Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Aaron Williams — September 11, 2012 @ 10:30 am
Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz! After a successful first year, TMB will try to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump and deliver another great season. Week 1 was certainly exciting enough, from Tony Romo’s reprisal of his past “greatness” to Peyton Manning’s slinging touchdowns from beyond the grave, so let’s get right into it:
What a contrast between the opening game of 2012 and last year’s Saints–Packers scoring spectacular! This game started with two three-and-outs and it was almost five full minutes off the clock before we saw a first down. The credit for that goes to the Cowboys’ shockingly strong secondary and an always tough-nosed Giants defensive front.
In fact, there wasn’t a score until Michael Boley returned an interception to the 2-yard line (followed by a field goal), and there wasn’t a touchdown until 1:07 remaining in the first half, when Kevin Ogletree decided that he would be the most popular player on the waiver wire after Week 1. Speaking of Ogletree, I didn’t hear any talk about him in the preseason, but his early success should have been visible from a mile away. Tony Romo’s Cowboys always have success with the slot receiver position (Patrick Crayton, Laurent Robinson, Miles Austin). As far as the Giants go, this loss really proved nothing. Remember, this team won the Superbowl on a 9-7 record last year.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says, Pt. 1
Chris Collinsworth partaking of the Tony Romo Kool-Aid:
“You can say whatever you want about Tony Romo being the issue, but…that’s not the issue!”
Tony Romo is an interesting character because he has been talked about as an underachiever. It’s as though Romo has already won multiple Superbowls and has just not been performing! On the contrary: This is a quarterback who has been on his way up from past failure, not on his way down from success. Now it seems that Romo’s Week 1 performance is being heralded as a return to greatness, rather than a milestone on the long and hard road to greatness he has never been able to reach.
Alfred Morris: The Redskins Week 1 running back star.
At first, this game looked like it was going to be a classic Saints home game. New Orleans started slow with a three-and-out, held the Skins to a field goal, and then threw a beautiful 20-yard pass to Jimmy Graham. After that, however, the Saints sputtered in a rare home loss to Subway’s favorite quarterback. RGIII had a fresh take for the Saints with a dominant Week 1 performance. Speaking of fresh, how about a fresh name for this year’s inevitably frustrating running back Shanahanigans in Alfred Morris? Shanahan considers mystery around the running back position to be a winning strategy, so plan on playing your Redskins with baited breath each and every week this year.
Forgive me for overreacting, but is this the most explosive Chicago Bears offense in history? I’m not saying the 2012 squad is the ultimate Bears team, but I think they have a higher scoring potential than any team in Chi-Town’s past. Cutler, Forte, and Marshall performed admirably, and a new man, Alshon Jeffery, took advantage of the defensive attention on Marshall. As for the Colts, Luck struggled with interceptions in his debut, but he did put up good yardage numbers. I still maintain that no rookie has looked more in control of his offense than Andrew Luck, and Wayne and Fleener appear to be settled in as his two main targets. Take Wayne and Fleener to the bank.
R.E. Shay spoke prophetically about the Eagles’ one-point escape from Cleveland long ago, saying, “Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit.” Heed these words Dynasty-believers, as winning with a four-interception game is actually an ill omen. Consider this: How good can your opponent be if they nearly beat you after you give up four interceptions? Don’t bench your Eagles, just temper your expectations until the offense has a chance to gel.
For the Browns, it was a miserable performance in a stellar line of miserable performances. If the Steelers, Patriots, and Packers have a culture of winning, evidenced by their regular-season and playoff dominance, then certainly the Cleveland Browns have an equally prestigious culture of rolling out non-competitive teams and throwing away draft picks. If you didn’t draft a single Brown this year, then I applaud your sage-like wisdom. I don’t believe that Trent Richardson will be a top-20 running back this year.
During the broadcast, the announcers were in love with a statement they heard from the Lions: “We have the power of Calvin.” This of course is a reference to Calvin Johnson and his ability to draw defenses away from other receivers, as evidenced by receptions by eight men not named Calvin Johnson on Sunday. However, I submit to you that this also is the accepted unit of measure for general offensive effectiveness. If Calvin Johnson equals 1.0 Calvin, then Titus Young may be .4706 on the Calvin Scale. Look for the Calvin Scale to be the next big thing for measuring skill position players in years to come.
Sam Bradford performed well in a road loss on Sunday (approximately .55 on the Calvin scale), but the rest of his offense is so putrid (.12 Calvin) that his fantasy value will always be limited. Here’s hoping that Bradford gets a trade at the end of his contract.
Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.
The poor souls, hereby known as “The Replacements,” who have the unfortunate task of filling in for the normal referees, seem to get no love by the media. Game after game in Week 1, yours truly heard countless media members slandering The Replacements and salivating over any instance of their error. There were a few errors, but nothing more egregious than the regular referees would make without their normal offseason regimen of clinics and practice. Count me in as rooting for these guys, and I hope Shane Falco’s immortal words give them strength.
The usual suspects were out in full force for the Patkowskis, as Brady, Gronk, and Hernandez were all excellent. Also, some of the new players delivered on their promises, for one week at least, as Stevan Ridley had 145 total yards and a touchdown and Brandon Lloyd hauled in 69 yards. For the Titans, this game was no indicator of their possible success this season, as they got down early and struggled to come back. However, with Locker possibly out with a separated shoulder, the Chargers and the Lions may provide a stiff challenge for Matt Hasselbeck, who hasn’t practiced much with the starting squad all offseason.
Ah, what would an NFL season be without the annual Week 1 blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs? The Falcons were the lucky benefactors this year, and boy did they cash in! While the Chiefs struggled to knit together two consecutive touchdown-scoring halves, Matt Ryan kept hooking up with his two hyper-talented wide receivers—to the tune of 12 catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns, combined. Look for the Falcons to keep up a fantastic fantasy pace this year, and but don’t sell yet on the Chiefs. They usually have at least a short period of fantasy success, but they’re certainly not reliable for in any given week.
Outside of an intelligent quarterback, there is nothing I like more in football than the imposing force of a giant wide receiver. Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall are fantastic examples of my favorite type of receiver. However, the elite Justin Blackmon is just as talented as those two, without the off-the-field issues, placing him a step above. In fact, Blackmon could be the next receiver to attain a 1.0 on the Calvin Scale. Also, Marcedes Lewis may have a resurgent year if the Jags’ production keeps up, so you may consider picking him up if you’re weak at TE. Suddenly, the Jags have a potentially explosive offense, something that has not been written about them in at least the past five years.
The keyword for the Vikings offense this Sunday was “relentless.” Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin refused to give up and were rewarded for it. Peterson worked tirelessly to return from an ACL and MCL injury over the offseason and was able to run for 84 yards and two touchdowns in his return performance. Harvin converted his touches into 104 total yards, including a mega-catch in which he dragged a pile of six Jaguars down the field.
Hey, remember that time yours truly waxed eloquent in Training Camp Hype about the awful preseason the Jets were having, and how terrible a team must be when one of their two starting quarterbacks played nearly every snap and they still couldn’t muster one single touchdown? Yeah, well, I don’t. The Jets looked great all preseason and Sanchez is destined for a regular season MVP. He’s like 1.75 Calvin! All right, in all seriousness, be wary of the Jets offense going forward. I doubt 48 points will be their average.
In a much bigger blow than a humiliating loss to a divisional rival, Fred Jackson went down during the game and will be out for a few weeks. C.J. Spiller owners should watch this situation closely, as the potential-heavy backup averaged more than 10 yards on 14 carries against a good Jets defense.
Of the rookie quarterbacks starting Week 1, Ryan Tannehill had the most rookie-like first game. Throwing for 219 yards with three interceptions won’t win many football games, but he did look promising against a ferocious Houston Texans team, and none of the picks were strictly his fault. This Dolphins team is taking baby steps toward forming an identity, and fantasy owners should be patient. There were no revelations for the Texans on Sunday, as the fantasy studs performed just as fantasy studs should. The true test for these Texans is the marathon of the regular season—not the sprint of a Week 1 victory against a Dolphins team that is bailing water.
For the 49ers, this is a season of dreams. Since the retirement of Steve Young, their fanbase has been praying for a winning squad. Just like Alex Smith, they narrowly survived Mike “Can’t Win with ‘Em” Singletary and are now in a much better place. The fantasy measureables are tangible now, as Smith, Gore, Crabtree, Davis, and the immortal Randy Moss each put up fantasy numbers that helped many fantasy owners win in Week 1. Keep a close eye on Frank Gore’s carries, however, and Gore owners should make sure Kendall Hunter is on tap to replace the oft-injured running back.
Packers fans are feeling abysmal early this season after some discouraging preseason play and a wallop at home in Week 1. A stouter secondary may have been able to make this game winnable, so Green Bay supporters should not be worried. Continue to start your Packers with gusto.
In the preseason and in Week 1, classic schoolyard bully Jim Harbaugh was overreacting to the maximum and trying to get into the heads of The Replacements to manipulate their calls in his favor. Do me a favor and Google the hotheaded head coach frothing at the mouth… it’s downright ghoulish! He is recklessly drawing the line with these officials and may see fines or penalties for his team based on his misconduct. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have to give any refs a mid-field handshake…
In a game that was won only because it had to be, both teams looked generally miserable on Sunday. If you have any Seahawks, it may be worth sitting them for similar options until some fantasy clarity is gleaned. Sidney Rice did catch a touchdown and Lynch did run for 85 yards, but against a team as hapless as the Cardinals, no one put up numbers worthy of their matchup. For the Cardinals, stay away. In my humble opinion, Larry Fitzgerald is not worth what you paid for him, and you should be trying to make an early trade for cents on the dollar (for someone unpopular but talented) while Fitz is still worth anything.
As is typical with any success in the NFL, it is always tempered in its second year. This is most often seen with successful rookie quarterbacks, and RGIII and Luck owners would do well to remember this lesson next year. Cam Newton may come together and be just fine as the year progresses, but this is the first offseason where teams have had the opportunity to truly plan for the preacher’s kid. He still threw for 300 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two picks and ran for only four yards. The whole Panthers offense could, and likely will, do better.
The Bucs seem to have picked up right where they left off, with little passing efficiency, albeit with a bit more running success. Speaking of running, the LeGarrette Blount ostracism seems to be complete, as he ran once for every eight of Doug Martin’s carries. Martin does look to have the skills and opportunity to be worth your pick, but don’t get too excited until you see it succeed for multiple weeks.
In what must have been incredibly painful for them and their fans, the Steelers returned to Mile High and saw a result similar to last year’s playoffs. The game ended with a big play from Bay Bay Thomas, but fantasy players should take note that Eric Decker was this close to two touchdowns. Keep in mind that they evenly split 14 targets.
Also, don’t jump to too many conclusions about the Steelers. They were without many starters in Mile High and faced the tireless Peyton Manning. The Steelers O-line looks as though it will fail them every year, and every year they find a way to fall into 10 wins and a playoff berth. Also, it appears that Todd Haley will throw more than the Steelers are accustomed to, which will show inflated numbers for Roethlisberger & co., if successful.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says, Pt. 2
Chris Collinsworth on the excellence of Peyton Manning:
“I don’t know how Peyton’s neck’s doin’—but his brain’s doin’ fine!”
Peyton Manning not only looked healthy, he looked downright spry—even running for a first down in the second quarter. To my bewilderment, the Denver coaching staff insisted on calling plays in the huddle in the first half, but they eventually caved to the no-huddle that Manning is famous for. Hopefully they learned their lesson and will not attempt to rein in the football genius in games to come, as their offense became twice as efficient when Manning was in charge.
If I was wrong about the Jets in the preseason, I was right about the Ravens. This team is so offensively gifted and so defensively experienced, anything less than an AFC Championship is a failure, and anything less than the Lombardi Trophy is a disappointment. The under-the-radar Ravens showed their might in Week 1, though the score belies that the Bengals actually hung around until late in the third quarter. The Bengals offense looked quite good despite the turnover issue, which should be corrected over the weeks to come. All of the Bengals skill players should see heightened success in future weeks with easier opponents.
For the Raiders, the play of Darren McFadden was more than encouraging, it was downright impressive. There is only so much a running back can do for his team, though…ask Adrian Peterson. The Raiders offense was generally efficient and also generally ineffective, but it was their special teams that truly spoiled the game by allowing three punts to fail due to incompetence; a losing method taken right out of the 2011 Chargers handbook.
