Tunnel Vision: Week 8
David Dorey
October 29, 2012
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Matt Stafford 352 4
Tony Romo 437 2
Tom Brady 304 4
Peyton Manning 305 3
Matt Ryan 280 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Doug Martin 214 2
Willis McGahee 155 1
LeSean McCoy 67 2
Trent Richardson 134 1
Adrian Peterson 127 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Titus Young 100 2
Demaryius Thomas 137 1
Julio Jones 123 1
Miles Austin 133 0
Denarius Moore 96 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jason Witten 167 0
Rob Gronkowski 146 2
Jimmy Graham 63 1
Heath Miller 46 1
Zach Miller 22 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Lawrence Tynes 2 5
Justin Medlock 1 5
Sebastian Janikowski 2 4
Matt Bryant 3 3
Dan Carpenter 3 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
NY Giants 1 4 6
Dolphins 1 4 2
Raiders 0 3 4
Bears 1 2 2
Packers 1 2 1

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Ryan Tannehill - Knee injury
Brady Quinn - Head injury
Dez Bryant - Hip injury
Wes Welker - Ankle injury
Chris Givens - Toe injury

Ten stats you need to know

1. RB Jonathan Stewart (17-42) - The Panthers back received quite a bump in popularity this week when HC Ron Rivera installed Stewart as the "featured" back in the return to power running instead of a zone-read rushing scheme. Stewart only gained 42 rushing yards and added four receptions for 38 yards. But DeAngelo Williams still ran 11 times (33 yards) and Mike Tolbert figured in with four touches as well. Stewart may be the featured back, but with only 55% of the rushing plays he's not turning into a fantasy savior any time soon. And that doesn't even consider the role Cam Newton serves as a runner.

2. TE Antonio Gates (2-14) - While a meager 14 yards is bad; it is not the worst game for Gates this season. He went without any catches in week two. In week 7, he turned in six catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns versus the Broncos in what some hoped was his "turn around" game of the year. After another disappearing act in Cleveland, Gates now stands at one good game and six with minimal fantasy value. In the immortal words of Sesame Street, "one of these things are not like the others, one of these things just don't belong." I'll call it for you - it's over.

3. WR Titus Young (9-100, 2 TD) - With Nate Burleson out for the year with a broken leg, the second-year receiver became a starter with spectacular results - for this week anyway. Facing the Seahawk's defense is no treat usually but in this case they sold out to stop Calvin Johnson who caught only three passes late in the fourth quarter. Young’s best two games were after Burleson was knocked from the Bear's game. Young may only be 5-11, 174 pounds but a combined 15 catches for 181 yards and two scores against the Bears and Seahawks means Young may finally be the sleeper people hoped last summer.

4. WR Cecil Shorts (8-116) - The Jaguars have one of the worst passing offenses in the league same as last year. But notable is that Shorts finished up against the Packers with eight catches and turned in 79 yards and a score on four receptions versus the Raiders in week seven. Both games played without Maurice Jones-Drew and as is always the case, the Jaguars needed to pass in an attempt to catch up to their opponents. There have been no receivers with any reliability in Jacksonville, but Shorts is making use of his opportunity subbing for the injured Laurent Robinson. And Blaine Gabbert desperately needs a reliable receiver.

5. QB Michael Vick (21-35-191, TD) - Though Vick did not turn the ball over this week, he was wholly ineffective in competing with the visiting Falcons. The Eagles lost a game after their bye for the first time in this millennia (1999) and in the words of HC Andy Reid, it was an embarrassing performance by all. Not to mention this is the second time Vick lost to his ex-team. What even Vick is now awaiting is a change at quarterback that would call up Nick Foles simply because the Eagles cannot get much worse at 3-4. What is notable about this is that the next games on the schedule are @NO, DAL and @WAS. Those two road games go against two of the very worst secondaries in the league and will make any quarterback look better than they probably are. Timing is everything.

