We will remember this as the day when we were all convinced that the one constant on championship-winning fantasy teams this December will be a quarterback commonly known by two letters and a number.
Oh and also, we still hate you, Chan Gailey.
Onwards then, and to the fantasy rants, salivating, and head banging that resulted from a highly-entertaining slate of late afternoon Week 6 games.
Robert Griffin III is still pretty fast
Fairly or unfairly, Robert Griffin III will always be compared to Michael Vick due to the similar playing styles of the two quarterbacks. They’re both fast, athletic, and elusive, but they have one element that differentiates them from other mobile quarterbacks like, say, that Tebow character: a strong arm.
We focus on their legs, though, and it’s easy to understand why. In the open field with their unprecedented breakaway speed at the quarterback position, both Griffin and Vick look nearly the same.
A decade after Vick did this with his quick, pumping strides…
…Griffin did this today with his longer, bounding steps.
That run accounted for 76 of Griffin’s 138 rushing yards today during Washington’s win 38-26 win over Minnesota.. To continue with the trendy Vick comparison in terms of RG3′s sheer rushing ability, through his first six starts Vick had 366 rushing yards, while Griffin now has 379. That puts Griffin on pace to finish with 1,010 yards on the ground this year, which would fall just short of Vick’s best rushing season (his 1,039 yards in 2006).
Griffin is also easily on pace to shatter Cam Newton’s rookie quarterback rushing record that he set just last year (706), and his per game rushing average is nearly double the Carolina QB’s pace six games into the 2011 season (Griffin is at 63.2, while Newton’s pace was 34.5). Also, with his two touchdowns today the Redskins quarterback who’s quickly ascended to franchise face status now has six rushing scores through his first six starts, putting him in position to challenge Newton’s record of 14 rushing TDs.
So, um, yeah, the only fantasy advice here is to avoid all black cats and black ladders with little black cats painted on them, and a week after he sustained a scary concussion hope that Griffin doesn’t continue to get rocked, and take after Vick in another far more damaging way.
Brittleness. Lots of Brittleness.
Russell Wilson is showing more care and concern with a football in his hands
Forget his passing yardage today for a second, even though in a dramatic 24-23 win over the Patriots Wilson had 293 passing yards with three touchdowns, both easily personal highs in his young career. That’s impressive, and his 10.8 yards per pass attempt was even more impressive.
But it’s those numbers combined with another simple, round digit that has me thinking Wilson is clawing his way back to trustworthy QB2 status as we continue the frightening journey deep into the dark abyss of bye weeks. Wilson had 27 pass attempts — which is behind only his 34 in Week 1 — and he didn’t throw an interception. That comes after he had thrown five picks over his last two games, and following his very Tebowian passer rating of 45.8 two weeks ago during a loss to the Rams, the calls for Matt Flynn were growing louder.
Doug Baldwin lives
Somewhere out there in the vast wasteland of grasping fantasy owners who desire wide receiver depth, there will be a lust for Doug Baldwin based solely on his production today. And sure, he had a fine game with his 74 yards on just two catches, one of which was a 50 yarder, while the other 24 yards came on a touchdown reception. But unlike, say, Josh Gordon — the young Browns receiver who’s now strung together two games with a catch of 60 yards or more — we need more time to rebuild our trust in Baldwin instead of just leaping and chasing essentially one major play.
That play, of course, is his 50-yard catch, and that catch alone was only 10 yards less than Baldwin’s entire receiving yardage for the season prior to today. At this point, picking up Baldwin in any format is akin to adding Devery Henderson. It’s the saddest form of desperation, and likely later failure.
Buffalo’s backfield is still a mess
As is often the case in a committee situation, the value of two running backs who do different things well is being torpedoed in Buffalo. Thanks, crazy cray Chan Gailey.
We knew this was coming, I suppose, but it doesn’t make it suck any less. C.J. Spiller has far more burst, elusiveness, and top-end speed than Fred Jackson, all of which led to his 88 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown, and the arithmetic on that adds up to 7.3 YPC, which is pretty, pretty good. Spiller’s day was highlighted by a 33-yard run, and after missing a game due to a shoulder injury, that was already Spiller’s fourth run of 20 yards or more (he’s also had two +40-yard carries).
Remember Spiller’s 364 all-purpose yards while he was the unquestioned featured back with Jackson out for two games? Yeah, good times. Now while no one’s complaining about his 100 all-purpose yards today (he added 22 receiving yards on four catches) we’re left to wonder how much Spiller’s leaving on the field every week while he cedes carries to the aging, plodding Jackson who had 53 rushing yards at a far inferior yards per carry pace (just 3.3).
Spiller’s production today comes a week after he had only 24 rushing yards, showing that with the time share and his unpredictable workload, he’s at best a low-end RB2 most weeks, with the potential to be much, much more.
As advertised, William Powell is your man in Arizona’s backfield
For some reason when Ryan Williams went down, LaRod Stephens-Howling was more popular than Gronk at a body shot contest (which exist, surely), while William Powell was largely ignored. Evidence of this lies in the ownership of the two running backs in ESPN leagues, with Stephens-Howling at 23.7 percent, a number that jumped by, um, nearly 23.7 percent this week. Meanwhile, Powell is still at 0.3, despite the fact that Cardinals coaches weren’t shy about expressing their lack of belief in LSH as an every down back.
Oh, and Stephens-Howling just recovered from a hip injury. Yeah, that too.
The result of that seemingly willful ignorance was Stephens-Howling quickly losing his already loose title as the top running back in the Cards’ backfield during Arizona’s overtime loss to Buffalo when he had just 22 yards at a porous pace of two yards per carry. Powell was far more efficient, rushing for over three yards more per carry (5.3), and finishing with 70 yards overall.
Add Powell this week to make up for last week’s mistake.