Archive for the ‘Trend spotting’ Category

In the search for glimmering jewels which are also humans in real life, there’s an instinct among some to quickly ignore anyone who plays for the New York Jets. Like the reaction to ignore the logic which tells you to start Josh Freeman over Matthew Stafford, the ignorance of all that is Jets is quite understandable.

Even though Mark Sanchez looked surprisingly competent yesterday against soft Patriots coverage, the Jets still have the league’s 28th-ranked passing offense, averaging only 200.4 yards per game through the air. If that average dips only one yard further, the Jets will become one of just five teams plodding along at a pace of less than 200 passing yards weekly.

What’s worse is that they’re also simply not attempting many passes, choosing to either run the suddenly improved Shonn Greene into some bodies, or go all gimmicky with Tim Tebow. The Jets’ per game pass attempt average is just 31.6 (23rd), but when Sanchez does throw and he throws deep, someone has to catch that ball. Or at least ideally that’s the outcome, because throwing a pass that’s intended for no one would be just a little too Sanchez of Sanchez.

When those balls are thrown and hands are outstretched, they’ve primarily belonged to one man, just as they did yesterday.

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While those who enjoy making free money off of NFL football lost, oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million collectively last night due to Jim Harbaugh’s decision to take points off the board and decline a safety (Pizzola’s Twitter rantings properly show the seven stages of grief), fantasy owners of the few skill players worth starting Thursday had another source for their ire and/or incessant worry.

More specifically, it’s Vernon Davis who’s causing hair to change color along with the tree leaves this fall. Davis entered last night as the second-highest fantasy point producer at his position with 55 points through six games, which is behind only Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez using standard ESPN scoring. Yet the Seahawks held him to zero receptions last night, the first time that’s happened since 2008.

But they did more, and the extra measure they took to truly stuff Davis is what’s petrifying. He didn’t even receive a single target.

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Last night, I was confused. This is not out of the ordinary during a weeknight or any night, but the reason this time was a little different. The reason was Darren McFadden.

It wasn’t due to McFadden’s lack of overall success as the Raiders staged their on-field circus in which we learned that long snappers are people too. Nope, while he wasn’t necessarily spectacular because, well, no one in black was last night, McFadden was still the lone bright spot for the Raiders when he finished with 118 all-purpose yards.

The confusion lied in how he gained those yards. Only 32 of them came on the ground, a place where although he showed the great burst we’ve come to expect at times, McFadden was mostly stuffed on his 15 carries, finishing with an average of 2.1 yards per carry.

To put that per carry number into the proper perspective, if you’re a Trent Richardson owner you’ve spent all week so far reading and worrying about how crappy he was in his regular-season debut, but you’ve restored a sense of calm by repeatedly telling yourself that he’s still recovering from an injury. And what was Richardson’s per carry average Sunday? 2.1.

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