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.
Redskins – Vikings
This game featured a lot of offense, in large part because both defenses are awful. Alfred Morris owners can’t catch a break…sort of. Morris has had three strong games in a row, but after losing short touchdown runs to Roy Helu and Darrel Young the last two weeks, Morris got skunked again when Logan Paulsen caught a one-yard touchdown pass. At least this time there was only 10 seconds left in the half. Robert Griffin had another big fantasy game in a loss, targeting Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed a combined 19 times. For Minnesota, Christian Ponder was playing well against Washington’s Swiss cheese defense before hurting his shoulder. John Carlson had a big game filling in for the injured Kyle Rudolph, catching seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. That will likely be Carlson’s best game of the year unless he gets to play Washington’s defense again.
Raiders – Giants
So much for Andre Brown being eased back into action with a few touches. Brown carried the ball 30 times for 115 times and a touchdown. I picked him up in one of my leagues a while ago because I knew those tomato cans Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs were just stop-gaps, but not even I thought Brown would get 30 carries in his first game back. This is great news for his owners moving forward, until he gets hurt again in three weeks. Terrelle Pryor has had his moments this year, but you can tell over a 16-game span whether a guy can play quarterback in the NFL. Now that Pryor has played a while, it looks like the Raiders may still need to draft a quarterback. Pryor has played better than I expected overall, but he doesn’t look like the long-term answer in Oakland.
Seahawks – Falcons
The Seahawks hadn’t been playing well the last two weeks and needed a cure. They got it in a Falcons team that may be playing the worst football in the NFL right now. Marshawn Lynch blasted the woeful Atlanta defense for 145 yards and a score. Russell Wilson and Golden Tate also had big days, as Seattle basically did whatever it wanted. Roddy White started but only caught one pass for 20 yards on four targets. My boy Darius Johnson caught his first career touchdown pass, but overall the Falcons are a fantasy disaster to avoid right now.
Bills – Steelers
Some games are ugly. They look ugly, they feel ugly, they sound ugly and the fantasy stats from them are ugly. This was one of those games. Unless you started Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell or the Steelers’ defense, there wasn’t much to like about this game. Brown caught six passes for 104 yards, while Bell totaled 96 yards and a touchdown. Other than that it was a mix of good defense and bad offense. Mostly, it was bad offense.
Bengals – Ravens
There were a lot of bad things in this game. There was atrocious offensive line play. There was bad quarterback play. It’s hard to blame Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton for everything because they were under a lot of pressure and the wind was blowing hard, but even their easy throws were way off. Not to be outdone, Ray Rice continued to try and run the ball. Rice has now been held to less than 50 yards rushing in seven of eight games this year. No one in their right mind is still starting Rice, are they? That would be as crazy as starting Trent Richardson. Two guys you can start are Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green. Green’s stats were helped out by that crazy Hail Mary at the end of the game. So were Dalton’s miserable stats. Remember when Dalton had that red-hot three-game stretch? Don’t worry, neither does anyone else.
Lions – Bears
God knows I’m not right all the time. However, when I was really high on Alshon Jeffery this summer, one thing people kept saying is that he wouldn’t get enough targets. I admit, with Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte ahead of him at the time, it was a concern, but I thought Jeffery still had the talent to catch 70 balls and top 1,000 yards this year. I guess after seeing 18 targets on Sunday those concerns now seem silly. Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are now one of the most feared receiving tandems in the NFL. The good thing about them is that it doesn’t matter if Jay Cutler or Josh McCown is under center. Personally, I think McCown should be playing right now. Cutler is hurt and McCown is doing a great job of leading the offense. The Lions had their usual target distribution. Megatron saw 17 and the rest of the team saw a combined 17.
Eagles – Packers
Last week I mentioned that Seneca Wallace couldn’t play and that the Packers would have to find another option at quarterback. I didn’t think it would be so soon. Wallace hurt his groin and Green Bay had to turn to Scott Tolzien. To be honest, my guess is that Tolzien performed better than Wallace would have. Tolzien went from the practice squad to throwing for 280 yards, so he could offer some hope if he remains the starter. He got the ball to Green Bay’s receivers. Jarrett Boykin went over 100 yards, while Jordy Nelson and James Jones combined for 10 receptions, so there were some positives for fantasy owners to take away from this game. On the Eagles’ side, the love affair between Nick Foles and Riley Cooper continued. Cooper went over 100 yards for the third time in four of Foles’ starts and caught two more touchdowns. I once said I never saw Riley Cooper catch a pass. I didn’t realize that was Mike Vick’s fault.