The Chargers weren’t stellar, but Nate Kaeding’s leg once again carried them to victory. If Kaeding is on your waiver wire, he’s likely to be better than whatever kicker you have on your roster. He’s been largely forgotten since he was hurt during the first kickoff of 2011. Rivers threw for fewer yards than Christian Ponder or Blaine Gabbert but, hey, so did Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, so you can’t be too upset with that. The Chargers look as though the expectations that have given them fits over the years may have finally rolled off their collective back. Here’s hoping for a big Chargers season for all of those fantasy stars on their roster.
And there it is. Week 1 is done and Week 2 is only two days away, as the NFL’s ridiculous Thursday Night Football robs the poor man of a great rivalry. Short weeks favor offenses, however, and I’m excited for the Bears–Packers shootout in Green Bay on Thursday. Outside of those two teams, New England, Baltimore, New Orleans, Carolina, Washington, San Diego, and Denver should be hot in Week 2. See you next Tuesday.
By: Aaron Williams — December 27, 2011 @ 12:35 pm
Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz! As the dust settles on Week 16, all but one NFC and two AFC playoff spots are decided. In the NFC, the Giants and Cowboys will decide the division winner next Sunday; in the AFC, the West is still open and there is room for one more wild card. In addition, this week was a fantastic display of why the NFL is the most entertaining league in the world.
Dan Orlovsky for MVP! Alright, it could be pride that has fueled the past couple of wins for the Colts, but what an interesting situation the world’s greatest competition for the No. 1 draft pick has become. St. Louis and Indianapolis both have two wins at the end of Week 16, and Minnesota is only one behind. Ironically, all three of these teams already have quarterbacks with a lot of promise. It should be an interesting Week 17 at the bottom of the totem pole this year… For the Texans, it was the Arian Foster show, as it should have been. Foster should easily be the No. 1 fantasy pick again next year, and consider yourself in good shape if you get him.
The 49ers have a fantastic record in the regular season and have played some outstanding defense all year. This team reminds me of the Jets of the past few years and the Titans in their final year with Haynesworth. While the defense is outstanding, the offense is underwhelming. I’m curious whether this defense can keep an offense like New Orleans or Green Bay under 30 points so that the offense can ride its coattails. Four field goals and one touchdown will not keep the Niners alive in the playoffs. For the Hawks, the only bit of information you need to know is that Marshawn Lynch has come into his own in Seattle. He was a hard runner in Buffalo, but he has gone full-on Beast Mode in Seattle. With that said, look forward to paying way too high a price for Lynch next year. Yours truly will not be buying the hype for a third-round pick.
This was the game I thought Dallas would play last week against Tampa, but the Buccaneers are so painfully awful that the Cowboys could have shot themselves in both feet and still come away with a win. Now, Romo did go down this week with only two passes and no completions, but this Eagles defense has been far from stout all season. If you lose in a shootout without your star quarterback, then that’s the breaks. If you lose 20-7 against an underachieving defense, even without your star quarterback, then that’s on you. That being said, I’m starting all the Dallas starters I can get my hands on in Week 17, as that will likely be the most meaningful game next week. For the Eagles, McCoy was an utter disappointment because of an ankle injury. I sure hope all you McCoy owners didn’t get eliminated due to one stinker!
P.S. Speaking of McCoy, he is likely to be in competition with Arian Foster for No. 1 next year. He’ll be good, but I think the game plan may change with a fresh season; I’d go with Foster with the first overall.
C.J. Spiller: Will there be a timeshare in Buffalo next year?
Well, just when the sportscasters were starting to believe, Tebow has hit a two- game slide. I can’t believe he allowed the Bills to score 40 points. After all, he was responsible for 100 percent of the points scored by Denver (extra points excluded), but it turns out that one man can’t win a game alone. Seems as though conventional wisdom and Tebow are the only things that played out for Denver on Saturday. Tebow is likely to be a high draft pick next year if his status doesn’t change as starter, but I’m way too worried about injury in this option offense to take a chance on him. Unless he drops into the eighth or ninth round, I’m probably finding someone else. For the Bills, C.J. Spiller is proving he was worth the first-round pick. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, this means that a timeshare is likely to evolve in Buffalo next year. This will likely result in a situation similar to Carolina’s backfield, where the great play-making ability of each running back will be either neutralized or minimized. Looks for Jackson to go too high; but Spiller may be a steal, especially in leagues where he can play as either a wide receiver or a running back.
The best thing in this game was Jerome Simpson’s awesome front-flip touchdown. Seriously, did you see that thing? Better than Reggie Bush’s 5-yard leap into the end zone from a year ago. If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it. Dalton also left a present for daring fantasy owners by rushing for 48 yards on top of his usually stellar passing numbers. For the Cards, Larry Fitzgerald also stuffed your stocking with 105 yards and touchdown. I hope that was enough to keep you going, as this Cardinals offense hasn’t generated all the points we had hoped for in the offseason. Look for Fitzgerald to be a quiet (and smart) second-round pick next year.
The Titans decided to put Hasselbeck back in at quarterback in hopes of passing the Bengals for a playoff spot, and, at least against the Jaguars, it worked. At this point, I would have been looking to see what the talented Jake Locker could do with the playoffs on the line. I can see the value of a veteran quarterback in the playoff crunch, but the chances were so slim that I would have let the draft pick pay for itself. For the Jags, MJD got his weekly touchdown and also pulled out 100 yards. He is has been a draft day mystery, as his injury and concerns over the dismal offense weigh against elite talent. If MJD falls to the late second or third round next year, I’m picking him up, starting him, and never watching him play.
P.S. Jags games are usually blacked out anyway, so you may not have to worry about seeing too many MJD performances.
Despite all the hype over Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, the speed of their receivers, et cetera, the two most important players on the Raiders’ roster both play on special teams. Shane Lechler is an absolute weapon in the field position game, and Sebastian Janikowski is MVP of the team. I would be letting Janikowski kick every time he’s within 65 (and maybe even 70) yards of the goal post, especially if I’m down in the fourth quarter. For the Chiefs, I don’t know how much fantasy advice there is, but the Kansas City defense has really turned their season around. Look for Romeo Crennel to be the head coach next season and for Jamaal Charles to be the centerpiece of a conservative run-first offense. Charles will likely be a draft day steal, as concern over his knee injury will be front page.
As has been rehashed multiple times this year, the Dolphins haven’t really had a quarterback since Dan Marino. As far as this season is concerned, the quarterback position has been especially vexing. In the Christmas spirit, I’ll let my main man Charles Dickens describe it to you:
“ Henne was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the head coach, the athletic director, the physical therapist, and the chief fanbase. Bill Parcells signed it: and Moore’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Henne was dead as a door-nail.”
After Henne’s loss of the reins, Matt Moore came in and the awfulness of the Dolphins could only be out-stunk by the Colts’ lackluster play. However, when the Dolphins saw that they might be able to get a premier first-round quarterback, they promptly went out and played the most dominant football they have played since Marino was breaking records. Now they are not only miles away from the first pick, they’re one win away from not even finishing last in their division! Can you imagine if the Bills get Matt Barkley or another great quarterback and Miami has to stick with Matt Moore?
P.S. You don’t need my help with the Patkowskis. Start Gost and Gron, Brady and Welker always.
Hopefully now the inane “Eli Manning for MVP” talk can officially die. I don’t know how many sportscasters I’ve heard drone on about how Tebow’s play is unsustainable and all of the comebacks are luck, and in the next breath say that Eli deserves MVP due to his fourth-quarter comebacks. Just because Peyton is out doesn’t mean we need to over-glorify someone else with Manning as their last name. Eli has been phenomenal, but frankly his brother has proven to be far more important to his team without even taking a snap. If Victor Cruz had not turned a short pass into a 99-yard touchdown, Manning’s day could’ve turned out truly awful. That being said, the same logic that applies to the Cowboys applies to the Giants next week: Get all of the starters out there. For the Jets, I wouldn’t start any of them if I could help it. They are in the thick of it for a wild-card spot, but they’re playing in Miami where the passion to be mediocre next year is in full force.
If you are a Steelers opponent, the last thing you want to do is play their style of football. Clemens and Batch are almost washes at quarterback, and their general ineffectiveness prevents any wide receiver talent from outshining the other. This leaves it up to running backs and the defense to win the game. When that happens, the Steelers will beat you 27-0. The Rams need an offense in a bad, bad, way. Yours truly is a Sam Bradford believer, but he’s got to be drooling over even the Seattle and Denver receiving corps at this point. For the Steelers, I don’t want anybody but Mendenhall and their DST next week. Without Roethlisberger, I don’t want any part of the passing game, especially in Cleveland where the atmosphere kills offenses.
Adrian Peterson will not be ready for the beginning of next season and the quality of the Minnesota offense will be called into question. If Peterson drops, you have to pick him up and stash him for the second half. All Day could be the steal of next year’s draft. Minnesota brings a Bears team to the Metrodome in Week 17, and Toby Gerhart and Percy Harvin should have mildly successful days. For the Skins, Graham Gano did his best David Akers impression and tried to carry the team on his back. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have the San Francisco defense backing him up.
P.S. Do you remember earlier this year when Shanahan offered a glowing review of Ryan Torain? In fact, remember when he drafted Ryan Torain? Well, after being a healthy scratch last week, Torain got four carries to the 19 of the immortal Evan Royster. Yikes.
In Week 16, the Panthers scored 48 points against a Buccaneers defense that allowed the hot-as-soft-serve San Francisco offense an equal amount in Week 5. In Week 17, the Panthers are headed to New Orleans and the Superdome. Needless to say, the Saints will likely score more points and will thus provide fewer chances for Williams and Stewart to repeat their Week 16 performances. Look for these two to lose a lot of championship rounds for a lot of fantasy owners. For the Buccaneers, it’s best to just hope your influential coach makes it through this sophomore slump and is allowed to come back next year. Tampa is another team that I would not trust Week 17 to.
Just when every last fantasy owner dropped Peyton Hillis with only Baltimore and Pittsburgh remaining, he showed up against a tough run defense for 112 yards. I wouldn’t count on that continuing next week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hillis gets started and loses a lot of championship matchups as well. Stay away from him if you can help it. For the Ravens, this was not a game to remember. If Ray Rice hadn’t taken a pass 42 yards to the house, Seneca Wallace may have bested Joe Flacco in the all-important passer rating stat. If the Browns prove to be more efficient than you in any facet of the game, especially in passing, you have serious issues. Look for the Ravens to try to swing back and prove themselves next week against the Bengals.
My preseason favorite San Diego Chargers ended their season with a whimper as they got unceremoniously blown out by Detroit at Ford Field. Look for an angry Chargers team to be at their best and put up a lot of points in the final weeks of the season as they first head to Oakland. There is no one the Chargers hate more than the Raiders. They will try their best to wreak havoc on Oakland’s postseason hopes. For the Lions, they head to Green Bay and try to get the No. 5 seed to play the winner of the NFC East rather than the Saints or 49ers. Look for the suddenly reignited Detroit offense to put up a metric ton of points against a leaky Green Bay defense, even in Green Bay. Start Kevin Smith in all formats.
As the MVP race between Rodgers and Brees comes to a close, Rodgers made a fantastic statement for his case. This season, 283 yards seems almost disappointing, but five touchdowns is still more than impressive. Rodgers’play has been truly dominant this year, and I don’t believe it has been stated as firmly as it was on Saturday. When James Jones—who is not Greg Jennings—comes in for 50 yards and two touchdowns against a good defense, you know it’s the quarterback making it happen. However, look for the Packers to rest their starters after a quarter or two next week, as the game is meaningless for their seed or advantage. As for the Bears, their season was likely done weeks ago when Cutler went down, was nearly sealed when Forte followed, and is now over mathematically. Kahlil Bell is the only Bear, including their defense, that you want next week, and I’m not too excited about him.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
Betty White on her excitement for Monday Night Football:
“I’ve been screaming “Who Dat!” at my cats since breakfast!”
This was a fantastic game. All the talk of stats, records, and playoff seeding was a godsend for a fantasy/statistics lover such as myself. On top of that, two quarterbacks put on elite displays, and a mess of offensive stars put on a show. Best MNF game of the year!
As stated above, what an amazing game! There was a lull for a majority of the third and fourth quarters, but it all turned around as Brees broke Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record. A great comparison made during the game was that Marino broke the record at 90 yards more per game than his competitors, but in a year where quarterbacks are breaking yardage records all over, Brees was 98 yards better than the average of his competitors. Start all your Saints next week as they will try to add on to their individual records and, more importantly, try to get a first-round bye. For the Falcons, it was 61 pass attempts versus 14 rush attempts (two of which were scrambles by Ryan). They were down by two or more scores for the majority of the game, but it just goes to prove that this passing game cannot do it alone.
