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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 6
David Dorey
October 15, 2012
Follow Follow @Dorey_TheHuddle
 
Stats to Know Video - Featuring David Dorey
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Aaron Rodgers 338 6
Robert Griffin III 182p / 138r 3
Andy Dalton 381 3
Michael Vick 311p / 59r 2
Josh Freeman 328 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Shonn Greene 161 3
Ray RIce 106 2
C.J. Spiller 110 1
Ahmad Bradshaw 120 1
Darren McFadden 98 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Jordy Nelson 121 3
Dez Bryant 95 2
A.J. Green 135 2
Wes Welker 138 1
Jeremy Maclin 130 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Kyle Rudolph 56 1
Jermaine Gresham 68 1
Aaron Hernandez 30 1
Jason Witten 88 0
Tom Crabtree 62 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Lawrence Tynes 2 4
Jason Hanson 2 4
Rob Bironas 2 4
Blair Walsh 0 4
Dan Bailey 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Giants 0 6 3
Buccaneers 1 0 2
Jets 0 3 4
Browns 1 2 4
Redskins 1 3 3

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

DeMarco Murray - Sprained foot
Trent Richardson - Injured his side. Ribs?
Kevin Kolb - Crunched ribs
Brandon Lloyd - Shoulder injury
Bilal Powell - Dislocated shoulder
Brandon Bolden - Injured, left game and no word why

Ten Stats to know

1. TE Aaron Hernandez (nine targets) - The Patriots tight end returned after missing four games with an ankle injury and was thrown nine passes. He turned those into six receptions for one touchdown and this was when Tom Brady threw a career-high 58 passes in one game. Notable was that Rob Gronkowski was also thrown nine passes for six catches and 80 yards. The duo split the tight end workload even though Hernandez had been limited in practice and not played in a month. Gronkowski scored in half of his games so far while Hernandez notched a touchdown in both of his.

2. QB Brandon Weeden (280 pass yards) - The Browns rookie quarterback comes off his first win and over the last five games  averaged 280 pass yards while employing perhaps the least experienced set of receivers in the NFL. No matter that the Browns have lost Travis Benjamin, Mohamed Massaquoi and Jordan Norwood to injuries, Weeden just reloads and throws to a new player. This last week it was Josh Cooper (2-39) who was an ex-teammate at OSU called up from the practice squad. Greg Little continues to be plagued by dropped passes. This is a mishmash of mediocre receivers and yet Weeden throws for 280 yards per game. If any of the Browns step up or when they acquire better options next year, Weeden will be even more fantasy relevant.

3. WR Josh Gordon (3-99 receive, TD) - Gordon followed up his two touchdown, 82-yard performance against the Giants with another big game. The rookie wideout turned in 99 yards and a score against the Bengals thanks to a 71-yard catch and run. He scored three times in the last two weeks and yet has never caught more than three passes in any game. In fact, he was only thrown four passes last Sunday. The Colts will offer a decent shot at the scoring trifecta next week.

4. RB Shonn Greene (32-161 rush , 3 TD) - Greene set career marks in carries, yards and scores. He was helped in no small measure by the Colts showing up without LB Robert Mathis and DE Fili Moala. Then DE Corey Redding left the game early and DE Dwight Freeney played on an injured leg. Greene looked like an NFL-quality running back for the first time which will save his job for the next month. And that once again saddles the Jets with sub-standard rushing against Patriots, Dolphins, Seahawks and Rams for the next four games. Greene rushed for only 103 yards from the previous four games combined. Even Joe McKnight gained 71 yards on just three carries against the Colts. Nice time to sell Greene. The Jets cannot see that but you should.

5. QB Josh Freeman (328 pass yards, 3 TD) - The Buccaneers quarterback is rarely considered a fantasy starter if he is even still on a roster in your league. But in the last two weeks, he's passed for 299 yards against the Redskins and then 328 yards versus the Chiefs. He tossed three touchdowns last week and has eight scores on the season. In case you have been starting Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick or Philip Rivers for your fantasy team, they are on bye this week. The very same week that Freeman will be at home facing the visiting Saints. That makes for a slick roster move if only for this one week.

