FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Under the Numbers: Week 10
Alessandro Miglio
November 6, 2012
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Election Day 2012 is upon us. Whatever your views might be, we urge you to go and exercise your right to vote.  Seriously. Stop reading this and take an hour out of your day to do it. You’ll feel good, and we’ll be here when you get back.

We might not be at Nate Silver’s level here at Under the Numbers, but we are taking a look at some intriguing statistics from this past week and beyond. Some of it informs who you should vote on or off your roster.

Check it out.

1. Andrew Luck: 30/48, 433 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Miami Dolphins

This has been brewing for a few weeks, but Luck has entered the stratosphere as a fantasy quarterback.

Luck leads all fantasy quarterbacks over the past three weeks with 64.1 standard points after a low point against the Jets. His record-breaking performance against the Dolphins has fully ushered in the Luck Era in fantasy football. It has come quicker than we have expected. He is now a bona fide top-10 option on a weekly basis, though a bad matchup might bump him back a bit.

If you’ve got him in a dynasty league, it might be a good time to sell your other quarterback if you have one. Luck is fine as your starter the rest of the season, and it might be more difficult to move your second or third guy after the season is over.

2. Doug Martin: 25 carries, 251 yards, 4 touchdowns; 4 receptions, 21 yards at Oakland Raiders

In what is the greatest rookie running back performance in fantasy football history, Martin scorched the Raiders for three long touchdown runs before getting a more conventional one-yarder at the goal line.

This comes on the heels of another huge performance, giving him over 85 standard points in the past two games alone. That kind of output is LaDainain Tomlinson-in-his-prime-esque. The Muscle Hamster seems to have skyrocketed into the top five at the position.

He was averaging just 3.5 YPC through the first week, which culminated in an eight-carry performance in a loss against the Washington Redskins. That figure has nearly doubled as he has averaged 6.6 YPC over his last four games, including the first two 100-yard performances of his career.

It seems like the absence of Carl Nicks will not hurt Martin as badly as we thought, though expecting these incredible performances on a weekly basis might be taking things a bit far. If you happen to own a couple of other quality backs, you should feel confident in Martin going forward. Or, if you can stomach it, he will not fetch a higher price than he will this week.

3. Calvin Johnson: 7 receptions, 129 yards at Jacksonville Jaguars

Let this be a lesson: never bench Calvin Johnson.

Oh, it was understandable. The Madden Curse seemed to be chipping away at Megatron’s season, giving him nagging injuries and a case of the  dropsies. His playing status was up in the air going into Sunday morning balky knee that kept him out of practice all of last week.

Were it not for Mikel Leshoure’s goal-line exploits (see below), Johnson might have caught a touchdown or two to go along with his big catch and yardage totals. The touchdowns will come. Unless he is ruled out, never bench Megatron.

4. Brandon Myers: 8 receptions, 59 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Muscle Hamster might have dominated the headlines from Sunday’s action in Oakland, but there was quite a show being put on by Raiders tight end Brandon Myers.

Every time Martin would rip off a huge touchdown run the Raiders would march down the field and score to make things interesting. Myers was involved in two of those scores, and he has quietly become a solid option. He leads the Raiders in receiving, but he had not reached the end zone until last week.

5. Andre Johnson: 8 receptions, 118 yards

Old Man Johnson might be slowing down, but the Bills defense does not seem to slow anyone down.

It was not the offensive explosion we all expected for the Texans, who scored just 21 points against a poor defense, but it got the job done. It was just Johnson’s second 100-yard performance, but he has seen an uptick in receptions in recent weeks. Johnson has caught 25 passes in the past three weeks compared to just nine in the previous four. He might not be getting into the end zone, but he still has something left.

Johnson remains a buy-low candidate.

6. Chris Johnson: 16 carries, 141 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 fumbles  at Chicago Bears

It appears we might have been wrong about Chris Johnson heading into a tough matchup against a vaunted Chicago Bears defense. Or were we?

