Digging deeper for a baker’s dozen of did-you-know stuff from Fantasy Week 5.
1. Miles Austin caught nine passes for 166 yards and 1 TD vs. Tennessee, plus he added one rush for four yards. Austin lost a 25-yard reception to a penalty as well.
Huddle Up: Only five WRs – Owens, White, Wayne, Fitzgerald, and Lloyd – are targeted more often than Austin’s 10 per game. Austin made his first NFL start last year in Week 5, so we now have a full 16-game sample of his work: If we add 2010’s four starts to 2009’s 12 starts, Austin has a “season” with 112 catches, 1,794 yards and 13 TDs. That would be the second-highest single-season total in NFL history behind Jerry Rice’s 1,848 yards in 1995. I’ve also counted three sure touchdowns that Austin has dropped since last year, which would have given him 16 in this span. Austin leads the NFL in 20-yard receptions – 27 – since the start of 2009, and that’s even counting the first 4 games of 2009 he hardly played in!
2. Jahvid Best carried 18 times for 67 yards and added four catches for 37 yards against the Rams. He had a 19-yard run wiped out by a holding penalty in the 3rd quarter. Calvin Johnson caught four passes for 54 yards and a TD. Megatron also had a 26-yard TD catch overturned by instant replay when he didn’t get both feet down.
Huddle Up: Best’s toe problems were indecipherable once again as he handled the ball 23 times (counting that negated carry). Best also attempted a halfback pass – incomplete to Tony Scheffler – late in the game when the outcome was long since decided. Best is the 10th ranked RB in the league with 495 total yards from scrimmage. Calvin Johnson has 5 TDs in 5 games this year. As I’ve mentioned before, I will always count that touchdown at Chicago that was ruled incomplete, so for the purposes of my column Johnson has 5 TDs. That said, Megatron has scored in 19 of his last 35 games. By comparison, Randy Moss has scored in 17 of his last 35 games. In those games Randy has accumulated 27 scores, Johnson has 22. They’re pretty much identical – but remember, Moss had Tom Brady and Brett Favre. Johnson had Jon Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford, and Shaun Hill. Note: We’ll update you on Calvin’s shoulder injury all week.
3. Kellen Winslow caught six passes for 75 yards in the 24-21 win over the Bengals. Rookie WR Mike Williams had seven catches for 99 yards and 1 TD. Cadillac Williams had 11 carries for 33 yards.
Huddle Up: No one does it more quietly from the tight end position than Winslow. He has at least 50 yards and/or 1 TD in 19 of his last 32 games. By comparison, Chris Cooley has done it in 20 of his last 32 games, and Jason Witten has done it in 17 of his last 32. Mike Williams caught his third TD in four games this year. Remember, the fourth-round pick was once poised to break Marvin Harrison and Art Monk’s Syracuse receiving records until he developed disciplinary troubles. Cadillac Williams has exactly two runs of over 25 yards in his last 40 games, with the longest being 33 yards. Cadillac led off the Bengals game with an 8-yard run but his next eight attempts netted one yard. LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins (five combined carries for seven yards) didn’t play until the second half. The Bucs’ hungriest runner was Earnest Graham, who had a 61-yard lumbering jaunt. But his best run was this 1-yard hurdle job for a TD.
4. Brandon Lloyd caught five passes for 135 yards and 2 TDs in the 31-17 loss to Baltimore. Jabar Gaffney caught nine passes for 87 yards, and Eddie Royal caught four for 31 yards.
Huddle Up: All the remaining four Broncos that caught passes only registered five receptions for 61 yards. Kyle Orton leads all QBs in percentage of yardage completed to WRs with 82%. That means Orton is whipping the ball downfield, plain and simple. No checkdowns. Lloyd is tied with Hakeem Nicks as the No. 1 fantasy WR in standard scoring (checked the Huddle Stats page lately?). Lloyd is also only the 16th player ever to post 100+ receiving yards in four of his first five games. Gaffney has one TD but ranks 6th among all WRs with 31 receptions. Royal is the 18th ranked fantasy WR with at least four catches or a TD in every game. Royal also had a 33-yard end-around and a 17-yard reception negated by penalties, otherwise he registers a 6-touch, 81-yard day against the Ravens’ (formerly) #1 ranked pass defense. With Orton on pace for an Oh-My-Lord 5,546 passing yards, all three of these receivers should be in 12-team fantasy lineups every week.