6. PK Greg Zuerlein (66 yard field goal attempt) - He missed the 66-yard kick on the final play in Miami, but the ridiculous part was that the Rams would even let him try it. And while it was no good, that was only because it went wide left and hit the net covering the stands. Straighten the kick out a little and he would have set the new distance record by three yards. Zuerlein was 13 of 13 on field goals coming into the game but missed from 37, 52 and the 66 yards out in a game where the Rams lost by three points. The rookie has already made kicks from 53, 56, 58 and 60 yards. Now that he went wide left on a 66 yarder, the chances are growing that the 63-yard field goal record will fall this year. Even Jay Feely kicked a 61-yarder in Arizona this week.

7. RB Alex Green (22-65 rush) - Cedric Benson is out for the next eight weeks and the Packers promoted Green into the starting role with mention of a committee that also would use James Starks. Starting out against the Texans in Houston, Green was given 22 carries and gained just 65 rushing yards for a 3.0 yards per carry average. But notable is that James Starks never had a carry until there was only 5:27 remaining in the game and the score was 42-24 in favor of the Packers. That is the sort of committee you can love and Green did have several nice runs. He started in a very tough venue and played well without sharing carries. That will play out even better in future weeks against the Rams, Jaguars and Cardinals.

8. RB Stevan Ridley (16-34 rush) - The Patriots runner recently produced two games with over 100 rushing yards but fell flat in Seattle as do all rushers. Notable here is that Ridley still was given 16 rushing attempts and Brandon Bolden had six runs all during one offensive series before getting injured. Ridley may be as low as he is going to get this year since the next five games go against defenses which rank in the bottom eight against running backs. Playing in Seattle was no measuring stick. Expect nice returns when the Patriots face the Jets (twice), Rams, Bills, and Colts over the next five games. If Bolden's mystery injury proves to be anything serious, Ridley will post even bigger points for the next month.

9. QB Carson Palmer (353 pass yards, TD) - The Raiders returned from their bye week and nearly beat the Falcons in Atlanta. At the head of the effort was Carson Palmer completing 23 of 33 passes for 353 yards. Palmer started the season with 297 and 373 yard efforts against the Chargers and Dolphins respectively. But with only 209 yards versus the Steelers and then 202 yards in Denver, his stock fell.  The Atlanta game breathes new life in this still developing offense and Palmer is not a bad consideration for the coming weeks. Figure his schedule goes against the Jaguars, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Ravens and Saints next and none of them rank as a top ten defense against quarterbacks and most are among the worst ten secondaries. Palmer's still too risky as a full-time starter but should post better games for the next month or more while the NFL transitions through bye weeks.

10. 100 Yard Rushers (2) - Welcome to the future. It is not enough that the two running backs that rushed for over 100 yards were Ahmad Bradshaw in San Francisco and Shonn Greene (anywhere really). It was that in the last ten years there has never been any week with fewer than three runners who gained at least 100 rushing yards. The last two seasons produced one week each with three 100-yard runners but never just two. The high this year has been nine runners and the previous low was five. What this says the most is that when you get running backs in the future - make sure they are equally good as receivers.

Sunday Snippets

OAK 20, ATL 23 A little low scoring for Game-O-The-Week but a tight one throughout and yet the Falcons squeak out another one to remain unbeaten at 6-0. The Raiders have hardly played better with Carson Palmer posting 353 yards and one score passing and Darren McFadden running for 70 yards and a score plus 28 yards on three catches. Denarius Moore scored once with 104 yards on five receptions as one of his few good games. The Falcons won but no one did much. Matt Ryan passed for only 249 yards and one score with three interceptions. As a team the Falcons only rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries. Roddy White (6-72) had the touchdown because it was a home game and Julio Jones (4-63) was just average because he was not on the road. Tony Gonzalez (4-42) did not act like the leading fantasy tight end. The Falcons are getting tired of winning and the Raiders almost pulled off the upset. So far, the Falcons are always just good enough at the end of the game. The 6-0 Falcons now head for their bye and the 1-4 Raiders return home to face the Jaguars.
CIN 24, CLE 34