6. WR Denarius Moore ( 5-96, TD) - The second-year player is on a three game scoring streak with a touchdown against the Falcons, Jaguars and now the Chiefs. Moore is getting eight or more targets every week and the Raiders passing game is finally taking form under new OC Greg Knapp. Next week, Moore will be home against the Buccaneers and in week 11 faces the visiting Saints. His hot streak is about to get hotter and he's making a difference as fantasy teams are starting to vie for a playoff spot in a month or so.

7. QB Josh Freeman (9 TDs) - The Bucs quarterback is on a roll and comes off the trifecta with three straight games featuring three passing touchdowns in each and he averaged 327 pass yards over the last four games. His next three games go against defenses that rank in the bottom ten against quarterbacks - Oakland, San Diego and Carolina. Freeman is turning in the breakout season expected in 2011. The difference this year is that he has the personnel to help him get there.

8. WR Ryan Broyles (3-37, TD) - Titus Young had a bigger stat line but don't miss what Ryan Broyles is quietly doing. The ex-Sooner blew his knee nine games into the 2011 season in Oklahoma which led to his fall to the second round. He was not intended to get playing time this year to rest his knee but was further along in training camp than expected. With Nate Burleson out and Titus Young taking his place, Broyles has been pressed into duty the last two weeks for the first time. He caught three passes for 51 yards and a score against the Bears and scored again versus the Seahawks. He's one to watch and more likely next year to take the outside and let Young be the slot.

9. WR Clyde Gates (7-82) - The Jets are spinning through the depth charts to see what they have and Gates ended up as the leading receiver versus the Dolphins with 11 targets and seven catches. While encouraging, be careful before jumping on any bandwagon or getting in line at the waiver wire. Gates only has two other receptions this year. He also only caught two passes when he was a rookie last season - with the Dolphins. Nice game against the team that drafted and then dumped him after a year but nothing to run and grab.

10. WR Dwayne Bowe (3-65) - Coming off his worse game of the year when Bowe only caught three passes for 25 yards against the Buccaneers, Bowe bounced back with at least a mildly respectable effort against the Raiders. It was no coincidence that last week, Brady Quinn was the starting quarterback. In week eight, he was knocked out of the game with a head injury and the much maligned Matt Cassel. Quinn threw two passes at Bowe and with one incomplete and the other intercepted. For Bowe owners, the status of Quinn is more important than opposing defense.

Sunday Snippets

CAR 22, CHI 23 Sucks to be Cam. Lost the game on the final play to a field goal but then again CAR never scored an offensive touchdown and got five field goals from Justin Medlock. Newton passed for 314 yards and two interceptions. That whole "Jonathan Stewart is the new primary back" thing was WAY overstated since both Stewart (17-42) and DeAngelo Williams (11-33) had plenty of carries and yet not much production. Steve Smith (7-118) and even Brandon Lafell (3-88) had the yards and no scores. Jay Cutler passed for just 186 yards and one score with Brandon Marshall (9-98) the only receiver that mattered and Matt Forte (15-70, 5-24) only had an average sort of game. The 1-6 Panthers head to Washington and the 6-1 Bears go to Tennessee.
SD 6, CLE 7

Really? I know they had a bit of rain and wind but 6-7? Really? You can almost understand the Chargers traveling so far and it being colder than at home but come on. Rivers passed for 154 yards and the only receiver of any note was Ronnie Brown with 7-85 that should have gone to Ryan Matthews (24-95, 2-9). Brandon Weeden threw for only 129 yards while Trent Richardson's "my ribs hurt and I won't play good" was apparently misunderstood since he ran for 122 yards and one extremely important touchdown on 24 carries. When both teams fail to crack double digit scores, all players involved should be forced to forgo their weekly game checks. The 3-4 Chargers return home to host the Chiefs and the 2-6 Browns host the Ravens.