5. Felix Jones carried 15 times for 109 yards and caught 4 passes for 17 yards in the 34-27 loss to the Titans. The Cowboys ran eight red-zone plays and Jones touched the ball on three of them.
Huddle Up: 19 touches is the most Felix Jones has ever had in his career. Last week Jerry Jones said, “Everyone is in unanimous agreement with the staff, scouts, everybody involved that Felix needs to touch the ball more.” Jones said the same thing last November but maybe, just maybe he finally passed down an order to Jason Garrett (?). It’s his team, right? What’s different this year is that Dallas is 1-3, their worst start since 2001 (0-4), and their 4.1 team average per rush is their lowest since 2006. So now even Wade Phillips is on board, and he never talks about Felix. “We need to get him the ball more.” Phillips said today. “I thought it helped our running game.” Translation: “Hell, I don’t want to get a fifth different job in 14 years, plus my wife loves living and shopping in Preston Hollow… Felix better light it up.” Dallas faces the 9th and 10th ranked rush defenses - Minnesota and NY Giants – in the next two weeks but for many of you Felix is now on auto-flex during these brutal bye weeks.
6, Steven Jackson had 25 carries for 114 yards and added one catch for 12 yards in the 44-6 loss to Detroit. The Rams ran 10 plays in the red zone and Jackson touched the ball on three of them.
Huddle Up: Jackson is one of 25 running backs with at least 10 red zone carries-plus-targets so far this season. But only he and Shonn Greene don’t have a red-zone TD from those 25 backs. In addition, Jackson has only scored in two of his last 10 games going back to last season. Since the beginning of 2007 Jackson has scored in 15 of 44 games. By comparison, Willis McGahee has scored in 24 of his last 44 games as a fantasy flex player in 12-team leagues. Jackson has missed nine games since 2007, nothing new there… but he’s also been a “game-time decision” nine other times when he did go out and play anyway. Many times a fantasy owner got spooked and started a bench payer instead. In summary, Steven Jackson gives you low TD levels and high stress levels, and that’s after you spend a first-round fantasy pick for his services. Note: WR Mark Clayton (knee) is out for the season, thus insuring eight men in the box constantly going forward.
7. Cedric Benson carried 23 times for 144 yards in the 24-21 loss to the Bucs. He also caught two passes for 19 yards. He also scored on a 2-point conversion. It was Benson’s first 100-yard game of the year.
Huddle Up: Benson has still been a very productive runner as a Bengal, when healthy. In his last 20 contests he has eight 100-yard games. No other runner in football has more 100-yard efforts in their last 20 games except for Chris Johnson, who has a startling 15. Next in line is Benson (8), Steven Jackson (8), Michael Turner (7), Thomas Jones (7), Frank Gore (6), Maurice Jones-Drew (6), DeAngelo Williams (6), Adrian Peterson (5), Rashard Mendenhall (5), Jonathan Stewart (5), and Jamaal Charles (5, in only 12 real starts). In the Bucs game Benson had four red-zone carries but couldn’t get in the end zone, including a 1-yard try off the left guard. Over their last 13 games the Bengals rank 24th in red-zone TD percentage (33%) with 13 TDs in 40 trips.
8. Joe Flacco completed 14 of 25 passes for 196 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs. He added 20 rushing yards and a score on the ground.
Huddle Up: Flacco is the 16th ranked fantasy QB. He’s actually 19th if you factor in the bye weeks for Tom Brady, Josh Freeman and Matt Hasselbeck. And if Ben Roethlisberger had been under center this whole time you know Flacco would be 20th. Over his last 15 games Flacco averages 204 passing yards per game with 15 TD passes and 13 INTs. In the previous 15 games before that, Flacco averaged 205 passing yards per game with 22 TD passes and 10 INTs. Right now Baltimore ranks 28th in yards per play at 4.9. Only Buffalo, St. Louis, Arizona and Carolina are worse. Flacco’s next four games are at New England, vs. Buffalo, vs. Miami, and at Atlanta.
