It’s about an hour before the seventh Sunday of this football season kicks off, and you’re cold and shivering. Not to worry, as this is a natural reaction to Drew Brees’ bye week. After taking the early-round quarterback leap you quite rightfully didn’t feel the need to invest highly in a second quarterback for your fake team, or invest in one at all. So you waited forever and ever, and now you’re stuck with starting Joe Flacco against the Steelers, or Andy Dalton against anyone. This is less than desirable.
As those cold sweats set in further, you feebly check the available players one last time. Then, like the blinking north start, a glowing name stares at your.
Welcome Nick Foles into your life, and do it now.
Foles is still owned in only 51 percent of Yahoo leagues, and 36 percent of ESPN leagues. Since there’s a frantic Brees owner in every league who’s trying to replace his average of 21.7 fantasy points per game this week (with 130 overall points, Brees is second to only Peyton Manning) those ownership numbers are rather low.
I get it, guys. You want trust, and trotting out a name who has a much deeper history like Flacco or Ben Roethlisberger as a bye-week replacement just feels right. That sort of bottom tier QB ilk is far less than spectacular, but you’re familiar with what they can give you. And familiarity = comfort.
Meanwhile, Foles will start only his eighth career game today. But that matters so very little, as he’ll do it against a Cowboys defense that’s allowing passing yards in buckets. Dallas is one of only four teams giving up more than 300 passing yards per game (they’re ranked 30th at 308.2), and they’re also allowing nearly eight yards per pass attempt. It gets better, as opposing quarterbacks have quite remarkably been allowed to complete 65.6 percent of their passes, a decline which is largely tied to the regression of Morris Claiborne.
Foles now gets to chuck against that secondary a week after he threw for 296 yards at a pace of 9.5 per attempt with three touchdowns, and he did that against a Tampa defense which features Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. They’re pretty good at football, and DeMarcus Ware is too as the Cowboys’ primary source of pressure, and today he’s inactive with a quad injury.
Go ahead and trust Foles, because he could be this week’s highest-producing quarterback.
More stray lineup thoughts and words of warning
Arian Foster might have the worst matchup in the history of matchups
We’re all aware that, as good as the Chiefs defense is at defending the pass and hurting quarterbacks, they’re sort of meh against the run (currently ranked 23rd while giving up an average of 116.0 yards per game). So that gives Arian Foster hope, but many other things don’t. Mostly, the Texans’ likely complete inability to move the ball through the air while undrafted rookie Case Keenum makes his first career start on the road against a front seven that sacked Terrelle Pryor 10 times last week. Between Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, the Chiefs employ two men who occupy top five spots in the league’s sack standings (Hali has 6.5, while Houston leads with 9.5).
Quickly there will be little reason for the Chiefs to be concerned with Keenum, and Foster will then face stacked boxes throughout the afternoon. However, due to the sheer carry volume Foster will surely receive with Keenum under center he’ll still get a chance to compile yardage, and likely have a pretty alright fantasy day. But the case for lowered expectations is definitely a real thing here.
Elsewhere in horrible running back matchups: Chris Johnson
This is the week when you bench Chris Johnson. It’s painful, and it will lead to involuntary sobbing with a player who cost you an early-round pick on your bench. But it has to be done.
Jake Locker surprisingly being healthy and playing helps matters here, but not much. Johnson has been mind-numbingly horrible, and especially over the past three weeks. During that time he’s rushed for only 71 yards at a pace of — wait for it — 2.0 yards per carry.
Seriously, 2.0 yards per carry. That’s coming from a guy who, in the now distant past, averaged 5.5 YPC during his record-setting 2009 season along with 125.4 yards per game. That’s how far Johnson’s colossal descent has come, and now he’ll be hammered into the ground further by a 49ers defense allowing only 3.8 yards per carry. The only hope for CJNothingK in this matchup lies in the red zone, should the Titans happen to make a visit there. San Francisco has already given up seven rushing touchdowns — the second most in the league behind only Cincinnati — and that matches the total rushing scores they allowed all of last season.
RG3 be runnin’
This week Robert Griffin III spoke about wanting to run more, and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan also thought that’s a pretty swell idea. The problem now is that he’s facing the Bears, a defense that’s less than inviting. Or is it?
Jon Bostic is now the Bears’ starting middle linebacker with D.J. Williams out for the season, and Chicago hasn’t tried to contain a quarterback with Griffin’s mobile-ness yet this year. So we can flip back to last year to loosely gauge today’s possible proceedings, which is when Cam Newton and Russell Wilson combined to post a pretty fine 108 rushing yards on this Bears defense. There could be an opportunity for the old, chugging Griffin to continue his return today after he ran for 77 yards a week ago, which iwas more than his total in the previous four games combined (72 yards).
Keep streaming that Cleveland D
I didn’t include the Browns in my weekly Defensive Employment Office because they’re a near regular fixture and I enjoy some variety in life, and because James Jones’ absence wasn’t official yet.
But yeah, now that Jones has been given the Jay Glazer seal of doom and Randall Cobb is out too, the Browns are a far more appealing streaming option with Joe Haden able to focus solely on stuffing Jordy Nelson, and up front Eddie Lacy will face a much tougher challenge against a defense allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game. The Browns D is currently owned in only 16% of Yahoo leagues.