FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 7
David Dorey
October 21, 2013
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Robert Griffin III 382 2
Peyton Manning 386 3
Andrew Luck 257 4
Andy Dalton 378 3
Matthew Stafford 357 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Matt Forte 109 3
Jacquizz Rodgers 62 2
Frank Gore 104 2
Roy Helu 46 3
Eddie Lacy 108 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Calvin Johnson 155 2
Vincent Jackson 138 2
Eric Decker 150 1
Harry Douglas 149 1
A.J. Green 155 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jordan Reed 134 1
Rob Gronkowski 114 0
Jordan Cameron 55 1
Jermichael Finley 72 1
Julius Thomas 41 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Adam Vinatieri 4 3
Shaun Suisham 1 4
Nick Folk 3 3
Graham Gano 3 3
Robbie Gould 5 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Cowboys 0 3 3
Panthers 1 4 3
Chargers 0 6 1
Bills 1 2 3
49ers 1 3 2

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Sam Bradford - Knee (ACL)
Nick Foles - Head
Doug Martin - Shoulder
Jay Cutler - Groin
Arian Foster - Hamstring
Jermichael Finley - Head 
Reggie Wayne - Knee

The starting line-up purge continued with yet another week of fallen warriors. To date, the average twelve team league would have seen nine quarterbacks, fourteen running backs, twelve wideouts and three tight ends who played in week one only to miss at least one game injured if not have been lost for the season. That's a lot of transition to absorb and regardless of fervent belief; they were not all on your team. Just most of them.

The Rams lost Sam Bradford to a torn ACL and will turn to Kellen Clemens until anyone better shows up. That will boost Zac Stacy's role as it did against the Panthers when he totaled 87 yards and one touchdown. But that is also a death knell to the fantasy value of Tavon Austin, Jared Cook and Austin Pettis. There's no future looming match-up good enough to merit a fantasy start for them.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles stumbled so badly against the normally forgiving defense of the Cowboys that he's handed the starting gig back to Michael Vick. After throwing three interceptions, Matt Barkley also returns to the back burner. With the next games hosting the Giants, at the Raiders and Packers and then back to face the Redskins, Michael Vick steps back at a very good time.

Since Doug Martin injured his shoulder and they play the Panthers on Thursday night, the Buccaneers will turn to rookie Mike James. He impressed in the preseason but only gained 45 yards on 14 carries in Atlanta once Martin was out. Week eight contains six teams on bye along with the normal injury situations that fantasy team owners need to cover. Finding a solid rookie runner playing full-time against the same team that made Zac Stacy look good is a blessing if you reach the waiver wire in time.

Bilal Powell was a marginal performer but was the best back on the roster. Or so it was thought. With Mike Goodson lost for the year, Chris Ivory expected to get a small increase in workload. Against the Patriots, it only needed three runs by Powell to get him benched in favor of Ivory who ran for 104 yards on 34 carries. This was the original plan back in the offseason when Ivory was acquired. Next two opponents of the Bengals and Saints won't be easy but at least Ivory is finally getting the workload that lured him to New York.

Tom Brady was already a disappointment with just eight touchdowns and moderate passing yardage over the first six games. But when Rob Gronkowski returned, he was expected to bring the offense back to previous form. That did not happen. Sure, Gronk led the team with eight catches for 114 yards but that wasn't added to the offense, it just replaced what other players were producing. Against a good Jets defense, Brady only passed for 228 yards and no scores while the best receiver besides Gronkowski was Julian Edelman with just 44 yards on five receptions. Next up are solid defenses of the Dolphins and Steelers.

The Redskins beat the Bears and the two top receivers were wideout Aldrick Robinson (2-75, TD) and tight end Jordan Reed with a career game of nine catches for 134 yards and one touchdown. Robinson was just a fluke performance but Reed is the real deal and becoming a major part of the Redskins offense. That will play just as big in the coming month when they face the Broncos, Chargers, Vikings and Eagles. Now in his second season,Robert Griffin III is finally using a receiver consistently and he's not even a wideout.

Alfred Morris owners now can be officially depressed. Facing one of his best match-ups this year, Morris gained 95 yards on 19 carries but he never caught a pass. He also watched Roy Helu run in three touchdowns on his 11 carries for 41 yards. Morris enjoyed his heaviest workload of the year but also found a ceiling much lower than expected. The team nodded their heads this summer when Morris spoke of an even bigger second season. But the reality is that Helu is now the receiving, "hurry up" offense part of a backfield committee.

Jake Locker returned to face the 49ers and while they lost the game, he gave ample reasons to rip him back off the waiver wire. Locker passed for 326 yards and two scores on the normally stingy 49ers secondary and did so once again with minimal help from the rushing offense. Locker heads onto his bye but consider that he returns to face the Rams and Jaguars. He'll be popular then from team owners seeking to replace recently injured quarterbacks.

The Texans are on their bye but a torch may have been passed. The undrafted second-year quarterback Case Keenum faced a tough Chiefs defense in Kansas City and lost by only one point. He passed for 271 yards and one score with no interceptions. The top receivers were Andre Johnson with four catches for 89 yards and DeAndre Hopkins who scored on his three receptions for 76 yards. Keenum displayed nice mobility and should keep the job if only because it was the first time in six weeks that the Texans did not give up a defensive touchdown on an interception. When the Texans come off their bye, they'll face four home games over the next five weeks.

The Packers lost Jermichael Finley to a neck injury in the Browns win and that further decimates their receiving corps but at least they are getting help from a source not used in recent years. The rookie running back Eddie Lacy not only controlled the ball with 22 rushing attempts that gained 82 yards and scored once. He also added a season high five receptions for 265 yards as well. Jarrett Boykin also stepped up with eight catches for 103 yards and one touchdown as the lead receiver. The looming schedule is also rather kind with the Vikings, Bears, Eagles, Giants and Vikings again. That ensures that Lacy and even Boykin maintain their expanded roles.

This is the first of a two week span where six teams are going to be on their bye. You'll need to replace any Ravens, Bears, Texans, Colts, Chargers or Titans for this week. The following week will miss the Cardinals, Broncos, Lions, Jaguars, Giants and 49ers. Those week nine byes will be the deepest cuts to fantasy team starting line-ups so grab what you need now before everyone else is looking to bolster their rosters as well. This is the time to take a deeper look at available defenses and kickers and prepare for the rest of the season.

Sunday Snippets

SEA 34, ARI 22 Standard beatdown but this in a road game for the Seahawks. Russell Wilson passed for three touchdowns but only 235 yards while Marshawn Lynch ran for 91 yards and one score on 21 carries. As usual, the passes were randomly distributed between Golden Tate (4-77), Sidney Rice (3-50, TD), Zach Miller (5-40, TD) and six other receivers. Carson Palmer threw for 258 yards and one score but had two interceptions. The Cardinals rushed for 30 yards on 18 carries as a team so better than usual. Larry Fitzgerald continues to fade from view and only gained 17 yards on his two catches. Now the 6-1 Seahawks head to St. Louis while the 3-4 Cardinals host the Falcons.
TB 23, ATL 31

One team had to win and they scored plenty of points in the process so success all around. Granted, neither team could run the ball well and the Bucs lost Doug Martin. But Mike Glennon threw for 256 yards and two scores that almost entirely went to Vincent Jackson (10-138, 2 TD). Matt Ryan passed for 273 yards and three scores that were split between Harry Douglas (7-149, TD) and Jacquizz Rodgers (8-46, 2 TD). This game was good proof that although the Falcons are decimated by injury on both sides of the ball, they still do not suck as bad as the Buccaneers do even when they are healthy. The 0-6 Buccaneers return home to prepare to give the Panthers their next win. The 2-4 Falcons head to Arizona for a reminder that they are not the Bucs but they still are the Falcons and on the road that ain't pretty.

STL 15, CAR 30

No surprise here and Sam Bradford (255 yards, TD) looks like he may have a season ending ACL tear so Kellen Clemens is the guy you should NOT run out and grab. The only notable was that Zac Stacy gained 87 total yards and caught the lone touchdown. Cam Newton did not need to do much and passed for only 204 yards and one score while running for 26 more yards. Steve Smith (5-69, TD) was the only decent receiver in this game that the Panthers mostly sat back and let the Rams kill themselves. Tavon Austin scored from 63-yards out but of course it was called back on a penalty. Imagine the Rams without Bradford. Might need to get used to that but on the plus side, no more temptation can exist to start any STL receiver. The 3-4 Rams return home to host the Seahawks who love second-string quarterbacks and the 3-3 Panthers head to Tampa Bay for their freebie.

CIN 27, DET 24

Great game won by a last second 54-yard field goal. Andy Dalton passed for 372 yards and three touchdowns. A.J. Green opened the game with an 82-yard touchdown catch and ended with 155 yards on six receptions. No other Bengal gained more than 64 yards in the game. The Lions got 357 yards and three scores from Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson (9-155, 2 TD) seems to be a more than a little better this week. No other player received more than 50 yards for the Lions. Reggie Bush totaled 94 yards but did not score. The win sends the 5-2 Bengals home to face the Jets and 4-3 Lions stay home to face the Cowboys.

SD 24, JAC 6 Surprisingly, the Jags were able to post two field goals. Chad Henne threw for 318 yards but no scores. The normally horrible rushing attack was maybe even a little more horrible today with only 37 yards on nine runs by Maurice Jones-Drew. Mike Brown (5-120), Cecil Shorts (8-80) and Justin Blackmon (6-58) were all decent considering no one scored. Philip Rivers only needed 285 yards and one touchdown that went to Eddie Royal (4-69). Keenan Allen (3-67) missed part of the game injured but returned later. Ryan Mathews (21-110, TD) and Danny Woodhead (9-29, TD) had little problems rushing. The win sends the 4-3 Chargers to their bye while the 0-7 Jaguars remain at home to host the 49ers. So 0-8 pretty soon.
BUF 23, MIA 21

Another great game that went down to the wire. Thad Lewis only passed for 202 yards and one interception but found Stevie Johnson six times for 61 yards. Fred Jackson gained 85 total yards and scored both on a run and a catch. C.J. Spiller somehow took six runs and three catches to combine for only seven yards. His ankle is still not healthy. Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdowns with his 194 yards but also tossed two interceptions. Of course Daniel Thomas (12-60) finally had a better game than Lamar Miller (9-43) so that they both have no fantasy value. Mike Wallace (5-76) was decent while Brandon Gibson (5-40) had a very unusual two touchdowns. The win sends the 3-4 Bills down to New Orleans this week and the 3-3 Dolphins travel to play in New England.

NE 27, NYJ 30 Another great game. The AFC East was hotly contested on Sunday. In overtime the Jets missed a field goal but a penalty let them try again even closer for the win. The return of Rob Gronkowski (8-114) meant nice stats for him and no other Patriot receiver would turn in more than 44 yards. Tom Brady only passed for 228 yards and one interception. At least Stevan Ridley (11-50, TD) and Brandon Bolden (8-36, TD) both scored but it was overall a bad showing for all but Gronkowski. Geno Smith only passed for 236 yards and one score but was better than Brady. Jeremy Kerley (9-87, TD) and David Nelson (4-80) were the only receivers to matter. Surprisingly, Chris Ivory ran 34 times for 104 yards while Bilal Powell was only allowed three runs for six yards after being immediately benched when it looked like Ivory was running better. The loss sends the Pats home to face the Dolphins and the 4-3 Jets go to Cincy to face the Bengals this week.
DAL 17, PHI 3

What a disappointment. Two defenses that are normally very bad ruined the day by showing up far better than expected. Nick Foles was having shockingly little success and then was knocked from the game so that Matt Barkley could throw three interceptions. Tony Romo passed for 317 yards but only threw for one touchdown against two interceptions. Dez Bryant (8-110) and Terrance Williams (6-71, TD) were solid unlike Jason Witten (4-48). Joseph Randle ran for 65 yards and was not horrible. He even caught three passes for 28 yards. LeSean McCoy had little success against a defense committed to stopping him. He ran for 55 yards and added 26 more as a receiver. But DeSean Jackson who destroyed the top secondary of the Buccaneers was held to only 21 yards by one of the worst defenses - at home no less. The win gives the 4-3 Cowboys the current lead in the NFC East and they head to Detroit this week. The Eagles fall to 3-4 and host the "make ya feel good about yourself" Giants.

SF 31, TEN 17 So much for the whole "win with Locker" thing. Jake Locker passed for 326 yards and two scores that included Kendall Wright (9-98) and Chris Johnson ran for only 39 yards but scored on a 66-yard reception for one of his better efforts of the year. The Titans were limited to only ten running back carries in the game. Colin Kaepernick only passed for 199 yards and no scores but he ran for 68 yards and scored once as a runner. Frank Gore also had a good day while gaining only 70 yards on 24 carries but scoring two touchdowns. Vernon Davis (4-62) and Anquan Boldin (5-74) put in moderate games. Now the 5-2 49ers head to Jacksonville where their next win awaits. And the 3-4 Titans head onto their bye.
HOU 16, KC 17

Very close game with the Texans not waving any white flag so far. Case Keenum passed for 271 yards and one touchdown that went to DeAndre Hopkins (3-76). Andre Johnson (4-89) was better than expected with the new quarterback but Arian Foster pulled a hamstring and Ben Tate (15-50) had to play most of the game. The Chiefs had the standard 240 yards and no score from Alex Smith though he ran in one touchdown. Jamaal Charles naturally scored the other when he ran for 86 yards on 21 carries. The best surprise was that Dwayne Bowe caught five passes for 66 yards like a wide receiver would have. Case Keenum did pretty well for himself here. Now the 2-5 Texans continue to reel and go on their bye to lick their wounds. The 7-0 Chiefs host the Browns this week.

CLE 13, GB 31 Solid win was made a bit more sober when Jermichael Finley left the stadium in an ambulance after jamming his neck. Aaron Rodgers passed for 260 yards and three touchdowns Those went to Jarrett Boykin (8-103), Finley (5-72) and Jordy Nelson (5-42). Eddie Lacy ran well with 82 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Brandon Weeden did himself no favors with only 149 pass yards and one score that went to Jordan Cameron (7-51). The Browns had no players of fantasy note other than Cameron. Boykin more than doubled his career yardage total in the game and looked genuinely good for an undrafted one-time practice squadder. Now the 3-4 Browns head to Kansas City and the 4-2 Packers go to Minnesota.
BAL 16, PIT 19

Another very close game that was decided on a 42-yard last second field goal. Not a lot of offense here as expected. Joe Flacco passed for 215 yards and one score. Ray Rice only managed 72 total yards while the best receiver was Torrey Smith (3-61). The Steelers only got 160 yards and a score from Ben Roethlisberger and the best receiver was Antonio Brown with only 50 yards on six catches. Le'Veon Bell ran for 93 yards and added one catch for six yards. The loss sends the 3-4 Ravens onto their bye and the 2-4 Steelers head out to Oakland.

DEN 33, IND 39 A barn-burner and obvious contender for the Game-O-the-Week. Peyton Manning's homecoming produced 386 yards and three touchdowns but one very costly interception when Julius Thomas' shortcomings as a blocker became apparent. Eric Decker (8-150, TD), Wes Welker (7-96), Demaryius Thomas (4-82, TD) and Orange Julius (5-41, TD) all rewarded their owners once again. Andrew Luck passed for 228 yards and three touchdowns and rushed in a fourth score. The Colts had no players with big stats - they just never made mistakes. Reggie Wayne (5-50) was the most productive receiver and could not finish the game because of a knee injury. Trent Richardson (14-37) and Donald Brown (11-23) are splitting the load now and it is too unproductive to be split up. This was an exciting game but in the end Manning fell short and mostly because of other team mates. The 6-1 Broncos fall from the unbeaten ranks and return home to face the Redskins. The 5-2 Colts head off to their well-earned bye.

Huddle Player of the Week

Calvin Johnson - He shocked his owners last week when he was inactive but all is forgiven. Megatron made everyone happy enough just by being active against the Bengals. By the time the game was over, he was the highest scoring fantasy player in the league with nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. This week - the soft secondary of the Cowboys and yet another chance to end up here.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Jake Locker 355 2 QB Tom Brady 228 0
RB Roy Helu 46 3 RB Doug Martin 54 0
RB Zac Stacy 87 1 RB Arian Foster 11 0
WR Jarrett Boykin 103 1 WR Larry Fitzgerald 17 0
WR Jeremy Kerley 97 1 WR Josh Gordon 21 0
WR Mike Brown 120 0 WR DeSean Jackson 21 0
TE Zach Miller 40 1 TE Tony Gonzalez 30 0
PK Nick Folk 12 pts PK Alex Henery 3 pts

Huddle Fantasy Points = 127

Huddle Fantasy Points = 26

Sunday's Couch Commentary

The Manning Homecoming was a downer with his younger version winning the game. But they scored 72 points in the process so much fun was had by all. There are still a lot of road wins (6) and a few upsets by the home team. We're reaching the middle of the season and while teams are sorting themselves out by now, we're also facing the odd instances of where teams try to mail in wins or just play flat. The Broncos finally fell and now leave the Chiefs as the only undefeated team. That alone says this is a different season.

And injuries continue to reduce the pool of decent fantasy players without adding back any hot new players we can luck into and then claim we thought they would be that good. Jordan Reed and Jarrett Boykin were definitely "pop-ups" this week though.

The Game-O-The-Week? Several very close and fun to watch games happened. But the Redskins and Bears finished with a close ending and the highest score of the day.

Bears 41, Redskins 45

You would expect a weak defense like the Redskins to allow a lot of points but the Bears once-proud defense hit hard times with numerous injuries and by the time the smoke cleared, both teams had topped the 40 point mark.

Jay Cutler left with a hip injury and Josh McCown (204 yards, TD) was a step down. But Matt Forte ran for 91 yards and scored three times to keep the Bears in it until the end. Jay Cutler injured his groin and while it left Martellus Bennett out in the cold with just one catch for a seven-yard touchdown, the wideouts were fine. Alshon Jeffrey gained 105 yards on four catches and Brandon Marshall went for 75 yards on six receptions. The Skins saw Robert Griffin III pass for 298 yards and two scores and also run for 84 yards on 11 attempts as a sign that his knee is definitely no longer an issue.

Alfred Morris ran for 95 yards but Roy Helu scored three times and no doubt gets take off every waiver wire for at least one week. Jordan Reed (9-134, TD) enjoyed a break out game but no one else did much.

The game came down to the Bears scoring on a seven-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 4:02 left to play for a 41-38 lead by the Bears.

The Bears took their final 80-yard drive over 12 players that included four runs by Helu and one by Morris along with several shorter completions. Jordan Reed was the longest gainer on the drive when he caught a 26-yarder to reach midfield. Reed also caught a ten-yard pass down to the three-yard line where Helu scored on first down with 40 seconds left to play.

McCown reached midfield in three plays before ending the game on a sack.

We're entering the Big Byes with six teams off on both of the next two weeks. Factor in all the injuries and chances are there will be a few very odd looking lineups, We're reaching the mid-point of the season and teams are still in constant change. The Packers cannot keep a healthy receiver. The Rams lost their quarterback for the year and the Bears may have lost their for a few weeks. This is the year of attrition and the eventual league winners are going to be either those with a healthy roster all year or at least early injuries that they could recover.

This has been one screwy year with so many injuries but perhaps that is just the new normal. Mix that in with the Vikings, Texans, Buccaneers, Falcons and Giants as teams that have just nose-dived this year and taken their players down with them. This has been a tough year for many team owners.

If you want to be something scary for Halloween, go as the NFL injury report. That should keep your buddies away from you while you chat with a gaggle of Twerking Mileys.

Now get back to work...


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