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JUMbotron Friday Huddle: Week 13
John U. Miller
December 2, 2011
 

What do Chris Johnson, Roddy White, Mike Williams, DeAngelo Williams, Percy Harvin, and Matt Ryan have in common?  Wait, I’ll get back to this in a second.

First I’d like everyone to pull up a chair for a fireside chat.  I want to talk about procrastinating.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines procrastinating as: To delay or postpone action; put off doing something.  We’ve all done it.  We all do a lot of things: We all run stop signs when no one is looking, we all pray no one sits next to us in the empty aisle seat… and we all order water at Taco Bell but casually go pump Sprite in that cup at the drink station, as if it were an oversight.  Wait, scratch that last one.

Procrastinating… it’s like the national pastime.  The USA knows that what could be done today is better done later.  I happen to have the all-time greatest procrastination story ever and I’m going to share it with you. 

Back in Summer 1991 I was at University of Tennessee and finishing up a glorious four- (okay, five-) year college career filled with academic discovery, great friends, parties, and beer.  There was also a lot of beer.  But before I graduated I was forced to take a nasty liberal arts course called “Political Science 370: American Political Thought”.  It was a monster course that half the students failed because of the stodgy professor – I can’t remember his name – and I begged my advisor to let me substitute in “Sociology 382: Circles of Sexuality”… but to no avail.  So I’m locked into the Poli-Sci class and struggling for weeks to maintain a passing grade due to daily pop quizzes that I never seemed to awake for in time to experience.  Fast forward: Last week of the semester, crunch time, and the final assignment is a 4,000 word essay on a political topic of your choice.  It counts 40% toward my final grade and if I blow it there’s a chance I’ll have to re-take the course – my final course at Tennessee before I walk the line.  That would mean another autumn in college just to take one more course.  Actually, that is football season and I wouldn’t mind… Nope, gotta graduate.    

The paper was assigned on Monday and due on Friday.  I laid around all week semi-gazing at a few library books, listening to Jane’s Addiction’s ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual’…and day-dreaming about a brunette named Wendy I met at a mixer.  I totally procrastinated until Thursday afternoon when I finally gathered my resources and sat down to write.  My topic was something like “Socialism & Global Markets”… really cutting-edge stuff.  My roommate – let’s call him “Huey” because he’s a teacher now and I don’t want to get him in trouble – is in the same class and under the very same essay deadline.  Only he hasn’t done a shred of research.  In fact when the evening rolled around he was half into a 12-pack of Milwaukee’s Best; and kept sticking his mouth in this little ceramic vase (?) only to come up coughing painful billows of smoke.  “Huey, you gonna get started dude?  It’s 8:30 man,” I asked.  “Nah, I’m good,” Huey wheezed.

Midnight.  I’m in my room plugging away.  Huey is too.  He’s in the den guzzling Maker’s & Pepsi while cranking our Pixies CDs, singing every word out loud: “Gouge away, you can gouge away, stay all day – if you want to!”  I finished my paper at 5:00 am, slumped back in my chair and looked over at my fun-loving pal.  He’s sleeping the sleep of the undead with a half-eaten slice of pizza nestled under his armpit.  The air is gassy around him.  “Oh well,” I thought.  “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never lost.”

10:00 am.  I awoke to the sound of someone beating on the front door.  Glance at the clock, we both have to be in class in 30 minutes and we’re off campus so it involves driving and seeking a parking spot.  Yikes.  Bam-bam-bam goes the door again, and just as I’m coming down the hall to grab it, Huey springs off the couch, hair sticking straight up, smiling ear-to-ear.  He opens the door and pumps his fist in front of a delivery guy (?).  Some money is exchanged, then a high-five or two, and now I’m really curious: “Who the hell was that and what’s that package you’re holding?”  Huey unwraps it and lays a seven- or eight-page packet on the table.  “It’s my essay, dude.  4,300 words on Thomas Jefferson’s American Foreign Policy.  Let’s get ready to motor, boyeee!!”  This fool had already pre-ordered a custom-written essay for $120 from some company’s ad he saw in the back of Rolling Stone.  Game, set, and match.

I got a C- on my paper after 12 sweat-soaked hours of reading and typing.  But I passed.  The supreme procrastinator Huey got a B+ after a quick phone call on Monday, a week full of booze n’ chicks, and the only time he sweated was because of the jalapenos on his pizza.

