Overall, the sixth Sunday of the 2013 NFL season was odd. How odd, exactly? Let us count the ways.
1. Odd enough that Thad Lewis threw just as many touchdown passes as Peyton Manning, and one less interception.
2. Odd enough that Riley Cooper had 120 receiving yards on four catches, and he entered this week with only 93 yards over five games.
3. Odd enough that on an end-around, Travis Benjamin had more rushing yards (45) on one carry than Ray Rice had on 14 (34). It was Rice’s fourth game with less than 40 rushing yards.
4. Odd enough that Terrelle Pryor was sacked 10 times by the Kansas City Chiefs during their 24-7 win. That put the Chiefs two short of tying the all-time single-game team record. Before yesterday Pryor had been sacked 11 times over his four starts.
5. Odd enough that Nick Foles had a significantly higher passer rating (133.3) than Tom Brady (74.7). And in that wonderfully zany 30-27 Patriots-Saints game in which Brady threw a beautiful 17-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Kenbrell Tompkins with five seconds remaining shortly after he had thrown what was assumed to be a wobbly game-ending interception, the Patriots quarterback tied Fran Tarkenton for fourth all-time in career touchdown passes (342).
6. Odd enough that as of the 2:16 mark of the fourth quarter when Brady heaved that dying duck interception and a field goal followed, the Saints were pretty much guaranteed a win, and held a 96 percent win probability.
Let it all out, Rob.
Just try not to look at that blatant holding call whiff a nano second before the game-winning throw. That won’t make it better.
7. Odd enough that before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury, Jimmy Graham was held without a catch by Aqib Talib (who also left with an injury of his own). Graham’s had two 10-catch games this year while averaging 7.4 receptions per week prior to Sunday. It was the first time he was held without a catch since his rookie year in 2010, when he was learning how to play football and still making the transition from basketball.
8. Odd enough that that this happened…
Of the top 10 fantasy QBs this week, only three are owned in more than 80 percent of http://t.co/yMM6MfCxbK leagues.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 13, 2013
9. And odd enough that, somehow, unicorns and show ponies facilitated the winning of a football game.
But oh, there’s more. So much more.
Fun with numbers
- Arian Foster became the fourth undrafted player to reach 5,000 career rushing yards.
- Robert Griffin III threw his fifth interception during Washington’s loss to Dallas. Already with the Redskins’ through only five games he’s matched his interception total from his rookie year, and it took him 393 pass attempts to get there. This year, he’s only attempted 204 passes.
- Jamaal Charles had his sixth straight game with over 100 yards from scrimmage during the Chiefs’ win over Oakland.
- Oh and about them Chiefs: they already have more sacks this season (31), than they did all of last year (27).
- Elsewhere in running back dominance: LeSean McCoy had 171 total yards on 31 touches, and he’s now on pace for 2,322 yards this season.
- Rice was stuffed three straight times from the one-yard line in the Ravens’ 19-17 loss to Green Bay. There’s no fancy stat here, just stunned silence. After a year when he averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 71.4 per game, those numbers are now down dramatically to 2.7 per carry and 37.8 per game, which is maddening to those (*points at self, cries*) who burned an early-round pick on the diminutive running back.
- The Ravens punted nine times today. This is the part when you remember that the Broncos have punted 18 times…all season.
- Including interception and fumble return scores today, the Texans have now given up seven touchdowns when their defense is on the sideline. Every touchdown allowed sucks, but when you pay guys like J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing to hurt people and they’re often watching helplessly, that’s a special kind of pain.
- There was a fourth and 48 during the Chiefs-Raiders game. No seriously, that was really a thing, and it came courtesy of the Raiders, going down like this: 10-yard holding penalty, loss of 12 yards on a sack, five-yard delay of game penalty, and a loss of 11 yards on a sack. All of that comedy added up to a distance required for a first down which was longer than the default for NFL Blitz.
- With his first quarter touchdown pass to Julius Thomas during a game the Broncos somehow didn’t win by at least 98 points (it was a 35-19 final, meaning the Jags covered and Vegas wins again), Peyton Manning passed Dan Marino for the second most career games with a pass that ended in six points (204).
- But in an odd and deeply confusing game that also featured Manning’s second interception this year on 240 attempts (a pretty OK pace of a pick once every 120 throws), Manning lost two fumbles in a game for the first time in his career.
