Jackson are finally seeing even carries (Yay for Spiller! Boo for Jackson!), but Jackson’s dominance in the pass-catching aspect of the game was not to be ignored (Yay for Jackson! Boo for Spiller!). However, it was Steve Johnson who was happiest after the game on Sunday, as he ended a three-week skid by putting up 71 yards and a score. With the Bills down and throwing often, Johnson should be a top-tier receiver every week.
You Have to Be Very Rich or Very Poor to Live Without a Trade
There has been much talk in this column lately about trading. No matter if it is an under-performing player who I think will surge, or an over-performing player who I think will fall, trading is an essential part of my fantasy stratagem—and I think it should be part of yours, as well. Rare is the draft that works out perfectly, so that all of your players should remain on the roster. In fact, you’re much better off drafting your best and then either trading or hitting the waiver wire on a near-weekly basis.
Especially during the byes, there are many players who will be great for one week, and you can exploit that for a fantasy victory. For instance, Arian Foster is on bye next week, so Jonathan Dwyer facing a Redskins defense in Pittsburgh is a great option. Also, as stated above, Chris Johnson is having a terrible year as a part of a terrible team, but he had a great week last week, and he has a reputation for being an excellent running back. Therefore, he has the potential to earn you a tremendous payout for what I’m predicting will be a season of little value. Be a frequent trader and be active with the waiver wire, my friends, and enjoy the success that comes with it.
The Cowboys maintained their .500 record on the leg of Dan Bailey on Sunday. For Fantasy, no one on the Cowboys was highly effective, as Miles Austin (97 yards and a touchdown) lost a fumble to tarnish an otherwise great showing.
As for the now 1-5 Panthers (a popular pick to win their division, mind you), it was more of the same. The whole team was meh-worthy, and that can be attributed directly to Cam Newton’s sophomore slump. It may be time to punt on your Panthers, unfortunately, as they are likely being out-performed by the waiver wire in your league.
Many may argue that this was a matchup of the AFC’s two best teams. As true as that statement may be, only one played like it on Sunday. Justin Tucker opened things up with a field goal in the first quarter, but the Ravens didn’t score again until partway through the third quarter. Since no started-in-fantasy Raven caught or rushed for a touchdown, and Flacco threw two picks to neutralize his only score, all Ravens not named Justin Tucker were essentially useless in fantasy.
As bleak as the Ravens’ effort seemed, the Texans were exuberant after a blowout loss at the hands of Aaron Rodgers’ inflamed ego last week. This week, all of your Texans performed admirably—though watch Andre Johnson, as he was only the third-highest scoring pass catcher on his team. Also, Ben Tate didn’t do nearly as much as one would have hoped in a 30-point victory. Those who had to resort to him as a starter this week were likely disappointed.
If I told you one quarterback in this game would complete 61 percent of his passes and throw for two touchdowns while the other would complete 55 percent for only 186 yards and no touchdowns, which would you attribute the stats to? Luck got lucky with two rushing touchdowns to salvage the game and his fantasy day, but keep Weeden in the back of your mind—he may just eventually be of fantasy value. Also, Richardson could only muster eight carries due to his rib injury, so a backup option for your fantasy squad will likely be necessary next week.
The stat line for this game seems impossible! Take a look:
|ARI vs. MIN
||Time of Possession
How often does a quarterback not named Tim Tebow complete only eight passes for 58 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions yet still win the game? Such is the might of a single pick six… Of course, the force of Adrian Peterson crashing through the defense doesn’t hurt either.
In typical backfield-by-committee style, LaRod Stephens-Howling got all the love this week. Until some balance in amount of carries is maintained, both Arizona RBs are very risky.
RGIII was once again electric on Sunday, as his 89 rushing yards supplemented an already good passing day. Also, it seems, Shanahan has turned over a new leaf in starting Alfred Morris each week. With said starts, Morris is shattering the totals of other Redskins running backs under the mercurial head coach.
For the Giants, it was great to see Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, and Martellus Bennett get back into the game plan. Bradshaw and Bennett should be starters; however, Brown is a red herring. I wouldn’t trust him at a starting position on my team unless I were in a very deep league—though he might be worth stashing in case of injury to Bradshaw.
Green Bay won their second straight game for the first time this season, thanks in part to the arm of Aaron Rodgers (342 yds, 3 TDs) and the legs of Randall Cobb (89 yds, 2 TDs) and Jordy Nelson (122 yds, 1 TD). Big surprise, am I right? The one question mark left on this offense remains the James Jones/Randall Cobb conundrum. It seems that one or the other will have an offensive explosion each week—but never both, even when they have similar reception totals.
