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:
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.
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.