FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 5
David Dorey
October 8, 2012
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle
 
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Andrew Luck 386 3
Drew Brees 370 4
Alex Smith 352 3
Peyton Manning 353 3
Aaron Rodgers 280 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Ahmad Bradshaw 229 1
Ryan Mathews 139 1
Trent Richardson 128 1
Stevan Ridley 151 1
Jamaal Charles 161 0
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Reggie Wayne 212 1
Marques Colston 131 3
Brandon Marshall 144 1
Percy Harvin 108 2
Wes Welker 104 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Tony Gonzalez 123 1
Vernon Davis 106 0
Jared Cook 37 1
Dwayne Allen 38 1
Kyle Rudolph 23 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Blair Walsh 3 3
Robbie Gould 5 2
Lawrence Tynes 5 2
Adam Vinatieri 1 3
Steven Hauschka 1 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Bears 2 3 3
Rams 0 8 1
Seahawks 0 4 2
Panthers 0 1 3
Ravens 0 0 4

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Bernard Scott - Knee injury, possible ACL
Robert Griffin III - Concussion
Jerome Simpson - Ankle injury (pregame no less)
Javon Ringer - Knee injury (feared season ending)
Matt Cassel - Concussion
Andre Brown - Concussion
Martellus Bennett - Knee sprain
Cedric Benson - Leg injury
Jermichael Finley - Shoulder injury
Daniel Thomas - Possible concussion
Jimmy Graham - Ankle injury

Ten Stats you should know

1. WR Josh Gordon (2-82, TD receiving) - The Browns supplemental draft pick almost doubled his season totals with his two catch performance against the Giants. He was thrown eight passes thanks to replacing the injured Mohamed Massaquoi but this may not be just a one game event. Gordon draws good reviews in practice and the upcoming schedule contains four home games over the next five weeks. With Brandon Weeden throwing for around 300 yards in most games, expect Gordon to improve and make a difference for the next month. Greg Little has been the primary receiver but had no catches and is quickly losing the backing of the coaching staff. Gordon is in a good place to continue to improve.

2. RB Alex Green (9-55 rushing) - Once Cedric Benson was knocked out of the game with an injury to his foot, Green replaced him since James Starks was a healthy inactive. The ex-Hawaii back has speed and his rushing totals included a 41-yard run. Green also caught one pass for eight yards. He's the one to own for the Benson owners looking to insure their back and he is worth grabbing in case Benson's injury lasts into next week or beyond. Next week in Houston will be tough on any runner but the schedule lightens up for the following three weeks before their bye.

3. Washington Redskins (324 passing yards) - The Redskins pass defense is truly the best friend to fantasy football. Not only have they averaged allowing 324 passing yards to opponents, the worst that anyone has produced in the first five weeks of the season was 299 yards by Josh Freeman. They have allowed 12 passing touchdowns and only once fewer than two scores. They are the "E Ticket" for every quarterback and that means great things in the coming weeks for Christian Ponder, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and even Cam Newton. Even better - almost all production ends up with the top two receivers for every opponent. Nice and predictable.

4. RB Rashard Mendenhall (14-81, TD rushing) - In his first game back from offseason knee surgery, Mendenhall posted solid stats and his rushing totals were not just propped up by one long run. No doubt he'll be started by owners now and snatched from waiver wires if he is still there. There is good and bad here. The good is that Mendenhall ran very well and scored a 13-yard touchdown. He added two catches for 20 yards and the Steelers upcoming schedule over the next five games are against the Titans, Bengals, Redskins, Giants and the Chiefs. On the negative, Isaac Redman carried 13 times for 41 yards and this remains a committee backfield. And this is the same Mendenhall who was held under 70 rushing yards in ten games last year. This year has a new offense that intends on passing more and rushing less in most games. Playing the Titans this week is bound to make Mendenhall look good again. The rest of the schedule – far less certain.

5. RB Trent Richardson (17-81, TD rushing) - The rookie backed up his claim that you can run on the Giants and scored for the fourth game in a row. Richardson is more limited by the number of carries that he gets each week and still has not rushed more than 19 times in any game. And Richardson is not breaking off long gainers so much as just making positive gains on almost every run. Throw in four or five catches per week and Richardson is not only the real deal, he will be getting even better. The Browns come off three road games over the last four weeks. The next four weeks contain three home games and one trip to Indianapolis. When the Browns defense allows the offense to rush more than 20 times in a game, Richardson will be an even bigger star.

