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Under the Numbers - Week 11
John U. Miller
November 16, 2010
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Digging deeper for a baker’s dozen of did-you-know stuff from Fantasy Week 10.

1. Eli Manning completed 33 of 48 passes for 373 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs in the 33-20 loss to Dallas.  He also rushed for 17 yards.

Huddle Up:  Manning has attempted 319 passes in his first 9 games, the most he’s ever attempted in the first 9 games of his 7-year career.  Eli’s on pace for 4352 yards, 34 TD passes and 23 INTs -- all of which would be career-highs.  Giants OC Kevin Gilbride planned to come out throwing – a whopping 27 of their first 40 plays were passes.  In the 4th quarter Manning had a 48-yard TD pass to Hakeem Nicks nullified by a holding call.  On the very next play Manning fumbled the snap.  Game over.  Injury note:  WR Ramses Barden injured his foot and is probably gone for the year. With Steve Smith (pectoral) out for a couple more weeks, the new No. 3 WR is Duke Calhoun.  Calhoun broke many of Isaac Bruce’s receiving records at Memphis.  Here’s a homer puff piece on Calhoun coming out of training camp

2. Chris Johnson carried 17 times for 117 yards and 1 TD in the 29-17 loss to Miami.  He added 1 catch for 7 yards. 

Huddle Up:  Everyone’s talking about what a flop Randy Moss was in his Titans debut, but his presence directly resulted in one of the easiest scores Johnson’s ever had.  CJ’s 17-yard TD run was on 3rd down with only 6 men in the box, and safety Chris Clemons was too late because he was watching Moss.  Listen to Dan Fouts dissecting the play.  For the season Johnson is tied for 3rd in rushing with 838 yards, 2nd in 100-yard rushing games with 5, and tied for 2nd league-wide with 9 total TDs.   He’s delivering as the 1st or 2nd overall fantasy pick.  It is worth noting his low reception totals, only 23 catches for a paltry 97 yards after 9 games.  Johnson’s longest play in the passing game is 17 yards, and 18 of his 23 receptions have gone for 6 yards or less.  However, his remaining schedule is the 6th easiest for fantasy RBs and four of his next five games are at home. 

3. Knowshon Moreno carried 22 times for 106 yards and caught 3 passes for 50 yards and 1 TD in the 49-29 win over Kansas City.

Huddle Up: It was Moreno’s first ever 100-yard game of his career, and only one of his 22 carries went for negative yardage.  It’s obvious that the Week 9 bye finally solved Moreno’s hamstring issue – but the real reason for his success was the offensive line. “It took the Broncos ten weeks to get back to the starting offensive line formation in which they spent most of training camp,” reports Broncotalk.net.  With Zane Beadle back at left guard and a rejuvenated Ryan Harris at right tackle, they finally started mauling people.  They didn’t commit a single penalty either.  Denver ran 13 plays in the red zone and Moreno was targeted once (for a 17-yard TD catch) and had three rushing attempts out of those 13 plays.  On two 2nd-and-goal plays from inside the 3-yard line Tim Tebow had a rushing and passing TD.  Todd Haley refused to shake Josh McDaniels’ hand after the game.  Moreno’s schedule is the #1 easiest for fantasy RBs from Weeks 13 to 16: @ Kansas City, @ Arizona, @ Oakland, and vs. Houston.

4. Matt Cassel completed 33 of 53 passes for 469 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs in the loss at Denver.  Dwayne Bowe caught 13 passes for 186 yards and 2 TDs. 

Huddle Up:  Cassel put up an astounding 40 fantasy points in most standard leagues and it could have been even more: On one drive Cassel was strip-sacked on 1st and goal, on another drive he couldn’t mash it in from the 1-yard line, and later he missed on two different 2-point conversions to Dwayne Bowe.  Cassel has already matched his 16 TD passes from last year - with only 4 INTs so far.  Bowe is on a huge fantasy streak, one that we may never see again for 10 years.  In his last 5 games he’s caught 30 passes for 454 yards and 8 TDs.  In fact, if Bowe hadn’t dropped a TD vs. Indianapolis we’d be talking about 10 TD receptions in his last 7 games.  This was the quintessential come-from-behind passing display:  When Cassel took the field with 5:48 left in the 1st half the score was 35-0 and he was 8-of-11 for 114 yards.  The Chiefs’ next 3 games are vs. Arizona, at Seattle, and back at home vs. Denver again. 