SEA 24, DET 28 Taking the Seahawks on the road is like taking a fish out of water. Marshawn Lynch (12-10501) ran well despite only getting 12 carries and Ryan Wilson passed for 236 yards and two scores though no receivers had any real fantasy value. Matt Stafford threw for 352 yards and three scores despite facing the vaunted SEA defense because he let them chase Calvin Johnson (3-46) while scoring with Titus Young (9-100, 2 TD) and Ryan Broyles (3-37, TD). It was a close game throughout that was won on the final drive by Stafford to set up the wining touchdown. The 4-4 Seahawks returns home to greet the suddenly not-so-good Vikings and the 3-4 Lions go to Jacksonville.
JAC 15, GB 24

This game is what was feared. The Jaguars show up without MJD and why would the Packers try to exert themselves too much? Blaine Gabbert threw for 303 yards and one score though Cecil Shorts (8-116) was the only decent receiver and his yardage alone says that the Packers weren't taking this game serious enough. And then won anyway. Rashad Jennings gained 59 yards on 17 runs . Aaron Rodgers yawned a few times and then passed for 186 yards and two touchdowns. With both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson out, he mainly used James Jones (7-78) and Randall Cobb (5-28) scored once. The Jags are not nearly this good and the Packers are not nearly this bad. This was like telling students that the test the next day is going to be really easy but still study hard. Just a waste of a lot of fantasy points. The 1-6 Jaguars host the Lions this week and the 5-3 Packers remain at home to host the Cardinals. And probably yawn again and do this all over.

MIA 30, NYJ 9 You have to hate the inconsistent Jets. Mark Sanchez passed for 283 yards and one score but it took 54 passes since the beat was on from the first quarter. Clyde Gates (7-82) and Dustin Keller (7-67) were the best receivers and Shonn Greene gained 77 yards on 15 runs with 29 more on two catches. Ryan Tannehill left with a knee injury and even that did not matter. Miami scored on defense and let Daniel Thomas hawk a short score from Reggie Bush (14-59). One of those games that somehow no one has a big game even though 39 total points were scored. The 4-3 Fins head to Indianapolis while the reeling 3-5 Jets go on their bye.
ATL 30, PHI 17

Matt Ryan had another fine game with 262 yards and three scores that naturally went mostly to Julio Jones (5-123, TD) because it was a road game. No other receiver produced more than 40 yards for the Falcons and even Michael Turner (24-58) was less effective than Jacquizz Rodgers (8-60) thanks to a 43-yard run. Michael Vick did not help quiet his detractors when he only passed for 191 yards and one score but he never had a turnover and that alone makes this game a success for him. Sort of. LeSean McCoy ran for only 45 yards but scored once as a runner and again on his three receptions for 22 yards as the only Eagle player of any fantasy note. The still unbeaten Falcons host the Cowboys this week while the 3-4 Eagles go to New Orleans.

WAS 12, PIT 27 While the announcers still spend plenty of time worshipping Robert Griffin III, he only passed for 177 yards and one score and added just nine rushing yards. No one for the Skins gained more than 59 yards and Santana Moss scored but only gained 21 yards on four catches. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 222 yards and three scores though MIke Wallace (7-62), Antonio Brown (4-38) and even Heath Miller (4-46, TD) didn't do much. Jonathan Dwyer is still making the best of his situation and gained 107 yards on 17 carries Overall, pretty boring game and all the scoring ended up with the wrong people. The 3-5 Redskins host the Panthers this week and the 4-3 Steelers head to New York to play the Giants.
NE 45, STL 7

Apparently the Patriots travel far better than the Rams. The game started evenly but when the Pats strung together 21 points in the second quarter, the Rams were forced to pass and even the Pats can defend the pass when up by 3 touchdowns. Tom Brady passed for 304 yards and four scores that were split two each for Rob Gronkowski (8-146) and Brandon Lloyd (2-28).Steven Ridley (15-127, TD) made the most of his workload though Shane Vereen came in to steal one score. The Rams started out well enough with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens to start the game but it went downhill from there. Now the 5-2 Patriots and the 3-5 Rams go on their byes.