The lesson here?  There’s not one.  I just thought you’d like the story.

What do Chris Johnson, Roddy White, Mike Williams, DeAngelo Williams, Percy Harvin, and Matt Ryan have in common?  Procrastination.   

Chris Johnson – 1st round, Roddy White – 2nd round, Mike Williams – 3rd round, DeAngelo Williams – 4th round, Percy Harvin – 5th round, and Matt Ryan – 6th round:  They all procrastinated this season.  They waited until the last minute to get it done, and sadly many of you are out of the running because of it.  Week after week you would cross your fingers and hope this was the week he breaks out.  A lot of us – myself included – own two or three of them, or at least one of them across multiple squads (I have Roddy on all 4 fantasy teams) and it was frustrating because there was no reported injury to offer an excuse.  Sure, there was some teasing here and there: Matt Ryan threw 4 TDs against Philly in Week 2 and we thought everything was going according to plan.  Nope: 5 TD passes in the next 5 games, only avoiding complete disaster by sneaking in a couple goal-line TD runs.  Chris Johnson was God-awful in the first 3 games (which I totally expected because September was his preseason) but somehow eked out a 101-yard game at Cleveland in Week 4, just enough to draw a little saliva from fantasy owners so they’d keep starting him.  The real damage occurred from Weeks 5-9 when CJ1K was the 25th-ranked fantasy RB.  Ditto for Mike Williams, DeAngelo Williams, and Percy Harvin.  It was weekly waterboarding… enough to make you want to quit fantasy football forever.    

But all 6 of them are back.  They are all in a particular groove now.  Stop asking why/where they’ve been and start them in your fantasy playoffs for as long as you (they) still have a pulse.  Forget the misery, the embarrassment, and the tension they caused because the vibe is good now.  Sometimes it all works out in a magical kind of way, like when Stillwater serenaded their acid-whipped guitarist Russell Hammond in Almost Famous

Chiefs QB Tyler Palko has 0 TD passes, 6 INTs, and a 46.1 QB rating in the last two games.  Kansas City travels to Chicago.  If I had nice RB depth I’d trade Ryan Mathews or Reggie Bush for the Bears defense right now just to get a crack at Palko.  Dead serious.

The Chargers have lost three starting offensive linemen, including LT Marcus McNeill to a season-ending neck injury.  Philip Rivers isn’t hurt folks, his bodyguards are.  You’d be having on off year too.  I don’t know what deal Rivers made with the devil last year but that contractual agreement expired.  It doesn’t help that Malcom Floyd and Ryan Mathews can’t ever play two healthy games in a row, Antonio Gates’ career is trickling away, and Vincent Jackson lives with 7 nagging injuries.

Miles Austin (hamstring) is going to miss another game.  Frankly, I wouldn’t care if he was active, I’d start Laurent Robinson anyway.  He’s the apple of Tony Romo’s eye.

To give you an idea of how hot Marshawn Lynch has been, the guy has scored in eight straight games, averaging 17.9 fantasy points over that span.  If you extrapolate that pace into 16 games it’s 286 fantasy points.  That mark would have ranked him as the No. 2 RB last year. 

I calculated this year’s projected RB fantasy point totals and laid them against last year’s final totals.  It’s a little tricky projecting guys like Lynch, DeMarco Murray and Michael Bush’s point pace going forward because half their season was spent on the bench or in a rotation.  For those three guys I used a projected pace similar to their recent antics.  

Fantasy RB Points (Non-PPR)
2010 Final 2011 Projected **
Arian Foster 330 LeSean McCoy 309
Peyton Hillis 243 Arian Foster 282
A. Peterson 242 Ray Rice 271
J. Charles 242 A. Peterson 258
Chris Johnson 233 Matt Forte 250
D. McFadden 226 Michael Bush 229
R. Mendenhall 222 Michael Turner 227
LeSean McCoy 221 M. Jones-Drew 225
Michael Turner 218 Marshawn Lynch 224
Matt Forte 216 Beanie Wells 203
Ray Rice 214 DeMarco Murray 202
M. Jones-Drew 206 Frank Gore 191
A. Bradshaw 203 S. Jackson 189
S. Jackson 198 Darren Sproles 172
B. Green-Ellis 187 Cedric Benson 164

** Obviously I left off Fred Jackson and Darren McFadden.  For the record they were on pace for 279 and 245 fantasy points, respectively.

