It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Chiefs – Eagles
I’m a Chip Kelly fan but it was ugly Thursday night. The Eagles’ offense got eaten up by Kansas City and Kelly had few answers to combat the onslaught. I mentioned last week that the Chiefs would have one of the best fantasy defenses all year, but I didn’t think they would dominate the Eagles like they did. Kansas City has another tough matchup this week against the Giants, although how much more do we need to see? These guys are nasty. If the Chiefs’ defense is still on your waiver wire, go get them. Donnie Avery had a big game, catching seven passes for 141 yards. However, most of his receptions were on a play, run over and over, that Philadelphia just couldn’t cover. Avery is worth picking up simply because Alex Smith won’t throw the ball over 10 yards, and Avery is the Chiefs’ underneath receiver. Speaking of not throwing the ball over 10 yards, Dwayne Bowe owners are going to be pulling their hair out all season. Because he threw so many interceptions early on his career, Smith won’t force the ball down the field anymore, so Bowe’s fantasy numbers will suffer most weeks.
Browns – Vikings
What was expected to be a low-scoring affair ended up producing 58 points. The Vikings are in all kinds of trouble. They can’t stop anyone. Brian Hoyer made some mistakes but also threw for 321 yards and three scores. Hoyer at least looked like he belonged in the NFL, which is more than I can say for Brandon Weeden. Although, to be fair, having Josh Gordon helps. Gordon and Jordan Cameron give the Browns two young players to be excited about for the future. Cleveland would have had three hopefuls, but they traded away Trent Richardson. His replacement, Willis McGahee, made his debut and rushed eight times for nine yards. The scary thing is that out of these two teams, the one everyone said had given up on the season has more hope for 2013. Sorry Vikings.
Rams – Cowboys
You have to wonder what’s going on with the Rams right now. They go out and get all this speed on offense for Sam Bradford and then don’t throw a pass over 10 yards. It’s either the play calling, or Bradford is gun-shy from all the sacks he’s taken early in his career. Whatever it is, St. Louis better start taking better advantage of its weapons because the Rams can’t run the ball a lick. The Cowboys ran the ball plenty on Sunday. DeMarco Murray must really love the Rams. He almost topped 200 yards against them for the second time in his career. Don’t be fooled though. When push comes to shove the Cowboys will ride the arm of Tony Romo. Murray makes for a great sell-high candidate this week, considering Dallas will always be a pass-first offense.
Packers – Bengals
Did any other A.J. Green owners keep checking to see if he was hurt on Sunday? I thought my computer was broken, Green went so long without having any stats. He ended up scoring late in the third quarter to save his day, but that’s two less-than-stellar weeks in a row from Green now. I have no idea why Giovani Bernard isn’t on the field more. Giving the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis is kind of like taking a knee. The guy is averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the season, and he must have had a 70-yarder I missed for it to be that high. After not having a 100-yard rusher in 45 games, the Packers had one in back-to-back weeks. Johnathan Franklin did the honors on Sunday but also had a costly fumble. Franklin has much more upside than James Starks. And he’s thus a much wiser waiver-wire addition this week than Starks was last week.
Buccaneers – Patriots
Last week I noted that the time may be running out on Josh Freeman. Well, now the Bucs are 0-3 and, unlike their first two games, their loss to the Patriots wasn’t close. With Freeman struggling and Vincent Jackson getting banged up, there just isn’t a lot to like about the Bucs’ offense right now. Stevan Ridley was kind of a waste of a draft pick. I know because I drafted him in two leagues and now he’s on my bench in favor of guys like Joique Bell and Bernard Pierce. Ridley is now seeing fewer carries than LeGarrette Blount and has Brandon Bolden breathing down his neck, too. That could change next week, but you know what? It could change again the week after that. Ridley’s 1000-yard season in 2012 sure seems like a long time ago.
Cardinals – Saints
This was a great fantasy game if you own Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham. Otherwise, there were a couple of average performances, some underwhelming performances, and Carson Palmer’s dreadful performance. Palmer is starting to look a little like the quarterbacks Arizona was trotting out there last season. If we can take one thing away from this game it’s that, for all the talk of the Honey Badger, Arizona is far and away the worst team in the NFL when it comes to covering the tight end. Remember that going forward.
Chargers – Titans
It seems every year there’s that one team whose games go down to the final seconds each week. This year is looks like that team is going to be the Chargers. They had their third game in a row determined in the final seconds on Sunday. Ryan Mathews had 58 yards on 16 carries. That’s actually a great game for him. Seriously, how much fantasy value does he even have anymore? Do people actually still start this guy? Mathews has less value than two other backs on his own team because he doesn’t play on passing downs or get goal-line carries. Chris Johnson gained 90 yards on 19 carries. That’s becoming his weekly stat line. Nate Washington had a big game. He’ll probably have two more this year. Good luck guessing when they’ll come.