6. WR Demaryius Thomas (9-188 receiving) - The question coming into the season was which of Thomas or Eric Decker would Peyton Manning prefer? While Decker remains a solid play, Thomas is joining the ranks of the elite wideouts. He has produced three efforts over 100 yards and his only down game came against the Texans secondary that has shut down everyone. Thomas continues to make impressive catches deep downfield which only serve to give Manning even more confidence in him. Thomas is a must-start regardless of matchup.

7. WR Robert Meachem (3-67, 2 TD receiving) - Any player scoring twice in one game is a hot property on the waiver wire. And in most leagues, Meachem is likely either deep on the fantasy bench or not on any roster. And leave him be. Meachem had some motivation by playing back in New Orleans where he spent the first five years of his mediocre career. Rivers did him a solid by throwing the scores to him but this is the very same wideout who also had two of the last three games without any receptions. If Meachem had caught nine passes in one game, then maybe he is stepping up. But Meachem only has nine catches total after five weeks of starting for the Chargers. Rely more on the results from the 80% of his games that say leave him on the wire.

8. TE Joel Dreessen (4-21, TD receiving) - The Patriots game was not all that productive for Dreessen but he did score a touchdown. The notable part is that he has done this for three games in a row. Jacob Tamme has been the more productive tight end in catches and yardage (21-175 Tamme vs. 11-96 Dreessen). But Dreessen has become the most reliable scorer for the Broncos and his three touchdowns lead the team. That makes for a "you could do worse" bye week filler for your starter and in a touchdown only league, Dreessen should be considered a starter.

9. QB Andrew Luck (362 passing yards, 2 TDs) - The rookie is the real deal. There is no question. Regardless that this is a rebuilding Colts team that stripped out most of the talent in the offseason, this offense is working. Reggie Wayne has revived his career and Luck has become a must-start fantasy quarterback. He has thrown at least 300 yards in all but one game and posted two passing scores in each of the last three weeks. Add in 20+ yards per week as a rusher and Luck consistently produces top five stats among quarterbacks.   Drafted as a backup in most leagues, now his owner has to make a quarterback decision every week. He's worth trading for if you have no advantage at quarterback before his owner realizes what value he is holding.

10. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (9-14 rushing) - Not only his worst performance of the season, this signals that the Bengals need to try something else. Green-Ellis has only averaged 3.3 yards per carry and yet currently ranks sixth in the league with 91 carries. Notable is that back-up Bernard Scott injured his knee and is feared lost for the season and the only other backs on the depth chart are Cedric Peerman and Brian Leonard. Peerman is the most interesting but has just 10 carries in his four NFL seasons. Leonard is just a depth player who has never produced much when relied on for more than the occasional relief carry. The Bengals may elect to remain with Green-Ellis from a lack of options but the Bengals offense is suffering. And bringing down literally every player other than A.J. Green.

Sunday Snippets

ARI 3, STL 17 The unbeaten Cards looked like the bumbling team of old when they had no touchdowns and other than Larry Fitzgerald (8-92), no Arizona player gained more than 33 yards in the game. The Rams had a huge defensive effort to win this game while Sam Bradford passed for 141 yards and two scores between Chris Givens and Lance Kendricks on their only catches in the game. Steven Jackson ran for 76 yards on 18 runs but had no catches and Daryl Richardson rushed nine times for 35 yards as well. The game was as boring as a 17-3 score would indicate. The 4-1 Cardinals host the Bills for a freebie and the 3-2 Rams go to Miami.
MIA 17, CIN 13

The Bengals lost at home with no rushing game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis only gained 14 yards on nine runs and is starting to look like just another undrafted nobody that looked good on the Pats and not so much anywhere else. Andy Dalton finally cooled off with just 234 yards and one score against two interceptions. A.J. Green (9-65, TD) pretty much is the entire Bengals offense. Jermaine Gresham (5-60) was the only other player with fantasy relevant stats. The Fins scored rushing touchdowns by Reggie Bush (19-48) and Daniel Thomas (10-29) but Ryan Tannehill only passed for 223 like he does in almost every game. Brian Hartline was the hot free agent last week and just got you four catches for 59 yards. Yay. Boring game here too. The 2-3 Dolphins host the Rams this week and the 3-2 Bengals head to Cleveland.