From Kerry Byrne at SI.com:  “QB career percentage of touches that result in a TD:
Tim Tebow -- 6.0 percent, Aaron Rodgers -- 5.7 percent, Peyton Manning -- 5.5 percent, Tom Brady -- 5.1 percent, Drew Brees -- 4.7 percent, John Elway -- 3.9 percent.  Wow.  Tebow may not pass the ball effectively.  But he's produced an incredible 22 touchdowns (13 passing, nine rushing) in just 368 touches (225 pass attempts, 121 rush attempts, 22 sacks).  Nobody in football gets the ball in the end zone more often.”

Ben Roethlisberger played through a broken right thumb and squeaked out a win over Kansas City.  In yesterday’s practice he apparently aggravated the injury when he “caught the thumb wrong on a snap” but said he should be fine.  Roethlisberger will be sure that every media outlet picks up his thumb story, and then he’ll show off a special hand brace for CBS cameras in pre-game warmups.  What a dork.  I have the distinct feeling that Ben and I would not get along one bit. 

RB leaders in carries inside the 10-yard line:  Michael Turner 26, Ray Rice 26, LeSean McCoy 22, Cedric Benson 21, BenJarvus Green-Ellis 19, Frank Gore 19, Arian Foster 18, Adrian Peterson 17, Michael Bush 17 (in only 5 starts), Rashard Mendenhall 17, Mike Tolbert 17, Maurice Jones-Drew 17.

Alexis Bellino.  There is no substitute.

One of my biggest influences in my fantasy football career has been Mike Sando.  He covered the Seahawks for the News Tribune for 9 years then got snapped up by ESPN because his Seahawks Insider blog was getting 250,000-500,000 unique visitors per month.  Nice!  Sando constantly amazes me with his “digging.”  You know, going deep for stats that were unofficial or unrecorded – then parlaying them into a table or grid for all of us to study.  He tracks the salary cap, average ages of teams, touchdowns & big plays negated by penalties, etc., delivering all his information with seamless style.  Remember my JUMbo motto?  “Tell ‘em something they don’t know.”  Sando gets it, man.  His work is living and breathing in my columns every week.  Follow him @espn_nfcwest and tell him the JUMbotron sent you. 

2011 Dropped Passes by Mike Sando of ESPN.com
Rank Team Targets Receptions Yards TD Drops
1 Giants 387 253 3,358 20 23
1 Browns 375 230 2,332 13 23
1 Buccaneers 399 256 2,729 12 23
1 Eagles 386 241 2,958 14 23
1 Rams 380 220 2,363 7 23
6 Bears 336 200 2,573 15 20
6 Falcons 376 246 2,887 18 20
8 Cowboys 377 251 3,113 22 19
8 Jaguars 299 158 1,667 6 19
8 49ers 286 189 2,151 13 19
11 Chiefs 321 207 2,157 10 18
11 Packers 352 262 3,513 33 18
13 Colts 339 194 2,144 8 17
13 Seahawks 344 210 2,418 10 17

Incidentally…

--Roddy White has 11 of Atlanta’s 20 drops.
--DeSean Jackson has 10 of Philly’s 23 drops.
--Greg Little has 9 of Cleveland’s 23 drops.
--Dwayne Bowe has 8 of Kansas City’s 18 drops.

It ain’t happening for Sam Bradford this year.  He just had a setback on his ankle so I would yank him out of my lineup right now.  I don’t care if he manages to start this Sunday, he faces the brutish 49ers and simply cannot get a rhythm going.  Even if he was completely healthy his WRs are a merry-go-round of injuries, PUP’ers, and free agents.  The only constant is Brandon Lloyd and even though he’s scored in 4 of his last 5 games he’s yet to top 80 yards as a Ram.  I would start Matt Hasselbeck, Rex Grossman (yes, against the Jets), or even Matt Moore over Bradford this week.  Christian Ponder?  Sure, stick him in.  He’s a gunslinger.  I also have to apologize, five weeks ago I touted Bradford’s marshmallow schedule – Arizona, Cleveland, Seattle, Arizona – as a chance for him to make retribution and help get some fantasy W’s.  Yikes, in those Weeks 9-12 he averaged 198 passing yards with only 3 TD passes.  Sorry if I steered you into a ditch.