For the Rams, 14 of their 20 points came during a furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt, but it was too little too late. Both the rushing game (93 total yards) and the passing game (no receiver with more than five receptions) lacked star power and underwhelmed, and if Chris Givens hadn’t broken out for 56 yards on a busted coverage, the Rams’ stat line would look even worse. This is an offense to avoid like the plague, as their Calvin Rating is well under 0.5. My condolences to Steven Jackson owners on what is shaping up to be a long season.
Josh Freeman and Drew Brees were the top scoring QBs in Week 7.
Drew Brees maintained his statistical dominance on Sunday, completing 72.9 percent of his passes for 377 yards and four touchdowns, enough to keep him within 100 yards of Eli Manning (league leader) and one touchdown of Aaron Rodgers (league leader), neither of whom has had their bye week yet, which Brees has. Since Brees must complete these passes to someone, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham (when healthy), Darren Sproles, and Garrett Hartley should be started with gusto.
The Buccaneers played the game perfectly but simply weren’t able to hang on. Two early touchdowns put the Saints in a hole, and moderate rushing success against a terribly weak Saints’ D should have been enough to seal the deal. However, a furious 9 minutes in the second quarter led to the Saints’ touchdowns. This kept the Bucs passing game alive to the end, allowing for a massive 420 yards and three touchdowns for Freeman, of which 216 yards and one touchdown went to the hyper-talented Vincent Jackson.
The Jets looked good on Sunday, forcing the epically-good-at-home Pats to come from behind and win in overtime. Sanchez’s 328 yards were impressive, but it was Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller who were truly shocking. Kerley’s 120 yards on seven receptions was tops, but Keller’s 93 yards touchdown makes him an even greater waiver wire option, as TE is more shallow than WR this year. Both should occupy your bench, however, awaiting consistency from this Jets offense.
For the Pats, it was business as usual. Brady was great, and the Gronk was able to haul in two touchdowns on six receptions for 72 yards. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 109 yards on 25 rushes—a nice day for a single running back—though 17 of those 25 carries went to Ridley. If you’re struggling, Vereen may be a good bye-week fill-in, or at least worth sitting on your bench in case of injury to Ridley.
The biggest news of this game is the loss of Maurice Jones-Drew. While the exact nature of his injury is unclear, if there is soft tissue damage, you can blame is squarely on his holdout. It will never be clear if the injury would’ve happened anyway, but MJD joins a long list of badly injured players in their holdout years. Let this be a lesson: Don’t draft a RB or WR in a holdout year! Also, pick up Rashad Jennings at any cost from the waiver wire.
Since Run-DMC had a pitiful showing of 19 rushes for 53 yards, it was up to Carson Palmer (1 pass TD, 1 rush TD) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (4 rec, 85 yds) to save the day for the Raiders. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the leg of the greatest white trash kicker the NFL has even seen in Sebastian Janikowski. I have heard tell that an odor of Pabst Blue Ribbon can be smelled as far as 10 years downfield after a Sea Bass 60-yarder.
In a night thick with Jerome Bettis references, Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries and looked every bit the future lead back of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Right now, he’s running well and all is grand in the Steel City. However, when Mendenhall and Redman return, it may be a three-back committee, and that could wind up being fruitless for all three backs. Until then, however, Dwyer is your man, and he should be picked up with the same force as Rashad Jennings.
For the Bengals, it was a disappointing second half that really could’ve been a lot worse. Despite the 17 points on the board, Andy Dalton had only 105 yards for one touchdown with one interception. Luckily for A.J. Green, his single catch of the night was for a touchdown, or he would’ve ended the day with a bizarre goose egg. It was simply an off night for the Bengals against a tough Steelers team. Look for Dalton, Green-Ellis, Green, and Jermaine Gresham to each perform well in the future, especially with a bye this week to recover.
The Lions looked tired and dysfunctional on Monday night. Heck, Calvin Johnson didn’t secure his first catch until the third quarter! If your No. 1 skill position player doesn’t have a touch until the third quarter, you don’t have a chance. I wouldn’t panic too much regarding these Lions; they’re still a great offense. But I wouldn’t be too excited about their matchup versus that Seattle defense next week. You obviously can’t sit Calvin Johnson, but I’d consider benching anyone else on this team next week.
For the Bears, while Cutler’s stats are underwhelming (150 yds, 1 TD), Brandon Marshall looked dominant, and Matt Forte came in just a hair short of 100 yards. It was an “old school AFC North matchup,” in that neither offense was particularly sharp, and it was simply a matter of who could manufacture the most points in a mud fight. Look for these Bears to be running on high octane next week at home against the not-so-tough Carolina defense.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
This week, CC was strangely quiet, so his role will be played by Jon Gruden, who simply stated the truest factor about Monday night’s game:
“You shut out the Lions offense on Monday Night Football and that’s saying something. It’s a lot of talent on that Detroit offense.”