This too was a contender for the GOTW since it saw the Browns finally get their first win on the season and snap their "not good enough" streak stemming from last November. Brandon Weeden (231 yards) passed for scored to Josh Gordon (3-99) and Ben Watson (2-6) but no one else was that productive as a receiver. Trent Richardson ran 14 times for 37 yards but left injured and Montario Hardesty looked surprisingly effective rushing for 56 yards and one touchdown on 15 runs. The Bengals continue to rely on BenJarvus Green-Ellis (16-62) for average rushing and almost never scoring. Andy Dalton (381 yards) may have been the losing pitcher but had a big game with touchdowns for A.J. Green (7-135, 2 TD) and Jermaine Gresham (3-68, TD). Dalton hit ten different receivers. This game featured touchdowns that were 55, 71 and 57 yards long. Now the 3-3 Bengals return home to face the Steelers and the 1-5 Browns

STL 14, MIA 17 Low scoring and boring as you should expect. Sam Bradford passed for 315 yards without ever scoring a touchdown other than the one he rushed in and stole from Steven Jackson (12-52). Brandon Gibson (7-91) and Chris Givens (3-85) led the Rams and once again Givens caught a long pass. There was no replacing Danny Amendola for the short stuff over the middle other than a mishmash of several players. The Fins passed for 185 yards and two scores but no receivers had a decent game and Reggie Bush only gained 17 yards on 12 runs but added five catches for 44 yards to save a little fantasy value. This entire game did not have a big game by anyone. The loss sends the 3-3 Rams back home to face the Packers and the 3-3 Dolphins go on their bye.
IND 9, NYJ 35

Nothing much worked for the Colts when Andrew Luck passed for 280 yards and two interceptions while Vick Ballard only gained 25 yards on eight runs. Reggie Wayne was the only fantasy play here with 87 yards on five catches but that's a downer after recent games. The Jets at home just got better and better thanks in no small part to rampant injuries to the Colts defense. Already short of defenders, Dwight Freeney and Cory Redding were hurt and the beat was on. Mark Sanchez only passed for 82 yards but scored twice while - I swear this is true - Shonn Greene rushed 32 times for 161 and three touchdowns. That says all you need to know about this game. The 2-3 Colts return home to host the Browns and the 3-3 Jets head to New England to play the Pats.

DET 26, PHI 23
OT

Another contender for GOTW but just a little light on touchdowns. Matt Stafford passed for 311 yards and one score while also running in one as well. This all pretty much happened in the fourth quarter in a game that was just 6-13 at the end of the third quarter. Calvin Johnson (6-135) was clearly the best fantasy play on this team that had no others with decent stats. Michael Vick passed for 311 yards and two scores and is down to only two interceptions. That was helped by Jeremy Maclin (6-130, TD) who scored on a 70 yard catch and run while DeSean Jackson settled for 74 yards on five receptions. LeSean McCoy only gained 22 yards on 14 runs but scored once on his seven catches for 26 yards. The 2-3 Lions head to Chicago and the 3-3 Eagles go on their bye.
KC 10, TB 38

The Chiefs discovered how to finally find satisfaction with Matt Cassel. Just start Brady Quinn. He only passed for 180 yards and two interceptions which rendered Dwayne Bowe (3-21) useless and he was the only fantasy receiver on this entire team. No passing game meant load up on Jamaal Charles who ended with only 40 yards on 12 runs and caught just two passes for seven yards. It was a dark day for all Chiefs who scored their only touchdown on a fumble return. Josh Freeman (328, 3 TD) had a monster game using just wide receivers like Mike Williams (4-113, TD) and Vincent Jackson (4-66, 2 TD). Doug Martin ran for 76 yards on 13 runs and added 55 yards on two receptions but left injured. LeGarrette Blount came in and scored a touchdown on his seven runs for 58 yards. It was a great day to be a Buccaneer. Now the 2-3 Bucs host the Saints and the 1-5 Chiefs stumble onto their bye.

BUF 19, ARI 16
OT
This was almost an exciting game thanks to a 61-yard field goal to tie and then Jay Feely doinked a 38-yard attempt from the left upright on the final play in regulation. The Cardinals lost Kevin Kolb near the end of the game and John Skelton ended up throwing an interception in overtime that sealed the Cardinal's fate. Larry Fitzgerald (6-93, TD) was the only Cardinal with any fantasy play other than William Powell who ran for 70 yards on 13 runs but only had one catch. This was a very defensive game from the Bills who had never proven they even had a defense until this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick only passed for 153 yards and no scores while C. J. Spiller 12-88, TD) and Fred Jackson (16-53, TD) both scored and split up what might have been a great game. Stevie Johnson
NE 23, SEA 24

