Feel that? It’s regret. Mournful regret.
How could you do us like this, Robert Griffin III? Oh yeah, your leg almost snapped in like eight pieces two weeks ago.
Still man, couldn’t you just, I dunno, run more so that we could all win fake championships and not endure a holiday season of ribbing from grandma Beatrice? What, you’ve never lost a fantasy championship to a grandmother before? Sit down, son, and let me tell you about the roads I’ve traveled.
Actually, that’s a story for another day. For now, on with the RG3 lamenting after a very blah afternoon that we should have seen coming.
Sitting RG3 wasn’t possible
But yeah, starting him sort of sucked. He wasn’t awful. He was just, well, meh.
Of course, Redskins fans care very little about that after the hobbled quarterback led their team to within one win of its first NFC East title in 13 years. They think we’re all self-obsessed nerd kids for even trying to quantify Griffin’s performance using some kind of narrow fantasy frame. Guilty.
Griffin’s owners needed more. A lot more, and in hindsight I’ll confess to a slightly missed call on this one, as while like others I assumed we wouldn’t see the complete Griffin today with his elusiveness and mobility and whatnot, I didn’t anticipate his legs being non-existent aside from rollouts and some pocket shuffling to avoid the rush. The read-option offense which leads to much of Griffin’s rushing yards was almost entirely scuttled, resulting in his lowest rushing total of the season. A quarterback who was averaging 57.5 rushing yards per game prior to today — a number that peaked this season at 138 yards back in Week 6 — had just four yards on two rushing attempts during Washington’s win over Philadelphia.
Even when it became apparent that Griffin would be healthy and active today, his level of mobility was still a primary concern. We were reassured by reports that he had gone “full out” in practice, but immediately we saw that when he tried to ramp up to his extra gear, there was resistance and hesitation, and he couldn’t reach the corner.
Of Griffin’s 275 fantasy points before today, 40 percent of them had come on the ground through either rushing yards or touchdowns. That’s why the fear about his possible limitations was so strong, as if he’s a more ordinary pocket passer, Griffin tumbles to become a merely good, and far from great fantasy quarterback. Specifically, the result today was 13 fantasy points, significantly lower than his 19.6 per game average.
You’re the awesome-est, Jason Witten
In a year when there was much angst at the tight end position between Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez missing significant time, and then Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, and Antonio Gates just simply missing, Jason Witten remains one of the few stalwarts, a status he further cemented today.
Witten caught six passes during the Cowboys’ loss to New Orleans that sets up a showdown with the Redskins next week for the NFC East. His season reception total increased to 103, setting a new single-season record for catches among tight ends.
He rules the point-per-reception league kingdom at tight end, and with Tony Gonzalez retiring Witten should be the third tight end off the board in PPR formats after Gronk and Jimmy Graham. Often this year his target volume has been simply absurd, as he’s recorded games with 15, 22, and 14 targets.
But the problem with Witten in standard leagues is his lack of scoring. He’ll enter Week 17 with just two touchdowns this year, which means that barring a season-finale explosion Witten will record a somewhat uncharacteristic season with minimal scoring. Over the past two years he’s scored 14 times.
That’s what separates Witten from the top tier fantasy options at his position. Despite missing his fifth game of the season this week and likely a sixth next week, Gronkowski will still finish with at least 10 TDs. His teammate Hernandez will have similar high-end scoring production, as he has five touchdowns even though he’s missed six games.
Jamaal Charles ends the fantasy season by reminding us that he’s wildly unpredictable
In a good way, of course, but it was still a little maddening.
Charles had another rather inviting matchup today against a Colts front seven that couldn’t stop a rushing barrage led by the finest crusaders from the Island of Misfit toys (indeed, who wants a Charlie in the box, and a cowboy who rides an ostrich is a cowboy who is not a friend of mine). The Colts entered today ranked 24th against the run while allowing 134.7 yards on the ground per game.
So yeah, his 226 rushing yards rushing yards today with an 86-yard touchdown — incredibly, it was his second +220 yard game of the season, and his third +80 yard run — is no biggie, right? No, of course it is. That kind of production and torching is stud-like regardless of the opponent. But it is a little confusing, mostly because of the men who are paid to determine how often Charles gets to touch a football every game.
A week ago against the Raiders and their equally horrendous run defense, Charles received only nine carries (he had 22 today), and the result was predictably meager as he finished with just 10 rushing yards. It wasn’t a blowout either, as Oakland won 15-0.
While it’s true that Charles has been mostly elite this season while recording seven games with at least 100 rushing yards despite recovering from a torn ACL last year, his highs and lows represent far more than just the standard string of booms followed by a bust or two from a player of his caliber. Next summer when you’re drafting you’ll remember the Charles we saw today, and the Charles who has 886 yards from scrimmage over his last seven games. And so you should, because that’s the Charles you’re buying.
But you’ll forget his 40 yards during a three-game stretch between weeks six and nine. That’s a fall from an average of 126.6 yards per game when Charles is at his peak and being used at the proper level by the Chiefs’ coaching staff, to 13.3 at his lowest point.
Enjoy unemployment, Romeo Crennel.
Reggie Bush won a lot of fantasy championships today
We get it, Reggie. You had a great opportunity against a particularly squishy run defense. Never change, Bills. Never change.
But even with that cushy gig today, and even with the Bills still struggling to stay respectful while likely winning enough to yet again have a decent but still only sort of OK first-round pick next April (mediocre is the new inefficiency), we couldn’t have possibly predicted an explosion of this magnitude from the man who once did push ups with societies problems on his back.
The reason for that is simple. Prior to today on 243 touches this year Bush had five touchdowns. Today on 23 touches he scored three times, leading to 28 fantasy points, his best total since Week 2. During that stretch of 12 games, Bush had single-digit fantasy points eight times.
Timing is still important. You know this if you’ve ever tried to start a slow clap.
The day the quarterbacks did a lot of wonderfully terrific things
It you take just a casual glance through the statistical leaders at quarterback following the early games and the Saturday night game, you’ll notice something: a lot of large numbers.
Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, and Tony Romo each had more than 400 yards through the air, totaling a combined 1,305 yards. Yep.
Then there’s Aaron Rodgers, who had 32 fantasy points while recording four touchdowns (three passing, one running). Just a quick note to remind you that if your otherwise flawless season is burning right now, in most cases that stud early-round quarterback isn’t to blame, unless his name is Tom Brady.
Oh, and a quick aside related to Rodgers and his Packers, and the Kansas City Chiehahahahaha…
The Chiefs had 507 yards, scored 13 points. The Packers had 460, scored 55.
— BobKravitz (@bkravitz) December 24, 2012
I shouldn’t say I told you so…
But you know what? Atoadaso.
I usually go to great lengths to avoid being a pompous, self-indulgent jerk, an effort which by all accounts is often only moderately successful. It’s the final week of the fantasy season, though, and if I’m going to be reminded of my colossal whiffs this year, at least allow me a brief moment to bask in the glory of having thrown a dart through thick blackness, and then watching as it hits the intended target.
Earlier today I recommended Ryan Grant and Chad Henne as reaching flex plays. Grant then had 114 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns (25 fantasy points), while Henne finished with 348 passing yards, a passing touchdown, and 22 rushing yards. Yeah, he also threw three picks because he’s Chad Henne, but so what? His final totals still led to 13 fantasy points, just one point behind Brady.