You can say what you want about the Bears not truly shutting out the Lions, but Detroit got a pity score with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. For 59 minutes, this Bears defense disallowed a fantastic offensive machine even a field goal. With the offense rolling and the defense playing league-best, is this the most complete Bears team ever?
And that’s it! Week 7 has come to a close and Week 8 is already just around the corner. We’re back to four teams on bye for Week 8 (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Houston), so owners should seek fantasy solace in the arms of Saints, Broncos, Bears, Colts, and Titans. Please ask your questions below or tweet me and I’ll reply by Wednesday.
By: Dave Stringer — @ 10:15 am
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Has the light finally come on for the Bucs 2009 1st round pick? Freeman lit up the Saints this week, throwing for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns. Freeman now has two consecutive 300-yard performances after posting just three such performances over the first 45 games of his career. Over the past three weeks, the Bucs signal caller has thrown for 1,047 yards and seven touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
It’s been an ugly start to the season for Stafford and now he will be without Nate Burleson for the rest of the season due to a broken leg. After throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011, Stafford is on pace to finish 2012 with 4,677 yards and just 13 touchdown passes. This might be a buy low opportunity but it’s not a great one since the Lions face six passing defenses ranked 11th or better over the next nine weeks.
Jennings will get a heavy workload over the next few weeks.
Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
Jennings isn’t chopped liver as a running back and he proved it this week, subbing in for an injured Maurice Jones-Drew and gaining 102 yards and a score on 28 touches. With MJD likely out for an extended period with a foot injury, Jennings is in line for a major workload over the next few weeks.
Chris Johnson, Titans
Look who is back. Finally. Johnson torched a sad sack Bills run defense for 195 yards and a pair of scores this week, bringing his two-week total to 312 total yards. His performance gives Johnson three double digit point performances in his last four weeks and a reasonable schedule makes him a low end RB1 the rest of the way.
Jamie Harper, Titans
It’s official. Harper is the Titans goal line back and that seems unlikely to change given his performance over the last two games which includes three touchdowns (two this week against the Bills). That makes him decent flex material against soft run defenses.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
In the “so what” category, I present LaRod Stephens-Howling. He had his first 100-yard rushing game this week, with 104 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, and also chipped in 45 yards on four receptions. Grab him if you are absolutely desperate but keep in mind that he needs a favorable matchup in a game the Cardinals coaches think he gives him the best chance to win over William Powell or Alfonso Smith. It’s likely Stephens-Howling had his first and last game with 100 rushing yards.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
Dwyer proved this week that he can produce when healthy and if given enough touches, putting together the best game of his three-year career (122 yards on 17 carries). If Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman can’t go again this week, Dwyer is startable in a home game against the Redskins.
Alex Green, Packers
Stringer – 2, Comment Board – 0. Take that! Two weeks ago, I took it for not having Antonio Gates Moving Down and then he then went out and had 81 yards and a pair of scores. Last week, I got a pile of hate for having Green Moving Down after his 22 carry, 65-yard performance against the Texans. This week, Green was even worse, carrying 20 times for 35 yards against the Rams and gaining 29 receiving yards. The fact is that if you take away his one solid run this season, he is averaging 2.2 yards per carry. At some point the Packers are going to explore their other running back options.
Felix Jones, Cowboys
If Andre Brown can roll all over the Panthers so can Jones. At least, that was the line of thought for much the entire fantasy community entering this weekend. But what we all forgot was that Felix is Felix and so he laid an egg against a Charmin soft Panthers run defense, gaining 44 yards on 15 carries and failing to find the end zone. Speaking of the end zone, Jones has found himself there twice in his last 21 games, four times in his last three seasons and just ten times during his four and a half years in the league.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Two touches this week, folks. Hard to be a useful fantasy starter when that happens. Looks like Williams is out of favor but I would hold onto him until the trade deadline passes. If he isn’t moved then he isn’t worth owning.
Randall Cobb, Packers
Cobb has become a bit of a target machine in Green Bay with 18 over his last two games and 30 over the past four weeks. And he’s producing with 26 receptions for 339 yards and three touchdowns during that stretch. Coming off a career best performance against the Rams (eight receptions for 89 yards and a pair of scores), Cobb shapes up as a low end WR2 until Greg Jennings returns to the lineup.
Chris Givens, Rams
Givens is clearly the Rams big play guy at receiver, with a pass play of at least 50 yards in four straight games. With Danny Amendola out and rookie 2nd round pick Brian Quick out of favor, Givens has emerged with eight receptions for 261 yards and a touchdown over his last four games. He should be line for more targets (just 20 in those four games) and hopefully an uptick in his fantasy production.
