What we know to be true about Russell Wilson is that often, plays aren’t over when they should be, or at least when we assume they’ve reached their logical conclusion. We know this because last night during the Seahawks’ 34-22 win over the Arizona Cardinals he completed passes many others wouldn’t have even considered.
One came one his 31-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to open the scoring when it left his hand as he was running far to his right to escape a rush, and he was therefore off balance and forced to throw across his body. That will be remembered because it ended in points. But while there were other similar throws that flew deep into the night as Wilson clipped along averaging 8.1 yards per pass attempt (the fourth time already that number has been above 8.0 in a game this year), plays which are entirely absent from the boxscore are what define him.
Let’s pause, though, and say something bad about Wilson, because right now that’s difficult to do.
Against a swarming Cardinals defensive front led by Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, and John Abraham (who’s reached the point in his career where quality wins over quantity), Wilson was still sometimes guilty of disregarding that ticking pocket clock, and holding onto the ball too long. That resulted in three fumbles, which highlighted a growing problem for the sophomore still showing flashes of rookie tendencies in only his 25th career start including playoffs. He’s had only one fumble-free game thus far, though last night that flaw was exaggerated further, as over the Seahawks’ first six games Wilson had fumbled five times. Ball security is still a thing in the NFL, and Wilson’s fumbles directly led to 10 points.
OK then, enough with that. His infrequent faulty internal clock was Wilson’s only blemish, as he was otherwise his usual brilliant, improvising, and strong-armed self. He completed passes for 31 and 32 yards (the latter was to Golden Tate), but again, Wilson’s best throws and scrambles — the ones that prolonged plays and drives, and kept the Cardinals defense on the field far too long — don’t appear in any boxscore. That’s the hallmark of today’s quarterback, the creative and slippery breed. Plays that have seemingly reached the end of their useful life are extended. Like, say, when Wilson completed a pass while falling, and nearly from his knees.
With his three touchdown passes — two on beautifully thrown sailing balls — and 235 yards on 62.0 percent passing along with 29 rushing yards, Wilson finished with 19 fantasy points. His 95 total points are now only five behind Aaron Rodgers, who was drafted on average about 50 picks ahead of Wilson back in August. Being in leagues where quarterbacks are drafted early is still the best.
Combine Wilson’s super awesomeness with the usual swarming and hurting of the Seahawks’ defense that held a gimped Larry Fitzgerald to only two catches for 17 yards and the Cards’ running backs to just 28 yards on 16 carries, and the end game was this: 344 offensive yards for Seattle, and 234 for Arizona, a difference that looked a lot worse at halftime when the Cardinals had only 59 yards offensively.
It was a very Seahawks game, in every way.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Drew Rosenhaus said, “Rob Gronkowski has now been cleared by all his doctors to play Sunday in the Jets game.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2013
He hath risen.
I’m not sure exactly what Rob Gronkowski we’ll see Sunday, and he’ll surely be limited and treated with the softest gloves in his first game back. Whether or not you feel like starting him on your fake team this week depends on your depth at the position (example: if you’ve filled the Gronkowski void if your life with, say, Julius Thomas, I’d still hold off for a week). But dammit, he’s back, and those who waited six weeks while stashing the Gronk deep on a bench can now wet themselves.
This is the part when I once again remind you that despite missing five games last year Gronkowski led his position in touchdowns (11) and +20 yard catches (13), and he finished with 790 yards (a pace of 71.8 per game). So yes, a healthy Gronkowski — if we’re assuming that’s what he is now — will almost instantly be the best tight end not named Jimmy Graham.
There’s a lot of hurt going on in Kansas City
If it’s possible to be genuinely intriguing as an undrafted rookie quarterback, Case Keenum meets that description. When he left the university of Houston he was the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards (19,217), total yards (20,114), passing touchdowns (155) and total touchdowns (178). Yet he was passed on by every team multiple times and then eventually ignored entirely during his draft year, in part because of a torn ACL in 2010 that still may have had general managers worried.
