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.
49ers – Rams
I’m trying hard to remember why I thought Jeff Fisher was a good coach, but I’m having a really hard time. I know everyone is blaming Brian Schottenheimer, but didn’t Fisher hire him? If I hire a jerk to run my company and go bankrupt, I can’t really blame the jerk, can I? Schottenheimer’s offense is absolutely laughable. It’s nothing but curl routes and 7-yard outs. I’m sure Jet fans know all about that. This Rams team is a joke. Can you imagine a team that doesn’t even consider throwing the ball over 10 yards…ever? I own Jared Cook in all my leagues and I wouldn’t think about starting him again. If you are starting any St Louis offensive player right now, you obviously don’t understand the rules of fantasy football or you are mad and trying to sabotage your league by finishing in last place. Oh, and for the record, Fisher has had just two winning seasons since 2003. This won’t be his third.
Bears – Lions
This was a wild affair that saw a combined 72 points. Normally that would mean monster days from both Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson. While both receivers had decent fantasy days, this was one of those games where so many players got involved in the action, the production got spread around. Reggie Bush and Alshon Jeffery were the two biggest fantasy winners. Bush will be a Top 5 RB in PPR formats this year if he can stay healthy. However, that’s a pretty big “if.” Jeffery was my top breakout player this season and through four games he’s seen a respectable 32 targets. He had his best game of the year on Sunday, catching five balls for 107 yards and a touchdown. He’s a player to target right now, as I expect Jeffery’s numbers to get better as the year goes on.
Seahawks – Texans
Seattle escaped with their lives thanks to a horrible throw by Matt Schaub that was intercepted by Richard Sherman and returned for the tying touchdown. Those of us who bet $100 on Seattle to win the Super Bowl at 10/1 back in May appreciate the win for home-field-advantage purposes. Arian Foster had his best fantasy day of the season. It probably didn’t hurt that I decided to bench him minutes before kickoff. Somehow I still won, even with making idiotic decisions like that. In the history of my life, that decision has never worked out in my favor. Foster out-touched Ben Tate 33-8. Even though Tate had been the more effective runner, Gary Kubiak will always go with Foster in big games.
Colts – Jaguars
Are the Jaguars one of the worst teams of all-time? I hate using the word “all-time,” but this team isn’t competitive right now. Indianapolis didn’t even play that well early on Sunday and they still beat Jacksonville by 34 points. Trent Richardson got his 20 carries but he only managed 60 yards. Luckily, he scored to save his fantasy day. I’m a big Richardson fan, but for a stud back he sure does get a lot of zero- and one-yard gains. It was one thing when he was in Cleveland, but if that continues to happen with the Colts, it’s a concern. I mean if Richardson isn’t going to have a big day when he gets 20 carries against the Jaguars in a blowout, when is he going to have a one?
Giants – Chiefs
Those waiting for the Giants to wake up can stop holding their breath. This team is in big trouble and it’s not going to turn around any time soon. I admit that I loved New York’s offense coming into the year, but other than Victor Cruz, who are you starting right now? So basically you’re starting one more Giant than you are a Jaguar. Talk about a team in shambles. I have no idea how the Chiefs score a point if it’s not from their defense, Jamaal Charles, or on special teams. I just see Alex Smith throwing three-yard passes but then I look up and the team has more than 30 points, so whatever they’re doing, it’s working. I can’t believe I was able to still get the Kansas City defense last week. Those guys are big, they’re bad, and they hate everything to do with Christmas.
Steelers – Vikings
Apparently the wildest games every week involve the Vikings now. What a difference a quarterback makes. Matt Cassel may not be Dan Marino, but the fact that he can actually throw the ball more than 10 yards make a world of difference for the Vikings’ receivers. Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson combined for 10 catches, 216 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Cassel’s presence did nothing for Kyle Rudolph’s fantasy value. He’s still stuck on the back of a milk carton. It’s obvious Ben Roethlisberger is no longer listening to Todd Haley. He’s gone back to making plays on his own and throwing the ball down the field. It’s paying off. Even though the Steelers have lost their last two games, Big Ben has thrown for 789 yards. Le’Veon Bell made his debut and scored twice. More importantly, he looked like an NFL running back. No other running back currently on Pittsburgh’s roster can say that with a straight face.
Cardinals – Buccaneers
If you spent a lot of time watching this game you’re either a huge fan of one of these teams or you just turned on a football game for the first time and have no idea what the sport is supposed to look like. This was ugly football. Arizona may have gotten the win but its offense doesn’t look good. The Cardinals have no running game and Carson Palmer is wildly inconsistent. Not to mention, the offensive line can’t block anyone. Mike Glennon got his first career start and looked like a rookie. Glennon may be a fine NFL quarterback someday, but he has a ways to go. That’s why I advised dumping Vincent Jackson two weeks ago. The Buccaneers are in for some tough fantasy days ahead.