Santana Moss, Redskins
There are conflicting reports out of Washington as to whether Pierre Garcon has torn tendons in his foot but one thing is clear – this injury isn’t going to heal without rest. That should mean more targets for Moss who is coming off his best game of the year, a three-reception, 67-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Giants. That gives him 193 yards and three scores over his past three games.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
I had him here last week but let’s give it to him two weeks in a row after seven receptions, 216 yards, one touchdown… a one man demolition of the Saints secondary despite playing with a calf injury that cost him a touchdown.
Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, Lions
Neither of these former 2nd round picks has done much this year but with Nate Burleson out with a broken leg, they figure to be in line for more targets going forward. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they will do anything with them. If you need to pick one, go with Young.
Torrey Smith, Ravens
After playing at a high level for the first four games of the year, Smith has leveled off with just nine receptions for 103 yards over this past three games. A touchdown in Week 6 was a bit of a saving grace but he saw just four targets in Weeks 5 and 6 and caught just four of his 13 targets in Week 7.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
Lloyd struggled in Week 7 against the Jets, catching just one of eight targets for six yards and missing a couple of catchable balls. That gives him just ten receptions for 120 yards on 25 targets over the past three weeks.
Dustin Keller, Jets
Finally healthy, Keller hauled in all seven of his targets this week against the Patriots for 93 yards and a touchdown. With Santonio Holmes out for the season and only Jeremy Kerley a consistently productive target at wide receiver, Keller could be in line for plenty of targets and production as the season enters its second half.
Logan Paulsen, Redskins
The Redskins re-signed Chris Cooley after starter Fred David was lost to an Achilles injury this week. However, Paulsen might end up getting most of the receiving work and he looked good in relief of Davis, catching four passes for 76 yards.
Scott Chandler, Bills
Chandler has gone cold over the past three weeks, catching just seven passes for 59 yards and failing to find the end zone. With four scores in his first four games, Chandler was shaping up as a solid TE2 but he is Moving Down this week after a two-reception, 15-yard performance against a suspect Titans secondary.
By: Dave Stringer — October 19, 2012 @ 12:26 pm
1. In Philadelphia, the team’s fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the turnover play of quarterback Michael Vick. With the Eagles having a Week 7 bye and head coach Andy Reid providing Vick with an lukewarm endorsement as his starting quarterback, speculation has mounted that Reid could make the switch to rookie 3rd round pick Nick Foles. However, there are several reasons why that is unlikely to happen. First off, Reid appears to have been put on notice by owner Jeffrey Lurie that he needs to make the playoffs in order to secure his job for the 2013 season. With the Eagles sitting at 3-3 and just one game back of the New York Giants in the NFC East, Philadelphia remains in contention to win the division crown and switching to a rookie quarterback does not give the team the best chance of securing a playoff spot. Second, Reid has no assurances that Foles is ready to take over in the starting lineup since he has yet to throw a pass in the NFL. Finally, while Vick’s turnovers have been the team’s biggest issue, not far behind is the play of the team’s offensive line, which is missing two starters in Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce. If Vick continues to struggle, look for both he and Reid to be looking for new employers in 2013, making Foles a solid add in deep dynasty leagues.
2. If you are a Michael Turner owner, it might time to sell high on the Falcons starting running back. While he is coming off a poor performance in Week 6 against the Raiders (11 carries for 33 yards and a reception for six yards), a closer look reveals that Turner’s 15th ranking at running back is more than a tad misleading. The Falcons have their bye in Week 7 which will push Turner down the rankings but it is also worth noting that of his 67.4 fantasy points, 13.7 have come in the passing game and that trend is unlikely to continue. In addition, after having had 15 games with 20 or more carries over the past two seasons, Turner has yet to hit that mark in 2012. While the Falcons upcoming schedule is appealing, that doesn’t mean as much considering Turner’s lack of carries in the running game.
3. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has been the hottest running back in the league over the past two weeks, torching the Browns in Week 5 for 229 total yards and a touchdown and following that up with a 120 total yard, one touchdown performance against a stout 49ers defense. Of course, the injury prone Bradshaw has missed practice time this week with a foot injury. With Andre Brown just returning from a concussion and rookie 1st round pick David Wilson having displayed solid playmaking ability over the last two games with nine carries for 79 yards and a touchdown, the common assumption seems to be that Wilson is the back to own as Bradshaw’s handcuff. Not so fast. With Bradshaw missing practice, Brown took 1st team reps ahead of Wilson and would likely start in the event Bradshaw were to miss time.
