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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Off Tackle: Week 2
John Tuvey
September 14, 2011
 

FUN WITH NUMBERS

Tony Sporano said the Dolphins are going to keep giving Reggie Bush 20 touches a game. The last time Bush had more than 16 touches in a game (Week 6 of 2008), he injured his knee the following week and missed a month and a half.

In fact, Bush averaged just a shade under 20 touches per game over the first six weeks of that season, producing 600 yards and five touchdowns in that span. Pretty nice production… you know, until he got hurt.

Bush’s 20-touch game produced 4.7 yards per touch, which would be the second-worst season total of Reggie’s career. His worst, 4.3, came the year he averaged a career-high 19.1 touches per game. Bush’s most productive season on a per-touch basis, 6.2 yards per touch in 2009, was also the season in which he received a career-low 8.3 touches per game. He also averaged a career-best one touchdown every 14 touches from scrimmage.

Maybe it’s just me, but I see those numbers and I think two things. One, if I’m Tony Sporano I come up with a Plan B for about a half-dozen of those touches I’m currently giving to Bush, unless my Plan B involves playing the second half of the season without him.

And two, I’m selling Reggie right now while his wheels are intact. Because history and the numbers suggest the current workload will run him into the ground or the infirmary by Halloween.

THIS WEEK’S BAD BEAT

Maybe, I thought, I’d used up my share of bad luck in the playoffs last year when my top-seeded team posted the seventh-best point total in league history… only to fall to the highest point total in league history. But proving there’s no such thing as a finite supply of bad luck, I suffered my latest bad beat in Week 1 of that very same league.

Coasting home with a 20-point lead late in the fourth quarter of the first Monday night game, all the Patriots had to do was run out the clock and I was golden. It would take some sort of miracle for him to catch me with just one player.

And then Wes Welker caught a pass (one point in this PPR league) and went 99 yards (that’s one point for every 10 yards, so another 10) for the touchdown (10 points in this league).

That’s 21 points, game over, thanks for playing. And (in my best “Maggie from ‘Caddyshack’” voice) “Tanks fer nuttin’, Bennie Sapp”.

Now is my bad luck used up?

LINE ITEMS

As the column is titled “Off Tackle” and I’m a firm believer in the axiom “It all starts up front,” it only makes sense to chronicle a few offensive line notes here.

  • The Steelers placed Willie Colon on IR after the right tackle suffered a torn triceps in the season opener. Colon missed all of last year as well with an Achilles’ tendon injury. Pittsburgh will turn to rookie Marcus Gilbert, along with duct tape and bailing wire, to hold their line together.
  • A broken ankle will sideline Patriots center Dan Koppen for half, if not all, of the season. Unlike Pittsburgh, however, the Patriots seem well-suited to handle this adversity: Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters, signed after the Chiefs kicked him to the curb, steps in at right guard while Dan Connolly slides over to center. And this on the heels of right tackle Sebastian Vollmer battling a back injury; the Pats had first-round pick Nate Solder ready to fill in. All the shuffling up front didn’t seem to bother Tom Brady while he was throwing for 517 yards Monday night.
  • Add to the ever-growing cache of stats designed to measure offensive line play something called the New York Life Protection Index. It’s a proprietary measurement developed by Stats Inc. and (obviously) sponsored by an insurance company that uses stats such as length of a team’s pass attempts, penalties by offensive linemen, sacks allowed and quarterback hurries and knockdowns to determine which line is doing the best job is pass protection. After one week the Detroit Lions have the lead with a score of 102.1, followed by the Patriots (94.8), Saints (90.1), and Bucs (89.0). At the bottom end of the spectrum, and the only team with a negative score, are the Vikings at -18.9. Evidently the NYLPI isn’t impressed by 39 yards of passing.

FOOL ME ONCE…

In racking up four miles of passing yardage during opening weekend, the NFL saw 14 quarterbacks top 300 yards and 18 throw for multiple touchdowns. Among the dozen who accomplished both were expected names like Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Rivers. There’s another group (Stafford, Cutler, Romo) who are on the cusp of joining the aforementioned regulars; the remainder—Rex Grossman, Kevin Kolb, Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez, and Cam Newton—are a bit more surprising.

Grossman was my “Take A Chance On Me” quarterback (on the Saturday morning radio show you can find a link to on the home page) due primarily to his matchup, and Henne was the TACOM pick of one of my colleagues for similar reasoning. Kolb had a nice matchup at home against the Panthers, and Sanchez was facing a Cowboys secondary that was missing one cornerback (with another nicked up) and lost another defensive back during the game. But Newton? Sure, he was the top overall pick but nobody saw his record-setting performance coming.

He, too, had a favorable matchup and now that teams have seen the offense Carolina has tailored to fit Newton’s skill set they’ll come up with ways to combat it. Tough to see him as a regular member of this club, though a) he’s a Vick-like threat to add fantasy points with his feet; and b) I’m putting in claims for him, too, because if he is all that and a bag of chips I want him blowing up on my bench rather than in my opponents’ lineup.

TWEET ME

I’m no technophobe, but in general I warm up to the next big thing slowly. So while I’ve had a Twitter account for quite some time I haven’t been the most active tweeter. I’m looking to change that, though I’m not the type to flood your smart phone with “what I’m having for breakfast” updates (turkey sausage, raspberry acai yogurt, and a vanilla Special K bar). Instead, I’ll tweet links to Huddle stories as they post, my weekly TACOM guys, and other stuff you might find helpful.

I also intend to do my very best to answer any fantasy questions you direct at me. No promises, but I don’t sleep much Saturday night so this will give me something to do while watching West Coast college football.

Speaking of Twitter, evidently I’ve been pegged as the anti-Forte guy; one follower asked if I was still a “Forte doubter” following his 16-68 rushing, 5-90-1 receiving performance against the Falcons. Though I wasn’t the Forte bandwagon hood ornament (our very own Jumbotron claimed that perch), I’m not entirely sure how I earned such a distinction. I did, after all, have him as a start in Week 1.

Do I expect 16-68 on a weekly basis? No. Will he struggle at the stripe, to the point that when healthy Marion Barber might take that role? Yes. But do I openly despise Forte? He’s a top-10 back in this week’s Rest of the Season Rankings, so I guess if I was a doubter before then JUM has converted me. Just don’t splash that Beanie Wells holy water my way.


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