Ravens – Bills
C.J. Spiller had his typical day. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry, didn’t score, limped off with another “injury” but somehow miraculously returned a little while later. It’s always something with Spiller. He’s always hobbling off with some problem. The bottom line is that, after a month, Spiller is one of the biggest busts in fantasy football. It’s tough to depend on a guy who is constantly getting attended to on the sidelines. The Ravens had an interesting gameplan on Sunday. The Bills can’t stop anyone on the ground, so Baltimore ran it just nine times. Instead, they had 50 pass attempts and five interceptions in a game that was close in the fourth quarter. To be fair, though, the Ravens did keep their committee intact. Ray Rice had five carries, while Bernard Pierce had four.
Bengals – Browns
I mentioned Trent Richardson struggling above. Maybe the Browns knew what they were doing after all. Since trading Richardson and inserting Brian Hoyer into the starting lineup, Cleveland has won two games in a row. Hoyer put up another strong performance on Sunday, throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals are going to have to find another option in the passing game to take some pressure off of A.J. Green. I’m not talking about a tomato can like Marvin Jones either. After a huge Week 1, Green has been neutralized now in three straight games. Andy Dalton’s performance isn’t helping either. Remember on Hard Knocks when they said this was a big year for Dalton? Well, he needs to get a lot better in a hurry or the Bengals’ offense is going to really struggle in the coming weeks.
Jets – Titans
This was great for your fantasy day if you started either the Titans defense or Nate Washington. If you started Chris Johnson or anyone else on the field, it didn’t amount to much. When do we start to close the book on Johnson? We’ve had to make so many excuses for him that I can’t even think of any more. I don’t care what anyone says, if Johnson gets 15 carries he should get more than 21 yards. End of story. He has had way too many of these games over the last couple of seasons. Johnson’s name used to be uttered in the same sentence with Adrian Peterson. Now he’s losing goal-line carries to humps like Jackie Battle. If you don’t think that’s a problem, you’re either blind, you’re related to Chris Johnson, or you are Chris Johnson.
Cowboys – Chargers
You really have to hand it to Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt; they have done an excellent job turning around the Chargers’ offense this season. Philip Rivers had another excellent game, throwing for over 400 yards. Antonio Gates must have thought it was 2006. He looked like his former elite self, hauling in 10 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Rivers looks like he’ll be able to put up strong fantasy numbers most weeks, so if you are having quarterback issues, he’s worth starting. I told you last week that the Cowboys wouldn’t stick with the running game. Despite averaging 5.0 yards per carry on Sunday, DeMarco Murray got only 14 carries. Dallas doesn’t run the ball in close games and they never will. You should have sold high on Murray.
Eagles – Broncos
This was expected to be an offensive showcase and one team kept up its end of the bargain. It will be interesting to see if a defense like the Chiefs can at least slow down Denver a little bit this season, because right now they look unstoppable. The Eagles looked unstoppable in Week 1 but it turns out they were just playing Washington. Remember when that reporter asked Mike Vick, “Did we just see a revolution in the NFL?” I love Chip Kelly too but, man, reporters are stupid, aren’t they? I guess the revolution is on hold, because the Eagles got plastered for the second straight week. Oh, and what is Riley Cooper doing in the NFL? He offends me. I’m not even referring to anything he said at a concert. He offends me because he’s such a terrible football player.
Redskins – Raiders
So, the Redskins started 0-3 but produced good fantasy numbers in all three games. On Sunday they finally won but their fantasy numbers weren’t that great. I guess fantasy owners should root against Washington. Two of the better fantasy days came from backup running backs that no one likely started. Roy Helu came in for Alfred Morris and produced 84 total yards and a score. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Darren McFadden left with an injury. He was replaced by Rashad Jennings, who caught eight passes for 71 yards and added another 45 yards on 15 carries. Both Helu and Jennings will be strong fantasy plays moving forward if the starters are out for an extended period of time.
Patriots – Falcons
Tom Brady completed 20 passes to eight different pass catchers. The last names of guys who caught passes from Brady were Thompkins, Edelman, Ridley, Boyce, Develin, Dobson, Mulligan and Bolden. I don’t care if you like Brady or not, when a quarterback goes over 300 yards and helps lead his team to a 4-0 record throwing to those guys, he’s pretty good. Wasn’t Tony Gonzalez going to retire? Should I become a vegan? Seriously, these vegans are superhuman. Gonzalez caught 12 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The only thing more amazing is that I faced Gonzo last week and not this week. I still don’t understand what the Falcons are doing with Roddy White. They spent four games wasting time using White as a decoy instead of making him sit out a game or two to get healthy. Guess what? Now you’re 1-3 and he’s still not healthy. It’s one of the biggest mismanagements of an injury that I remember seeing. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.
Dolphins – Saints
This was a typical Saints thrashing at home. The Dolphins had been playing well but were just a bit out of their element in this one. Drew Brees tossed for over 400 yards, while both Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham topped 100 yards receiving. Mike Wallace is starting to become a problem. Not for me but for anyone who owns him in a fantasy league. I still like Ryan Tannehill going forward as a QB2 but it wasn’t his night against the Saints. I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Lamar Miller deserves more than 11 carries a game. Tell Daniel Thomas to grab some pine and stay there.