As if things weren’t bad enough for the San Diego Chargers, SI’s Don Banks weighs in with his latest column entitled, “The Curse of Takeo Spikes.”  Uh, ok.  Slow news week, Donnie?  He’s apparently been following Spikes’ career a little too closely, pointing out that the 2-time Pro Bowler has never been in the post-season. “Now on his fifth team, having played on both coasts and points in between, Spikes has yet to suit up in a single playoff game.  His 198 career regular-season games without a playoff trip rank first in that dubious category among active players, as the wild-card round, divisional round and conference title game have all been beyond Spikes' grasp, year after frustrating year.”  I’m sorry but this is just lame.  I can picture Banks holding the rough draft of the Spikes piece last week, praying that Broncos K Matt Prater nails that kick to effectively eliminate the Chargers – and getting the green light from SI to run this “Curse” nonsense.  Dude, Spikes spent half his career in Buffalo and San Francisco.  That was the curse. 

JUMbotron Advice from The Huddle Forums:

SNOWBOUND33 asks: Percy Harvin or Vincent Jackson?
Like I pointed out above, Harvin has been procrastinating but he’s gotten down to business and his recent body of work is more reliable than Jackson’s.  He and Christian Ponder have had 6 full weeks of practice reps together and it’s showing on the tape.  For the first time ever Harvin’s been targeted 8 times in 3 straight games.  OC Bill Musgrave is also diggin’ on the idea of Harvin in the backfield, giving him 17 carries in the last 4 games.  Meanwhile Vincent Jackson is doing his usual yo-yo routine.  H’s a top-10 fantasy receiver but it sure doesn’t feel like it; and that’s because 67% of his points have come in three games!  And what’s even worse is that many of you gave up on Jackson in Week 9 when the bomb went off – 7 catches, 141 yards, 3 TDs – because in his previous 3 games he had 7 catches for 98 yards and 0 TDs combined!  The Broncos will probably be without sparkplug LB Von Miller, who’s been the catalyst for their stellar defensive play of late – I’d roll Harvin on the carpet at home this week.

Peoplehater asks: Mendy or Sproles? (PPR):
I’m probably as stubborn a Sproles fan as there is, so I’m going to try and make a case for him.  It’s going to be hard though.  In his last 3 games Sproles only has 25 touches and 1 TD.  Mendenhall has 50 touches and 3 TDs, though 2 of those came in the Week 10 game vs. Cincinnati.  The difference between the two couldn’t be more pronounced:  Sproles is the home-run threat who doesn’t get his mitts on the ball enough, while Mendenhall is the plodder who probably gets more touches than he deserves.  New Orleans is at home vs. Detroit’s banged-up and Suh-less defense, Pittsburgh is at home vs. Cincinnati’s 5th-ranked rushing defense.  The Bengals stuffed Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, and Marshawn Lynch pretty good – and those backs run the same off-tackle plays over and over like Mendenhall.  I’ve always said go big or go home so I’m leaning toward Sproles in PPR, on the hunch that Sean Payton turns him loose a little more this week.  (Sproles also gets a few more opportunities to score via the return game)

ThatDude asks: DeAngelo, Jacobs, or Beanie? (PPR):
The sudden emergence of DeAngelo (another one of my procrastinators) puts him squarely on the radar.  I’ll get back to him in a second.   Jacobs?  No way.  Wells?  Look, normally a back coming off a 228-yard game is a mortal lock in Week 13, but this is Beanie Wells we’re talking about.  The knee has obviously been an issue from time to time, and yesterday Mike Jurecki of XTRA 910 said Wells needs surgery right after the season (which means he needs it now).  Jurecki hits and misses like any other homer radio guy, but he’s the one who broke the story that Arizona would offer CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb.  In a nutshell, I’m terrified that Wells will leave you hanging this week.  He faces Dallas, who got shredded on the ground earlier in the season but stiffened up lately vs. Washington and Miami.  As much as my gut says DeAngelo is your pick, I have to lean toward the 228-yard guy and say Wells here. Off topic a bit: I would bench Wells for Willis McGahee, LeGarrette Blount, maybe even Roy Helu (!) in PPR.