P.S. Sadly, I think Turner has reached the end of his dominant days. The Falcons have made liberal use of the mighty running back and he may be prematurely wearing down. I’m not certain he will make it back to a starter’s role once his current contract is up.
Brees for MVP!
|Passer Rating: 108.4
||Passer Rating: 122.5
|ESPN Total QBR: 85.2
||ESPN Total QBR: 82.7
|Yards per Attempt: 8.18
||Yards per Attempt: 9.25
||Fumbles: 3 (0 lost)
|Completion %: 70.7
||Completion %: 68.3
Just a quick update on the stats for the MVP race. Rodgers certainly has the edge on touchdowns and interceptions (though I wouldn’t blame either quarterback for a single one of the INTs on their stat sheet). I urge you to look deeper into the stats if you’re interested (total first downs, third down conversion percentage, etc) and find that if you balance it all, the stats are dead even or barely in Rodgers’ favor (see Total QBR). And with the benefit of the Dan Marino record and the lovefest on Monday Night Football, the hype battle may also be even. I will not be surprised if Rodgers wins the MVP, but unless something drastic happens in Week 17, I will always argue that Brees deserved the honor. Even if Brees doesn’t get it, I still believe the playoffs will tip the scales in his favor, post Super Bowl, which has always been my contention.
And that’s it! Week 16 was another action-packed display of amazing talent, fire, and passion that proved why we all stuck through the annoying lockout media circus mumbo jumbo all summer. Next week, look for playoff contending teams to be the staples of your lineups, and leave players from teams like the Patriots and Packers on your bench if you have the option. Let me know how you’re doing in your fantasy leagues with one week left… I’d love to hear about it!
By: Aaron Williams — December 20, 2011 @ 12:10 pm
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 15, to me, was very decisive in fantasy but left a lot on the table in the NFL. As you’ll see, many teams who believed they were out of the hunt for weeks are all of a sudden fringe contenders for wild cards or division championships. For this reason, Weeks 16 and 17 should continue to provide fantasy output from most teams, as the Packers are the only team in the NFL with their playoff seed mathematically decided. Let’s get right into this week’s action:
Give credit to Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game in this one. They still ran more than they passed (33 rushes to 32 passes), but Ryan looked great when he dropped back and completed 19 of 26 to the tune of 224 yards and three touchdowns. Had he thrown as many times as Brees or Rodgers normally would, you wouldn’t be able to tell the numbers apart. Add in that this Jaguar defense is nothing to be sneezed at and you have to be pretty impressed. Maybe, just maybe, after one more offseason, the Falcons will be ready to be a downfield offense (whether or not that will truly be an improvement is yet to be determined). For the Jags, MJD will be licking his chops to run against the Titans and then the Colts, but I wouldn’t touch any other guy in a Jaguars jersey. I don’t see any of them being trustworthy, even with the power of Shadid Khaaaaaaaaaaaan!
There are four Cowboys I feel good about if they are on my team in the championship round: Romo, Robinson, Austin, and Bryant. Romo threw three short-range touchdowns in this game, and each was caught by a different, dominant Cowboys receiver. This may seem like common-sense advice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Felix Jones owners are all of a sudden feeling froggy against Philadelphia next week. Perhaps he’ll be a good flex play, but I’m looking hard at other options if I have a choice. For the Bucs, LeGarrette Blount and his teammates are a sit for the rest of the year. I’d rather have Roy Helu for the remainder of the season.
Reggie Bush has exceeded expectations in 2011.
Reggie Bush has looked so good on the stat sheet this year. And I can’t believe how great his fantasy production has been. The Bills haven’t been great or even good against the run this year, but Reggie had only one 100-yard game before this season, and I’m not sure he ever carried the ball 25 times in any game for the Saints. For Bush, you’ve just got to close your eyes and start him. In the same breath, C.J. Spiller also looked fantastic against a better-than-you-think Dolphins run defense that shut down Fred Jackson earlier in the year. In some leagues, Spiller can be started at wide receiver, and in those leagues he is unsittable in future weeks. Next week he visits Tebow, who will likely use his divine right to keep Spiller at bay, but I still think Spiller will be passable as a starter in the championship round.
No Bears are a good start for the remainder of the year, despite their playing Green Bay next week. If you are in a super deep league, you may consider Kahlil Bell, as Marion Barber is done for the year (and perhaps his career) after he let the power of Tebow intimidate him last week. For the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch only went into Beast Mode around the goal line on Sunday, but that was good enough. Lynch is the only one of the 106 men in uniform at this game that I would start in the playoffs. Next week is a scary matchup against the 49ers, but you had better believe he will cross the goal line at some point on Sunday.
Well, I guess Curtis Painter just isn’t that good. I had assumed that the Colts had given up and no one was trying, but maybe Painter just can’t play football that well. It appears that Orlovsky can at least bring the Colts to relevance. I wouldn’t start Reggie Wayne this weekend against an angry Texans D, but if he does happen to perform well against Houston, I would start him with utmost confidence against Jacksonville in Week 17. For the Titans, don’t even think about it. Yes, Locker is looking good, but don’t let any of this success fool you. These Titans are not offensively strong enough for you to put any of their WRs in your lineup, though you have to start CJ2K next week against the Jags and in Houston in Week 17.
I was certain the Giants were going to claim the division on a boneheaded Cowboy loss in Week 15 or 16. It appears that the opposite may have happened. The Cowboys came out of the week looking dominant, and the Giants came out with a home loss to an awful team. The Giants’ loss can be tied to one play in particular, when Hakeem Nicks broke free and Eli laid the ball in to him for a walk-in touchdown. The only catch (no pun intended) was, Nicks dropped the ball after it was well in the breadbasket and the rest was history. If the Giants had scored that touchdown, things wouldn’t have gotten desperate, and perhaps Eli wouldn’t have been forcing passes. For the next two weeks, the Giants offense should do well, as they are now backed into a wall for a playoff spot. Now it’s win out or go home. For the Skins, Helu is your only option to gamble on, and I’m well documented on how I feel about Shanahan running backs. That being said, Torain and Choice are apparently not even in consideration for play, so there really isn’t anyone for Shanahan to use as a substitute.
The Chiefs seem to be the first 2011 beneficiaries of the new coach bump. They had been playing great defense down the stretch and, with Romeo Crennel taking over, they drew blood from the seemingly invincible Green Bay Packers. The Packers are great and should be in the mix deep into the playoffs, but I have to wonder if this blemish may deflate a team that was riding a high of confidence. Neither the Bears nor the Lions play defense the way the Chiefs can, so I’m starting all Packers into the new year. For the Chiefs, I don’t love Oakland or Denver as the remaining opponents against this D and I am certainly not starting anyone else.
We will continue our discussion on MVP candidacy in just a moment. First though, I wonder how many fantasy seasons were ruined or made by the play of Brees the past two weeks. The Saints are absolutely on fire down the stretch and are looking to make a strong run in the playoffs. They play their final two games in the Superdome and should be playing hard for the No. 2 seed, though the Niners seem too good to give that up easily, so I’d keep starting all of the regulars. For the Vikings, Gerhart got two receiving touchdowns in a game where Peterson was healthy, but I wouldn’t count on that repeating. With Peterson likely back at full health next week, Gerhart should be dropped for more explosive options.
I have two corrections from last week’s article. First, I titled the argument “Brees for MVP,” which is misleading. I should’ve called it something else, as I’m not actually campaigning for Brees winning the regular-season MVP award. Rodgers’ passer rating and wins are simply too much for Brees to make up for in the limited amount of time remaining. My actual point was that Brees will emerge in history as having had a better year this year than Rodgers, and I think the playoffs will be the deciding factor in a statistically close regular season.
Also, my apologies on Rodgers’ fumbles. I read the stat line without doing the proper research, and that was my fault. Brees has turned the ball over far more often than Rodgers this season, and that in itself is nearly enough reason for Rodgers deserving the regular-season MVP.
Brees for MVP!
That all being said, Brees isn’t totally eliminated from the MVP argument. And I like the segment title, so that’s what we’re going with! Rodgers had a miserable week and Brees had one of his best of the season. Especially with human tendency to recall that which is most common, if Brees’ play goes up while the Packers begin to rest (No. 1 seed guaranteed, no perfect season chances), it is possible that Brees could end the year with highly favorable numbers. I’m not saying it is likely—Rodgers dominated for 13 weeks of the season—but it could happen. Let’s check the stat sheets.
|Passer Rating: 109.1
||Passer Rating: 120.1
|ESPN Total QBR: 82.4
||ESPN Total QBR: 84.3
|Yards per Attempt: 8.2
||Yards per Attempt: 9.2
||Fumbles: 3 (0 lost)
|Completion %: 71.5
||Completion %: 68.1
As you can see, the race has significantly tightened. And again, with the Saints playing hard through Week 17 and the Packers possibly relaxing with nothing to play for, it’s not hard to see Brees leading Rodgers in nearly every category by year’s end. Add to this that Rodgers’ No. 1 target is out for the regular season, and there is a good chance that Brees ends the year with stronger numbers in most categories. Add all of the records that Brees is likely to break by year’s end, and you have a strong candidate for regular-season MVP. Again, this piece was not meant to say that Brees deserves the title of MVP, but that he has played well enough to be in the conversation with Rodgers and will perform over Rodgers’ head in the playoffs to emerge from the total season as the year’s best quarterback.
If you have Steven Jackson and, somehow, are still alive in your league, you have to ride him even though the Rams quite possibly have the hardest remaining schedule of any team in the NFL. Next week they travel to Pittsburgh, and then come home to find the 49ers waiting for them. For the rest of the Rams, don’t get cute. They have absolutely no other player to consider, even in a 20-team league. For the Bengals, they should be fighting until the end of the year for a playoff spot, so A.J. Green should continue to be a dominant force if he plays. Look for the Bengals to score especially high against the upcoming Cardinals.
The forecasting on these two teams is as easy as it gets. Play Cam Newton and Steve Smith for Carolina. Play Arian Foster for Houston. Anyone else is moot. The Texans play two fairly soft offenses in the coming weeks, so feel free to start their defense as well.
P.S. Is the normally stout AFC South the weakest division in football this year? If so, does that cheapen the fact that the Texans finally made it to the playoffs?
A battle of silly silver heads making silly silver penalties! Yours truly was let down by Kevin Smith (a waiver wire pick-up this week) and Eli Manning (who I traded Carson Palmer for). For Smith, I do like his chances the remaining two weeks against the Chargers in Detroit and then traveling to Green Bay in Week 17. For Palmer and company, I don’t like any Raiders next week against the mighty Chiefs, and I’m only marginally excited for a Week 17 against a Chargers team that is fighting hard to somehow climb back to a playoff spot. If you’ve held on to McFadden thus far, I can’t imagine keeping him on the bench for the championship round. There has to be someone out there to take away from your opponent, even if you won’t start them.
Peyton Hillis came back strong this weekend, but not strong enough. And his remaining schedule includes Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Yikes. Better luck next year, buddy. For the Cardinals, Fitz is looking good for his remaining two games against a Bengals D that hasn’t been airtight and a Seattle team in Glendale. I’d temper your expectations though, as neither of those teams are mathematically eliminated and will be playing hard to see postseason afterlife.
Speaking of those not mathematically eliminated, how ‘bout them Eagles! Yes, believe it or not, they could still win the division. My money is still on the New York Football Giants, but you had better believe that the Eagles know it’s possible. I’m not saying that you should be playing Brent Celek over Jermichael Finley, but look for the Philadelphia skill position players to make an impact as they too are clawing towards the light. It is, in my opinion, highly unlikely that the Jets will make the post season. They face a motivated and embarrassed Giants team and then travel to a suddenly hostile environment against a hot Miami team. The Jets could win either or both of those games, but I don’t see it happening, and I don’t like any of their offensive players for the remainder either. I’m just saying, I’d rather have Lance Ball than Shonne Greene.
Well, as Jesus (Jason Sudakis) put it on SNL this past Saturday, “If I’m God’s son, Tom Brady must be his nephew!” Ok, I’m kidding. I actually think this was Belichick’s game-planning ability more than it was any Patriot’s dominance at their position. Against a defense that wasn’t going to allow the underneath game to be successful, the Patriots went deep to Ochocinco (What?!?) and Hernandez. Add three rushing touchdowns (including one by Brady), and you’ve got a stat line that defies the reality of New England’s 2011 offense. Tebow (the man, not the team) continued to have an outstanding fantasy day and, may I say, looked passable on the football field for all four quarters. Always keep in mind that John Fox reached the Super Bowl with a team very similar to this. Great defense, great running game, and a quarterback that keeps defenses honest. As for keeping defenses honest, who would you rather have as your starting quarterback, Jake Delhomme or Tim Tebow? Case in point.