4. In Oakland, it appears that the Raiders new management has begun the process of parting ways with starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain. Taken with the 8th pick in the 2010 draft, McClain was expected to become a dominant playmaker in the middle of the Raiders defense but that has failed to materialize. While McClain is a big hitter, he has had numerous off the field issues and has not proven to be a solid player in coverage. Rookie 4th round pick Miles Burris has taken over for McClain on obvious passing downs and the Raiders are not going to pay McClain his current salary ($9-million over the 2013 and 2014 seasons) to be a part time player.
5. Sticking with the Raiders, Carson Palmer has had a decent start to the season, throwing for 1,434 yards but just six touchdowns in Oakland’s first five games. That production has him as the 17th ranked quarterback on a FPts/G basis but better things might be on the horizon. Palmer played the first game of the season without Denarius Moore, was without Darrius Heyward-Bey for one game and part of another and Jacoby Ford, the team’s third wide receiver, was placed on season ending injured reserve without catching a single pass. In addition, running back Darren McFadden has struggled to adapt to the team’s new zone blocking scheme. However, the Raiders upcoming schedule is favorable with matchups against the Jaguars (21st ranked pass defense), Chiefs (12th), Buccaneers (31st), Ravens (22nd), Saints (28th), Bengals (15th) and Browns (30th). With both starting wide receivers in the lineup and a productive McFadden, Palmer’s prospects are looking up. Consider this a buying opportunity.
6. Super deep league flyer tip. The Chargers have announced they are going to sign former Ram Danario Alexander. Alexanader failed to make the St. Louis out of training camp due to a hamstring injury but he is exactly the type of big bodied, speed receiver that the Chargers like and that quarterback Philip Rivers likes to throw to. Given Robert Meachem’s lack of success in his first season in San Diego and Malcom Floyd’s inability to stay healthy, Alexander may end up seeing the field at some point in 2012. When healthy with the Rams, he was productive.
7. With the Ravens defense a hurting mess, it might be time to invest in quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore has clearly made the attempt to become a more dynamic offense in 2012 with middling success along the way. However, since the defense was clearly in decline even with linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb healthy, their absence will only make matters worse and should cause the offense to open up even more. Flacco was already on pace to finish the season with over 4,500 passing yards (which would be a career high) and 21 touchdowns so he could emerge as a low end QB1 if the defense continues to struggle as is expected.
By: Dave Stringer — October 16, 2012 @ 1:07 pm
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
The King is Back! Long Live the King! After three subpar performances (for him) to start the season, Rodgers has been back to his 2011 self over the Packers last three games, throwing for 900 yards, rushing for 87 more and tossing 13 touchdowns. In Week 6, he demolished the league’s best defense, torching the Texans for 338 yards and six touchdown passes. If Greg Jennings gets healthy, look out.
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
No real Moving Down trends at quarterback this week so Kolb gets the nod after injuring his ribs against the Bills. Playing behind the league’s worst offensive line, it was only a matter of time before Kolb went down. While backup John Skelton was horrendous in replacing him, there are no guarantees Kolb will be available this week at Minnesota.
William Powell, Arizona
Powell’s the man in Arizona after LaRod Stephens-Howling’s first quarter flop against the Bills. He played decently enough, totaling 70 yards on 13 carries and catching one pass for eight yards. However, being the lead back in an offense possibly led by John Skelton isn’t exactly a winning fantasy proposal, especially against a solid Vikings defense this week.
It's time to sell Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene, Jets
Greene was the leading fantasy rusher in Week 6, posting career highs in rushing yards with 161 and touchdowns with three against a clearly overmatched Colts run defense. Has he finally turned the corner? Nah. This is a sell high, folks, all the way. The 100-yard performance was just his 4th in 47 games and Greene puts up one or two solid performances to tease us every year (33.3% of his 2011 fantasy production came in two games). Up next are the Patriots (6th ranked run defense), Dolphins (5th), a bye and then the Seahawks (2nd).
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Torching the Browns for 200 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards and a touchdown was impressive but you could easily make the argument that getting 116 yards and a touchdown on the ground in a road game against the 49ers is more impressive.
Felix Jones, Cowboys
With DeMarco Murray going down with a foot sprain, Jones received his most extended playing time of the season, carrying the rock 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. Essentially persona non grata for the first four games of the season (nine total touches on offense), Jones will move into the starting lineup if Murray misses extended time and has proven to be an explosive runner during short spans of games. He rates as a mid-tier to high-end RB2 over the next several weeks if Murray is out, courtesy of a schedule that features the Panthers (23rd ranked run defense), Giants (16th), Falcons (27th), Eagles (15th) and Browns (25th).
