Under the Numbers: Week 6
Alessandro Miglio
October 9, 2012
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We are nearing Tebow Time. Being there are no significant statistics from the Jets lefty, though, he will have to wait to make his first appearance for Under the Numbers. Until then, here are some of this week’s more compelling statistics.

1. Michael Crabtree: 6 receptions, 113 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Buffalo Bills

The Bills defense has been replaced with a giant block of Swiss cheese.

A week after giving up 45 points in just about 1.5 quarters to the Patriots, they gave up over 600 yards of total offense to Alex Smith and the 49ers offense. Granted, Alex Smith was slinging the ball around like Tom Brady last week, but the Bills offered little resistance.

That is why you must take Crabtree’s line with a giant grain of salt. He has had few great performances throughout his career; one good one against a terrible defense does not a fantasy season make.

2. Andrew Luck: 31/55, 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; 6 rush, 24 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Green Bay Packers

The Packers did a good job on Luck and the Indianapolis offense for a good portion of the game. Then the Colts went Chuckstrong.

Luck suddenly seems like a good bet to beat Robert Griffin III as the best fantasy rookie at the position. Considering the injury concerns surrounding Griffin—and the fact that defense seem to be catching up to the dynamic rookie—things are looking up for Luck owners.

3. Jamaal Charles: 30 carries, 140 yards; 3 receptions, 21 yards vs. Baltimore Ravens

Don’t get me wrong, the fact a coach is actually utilizing Charles instead of running a guy like Thomas Jones out there is fantastic. But how much is too much?

Charles has gotten a huge workload in recent weeks as the Chiefs have turned off the safety. That has given his fantasy owners some big weeks, but the Chiefs are in danger of running the wheels off Charles if this keeps up. To have him tote the rock 30-plus times a game is insanity.

You cannot get rid of Charles, though, not with that upside. Just pray to the fantasy gods that Romeo Crennel does not run Charles into the ground before Week 8.

4. Christian Ponder: 25/35, 258 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; 3 carries, 31 yards vs. Tennessee Titans

The second-year quarterback had a nice bounce-back game after laying an egg last week in a good matchup. It was not so much that the offense did a bad job against the Lions as the fantastic play by the Minnesota defense and special teams.

Ponder threw his first two picks of the season, but he wound up with a nice fantasy day as he got Percy Harvin going. The sophomore quarterback was recently dropped in one of my leagues, and I happily scooped him up to back up Aaron Rodgers. If he is somehow available, pounce on him.

5. Ryan Mathews: 12 carries, 80 yards, 1 touchdown; 6 receptions, 59 yards

Jackie Battle got the start
With the upside of an oxcart.
Ryan Mathews is so much better
Than this silly rhyme.

Under the Numbers talked about Battle’s limited upside and why Mathews should be main man in San Diego, despite Battle’s big fantasy day last week. After each running back had four carries against the Saints, Battle had 10 yards to Mathews’ 49.

The sophomore running back went on to have a great day, seemingly leaving Battle in the dust. Of course, who knows what silliness Norv Turner and A.J. Smith will impose should Mathews fumble again, but we hope you bought low on Mathews when the getting was good.

6. Jordan Norwood: 13 receptions, 137 yards at New York Giants

 Rookie Josh Gordon stole the show with two touchdown catches last week, including a long toss from Brandon Weeden that gave the Browns a fleeting 14-point lead.

It was Jordan Norwood who really helped drive the offense, though, more so than the likes of Greg Little. With Travis Benjamin sidelined, the second-year receiver caught nine passes for 81 yards. That makes him more valuable in PPR leagues than the dropsy starter on his own team.

7. Cam Newton: 12/29, 141 yards; 7 carries, 42 yards vs. Seattle Seahawks

It has been an unexpected season of feast or famine for fantasy owners willing to bet a high draft pick on Newton. At this point, it seems like starting Newton when the matchup is favorable could be the best plan of action. A man of his talents is always capable of going off, but how will he fare against the Bears defense?

To be fair, the Bears are his toughest matchup going forward. It might be the best time to buy low on him if you can stomach the stress.

8. Kendall Wright: 9 receptions, 66 yards at Minnesota Vikings

The rookie receiver is quietly having the best year among his receiving peers, racking up a league-leading 214 yards thus far. He has benefited from the general invisibility of Kenny Britt as he continues to be hampered by injuries.