The league that means most to me is a standard 10-team league with a pair of two-week playoff rounds. I entered week two as +14, but Calvin Johnson brought me down to -5 heading into Sunday night. It was my Ryan Mathews versus my opponent’s Ravens DST with no one to play on Monday. Boy, oh boy, am I glad for that December Chargers offense. These guys look like world-beaters right now, and I wouldn’t be overly surprised if two easy matchups in Detroit and Oakland get them into the playoffs. For the Ravens, the story is lackluster play on the road. Cross-country games are usually tough, but watch for this loss to have cost Baltimore their division in the long run. And as we have seen, if these Ravens go on the road in the playoffs, they’re not likely to stay alive. For fear of this, watch for the Ravens offensive players to be on fire the remaining two weeks. They have Cleveland in Baltimore and then travel out to Cincinnati, both of which will be looking to ruin the Ravens’ season.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
Speaking of being on the road, I am actually in Ohio with my in-laws for this and next Sunday for the holidays. For this reason, I was unable to catch the audio of the newly elected “least favorite NFL commentator” by the NFL players in Sports Illustrated’s newest poll and will be unable to hear him next weekend as well. Please let me know if I miss out on anything!
There were two main stories for this game. For the Steelers, as with their counterpart in Baltimore, the on-the-road play is definitely lacking. The Steelers had a chance to take the division Monday night and, instead, nearly sealed their fate as a wild card. I know Ben is hurt and better days are coming, but this was a poor showing. For the 49ers, they deserve credit for an intense pass rush and great coverage. The Steelers offense is built on the assumption that Roethlisberger can’t be sacked, so if you can get him, you have them beat. Vernon Davis is going to be a great asset in the final two weeks of the season, for both the 49ers and his fantasy owners. Look for San Francisco to stay hot as they try to protect their round-one bye.
And that’s it! Week 15 was only a prelude to the action forthcoming as the regular season ends in a blaze of glory. Watch for all teams to be at their very best, as nearly every playoff spot is still up for grabs. Each fantasy point is worth exponentially more than the one before it now, so remember to be very judicious and calm in your lineup selection. Week 16 is the time to look for consistent and “guaranteed” points. If you get down big, then go out on a limb in Week 17; but for now, keep your cool and ride the horse that got you here.
By: Aaron Williams — December 13, 2011 @ 11:04 am
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 14 was a fantastic week for non-stop action on Sunday with another less-than-entertaining Monday Night Football. Regardless, drama is running high as the fantasy playoffs are underway and the NFL postseason looms. Watch for each week to get even more tense and unpredictable as the season draws to a close.
Let the praise of Roethlisberger begin anew and with more fervent adamancy than ever before! The man behind the Steel Curtain came back into the game on Thursday night after an ugly ankle injury and played it out. While it was certainly admirable how Big Ben returned to play, Vinny Testaverde could suit up for the Steelers right now and win a half of football versus the Cleveland Browns—with two high ankle sprains, no less. I don’t mean to overstate the Browns’ ineptitude, but it seems their lack of play knows no bounds. Also, has Antonio Brown outperformed Mike Wallace, or is Wallace’s talent opening up the path for Brown? You decide, but next week I may sit Brandon Marshall or Greg Jennings for Brown. As for Cleveland … hey, there’s always next year.
I can’t figure what to make of this game. On the one hand, you’ve got the Ravens coming out of it with another victory, and if they win out, they’ll get the number one seed. Run of the mill, right? Well, not so fast. This is the Colts! This team is purposely trying to lose the game and you, the best of the AFC, can only hang 24 points on them? Where was the offense? Where was the ball control? Somehow, the mighty Indianapolis Colts had almost 24 minutes of possession with no weapons and no will power. I’m sadly disappointed that the Ravens didn’t put a little bit of a harder stomp on them. For the Colts, see my Cleveland Browns analysis.
Khaaaaaaaaaan! Surely it must be the new impending ownership that inspired the Jaguars to score 41 points when they were only averaging 12.7 points per game coming into the week, right? Surely it is that epic ‘stache that brought the MJD of 2009 back to score an inordinate amount (4) of touchdowns, right? Perhaps it was the might and prowess of Shadid Khan that scared the Bucs into a sickening slump in the early going of the second quarter. Whatever the reason, if I see more of that next week in the Georgia Dome, I’m going to feel a lot better about starting MJD in the championship round. For the Bucs, who are 1-8 since Week 5, there’s always next year!
P.S. I’m sensing a trend here. It’s amazing how clear the NFL all of a sudden gets around Week 12, isn’t it?
Lucky for their fantasy owners, the Packers really want to go undefeated. They want it so badly that Rodgers was still in the game slinging the ball around well after everything was in hand. If I were Mike McCarthy, I would’ve had Rodgers, Jennings, and Finley on the bench after Grant’s touchdown, with a shade over seven minutes remaining in the first quarter. I understand wanting to win and playing your starters, but there is no need to risk your season and your franchise when you’re up by 31 points. For the Raiders, there’s always next year! I’m kidding; they’re obviously still in their division race. However, the Tebow seem to be predestined to be the AFC West team that gets bounced in the first week of the playoffs.
P.S. Watch for Darren McFadden’s return this week versus a middling Detroit defense in Oakland. It could be big.
I don’t believe that being outdoors has much of an effect on the Saints. Sure, they are 3-2 with much less impressive stats when outdoors this season. However, I think this has far more to do with not being in New Orleans than it has to do with being outside. The Saints seem less inspired when away from their adoring crowd and the Superdome, and this is why it was 3-3 at the half. It had nothing to do with playing under an open sky. That being said, the Saints got hot late (as they usually do in close competition), and Drew Brees brought Marques Colston to life with two sweet touchdown passes.
For the Titans, I’m confident that they would’ve won the game if Hasselbeck had been the quarterback on that final play. Locker looks to be the future in Tennessee, though, and if I were a Titans fan, I would be excited about that. He seems to have many of the same qualities of Vince Young without the immaturity and off-the-field issues.
Brees for MVP
Alright, you win. I’ll argue, but only because I love you so. Last week I told you that I believe Brees is the best quarterback of this era, that he’ll retire as the best of his contemporaries, and that this season will end with Brees as the top quarterback. But those three statements are all totally subjective and can’t really be proven. Pick your favorite quarterback and you can argue the same for him. Here is my case for Brees.
As many of you have pointed out, Rodgers is on a record-setting pace for single-season passer rating with 123.3 through 14 weeks, and Brees is only at 105.9. However, this is the only category in which Rodgers truly is head and shoulders above Brees. Here is the stat sheet for both quarterbacks:
| QB Comparison
|Passer Rating: 105.9
||Passer Rating: 123.3
|ESPN Total QBR: 81.2
||ESPN Total QBR: 86.7
|Yards per Attempt: 8.04
||Yards per Attempt: 9.42
|Completion %: 70.9
||Completion %: 69.6
As you can see, no other category is overwhelmingly in Rodger’s favor. More touchdowns and fewer interceptions on fewer pass attempts certainly gives Rodgers a strong and well deserved passer rating. However, you will also notice that Brees, the most accurate quarterback the world has ever seen, is edging Rodgers in completion percentage by a full point, made more impressive by Brees’ 80 more completions on 105 more attempts. If you look at total turnovers, Rodgers is only two better than Brees. You’ve also heard Tony Dungy live on television saying he’d never blame a quarterback for an interception. Fumbles however? Those are all the ball carrier’s fault.
MVP... MVP... MVP
These points are very nit-picky, but that’s how it has to be when comparing two phenomenal athletes who are playing the position at a higher efficiency and explosiveness than it has ever been played. Now for the point that matters most, the point I had in mind when I originally made my claim: What will truly determine who has the better season? The playoffs, of course. A Super Bowl appearance or win will make up for any edge either quarterback may have over the other at the end of Week 17. The Saints have had a couple of slip-ups, but they have ranked number-one overall in offense and 27th overall in defense (outranking New England and Green Bay in both categories). If Brees ends this season just behind Rodgers in stats, but with a second Super Bowl ring, then I don’t see how anyone could say Rodgers had the better season.
P.S . Let’s not even get started on Marino’s 29-year-old record that Brees will soon surpass, Johnny U’s consecutive games with a touchdown record that Brees could eclipse next season, and the completion percentage record that Brees already owns.
For the Chargers, its start ‘em time. Rivers is Infinity times 2 in the month of December, and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change any time soon. I think the Tebow will win this division, but you won’t be able to say the Chargers didn’t try for a comeback. For the Bills, Steve Johnson continues to be the only player on the team I really want to start. I had such high hopes for Buffalo playing spoiler to the big boys in their division, but they simply do not know how to be a good team. Combine that with management that is interested in saving money rather than winning big, and you have an organization that will never succeed if things don’t change.
As Tebowmania continues to rock the nation, I’ve heard many sports analysts exclaim, “The Bears played them well for 55 minutes! They had it! They were pressing the receivers and pressuring the quarterback! Why did they back off?! Why did they give up the sideline?!” I’ll tell you why. Because in the last five minutes of a game, Tim Tebow puts the fear of God in defensive coordinators. If you press the receivers and send blitzes, it leaves too many opportunities for heroics. In the mind of Lovie Smith, the only chance was to play coverage and hope to break up the passes and keep the runs short. The sideline was open because defenders were crowding the middle of the field to stop Tebow if he ran. Tebow may not have magic powers that make him the ultimate quarterback in the fourth quarter, but he has a tangible advantage in the fourth quarter as impending doom sets in for his opponents.
For the Bears, I have one word (sort of): Yikes. It is going to be hard to pass the Lions for second place in the division, and it isn’t even a sure thing that second place in the North will garner a wild-card spot. Cutler could’ve taken this team to the playoffs, but with so many other teams in the final stretch here…well, there’s always next year.
The Cardinals, not to be outdone by the Dolphins, are proving to be quite the spoiler team through the final stretch. Just one week after setting the Cowboys up for a potentially fatal loss to the Giants, the Cardinals added a rare tick to the “L” column for the Niners. San Francisco owns the tiebreaker, but if the immortal Ben Roethlisberger can find a way on Monday night next week, the Saints have a legitimate shot at a first-round bye. As for fantasy, there aren’t many on these teams that are performing week in and week out that you’d want to trust your playoffs to. This late in the season, I say go with who got you here. And if that means Larry Fitzgerald plays, then play him!
How about that T.J. Yates? The most untalked-about rookie quarterback this year went into Cincinnati and beat a Bengals D that has been good all year and phenomenal at home. And he did it to the tune of 300 yards and two touchdowns on a day when his running game was mostly shut down. Not only that, but he notched a dramatic and much-coveted comeback win by throwing the game-winning touchdown with two seconds on the clock. For the Bengals, keep riding that A.J. Green wagon and don’t play another man.
To say that Christian Ponder has struggled this season might be seen as an understatement. Still, he certainly has this offense performing at its best since Favre took it to the championship game two years ago. But then that’s as comforting as the faint praise the Jaguars get for shattering their 12-points-per-game average. What I saw was nearly a 50/50 split between Webb and Ponder in which Ponder looked better in every category except interceptions. If he could’ve kept his cool (tough to do against a Lions team full of thugs and ne’er-do-wells) he may very well have thrown his team to a “W” in Detroit. Ponder could get hot next week when the Saints come to town, but look for that to affect Gerhart and Harvin more than Ponder in fantasy. For the Lions, it’s a tough stretch ahead, but all should be good in the fantasy world as they are likely to get into three straight shootouts to end the season.
Well, now that the Eagles are all but mathematically eliminated, they sure did look good against the Dolphins. These guys played spoiler to the spoilers! Look for the Eagles to light up the scoreboard in the final weeks to save the final scraps of their reputation as a dangerous offense. For the Dolphins, do you think Sparano had a situation like Coach Boone in Remember the Titans? One loss and you’re done, despite how awesome your team has been in previous weeks? Sure seems like it. I wonder how Sparano would fit with the Chiefs.