Johnson certainly put up big numbers, defying our projections and thumbing his nose at the notion you should have sold high on him. But how much of his performance was legitimate against that Bears defense? Chicago was winning 31-5 by halftime. Johnson had just 40 yards on 11 carries at the break, good for 3.6 YPC.

In fact, the bulk of Johnson’s fantasy scoring came on one play, his 80-yard touchdown scamper with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Titans were down 51-12 at that point. While the Bears might not have wanted to give up a long scoring touchdown, it is difficult to take Johnson’s scoring line seriously based on the circumstances.

One thing we were certainly wrong about was Johnson’s value peaking two weeks ago. It should certainly be at its highest today.

7. John Skelton: 23/46, 306 yards, 1 touchdown at Green Bay Packers

There has not been any sort of fantasy explosion from Skelton since he took the reins in Arizona after Kevin Kolb’s injury, but he has not been completely terrible. Last week saw him finally get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, who had a nice game as a result.

We are still in the midst of bye weeks, and finding a quarterback might prove difficult considering some of the poor performances we are seeing around the league. We’re not saying Skelton is a particularly palatable option, but he does have Larry Fitzgerald and the emergent Andre Roberts to throw to.

8. Isaac Redman: 26 carries, 147 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 receptions, 4 yards at New York Giants

Jonathan Dwyer was cruising, having won the starting gig—however temporarily—with some nice performances in the previous two weeks.  An injury forced him out of Week 9’s action, though, giving Redman another chance to shine. That he did against the Giants, playing a pivotal role in a road victory.

Has Redman now overtaken Dwyer who had overtaken Rashard Mendenhall for the starting gig? Possibly. The truth of the matter is Mendenhall was running quite well before his injury. What’s behind this surge of good statistics from Steelers running backs? Why, an offensive line that has improved dramatically, of course.

All this serves to do is confuse you going forward, however.  Should you trust Dwyer, Redman or Mendenhall going forward? The answer is no, though Mendenhall is probably your best bet assuming he gets healthy.

9.  Danny Amendola: 32 receptions, 395 yards, 2 touchdowns in five games

Forget Marcel Reece or Taiwan Jones. The biggest name on your waiver wire this week should be Danny Amendola.

While there is still a possibility he will miss Week 10—and the matchup is not terribly nice going up against the 49ers—Amendola has been a fantasy stud when healthy. Of course, that is the rub; he is an injury liability.

10. Jonathan Stewart: 10 carries, 51 yards; 1 reception, 6 yards/ DeAngelo Williams: 6 carries, 37 yards, 1 touchdown

We keep expecting Stewart to break out, but we are rebuffed time and again. It seems the Panthers are hell bent on passing the ball despite an effective running game and holding a lead.

Then there is DeAngelo Williams, who just won’t die. His 30-yard touchdown run was about as expected as a Gary Johnson victory this week, though the play should have been called back because the whistle blew when he was skirting the sideline.

So what to make of this mess? It seems like the Panthers are much higher on Stewart on the whole—he is getting more playing time than Williams—but he is not seeing enough action to warrant any consistent flex value. But what if it was Stewart who got that 30-yard touchdown run?

11. Mikel Leshoure: 16 carries, 70 yards, 3 touchdowns

Nearly lost in Doug Martin’s destructive wake was another huge performance by a young running back.

Leshoure stole the goal line show against the Jaguars, scoring three relatively easy touchdowns after the Lions got the ball within the five-yard line. They did not even have to try fade routes to Calvin Johnson or play-action shenanigans; they just lined up and ran the Jaguars over with Leshoure. This is a good sign considering it looked like Joique Bell might eat into Leshoure’s production. Bell did get in on the action with a pretty good game of his own, but Leshoure has established himself as the man in Detroit.

Police Plodder

Shonn Greene gets the off week, so we’re off again.


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