FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 13
David Dorey
December 3, 2012
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Stats to Know Video - Featuring David Dorey
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Andrew Luck 391 4
Cam Newton 310 3
Russell Wilson 364 2
Tony Romo 317 3
Carson Palmer 351 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Bryce Brown 183 2
Adrian Peterson 220 1
Matt Forte 96 1
Jamaal Charles 138 0
Marshawn Lynch 98 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Calvin Johnson 171 1
Demaryius Thomas 99 2
Dez Bryant 98 2
Brandon Marshall 165 0
Donnie Avery 91 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Brandon Myers 130 1
Heath Miller 97 1
Jacob Tamme 89 0
Aaron Hernandez 97 0
Tony Gonzalez 58 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Jason Hanson 3 4
Connor Barth 2 3
Stephen Gostkowski 2 3
Shaun Suisham 2 3
Matt Bryant 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Texans 0 5 6
Cardinals 0 3 4
Bengals 0 4 2
Rams 1 2 1
Chargers 1 1 3

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Donald Brown - Ankle
Cecil Shorts - Concussion
Julian Edelman - Foot
Steve Johnson - Hamstring
Ryan Broyles - Knee
Earl Bennett - Concussion
Garrett Graham - Concussion
Damian Williams - Hamstring
Dustin Keller - Ankle
Rashad Jennings - Concussion
Jordy Nelson - Hamstring
Mark Sanchez - HC Ryan made final payment on compromising photos

Stats you need to know

1. RB Demarco Murray (rush 23-83 TD, receive 4-19 vs. PHI)

The Cowboys running back did not play for six games and was limited in practice all week. Despite being tagged as "questionable", he was ready for the heavy load and ran 23 times and caught four passes while Felix Jones returned to a support role with only seven runs for 26 yards. For owners making their playoffs, he should be good this week at the Bengals and then remains home against the Steelers and then the Saints in week 16 when you want him the most.

2. Packers RBs (rush 27-124, TD vs. MIN)

This is reason to be concerned for Aaron Rodgers owners if not the Green Bay receivers as well. Rodgers has only averaged 229 passing yards per game over the last five weeks and thrown just one touchdown in each of the last two games. He doesn't run in touchdowns this year. Over the last five games, the running backs have averaged 25 carries per week. This is not vintage Rodgers. This is more like vintage Brett Favre Mike Tomczak.

3. RB Ray Rice (rush 12-78, TD vs. PIT)

Rice gained 6.5 yards per carry and added one catch for five yards. Not a terrible fantasy game but odd that Bernard Pierce was given eight rushes in the game to gain 34 yards and seven of those came in the first half. Last week Rice ran 22 times and Pierce still took nine runs as well. On the plus side, Rice is being kept from wearing down. But on the negative, he's not nearly the help you assumed when you drafted him. Pierce is being more involved later in the season when you need all-Rice, all-day.

4. RB Jeremy Stewart (rush 9-46 vs. CLE)

Stewart was the lead rusher against the visiting Browns while Marcel Reece was limited to seven carries. Not to worry about any change in the making. The Raiders intend to use Darren McFadden in the Thursday night game which means everyone takes a pronounced step down the depth chart this week. Bringing McFadden back to play in two games in a span of five days was taking a risk with the brittle back and the Broncos are showing up this week. So long as he is healthy, none of the other running backs matter in Oakland.

5. WR Chris Givens (receive 11-92 vs. SF)

Givens went from being a deep threat who never had more than five catches in a game to being the possession receiver against the 49ers. Danny Amendola was scratched and Givens took over his role with very nice results. Givens was coming off a career best 115 yards and one score in Arizona. This is a great time to heat up and gain chemistry with Sam Bradford. The Rams next opponents are at the Bills, the Vikings and then wrapping up the fantasy season with a week 16 in Tampa Bay.

6. WR Larry Fitzgerald (receive 1-23 at NYJ)

It is so bad that something has to be said. The 29-year old Fitzgerald is still in his prime and had topped 1000 yards in each of the last five seasons. But the lack of any offense around him has finally silenced the talented star. Over the last three weeks, he's totaled only five catches for 65 yards and no scores. While the Cardinals have never replaced the impact that Kurt Warner had there, at least Fitzgerald carved out respectable seasons even catching the ball from no-names. This week will be in Seattle, then hosting the Lions and Bears. This is the whimper instead of the bang.