Not that we can ever try it out (each game is different), but I wonder what an actual competent offense would’ve done this day against these Chiefs. I mean, the Jets scored 37 points? Unless you started Mark Sanchez, you didn’t feel much of the benefit in the realm of fantasy, but it sure did look crazy on the score ticker. For Kansas City, I’m really looking forward to next year. If I’m a Chiefs fan, I’m very excited to see the talent retake the field after their injuries heal. Watch for the Chiefs to be in the thick of it as long as similar injuries don’t make an appearance next season.
The ‘kowskis once again handled the majority of the scoring for the Pats, but Welker did manage to squeeze a touchdown out of the Skins as well. I’ve run out of analysis on these Pats, and I refuse to give any credence to the Brady spat on the sidelines. If you haven’t figured it out yet, you really don’t want a New England running back in your lineup for the fantasy playoffs. For the Redskins, they’re going to try awfully hard to put a stop to Eli Manning and a Giants team that’s on a roll right now, but I wouldn’t feel too comfortable about starting any Redskins either.
P.S. Close your eyes and forget about Helu. As is well documented, it’ll bite you in the end if you stick with a Shanahan running back.
In defense of Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan threw for 320 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks, with a 58 completion percentage, and he still finished three points below Rodgers’ average passer rating for the season. The Falcons won through the air, but Michael Turner still got the ball 21 times. Turner has run hard and often for many years and just seems beaten up and worn down this season, and I wouldn’t be overly surprised if this year is his last. If so, it will be a sad day in Atlanta, as the Falcons haven’t proven that they can win without a heavy dose of Michael Turner.
For the Panthers, the future looks brighter every week. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart are feeling the pain of losing John Fox, but Steve Smith is feeling the joy of gaining a real quarterback. Watch for the Panthers to pick high for a Julio Jones-esque wide receiver who will take this passing game to the elite level. For this year, however, I don’t know that I’d trust any Panther not named Cam with the keys to my fantasy season.
Oh those poor, poor Dallas Cowboys. How frustrating it must be to be Jerry Jones! He has watched squad after ultra-talented squad fail and sputter mentally as the seasons have wound down. Expect for frustrating play out of these Cowboys as long as they are in contention. If a catastrophic loss to the Bucs or Eagles occurs, watch for the Dallas offensive stars to take off as the games become meaningless and the pressure to succeed drops off. For the Giants, you have to love what you’re seeing out of the offense. Eli is looking the best he ever has, and this wide receiver corps may be the best that New York has ever seen. If they can shore up the defense a little and keep their nose clean until Week 17, they probably have the East in the books.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On the dominance of Jason Pierre-Paul:
“He’s just too much! You know, you’ve got to chip him, you know, the Cowboys just have to make the adjustment! There’s no way around it, you’re not going to block him one-on-one with anybody! I just haven’t seen it done all year. You watch him on tape enough and he’s like an octopus coming at you! Arms and legs, you think he’s got eight different arms flailing at you! Just… quick moves… a dynamic player!”
If the rest of the Giants D can play to the level of Pierre-Paul—who CC wisely pointed out, has yet to reach the apex of his game—then their path to the playoffs is clear. Wild Card Weekend for the NFC should be absolutely crazy.
I’m not going to honor this matchup with a lot of analysis. The game was terrible. As was brought up multiple times by the commentators, the Rams have placed ten cornerbacks on IR this season. And they have next to no talent on their roster, so you can’t expect much, if anything, from them. That lack of talent may extend beyond the roster. They had seven downs at the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter on Monday night and only ran the ball on the first and seventh down. Instead of giving the ball to their best talent, they had their injured quarterback throwing to their C-class receiving corps. Spagnuolo may be the next coach to go after this performance. An empty space on your roster may be as valuable as most of the men on the field in this game.
And that’s it! Week 14 is in the books. I don’t know how much fantasy goodness will come from it, but I’m looking forward to the Ravens–Chargers matchup on Sunday Night next week. Also, your Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Titans, Bengals, Saints, and Vikings should all have good fantasy weeks. Thank me later.
By: Aaron Williams — December 6, 2011 @ 11:24 am
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 13 had nary a matchup without playoff implications in the NFL or in fantasy. Many players proved why they deserved your draft pick, and many others tried to prove why they deserve attention as a waiver-wire pick-up. With varying degrees of sanity, its time to get aggressive and start dropping those bench players for long-shot starters.
If you have ever played in a Pick ‘Em league with confidence points, this game should’ve screamed, “Pick me! Pick me for 16 points!” The Seahawks were a three-point home dog against an Eagles team that is bailing water. Combine the short week, the emotional loss to the Patriots the week before, the travel distance, and the generally lackluster play, and you had a surefire bet to lose this game. The Seahawks are not a powerhouse. It’s dangerous to start looking for fantasy goodness among the 31 points scored, as 21 of them came from long runs and a pick six. I like Marshawn Lynch in Seattle against bad defenses, but I’m not too concerned about anyone else on this roster. Vick will likely come back for the Eagles next Monday, so hopefully his presence will bring some spark back to this offense as they play spoiler for the rest of the year.
In contrast to Philly–Seattle, there was plenty of fantasy goodness for the winner of this game. You saw Arian Foster get another rushing touchdown, Yates looked like he can keep the offense afloat, one tight end got a lot of targets, the other got a touchdown, and Andre Johnson nearly got a hundred yards and would’ve had a touchdown or more if he could have kept it going. Unfortunately, he has now suffered from the rare double hammy pull. According to sports news of the day, this pull is much less severe, so he may back in two weeks.
For the Falcons, their winning formula is proving unsustainable. As stated many times in this column, the Falcons’ best option is to run more than pass. However, Michael Turner has been a workhorse for this team for years and is starting to show signs of weariness. Look for one of two things to happen: either Jason Snelling will step in and be serviceable (a great start in the fantasy playoffs if so), or the Falcons will rely heavily on their passing game and miss the playoffs in a fizzling blaze of glory.
You know, Tyler Palko’s first NFL touchdown may have been the most dubious first touchdown ever in the NFL. The Bears will frequently drop Urlacher deep into coverage when expecting a Hail Mary, but I don’t think the game plan was for Chris Conte to do a street-ball denial on him. Defenders are coached to bat down balls instead of intercepting them in some cases, usually when the punt return is likely to get better field position, but I don’t think the goal was to drop it right into McCluster’s breadbasket. Speaking of McCluster’s catch, did you see him anticipate the ball? He was crouched and ready to make a play on the ball in case it was batted into the air, and an instant later Palko was somehow credited with a touchdown. Despite all this, I think the fantasy result for both teams are the same: As long as the backups are in, sit everybody but the D.
I don’t think the Bengals will make the playoffs this year, and that is ok. This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Cincinnati, yet they have been able to compete all season long in what may be the toughest division in football. A.J. Green is the only Bengal I feel comfortable starting in a standard league, but nevertheless, this is the most impressive I have seen the Bengals look in my adult life.
For the Steelers, it was business as usual…on steroids. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for two touchdowns, Mike Wallace caught two touchdowns, and Antonio Brown caught a long bomb and returned a punt for a touchdown. Look for the Steelers to continue to roll as they try to find a way to pass the Ravens for AFC North supremacy.
Do you think one of the Titans found Bugs Bunny’s bottle of Michael’s secret stuff (See Space Jam) and gave it to CJ2K? In the blink of an eye, Chris Johnson has transformed a regrettable season into a respectable playoff run in two games. It’s unlikely that the Titans will be able to pass the Texans for a playoff bid, but they have had a season very much like Cincinnati’s in that they have performed vastly outside of their expectations. I’m starting CJ2K in all formats until something changes.
For the Bills, Steve Johnson salvaged his fantasy day with a late touchdown to keep the score respectable, but this game was all Titans in Buffalo. It’s a shame that the Bills didn’t have the lasting power or the will to win to keep up their magic from early on; I would’ve loved to see a Buffalo team that competed for 17 weeks.
As stated last week, Tim Tebow isn’t a great quarterback. However, I think he provides more of a spark to an offense than, say, a Jake Delhomme did. In case you’ve forgotten, John Fox coached the Delhomme-helmed Panthers to a Super Bowl in a very similar situation to what is now developing in Denver. Watch for the Broncos to win their division and one playoff game.
For the Vikings, Christian Ponder looked great, despite the turnovers. He hasn’t had the season of Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, but he’s embedded himself just as deeply into his franchise’s future plans. Look for Ponder to continue to improve as the season rolls along and for Harvin to become a factor in the fantasy playoffs because of it.
Feeling good with Gronkowski.
While watching this game, I wrote in my notes, “Garcon: In case you were considering, no.” Against the Pats, these Colts nearly outscored their total points of the past four weeks. However, I wouldn’t count on this kind of production again from a team that takes five weeks to score fifty points. Granted, one of those weeks was a bye, but this team has no chance this year.
For New England, nearly every point was placed on the scoreboard by a -kowski. Only Green-Ellis fought the good fight and put a stop to this kowski-dominated offense. If you own Brady or Gronkowski, you’re probably feeling good headed into your playoffs, as the Tebow are the only semi-viable challenge to the Pats’ scoring tendencies.
While watching this game, I wrote in my notes, “Housh: In case you were considering, no.” Reggie Bush, however, yes. He’s got three fantastic matchups coming up against the Eagles, Bills, and Pats. In week 17 he has to run against the Jets, but if they are out of the hunt, who knows how hard they’ll play. I wouldn’t consider Matt Moore unless you’re truly desperate; and if you’re truly desperate you probably aren’t competing in the playoffs, so maybe you feel froggy and give him a chance. I say if you’ve got nothing but pride on the line, you should go for it! Fortune favors the bold.
For the Raiders, forget this game. Don’t forget how bad the Raiders have looked over the past few weeks, however. This team sorely misses their starters, and hopefully they’ll catch a break and get McFadden back this week against a porous Green Bay defense. The Raiders are the last gasp of hope for those rooting against a perfect season for the Packers. And it would be just like the unpolished and dirty Raiders to go into Lambeau and hand the Pack an L. I’m not saying it will happen, I’m just saying that I wouldn’t be surprised.
While watching this game, I wrote in my notes, “Shonn Greene: In case you were considering, no.” Ok, so you’re catching on now: same joke, different ingredients. Despite that, it’s true. And I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Greene is unable to total this output in his remaining games. I don’t like starting any Jets, but I really don’t like Greene. There’s no way I would put my fantasy playoffs in his hands.
For the Redskins, well, I guess there isn’t no way I’d start Greene in the playoffs. If it came down to Greene or Helu, I would probably play matchups. Helu got all the carries on Sunday, but can he be started in the playoffs with Shanahan as his coach? My other options would have to be pretty awful. Helu is a great talent, but Shanahan simply enjoys lying about his running backs. He feels it gives him a competitive advantage. I want to say that Helu is a great start when the Patkowskis come to town next week, but I just can’t shake the feeling that he’ll end up with the third most carries on the team.
It’s no wonder that Cam Newton is as popular as Dubstep. He’s the real deal! He leads the league in rushing touchdowns. In fact, he has more rushing touchdowns in a single season than any quarterback in the history of the NFL, and I bet he has four or five more in him. I would start Aaron Rodgers ahead of Newton only because his team is more guaranteed to play a full 60 minutes. Look for Newton to be an epic draft prospect next year.
For the Bucs, this has been a throwaway season. If you can avoid Tampa as a whole through the playoffs, I most definitely would.
Well, Peyton Hillis returned to form this week on the stat sheet. However, five of his nine fantasy points came on one reception in busted coverage. I want to say that Hillis is going to be a great waiver-wire pick-up or buy-low candidate for the remainder of the season, but I just can’t endorse it. It is just too iffy to ever rely on a Cleveland Brown.
For the Ravens, they played on their own level instead of to the level of their opponent. For what seemed like the first time this season, they came out of the gate strong and maintained that intensity in defeat of a team that doesn’t have half their talent.
Ok, one more. In case you were considering Andre Roberts, no. At least not until his ability is proven through consecutive games. As the top teams begin to rest starters, he may be a late-season pick-up, but I wouldn’t trust him at all outside of that.
For the Boys, they are so lucky the Giants had the hateful schedule they had. I like the Cowboys. I like Tony Romo, I like Dez Bryant, and I love Demarco Murray. However, the team as a whole always seems to lack the mental toughness to bring it all home. I think the offensive stars will continue to win games for owners all the way through Week 17, but I think Romo will be playing armchair quarterback in January.
Well, Michael Crabtree and Alex Smith have transformed into a dynamic NFL duo. I won’t speculate on who is Batman and who is Robin, but I am very proud of Alex Smith. I can only hope that Jason Campbell and Matt Leinart are afforded this same chance eventually.