- Although the fantasy performances in that game from Broncos players not named Knowshon Moreno may have lacked (more Moreno salivating below), Manning’s quest to rewrite every NFL history book that’s ever existed took on a unique turn. The Broncos are now one of only three teams in league history to accumulate at least 400 yards of offense in each of their first six games.
- For those who have given him fake team employment, Russell Wilson running over and over again and then running some more is a wonderful thing. But in reality, he may slowly be turning into a quarterback who reads the field once quickly and then runs, and he craves simplicity. That’s not good, and after 10 attempts today (which he turned into 61 yards) during a win over the Titans, Wilson is now on pace for 133 rush attempts this year after 94 in his rookie season.
You’re the worst (some) Texans fans
Firstly, the smattering — yet still quite audible — of Texans fans who cheered when their own player was clutching his ankle are lower than scum. Please remember that football is a diversion which distracts you from the mundane nothingness you may be returning this morning. It’s a game, and it’s entertainment. Nothing more.
Secondly, it’s endlessly entertaining when starting Quarterback X is said to be the worst passer and/or person on earth and he therefore needs to be bench post haste, yet Fanbase Y completely disregards the guy behind him, and his shared lack of competence. For the Texans, that guy is T.J. Yates, who was pretty OK two years ago while taking over for an injured Schaub and the Texans won three of their six games with him as the starter, and then beat Cincinnati on Wild Card Weekend.
But he is, quite literally in this case, little more than a replacement level quarterback, which is why two of Yates’ first 10 pass attempts ended in the hands of the other team (that’s bad), one of which was returned 98 yards by Alec Ogletree for a touchdown.
Schaub isn’t the future in Houston, but Yates isn’t either. This should have been mind-numbingly obvious to all who watch football in Houston. The quarterback of the future isn’t on the Texans’ roster yet.
Predictably, Texans players called out their own fans — or those who meet the loosest possible definition of that word — for their disgusting scumbag conduct.
Cushing calls fans reaction to Schaub ‘barbaric’ #Texans
— Will Grubb (@WillGrubbRadio) October 13, 2013
Johnathan Joseph on cheering Schaub injury: “They gonna do that, don’t show the f*ck up” #Texans
— Paul Gallant (@PaulyGRadio) October 13, 2013
Oh and hey look, Yates’ pick six extended the Texans’ streak with a befuddling errant throw to six. The overall single-season record for interceptions returned for a touchdown is eight, set by the 2004 Dolphins. Almost there, you guys.
And thus we arrive at the weekly portion of our program in which we run down the various top fantasy performers, followed shortly after by the surprises.
Eddie Lacy returns with anger
Eddie Lacy had 47 yards on just his first two carries against the Ravens. Due to both an early platoon and mostly his injury which led to a two-game absence, Lacy was averaging only 50 rushing yards per game prior to Sunday. He nearly matched that on just one carry, a 37-yarder, which was also the longest run of the season given up by a Ravens defense that was allowing only 89.9 yards on the ground per game, and their previous long only went for 16 yards.
In the first quarter alone Lacy had already compiled 57 yards and 6.2 total fantasy points. He finished with 120 yards on 23 carries.
The Texans sucked, but Arian Foster didn’t
Let’s try to ignore the result of a laughably horrible game (a 38-13 St. Louis win for the record, the Texans’ fourth straight loss and they’re now been outscored 72-16 over the last two weeks), because it’s better that way. Foster didn’t get sucked into the vortex of awful the Texans have become, as in just the first half he recorded 144 total yards. He then finished with 201 yards, 141 of which came on the ground at a pace of 7.1 per carry, while much of the rest came on a 41-yard catch and run.
Foster is quickly justifying the reward end of the supreme risk/rewards proposition he was as a first-round fantasy pick. There was panic early, partly because that’s a default state, but mostly because as he was eased in following several offseason injuries and a massive workload last year, Foster was maddening with only 28 total fantasy points over the first three weeks.
But now it’s a lot of fun to breathe normally again, and look at his six week split:
- Total rushing yards over the first three weeks: 190
- Total rushing yards over the last three weeks: 343
Obligatory weekly Josh Gordon is awesome note
I really don’t think it matters who throws Josh Gordon the ball, as long as the thrower of the football has a strong arm to get it deep, and is competent enough to not get sacked and intercepted repeatedly. Brandon Weeden maybe, probably doesn’t fit the latter description (two more picks today in a loss to Detroit), but…meh.
