Yeah, we’re horrible, greedy, awful people around here. What of it?
Insatiable greed leads our musings and rantings and sometimes coherent thoughts on the 10 early games today (seriously, NFL, balance this out a bit), followed by optimism, and blatant man crush gushing.
Adrian Peterson was both great, and odd
Being disappointed with a 154-yard rushing day with two touchdowns (math that leads to 27 fantasy points) seems like it’s on par with being the kid who unwraps the yellow MegaMan on Christmas, but is disappointed because he didn’t also get the red and green MegaMen, and everyone knows that you need all three to make the ultra Mega-MegaMan. But we understand your sorrow, because it seems like Peterson should have and could have had done so much more.
In the first quarter of Minnesota’s win over Chicago, Peterson had 104 rushing yards, absurdity which included both of his touchdowns in that opening frame. It put him on pace for 416 yards, a mark which obviously would have shattered the NFL’s previous single-game rushing record that’s owned by, um, Adrian Peterson (296 yards). Only those who have an entire wardrobe of tin foil clothes expected him to maintain that pace, because he is a human, after all. He’s not a figure available for virtual manipulation for your leisure in a video game.
But what we then received still likely left many Peterson owners feeling confused despite his first-quarter Madden-like play that included a 51-yard run. In a game that was won by the Bears even though the final score was far closer than it should have been despite the early two-touchdown lead (21-14), Peterson only had 50 more rushing yards throughout the remaining three quarters. It was as if the Bears surmised that Christian Ponder’s ability to move an offense is on par with that of a quarterback Christmas elf (as opposed to an Easter elf, I guess), and they then focussed solely on Peterson.
The result was Peterson averaging only 2.7 yards per carry over the remaining three quarters, after establishing a pace of 8.6 in the first quarter. He had only 21 rushing yards in the second quarter, and then 29 yards in the second half.
So again, you look sort of like this kid if you merely entertain the thought of being disappointed with Peterson’s production today…
But dammit, Adrian, we wanted more. So what if you now have 1,600 rushing yards this year, and you’re on pace for 1,969 yards, and you could easily become one of just seven RBs in league history with over 2,000 yards, and you’re eying Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards. Just don’t play with us like that, brah.
And more running back insanity
Jamaal Charles disappointed — there’s that snotty word again — us too beyond the first quarter when he came one yard short of duplicating Peterson’s opening explosion, but at least he had the excuse of missing nearly a quarter with an injury (he finished with 165 yards and a touchdown).
Then there’s Alfred Morris, the rookie who continues to force defenders into the worst decision ever when the Redskins run the option, and they have to choose between collapsing on him, or protecting against Robert Griffin III bouncing to the outside. Morris finished with 122 yards and a touchdown, meaning that combined Peterson, Charles, and Morris had 65 fantasy points just on their rushing totals.
And that total excludes Ray Rice (121 yards and a touchdown), and Doug Martin (128 yards and a touchdown). In the 10 early games there were five running backs who eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground, a mark that eight RBs hit throughout all 16 games in Week 13. Or course, there were crushing disappointments too, but the running back studs were mostly stud-like as they remembered that it’s fantasy playoff time.
Straight cash homey.
The Eagles’ receivers aren’t bench fodder anymore
All hail Nick Foles.
There was a thought among many not so long ago that Foles would suck the will to exist from the Eagles wide receivers (remember what Charlie Batch did to the Steelers’ receivers? Yeah…), and render them useless throughout the remainder of the season. That was heightened when DeSean Jackson was lost for the year, making the fear of secondaries focusing on and shutting down Jeremy Maclin seem very real. Those fears grew even further due to Maclin’s production over the past three weeks (93 receiving yards, which includes a game with zero receptions).
And sure, today the entire Eagles offense was helped by a Tampa secondary that’s still the worst in the league, and it’s still the only unit giving up more than 300 passing yards per game. But whatever, we’ll take it, and maybe that mystical confidence thing we speak of so often could stick going forward, especially when the Eagles face the Redskins’ second worst pass defense in Week 16, which you know as fantasy championship week.