For the Rams, it is now complete ineptitude on offense. I think Bradford and Steven Jackson are both studs, and I think Bradford will become one of the premiere quarterbacks in the league if management can build a team around him. To be fair, I don’t think the Rams are as bad as their points-allowed stat implies, but there are at least 25 other DSTs I’d rather start.
In my estimation, Nelson and Jennings combine to form the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. Both rack up inordinate amounts of yards and touchdowns being on a team with as many options as the Packers have. Hey, hey, remember the beginning of the year when I was theorizing about which Green Bay running back you want? Oh, man! Just say that phrase out loud: “Green Bay running backs.” Sounds ridiculous.
For the Giants, I’m confident they will win their division. It’s likely that the Cowboys will classically stub their toe in one of their non-New York matchups in Week 15 or 16—my money is on Tampa Bay in Week 15. Watch for Eli Manning to save both the Giants’ season and Tom Coughlin’s career in the coming weeks.
Wow! Has the inexperience of the Detroit Lions ever been as obvious as in the past two weeks? This team simply does not know how to win. They have the talent to win, they have the coaching staff to win, but they just don’t have the mindset to win. Stupid penalty after stupid penalty, including the rarely seen contact with an official, kept the Lions in their own way. Collinsworth astutely brought up that they were unlikely to win against Brees even without the penalties, but the miscues sure didn’t help.
For the Saints, the race is on to pass San Francisco. One game back from a round-one bye, the Saints are hoping the Steelers and the hated Seahawks can put two more ticks in the loss column for the Niners. As for the New Orleans receiving corps, Meachem, Henderson, and Moore all share too much time to be trusted in the playoffs. But if you have to use one, I’d go with Moore.
P.S. I’m not going to argue with you about it, but I believe Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL. I think, compared with his contemporaries, he will retire with the best career, have the best single season, and be the best quarterback of this season when it’s all said and done.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
“Take it from a guy who cheated his whole career, you just can’t do it!”
Masked behind this classic admission of foul play was a great point. If you want to win in the NFL, you can’t just go around stomping on dudes and pushing refs. Just like the Raiders, these Lions lack maturity but are talented enough to be tied for first in their division.
The Chargers are always vexing, but this year’s version has been as hard to figure out as the lyrics to those NFL Play 60 commercials. What the heck are those kids saying about the bus anyway? For this night at least, the Chargers looked like the squad I picked to win the Super Bowl. With their offensive weapons healthy, they did what they wanted all game long.
For the Jags, there were signs of life, but this team has forgotten about a winning season. There may be too much upside to MJD to drop him or sit him; but I’d rather start Colt McCoy than Blaine Gabbert, and I’d rather start Pierre Garcon and have no WR2 than start any two Jacksonville receivers.
P.S. How wild is it that the top two overall picks may come to the AFC South next April?
And that’s it! Week 13 is all wrapped up. Look for your Steelers, Raiders, and Dolphins (read: Reggie Bush) to have a big Week 14. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back next week as the fantasy playoffs get underway.
By: Aaron Williams — November 29, 2011 @ 10:18 am
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Things are getting serious now as league leaders are fighting to hold on to their leads and wild cards are fighting for their rightful spots in the playoffs. Let’s get right into all of the fiery Week 12 matchups.
It was a tough day for Lions fans and fantasy owners. Matthew Stafford owners saw a 3:1 interception-to-touchdown ratio. Kevin Smith went down, Jahvid Best shortly after went on IR, and Jason Hanson was frankly lucky to get no points. If you are a Calvin Johnson owner, you have to be happy with 49 yards and a score, but that seems so paltry for this year’s most dominant wide receiver. In addition, it took him until the final seconds of the game to grab the score. Ouch. Still, with Cutler going down—and the Bears with him—the Lions may still be competing for a wild card late in the season.
For the Packers, this was probably their least impressive performance of the season. They had a couple of good drives capped with touchdowns by Greg Jennings and John Kuhn, but the rest were punts, field goals, and taking advantage of busted coverage. It wasn’t a bad outing per se, it just wasn’t the 40-point dominance these Packers typically show.
The Color Silver
How about that Ndamukong Suh? Nothing like a good old stomp to the breastplate. He reminds me of that one bully in elementary school who hit puberty at age seven and was six feet with a full-grown mustache by 12. Did you see him making Dietrich-Smith eat dirt? Ridiculous. The man is a thug just like James Harrison and Richie Incognito, and thugs have no place in the public eye. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t allow Suh on my team, ever if I had him for a 10-year deal at a dollar a year. I value attitude more than talent, and personality more than draft status, and that means Suh is worthless to me.
The biggest question for Cowboys owners is what will happen when Miles Austin comes back. A lot of Laurent Robinson’s big plays have been against broken coverage, as most big plays to receivers are, but he’s gained popularity and will not be going away. Especially with DeMarco Murray taking so many snaps, these Dallas receivers could soon become Saintly or Packeresque, in that they will all be valuable but rarely in the same week. For the Dolphins, they must’ve heard a rumor about an Andrew Luck drug habit or something. They were in the thick of it with Indianapolis (who has the right idea, by the way), and now they’re catching up with Buffalo and the Jets. As long as the Dolphins are on this tear, it will be awfully hard to sit Brandon Marshall in any format.
Christian Ponder is the anti-Tebow. He always looks better to me than his stat line. He’s proven his mobility, his competency, and his football IQ. Yet, when it all shakes out, all of that great play amounts to less than Matt Moore or Carson Palmer put up on the stat sheet. Still, however good Ponder has been, I don’t expect much next week when that stout Tebow defense comes to town. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan looked impressive. I am well documented in my opinion that the team is best served when Ryan has more hand-offs than pass attempts, but at least for this week Atlanta’s passing game was very successful. Look for a contingency plan for the playoffs if you’re a Julio Jones owner though, as that hamstring looks like it is going to frustrate him all season long.
Another huge drop by Stevie cost his team and his fantasy owners.
Though few would compare the two, Ryan Fitzpatrick performed just as well as Matt Ryan against a much tougher secondary. Any QB that throws three touchdowns needs to be owned in all leagues, even if he’s been fairly miserable the past few weeks. Similarly, Stevie Johnson also needs to be held on to. Many have been trumpeting that the Bills are back to being the Bills of old, that they are just as terrible as they used to be. I don’t buy that. I don’t know how useful they will be in the fantasy playoffs this year, but the Bills are the biggest fantasy force they’ve been in decades. For the Jets, it was an extremely forgettable game. Even though their receiving game had a monster fantasy day, Sanchez completed less than 50 percent of his passes for less than 200 yards, and Shonn Greene had only 13 total carries.
Sometimes I think the Bills must wear silver Under Armour. How else do you explain the fervor with which Steve Johnson lost this game for his team? There were boneheaded mistakes across the field for the wideout, as he dropped passes that rivaled his infamously dropped touchdown of a season ago. He has the natural talent of any receiver in the league, but if he gets any more excessive celebration fouls, it is going to get “so serious” really quick.
For the Browns, there are two main points. Peyton Hillis got all of the work for the RB squad, and Greg Little is the man among the WRs. As long as he’s healthy, Hillis is the only Cleveland Brown I would consider starting—and I’m not a fan of him, either. For the Bengals, Cedric Benson put up a good showing, but I’m going to need to see at least 60 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers next week to consider putting him in my lineup in the fantasy playoffs.
Someone I would trust in my fantasy playoffs is Mike Williams of the Buccaneers. He’s had a couple of solid performances and will finish the fantasy regular season against the Carolina Panthers. Start him in all formats. I would also start LeGarrette Blount in all formats against that Panthers D next week. For the Titans, the passing situation remained muddied with an even distribution among pass catchers. However, if you look at fantasy points scored, your choice would have to be Damian Williams—and it wouldn’t even be close. Chris Johnson had the first game this season where he truly looked like his old self, netting 19 points in yards alone. That would be enough for me to give him the go next week against the porous Buffalo defense.
Who would imagine that two teams with absolutely nothing to play for would get into a rushing battle? These two went at it to the tune of 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers, and Donald Brown alone had 80 yards and a touchdown for the Colts. Despite that, I wouldn’t touch any of these running backs with a ten-foot pole. I’d rather have Brandon Jacobs, if Bradshaw is out, over any of these guys.
Which has a better chance of happening next week against the Cowboys in Arizona: Beanie Wells rushes for 150 yards, or Kevin Kolb comes back and outscore Mark Sanchez in D.C.? For my money, I bet Kolb shows enough flashes of starter ability to keep suckers…I mean owners…starting him in the playoffs. For the Rams, Steven Jackson continues to be the only presence worth starting week in and week out, if only for his upside. But even if some of these guys seem to have starter ability, I wouldn’t feel confident using any player from either team for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, Andre Johnson came back just in time for Yates to stink up the playing field. I don’t think there is anyone else out there that the Texans could use ahead of Yates, which essentially ruins any playoff hopes. Baby steps, though, Texans fans. It wasn’t long ago that just making the playoffs was an off chance each year. For the Jaguars, I have only one triple-named player you should be concerned with: Cecil Shorts III. Kidding, of course. Only MJD is a factor on this team.
I do not think Hanie is as bad as the rep he’s getting. Johnny Knox was able to make his regular number of catches and yards to add up to a successful fantasy day. However, I don’t see this continuing, as Forte and the D/ST are the Bears’ only chances to get into the playoffs as a wild card. Martz cannot continue to put the game in Hanie’s hands, despite how well he may be able to manage. For the Raiders, Sebastian Janikowski kept his team in the game. When just passing midfield means you’re in scoring position, it’s easy to win games against good defenses. In my opinion, I don’t think this game affects my view of any Bears or Raiders. I’m starting all Raiders or Bears as usual and not taking any chances, despite this game.
Redskins – Seahawks
Blah blah blah, Roy Helu. Blah blah, Santana Moss. Mumble mumble, Marshawn Lynch. Ok, honestly, Lynch was pretty good. However, I find it hard to get excited about anyone wearing jerseys of either team. Start Lynch if you’ve got him, but try to forget about it until the score is final.
Tim Tebow has been a great fantasy QB every week except for that terrible Detroit game. His defense is keeping his opponents in check enough that his mediocre-at-best quarterback play has to be respected. If a team can get up big quickly, as the Lions did, then the Tebow magic, whatever that may be, can be taken out of the equation. Along with Tebow, I want whichever Denver running back is starting to be on my roster as well. Willis McGahee has been absolutely killing opposing defenses, and here’s a little secret: he’s no Arian Foster. For the Chargers, this is about the best fantasy day you can hope for. Everyone except Rivers played ok—not great, but they didn’t wow you with silly mistakes—and it was missed field goals that afforded the Tebow the chance to win. Unfortunately, it looks like that whole call of their pending Super Bowl victory seemed to be a little off…
P.S. Do you think the Eagles and Chargers will trade coaches? I think they just might.
What an amazing tumble the Eagles have taken. They just can’t catch a break. Their offensive line and defense has finally gelled, so of course their potent passing attack has now gone and taken a dirt nap, along with their playoff hopes. DeSean Jackson can’t keep his head on straight, Vick is out with broken ribs, Maclin hasn’t been consistently healthy all year long, and Vince Young can’t get that “Dream Team” comment off his back. LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick, if he’s healthy, are the only Eagles I’m starting and feeling good about. For the Pats, it was as simple as giving Tom Brady time. As soon as BJGE’s two red zone touchdowns had the Eagles reeling, Brady went to work and never slowed down. I feel like I’m in danger of becoming a broken record, but I’ll say it again: sit any New England pass catcher at your own risk.
In an actually very skillful defensive battle, the Ravens came out on top. For my money, there were two main factors that contributed to the win, and neither has to do with fantasy. The Ravens were at home, and they are much more accustomed to low-scoring defensive battles. I’ll take the Ravens in Baltimore over any team in the league if you’ll guarantee that both teams will score less than 21 points. Due to this double-sided shut down, neither team had much of a fantasy star. This is another game I’d dismiss in relation to fantasy opinion, due to the defensive prowess on display.
Similar to the 49ers–Ravens game, this was an intense defensive battle. Now, the Chiefs’ offense is less than unimpressive, but you still have to give it to the Steelers. And like the Ravens, the Steelers are far more experienced and skilled in a game where you have to rely on your defense. However, I think Antonio Brown has been having a coming out party the past five weeks and is the Miles Austin to Mike Wallace’s Dez Bryant. For the Chiefs, blech…though I am excited to see if Kyle Orton can bring Dwayne Bowe back from the dead.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
“Al, one of the things the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to do tonight is, they described it, is throw the kitchen sink at Tyler Palko. Well, much of that kitchen sink is in the form of Troy Polamalu and they can’t do it now!”