Not a lot of points this week but some really good, tight games. Tom Brady passed for 395 yards and two scores but had two interceptions. Wes Welker (10-138, TD) and Brandon Lloyd (6-80) were the top receivers but Rob Gronkowski (6-61) was decent and Aaron Hernandez finally returned to play and gained 30 yards and a score on six catches. The Pats had almost no success rushing the ball. The Seahawks could not run either with Marshawn Lynch only producing 41 yards on 15 carries. But Russell Wilson threw for 293 yards which is basically twice his usual game. He also scored three touchdowns that went to Sidney Rice (3-81), Doug Baldwin (2-74) and Braylon Edwards (2-21). The difference in this game was the Pats giving up a 51 yard catch with an added penalty for unnecessary roughness so that in only five plays, Wilson threw a score to Edwards and then a couple of series later, Leon Washington returned a punt to the SEA 43-yard line and four plays later Wilson hit Rice for a 46-yard touchdown to win the game. The 3-3 Pats return home to face the Jets and the 4-2 Seahawks head to San Francisco.

NYG 26, SF 3 The game was the replay of the 2011 Conference Championship that sent the Giants to the Superbowl. But it was surprisingly not a game. The 49ers who just won 45-3 last week could generate no offense against the Giants. Alex Smith passed for 200 yards and three interceptions. Frank Gore ran for 36 yards on only eight carries. Randy Moss (2-75) was the best receiver only because he caught a 55-yard pass. The Giants won with Ahmad Bradshaw gaining 116 yards and one score and Victor Cruz catching a touchdown on his six receptions for 58 yards. Eli Manning passed for 193 yards and the one score and had no interceptions. This was just a odd game that made the 49ers offense suddenly look as punchless as a few years ago. The 4-2 Giants return home to host the Redskins and the 4-2 49ers remain at home to face the Seahawks.
MIN 26, WAS 38

As always, it is a treat to face the Redskins with Christian Ponder passing for 352 yards and two scores and Percy Harvin turning in 11 receptions for 133 yards. Adrian Peterson gained 79 yards on 17 carries while his scoring drought continues thanks only to a false start penalty. There were 28 points scored in the fourth quarter and this game was a treat to every Robert Griffin owner. He not only passed for 182 yards and a score, he racked up 138 yards and two scores as a runner. His 76-yard touchdown run with 2:43 left to play was the back breaker. Alfred Morris rushed for 47 yards on 16 carries with one score. This game was basically little more than Harvin catching and Griffin running. The 4-2 Vikings return home to face the Cardinals and the 3-3 Redskins travel to New York to face the Giants.

GB 42, HOU 24 This would have been less of a surprise had we never seen either team play this season. But we did. And in a weekend where the unthinkable or unimagined was happening anyway, the Packers rekindled 2011 with a classic beatdown on the previously unbeaten Texans in their stadium. Aaron Rodgers passed for 338 yards and six touchdowns despite the Texans being ranked #1 against quarterbacks. Jordy Nelson had a total of only 48 yards combined from his two previous road games and merely posted nine catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns. James Jones (3-33) caught two scores for the third straight week. Randall Cobb turned in 102 yards on seven catches. It was like the reverso game for the Houston defense which did not really show up. Matt Schaub passed for 232 yards and two interceptions. Arian Foster only gained 29 yards on 17 runs though he did score twice just to save his fantasy owners from a heart attack. Andre Johnson (8-75) was the top receiver for the Texans but didn't matter enough to actually score. It was like a stock market correction. Okay, we get it. The Packers are not that bad and the Texans are not that great. The 3-3 Packers head to St. Louis this week and the 5-1 Texans host the suddenly injury-ravaged Ravens.

Huddle Player of the Week

Shonn Greene - The Jets' stud running back ravaged the Colts, ripping them apart on monster run after monster run. He deftly cut through the defense and plowed over hapless linebackers. Clearly the newest elite back in the league, Greene rumbled to three touchdowns against the mighty Colts and then... and then... man. I cannot do this. I just cannot do this. I feel unclean. I may not have high standards but by golly they are higher than this...No one would believe me anyway.