7. WR Calvin Johnson (receive 13-171, TD vs. IND)

Johnson just set a record with five consecutive games with over 125 yards in each. He is averaging 119 yards per game and scored in each of the last four match-ups. Johnson is on a pace to gain 1904 yards on the season. That is notable since Jerry Rice set the single-season record of only 1848 yards in 1995 (a t the age of 33 no less). The final four games will be at Green Bay, at Arizona, Atlanta and Chicago. Not easy but then again - Megatron has been unstoppable.

8. TE Jacob Tamme (receive 9-89 vs TB)

With Brandon Stokley out, the Broncos went with two tight-end sets and that benefited Tamme. Peyton Manning threw 13 passes to his ex-Colts receiver and that looked very much like what Manning used to do - with Eric Decker. After being a major cog in the passing game for the first nine weeks, Decker has been used for only nine catches over the last four games. He was held to a single catch against the Buccaneers. Tamme's involvement was more about the formations and what the defense allowed but it all bodes poorly for Decker. Demaryius Thomas is a constant each week but no other receivers are.

9. QB Russell Wilson (pass 23-37-293, 2 TD at CHI)

All Wilson did in the Seahawks upset win in Chicago was to turn in the best quarterback performance by any opponent this year. Only one other quarterback had ever thrown for as many as two touchdowns on the Bears and at home never more than one was allowed. But Wilson posted two touchdowns to extend his multiple score streak to five games and growing. Wilson spent the first half of the season mostly handing off and managing the game. He's spending the second half scoring and winning games even on the road.

10. PK David Akers (21 field goals, 32 extra points)

Akers was the #1 kicker last year with 44 field goals and 34 extra points. His 166 points broke the NFL record for points by a kicker in a season. He was the first kicker drafted in almost every league and often enough taken well before any other kickers were taken. This year? He's averaging 7.9 points per game good enough to rank as the 13th best kicker in the NFL. With four games to go, he's already passed his extra points of last year and yet has just half of the field goals. Throw in a sore groin currently and remember this in the summer of 2013. Do NOT take an early kicker. Just don't. They do not repeat.

Sunday Snippets

NO 13, ATL 23 Upset. This was no way to start the weekend. These teams played in week 10 and NO won 31-27 in a game with lots of fantasy points for all. This one had Matt Ryan passing for only 165 yards and one score. No ATL receivers had more than 58 yards. Roddy White had ONE catch for 22 yards. Drew Brees passed for 341 yards but no touchdowns for the first time in 57 games and FIVE interceptions which hurts when you get negative points. This game set the stage for a low scoring weekend. How this happened can only be attributed to global warming or the pending Mayan apocalypse... wait a minute... maybe this was a sign...The 5-7 Saints head to NY to play the Giants and the 11-1 Falcons head to Carolina.
JAC 18, BUF 34

The whole "Jags Revival" went pretty fast - what was your favorite moment? Justin Blackmon is back to one catch games and your current starting tailback is Montel Owens. The Bills won mostly be not being the Jags. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for only 112 yards. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 203 total yards and a score but just split the fantasy points in two. They were really the only players in the entire game with much fantasy value. The 2-10 Jaguars host the Jets this week and the 5-7 Bills host the Rams.

SEA 23, CHI 17
OT
Upset. The battle of the defenses went as expected though Russell Wilson ended with 293 yards and two touchdowns thanks to overtime. Marshawn Lynch (19-87, TD) ran very well in Chicago and Sidney Rice (6-99, TD) and Golden Tate (5-96, TD) were both instrumental in the win. Matt Forte gained 93 total yards and one score but the only receiver, of course, was Brandon Marshall (10-165) who caught a 56 yard pass with 20 seconds left to play to allow the field goal that forced overtime. Who else would you want to cover from the Bears? All other wideouts combined for two catches for CHI. In the entire game. But in the end Seattle pulled out an actual road win. Now the 6-5 Seahawks host the Cardinals and the 8-3 Bears head to Minnesota.
MIN 14, GB 23

The Vikings continue their murderous schedule. Surprisingly their offense was little more than Adrian Peterson (21-210, TD) while Christian Ponder passed for 119 yards, one score and two interceptions. Aaron Rodgers was nothing special with only 286 yards and one score while Jordy Nelson injured his hamstring on his one catch. It is a sad fantasy day when no Packers receivers have more than 62 yards. James Starks (15-66, TD) was surprisingly a difference maker though Alex Green took 12 runs for 58 yards. For the second week, it was like someone needed to ask the Packers "do you really want this?". For the second week, it was like someone needed to ask the Vikings "do you have any players beside Peterson?" The 6-6 Vikings now host the Bears and the 8-4 Packers host the Lions.

