It was Black Monday around The Shop this week. Monday is when most of the fellas from our league stroll in to brag up their teams or cry into the shaving cream. It’s nothing unusual, because injuries and bye weeks take their toll every week, but it seems like the complaining has been much louder this year because there have been so many. Players have been dropping like beer cans in a tailgate lot and the fellas are all feeling the pain.
There are injuries every year, but it seems like this year it has been even more pronounced. While there hasn’t been a truly elite quarterback go down, we’ve seen Mike Vick, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Jake Locker, E.J. Manuel and Nick Foles all go down for the count.
Running back has taken a much more severe hit, including first-round types like Doug Martin, Arian Foster and Ray Rice, projected regular starters DeMarco Murray, Steven Jackson and David Wilson and key backups Jonathan Stewart, Shane Vereen, Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Wide receiver has been the worst. This came home to roost in The Shop because I lost my top two wide receivers (Julio Jones and Randy Cobb) in seven days. But, I’m not the only suffering the slings and arrows (and crutches and walking boots). Roddy White and Reggie Wayne have been ironmen, but they’re both down. Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree haven’t played yet this year. Jeremy Maclin was gone before the season began. Throw in guys like Danny Amendola, James Jones, Santonio Holmes, Miles Austin, Lance Moore, Malcom Floyd and a bunch of others who have missed less time (including Megatron), there have been a lot of holes in fantasy lineups.
Tight end hasn’t been immune either. Rob Gronkowski didn’t play until last Sunday. Heath Miller was still recovering when the year began. Dennis Pitta and Dwayne Allen went down before they could get started. Owen Daniels is dead again. Jermichael Finley took his second concussion in a month on Sunday.
Every fantasy season is a grind, but it seems like this year has been much more brutal than most. We aren’t even at the halfway point and there are already a lot of fantasy owners waving the white flag. Those still fighting the good fight are doing so with one eye swelled shut, blood coming out their mouths and throwing punches with a broken hand.
Just about everyone who came into The Shop Monday had horror stories to tell. Halloween is definitely in the air because things are getting straight-up scary for a lot of fantasy owners because many of their best players just keep falling week after week.
- The Jaguars have been outscored 222-76 through seven games. At this pace, they will finish the season with 174 points, while allowing 507.
- Who would have thought that, through seven games, Tom Terrific has just eight touchdown passes, no more than two in any game and just one 300-yard game? Hell, Geno Smith has eight TD passes.
- Remember when Carson Palmer was being viewed as the second coming of Kurt Warner? Since throwing for 327 yards and two TDs in the season opener, in the six games since, he has one TD or none in five of them and hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in any of them.
- In his first three games, DeAngelo Williams ran 62 times for 291 yards. In the last three games, he has rushed 44 times for 143 yards. And he still doesn’t have a touchdown.
- Ben Roethlisberger has at least one TD pass in all six games he’s played, but more than one in just one.
- Say it ain’t so, Ray-Ray. My man Ray Rice is averaging just 2.8 yards a carry and has just one game with more than 15 rushes and one game with more than 45 yards on the ground. Worse yet, his season long run is just 14 yards.
- Talk about game management. The Chiefs have won their last three games despite Alex Smith not throwing a touchdown and averaging just 204 yards a game in that span.
- Ryan Mathews has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the first time in his career and Philip Rivers having his best season in years. Yet, San Diego can finish third at best in the tough AFC West and the best they can hope for is likely to finish as the second wild card team. Timing is everything, playahs.
- Even though they lost Sunday, Peyton Manning continues on his torrid pace. He has thrown no less than two TDs in any game and his season low for pass yardage is 295. He’s still so money, even in defeat.
- Arian Foster has just two touchdowns in seven games for Houston. That’s one less than injured teammate Owen Daniels and his replacement Garrett Graham.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. A Young One Shall Lead Them. You aren’t going to see Denver here often, but the Colts exposed a lot of weaknesses, both on the Broncos’ offense and defense. Something even seemed wrong with Peyton’s throwing most – more ducks than A&E pimps out each week. While most believe this will just be a bump in the road for Denver, Andrew Luck and the upstart Colts provided the rest of the league with a blueprint of how to beat (and beat up) Denver. Expect other coaches to spend dozens of hours breaking down that tape.
9. Cardinal Tastes Like Roadrunner. When the Arizona Cardinals got off to a 3-2 start, they had their chance to prove that they belonged in the playoff hunt. They were walking with a swagger. With a veteran quarterback, Larry Fitzgerald and an underrated defense, the Cardinals had back-to-back division games coming with a chance to make a statement. They did, losing both games by 12 points and burying themselves in the playoff hunt. The ghost of Kurt Warner continues to haunt.
8. Start Laying the Points Again. How bad are the Jaguars? Not only are they 0-7, but their margin of losing has been by 26, 10, 28, 34, 14, 16 and 18 points. They may be the fourth best team in the state of Florida and, while it gets tiring keeping them on the Razor’s Edge list, they keep doing things to deserve being included.
7. Drowning In the Bay. Mike Schiano has alienated everyone in the facility from the top players to the bacteria that is festering in their wounds and making the players as sick as their fans. With Josh Freeman cut loose and Doug Martin’s labrum cut loose in its own way, the Bucs are wearing their throwback jerseys, because they’re as bad as the creamsicle colored expansion Bucs of the mid-1970s.
6. One For the Thumb. The Texans lost their fifth straight game Sunday and Arian Foster left with a hamstring injury. They’re on their third QB in three weeks, but at least Case Keenum didn’t throw a Pick 6. Houston entered the season with high hopes of bringing a Super Bowl title back home. Now, they’re dead in the water. The good news is that they won’t lose on Sunday. They’re on their bye week.
5. Quoth the Raven, Nevermore. After getting gutted like a catfish in Week 1, the Ravens looked like the defending champs, winning three of their next four games. But Ravens have lost their last two games and have lost four of five games in which they allow 19 points or more. It could be a long season in Baltimore.
4. Moon Over Miami. Remember when the Dolphins were the cat’s ass? They were 3-0 with wins over Indy and Atlanta and Fins fans were talkin’ playoffs. Playoffs? Playoffs? Not only have they dropped three straight, they’ve lost the last two at home by a total of five points. You can’t let home games get away from you and the signing of local party hound Bryant McKinnie would appear to be the next big misstep as the Pope of South Beach returns to the strip clubs that made him infamous during Pro Bowl week.
3. Frost On the Pumpkin. To the surprise of few, the Vikings-Giants Monday night game was butt ugly. Me and some of my peeps gathered to watch and, by the third quarter, we were confessing to crimes were didn’t commit just to get the TV to make it stop. Between them they have two wins. Don’t expect many more on either side, despite a two-time Super Bowl MVP and Purple Jesus in play.
2. There’s No Place Like Home? The Eagles were the talk of the NFL when they gutted the Redskins in Week 1, but, since then it’s been all downhill. Their only wins have come against the Giants and Buccaneers (he last two teams to get a non-round number in the win column in the NFC) and the last time they won a game at home was Sept. 30…of last year! They’ve lost nine straight games in front of the home fans, which doesn’t sell anywhere, much less the mean streets of South Philly.
1. We’ve Heard This Song Before. The last time Jay Cutler got hurt, the Bears were riding high and then collapsed down the stretch. When guys like Caleb Hanie are your next man up, it doesn’t bode well. They wouldn’t make the same mistake again, right? Who is their starter? Josh McCown? Ouch!