Aaron Rodgers - The people drafting Rodgers were freaking out that their crafty first round "slam dunk" pick was a flop because he only scored three times over the first three weeks of playing the 49ers, Bears and Seahawks. After posting four scores on the Saints and three on the Colts, they felt better. Then Rodgers threw for a career best six touchdowns in Houston against one of the top defenses in the NFL. Admit it, you went in with the notion you would be happy with 250 yards and two scores. Instead you got the highest scoring player in most leagues and almost certainly a win in your league.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Josh Freeman 333 3 QB Eli Manning 193 1
RB Montario Hardesty 65 1 RB Jamaal Charles 47 0
RB Felix Jones 105 1 RB Michael Turner 33 0
WR Josh Gordon 99 1 WR Miles Austin 31 0
WR Michael Jenkins 67 1 WR Dwayne Bowe 21 0
WR Doug Baldwin 74 1 WR Antonio Brown 20 0
TE Tom Crabtree 62 1 TE Vernon Davis 37 0
PK Rob Bironas 4 FG 2 XP PK David Akers 1 FG

Huddle Fantasy Points = 127

Huddle Fantasy Points = 36

Sunday's Couch Commentary

Quite a weekend. Seven games failed to contain any team with 30 or more points. Parity is so rampant that we had two more overtime games. The Titans beat the Steelers. The Bills took down the Cardinals in Arizona. The Seahawks dropped the Pats to 3-3. The Giants reasserted their dominion over the 49ers and the Texans fell from the ranks of the unbeaten while the Browns finally got a win.

Imagine this - the AFC has only three teams with a winning record. Just three. The NFC West alone contains three teams with a winning record and the Rams are 3-3 in their cellar. The Falcons are the only remaining unbeaten team and they had to squeak past the Raiders to get there. With so much parity and close games, the only thing you can be sure of is that half the teams are going to lose next week. Just not ones you think in many cases.

The Game-O-The-Week? Several contenders but the winner is the one with big points, a close ending and fantasy implications abounding.

Cowboys 29, Ravens 31

The Cowboys trailed 10-17 at halftime but on their first drive in the third quarter, they reached the BAL 25-yard line where Dan Bailey kicked a 43-yard field goal for a 13-17 deficit. On the ensuing kickoff, Jacoby Jones fielded it eight yards deep in the endzone and still brought it out. He never stopped running until he had tied the all-time NFL record for a kickoff return touchdown (108 yards). Blink your eyes and the Ravens went back ahead 24-13.

Tony Romo drove the field on their next possession and with 3:24 left to play in the third quarter, connected with Dez Bryant for a 7-yard touchdown for a 20-24 score.

After the Ravens punted twice and the Cowboys once, Dallas took over on the BAL 37-yard line thanks to a bad punt and a ten-yard return by Bryant. By this time it was the fourth quarter and both Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray had left the game. Phillip Tanner was the runner but the Cowboys could not punch it in and settled for a 34-yard field goal and a 23-24 score with 8:26 left to play.

The Ravens then drove the field in 12 places and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice on third down with 4:49 left to play. At 31-23, the Cowboys were still just one touchdown behind. In what could have been one of those memorable drives from the season, Romo took over on his own 20-yard line and reached the BAL 4-yard line thanks to two defensive penalties and several short passes. He hit Bryant for his second touchdown with only 36 seconds left to play but the two point conversion failed when Bryant dropped the pass.

But it was not over yet. The Cowboys kicked the onsides kick and recovered it at the DAL 46-yard line with 30 seconds left.

On first down, Romo misses Kevin Ogletree but a pass interference call gave them first down with 26 seconds left. Romo then elected to throw, again, to Bryant for only one yard and then wasted the clock so that no second pass was attempted. With two seconds left, Dan Bailey went wide left on a 51-yard field goal.

It was a tight game and a sore loss for the Cowboys. But the Ravens also lost CB Ladarius Webb with a suspected ACL tear and Ray Lewis may be done for the year with a triceps tear. Injuries are ravaging this defense and playing the Ravens is not going to be nearly as challenging. The Cowboys played a great game defensively and the offense worked well both running and passing but giving up a special teams touchdown is always a killer.

The AFC has almost no winning records. The NFC has six of 16 teams over .500. This is going to be a season where trends and streaks are not likely to last. And we learn that anyone can win on any given Sunday and sometimes the least do the most and just when you think you can write off a team they come roaring back. All things are possible. I know this.

I just saw Shonn Greene score three touchdowns and gain 161 yards.

Now get back to work...


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