CAR 21, KC 27 Upset. Maybe a huge upset all things considered. The Chiefs lost a starting linebacker/murderer who killed himself outside the stadium and that they played at all was impressive. That they had one of their best games is something hard to figure out. Jamaal Charles ran for 127 yards and Brady Quinn (201 yds, 2 TD) completed 19 of 23 passes and threw four completions to Dwayne Bowe for 64 yards. The Panthers had a big game from Cam Newton (232 yds, 3 TDS) and he ran for 78 yards on seven carries as the lead runner as well. Steve Smith (5-120, TD) finally had a big game. This was just a surreal game. Every reason not to play well and the Chiefs played better than ever. My guess - it all sinks in next week. The 3-9 Panthers host the Falcons this week and the 2-10 Chiefs go to Cleveland.
NE 23, MIA 16

The Dolphins continue their strange hold over the Patriots. Not enough to beat them mind you, but Tom Brady passed for 238 yards and one score? Really? Wes Welker (12-103, TD) and Aaron Hernandez (8-97) had big games and Stevan Ridley (19-71) scored on a run. The Fins had little offense considering the Patriots secondary was on the field. Ryan Tannehill only passed for 186 yards and there was no fantasy value on the Dolphins really. The 9-3 Patriots host the Texans this week and the 5-7 Dolphins go to San Francisco.

ARI 6, NYJ 7 They should refund every ticket sold to this snooze-fest. This may be the most pathetic game of the year. Ryan Lindley completed 10 of 31 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Beanie Wells was in vintage form (15-22) and Larry Fitzgerald was the lead receiver with ONE CATCH FOR 23 YARDS. Shonn Greene somehow ran for 104 yards on 24 carries but Mark Sanchez was benched after throwing 10 of 21 for 97 yards and three interceptions. HC Rex Ryan did not say what he was benched for but probably something he said. Besides, it is never too early to get a good look at Greg McElroy. Pretty sad overall. Now the 4-8 Cardinals will lose in Seattle this week and the 5-7 Jets head to Jacksonville.
SF 13, STL 16
OT

Upset. Ridiculous. The only explanation is that the Rams have hacked into the radio signals of the 49ers and can hear every play. Two overtimes. 26 seconds away from a second tie. Ridiculous. Colin Kaepernick passed for 208 yards and no scores but ran for 84 yards on nine scrambles. Michael Crabtree (7-101) was the only decent receiver and Frank Gore scored the only offensive touchdown in the entire game and yet only gained 58 yards on 23 runs. The Rams only touchdown came on a2-yard fumble return. The only notable for the Rams is that Chris Givens (11-92) had a big game and the Rams are just really, really lucky. Plus they have some kryptonite apparently. The 49ers would have won this if David Akers could make a 51 yard field goal with 4:16 left to play. Now the 8-3-1 49ers will host the Dolphins and the 5-6-1 Rams go to Buffalo.

HOU 24, TEN 10 At least this game went to form. Sort of. Matt Schaub passed for two scores and 207 yards while Arian Foster had the obligatory touchdown and yet only gained 36 yards on 14 runs while Justin Forsett had 14 runs for 64 yards. But no Texans had a big game as a receiver. Jake Locker passed for 309 yards and one score but he had three interceptions. Chris Johnson only ran 13 times for 51 yards. Not much happened here that was good for fantasy teams. The 11-1 Texans head to New England this week and the 4-8 Titans go to Indianapolis.
TB 23, DEN 31

One of those followed expectations game though most players had lesser games than usual. Josh Freeman passed for 242 yards and two scores and mostly used Mike Williams (6-93, TD) since Vincent Jackson (3-55) was reunited with Champ Bailey. DOug Martin gained 98 total yards though 42 came on three catches. Peyton Manning threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns that mostly favored Demaryius Thomas (8-99, 2 TD) and Jacob Tamme (9-89) finally stepped up to become a big factor. The loss sends the 6-6 Buccaneers home to face the Eagles and the 9-3 Broncos go to Oakland.