Well, despite CC’s imaginative use of the kitchen sink metaphor, it seems like the faucet and drain plug remaining on the field were enough to keep the Chiefs in check. Even if they don’t have all their appliances on the field next week against the Bengals, I’m starting the Steelers D, with gusto, in all formats.
Has the Superdome surpassed CenturyLink and Arrowhead as having the best home-field advantage around? It has certainly seemed like it this year, as the Saints are undefeated and scoring in droves when in New Orleans. The Saints will be watching the two-loss 49ers very closely now, as New Orleans seems to be in prime competition for the #2 seed and a first-round bye. Just like the Patriots and Packers, this is an all-hands-on-deck offense with a multitude of playmakers who can rack up points quickly. For the Giants, it was a sad display of defense, but you can’t hold them too accountable for the previously mentioned Saints at home. They could’ve played better, but the deck was stacked against them from the start. I’m starting all of my Giants next week against Green Bay, even Brandon Jacobs.
P.S. The Saints won the coin toss. Told you! I can’t wait to collect at the office this afternoon.
And that’s it! Next week is the final week of the regular season in most standard formats, so things should get interesting. I like Colts receivers in Foxborough, I’m starting Joe Flacco against the Browns in Cleveland, and I love Marshawn Lynch against the Eagles in Seattle. I’m staying away from any Bengals in Pittsburgh, all of the Vikings, and the other 52 men on the Denver Tebow.
By: Aaron Williams — November 22, 2011 @ 10:38 am
Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 11, the most bizarre week of football viewing in my life, was quite entertaining nonetheless. With the Saints, Steelers, and Texans all on bye, I suppose the mice came out to play. Backups went bananas, starters disappeared, bad teams won, good teams lost, et cetera. Let’s see if we can sort this mess out.
The Broncos defense may be keeping it together for 55 minutes while their quarterback plays his position like a running back, but it is Tebow in the last few minutes that is stealing all the thunder. I wouldn’t say I’m a Tebow apologist, but I am a Tebow hopeful. I would love to see him succeed and I would love to see the Broncos win the division to cement his place with the team. Due to his extreme popularity and single-handed comeback ability, yours truly will refer to the Denver Broncos as the Denver Tebow from now on.
As for the Jets…Wow, how ‘bout them Jets! I’ll tell ya what, I’ll always take a quarterback with faulty playing mechanics and the right attitude over a quarterback with good coachables but who lacks those intangibles. I don’t mean to come down too hard on Sanchez, I think he’s a fine quarterback, but he just doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor that star quarterbacks have. If the Jets can get a running game going, however, they might not need a star quarterback. For that matter, the Tebow might not either.
If someone had asked me in Week 4 or 5, “Which passer will throw three touchdowns in Week 11, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Moore?” Needless to say, I would’ve picked Fitzpatrick. In fact, I was near certain that Andrew Luck would be a Dolphin this time next year. However, the Dolphins are looking like world-beaters, and the plucky Bills are regressing more and more with each passing week. I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting any Buffalo player, even Fred Jackson; though if you’ve got Jackson, I’m sure you have to start him.
For the Dolphins, how is Matt Moore slinging the way he is yet Brandon Marshall was outgained in yardage by five other Miami players? I’m going to desperately hope this was a fluke (Marshall did have two end zone targets) and that he will be back to form next week against the Cowboys in what should be a shootout, given the Dolphins’ recent success.
At least for one week, Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson became the future superstars they’ve been touted as by fans. Anquan Boldin’s stat line looked as it should, and Smith had his second great game on the season. Simpson is a talented receiver and should continue to produce for the Bengals, and he’ll also continue to contribute heavily to your fantasy team as long as A.J. Green is out.
Just to make sure some piece of the world remained sane, the Jags and the Browns both stank. It is my belief that any team that enters Cleveland Browns Stadium, and EverBank Field to a lesser degree, instantly degrades. If the Packers played the Browns in Cleveland, I’m sure they would score less than 30 points. As for fantasy, MJD was the only man on the field worth a weekly start. Marcedes Lewis showed up long enough to sucker some people into picking him up, but I’m certain that passing attack will disappear in Cincinnati next week.
DeMarco Murray proved that he will be the starting running back of the future, and Laurent Robinson continues to be a fantasy force this season. I’m playing all Dallas starters for the foreseeable future, and I’m not starting a single Redskin.
The new starter in Detroit.
I really liked Kevin Smith in his rookie season, and then injuries ruined his career, or so I had assumed. However, this performance will make Smith the Lions’ starter until he gets hurt or Jahvid Best comes back (good luck). How about Calvin Johnson’s zero touchdowns in a Brandon Marshall-esque performance? I’m not worried in the slightest, but I’m sure this added to the frustration of this week’s weirdness for many fantasy owners. For the Panthers, Cam Newton is going to be a great quarterback and Steve Smith will continue to produce as this year continues, so I wouldn’t change my opinion on either based on this game.
Twenty-nine points and I nearly won?!
This week yours truly had the worst fantasy week of his career: 29 points. In standard scoring, Eli Manning, Ryan Mathews, Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, and Jake Ballard all did nothing for me. Funny thing about this week, though, I only lost by 20 points! Like I said at the beginning, while the cats are on bye, the mice…will…fly?
Let’s say this first, I’m not buying much of this Bucs offense, passing or rushing, until I see it in consecutive weeks. Now for the team with far more fantasy impact, Jordy Nelson has nearly doubled Greg Jennings’ output for the season. It is extremely hard for me to say that any receiver is much better than Jennings, even Calvin Johnson, but Nelson has made a strong case for himself. At this point, the only advice concerning Green Bay players is, sit them at your own risk. If you own a Packer who will take the field on game day, there is a favorable likelihood that he catches a touchdown.
Dear Adrian Peterson, please, please, please come back to us soon. We don’t need another injured RB! Whether or not Peterson plays next week, pick up Gerhart and start him against the Falcons. I would also do the same with Percy Harvin, as he may prove to be flex-worthy for the remainder of the year. It has taken the Vikings over half a season to get it together, but it is possible that this offense may be coming alive a little bit. For the Raiders, here are your starters: the starting running back and Sebastian Janikowski. Sea Bass is the man, and whichever running back is the starter is going to be lethal every week.
The Color Silver
The Raiders had a nifty 12 penalties for 117 yards this week. That is epic. To put it in comparison, Carson Palmer threw for only 164 yards and the rushing attack combined for 162. So, essentially, the penalties cancelled out nearly one half of their offense. Amazing! If this collection of players played for another team, they’d probably be winning their division by a landslide right now.
If you have Marshawn Lynch and can pull this off, I’d find Jahvid Best or Darren McFadden’s owner and try to unload Lynch in exchange. He’s scored a good amount of touchdowns this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his point total right now is very close to what his point total will be when the season wraps up. For the poor, sad, helpless Rams, you’ve got to just keep holding out hope. Bradford was brilliant in his rookie year, and I had high hopes for him in his second year behind center. Unfortunately, the skill positions are so mediocre on this team that there are simply too few options for him to be successful with. Similar to Lynch, Steven Jackson might find that his best days of this season are behind him, and he might be another player you should try to trade, if you can find a good deal.
The Color Silver, Part 2
The Seahawks, also in epic fashion, had 13 penalties for an even 100 yards. In a performance fit for a jester, Seattle tripped all over themselves for 60 minutes. It was as if they said, “Alright, Marshawn Lynch, we’ll see your semi-productive fantasy day and raise you a whole heap of silly mistakes!” Well done, Seahawks, well done.
Hey, remember that time when the Cardinals were excited about the prospect of John Skelton? No? Okay, how about the time when they paid up a whole bunch of money and picks for Kevin Kolb? You’d like to forget? I understand… Well how about that time Richard Bartel averaged eight yards per pass attempt and John Skelton threw three picks? Ah. Amnesia, I see.
You could argue whether it was Arizona’s quarterback play or the 49er defense that actually kept the Cards to just 11 first downs, but that wouldn’t be fair to the San Fran D. They have been rock solid this season and should be started every week from here on out. It has been a rough year for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, but, if they can recreate some of this magic come early December against the Rams (which, believe it or not, is actually harder said than done), they may yet be fantasy stars in the playoffs.
The Falcons deviated just slightly from their winningest game plan, which is running the ball with Michael Turner more times than they pass. Technically, Turner ran only 21 times to Ryan’s 22 passes, but it was enough to slay the sleepy Titans. For the Titans, it was business as usual. And by business as usual, I mean Chris Johnson not being worth a fantasy start and a random receiver raking in a lot of yards. This week it was Nate Washington, but I wouldn’t count on that type of production from him again this year.
Somehow, all of a sudden, the Bears are looking nasty on offense and defense. They’re in a scary position with Cutler possibly being out for the remainder of the regular season, though if they can hang in there for a wild card spot, they might have him back for the playoffs. I say put Hanie out there, let Forte run for 30-plus times every game, and let your defense do the rest. I wouldn’t start any Bear involved with their passing game.
For the Chargers, they were awfully proud of their 4-1 start and claimed they were bucking their trend of starting slow. It seems now that they are continuing to buck that trend by slowing down in the second half. The Chicago D is strong, possibly the best defense in the NFL of late, but this Chargers offense has the personnel to be the best in the league if they’d just play like it. That being said, I’m still starting any San Diego skill-position players against weaker defenses.
Hey, remember that time when DeSean Jackson went crazy and won the matchup with late-game heroics in the return game? Yeah that was awesome. Remember the first half of this season when Jeremy Maclin was playing like a dominant receiver? Yep. He sure was. However, in this game, it was Riley Cooper and Steve Smith scoring the touchdowns. And while Jackson did have 88 yards receiving, he didn’t have any more receptions than Brent Celek. In fact, while Vince Young is the starter, I’m not starting any Philly pass catcher not named Celek. You just can’t guess which receiver he’ll target at this point.
For the Giants, what a miserable and hideous performance, and that’s not just because they had a major hand in ruining my fantasy week. So far, in this rough stretch of their schedule, they’ve got only one win, and that was against an especially bad New England secondary. Look for the Giants to struggle again next week versus the Saints in a Superdome that is always electric on Monday Night. I’ll pass on all Giants next week.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On Julian Edelman’s playmaking in all three phases of the game:
“Where does Bill Bellichick find these guys?!”
This week, I was unable to hear the always delightful Chris Collinsworth, so Coach Gruden stepped in for him. I wonder how many players since the merger have a punt return for a touchdown, a tackle on a kick return, a pass target, and a defensive tackle all in the same game. Now that would be a hyper-specific stat for the ages.
Did Chris say something that deserved to be in this space? Let me know in the comments section!
Believe it or not, this 34-3 Patriots blowout was a 3-0 Kansas City lead in the waning minutes of the second quarter. In fashion with the rest of the week, Wes Welker was out-received by running back Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen was the New England running back with a touchdown by the game’s end. If the Patriots continue to roll, look for them to be the AFC’s fantasy version of the Packers. By that I mean, sit any Patriot at your own risk.
For the Chiefs, it was a promising first half. Palko made some nice throws and good decisions, and the Chiefs defensive line was fired up. Classically, the Chiefs came out in the second half and blew it because they’re not used to winning. We’ve seen this a few times this year out of a number of historically bad franchises that had a chance to hang in there or ice a game. The Redskins, the Bills, and the Lions have all been in that situation this year. Right now I wouldn’t touch any Chief with a ten-foot pole. Not even Dwayne Bowe. Not even if Dwayne Bowe had some Ollie Gates barbeque.
P.S. No wonder they’re the Patkowskis, Rob can fly! Well, it was more like falling with style.
And that’s it! An absolutely maddening Week 11 is in the books. Hopefully the world will revert to normal as three of the four likely division winners return to the field. Next week, look for the Saints to get up big against the Giants in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Yuck. I can’t believe it’s called that now.
By: Aaron Williams — November 15, 2011 @ 10:39 am
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Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Week 10 was a week to remember, from teams winning despite only completing two passes, to the Cowboys posting their best winning margin in 31 years. But first, let’s get right into it with a game that had major playoff consequences.