LeSean McCoy has 15 total touchdowns, the most by an Eagle since RB Steve Van Buren scored 18 in 1945.  McCoy has an extra few days to rest his toe before a road game on the soft Miami grass.  Everything’s going right for Shady and his fantasy owners.

Jennifer Aniston… Then… and… Now… and still… Now.  She is all woman.

Quote of the Week:  "It was so disappointing from my perspective that as I watched it on Monday and watched it the next day, it was one of those games that you want to bury.  The energy level, what we did, it baffled me, OK.  It baffled me.  You're supposed to have answers, but sometimes you can't explain a game like that." – Giants DC Perry Fewell after the 49-24 to New Orleans.  The Giants allowed 577 total yards, the 2nd most they’ve allowed in 87 years.  They play the Packers this week.

JUMbo “Swing For the Fences” Picks in Fantasy Playoff Week 13:

Not all of you are cruising in on the back of Aaron Rodgers or Arian Foster, screaming Yippee and about to lasso your opponent like a freaked-out calf.  Some of you slipped into the fantasy playoffs by the skin of your teeth.  Maybe you’re scrambling to even field a viable, healthy starting lineup.  This section is for you:

1. QB Matt Moore:  Three weeks ago I predicted Moore would have a big game and I was right – a week early!  Moore didn’t throw a touchdown that week vs. Washington but he came back in Week 11 and tossed 3 TDs vs. the Bills.  If you’re hurting this week at QB (you’re really gonna start Alex Smith, Sanchez or Freeman?  Really?)  I suggest picking up Moore and giving him a whirl at home vs. Oakland.  He’s only averaged 27 attempts per game since Week 7 but they are quality attempts.  Moore has hit 66% of his passes in that span and had two different 3-TD games.  Think of him as a poor man’s Matt Ryan.  I like the matchup at home even though the Raiders defense has been pretty mean lately: Reason being, they have to travel to the East Coast and then trudge out there in startling 79-degree weather.  I just couldn’t put my fantasy playoffs in the hands of Mark Sanchez or some other proven … That’s really what I’m trying to say.

2. RB Kevin Smith: His ankle might just be ready after all and we all know what he can do with the football.  The cart took him off on Thanksgiving but maybe the Cinderella story isn’t over just yet.  Smith’s status might be known until Sunday night (NBC flexed in the Lions/Saints to replace Colts/Patriots) so it’s a tricky call, but something tells me that full day of treatment and rest will allow Smith to go.  All he needs it 15-17 touches to sustain your desperate flex spot – and he could get 18-22 touches if the ankle is numbed up real good.  New Orleans isn’t especially brutal on opposing RBs – one of 11 defenses to allow 1500 total yards and 8+ TDs to RBs this year – so if the Friday afternoon practice report sounds good I’d consider using Smith.  Remember, he’s chasing a new contract: You’d be amazed what effect that has on a sore, puffy ankle. 

3. WR David Nelson: The lustre of his Week 2 breakout (10-83-1) sort of faded and Nelson has been spotted on waiver wires all over the country.  He’s only owned in 30% of ESPN leagues.  If you’re one of those nail-biting owners of Hakeem Nicks, Julio Jones or Andre Johnson and just want a clean, healthy wideout to give you his best – try David Nelson.  He’s scored a TD in three of his last four games.  Chan Gailey has some special Nelson love in his playbook too, because he’s 2nd in the NFL with 5 red-zone TDs: Only Burress, Welker, Megatron, Gonzalez and Gronkowski have more.  Tennessee travels up to Buffalo and you just know CB Cortland Finnegan will be locked on Stevie Johnson all day.  Plus the weather’s supposed to hold up nicely at 50 degrees with a slight chance of rain.  For those of you scrambling your rosters I can’t think of a better WR grab-start than Nelson in 10- or 12-team leagues.

JUMbo Cheerleader Series:

Let’s unload 10 never-before-seen pics from my vault!
Cowboys, Chargers, Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys, Bucs, Bucs, Bucs, Saints

Good Luck This Week!
JUM
@HuddleJUMbotron  

Aw c’mon, you knew I couldn’t get outta here without one Meagan pic!


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