PIT 23, BAL 20 Upset. Again. First Brady Quinn wins a game and now Charlie Batch throws for 276 yards and one score in Baltimore. Johnathan Dwyer only ran for 49 yards but scored once and Heath Miller (5-97, TD) was the only decent fantasy play for the Steelers. Somehow Ray Rice was only given 12 carries and yet gained 78 yards and one touchdown but Bernard Pierce was allowed eight runs to gain 34 yards. Why? Both Rice and Pierce had one catch. Why? The only reasonable explanation is that Rice has bonus thresholds in his contract they just do not want him to hit. Call it frugality. Call it insane. But what ever you do, do not call Rice the #2 overall running back next summer. Joe Flacco (188 yds, TD) continues to be only "we're ahead" good. The 7-5 Steelers host the Chargers this week and the 9-3 Ravens go to Washington.
CLE 20, OAK 17

Upset. At least there was some passing in this game. Brandon Weeden passed for 364 yards and one touchdown to Josh Gordon (6-116), Trent Richardson gained 95 total yards and one touchdown. Carson Palmer threw for 351 yards and two scores split between Brandon Myers (14-130) and Rod Streater (3-96). Darren McFadden is still hobbled by his hangnail and so Marcel Reece started but only gained 36 yards on seven runs while FB Jeremy Stewart was given nine completions for 46 yards. There was a lot of passing in this game but it did not benefit many fantasy teams. The 4-8 Browns host the Chiefs this week and the 3-9 Raiders host Peyton Manning.

CIN 20, SD 13 Upset. The Chargers are bad. What more needs to be said really? Philip Rivers passed for 280 yards and no scores while Danario Alexander (6-120) was the only decent Charger player and he just started a few weeks ago. It is almost as if there was an agreement with Norv Turner - look competitive but lose so we get a high draft pick and you can stay until January. Andy Dalton passed for 211 yards and one score and ran in a second one. Benjarvus Green-Ellis had another good game with 118 yards on 25 runs but A.J. Green (9-85) has a two game streak with no touchdown. 33 total points in the game - meh. Now the 7-5 Bengals will host the Cowboys and the 4-8 Chargers are going to try really, really hard (wink) in Pittsburgh.
PHI 33, DAL 38

FINALLY! THANK YOU! POINTS! FINALLY NOT A 10-14 GAME! WOOHOO! Nick Foles was better this time with 251 passing yards and one touchdown but Bryce Brown (24-169, 2 TD) was nearly unstoppable for most of the game. The Cowboys are missing linebackers but were at home and Brown just carved them up, ran over then and ran past them. Why shouldn't LeSean McCoy be treated to the same RBBC hell as the rest of the league? The Cowboys won with Tony Romo passing for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Jason Witten (6-108) led the receivers but Dez Bryant (6-98, 2 TD) was the best fantasy play. DeMarco Murray was back and not limited with 23 runs for 83 yards and one touchdown plus four catches for 19 yards. Yes, you waited a really long time to get that touchdown. The 3-9 Eagles now travel to Tampa Bay and the 6-6 Cowboys head to Cincinnati.

Huddle Player of the Week

Andrew Luck - Bryce Brown was a big consideration here though he only had one great game this year. Have to tip the hat to Luck though since he was the best quarterback this week with 391 passing yards and four touchdowns. He engineered the game winning drive in Detroit and threw the winning score on the final play of the game. He has set the record with eight wins by a rookie quarterback. He owns the most 300 yard games by a rookie (6). He is on pace to end with 23 passing touchdowns, 7 rushing touchdowns and 4800 passing yards. Say whatever you want about Robert Griffin III and his 5-6 "home for the Holidays' team. Luck should be the Offensive Rookie of the Year running away.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Russell Wilson 364 3 QB Matt Ryan (vs NO!) 163 1
RB James Starks 82 1 RB Chris Johnson 71 0
RB Bryce Brown 183 2 RB Darren Sproles 47 0
WR Sidney Rice 99 1 WR Jordy Nelson 10 0
WR Josh Gordon 116 1 WR Roddy White 20 0
WR Golden Tate 96 1 WR Larry Fitzgerald 23 0
TE Tony Moeaki 54 1 TE Vernon Davis 15 0
PK Jason Hanson 3 XP 4 FG PK Nick Folk 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 149

Huddle Fantasy Points = 30

Sunday's Couch Commentary

What a brutal week. Started with the NO-ATL game that suddenly had defenses get in the way. This week saw 20 different teams score no more than two offensive touchdowns. Nine games produced fewer than 40 total points. This was just a week that had little scoring and plenty of upsets. Typically the weirdest outcomes happen between weeks nine and 13 and then the final stretch teams either give up or get really serious. This was a downer of a week since many big-dollar leagues use it as the championship before grouping all league winners together for the final three weeks. So many "got you there" players just did not show up. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson, Roddy White, Matt Ryan, Vernon Davis and so on.

