I’m not sure anymore what the appropriate adjectives are for what’s going down in Washington, though I’m still siding with the range that falls in line with selfish, confusing, reckless, and destructive. After a day to absorb the goings on around the good ship Snyder and to hear the various press conference babbling, there are still opposing and clashing thoughts everywhere, and there’s no way anything Mike Shanahan is doing will lead to happy returns upon his inevitable exit.
Let’s pretend for a moment that we believe the primary message in his nearly half hour press conference diatribe yesterday, and that Robert Griffin III is being benched solely to protect his health. Where was that concern, say, two months ago, or even beyond that? Though he’s improved lately, it’s been clear to even the most casual eye that Griffin isn’t at all the Griffin we saw in 2012, and expecting him to be was always foolish. Ignoring that for 13 games and then using it at your convenience speaks to a far larger motive at play.
Following the aforementioned day of sober reflection, that’s what bothers me the most here. Despite what John Madden says, the act of shutting a reasonably healthy player down isn’t unorthodox. If the Packers were out of contention there’s little doubt in my mind that Aaron Rodgers would have been given a more permanent seat, and although he’s out of his walking boot and says he’s fine, few would begrudge the Vikings for a similar move with Adrian Peterson. But with Griffin, there’s been over three months of ignorance.
Then there’s the lost snaps and development time for Griffin, and the very real possibility that if Kirk Cousins plays well, the Shanahans will leave Washington with a quarterback kerfuffle of sorts, though all involved still say Griffin is the starter, and there’s far too much invested in him through draft picks for any other future outcome. The ingredients for a quarterback death fight are aligned, though, and the potential for one in the never silent court of public opinion is plenty distracting.
But enough about that. Soon the offseason of Griffin will be upon us, and this dumpster fire will overtake our lives. I want to deal with the here and the now, and the possibility that as you prepare for fantasy football semi-final matchups which begin tonight, Cousins could be your hero and/or dark knight.
There hasn’t exactly been a mad death stampede to obtain Cousins’ services. This is expected, I suppose, though if there’s any justice in this world his ownership rates should climb significantly higher than where they currently reside. Using two major fantasy sites as our usual gauge, Cousins is owned in only 1% of ESPN leagues, and 7% of Yahoo leagues.
That’s still true even though there’s an Aaron Rodgers owner in every league, and many who have still clawed their way to the playoffs. Despite the gift of false hope Rodgers is currently handing out with glee to the fantasy community (more on that fun below), a quarterback savior is still needed.
There’s also the streamers. You know them well, and there’s usually one in every league. They’re the guys who waited what felt like several years before drafting their first quarterback, and now they flip between the likes of Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, or (gulp) Carson Palmer. They usually make this decision based on weekly matchups, or often by licking their finger and sticking it in the air. These fearless souls have a home for Cousins too.
If you’re brave enough, there’s a real chance that Cousins could post fine QB1 numbers over the next two weeks considering who he’ll be lining up against. It starts with the Falcons this weekend, and their defense that’s allowing 379.4 yards overall (26th), and 245.8 against the pass (20th). Adding to that latter juicy number, Atlanta is also giving up just a hair under two passing touchdowns per game, with 25 overall. And even better/worse, they’re also allowing 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
So that’s first up, and we should also note another fun number brought to us by Salvatore Stefanile: the lowest fantasy points output from an opposing quarterback against Atlanta was Matt Flynn’s 14.1 last week. Going back further, the generally horrendous E.J. Manuel posted 18 points on the Falcons in Week 13, and overall he’s averaging only eight points per game. We saw a similar outcome in Week 11, when Mike Glennon chucked for 17 points, and overall he’s averaging only seven. The Falcons’ average points allowed to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks sits at 17 even.
Then during fantasy championship week the Cowboys are teed up. By now you’re quite familiar with their passing defense comedy, but to review: they’re giving up only a yard-and-a-half shy of 300 per game, they just allowed Josh McCown to pleasantly accumulate 38 fantasy points, they’re allowing a completion percentage of 65.1, and they’ve given up the most +20 yard receptions in the league (59, an average of 4.5 per game).
There is, of course, a toxic wasteland mentality with the Redskins right now that’s concerning, and it could poison Cousins’ soul. But if all is fair in this world, those incredibly inviting matchups should win out, and Cousins should win some fantasy championships.
If all else fails, he can resume his singing career.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
There was some slight confusion Wednesday regarding Aaron Rodgers’ practice participation level. The media only sees a small portion of practice, and what they saw on Wednesday was Rodgers taking part in individual drills, with some light throwing. So basically, the same level of participation that he had all last week.
But then tight end Andrew Quarless let his loose lips sink a ship or three when he said Rodgers took some first-team reps, presumably during the portion of practice barred from media eyes.
“Oh man, 12 looked real good today. It was good to see him out there really working with the offense. He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense. But today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team, definitely.”
So that’s something, but Rodgers still needs a positive CT scan before being cleared. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that’s unlikely before Sunday.
Sorry kids, but while there’s still a chance we get a surprise Rodgers sighting, it’s far more likely we’ll endure another Matt Flynn appearance.
Elsewhere in encouraging injury news
Well, it’s not encouraging for Maurice Jones-Drew, but you could find this pretty profitable. Jones-Drew tweaked his hamstring during the Jaguars’ win last Thursday over the Texans, and now he won’t even try to practice until Friday. That means his chances of playing this week are already minimal, which in turn means that Jordan Todman should be owned in every fantasy league.
It’s difficult to get any sort of gauge on Todman given his scattered usage this year. But for what it’s worth, he had a strong preseason showing with 223 yards on 29 carries, and now he’ll likely get his first start against a Buffalo Bills run defense that’s ranked 26th while giving up 124.8 yards per game.
MJD says his goal is still to play on Sunday, but he doesn’t sound overly confident. #Jaguars
— Hays Carlyon (@HaysCarlyon) December 11, 2013
Seattle fans urinate on buses now?
This has bounced around the web’s connecting tubes a bit, but if it hasn’t landed on your screen yet, here’s Colin Kaepernick’s latest Beats By Dre commercial. It depicts opposing fans who definitely aren’t Seahawks fans, and they’re doing things that only the worst humans do.
The fine people of Seattle are displeased.
Peyton Manning is possibly the best person ever
This is also one of those viral thingys. So please take a moment to enjoy the glory that is Peyton Manning just not caring at all…
Behold, the Peyton photo…. pic.twitter.com/aOVQLFAJTT
— Shan Shariff (@NewSchoolSS) December 12, 2013