Jahvid Best, Lions
Detroit management released a statement yesterday that Best is still not cleared to play after suffering a concussion during Week 6 of last season, exactly one year ago to the day. While the statement left open the possibility of his return later in the season, it seems clear that a 2012 return isn’t in the cards and Best’s career is likely over. Unfortunate, given his dynamic playmaking ability and short time in the league.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings
While Peterson has been solid and is on pace to finish the season with over 1,300 rushing yards and just under 1,700 total yards, the touchdowns just aren’t coming. After a pair of scores during the Vikings opening week win over the Jaguars, AP has failed to find the end zone and is on pace to finish the season with a career-low five touchdowns (his previous low was 10 during his sophomore season in 2008).
Alex Green, Packers
The good: the Packers gave him a whopping 22 carries, a rare occurrence in their offense. The bad: Green didn’t pretty much nothing, looking entirely pedestrian in gaining 65 yards, just under three yards a pop. That opens the door a crack for James Stark beginning with this week’s game against the Rams.
Mike Williams, Bucs
After a disappointing performance in his sophomore year, Williams has been decent in 2012 but has really clicked with quarterback Josh Freeman in the Bucs last two games despite being targeted just 14 times. He topped 100 yards in each game (for the 2nd and 3rd time in his career and first time since Week 8 of his rookie season in 2009), catching one touchdown pass.
Wes Welker, Patriots
Welker is certainly doing his best to make the Patriots brain trust of head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels look like fools for playing Julian Edelman ahead of him for the first two and half games of the season. Over his past five games, Welker has totaled 608 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns (one each in Weeks 5 and 6). Even with tight end Aaron Hernandez back in the lineup, Welker was targeted 14 times against Seattle, giving him 61 over his past five games.
Denarius Moore, Raiders
With 35 targets in his four games, Moore is clearly the Raiders leading receiver and he is coming off his best performance of the season, catching five passes for 104 yards and a score against the Falcons. With the Raiders up and down, there will be plenty of garbage time points in Oakland’s offense and Moore figures to lap up much of that.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
Vjax is a target machine in the Bucs offense, on pace to finish with a career-high 147 in that category. He’s also on pace to finish the season with 1,184 and 13 touchdowns, which would also be career-highs. With his 66-yard, two-touchdown performance this week against the Chiefs, Jackson has 166 yards and three touchdowns over his past two games.
Pierre Garcon, Redskins
Garcon put up a pair of dud performances (44 yards in total) after his return from a injury suffered in Week 1 and was declared inactive this week with an inflamed foot. Few thought he would emerge as a truly leading wide receiver for the Redskins but that was expected to be performance based. Looks like it will be caused by injury instead, since he looked solid in his only healthy game this season. Buy low and hope for health, folks.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins
Zero catches on zero targets for a big fat O-fer. Hartline is the epitome of a mid-level player playing in a role he is ill-suited for as the Dolphins leading receiver. The Rams completely shut him down and you can expect that to happen several more times this season.
Greg Little, Browns
This guy’s talented but he has hands of stone and the Browns seem to have moved on to using Josh Gordon as their leading wide receiver. Little has just seven targets in his last two games, catching three passes for 18 yards (all this week). If there is a Browns wide receiver to own, it is Gordon.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
Looks like San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has remembered who butters his bread. Gates was targeted a season-high 10 times this week against the Broncos, catching six passes for 81 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. His performance should put his naysayers to bed as he looked like solid, if not exactly like the Gates of years gone by.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens
Pitta’s promising start to the season seems like a long time ago. After three solid games in which he caught 18 passes for 188 yards and a pair of scores, Pitta has gone stone cold. He put up an O-fer in Week 4 and has followed that up with 22 and 33-yard performances. The reason? Opportunity. He averaged over ten targets a game for the first three weeks of the season but just 3.7 over the last three weeks.
By: Aaron Williams — @ 11:28 am
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Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 6 was pretty pedestrian overall, as most of the matchups were fairly uneventful. However, there was some great action and some insight to be had in fantasy, and TMB will try to bring it all to you without tearing a triceps. Let’s get right into it:
Last week, much to-do was made about Drew Brees breaking one of passing’s most prestigious records; however, this week there is very little press about another magnificent record falling. Roethlisberger, in his hottest passing start ever, became the best quarterback the Steelers have ever had statistically. Now, Terry Bradshaw was not exactly a prolific passer by today’s standards, but we should consider that it took Roethlisberger only eight full seasons and some change to get the record. That’s impressive.
The Titans also looked impressive on Thursday night, what with four 50-yard receivers. Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt may be worth starting if you feel like playing roulette—it’s an all-or-nothing offense. CJ2K also ran well against the Steelers, racking up 91 yards and a near-touchdown.