As is nearly always the case with these two teams, the game went right down to the wire and was decided by a field goal. The Falcons are very physical, a style that usually matches up well against the Saints’ high-flying offense and is able to wear them down. However, these two teams have so much dislike for each other that it is always a competitive game. The Saints were even able to contain the bowling ball that is Michael Turner (and yes, 96 yards on 22 carries is containing him). Next week, look for the Falcons to vent their frustrations on the Titans in Atlanta and put up big fantasy points across the board. Also, look for the Saints to ride the high of that win into the bye week and then come out with coin-flip odds of being either inspired or overwhelmed when they face the New York Giants at home.
P.S. Speaking of coin flips, want to win a bar bet? I’d be willing to put serious money up that the Saints win every coin toss for the remainder of the regular season. They lost the opener to the Falcons to make it ten straight, then they lost it again in overtime. Eleven consecutive coin-flip losses is an anomaly that is simply unsustainable. I will be looking to cash in on the improbability of that streak continuing.
The Saints and Falcons both got points from receivers (Robert Meachem and Harry Douglas, respectively) who probably aren’t going to be valuable for the long haul. In the same way, I’m not expecting Jerricho Cotchery’s big points here to continue. Cotchery may have more worthwhile games in the future, but there are too many guys in front of him to make him an every-week start. A few weeks ago I stated that Cincinnati’s attitude and youth movement had righted their ship. And as I always say, I’ll take less-skilled guys on teams trending up before I take high-skill guys on teams in decline. If A.J. Green had stayed healthy, I’d be suggesting that Dalton may be a nice backup for Schaub, Roethlisberger, or Brees next week. Since Green is hurt, however, I can’t say that Dalton is startable in any game until Green returns.
The Bills are stumbling in the second half.
I had really been hoping that the Bills would compete in this division for the whole season. Fitzpatrick and company had been circling the wagons and manufacturing those dangerously popular comebacks all season long. Now we’re seeing that style of play rear its ugly head in a few bad losses in a row. Truly good teams get up and stay up. I’m not saying the first eight weeks of the season were a fluke, I’m just saying the Bills aren’t going to be the Independent Party of the AFC East like I’d been hoping for. You’ve got to play Steve Johnson and Fred Jackson if you have them, but you should temper your expectations. This team is wearing down for the stretch.
For the Cowboys, I’d start all your guys and then close your eyes and plug your ears. The appropriately named Romocoaster will likely go crazy and inflate all of those Dallas playmakers’ numbers…or he’ll cost you your week by blowing up the INT column.
P.S. Pick up Laurent Robinson. He’s not going anywhere even when Austin comes back. He was good in St. Louis and he’s been phenomenal in Dallas.
If I could properly illustrate it verbally, my analysis of this game would describe my scrambling for a trash can before I threw up. Lloyd and Jackson are great, high-talent guys on a terrible team, despite their having one of my favorite young quarterbacks in Sam Bradford. For the Browns, the DST is the only part of this team I would start this year. If Peyton Hillis comes back, I’m not starting him against any defense until I see him chalk up two touchdowns and a hundred yards in one game. This Cleveland team is very bad and very conservative and will not net you many fantasy points. I continue to hold that these Browns would be better off now and in the long run had they just drafted Julio Jones instead of using the “lions share” approach and taking chances on a lot of lower-ranked guys.
I am not a crazy Tebow fan. I hated him when he was the all-star quarterback of the Florida Gators. I am, however, a believer in his will to win. Here are the facts through the eyes of an NFL scout: Kyle Orton has far better measurables and veteran knowledge than Tebow. Here are the other facts: Since the Broncos drafted Tebow, they’ve gone 5-4 with him and 4-14 without him. They’re in position to share the lead in the AFC West if they can somehow stump the Jets this Thursday. I’m not saying that’s an easy task, but the Broncos haven’t been in any sort of contention since Jay Cutler was under center.
It definitely isn’t pretty, but I would say there aren’t many teams that could win if their quarterback completed only two passes, even against the hapless Chiefs. To put it another way, I bet Curtis Painter would look better in training camp than Tebow, and look how the Colts are doing. Plus, if Tebow can get Denver to eight or nine wins this year, I’m sure he’ll start to win over that locker room.
For the Chiefs, the sad tale of this downward spiral continues as Matt Cassel was lost for the season. They may go the rest of the season without another win in his absence, as they were absolutely slaughtered early on when his elbow was injured.
P.S. Pick up Lance Ball.
Jones-Drew 09 (YouTube it) was a stud once again, this time against a team that has sadly quit on their season. Peyton Manning must be so frustrated at those guys! Since the Dolphins inexplicably won another game and effectively dashed their own hopes of drafting the coveted Andrew Luck, it seems that the inexhaustible imagery for the next decade will be the Stanford quarterback and the horseshoe. As for fantasy advice, my only advice for Colts owners is to find someone else. I’d think long and hard about Jerome Simpson over Reggie Wayne the rest of the way, as unfortunate as that is.
I saw a certain author on the net call Chris Johnson CJ0K. Hilarious! I’m all for it. I think this particular game was a flash in the pan. The Titans have a fairly soft rushing schedule coming up, but I’m still not touching this mess. If Johnson can look impressive on the field and in the stat line, I might consider him an RB2. He’s a flex play otherwise. In the same light as Meachem, Douglas, and Cotchery, I think Damian Williams is too inconsistent to be trusted. For the Panthers, pretend this game didn’t happen. Newton and Smith will be back to their old selves next week against a Detroit defense that is burnable in the secondary and easy to run against between the tackles.
Mike Shanahan proved why players on his teams are ineligible for fantasy starts. I’m sure if he didn’t fear for his job, he would change starting quarterbacks and running backs every week, if not every series. I almost picked up Roy Helu this week, but conventional wisdom told me it was better to take a player with less upside than try to guess what is going on in the wacky world of Shanahan. For the Dolphins, I think Reggie Bush is legit. I don’t think he’ll get two touchdowns every game, but I do think this will be his most statistically impressive year yet. Maybe it’s the Pizza Hut.
In opposite fashion of Cam Newton, John Skelton put up crazy numbers in this game but is still underwhelming overall. I’m sure Skelton felt as if he had something to prove, fresh off his rare two-safeties-allowed performance last week. I believe this game would have garnered a lot more media attention had Kevin Kolb been able to give it a go, as the “versus his old team” bit always gets the crowd going. For the Eagles, they’re not close to mathematically eliminated, but I think their chances are pretty slim all the same. If the news regarding Michael Vick’s two broken ribs is accurate, however, Philly may be eliminated from contention sooner rather than later.
The Buccaneers, similar to the Eagles, are not mathematically removed from contention, but there is little hope of their making the playoffs. It’s been a bad year for their promising young franchise quarterback, but he has plenty of time to jump right back into the elite quarterback discussion next year. This year, however, Tampa Bay is a lost fantasy cause, a la the Browns and Rams. There may be some fantasy goodness yet to be squeezed, but looking elsewhere will probably yield higher rewards.
For the Texans, it’s time for another quarterback—whom most have no faith in—to step up. Matt Leinart will take the reins for the Texans the rest of the season, and I personally hope he does extremely well. Just as with Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, and Tim Tebow, I feel like we’re far too hard on Leinart and that he needs to be given a real chance to shine. I’m not saying he’ll be Kurt Warner, I’m just saying I’m probably picking him up in case he proves himself.
P.S. Andre Johnson will be back after the bye. The No. 1 RB and WR sure can make a good QB look great.
Most of the nation got their first look at the red hot San Francisco 49ers this weekend, and surely they were impressed. Even though Frank Gore didn’t really get it going on the ground, OSU alum Kendall Hunter did well enough to keep the Niners in for the win. Many, including yours truly, thought the Niners would be great last year under Singletary, but they proved to be miserable. Precious few had faith this year, yet San Francisco is likely to receive a first-week bye as they head into the playoffs. Let it be known, if the 49ers and Packers meet in the NFC Championship game, my money is on the super vindictive Aaron Rodgers throwing ten touchdowns just to stick it to the team that passed on him as the No. 1 overall pick.
For the Giants, I am all in. They are always overlooked in their division, and Eli Manning is the anti-Romo, in that his skill far surpasses his popularity. That isn’t to say the Romocoaster isn’t skilled, only that his fame exceeds his accomplishments. I’m starting Eli, I’m starting Hakeem, Mario, and Victor, and I’m starting whichever RB is first on the depth chart every Sunday from here on out.
Ravens – Seahawks
In an interesting turn of events, Ray Rice had a better passer rating in this game than Joe Flacco. Now, Rice only threw one pass for one yard but it was for a TD in a game where points were at a premium. Seattle is truly a tough place to play on the road and the Ravens have long been beatable when outside of Baltimore, so this isn’t a complete surprise. There is no shame in losing to the Seahawks at home. However, when you can only muster 17 points and 331 yards from scrimmage against them, there is no excuse. Start Rice every week and consider all else a matchup play as smart owners have been doing all season.
For the Seahawks, beware of anyone who is bad to mediocre for weeks then all of a sudden dominant. In a week full of flash-in-the-pan fantasy performances, I’m sure many will be picking up Sidney Rice and Marshawn Lynch this week. Here is my advice to you: don’t. Unless your waiver wire has been absolutely bled dry, there should be someone out there who can help your team more.
Bears – Lions
If yours truly had been asked during the preseason, “When the Bears and the Lions play, who will be the better quarterback?” I would’ve answered, “Matt Stafford if he’s healthy.” Cutler has made great strides this year and has really risen from the ashes of his infamy with a new public perception of courageousness and toughness. He didn’t put up any great stats and his completion percentage was below average but he also didn’t throw any picks and made sure his team didn’t blow the lead. If Cutler had been able to do that his whole career he’d be a heck of a lot better than hovering around .500.
For the Lions, don’t take this game to heart. Along with Cutler, the Bears D is really stepping up down the stretch. I’m still starting all of the regulars from this Lions team, but I’m probably also sitting some of the fringe starters like Titus Young and “Detroit RB” until further notice.
The Jets—and namely Mark Sanchez—gave the Patriots a gift on Sunday Night. This was, to me, a classic example of the Jets letting their emotions get the best of them. The Patriots are the Jabberwocky of Rex Ryan’s team, and the Jets are little more than a mosquito annoyingly nipping at the skin of the Patriots. The teams are equally talented and both are greatly coached, but the Patriots mean far too much to the Jets. As far as fantasy goes, I’m starting New England offensive stars if I’ve got them and I’m hanging onto Ochocinco for one week longer, as there was a little spark between him and Brady on Sunday night.
For the Jets, I’ve always felt that their offense is too conservative to be effective in fantasy. I think Holmes and Burress are both overrated in both ability and accomplishments, despite both having clutch grabs in Super Bowls of old. I’ve lost faith in Shonn Greene or Mark Sanchez ever becoming statistically dominant. If New York plays well against the Broncos on Thursday, I suggest selling high on any Jets you have.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On the Patriots lack of depth in the defensive secondary:
“Guess who made the tackle? Julian Edelman, the wide receiver, playing Troy Brown’s role now from days gone by. That’s how thin they are right now at corner, they don’t want to take any more chances with the corners they have left.”
If defensive players were clothing, the Patriots would be in their skivvies. If defensive players were food, the Patriots would be starving. If defensive players were money, the Patriots would be the national deficit. Ok, I’m sure you get the idea. They have no defense. They’re not just bad, they’re non-existent.
Carson Palmer, despite a couple more interceptions (he now has eight in three games), looked pretty good on Sunday. Personally, I don’t see Housh having a chance at staying on the field ahead of the tremendous athletes that the Raiders have behind him. It is my prediction that he will be relegated to a mentor role or be cut within the next few weeks, barring a crippling injury to an Oakland starter. For the Chargers, I am on a warpath trading for any Charger I can get on the cheap. Now that the bye is over and Rivers and V-Jax have both had their worst games of the season, it’s time for the Bolts to turn on.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of analysis here. As already established, not starting any Packer is done at your own risk; they’re as likely to score five touchdowns as most offenses are to score two. For the Vikings, they actually played far better than the final score showed. Christian Ponder is going to be a great sleeper quarterback next year with his running ability. As we’ve all seen with Tim Tebow, just a little bit of running ability adds up to big fantasy points. Ponder has Peterson behind him, so he won’t be the goal-line choice like Tebow, but his passing proficiency is far superior. Look for the NFC North to have four great quarterbacks next year.
P.S. Remember when all the great teams played in the AFC?
And that’s it! Week 10 is in the books. Next week, fantasy owners are going to have a rough time playing without their Saints, Steelers, and Texans. Look for Oakland, Buffalo, Miami, and Cincinnati players to be great bye-week fill-ins.
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