To the James Jones owners out there: please stay safe while eating copious amounts of celebratory Oreos (what? Everyone does that, yes?)
To the Eli Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Josh Freeman owners: please keep your eyes open and your head up while eating copious amounts of Oreos as you walk through traffic.
Fantasy semi-final week has featured equal parts doom and gloom thus far. Come with me, and let’s cry both the happy and sad tears.
James Jones doesn’t score often, but when he does he scores all of the touchdowns
Too often we refer to wide receivers as being boom or bust options, and it’s the most uncreative label in fantasy football blogdom that’s used in reference to mid or low tier receivers. Eventually our lexicon will evolve, but for now this is the low-hanging fruit we’re sticking with.
But there’s something odd about James Jones, and his increased fantasy production this season that’s been fueled by the health problems of both Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings. You see, he’s not even worthy of the boom/bust label, as others like T.Y. Hilton and Torrey Smith so often are. Sticking with those two as examples, Smith has had as little as seven receiving yards in a game this year, and as much as 144.
But despite his uptick in targets, Jones’ receiving yardage has remained the definition of something else entirely: meh. That continued today when he had a fine but still very average day with his 60 yards on five catches, 31 of which came on one reception. So he was basically a replacement-level WR3 or flex then, right? Ummm, no.
Three of those five receptions were touchdowns, meaning that even with that mediocre yardage output he had 24 fantasy points, which is easily a season high (his previous high was 17). It’s a bit of a statistical oddity, as Jones still hasn’t had over 80 receiving yards in a game and he’s averaging a lowly 43.2 yards weekly. That already poor per game average has dipped even lower recently, as Jones has averaged 32 yards per game over the past five weeks, a stretch that includes a game without a catch.
Yet he’s still scored 12 touchdowns this year. That means with seven games still remaining in Week 15 he leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns, even though A.J. Green (who’s second with 11) has 34 more receptions. Not bad for a waiver wire claim earlier this year, and a Nelson/Jennings handcuff.
As usual, the 100 Yards and Running calculator monkeys are on duty today, and they’ve informed me that with his 51 catches, Jones is averaging a touchdown once every 4.3 receptions.
Also in statistical oddness…
Including his two today against the Redskins, Trent Richardson has now scored six touchdowns over Cleveland’s last four games. But it’s specifically his scoring production over the last two weeks that’s, well, odd.
During games against the ‘Skins and Chiefs he’s had either poor rushing yardage (his 28 yards today), or pretty blah yardage (his 42 last week). That’s a total of 70 yards over two weeks, yet he’s still scored four touchdowns. That means he’s averaged a very economical touchdown once every 17.5 yards. It’s all very Jerome Bettis-ian of him.
Reggie Bush wants Miami to know what they’re about to miss
Earlier this week Reggie Bush did what many of us do, especially in these late and fading days of 2012, a time when we’re supposed to begin wistfully looking back on the year that was (it’s been a looonnnngggg December…sorry). When Bush stared longingly into his abyss, he saw several things: Kim Kardashian’s ample bottom (when a man’s life has been touched by such a physical anomaly from a wicked vixen, it will never be forgotten), and a future in which he’s playing football somewhere that isn’t Miami.
He’s probably right, with the Dolphins using early-round picks on running backs Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller in back-to-back years. ‘Tis the natural cycle of NFL life, especially at a position where the career life expectancy is similar to that of a supermodel. At the first sign of skin sagging, both the running back and model are deemed expendable.
So with that lingering, of course Bush rushed for 104 yards against Jacksonville today. That included a 53-yard run, and that play alone represented more rushing yards than what Bush totaled in five games earlier this year. It also contributed to his five yards per carry average.
Yeah, the Jags’ run defense came into today ranked 31st, and they still suck huge time. But Bush has produced little against other putrid run defenses (21 yards against Tennessee, 59 yards against the Jets). He draws the Bills during fantasy championship week, making Bush a fine flex option again. Buffalo is giving up 134.5 rushing yards per game, and as of this writing Marshawn Lynch has posted 100 yards on them at halftime on just nine carries.