BAL 9, KC 6 For the love of God. Will anyone score? The Ravens took a week off and still won. Joe Flacco only threw for 187 yards and one interception and Torrey Smith is back to 38 yards per game. Ray Rice totaled 118 yards but no scores and only one reception in this offense-starved tilt. The Chiefs mirrored the Ravens by having their running back also provide the only offensive spark. Jamaal Charles ran for 140 yards on 30 carries with no scores but Dwayne Bowe (6-60) was the only Chiefs player with more than 26 receiving yards in the game. Imagine paying $100 for a ticket to see this one. The 4-1 Ravens will host the Cowboys this week and the 1-4 Chiefs play in Tampa Bay.
CLE 27, NYG 41

Finally. A game with fantasy relevance. The Browns gave a valiant effort with Brandon Weeden passing for 291 yards and two scores while Trent Richardson talked the talk and then walked the walk when he turned in 128 total yards and one touchdown. Josh Gordon (2-82) scored his first two touchdowns in his career and was a factor for the first time ever. Jordan Norwood (9-81) has made the slot mean something for the last two weeks. Eli Manning threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns that all went to Victor Cruz (5-50) while Rueben Randle was the lead receiver with 82 yards and six catches. Ahmad Bradshaw finally produced a big game when he rushed for 200 yards and one score on 30 carries and added 29 more yards on four catches. This was a good game in week with so few. The Browns are much better than their record indicates but a horrible schedule will kill them all year. The 0-5 Browns host the Bengals this week while the 3-2 Giants get to go play in San Francisco.

PHI 14, PIT 16 And back to yawners. The Eagles literally lost this on the final play when the Steelers kicked a field goal. Michael Vick passed for 175 yards and two scores with only two lost fumbles. The scores went to Brent Celek (3-9) and LeSean McCoy (4-27) who also rushed for 53 yards on 16 runs. This was a game with minimal fantasy results. Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 207 yards and no scores and the lone Steelers touchdown went to Rashard Mendenhall in his first game back since knee surgery in the offseason. He ran for 81 yards on 14 carries and even added 20 yards with two receptions. Isaac Redman still ran 13 times to water down Mendenhall. Antonio Brown was the only good receiver for the Steelers when he gained 86 yards. Mike Wallace (2-17) had the shutdown job by Nnamdi Asomugha. The loss sends the 3-2 Eagles back to Philly to host the Lions and the 2-2 Steelers head to Tennessee.
ATL 24, WAS 17

I would probably consider this about the only "normal" game of the weekend though in fairness the Falcons had to pull out the win scoring touchdown with only 2:46 left to play. Matt Ryan (345, 2 TD) had the same fun that every quarterback does when they go against the Redskins. Tony Gonzalez (13-123, TD) continues to play like he was in the prime of his career and Julio Jones remember to always show up only in road games when he caught 10 passes for 194 yards and one score. Roddy White settled for 68 yards on four catches. Michael Turner scored once on his 18 runs for 67 yards. The Skins got 115 rushing yards from Alfred Morris but Robert Griffin was injured and Kirk Cousins finished the game. Santana Moss (2-80, TD) probably just had his only decent game of the year. The 5-0 Falcons host the Raiders this week and the 2-3 Redskins face the visiting Vikings.

SEA 16, CAR 12 And hit the snooze button. Russell Wilson had his 221 yard, one touchdown standard and that lone touchdown went to Golden Tate (3-31) who did not push off on anyone (this time). Marshawn Lynch gained 85 yards on 21 runs but there was precious little happening on this offense. Sidney Rice was tops and he only had five receptions for 67 yards. Even less happened for the homefield Panthers in this battle of the field goals. Cam Newton only passed for 141 yards but gained 42 yards on seven runs as the only decent runner. The dynamic duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams only combined for ten runs for 22 yards. This was another game that offense forgot. The 3-2 Seahawks face the Patriots while the 1-4 Panthers go on their bye.
CHI 41, JAC 3

At least one team showed up. This was actually just another super boring game until the Bears scored 28 points in the fourth quarter. Jay Cutler passed for 292 yards and two scores which almost all went to Brandon Marshall (12-144, TD). Matt Forte gained 107 yards on 22 runs but never scored. The Chicago defense scored twice. The Jaguars were sad as usual with Blaine Gabbert only throwing for 142 yards and two interceptions. Maurice Jones-Drew-the-offense was only given 12 runs to gain 56 yards. The Jaguars were even worse than usual because Jones-Drew-the-offense wasn't able to do anything. The big win sends the 4-1 Bears to their bye and the 1-4 Jaguars have a chance this week since they too are on bye.