With 126 more yards today on seven catches, Gordon now has a reception for 30 yards or more in each of the four games since his return from suspension, and he’s now averaging 17.2 yards per catch.
Giovani Bernard can make you look pretty foolish
I’ll just let our boy Gio explain this one on his own…
Bernard, who’s still splitting time with Benjarvus Green-Ellis because Marvin Lewis hates you, finished with 100 total yards and that touchdown on 21 touches.
(thanks for the moving picture, The Big Lead)
The good Cam Newton kindly made an appearance today
It’s difficult to know which version of the Cam Newton robot will appear each week, which is problematic for those of you who invested highly (and in my opinion, foolishly) in the Panthers quarterback. The puzzling juxtaposition between Newton the good and Newton the bad is glaring over the past two weeks.
Consider: this week in a game when Newton threw three touchdown passes (he ran for a fourth touchdown) while completing 76.9 percent of his passes for 242 in a win over Minnesota, he had a passer rating of 143.4, a career single-game high. That’s nearly 100 points higher than his rating of 47.8 last week.
The Newton roller coaster is a lot of fun on days like today when the teddy bear you take home from the carnival is worth 30 fantasy points, a similar output to his 28 points during the Panthers’ Week 3 beat down of the Giants. It wasn’t nearly as much fun in the other three games, when Newton had a combined 35 points, including a low of seven.
Justin Blackmon loves garbage
The garbage time Superman cometh again. The correlation between the Jaguars losing by a ton and passing a ton isn’t hard to find (herp they need to get points quickly with the clock running out so they pass, derp). Still, even knowing that when you look only at the scoreboard and see a blowout or at least a sizable win, the instinctive assumption is that there were few fantasy survivors on the losing side.
The Jaguars have lost by at least two touchdowns in each of Justin Blackmon’s two games following his suspension, and in those games he now has 326 receiving yards, highlighted by 14 catches today on a mountainous 20 targets.
Vernon Davis is Colin Kaepernick’s bestest friend
I remember a time not so long ago when — during those lazy days of spring when darkness rolls over the NFL calendar — when we were deeply concerned about Vernon Davis. The chemistry between Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick had led to Davis’ fade throughout the latter half of 2012 when he caught only six passes over the season’s final six weeks. Worries faded a bit when he put together two 100-yard games during the playoffs, but between Crabtree’s presence, the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, and the growth of San Francisco’s running game, we wondered if he’d descend into the great tight end pasture in the land beyond.
Then Crabtree went down, and so did Quinton Patton recently too. The result has been renewed chemistry, which today led to a career single-game high of 180 receiving yards in a win over Arizona, which is just the latest in a recent run of climbing digits for Davis. It was his second game with a +60 yard reception, and his second straight week averaging over 20 yards per catch, showing that yes, he can still pull off the wide receiver imitation quite well.
And after scoring twice today, Davis has four touchdowns over the past three weeks and six overall, already exceeding his 2012 total (five).
Knowshon Moreno might not suck after all
Maybe, as always, Knowshon Moreno was propped up by an offense spoiled with gold riches that routinely puts him in position to score. Or Maybe he does, in fact, not really suck as LeSean McCoy so adamantly believes.
Knowshon sucks RT @RealSkipBayless: Peyton is doing what Peyton always does. But Knowshon is KILLING the Cowboys.
— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) October 6, 2013
Whatever. Fantasy owners who paid comparatively little for Moreno in August are now really enjoying a running back who once seemed buried in the Denver backfield. Moreno scored three times today, and finished with 105 total yards on 22 touches, which adds up to 28 fantasy points. He’s now averaging 5.6 yards per touch.
KILL IT WITH FIRE!
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) October 14, 2013
Where did you come from?
Joe Fauria prefers to catch touchdown passes
With three more touchdowns today, Lions tight end Joe Fauria has now caught just seven passes overall, but he’s finished in the end zone on five of them. Efficiency, kids. Learn it.
Thad was rad
His foot injury has brought the plague of Matt Flynn to Buffalo (more below on that), but before he was hobbled Thad Lewis’ 216 passing yards with two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown gave him 21 fantasy points, and he did it against the Bengals’ eighth-ranked defense. Yes, we live in a world where Thad Lewis had more fantasy points during a Sunday of football than Peyton Manning (13).
No dap for you, Tom
We’ve all been there, Tom. Sometimes, it just isn’t the right time for some flesh sliding or knuckle dap, just like it can often be the wrong time to start a slow clap.