9. Hakeem Nicks had 12 catches for 130 yards and 2 TDs in the 34-10 win over Houston. Steve Smith had six catches for 89 yards and 1 TD. The remaining Giants skill players had nine catches for 78 yards. Eli Manning threw for 297 yards and 3 TDs.
Huddle Up: Smith scored his 4th TD in his last 17 games while Nicks has 11 over his last 17 games. Nicks has four 100-yard games in this span, Smith has two. Manning currently has a career-high 64.4% completion rate, and a career-high 260 yards per game clip. Manning is on pace for 26 TD passes, just over his career average of 24 as a starter. His next six opponents are Detroit (25th ranked defense vs. fantasy QBs), Dallas (14th), Seattle (28th), Dallas (14th), Philadelphia (18th), and Jacksonville (32nd). The Giants are off in Week 8.
10. The New Orleans Saints have scored 99 points this season, ranking 18th in the league with 19.8 per game.
Huddle Up: Detroit, Oakland, and Jacksonville average 25.2, 22.2 and 21.4 points respectively. Ever since Sean Payton took over in 2006 his team has averaged 132 points in their first four games, so this 99 points is one heckuva slow start. The only two skill players generating anything close to reliable fantasy stats are Drew Brees (5th ranked QB) and Jeremy Shockey (9th ranked TE). But you took Brees anywhere from the mid-1st round to the mid-2nd round, probably picking him over a stud WR like Reggie Wayne, Roddy White or Miles Austin – right? Injuries haven’t helped, but that never stopped the Saints before, and they’re used to Reggie Bush missing time. As for the Arizona loss? I’ll let Saints beat writer Mike Tortorich explain that one: “Arizona won despite failing to throw or run for a touchdown… only the second team in history to score 30 points without throwing or running a touchdown. They debuted an undrafted rookie quarterback and only rushed for 41 yards as a team.”
11. Andre Johnson caught five passes for 95 yards and 0 TDs in the loss to NY Giants. Arian Foster carried 11 times for 25 yards, and caught two passes for two yards.
Huddle Up: Johnson’s ankle wasn’t a clearly visible issue (though you know he’s not 100%) and he actually had a whopping 13 targets. Only five WRs in the league had more looks in Week 5. Matt Schaub killed one drive when he got picked off near midfield. Johnson hauled in a 16-yard catch and got tackled at the three-inch line, where Derrick Ward stuffed it in on the next play. Arian Foster “banged his knee a little bit” in the 2nd quarter, according to Gary Kubiak. “There’s some concern there,” Kuibak added. All in all, the Giants hit Matt Schaub eight times, sacked him three times, forced two fumbles and 1 INT, plus a lowly 47% completion rate. The Texans host the Chiefs in Week 6, who just went to Indy and held Peyton Manning to 244 yards and 0 TDs.
12. Carson Palmer threw for 209 yards, 2 TD and 3 INTs in the loss to the Bucs. His QB rating was 58.7.
Huddle Up: Palmer only has two 100+ QB ratings in his last 25 games. By comparison, journeyman QB Shaun Hill has seven 100+ QB rating in only 20 career starts. Palmer has only won 19 of his last 44 starts. The Bengals are off in Week 6, then face the Falcons (road), Dolphins (home), Steelers (home), Colts (road), Bills (home), and Jets (road). In the fantasy playoff weeks 14-16 Palmer faces the Steelers (road), Browns (home), and Chargers (home), all potentially bad weather games.
13. Maurice Jones-Drew carried 19 times for 84 yards vs. the Bills. He added two catches for nine yards. He injured his wrist in the game and David Garrard was quoted as saying Jones-Drew was “screaming” in pain on the sidelines. More updates are coming.
Huddle Up: MJD is tied for 16th in basic fantasy scoring. He was the 3rd RB taken on average in the two weeks leading up to 2010 kickoff. Here are the current top-20 fantasy RBs with their average draft position among RBs:
|Current RB Fantasy Rankings