TEN 7, MIN 30 Switching to Matt Hasselbeck (200 yards, TD) made no difference in this punchless offense though Kenny Wright (9-66) plays like he doesn't realize the futility of the situation. Chris Johnson burned you when you benched him last week and had another gotcha! when you started him and received 24 yards on 15 runs in return. The players here are talented, but the blocking is bad and the scheme is just not working. Chances of a new offense next year - approaching 100%. The Vikings won with Christian Ponder not only passing for 258 yards and two scores but adding his first two interceptions on the year just to shut up the announcers. Adrian Peterson (17-88) had a decent showing without the burden of a touchdown and Percy Harvin provided nearly all receiving production when he caught eight passes for 108 yards with one touchdown. No one else had more than 35 yards. The loss sends the 1-4 Titans home to face the Steelers and the 4-1 Vikings head to Washington where Christian Ponder gets to redeem his coupon good for one free 300+ yard game.
DEN 21, NE 31

This was another great Brady vs. Manning game only without any successful comeback at the end. Or really much passing by Tom Brady who only threw for 223 yards and one score but did run in one touchdown too. Wes Welker (13-104, TD) dwarfed all other New England receivers and that includes Rob Gronkowski who finished with just 35 yards on four catches. Steven Ridley ran for 151 yards and a score and yet Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead combined for 21 runs for 91 yards. The rushing success of the Patriots was the difference in the game. Peyton Manning passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas (9-188) had a huge game without ever scoring and no one with a touchdown had more than 21 yards. Willis McGahee ran for 51 yards but added another 51 yards on five catches. The loss sends the 2-3 Broncos to San Diego and the 3-2 Patriots head to Seattle.

BUF 3, SF 45 And another blowout. The Bills were without any fantasy significance since no one gained more than 40 yards and Ryan Fitzpatrick only managed 126 passing yards. The 49ers had a game of games. It not only all worked, it worked really, really well. Like late 80's 49ers well. Alex Smith passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns which means he has to have zero production next week to keep his average. Michael Crabtree (6-113, TD) and Vernon Davis (5-106) both had monster games while Frank Gore only needed 14 runs to gain 106 yards and one touchdown. Kendall Hunter (11-81) was unstoppable and Alex Smith even rushed for 49 yards. In all, seven different players had at least one rushing attempt and combined for 311 yards on 38 runs. Just a feel good sort of game for the home team. The 2-3 Bills now head to Arizona while the 4-1 49ers host the Giants.
SD 24, NO 31

It happened! The Saints won! Too bad Payt... oh yeah. Drew Brees entered the record book with his 48th straight game with at least one touchdown pass and by the time he was done, he threw four along with 370 yards. Jimmy Graham injured his ankle during his one catch and played as a decoy the rest of the game. Marques Colston became the new Graham with nine catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Devery Henderson also stepped up when he caught eight passes for 123 yards and one score. No one else had more than 44 receiving yards in this pitch-and-catch fest, Philip Rivers threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns that both went to ex-Charger Robert MEachem (3-67) and Malcom Floyd (5-108) led all receivers for the Chargers. The Ryan Mathews Humiliation Club held another successful meeting where the highly productive back got to watch Jackie Battle (4-10) start the game while all Mathews did was gain 80 yards on 12 runs with a 18-yard touchdown and add six catches for 59 yards. Ronnie Brown was used to help slow down the losing offense when he had two runs and five receptions. The whole thing smacks of Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones a few years back that begged the weekly question "why in the hell..."" The 3-2 Chargers host the Broncos this week while the 1-4 Saints go on their bye.

Huddle Player of the Week

Reggie Wayne - How could you not pull for the Colts playing to honor their cancer-stricken head coach Chuck Pagano? Wayne said he "put it all out there" and that meant catching 13 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown. The 212 yards was tops in his career and the second time he went over the 200 yard mark. Wayne had 21 of 55 passes thrown to him. His career seemed on the wane during the nightmarish 2011 season but with Luck at the helm, Wayne is currently #2 in receiving yardage in the NFL. The news of his demise was greatly exaggerated.

