We’re trendy, although we’re still not quite sure what a Gangnam Style is. However, we know our fantasy fashion, and the rises and falls of Week 3′s Sunday thus far.
Jamaal Charles? He’s looking like a huge hit this fall. Justin Blackmon? He’ll soon go the way of go-go boots and helicopter pants. Dammit, I miss you so much, MC Hammer. I miss your scent, and I miss your touch.
Oh, yeah. Early games were played, and there were story lines and such.
Jamaal Charles wants you to know that his knee is feeling alright
Last week Charles had only three yards on six carries. That alone was worrisome, although the concern about his production was secondary because his worst career yardage total came in a blowout loss to Buffalo. No, the real concern lied in the sight of Charles — who was playing in just his second regular-season game after tearing his ACL last year — riding a stationary bike on the Chiefs sideline instead of lining up in the backfield. Did he aggravate the injury? Would he live past Monday?
He only bruised his knee, and Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel quite wisely chose to keep his running back who’s just recovered from a serious knee injury out of the game as a precaution while he went through another recovery from this latest more minor injury.
He’s fine. Yep, all good, you guys, no worries at all. How do we know this? Because Charles shed both his injury and his platoon with Peyton Hillis, and ran for 233 yards today, including a 91-yard score. Unbelievably, that’s the second best game of his career after Charles had a 259-yard outing during the finale of the 2009 season.
That touchdown run which came only nine yards short of covering the whole field put Charles into the Chiefs’ record books, as he became the first player in franchise history to have multiple games with a run of 80 yards or more. But if it’s possible, there was another piece of personal history established by Charles during Kansas City’s win over the spiraling and now still winless Saints that could carry an even greater fantasy impact.
With the game going into overtime, Charles was called upon more often, leading to a career-high 33 carries, and 39 total touches when he added six receptions for 55 yards. That shows just how far his recovery has come in one year.
Hillis will still receive his slice of delicious punch and pie every week, but Charles has firmly proven that he can carry a heavy load, and excel while doing it.
The Lions’ new-found love for running is great for Leshoure, awful for Stafford, and awful for winning
The latter part of course applies to reality, and the miscommunication on an attempt to draw Tennessee offside in overtime that resulted in a 44-41 loss. Kicking a field goal to tie the game again and force the extra frame to continue would have been the simpler and far more logical decision.
In his first game, Mikel Leshoure started and he ran for 100 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. That would be considered progress if the Lions didn’t stray so far away from what they do well, and what they do often. They pass the ball, because they’re a passing team.
Leshoure’s volume of carries is behind only the workloads given to Charles and Maurice Jones-Drew so far this week. What’s even more interesting/odd is that between Leshoure and Joique Bell the Lions finished with 31 carries from running backs, after averaging only 22.2 carries per game last year (31st).
The result of that drastic shift is unsettling for Stafford owners. He passed for 278 yards, a week after he had just 230 yards. It all adds up to a pace that’s far below the 314.9 weekly average from last year when Stafford passed for over 5,000 yards.
T.Y. Hilton is your Ogletree of the week
Or maybe the Donnie Avery of the week is more appropriate. A week after Avery exploded for 111 receiving yards, his teammate T.Y. Hilton did even better with 113 yards and a touchdown, with the score coming on a 40-yard reception by the rookie.
That means several truths have now become self-evident:
- Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense can identify when a player is feeling a warming sensation in his hands, and feed him. Last week was Avery’s best game since 2008, and prior to today Hilton only had one reception for 15 yards over the first two weeks.
- Speed options will thrive on the other end of Luck’s arm, as this was his second straight game with a completion for 40 yards or more.
- Guys who are known only by their initials are slowly taking over the league.
Jason Witten has at least 32 end zone drops through three weeks
Yeah, I know that’s not correct. He’s dropped at least 52.
Witten is known as one of the most sure-handed players at his position, and now we’ve had two straight weeks in which his drops are a puzzling development. He was targeted six times today during Dallas’ win over Tampa Bay, two of which resulted in drops, and one of those drops came in the end zone during a game that was won by less than a touchdown (16-10).
Jerry Jones isn’t concerned, mostly because his primary concern during his remaining existence is to take every possible action to return to the days of glory holes. Oh, those glorious glory holes. Those were the days.
You, the Witten owner, should be quite concerned. Witten had two receptions for eight yards today, and although my medical knowledge is limited to knowing that moving once every six hours on Sundays isn’t healthy, I’m pretty sure the human anatomy is constructed in such a way that hands are located far away from the spleen.
Witten’s spleen injury was a very acceptable excuse following his equally awful Week 1 output (two receptions for 10 yards). But what’s his excuse now? After averaging 58.9 yards last year, Witten’s at a pace of just 25 per game this year.
Andrew Hawkins is still really fast
Fulfilling his destiny as the ideal waiver wire pickup for Greg Jennings or Brandon Lloyd owners, Hawkins’ 59-yard touchdown catch clinched a win for Cincinnati over Washington. It was his second straight game with a touchdown, and more importantly his second straight game with a +5o yard TD catch.
He’s quickly providing great WR3 value as the Bengals continue to utilize him in open space and have him act as a punt returner who receives passes, while also lining up him in the slot and asking him to do his best Wes Welker impression. He’s also boosting Andy Dalton’s value for those in two QB leagues or others who have the Cincy quarterback on their bench and intend to start using him with byes beginning next week.
Last year throughout the entire season Dalton had three completions of 50 yards or more, which is impressive enough for a rookie quarterback who was working with a rookie receiver (A.J. Green). This year through three games, he already has two.
Justin Blackmon is still a bitter disappointment
And the reason for that is because Gabbert.
Blaine Gabbert, of course, because if there was another guy named Gabbert playing quarterback for the Jaguars, there’s a far more serious problem in Jacksonville. However, if that guy exists and he’s a better Gabbert than this Gabbert, he’ll get a tryout at quarterback, god willing.
We’ll all remain enamored by a great finish to this afternoon’s Colts-Jaguars game. But here’s all that matters as far as Gabbert’s concerned (the quarterback, not the completely fabricated stranger who’s probably better than the real guy). The highlight of that super awesome finish was an 80-yard catch and run by Cecil Shorts that ended in the Colts’ end zone. The throw was nice, the catch was better, and the result was of the game-winning variety.
But those 80 yards on that one play represent over half of Gabbert’s total passing yardage on the day (155 yards) against a poor secondary, meaning throughout the rest of the game he had only 75 yards, and Blackmon was on the receiving end for seven of them.
Yes, a fifth overall pick now has just 31 receiving yards over his first three games. A.J. Green circa 2011 he ain’t, at least not while Gabbert is throwing him the ball.