The other Reggie? Yeah, not so good
We’re aware that Johnathan Joseph a) has the most awkward spelling of “Jonathan” in the history of human naming, and b) he’s pretty good. So watching him limit Reggie Wayne severely this afternoon wasn’t exactly shocking stuff.
But still, the end result was far beyond limiting, as Wayne had only 14 yards on three catches. That’s just seven yards per catch for a receiver who was averaging 13 yards per reception prior to today, and it’s also a massive cliff fall from Wayne’s usual weekly output (93.8 yards per game).
Somewhere out there is a fantasy manager who’s now swimming in his own tears after starting both Wayne and either Josh Freeman or Eli Manning (see lamenting below). This is why you ensure that there’s a pie nearby during the fantasy playoffs. Everyone knows that pie heals all wounds quickly.
Especially warm apple pie.
Adrian Peterson is still a mythical beast creature
I feel the need to include Adrian Peterson’s continued brilliance in this here recap and rant post, because it’s mandated by blogger law. However, at this point the only words I have left to summarize Peterson’s supreme awesomeness after he had 119 rushing yards in just the first half today against the Rams are as follows in no particular order: wow! what? how? no way!
Remember when you drafted the guy who’s now only 293 yards away from Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record in like the third round because HIS KNEE IS MESS UP OH GAWD? Yeah, never again, guys. Never again will we spend the summer doubting a running back of Peterson’s caliber after a serious injury.
His 212 rushing yards today on 24 carries mark the fifth time this year his yards per carry has been over 6.0 in a game (8.8 today). His total yardage also included carries for 82 and 52 yards. The former was his touchdown run, and he’s now had a carry for 50 or more yards seven times. We are all witnesses, and even if he tears 14 limbs apart (surely he has 14 limbs too) Peterson is your unquestioned first overall pick in 2013.
Eli Manning gives us our latest reminder that drafting a quarterback early isn’t smart
Pey Pey’s little bro was often a mid-round pick this past August, taken somewhere in the same general very overrated neighborhood as Matt Ryan. It’s the kind of neighborhood that seems nice and unique at first aesthetically with its cool water fountain featuring a fish that’s eating a cat. But then your realize there’s a vicious pigeon problem, and they completely disregard our agreement.
Eli Manning’s afternoon against the Falcons began with an interception on his first pass attempt. It was a sign of the coming doom, as Manning completed only 52 percent of his 25 pass attempts during the Giants’ 34-0 choke job, the first time they’ve been shutout during the regular season in 16 years. It was the fifth game this year in which Manning’s completed less than 55 percent of his passes, and more importantly in leagues where interceptions lead to negative points (which is most leagues) he produced a partifularly horrific fantasy line during the second most important week of the year.
It’s not an overstatement to say that Manning may have lost a few thousand fantasy matchups, with his performance leading to two fantasy points. Yes, two. As in only two more than zero.
So often we remember the booms, and the hot stretches. Prior to today manning had strung together three very productive games, with over 15 fantasy points in all three, and a total of 56. He fed us hope, and we ate it gleefully.
Here’s a broader truth, and one that should lead to Manning’s draft value tumbling as the season closes. He’s now logged four games with five or fewer fantasy points. That’s a quarter of a season, and even more for fantasy purposes, with the regular seasons in most leagues ending in Week 13. This man is the devil.
Josh Freeman also hates you
You could have easily justified a Josh Freeman start this week, and surely many of you did. The logic was rather simple: Freeman was facing a New Orleans defense that’s still the worst in the most literal sense, as they’re ranked last against the rush, and 30th against the pass.
So of course Freeeman was then just awful in every conceivable way. He completed 55.3 percent of his pass attempts during the Saints’ 41-0 face punching, the ninth time this year he’s failed to convert at least 60 percent. But the damage came primarily through his four interceptions, a remarkable and jarring total after Freeman had thrown only four picks over his last nine games following Tampa’s Week 5 bye.
Three fantasy points. Three.
Go to hell, Josh Freeman.