Rams – Colts
This has to be the most shocking outcome of the season. Not only that the Rams beat the Colts but that they dominated them from start to finish. How many people are going to put in ridiculous waiver requests for Tavon Austin this week? Austin caught two passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 98-yard punt return. You know what though? Looking at it from a fantasy perspective, he was only targeted three times in the passing game and he caught two passes. Is he going to score from 81 and 57 yards every week or do you think that was more of a fluke? Hey, Trent Richardson rushed for five yards on two carries. Is he still an RB2? You know what, he is a RB2. He’s a RB2 on the Indianapolis Colts.
Jaguars – Titans
I must be the biggest jinx on the planet. I’m already on Tom Brady’s Christmas card list. After finally benching him he exploded for 46 fantasy points. Then after declaring Jacksonville would go 0-16, they win their next game. Oh well, at least I got 17 fantasy points out of Maurice Jones-Drew. But why am I watching Jordan Todman score? I’m telling you, fantasy football is more frustrating than gambling sometimes. Jake Locker is hurt again. Can we cross him off the list yet? Seriously, the guy is either hurt or playing below average. The entire world knew Minnesota and Tennessee reached for Locker and Christian Ponder in the 2011 draft. Let’s admit it and move on.
Panthers – 49ers
As fantasy owners we love offense, but sometimes it’s nice to see a great defensive game. There’s a big difference between a bad offensive game and a good defensive game and this was the latter. The Panthers sacked Colin Kaepernick six times and caused two turnovers, while San Francisco got to Cam Newton four times and also caused two turnovers. Carolina held the 49ers to under 200 yards of total offense and really harassed Kaepernick all afternoon. There weren’t many offensive fantasy statistics to take away from this game other than the Carolina backfield committee being in full effect. Jonathan Stewart got 13 carries for 41 yards, while DeAngelo Williams got eight carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. The only surprise was that Mike Tolbert saw just two carries.
Broncos – Chargers
When Julius Thomas scored on a 74-yard pass early in the game I thought it was Demaryius because they look almost identical on the field wearing the numbers 80 and 88. When I saw it was Julius I was so mad I started looking at possible trades for Demaryius. Then seven catches, 108 yards and three scores later from Demaryius, I reconsidered and decided he could stay on my fantasy team. It’s frustrating owning Bronco receivers sometimes though. I own Wes Welker in another league and I thought he got hurt. Speaking of spreading the ball around, Philip Rivers spread it around so much on Sunday he pretty much killed everyone’s fantasy value. In the future, just throw the ball to Keenan Allen and be done with it.
Texans – Cardinals
The Mad Bomber Case Keenum had a tougher time this week against an aggressive Arizona defense but he still managed to throw for three touchdowns. As I’ve said in the past, the best thing about Keenum is he gets the ball to Houston’s receivers. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins combined to see 23 targets, catching 11 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns against a stingy Cardinals pass defense. Andre Ellington continues to impress but the Arizona coaches continue to waste time by giving Rashard Mendenhall 13 carries. That almost came back to bite them in the butt because Mendenhall’s late fumble nearly cost the Cardinals a win.
Cowboys – Saints
Jerry Jones hired Monte Kiffin to fix the Cowboys’ defense. Let’s see how he’s doing. Dallas has allowed an NFL record four 400-yard passers this year (Drew Brees almost made it five by throwing for 392). The Cowboys set a franchise record for most yards allowed in a game (623) against Detroit, only to break that record two weeks later versus New Orleans (626). The Saints recorded an NFL record 40 first downs on Sunday night. Hey, that’s a heck of a hire Jerry Jones. The Saints lit up Kiffin’s defense, but if you couldn’t see that coming you’re probably not the most observant person on the planet. The Dallas defense is such a joke it made Mark Ingram look like Adrian Peterson. Dez Bryant caught one pass. It just goes to show that not all the bad coaches in Dallas are on the defensive side of the ball.
Dolphins – Buccaneers
Even when things go well for the Buccaneers they go bad this year. Tampa Bay got its first win of the season but lost running back Mike James with a fractured ankle. The Bucs are now down to Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey at running back. Leonard will probably get first crack at replacing James and could be a decent fantasy play because of his receiving skills but he’s nothing special as a runner, that’s for sure. Rainey was a great college player at Western Kentucky, so he could sneak in there if Leonard keeps looking like Trent Richardson. Rishard Matthews had a career night catching 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. I thought the Bucs had an interesting defensive scheme to stop Matthews. They decided to leave him wide open all night long. Week 10 will be known as “Waiver Wire Bust” week this year. There were a bunch of players that had ridiculous weeks that we’ll likely never hear from again.