This was the week that churned plenty of media attention with the tragic murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher and the mother of his child. It was without precedent really. The Chiefs made the decision to play the game and while many disagreed, I can see why and not because they surprisingly won the game. It is plenty for the Chiefs players, coaches and fans to digest and move on. Delaying it a day or two wouldn't change that. It was something that most of us will quickly enough forget and yet so many will struggle to wrap their head around what happened, why and what could have averted it. The real world inserted itself into the magical mystery land we call the NFL.

So while message boards and Twitter and Facebook lit up with Dr. Phil-wannabe's, the game was kept as scheduled and a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence started the day with no actual mention of Belcher's name. We can all speculate on why he killed his girlfriend. Some like Bob Costas used the occasion to focus not on domestic violence, mental health solutions or prevention but instead just focus on what was in Belcher's hand when he committed the murder and suicide as his primary concern.

It was a heavy day. Heavy in heart. Low in scoring. But life goes on and HC Romeo Crennel opted to do just that despite what he had witnessed 24 hours before.

The Game-O-The-Week? It was a great game.

Colts 35, Lions 33

This game was over entering the fourth quarter since the Colts trailed 21-30 and Andrew Luck had thrown two interceptions. The Colts first two possession in the final quarter were quickly turned into punts and the Lions kicked a 31-yard field goal. They led by an insurmountable 33-21 with 8:45 left to play.

Luck quickly went into action. Starting on his own 20-yard line, he drove to the Lions 40-yard line in seven plays where he threw his third interception of the day on a deep strike meant for TY Hilton.

The Lions only held the ball for six plays and punted with only 4:02 left to play. Starting on his 15-yard line, Luck dinked and dunked to the Detroit 42-yard line where he connected on a bomb to LaVon Brazill. After the extra point, the Colts trailed 28-33 with 2:47 left in the game.

The Lions benefited from a pass interference call but then stalled at midfield and punted with only 1:07 left to play. The Colts had used up all their time outs. Starting on his own 25-yard line with the need for a touchdown and having no time outs, Luck went to work. He ran for nine yards and then spiked the ball to kill the clock at 54 seconds. He then hit Reggie Wayne to the DET 40-yard line and then spiked the ball at 37 seconds. Luck then scrambled for 16 yards. An incomplete was followed by a ten yard out by Dwayne Allen at 24 seconds left on the DET 14-yard line.

An pass was almost caught by Wayne in the back of the endzone.

Another pass to Wayne - same place only over his head.

Third down with 8 seconds left was an incomplete to Donnie Avery in the back right corner of the endzone.

With three seconds left on fourth down, Luck scrambled to his right and tossed the ball to an open Donnie Avery who ran ten yards into the end zone for the win.

Stunned the Lions for sure. And maybe helps secure that Rookie of the Year trophy for Luck.

Life moved on this weekend. Mostly with low scoring games and some funky results in fantasy playoffs. We came into the day wondering what the Chiefs would be like. Some sheepishly asking the fantasy implications of the KC tragedy while others berating them for asking. A few used the occasion to fit their agenda about violence, gun control, the over-importance of sports, the greed of owners or whatever particular soap box that they felt best fit. In the end, the Chiefs actually won. We spent an afternoon lost in a world that brings us enjoyment and value if only temporarily and superficially. Life moved on at least a tiny bit more sober.

It was a fun day where perhaps we felt some guilt from a few hours away from the seriousness of life. But that's okay. We're all human including Javon Belcher. We fail not when we take an afternoon off, but when we won't admit to ourselves the fragility of life and how interconnected we are. We only fail when we don't move on and bring with us the reminders of how important it is to be a friend or a son or co-worker or a father that can impact each other's lives by trying to get past the day-to-day "everything is fine" mentality when it is not. In the end there is nothing wrong about getting help when you need it - just ask. There is nothing wrong with giving help - just offer.

And there's nothing wrong with an afternoon of watching football.

Now get back to work...


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