But all good things come to those who don’t completely evaporate on NFL sidelines, I guess. With Matt Schaub both inept and injured, and T.J. Yates devastatingly awful, Keenum gets the “hey, what the hell, why not?” start this weekend for the Texans. Normally, this move would be applauded, as at this point in a season quickly looking doomed, Keenum is the only quarterback on Houston’s roster with any upside whatsoever.
But normally, an undrafted rookie quarterback who has seen the field only during the muddled mess that is an NFL preseason game wouldn’t be traveling to a place that just set the record for the loudest stadium, and he wouldn’t be playing one of the NFL’s best defenses, a unit that’s quickly going about the business of setting its records.
The @KCChiefs 30 sacks through their first six games are the MOST in franchise history & 3rd most through any team’s 1st 6 games since 1982.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLONFOX) October 17, 2013
Yep, that will end in pain.
Keenum will attempt to throw — and really, just do anything — against a defense that just sacked Terrelle Pryor 10 times. Between Justin Houston (9.5 sacks) and Tamba Hali (6.5) two of the league’s top five in that QB mashing category are on the Chiefs’ front seven, and behind them is a secondary giving up only 207.3 passing yards per game (seventh). So yeah, certain doom is forthcoming.
For fantasy footballing, you’re never benching that Chiefs D, and now you can feel free to expect them to take over your universe. Conversely, expectations for Arian Foster and Andre Johnson need to be lowered significantly.
Oh, and about Foster
He now has a stock offering. No really, if you have a cool $10 lying around, you can own part of Arian Foster and a stake in his future potential earnings.
Yeah, that all sounds cool, and so hip and 2013. But it’s also completely stupid.
Firstly, you’re investing in the future earnings of a 27-year-old running back. Which…yeah, good luck. But more importantly, anyone who buys into this ignores the fact that the structure to cash in on your investment is, per the description given by the New York Times, little more than a thought bubble right now. It barely exists.
But as Deadspin‘s Kyle Wagner quite rightly rants, what does exist now is yet another avenue for the NFL and its players to get you — the sucker fan — to buy anything. Really, anything at all.
This isn’t speculative trading so much as it is an extension of NFL merchandising. It isn’t so much about the “brand” that Arian Foster has built up as it as about the broad commodification of athletes in general, and fans’ willingness to buy dumb shit even peripherally attached to a team. You’re buying a brand with the Arian Foster stock, but it isn’t Foster himself—it’s the NFL.
Remember, every year fans buy tickets with actual money to sit and watch Super Bowl media day, and about three weeks later they do the same with the NFL Combine.
Let’s pause and clap slowly for this man
If you’re going to invest your money in something completely absurd and only somewhat NFL-related, you should make a giant catfish as a Manti Te’o tribute, and attend a game with it on your head. YOUR HEAD.
I love you Manti! See you this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/hOmMqcwmnz
— Tim Duval (@MadeByTim) October 17, 2013
This is interesting
And around these parts, we enjoy interesting things, especially if they tell us what receivers are a little more valuable based on their usage. Often I use targets as a metric to gauge that, and it’s a fine one. But an even better gauge is touch percentage per snap. That’s important because it shows how much a team’s offense runs through a player, and therefore how valuable he is to a specific scheme.
So, whose fantasy value and production is boosted significantly in that regard? These guys…
Touch % per snap leaders at WR: Blackmon (15.2%), Antonio Brown (13.4), Kendall Wright (12.9), Andre Johnson (12.0), Amendola (11.8).
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) October 17, 2013
If Danny Amendola owners needed another reason to be depressed, there it is. Yes, obviously we’re working with a small sample size here to measure Amendola as a Patriot, and how much Josh McDaniels is using him. Still, that percentage quantifies what we assumed would be true: a healthy Amendola (a rare creature) is a wideout who will receive an abundance of targets.
You’re drunk, NFL logos
Or you’re just fat. From the hero that gave us Manningface in all 32 NFL logos, we now have fat logos. Please feel free to waste part of your Friday morning scrolling through them at KSK. Here’s my favorite: