Tunnel Vision: Week 10
David Dorey
November 11, 2013
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Drew Brees 392 4
Peyton Manning 330 4
Robert Griffin III 325 3
Ryan Fitzpatrick 276 3
Nick Foles 266 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Pierre Thomas 108 3
Darren Sproles 88 2
Marshawn Lynch 161 1
Giovani Bernard 95 1
Adrian Peterson 77 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Demaryius Thomas 108 3
Tavon Austin 138 3
Brandon Marshall 139 2
A.J. Green 151 1
Calvin Johnson 83 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
John Carlson 98 1
Julius Thomas 96 1
Delanie Walker 62 1
Jordan Reed 62 1
Robert Housler 57 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Steven Hauschka 3 4
Shaun Suisham 2 3
Blair Walsh 4 2
Rob Bironas 3 2
Alex Henery 3 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Rams 2 3 5
Jaguars 1 1 4
Giants 1 4 2
Panthers 0 6 2
Raiders 1 3 3

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Christian Ponder - Shoulder
Stevie Johnson - Groin
Stephen Burton - Concussion
Damian Williams - Quad
Jake Locker - Foot
Seneca Wallace - Groin
Jay Cutler - Ankle
Garrett Celek - Hamstring
Dwayne Harris - Head
Peyton Manning - Ankle/Knee
Tony Gonzalez - Toe
Vernon Davis - Concussion
Ben Watson - Concussion

Whether you are deciding which player to draft, start or grab from the waiver wire, you are acting on probabilities. Granted your estimation skills may skew towards players on your favorite team, but for the most part your selections are based on probability. This is important to remember this week because probability merely means more likely than any other choices. It does not mean a 100% guarantee. Weeks like we just saw in the NFL are the kind that befuddle fantasy team owners and prompts more than a few gamblers to find alternative sources for paying rent.

It is a long NFL season and the dynamics within each NFL team constantly change. The bottom line is that there are always weeks where a majority of road teams win or when great teams and terrible teams suddenly switch places. It is only temporary and you cannot let such uncharacteristic weeks affect how you manage your team. What may be harder to realize is that by the final month of the season when all fantasy championships are won, players and teams are always more predictable and those stud players will dominate the list of top performers each week with few exceptions.

Sunday served up many surprises and disappointments. Let's review the fantasy impact for what it means in the future.

John Carlson replaced Kyle Rudolph and turned in a career best seven catches for 98 yards and one touchdown versus the weak Redskins defense. He'll need to be the primary tight end until Rudolph returns in week 14 or so and he is better than just another blocker. Carlson caught 55 passes for 627 yards in his rookie season for the Seahawks. But he also plays at Seattle, at Green Bay, home versus the Bears and then at Baltimore. And this without Christian Ponder. No reason to expect more than this one game blip.

Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 264 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to the Jaguars. Jake Locker is lost for the season but playing the Jaguars at home is not only as easy as it gets, it was the first time anyone lost to them. The Titans play the Colts this week and then hit three straight road games in Oakland, Indianapolis and then Denver. He's just an average quarterback facing a tougher schedule and no reason to visit the waiver wire.

Is Nick Foles for real now? No. Because he was already the real deal before he threw seven touchdowns in Oakland and with three more in Green Bay, there is no reason to expect him to be anything but the starter in Philadelphia, The Eagles host the Redskins this week, take a bye and then remain home to play the Cardinals and Lions. The only question that Foles prompts is "whatever happened to that Vick guy?"

Is there any reason to worry about the fantasy fortunes of the Cowboys? The Saints head coach used to run the Cowboys offense. Their defensive coordinator was just fired by the Cowboys last summer while he was on vacation. The Saints were at home and the Cowboys lost even more defensive players. It was a massacre but just one game. DeMarco Murray looked good for only one series early in the game and all elements of the passing offense flopped. But that is the opposite of nearly every other game this year. The Cowboys are on bye this week but then play the Giants, Raiders, Bears, Packers and Redskins. Plenty of chances for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams to shine.

That impressive win by the Saints suggested that big changes were happening in the offense but again - it was just one game. Against a weaker opponent on the road that already had plenty of defensive injuries this year and then lost their best player in linebacker Sean Lee. Mark Ingram rushed for not only a career best 145 yards and a score on 14 carries, it was the first 100 yard game of his three-year career. Ingram only gained 50 yards in the three previous games he could play this year. Pierre Thomas remains the primary runner and was plenty productive anyway with 87 rush yards, seven catches for 24 yards and a total of two touchdowns. Even Darren Sproles caught a spark once Lee was gone from the middle of the defense and ended with seven catches for 76 yards and one touchdown himself. He had only one other big game all year and will be hard to rely on when the Saints face the 49ers and Seahawks in the next three weeks.

When the Saints produce three of the top four fantasy running backs for the week, it is safe to disregard what just happened.

Case Keenum hasn't been good enough to stop the seven-game losing streak of the Texans. But he threw three touchdowns against both the Colts and Cardinals and his schedule calls for three straight home games - Raiders, Jaguars and Patriots - and then a road game in Jacksonville. He's not only helped Andre Johnson to reach a new level of production, Keenum is only getting started..

Andre Brown played for the first time this year and instead of easing him back in as was expected, they rode him hard with a league-high 30 carries this week for 115 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Raiders. He's bound to be effective for the next two weeks while at home against the Packers and Cowboys who are both hard hit with injuries. The backfield carousel in New York looks to be over for now.

There is a reasonable concern about the Indianapolis Colts and it is bigger than getting spanked by the visiting Rams. The absence of Reggie Wayne is making a star of T.Y. Hilton but no other wideouts are stepping up and Donald Brown was the second best receiver last week with five catches for 64 yards and one score. Not having any real #2 receiver will be a problem against the more formidable secondaries of the Cardinals, Bengals and Titans (twice) over the next four games. The rushing effort is non-existent and Hilton is the only sensible fantasy play in the entire offense.

After only catching one pass in the loss to the Bears, Jarrett Boykin was dropped by many fantasy owners. And so naturally he came up with eight receptions for 112 yards against the Eagles. And most of that came from quarterback Scott Tolzien in his first ever NFL action. He is worth getting back since the next games are against the Giants, Vikings, Lions, Falcons and the Cowboys. Might want to see him with one more solid showing before starting him again, but the starting wideout for any offense is probably worth owning and more so on the Packers with that schedule.

Week nine in the NFL served up a lot of disappointing performances like Dez Bryant, Wes Welker, Jordy Nelson, Keenan Allen, Eric Decker, Stevie Johnson, Matt Forte, Tony Romo, Cam Newton and many others. For one week they did not meet their usual probability. But they are guaranteed to be back to form over the coming weeks and through the end of the season.

Sunday Snippets

WAS 27, MIN 34 The Vikings finally won on U.S. soil with their upset of the Redskins who were really not that good anyway. Christian Ponder passed for 174 yards, two touchdowns and one dislocated shoulder. In this topsy-turvy week, the best receiver was of course TE John Carlson (7-98, TD). Adrian Peterson ran for 75 yards and two scores while the rookie Cordarrelle Patterson (2-22. TD) finally scored on offense for the first time in the NFL. Robert Griffin III passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns that mostly went to the only two decent receivers he has - Pierre Garcon (7-119, TD) and Jordan Reed (6-62, TD). Alfred Morris rolled up 139 rushing yards. Now the 3-6 Redskins head to Philadelphia and the 2-7 Vikings try to extend their winning streak in Seattle.
SEA 33, ATL 10 No surprises here. Russell Wilson passed for 287 yards and two scores that went to Golden Tate (6-106, TD) and Jermaine Kearse (3-75, TD). Marshawn Lynch ran for 145 yards and one score and the Seahawks knew they were going to have no problems here because they dressed both Christine Michael (8-33) and Robert Turbin (7-13). Matt Ryan somehow threw for 172 yards and one score but no receivers managed more than 49 yards and Steven Jackson ran for a big 11 yards on nine carries which makes you wonder if he really did retire last year. Now the 9-1 Seahawks return home to face the Vikings and the 2-7 Falcons head to Tampa Bay.
CIN 17, BAL 20
The Ravens tried really hard to give this one away with the Hail Mary/volley ball set-up for A.J. Green (8-151, TD) and that allowed Andy Dalton tot salvage his game with 274 passing yards and two scores against just the three interceptions. Giovani Bernard ran for 58 and caught eight passes for 37 yards and a score. Joe Flacco only passed for 140 yards and two scored with no receiver any better than Torrey Smith (5-46, TD). Ray Rice ran for 30 yards on 18 carries for one of his better efforts and did add six catches for 26 yards which was the only reason why he wasn't on your waiver wire this morning. The Bengals almost took this in overtime but opted to turn it over on downs rather than try a long field goal. Now the 6-4 Bengals will host the Browns and the 4-5 Ravens head to Chicago.
DET 21, CHI 19

This one came down to a missed two-point conversion to tie the game at the very end. Matt Stafford threw for 219 yards and three scores which favored Calvin Johnson (6-83, 2 TD) and Brandon Pettigrew (5-70). Reggie Bush rushed for 105 yards but only added eight yards as a receiver. Jay Cutler passed for 250 yards and a score but left with a bad ankle and Josh McCown was the closer. Brandon Marshall (7-139, 2 TD) was big and even Alshon Jeffery (9-114) made a impact. Matt Forte only gained 49 total yards and had a touchdown called back on a penalty. The 6-3 Lions now head to Pittsburgh and the 5-4 Bears host the Ravens.

PHI 27, GB 13 The Packers are now burning through quarterbacks after Seneca Wallace injured his groin after only five passes and Scott Tolzien took over. Been awhile since the #3 QB in Green Bay even had to go to the game. Jarrett Boykin (8-112) came through and Jordy Nelson (6-56) hung on for at least something. Eddie Lacy ran for 73 yards but the offense sort of changed when Tolzien took over. Nick Foles passed for 228 yards and three scores that went to Riley Cooper (3-102. 2 TD) and DeSean Jackson (4-80, TD). LeSean McCoy returned to his high-octane ways with 155 yards on 25 carries. Now the 5-5 Eagles host the Redskins and the 5-4 Packers go to New York to play the Giants.
STL 38, IND 8

Yeah. Riiiiiiiiight. Sure. Andrew Luck passed for 353 yards and a score with three interceptions. He was also the lead rusher for the Colts with 17 yards because all other rushing attempts only totaled one net yard on 10 carries. Riiiiiiiiight. T.Y. Hilton (7-130) led the receivers in this game where the Colts were clearly trying out their clones who need to go back for more repairs. The Rams got 247 yards and two scores from Kellen Clemens and Benny Cunningham was the lead rusher with 72 yards, Yeah sure. Tavon Austin returned a punt for a score and then caught just two passes which went for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Okay. I am going to try to forget everything that just happened here. The 4-6 Rams now go onto their bye and the 6-3 Colts go to Tennessee.

OAK 20, NYG 24 This was a close game, somehow, and Terrelle Pryor only passed for 122 yards and one interception while Rashad Jennings ran for 88 yards. That was about it. Eli Manning only threw for 140 yards and one score that went to Rueben Randle (3-50, TD) as the only decent receiver. Andre Brown's first game back was a surprising 30 carries for 115 yards and one score while Peyton HIllis only ran five times. This game had a blocked punt returned for a TD and an interception ran back for a score. There was only one touchdown scored in total for the entire second half. The 3-6 Raiders will head to Houston and the 3-6 Giants host whatever now claims to be the Packers.
BUF 10, PIT 23

E.J. Manuel (155 yds, TD) returned from his lengthy absence but made little difference. Stevie Johnson was the best receiver with only 48 yards on three catches and C.J. Spiller (cough, cough, high ankle sprain, cough, cough) had another down game with only 34 total yards. Ben Roethlisberger faced one of the worst secondaries and yet only passed for 204 yards and one touchdown. Antonio Brown (6-104) was the only decent receiver in the entire game and Le'Veon Bell gained 96 total yards with one touchdown. There just should have been more offense on both sides. Now the 3-7 Bills host the Jets and the 3-6 Steelers welcome Calvin Johnson and 52 other members of the Lions.

JAC 29, TEN 27 This game is all you need to know about the week and how strange it was. The Jaguars win their first game despite Chad Henne passing for only 180 yards and two interceptions and Maurice Jones-Drew rushing for 41 yards on 21 carries though he and Jordan Toddman ran in touchdowns. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 264 yards and two scores after Jake Locker was likely lost for the season. Kenny Wright (7-78) and Delanie Walker (4-62, TD) ended as the best receivers in the game. Chris Johnson only ran for 30 yards on 12 carries because it was a home game against a really bad team. The Titans are now officially "it" and the ONE-and-eight Jaguars return home to host the Cardinals. The 4-5 Titans welcome a team formerly-known-as-the-Colts.
CAR 10, SF 9

Do they all coordinate when good teams are going to suck? Does one GM call another "Yeah, this is the week. Let's go bowling instead of preparing". There was only one touchdown in the entire game. It did show that when Vernon Davis is out that the 49ers have absolutely no idea how to throw the ball. Colin Kaepernick only managed 91 passing yards and one interception. Frank Gore totaled 103 yard as the only notable 49ers. Mario Manningham is back and led the team WITH ONLY 30 YARDS. Cam Newton only passed for 169 yards and an interception and somehow, in a sign that God has a great sense of humor, DeAngelo Williams ran in the only score in the game on a 27-yard run. This was every bit as bad as the score indicated. Now the 6-3 Panthers will host the Panthers and the 6-3 49ers head to New Orleans.

HOU 24, ARI 27 Case Keenum kept the magic going with three touchdowns on his 201 passing yards and Andre Johnson has completely flip-flopped because now he only gained 37 yards but scored twice. Ben Tate is the new Foster and ran for 56 yards but never scored. Carson Palmer had a better than average game with 241 yards and two touchdowns that went to the completely wrong people - Andre Roberts (5-72, TD) and Robert Housler (4-57) while both Larry Fitzgerald and even Michael Floyd were all but shut down. The Texans made a valiant effort to comeback but just fell short. Now the 2-7 Texans host the Raiders and the 5-4 Cardinals head to Jacksonville.
DEN 28, SD 20

This is all these two teams can generate? That is just sad. Peyton Manning passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns that went to Demaryius Thomas (7-108, 3 TD) and Julius Thomas (3-96, TD) who opened the game with a 74-yard scoring catch. But Wes Welker only caught three passes for 21 yards and Eric Decker was held to three receptions for 52 yards. Philip Rivers threw for a very disappointing 218 yards and one score for Danny Woodhead. They stuck heavily with running Ryan Mathews (14-59, TD) and Ronnie Brown (9-36) as if that was the answer. Keenan Allen (4-41) finally went cold. These just seemed to be a lot less offense than we were hoping to see. Now the 8-1 Broncos host the Chiefs in the biggest game of week 11 and the 4-5 Chargers head to Miami.

Huddle Player of the Week

Tavon Austin - What a great representative for the week! How great was that? Austin was a first round bust that never gained more than 50 yards in any game and in week nine he had ZERO catches. So naturally he would explode now that no one started him and he is almost certainly on the waiver wire in most every league. Austin returned a punt 98 yards for one touchdown and then caught just two passes - a 57-yard touchdown and an 81-yard touchdown to be one of the highest fantasy scorers in the NFL on Sunday. Will that happen next week? Or ever again? Someone is going to take that chance.


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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 276 3 QB Cam Newton 186 0
RB Andre Brown 119 1 RB Steven Jackson 20 0
RB Mark Ingram 170 1 RB Matt Forte 49 0
WR Andre Roberts 72 1 WR Wes Welker 21 0
WR Jermaine Kearse 75 1 WR Larry Fitzgerald 23 0
WR Cordarrelle Patterson 22 1 WR Dez Bryant 44 0
TE John Carlson 98 1 TE Vernon Davis 2 0
PK Steven Hauschka 15 pts PK David Akers 3 pts

Huddle Fantasy Points = 135

Huddle Fantasy Points = 24

Sunday's Couch Commentary

This was a very odd week. Six of the thirteen games were won outright by the underdog and we saw the Jaguars win their first game - on the road no less. The Vikings won their first continental game. The Colts were decimated by the Rams even though they were on a three game losing streak and most recently lost to the Titans in St. Louis. The 49ers lost at home and once again look like a bad offense once you bang Vernon Davis' head on the ground. The Texans still can only get close. There really wasn't a Game-O-The-Week in a traditional sense. This was a week with plenty of upsets, bad performances by good players and more than a couple " I ain't dead yet" players making themselves known.

The Game-O-The-Week? Since I feel obligated to name one, I'll take the late game as a representative of how tough this week was on fantasy.

Cowboys 17, Saints 49

There was nothing remotely close to a tight game here. It was really over before halftime but it all happened in a way that was nothing like the way either team had been playing. Granted - Drew Brees at home is always money and he did not disappoint with 392 yards and four touchdowns. He was also the only player that did what he was supposed to do.

For the Cowboys, Rob Ryan is probably still laughing about this game (even if you are reading this while wrapping Christmas gifts on December 24th like always). It was evident that the Saints were never going to let Dez Bryant (1-44) go anywhere unaccompanied by less than two Saints. He was blanketed, wrapped up, pushed down treated with the gentleness given to a dog that is currently biting your daughter. The only Cowboy with more than two catches was tight end James Hanna (3-11). Tony Romo only passed for 128 yards and one score in one of the worst games in his career. He completed just 10 of 24 passes. On the plus side, no interceptions at all.

The Cowboys started out running the ball and DeMarco Murray gained 89 yards and one score on 16 carries. The Saints really did not care much about Murray. Eventually neither did the Cowboys. This was a total beat down and 17 points suggests that there was a lot more offense than there really was.

The Saints set an NFL record with 40 first downs in the game. The Cowboys had exactly 40 plays but only nine first downs.

Jimmy Graham only caught five passes for 50 yards as the fourth best receiver. Every owner started him.

Darren Sproles was the next best receiver with seven catches for 76 yards and one score. He also ran for 12 yards and a second touchdown. This is the same back who only scored in one other game all year and over the previous two games only totaled no rushes and five catches for a two yard total. So kinda a step up here.

Marquez Colston was the top receiver with seven catches for 107 yards and one touchdown. No one started him and the biggest reason he is still on rosters is absent owners. This is the wideout who totaled 44 yards over the last three games combined. What?

Kenny Stills also caught a touchdown on his three receptions for 75 yards. He only had 35 yards in New York last week but he has been really good in recent home games against weak secondaries. Too bad the Saints do not face any bad secondaries at home for the rest of the year.

Where the Saints did their biggest damage was running the ball. Not only did Sproles have the rare touchdown, but Pierre Thomas (17-87, TD) also added seven catches for 24 yards and a second score as a receiver. This was his first rushing score of the year and best game so far,

The best of all was Mark Ingram. He has been a bust for a first round pick of a Heisman Trophy winner. In three years, he had never topped 100 yards. This year he never ran more than nine times in any game and came in with only 21 carries for 50 yards on the year. He was riding the waiver wire in pretty much all leagues. And so of course he merely ran for 145 yards on 14 carries and scored once. He looked very good. Everyone wearing a Saints uniform looked very good.

This was a tough week. Fantasy scoring was down in leagues. Only three quarterbacks topped 300 yards while there were nine last week and three that topped 400 yards. A ton of good players flopped and several of the top scorers were guys we long ago gave up on. And we know that this will all probably happen again sometime this year. You have to accept that you probably will have players affected by a team-wide version of "if you cannot be gentle at least be quick" for the week. I can only guess that there is probably one more reverso-weird week out there. I can probably tell you that it will be hard to see coming.

But I can guarantee you that it will suck.

Now get back to work...

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