5. Brandon Lloyd caught 6 passes for 90 yards and 2 TDs in the win over Kansas City.

Huddle Up:  Lloyd has 133 fantasy points and is in a five-way battle for the 2010 Top Fantasy WR title with Roddy White (136), Hakeem Nicks (128), Terrell Owens (125), and Calvin Johnson (122).  See below:

Who Will Finish No. 1?
WR Rec Targets Yards TDs Remaining SOS for WRs
Roddy White 70 105 934 7 32nd easiest schedule
Brandon Lloyd 48 89 968 6 30th easiest schedule
Hakeem Nicks 56 92 735 9 3rd easiest schedule
Terrell Owens 59 107 834 7 31st easiest schedule
Calvin Johnson 49 88 679 9 9th easiest schedule

Lloyd is 29 years old and has suddenly become one of the most dominant receivers in the game.  I don’t recall a late-career breakout like this at the WR position… maybe Joe Horn?  The fact that Lloyd was on pace in October to break Jerry Rice’s single-season record 1,848 receiving yards was sort of a joke – but here we are going into Week 11 and Lloyd’s still on pace for 1,721 yards. 

6. Percy Harvin caught 4 passes for 64 yards and a TD in the 27-13 loss at Chicago.  He also returned 6 kickoffs for 151 yards. 

Huddle Up:  All week long it was the ankle, the migraines, all this riff-raff – yet Harvin still hasn’t missed a game.  The only game he’s ever missed in his career was Week 14 vs. Cincinnati last year, and that was believed to be general rookie rest and recuperation while the Vikings were cruising at 10-2.  Minnesota ran 7 plays in the red zone at Chicago and Harvin was only targeted on one play.  Greg Camarillo was targeted twice, Adrian Peterson had one run, and the remaining three were Toby Gerhart runs (?).  Still, Harvin has quietly been a top-10 fantasy WR over the last 7 games, plus his 95-yard kick return TD vs. Dallas helped many of you too.  Harvin did re-injure his left ankle in the 4th quarter and missed the final 10-play drive.  Harvin’s listed as day to day for Week 11 vs. Green Bay but as I stated previously, he always plays.  If Sidney Rice is finally activated (reports indicate he’s getting closer) it’s just a bonus for Harvin. 

7. Fred Jackson carried 25 times for 133 yards and 1 TD – and caught 6 passes for 37 yards and 1 TD in the 14-12 win over Detroit. 

Huddle Up:  With the backfield all to himself (C.J. Spiller out at least 1 game with a hamstring injury) Jackson touched the ball 31 times – the 3rd busiest game of his career.  The Bills ran 8 plays in the red zone and Jackson was either targeted or carried the ball on 6 of them.  His 1-yard TD run was set up by a 43-yard bomb down the right sideline to Lee Evans.  Later Jackson couldn’t convert on a 4th and 1 at the Lions’ 12-yard line, otherwise he’s in position for a possible 3rd touchdown.  The unsung hero was Bills RG Eric Wood, who pushed Lions DT Ndamukong Suh around all day.  Wood, a former 1st-round pick from Louisville in 2009, was forgotten because he broke his leg last year – but he’s been getting better each week this season.  Wood held Suh to 0 sacks and 1 tackle for loss. 

8. Brandon Marshall caught 3 passes for 34 yards in the win over Tennessee.  He was targeted just 7 times.  Marshall also attempted a deep pass that was incomplete.  TE Anthony Fasano caught 5 passes for 107 yards and 1 TD (7 targets), Brian Hartline caught 5 passes for 98 yards (7 targets), and Davone Bess caught 4 passes for 29 yards (6 targets).

Huddle Up:  Marshall is mired in a nasty slump with 18 catches for 185 yards and 0 TDs in his last 4 games.  He’s feeling the pressure too.  In the 3rd quarter Marshall took a short pass over the middle and slipped while trying to juke Titans safety Michael Griffin – then jumped up and whipped the football across the field, drawing a delay of game penalty.  Titans CB Cortland Finnegan picked off one pass intended for Marshall and told reporters he usually knew exactly what routes Marshall would run based on the formation.  Going to Week 11 with QB Tyler Thigpen under center vs. Chicago, there is reason for optimism among Marshall-owners… Back in 2008 with Kansas City, Thigpen hit WR Dwayne Bowe for at least 72 yards and/or 1 TD in 8 of 10 games.  He targeted Bowe at least 10 times in half of those 10 games.

9. Ben Roethlisberger completed 30 of 49 passes for 387 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT in the 39-26 loss to New England.  Roethlisberger added 12 rushing yards to help offset the INT in some fantasy leagues.  Mike Wallace caught 8 passes for 136 yards and 2 TDs. 