IND 19, TEN 13
Close game but hardly any points. Andrew Luck threw for 297 yards but only one score to Vick Ballard in overtime for the win. Ballard ran for 55 yards but more surprising was that Donald Brown was able to play and went for 80 yards on 14 carries. So while Vick still did a good job for owners this week, the fun is probably over for now. Chris Johnson ran for 99 yards on 21 carries and added two receptions for 18 yards as the only decent fantasy play other than Kendall Wright (4-47, TD) and Nate Washington (5-69). This was a disappointing game because bad defenses should have allowed more points on both sides. The 4-3 Colts host the Dolphins this week and the 3-5 Titans host the Bears.
OAK 26, KC 16

The Chiefs crashed, are still burning and the fire trucks turned around not wanting to waste the water. The Raiders had their way (which I have never written before) in Kansas City. Carson Palmer threw for two scores on 209 yards that were split between Denarius Moore (5-96) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (1-32). Darren McFadden ran 29 times for 114 yards and added 23 yards on four catches like he had been doing it all year (instead of just in his dreams). Brady Quinn left injured but Matt Cassel (218, TD) was unable to mount any comeback and his lone score was with only two minutes left in the game. The most glaring sign of demise - Jamaal Charles ran for only four yards on five carries against THE RAIDERS... AT HOME... it is a sad day for Charles owners. Fans are now renting planes with banners to fly over the stadium demanding the firing of GM Scott Pioli. The 1-6 Chiefs now head to San Diego and the 3-4 Raiders host the Buccaneers.

NO 14, DEN 34 This is scary because the Broncos are done with the hard part of their schedule. Peyton Manning threw for 305 and 3 touchdowns and Demaryius Thomas (7-137, TD) came up big again. Eric Decker only caught four passes for 43 yards but two of them were touchdowns. Willis McGahee ran for 122 yards and one touchdown with 33 more yards as a receiver. But the Saints were just overmatched from the start. Drew Brees was prolific in previous weeks and only managed 213 yards and two scores because of trash time in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Graham (5-63, TD) and Darren Sproles (7-56, TD) were the only two receivers with any notable stats. Graham was a game time decision in the late Sunday game so a scary start turned out pretty well. The 4-3 Broncos head to Cincy this week and the 2-5 Saints slink home to face the Eagles with their QB to be named later.

Huddle Player of the Week

Jason Witten / Doug Martin- This was a tie with Doug Martin who turned in his first ever 100 yard rushing game while on the road against what was a good defense of the Vikings. Martin totaled 135 rush yards, 79 receiving yards on three catches and two touchdowns. Witten never scored, but he set a franchise record with 18 receptions for 167 yards. That ties him for third place all-time with Brandon Marshall and the only players in NFL history with more was Marshall again (21-2009) and Terrell Owens (20 - 2000). Both players were major difference-makers for fantasy teams this week.


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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Blaine Gabbert 303 1 QB Robert Griffin III 185 1
RB Daniel Thomas 45 1 RB Jamaal Charles 10 0
RB Rashad Jennings 115 0 RB Alfred Morris 59 0
WR Dexter McCluster 66 1 WR Victor Cruz 23 0
WR Clyde Gates 82 0 WR Vincent Jackson 40 0
WR Ryan Broyles 37 1 WR Calvin Johnson 46 0
TE John Phillips 14 1 TE Antonio Gates 14 0
PK Justin Medlock 1 XP, 5 FG PK Greg Zuerlein 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 91

Huddle Fantasy Points = 31

Sunday's Couch Commentary

The Falcons are still undefeated but there were not a lot of dominating performances this week, at least not in this country. There were mostly low scoring games this week led by the snooze-fest in Cleveland but it illustrates an important thing to remember. Scores typically get lower the later in the season and the passing games are not as good thanks to weather in some venues. Hurricane Sandy may make a mess of things in some states and that could end up impacting football at least potentially (though in the grand scheme of things - not the most important consideration about a storm).

The Game-O-The-Week? There were several close games but most had a lack of points and fantasy significance. The one with good points by each side, plenty of screwy happenings and a close finish was clearly just one game.

NY Giants 29, Dallas 24

This was really two games in one. Maybe three.'

The first quarter was a comedy with the Giants kicking a field goal on their opening drive and Tony Romo throwing an interception.

The Giants then kicked another field goal and Romo threw another interception.