Just to throw fantasy owners for a loop, the Raiders decided to go on the road against an undefeated team and play their best football of the season. Palmer managed to keep his TD:INT ratio at 1:1 (a fantastic achievement for him), and Denarius Moore hit almost 21 yards per catch on five receptions, and he scored a touchdown to ice the proverbial cake. I would like to see Palmer complete four passes to Derek Hagan for 80-plus yards more than once before I start playing these Raiders in non-bye-week matchups.
My analysis of the Falcons’ fantasy value after this week would be like the Vice Presidential debates: highly unlikely to change your mind. So I won’t waste your time. Typically, even the most dominant teams don’t blow out their opponents every week. Keep starting your Falcons.
Jones: A hot commodity for Week 7
The Cowboys learned a great lesson from their intrastate rival, the Houston Texans, and let the run open up the pass. This isn’t your father’s Baltimore D; they can’t stop the run, and DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones proved it. Look for Jones to be a hot commodity, as Murray is hurt and may miss some time. The Ravens overall looked on par offensively, though Anquan Boldin once again performed well past his station, with 98 yards on five catches.
Also, that 24/7 security detail needs to get Dez Bryant on the practice field a little more. He’s dropping balls like crazy!
If I told you the 3-2 Bengals and the 0-4 Browns game in Cleveland this Sunday would end 34-24, how much could I get you to bet on the Bengals? Of course, if I knew the end score, I probably couldn’t get most of you to bet much, but that’s beyond the point. This Browns offense is moving the ball! Is Brandon Weeden finally the savior of Cleveland? May there come a time this season when a Browns pass catcher is worthwhile? We’ll have to wait and see, but things are looking up a little.
For the Bengals, Jermaine Gresham again proved his fantasy worth as a starting TE, and A.J. Green is saving fantasy seasons everywhere. You might consider Andy Dalton if you’ve grown tired of having quarterbacks named Cam Newton or Ryan Fitzpatrick on your roster.
Despite Miami’s scoring only 17 points, this game was not as close as the 14-17 final score belies. The Rams were able to get good yardage, but they did not score a touchdown until there were only five minutes remaining. Bradford did save his fantasy day with a rushing touchdown, but the Rams are virtually forgotten in fantasy, as well they should be.
Speaking of saving their day with touchdowns, Anthony Fasano and Ryan Tannehill both embellished sub-par yardage totals with scores. Look for Tannehill to come off the waiver wire in many leagues this week. It may not be a bad idea to pick him up if you’re looking for QB depth or can play two.
In the first of a couple of unlikely blowouts this weekend, the Jets swarmed and put up 35 points to the Colts’ measly 9. Don’t be surprised if this Jets team stays alive and pesters the Patriots all the way into the playoffs. Shonn Greene put on a vomit-inducing 161-yard, 3-touchdown performance, and Joe McKnight added another 71 yards rushing. In addition, Mark Sanchez impressively managed to throw two touchdowns on only 11 completions for 82 yards. So, what does this mean for the Jets fantasy prospects? N-o-t-h-i-n-g! The Colts were obviously not ready for a Jets rushing attack and simply couldn’t adjust. Just as I cautioned when they scored 48 points in week one: this is not the norm for the Jets.
For the Colts, the offense was so non-existent (thanks largely to the let-down that almost always follows an emotional high like last week’s victory over the Packers) that there is little to take away. Take note that Reggie Wayne still got 87 yards on five receptions when the rest of his team was fading away.
In a somewhat bizarre turnout, Stafford and Vick both threw for 311 yards, though Vick threw for twice as many touchdowns (and picks) and rushed nine times for 59 yards. Also, Calvin Johnson and Jeremy Maclin both caught 6 passes for 135 and 130 yards, respectively. However, while DeSean Jackson followed Maclin with five catches for 74 yards, it was Tony Scheffler who most closely followed Johnson. Despite his 81-yard performance, I feel there are many stronger TE options than Scheffler—l would let someone else have that game-day worry each week.
Is Brady Quinn the answer to the Cassel conundrum? Here is how they break down:
|Matt Cassel (5-Week Avg)
Looking at those numbers, the answer is definitively “no.” However, Cassel has had similarly illustrious failures under center (92 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT against Baltimore). Sadly, whoever can come out and consistently impress under center for the Chiefs is not currently on their roster. I would avoid all of these passers like the plague. More prevalently for fantasy, however, I would struggle to start any Chiefs pass catchers as well. Even Dwayne Bowe is having a disgustingly feast-or-famine year.
For the Buccaneers, Josh Freeman is another great waiver-wire option if you need him during the bye weeks, and Doug Martin is proving to be worth your time as a starter if you paid the right price for him. Finally, Mike Williams is showing up again, with the help of the physically astounding Vincent Jackson drawing most of the coverage. Williams and Jackson are the poor man’s Roddy White and Julio Jones, and in my opinion, they don’t get the respect they deserve.