Huddle Up:  297 of those yards came in the second half, just to give you an idea of how bad things were early in the game.  WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Antwaan Randle-El each dropped catchable TD passes and it looked like Roethlisberger was going to bury his fantasy owners. Then Steelers OC Bruce Arians committed to 4-wide sets (TE Heath Miller in the slot) in the 4th quarter with the score 23-3 and they finally started making plays in comeback mode.  The Steelers’ revamped offensive line with LT Jonathan Scott and LG Ramon Foster was a problem.  Mike Wallace came alive after Hines Ward left (concussion), running many of Ward’s signature routes in traffic.  Frankly, I believe Nov. 14, 2010 is the day Wallace became a star in the NFL.  Pittsburgh hosts Oakland in Week 11 (possibly without CB Nnamdi Asomugha), then goes to Buffalo in Week 12. 

10. Carson Palmer completed 31 of 42 passes for 292 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs in the 23-17 loss at Indianapolis.  Chad Ochocinco left in the 4th quarter with what looked like a serious shoulder injury but returned and finished with 7 catches for 86 yards and 1 TD.  

Huddle Up:  Palmer hurt his right shoulder in Week 10 and didn’t practice last week.  He took a pain-killing shot before the Colts game.  The Huddle’s John Tuvey summed up Palmer’s day:  “Palmer started 10-for-13 for 99 yards with a 91.5 passer rating in the first half. Then the sheer volume of 29 second-half throws must have caused the pain-killer to wear off, as he threw three picks and saw his passer rating dip to 78.7 for the game.” Palmer threw a pick-6 to Colts CB Kelvin Hayden in the 1st quarter and later threw another pick that was returned to the 10-yard line.  Palmer has been sacked 10 times in the last 4 games.  Ochocinco had a 34-yard TD negated by a penalty but later caught a 5-yard score on the same drive.  Palmer’s 3rd INT was not his fault – Terrell Owens stopped on the route and simply watched the ball land in Colts safety Aaron Francisco’s hands. 

11. Mike Thomas caught 8 passes for 149 yards and 1 TD in the 31-24 win over Houston.  He hauled in a 50-yard Hail Mary for the game-winning score with 0:00 left in regulation. 

Huddle Up:  Texans CB Clover Quin tried to “knock it down” and smacked the ball right into Thomas’ hands.  Thomas was trailing behind the throw, looking for a rebound – a play that the Jags practice in slow motion every Saturday.  Thomas was a much bigger factor in the game than Mike Sims-Walker.  Even without the miracle play Thomas would have had 8 targets, 7 catches and 99 yards.  Sims-Walker had 4 targets, 3 catches and 26 yards.  TE Marcedes Lewis had another good game with 5 catches for 53 yards.  Lewis is the No. 2 ranked tight end in fantasy football with 30 catches for 379 yards and 7 TDs.  What’s also surprising is David Garrard’s fantasy performances of late.  In his last 2 games Garrard has an unbelievable 639 total yards and 7 TDs!  And The Huddle’s Strength of Schedule Tool suggests that Garrard has some prime opportunities going forward.    

12. Frank Gore carried 22 times for 87 yards and 1 TD in the 23-20 overtime win over St. Louis.  He also caught 3 passes for 67 yards. 

Huddle Up:  The 49ers ran 7 plays in the red zone and Gore handled the ball on 4 of them.  Gore was able to pad his stats with 33 rushing yards on the single overtime drive.  Gore is a top-5 fantasy RB in all scoring formats and is tied for 2nd among all RBs with 1193 total yards from scrimmage.  His 227 total touches puts him on pace for a career-high 404 touches.  Having Troy Smith at quarterback only makes Gore busier as he’s logged 55 touches in the last 2 games alone.  TE Vernon Davis had a 43-yard TD catch negated in this game by a holding penalty.  Smith’s 356 passing yards were the most by a 49ers QB since Tim Rattay had 417 in 2004.  San Francisco is at home vs. Tampa Bay in Week 11, then on the road at Arizona on Monday night in Week 12. 

13. Danny Amendola caught 7 passes for 51 yards and 1 TD in the loss to San Francisco.  He also had 2 receptions for 22 yards negated by penalties. 

Huddle Up:  One of the more surprising stories of 2010 Fantasy Football, Amendola is tied for 7th in the NFL with 52 catches.  It’s amazing to think that he went to Texas Tech just like Wes Welker.  What do they teach at that school, PPR Concepts 101?  Amendola also leads the league with 6 receptions inside the 10-yard line.  Greg Jennings, Anquan Boldin, and Chad Ochocinco have 6 combined receptions inside the 10.  Amendola is also 4th in the league with 230 punt return yards and he will break one soon.  The Rams face three shaky secondaries in the next three weeks – vs. Atlanta, at Denver, and at Arizona. 

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