He led the NFL in receiving yards this week and yet Wayne did not get the game ball. That was tossed into the backseat and driven to the hospital for Coach Pagano.

Salute!

Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Alex Smith 352 3 QB Robert Griffin III 98 0
RB Armando Allen 59 1 RB Maurice Jones-Drew 59 0
RB Rashard Mendenhall 101 1 RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis 16 0
WR Josh Gordon 82 2 WR Mike Wallace 17 0
WR Santana Moss 80 1 WR Jordy Nelson 29 0
WR Chris Givens 51 1 WR Danny Amendola 44 0
TE Joel Dreessen 21 1 TE Jimmy Graham 4 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 XP, 3 FG PK Alex Henery 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 122

Huddle Fantasy Points = 18

Sunday's Couch Commentary

In case you were not paying attention, this was mostly a downer of a week. A few good games went off but overall this was the week that scoring forgot. 14 of the 26 teams playing scored fewer than 20 points and six remained below ten point. The Ravens-Chiefs game may still have fans in the stands because no one can prove that an actual game was player there with a final tally of just 9-6. Only five games had a combined score greater than 45 points. In fantasy terms, it was feast or famine. And mostly famine.

The Game-O-The-Week? Give me points, give me an underdog win and give me an exciting finish. Check. Check. Check.

Packers 27, Colts 30

The Packers were only 2-2 coming into this game and needed the win. They had little problem jumping to an insurmountable unbeatable big lead with a 21-3 margin at halftime. This was not even a game.

But on their first possession the Packers threw an interception and the Colts started on the GB 39-yard line. It only took five plays before Luck connected with Dwayne Allen for an 8-yard touchdown and a 21-10 deficit.

The Packers went three-and-out so the Colts started on their own 30-yard line. Eight plays later the drive stalled on the Packers 32-yard line where Adam Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard field goal for a 21-13 score.

Knowing that the Colts were getting closer, the Packers had a nice drive that finally stalled at the IND 34-yard line where Mason Crosby MISSED wide right. That allowed the Colts to start on their own 42-yard line and thanks in no small part to a 25-yard pass interference call, they reached the Packers 6-yard line with a first down. On third and goal, Luck ran up the middle for the touchdown but the two point conversion failed. GB 21-IND 19 and the third quarter ended seconds later.

Packers went three-and-out and punted.

Colts threw an interception down to the GB 29-yard line.

Packers went four-and-out and punted.

Colts took over on their own 15-yard line with 11:27 left to play. Two deep completions and a face mask penalty saw the Colts reach the GB 10-yard line where they could not score and settled for a 28-yard field goal and a 22-21 lead with 8:08 left to play.

Packers went four-and-out and punted.

Colts went three-and-out and punted.

With 4:44 left to play, the Packers took over at midfield and Alex Green replaced Cedric Benson. He broke a 41-yard run to the IND 8-yard line where Rodgers connected with James Jones for the second touchdown on the day, The two point attempt failed but with 4:30 left to play the Packers led 27-22.

Consider it his first great drive. Luck took over on his own 20-yard line and converted a third-and nine to the IND-36 yard line. Five plays later it was third-and-12 at the GB 45-yard line where Luck found Reggie Wayne for an 15-yard gain. Then he hit Wayne for an 18-yard gain to the GB 14-yard line with 1:26 left to play. On third-and-7, Luck ran up the middle for seven yards which had to be confirmed by the Replay Assistant when it was challenged and upheld. With just 39 seconds left on the clock, Luck throws it REGGIE WAYNE OF COURSE who strains over the goal line for the touchdown. A two point run by Donald Brown makes it 30-27 with only 35 seconds left to play.

With Aaron Rodgers, that's a lot of time. Enough to go from his own 20-yard line to the IND-33 yard line where he had to call a time out before the play clock expired and that left Mason Crosby with a 51-yard field goal attempt to tie. A kick that hooked hard right and was no good.

They won the game for head coach Chuck Pagano who watched from his hospital room. And on a day that saw Aaron Rodgers throw for three scores but only 243 yards, we watched Peyton Manning throw for 345 yards and three scores in a losing bid. Only that happened in New England where Tom Brady won their game by handing off to the running backs. Andrew Luck was the winning pitcher for the Colts comeback with 362 yards and three touchdowns and the highest fantasy score in most leagues.

A star is born, a torch is passed and the Packers have to go play in Houston.

The winds of change seem strong this year.

Now get back to work...


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