Late game observations
- Tim Tebow doesn’t throw it often and doesn’t throw it particularly well. But when he does throw it, he’s throwing it to Eric Decker. Since Tebow became the starter, Decker has 15 catches for 261 yards and four touchdowns. Broncos receivers don’t have much value, but if you’re going to start one, it should be Decker.
- Of all the unwritten fantasy rules, here’s one more: Start Ryan Mathews against the Broncos. Mathews ran for 137 yards Sunday, his third career 100-yard game. All of them have come against Denver.
- Is there any receiver as frustrating as Vincent Jackson? For as talented as he is, the big wideout has had a maddening tendency to disappear in games. While he was matched up against Champ Bailey, you should be able to expect more than two catches and 25 yards. It hasn’t helped that Philip Rivers has been inconsistent in his own right, but Jackson certainly has done little to help.
- Another week of Raider Receiver Roulette sees fullback Marcel Reece as Oakland’s top pass-catcher with five grabs for 92 yards, marking the fourth different Raider to lead the team in receiving yards in the last four games. Carson Palmer continues to spread the ball around, making any of his receivers risky plays going forward.
- Part of the dilemma with new QBs is learning who they have a rapport with. At least for this week, it looks like Caleb Hanie and Johnny Knox have a connection. Knox grabbed four balls for 145 yards and a TD. That’s a big blow to Earl Bennett, who had been working well with Jay Cutler but had just one catch for five yards Sunday.
- While other teams are trying to force the pass at the expense of their quality RBs, credit the Seahawks for realizing what they have in Marshawn Lynch, who ran for 100-plus yards for the third time in his last four games and scored a TD for the seventh straight game. Considering he’s had success against just about every team he’s faced this year, it’s getting harder and harder to take him out of your lineup.
- Roy Helu is trying to take over the Redskins’ RB job and took a big step with his 162-yard, one-TD performance that included 108 rushing yards. It’s probably too late to restore the faith of fantasy owners, but he could be the guy going forward. Or it could be the setup for more #shanahanigans.
- As long as Vince Young is the Eagles’ QB, you should consider some of his “other” receivers. Last week, Riley Cooper had a big game. This week, it was Jason Avant with eight catches for 110 yards and a TD. Not that he completely ignored Cooper, who had three receptions for 71 yards.
- Did anyone see this Matt Forte–Marion Barber timeshare coming? Heading nto the fourth quarter, Barber had 11 rushes compared to 10 for Forte. Both have been effective, averaging at least five yards per carry, which should concern Forte owners.
Early game 2nd half observations
- Could it be the return of Fitzmagic? Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson took advantage of the Jets and Darrelle Revis Sunday with Fitzpatrick throwing for 264 yards and three TDs, including 75 yards and a TD to Johnson. The Bills won’t face a tougher defense the rest of the season. Fantasy owners can hope this is the start of good things down the stretch.
- Fantasy owners should be asking why Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t get 30 carries a week. Sunday he carried the ball 18 times for 99 yards and added another 67 receiving yards. With no real weapons in the passing game, it’s confusing why the Jaguars haven’t leaned on MJD more this season.
- With Matt Leinart possibly done for the season, the Texans QB scramble is quickly sinking the value of Andre Johnson. Sunday, Johnson had just two catches for 22 yards and with either T.J. Yates or a QB-To-Be-Named-Later taking snaps for Houston, there’s no telling what sort of targets Johnson will see.
- Shades of 2007: Reggie Wayne caught five passes for 122 yards and a TD. Whether this is a blip on the radar or the fantasy resurrection of Reggie remains to be seen. After all, Curtis Painter is still the quarterback. However, they also play New England next week and the Patriots have been regularly beaten by opposing WRs.
- In his first action since Week 6, Peyton Hillis ran for a mediocre 65 yards against Cincinnati. Coach Pat Shurmur said during the week that once Hillis and Montario Hardesty were back that neither RB would get the bulk of the carries. Hardesty sat out after feeling tightness during warmups, but with Baltimore next on the schedule, neither is an advised start.
- When Julio Jones was out, Roddy White re-took his spot as Atlanta’s number one receiver. This week, with Jones back in action, White was still huge, catching 10 passes for 120 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, Jones didn’t catch a pass. Next week, the Falcons face a tough Houston defense with no idea which receiver will show up.
- It took awhile, but Percy Harvin came through for fantasy owners, finishing with eight catches for 95 yards and a TD, with an additional five carries for 11 yards. As long as Adrian Peterson is out, expect Minnesota to find creative ways to get Harvin the football.
Early game 1st half observations
- Maurice Jones-Drew has quietly put together a solid first half with 105 combined yards (65 rushing). If Matt Leinart can’t return from a shoulder injury, it would behoove the Jaguars to stay with their best offensive player to rebound from a 10-point halftime deficit.
- Steve Smith wasn’t much of a factor for the Panthers in the first half, catching just one pass for 30 yards. Cam Newton has spread the ball around, completing 13 passes to six different receivers. Brandon LaFell is Carolina’s leading pass catcher with four catches for 42 yards.
- Stevie Johnson is enjoying his stay on Revis Island in the first half. He has five catches for 44 yards and a TD and has made Darrelle Revis look very average so far.
- Early in the second quarter, Beanie Wells is already over 100 rushing yards, thanks in large part to a 71-yard run. But it sets him up for an enormous day, especially if he can find his way into the end zone.
- Joseph Addai was named the starter for Indianapolis, but Donald Brown has done most of the work with three carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. Addai has four carries for just seven yards. Either way, it’s a better alternative than Curtis Painter, who is 1-for-2 for 14 yards and has looked awful in the early going.
- One quarter in, Cam Newton is on his way to another big day with 61 passing yards, 26 rushing yards and a touchdown.
- Cedric Benson is the latest to take advantage of Cleveland’s poor run defense. He’s run for 64 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter against the Browns’ 29th-ranked run defense.
- In the early going, Toby Gerhart is seeing much more action than Percy Harvin. Gerhart has a combined six touches for 25 yards while Harvin has just two catches for minus-four yards.
- With Montario Hardesty out of action, Peyton Hillis looks to be the RB of choice for the Browns. He’s taken three of Cleveland’s first four carries (Colt McCoy has the other), although he’s gained just three yards so far.
— Marcas Grant
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