The Giants ended up scoring a touchdown on their 31-yard drive and let Andre Brown score because you started Ahmad Bradshaw.

The next series Romo fumbled instead of throwing an interception but recovered it. They punted and the Giants ended up kicking their third field goal at the start of the second quarter. 16-0.

Shifting into a higher gear, Romo only needed three plays before throwing his third interception that was returned for a touchdown. No need to force the Giants to return the pick through the entire Dallas offense. Romo throws it to Jason Pierre-Paul who apparently can occupy an area around 8'x10' when he jumps up. He trotted in with the touchdown untouched. The score was 23-0 with 13:05 left in the second quarter.

The Giants next possession saw Ahmad Bradshaw lose a fumble but he was not subjected to the same rules that David Wilson is.

After trading series, the Cowboys finally drove the fiend and Felix Jones ran for a four-yard touchdown despite rarely practicing this week. Not to worry - that was about the extent of what he did all game long.

The Cowboys closed out the quarter with a 51-yard field goal for a 23-10 deficit.

The third quarter opened with the Cowboys driving 86-yards and scoring when Tony Romo ran in a one-yard touchdown. This was an important score since three interceptions had Romo at negative fantasy points in the first half. Rushing score helped balance that out.

The Giants went three and out and with 3:50 left in the third quarter, the Cowboys took the lead when Romo threw a one-yard touchdown to John Phillips for the 24-23 lead.

The Giants figured they better get going so Eli Manning reached the DAL 46-yard line where he threw an interception.

But the Cowboys did nothing and punted which led to an 85-yard drive by the Giants who settled for a field goal and a 26-24 lead.

The Cowboys took over with 10:20 left to play on their own 22-yardline and it only took eight plays for them to let Felix Jones lose a fumble at midfield. This led to a Lawrence Tynes field goal with 3:37 left to play and a 29-24 lead with only 3:37 remaining.

Taking over on their own 22-yard line, the Cowboys marched to the NYG 19-yard line but stalled out when on second-and-one, Romo threw incomplete to Witten. On third-and-one, he threw deep to Kevin Ogletree for an incompletion. Just needed one yard for a first down. Just one. On fourth down, rather than call a running play or even a quick hitting short pass because IT WAS ONLY ONE YARD FOR A FIRST DOWN, Romo set up, saw the rush, took off running and ended up throwing yet another interception. The Giants would have had better field position just batting it incomplete but the defender intercepted it just so Romo owners could feel a little more pain.

It was not over. The Giants ran three plays and since the Cowboys had all their timeouts, they only drained the clock from 1:03 down to 51 seconds.

Starting on his own 30-yard line with 44 seconds left, Romo throw incomplete. Then hit Jason Witten for 13 yards because he had only connected with him 15 times so the defense did not see it coming. This set a team record for receptions in a game. Romo spiked the ball with 25 seconds left at the NYG 41-yard line. He hit Dez Bryant for 16 yards and he went out killing the clock with 19 seconds. Another pass to Witten for four yards made it 16 seconds left.

Then Romo threw into the endzone for an apparent 37-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant who would have withstood replay if he had short stubby fingers like mine (in fairness, I would have needed way more than 16 seconds just to run to the endzone). His fingertips touched out before his elbow and hip landed in bounds. A matter of maybe two inches. Maybe an inch.

Three plays followed but time ran out with the Cowboys on the NYG 27-yard line.

It was nearly one of the greatest comebacks in Cowboys history. It featured Romo passing for 437 yards and one score with another rushed in. For fantasy fun, the top three receivers for the Cowboys were Jason Witten (18-167), Miles Austin (9-133) and Dez "fingers" Bryant (5-110). All that and they lost the game.

The Giants had Eli Manning only passing for 192 yards and no touchdowns. Hakeem Nicks (4-46) and Victor Cruz (2-23) had terrible games and won. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 78 yards, had no catches and let Andre Brown score the touchdown.

And they won.

it's like your mom told you. Let the others make the mistakes and you'll come out ahead in life.

Now get back to work...

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