Despite his status as the most golden of all the golden boy quarterbacks in recent memory, there was good reason for Andrew Luck’s draft stock to be at a lower, and more safe level as we all assembled our teams late this past summer. He doesn’t have the dynamic rushing ability of Robert Griffin III, and at the time before the injury problems of Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis, it didn’t look like he had nearly the same support and weaponry either. Luck was set to chuck to an aging Reggie Wayne, two rookie tight ends, an injury mess in Donnie Avery, and another looming rookie question mark in T.Y. Hilton.
So we waited on Luck, and waited some more. Now that decision is looking, well, unwise.
Andrew Luck doesn’t understand why you drafted him so late
I do, and most do. But he doesn’t. He’s hurt, and alone.
Actually, we’re sure he doesn’t care even a little bit. But Luck’s historical performance today against the Dolphins when he broke Cam Newton’s single-game rookie passing record — you know, the one set last year (this passing era stuff is for real, ya’ll) — throwing for 433 yards and two touchdowns has made for a fun game of hindsight. And by fun, I mean awful, because no one has ever been entertained by hindsight. Example: in hindsight I shouldn’t have ate those nine egg rolls that came in a box, etc.
Since we’ve now rounded the turn with every team officially at the halfway point of its season by the end of this week, I’ve been looking back at the August ADP’s often (average draft position), an exercise and nerd-guy thing that will likely inspire a post sometime this week. It’s a form of self torture, really, especially as it pertains to Luck.
The ADPs in different fantasy hosting sites will vary, as they always do, but one that’s particularly fun is ESPN’s. That’s where Luck topped out at 126th overall, a pick which now comes with great value since even prior to today’s insanity Luck’s 115 overall fantasy points put him within reach of Eli Manning (120), and Matthew Stafford (126), and he was selected nine or 10 rounds later than both.
What’s also fun about Luck’s ADP among those many, many ESPN league drafters (*points at self, puts pillow to face*) is that on average he was only one pick ahead of Mark Sanchez. Wait for it, though, because here’s the real comedy.
Andrew Luck was selected only 12 picks ahead of Tim Tebow.
Also still making us look dumb: Peyton Manning
Yes, Manning threw two interceptions today, one of which came in a very un-Manning way deep in the red zone. But after we learned earlier this week that Pey Pey seems to remember how to throw a deep ball, Manning also threw three touchdowns, and finished with 295 passing yards while completing 27 of his 35 attempts during Denver’s win over Cincinnati.
So here’s the pace then for a quarterback who was still drafted highly, but could have been valued much higher had it not been for concerns about his neck injury, and the unique recovery it entails. At the halfway point of his season Manning is on pace to finish with 40 TDs to just 12 INTs, and he’s averaging 300.5 yards per game.
Not bad for a guy who couldn’t throw to his right last spring.
Chris Johnson is a big fat phoney
I get it. Every yard and every touchdown counts no matter how it comes, ditto for every fantasy point. But this time, Chris Johnson has gone too far.
I’ve repeatedly lamented how maddening Johnson has been this year, although this week the feeling is more relief than frustration, and confusion than anger. But what will make both myself and every other fantasy writer out there who projected him to be the suckiest suck this week reach for several bottles simultaneously is when the denizens of the Internet who didn’t watch the Titans-Bears catastrophe or even bother to see the highlights claim that Johnson tore apart that strong Bears run D, man.
These creatures are alive out there, so watch yourselves, but they only exist in boxscores. They’ll read the numbers next to Johnson’s name, and see his 141 rushing yards and a touchdown against a defense that sported the only front seven in the league allowing less than 80 yards per game prior to today. And they’ll laugh uproariously, because they’re crazy, crazy people.
What they won’t see is that 80 of those 141 yards came on one run deep in garbage time, and it was made possible by a horrid misplay from Bears safety Major Wright, who was the last line of defense in the second level and he completely whiffed on the angle. That means 56 percent of Johnson’s yardage for the day came on one fluke run. This will become ammunition for the non-fantasy crowd, with the aforementioned boxscore critters using Johnson’s fantasy production to claim he had a good game.
And he did have a good game. A good fantasy game, and a pretty horrible reality game.
But hey, I’m not bitter that my recommendation to bench Johnson was destroyed by his single run that will forever distort this game. Nope.
Blaine Gabbert is hurtful
Moving on to another early game that was over shortly after it started, we were reminded again that while Blaine Gabbert has indeed shown progress and signs that he’s truly, honestly developing, he’s still often wildly inconsistent. At this point, such a statement is usually greeted with a shrug and a grunt. Gabbert’s isn’t Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck or even Ryan Tannehill, and he may never be on their level. He has upside and potential, but right now he’s a throwback, and not in a good way. Instead, in a very realistic way.
He’s developing like a young quarterback in an awful, horrible situation should develop: slowly. Sure, fine, whatever. No one is starting Gabbert ever, but what’s discouraging is the impact his inconsistencies have on those around him, and their fantasy value.
The Jaguars can’t sustain a rushing attack simply because they’re behind so often and so quickly. The result today when at one point he completed only four of his first 10 pass attempts against the Lions was consistently good field position for the opposition, stalled drives, and little possession, with Detroit strangling the clock. Of the Jags’ five first-half drives, three of them ended in three and outs, which contributed to a 21-0 first-half hole.
Those who sought the waiver wire to pick up Rashad Jennings a few weeks ago when Maurice Jones-Drew went down now possess a running back whose value is limited not because of his talent, but instead because of his offense’s ineffectiveness. Jennings received a very moderate 12 carries that he turned into 45 yards as part of a highly unbalanced offense due to the scoreboard that forced a struggling quarterback to throw 38 times, while only 17 designed runs were attempted.
Please drop Jermichael Finley
There’s some kind of psychological/sociological experiment going on right now with Jermichael Finley. For some reason — presumably because he wears a Packers jersey, and he cab therefore receive passes from Aaron Rodgers — he’s still nearly universally owned. Finley has fake employment in 83 percent of ESPN leagues, and 85 percent of Yahoo leagues. Which leads to a simple question: why?
We’ve already discussed those boxscore creatures during my Chris Johnson rant. Those same number dwellers surely looked at the final score of the Packers-Cardinals game, and assumed Finley would have at least done something. Anything really, because the Packers contributed to the handful of afternoon face punchings by beating the Cards 31-17.
Nope, he didn’t. Finley was barely seen, making only one catch for six yards. This came in a game when Rodgers threw four touchdowns, one of which was a 72 yarder to Tom Crabtree. Tom Crabtree plays tight end too, and on the year Tom Crabtree only had 111 receiving yards prior to today.
We’re going to assume this was a fluke, and a very random, sporadic target for Crabtree, who’s almost strictly a blocking tight end. But the fact that a player at Finley’s position who had caught only five passes through eight games had 72 yards to his six further illustrates how little Finley has mattered in the Packers’ offense during a time when assuming his targets would go up with both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson out felt like a pretty reasonable use of logic.
Instead, Finley now has 73 receiving yards over his last four games, and he hasn’t scored since Week 1. Yeah, you read that right. Crabtree nearly equaled that yardage on one catch.
So I’ll ask again, just this time using loud letters: WHY DO YOU OWN JERMICHAEL FINLEY?
If there’s any justice in this world his ownership will plummet to the fiery depths of hell this week with the Packers’ on their bye, and soon-to-be former owners realizing that Finley is wasting a roster spot. He’s the epitome of replacement level — and perhaps below it — with, say, Oakland’s Brandon Myers and his 94 percent availability and 54.7 yards per game to Finley’s 30 showing how irrelevant the Packers’ former top tier tight end has become.