Only the Arizona Cardinals could welcome the historically awful Buffalo Bills defense to the Western time zone and struggle to score 16 points in a loss. Neither passing game was able to muster 200 yards. William Powell did have a promising push for 70 yards on 13 carries, but if his time-share with LRSH persists, those 13 carries won’t net your team many points.
The Pats receiving game thrived as usual on multiple pass catchers (four with more than 40 yards, three with more than 60), but could not get the complimentary rushing attacking the 2012 new-look Pats offense needs to win. Simply put, the Seattle D is just too tough at home for rushers to get much ground. Look to find replacements most weeks when your favorite players see those horrific navy and electric green unis across the line of scrimmage.
The second unlikely blowout of the weekend happened in San Francisco. That’s not a knock against the Giants offense, which has been good all year, but these 49ers were exploited big-time on Sunday. The Giants are looking D-proof, as three wide receivers (Hixon, Cruz, Nicks) and two running backs (Bradshaw, Wilson) all had nice days in addition to Manning’s. In fact, Bradshaw is probably the most exciting of all, with 116 yards and a touchdown against a very stingy run D on their home field. For the Niners, it’s tough to say much fantasy-wise when you score 3 points. I would definitely use this de-motivation to ditch Smith if you’re still starting him.
Christian Ponder once again put up good numbers alongside too many turnovers, but he was unable to get as much done with his legs as he had in weeks past. Adrian Peterson was unable to score, but 79 yards isn’t bad for limited opportunities (17 carries). For the Redskins, it was promising to see RGIII go from being unable to remember what quarter it was to throwing a touchdown and rushing for 138 yards and two more scores a week later. He is undoubtedly the value pick of the year, since he may have gone undrafted in your league and is the No. 1 fantasy scorer after six weeks.
It went largely unnoticed, but Texans defensive end Antonio Smith listed his education as “Shaolin Temple.” This is a dig at his hilarious edition of “On the Nose” with Shaun Cody, which is, of course, is a dig at his “Ninja Assassin Slash of Death” sack celebration.
On to the game! I think Aaron Rodgers is the most vindictive quarterback in history. Every time someone slights this man, he comes out and has a career game. If I were the Packers media, I’d be looking at every chance possible to piss him off. His anger manifests itself in ways like, “Oh? You think I’m not MVP-worthy this year? Have six touchdowns!” and, “Oh? The NFL thinks Alex Smith is better? Look at that! I just won the Super Bowl!” Always start Rodgers, but make bets when the media starts to get down on him.
For the Texans, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They played a good game, but rare is the opponent that allows 45 points and still wins. The Packers were an irresistible force in Houston, and the Texans were a slightly-moveable object.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
CC on Daniel Manning’s moronic punching of the helmet of Marshall Newhouse:
“Alright now, you’re going to fight. You’re going to hit him in the head… with a helmet on! You might as well have given him a kiss! Oh my, I’ve never seen a team self-destruct like this!”
This is classic. I can’t ever figure out what players see in punching a helmet meant to withstand the force of a 300-pound man running a 4.6 40. The only thing Manning did when he attacked Newhouse was give the Packers a third set of downs to try to score a touchdown with, which they did. The Packers were held to a field goal (on three downs), then Connor Barwin leapt off the back of a teammate to give them a first down, then the Packers were once again held to a field goal (three more downs), and Manning decided to strike three blows alongside the helmet of Newhouse. Finally, on their eighth down with goal to go, the Packers scored on Rodgers’ fourth touchdown pass of the night.
This was a game of two separate halves. In the first half, the Rivers–Gates connection was rocking and the DST was picking up the slack. The Chargers were up 24-0 at halftime. Then, Peyton Manning, the football demigod, descended upon the field in the second half and wrought havoc among the San Diego elite. He threweth not one touchdown but three to his valiant receiving corps, and his defensive battalion unleashed a turnover-crazed might upon the Bolts such that the world may never see again. In fact, ‘twas never before accomplished that which the Broncos did this eve, for they were down by 24 and led so furious a charge, nay, so courageous a refusal to accept defeat, that they won by double digits! A feat hitherto never ascended. So be it known the great power of the Football Demigod Peyton Manning!
P.S. Eric Decker wasn’t too shabby, and that Denver D wasn’t too bad either. Not that the Manning Mythos won’t consume all credit for this game.
And that’s it! Week 6 had some epic late action, despite the morning and afternoon Sunday games being somewhat of a snoozefest. With your Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Chargers on bye next week, look to the Titans, Giants, Saints, Buccaneers, and Texans to fill in for you. Also, ask me questions in the comments below or via my Twitter account and then make sure to check back in on Wednesday for a reply!
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