(Thanks, Eye on Football)
Oh man, there was a lot of busting and breaking in Week 7, and much of it has horrible fantasy implications. Take some puke pills, and read on.
- The first Packers wide receiver to crumble was James Jones, who left early with what looked to be a serious knee injury at the time. But the ice pack was instead on his shin, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Jones believes a bullet has been dodged. Still, this will be monitored all week, and look for Jones to either sit out practice or be limited. If that happens, a Week 7 game time-decision is forthcoming (hate you).
- But it gets worse. The slashing and nimble Randall Cobb was crunched too, taking a helmet directly to his knee. Cobb later returned to the sideline, but in the worst way possible: on crutches. The splendid news, per Jay Glazer, is that Cobb’s injury isn’t of the season-ending variety. But forgive me for not being overly optimistic after seeing him gimping around on the sideline. We’ll know more tomorrow after an MRI, but brace for a lengthy absence. If you’re in a deeper league and you become desperate enough to work down the Packers’ depth chart to replace Cobb, Jarrett Boykin is the add, though he’ll carry little value if Jones remains healthy.
- DeMarco Murray was having a fine game during the Sunday nighter, with 50 total yards on seven carries and two catches with a touchdown in just the first half. So because he’s DeMarco Murray, of course he then suffered a knee injury, and was out for the entire second half (it was later diagnosed as an MCL sprain, and he’ll likely miss time). Joseph Randle is the next man up, and the automatic waiver claim.
- It didn’t stop there for the Cowboys, as defensive end DeMarcus Ware also left with a quad injury. Life became far easier for a much healthier Robert Griffin III, who ran the read-option more fluidly while running for 77 yards.
- The Jets fear Mike Goodson‘s season is over after he tore his ACL. Goodson had just returned from a four-game suspension, adding depth — and a fantasy flex option — to the Jets’ backfield. Immediately that could be gone now, shifting the load back to Bilal Powell, with the brittle Chris Ivory still approached with caution.
- Little is known about the severity of Matt Schaub‘s leg injury right now, but he twisted in a way that goes against a leg’s intended designed after a Chris Long sack. The Texans will likely use his injury as the soft way out while making a change at quarterback, because making a change feels right. Again, Schaub has sucked a lot and deserves to be replaced, but Yates is worse. Head coaches make changes of this nature so that at the end of the year they can say “SEE, it wasn’t me! All the quarterbacks sucked.”
- Thad Lewis suffered a foot injury late in the Bills’ gut punch loss to Cincinnati, and although his X-rays were negative, he still has dense woods to traverse yet, and an MRI coming tomorrow. He was limping noticeably, and after the Bills lost one quarterback last week, they’ve now watched another one finish a game hobbled. So yep, that’s why we’ve had a Matt Flynn sighting in Buffalo.
- Aqib Talib has arguably (hello there, cop out modifier) been the most dominant cornerback this year who doesn”t go by the name of Joe Haden. His latest work of artistry was holding Jimmy Graham to exactly zero catches. But since the football gods are a menacing bunch, Talib left the Patriots’ eventual win early with what was later diagnosed as a hip flexor. Any absence would make New England a much easier secondary to pass against, but alas, the injury isn’t thought to be serious and Talib likely won’t miss time.
- That battle was tough on both hulking men, as later on in the fourth quarter Jimmy Graham left gimpy too. There’s reason to feel good, or at least to give yourself false hope after Graham left briefly in the fourth quarter, and was then allowed to re-enter before leaving for good a short while later. But yeah, little is known right now, so stay safe out there.
- Danny Amendola had his cranium whacked when he cut up field on an end-around instead of getting out of bounds, the wise and much more healthy move. The hit was scary at first, as Amendola went limp and didn’t move while lying face down, appearing to be knocked unconscious. In his mind, Amendola is much larger, and he plays that way. That can’t be turned off either, which is unfortunate, because it’s the sort of intense mentality coaches crave, bit it’ll severely shorten his career.
Alright, usually I end this post right here, but that’s a lot of injury depression almost right in the middle of the season when many fantasy dollars are being lost and won.
We need a feel good send off song, the kind of song that dares you to be sad while listening to its ear medicine. You know, a tune that instantly makes you smile, rise up, and dance some sort of jig while waving your hands without caring, or whatever the kids are doing now.
I don’t know about you, but my soul has been cleansed.