The result today was Maclin easily finishing with more receiving yards in one game (104 yards) than what he had totaled over the previous three weeks, and Foles had a season high 381 passing yards with two touchdowns while completing 62.7 percent of his passes. But the most intriguing development was Jason Avant and his 133 receiving yards, which included a 39-yard catch. Between Avant, Riley Cooper, and to a lesser extent Damaris Johnson, it was a dark dice roll while trying to guess who would emerge opposite Maclin in Jackson’s absence.
Avant now has 212 receiving yards over the last two weeks. So yeah, there’s your answer, and your waiver wire pickup this week.
Anquan Boldin is beginning to matter again
Similar to Avant and Foles et al, this is another case of a passing offense capitalizing on a cushy matchup, and perhaps building towards another blow up two weeks from now in another ideal matchup when it matters most. Today the Ravens’ aerial production came against the Redskins courtesy of DeAngelo Hall’s inability to tackle any moving object, and during fantasy championship week we could see a similar result against the Giants.
Boldin has always mattered, but his level of mattering has varied this year, and in most 10- or 12-team leagues he’s far from an automatic start even as a flex play. That happens when you go nine games without a touchdown as he did while having less than 50 receiving yards in five of those games. He epitomized the replacement-level receiver, and in fairness much of Boldin’s destiny was far removed from his hands. You’re not elite, Joe Flacco.
But now even if he falls into another valley next week against Denver while likely staring at Champ Bailey for much of the game, Boldin has given his owners a tough decision during that appealing matchup two weeks from now against the Giants secondary. Boldin was supplying a mediocre six fantasy points per game during that nine-game drought between his scores, but now after two of his three catches today resulted in touchdowns and he had 78 yards despite that minimal work (an average of 26 yards per catch), he has 27 points over the last two weeks.
I’ll use one of my rosters in a 10-team league as an example for the difficult decisions that lie ahead with both Boldin and Maclin, because I’m selfish like that. Today I had to choose two of Boldin, Maclin, and Miles Austin. With confidence in Foles still low seven hours ago, Maclin sat. That call sucked, and those two receives — Maclin and Boldin — could retain nearly identical value throughout the rest of the fantasy playoffs.
Good luck with that, he says to himself.
Cam Newton is forcing us to make a hard decision next August
Saying that Newton was wildly inconsistent to begin the 2012 season is an insult to things that are wildly inconsistent, like the weather, or your Saturday night sexy time batting average. All we have to do is look back at his fantasy point totals over the first five weeks:
- Week 1: 12
- Week 2: 25
- Week 3: 9
- Week 4: 30
- Week 5: 7
That led to some deep-rooted early anguish amongst those who had just spent a second-round pick or sometimes a first rounder on the Panthers QB, and it was yet another reminder that overspending on a quarterback is a very efficient way to lose. When we hand those numbers to the 100 Yards and Running calculator monkeys, they inform us that over the first five weeks Newton averaged 16.6 fantasy points per game. Not awful, not great, just…whatevs. It’s an averaged that’s in the same range as the overall weekly averages of Tony Romo, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton, all of whom were drafted significantly later than Newton (especially Palmer).
So that’s when we hated this man, and promised to never draft a quarterback early again. Now? Confusion, that’s what.
With his 287 passing yards and 116 rushing yards along with three total touchdowns (one of which came on a career long 72-yard run), Newton scored 36 fantasy points today during Carolina’s win over Atlanta, which will surely land him in the lead among quarterbacks once the proverbial dust hits the floor on Week 14 tomorrow night. That means over the past four weeks Newton has logged three games with more than 25 points (and two over 35) while averaging 29.8 points.
He’s also now thrown just two interceptions over his last six games compared to 11 touchdowns. I’ve still grown to despise the early-round QB strategy, but between Newton’s late-season production — and more importantly, consistent production — and the deep portion of the fantasy-football population who loves them some quarterbacks, you may be forced to use a late first-round pick on Newton next year if he keeps this up to close out the season.