Lions – Redskins
The Redskins did it again. They lost for the third week in a row but still put up respectable fantasy numbers overall. Washington fans may be upset that their team is 0-3, but fantasy owners could care less right now. Robert Griffin didn’t score but eclipsed 300 yards for the third straight game, so he’s doing much better in the fantasy world than the real world. See, there’s always a silver lining. There’s no silver lining for the Redskins’ defense though. It’s awful. Detroit had two receivers go over 100 yards (Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson) and Joique Bell racked up the fantasy points filling in for Reggie Bush. If you have a player going up against Washington’s defense right now, it’s like Christmas morning.
Giants – Panthers
My God, what’s going on with the Giants? This team hasn’t been the same since late last season, and they better turn it around soon because that was a disgusting display on Sunday. Regardless of how many Super Bowls Tom Coughlin has won, you can’t fire 53 players, and those guys simply don’t care right now. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are the only Giants that fantasy owners can afford to start next week against Kansas City. It’s obvious the Giants have quit, considering that Mike Shula’s offense racked up over 400 yards on them. Hopefully Shula finally realized he has Cam Newton and will start letting him throw the ball further than 10 yards in the coming weeks.
Texans – Ravens
This wasn’t a tremendous fantasy game unless you started Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker. Bernard Pierce churned out 65 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries against a tough Houston rush defense. If Ray Rice is out again next week, look for Pierce to put up much better fantasy numbers versus Buffalo. The Texans continue to split carries between Ben Tate and Arian Foster. Whether Foster gets most of the carries or the carries are evenly split, it doesn’t really matter. He’s having a rough fantasy season so far. We may be saying the same thing in December, too.
Falcons – Dolphins
Steven Jackson was out for this game, so the Falcons obviously decided to focus on the run. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers combined for 139 yards on 29 carries. Atlanta will need its two-headed running back monster to continue to produce while Jackson sits with a deep thigh bruise. After a bad showing in Week 1, Lamar Miller has provided a spark, but he hasn’t received enough touches. I’m not a big Miller fan, but he’s making plays and deserves to see the ball more than nine times. Ryan Tannehill continues to do a good job of spreading the ball around, as nine Dolphins caught passes on Sunday. Although, Mike Wallace owners prefer that the ratio go back to what it was in Week 2.
Jaguars – Seahawks
Some games go exactly how everyone thinks they’ll go. This was one of those games. Seattle got up big, rested their starters by the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville scored a few meaningless points. Cecil Shorts owners who started him are happy for the garbage points though. I started Russell Wilson over Andrew Luck in one of my leagues. My thinking was that Wilson would probably only throw for 200 yards but I was hoping he would toss a few scores on play action passes. Like I said, this was one of those games that went the way everyone thought it would go.
Colts – 49ers
Now, this was a game that didn’t go the way everyone expected. The Colts absolutely dominated Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense. They sacked Kaepernick three times, caused two turnovers and held San Francisco to 254 total yards. Newly signed Trent Richardson was used sparingly but made his presence known by scoring a touchdown. His touches will obviously increase a great deal over the next couple of weeks as he learns the offense. Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Bradshaw will still have a role in the Colts’ offense, but Richardson wasn’t acquired to stand on the sidelines. He’s going to be the bell cow.
Bills – Jets
C.J. Spiller was supposed to take the fantasy world by storm this year. Instead, he’s finishing with 10 carries for nine yards and either getting hurt or benched every week. It’s not the start to the season owners who selected Spiller with a first-round pick were expecting. I was one of those people. After sharing carries with Chris Ivory in the first two games, Bilal Powell exploded for 149 yards on 27 carries. He’s obviously the Jets back to own now that Ivory is dealing with a hamstring issue. The Jets had two 100-yard receivers in Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill. That’s right, the Jets had two receivers who combined for 262 receiving yards, and the 49ers had 254 yards of total offense. Welcome to another crazy NFL season.
Bears – Steelers
This was a game where a team won 40-23. However, the team that scored 40 points was a fantasy dud, while the team that scored 23 points had the fantasy stars. No one on the Bears other than Matt Forte did much of anything. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger broke out and threw for over 400 yards, while Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 196 yards and two scores. One thing remained the same though; the Steelers couldn’t run the ball at all. If Pittsburgh wants to improve its ground game, they should do a better job of acquiring running backs. Think about it. Other than Le’Veon Bell, they have backs that can’t make other teams’ rosters. No one else wants Felix Jones. Jonathan Dwyer got cut and no one wanted him. I can guarantee you no one wants Isaac Redman. Seriously, get better running backs instead of three tomato cans who don’t belong in the NFL. For an organization that usually does a great job of building a roster, that’s inexcusable.
Raiders – Broncos
This was a typical Broncos thrashing of a team that had no chance of stopping their high-powered offense. The good news for fantasy owners is all of Denver’s receivers got into the act Monday night. The trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker combined for 25 receptions, 311 yards and two scores. Montee Ball looked good in the second half but fumbled for the second straight week. These young backs can’t keep expecting to get chances and screwing up. The only real fantasy bright spot for the Raiders was Denarius Moore, who caught six passes for 124 yards and a long touchdown. The Broncos and Eagles play on Sunday. This is just a hunch but that game will probably produce a few nice fantasy stat lines.