He has had good games with both Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck at the helm, so the quarterback situation should not bear much weight in his rest-of-season valuation. If you need a WR3 with tremendous upside, trade for Wright before he explodes Gus Johnson style.

9.  Zach Miller: 12 receptions, 150 yards

Is Miller finally beginning to earn his keep in Seattle?

After a year-plus of ignominy at the tight end position, Miller has registered a pulse with the Seahawks. He had just 25 catches for 233 yards last season; he is well on his way to blowing those numbers out of the water.

The question is whether he retains any fantasy value. Right now, no; he is a desperation play in a deep league where you hope he scores a fluky touchdown. But what if Russell Wilson begins to throw to him more often because he trusts him more as time passes by? Miller caught three passes for 59 yards last week, including a 30-yarder.

Perhaps bigger things are in store for him in fantasy land.

10. Percy Harvin: 8 receptions, 108 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 carries, 8 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Tennessee Titans                                                                                                                         

The breakout has begun.

Well, Harvin has actually been performing close to MVP levels this season, but his fantasy output had been hampered by a lack of fantasy-relevant touchdowns before last week.

The Titans obliged his owners’ patience, letting him get into the end zone twice.

11. Alex Green: 9 carries, 55 yards; 1 reception, 8 yards

A popular sleeper just a year ago before a season-ending injury, Green might finally make his mark on the fantasy realm after this week.

Much of his output came on one 41-yard run in the fourth quarter, but Green was the clear-cut replacement for Cedric Benson when he went out with a foot injury. Well, Benson might be out for a while with a Lisfranc injury. James Starks still lurks, and he is certainly worth a look if Green is off your waiver wire, but the sophomore running back is the one on which you should blow your FAAB budget.

12. Scott Chandler/Heath Miller: 4 receptions, 40 yards/4 receptions, 41 yards at San Francisco 49ers/vs. Philadelphia Eagles

It was regression week for two tight ends who had severely overperformed on expectations. Both tight ends had four touchdown receptions apiece, buoying fantasy owners who had the stones to start them through most of that time.

It was an eerily similar line for them both, though Chandler lost a costly fumble. This is more in line with the production we should expect from these guys; touchdowns are merely an unpredictable bonus.

13. Rashard Mendenhall: 14 carries, 81 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 receptions, 20 yards vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Apparently torn ACLs are not what they used to be for running backs.

Mendenhall is the latest in a line of starting running backs to return from the injury with no obvious ill effects. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are going strong.

Police Plodder

Chris Johnson: 15 carries, 24 yards at Minnesota Vikings

He’s baaaaaack! Johnson went back to being terrible, proving his 141-yard outburst was an aberration. He is currently tied with another police plodder favorite, Shonn Greene, for the worst YPC in the league at 2.9.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 9 carries, 14 yards vs. Miami Dolphins

Things have not exactly been peachy keen for The Law Firm after his unexpected Week 1 production, when he averaged 5.1 YPC

Shonn Greene: 8 carries, 26 yards vs. Houston Texans

To put it succinctly, Greene was put into the plodder report well before the Jets took the field on Monday night. He did Under the Numbers proud, though he had two nice plays on a promising drive including a 12-yard rush that we have confirmed is not the longest of his career, contrary to popular belief.

Cedric Benson: 7 carries, 20 yards; 2 receptions, 21 yards at Indianapolis Colts

For all the praise Benson has gotten as a Packer, he sure has not racked up the yardage. The perennial plodder has continued his slow-footed ways despite looking spry at times, averaging 3.5 YPC on the season. Unfortunately for him, his season might be over with that Lisfranc injury.

Michael Turner: 18 carries, 67 yards; 2 receptions, 2 yards at Washington Redskins

Once again, Turner has a pedestrian week only to be saved by a touchdown. He was actually coming off two great weeks, but makes another appearance on the plodder with his 3.7 YPC. He still has a few games left before he really starts to fade, if recent career trends are any indication.

Mark Ingram: 5 carries, 16 yards

The second-year running back is barely worth mentioning nowadays. The Saints must be using him out of stubbornness more than anything else, considering they traded away a future first-round pick to get him in the 2011 draft. The other running backs in the Saints backfield are simply outperforming him.

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