Tags: advantage, Chargers, football, nfl, quot, Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers, Stickum, sticky substance, substance, use
NFL investigates Chargers for using ‘Stickum’ – Ryan Mathews | SD
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Norv hints Mathews headed for big workloads – Ryan Mathews | SD
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Chargers blow a great chance to grab an early two-game lead in the AFC West
When Ryan Mathews made a magnificent dive into the end zone, San Diego led 24-14 in the third quarter against an 0-4 Saints team. A Chargers team that has a laughable reputation for starting slow seemingly every season seemed poised to move to 4-1.
The Broncos lost earlier Sunday and are 2-3. The Chiefs and Raiders each have one win. If the Chargers wanted a chance to be one of the fast starters in the NFL, and take control of the AFC West, this was it.
It didn't happen. For the Norv Turner-led Chargers, it's always something.
Against the Saints' defense, which gave up 130 points in its first four games, the Chargers suddenly couldn't move the ball for the second half, and the Saints came back to win 31-24. San Diego's offense didn't score after Mathews gave the Chargers that 10-point lead with a little more than 12 minutes left in the third quarter. The long passes that worked in the first half weren't available anymore. It didn't stop San Diego from trying.
Oddly, Mathews got only 12 carries, and just one rushing attempt in the final 22 minutes of the game, even though the Chargers should have been protecting a lead and Mathews looked explosive. He rushed for 80 yards and had 59 more receiving, and proved a highlight play with his head-first leap into the end zone.
Philip Rivers had two turnovers in the fourth quarter. The first was an interception by safety Roman Harper on a deep pass, and Harper's long return set up a Saints field goal. When Rivers was strip-sacked with 14 seconds left and the Saints recovered, it completed a collapse that Chargers fans are quite used to.
On the other side, the Saints needed this win. They looked lost and hapless as the Chargers built that lead, but Drew Brees' 370 yards and four touchdowns on a night he set an NFL record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass got the Saints their first win of the season. And while the San Diego offense looked like it had no coherent plan in the second half, the Saints did cause the Chargers to make some mistakes by finally playing some strong defense.
The Chargers could regret this loss, which keeps the Broncos just a game behind in the division. Even after a pretty good September, aside from a blowout loss at home to the Falcons, the Chargers always seem to get in their own way.
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Over/Under: Will Chris Johnson’s value continue to rise in Minnesota?
Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 5.
Chris Johnson combined yards at Minnesota 79.5
Dalton — UNDER. There's no question both Johnson and Tennessee's run blocking looked much improved last week, but he averaged just 27.0 yards from scrimmage over the previous three games to start the season. Plus, the Vikings have allowed the second fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year.
Brad — UNDER. Are we really to believe the Titans have suddenly solved their run-blocking issues after one week? Tennessee's O-line couldn't part a puddle. Minnesota, which has allowed just 3.1 YPC to RBs, dominates the line of scrimmage.
Scott — UNDER always feels right with Chris Johnson. I have nothing good to say about Tennessee's run blocking (neither does CJ), and the Minnesota front seven has been stuffing everyone on the ground.
Michael Vick final Week 5 QB rank 12.5 (In other words, will he finish as a top-12 passer?)
Brandon — UNDER. I have him ranked No. 12, so I'll say barely under, but I don't feel great about him facing a Pittsburgh defense getting Polamalu and Harrison back this week .
Andy — OVER. But I ranked him No. 13, so a top-12 rank obviously wouldn't shock me. The Steelers defense is coming off a bye, getting Troy Polamalu and (possibly) James Harrison back. Not the easiest setup for Vick.
[Fantasy Football 101: Keys to survive the bye weeks]
Dalton — UNDER. The Steelers' secondary has actually allowed a 6:1 TD:INT ratio over three games this year, although the defense should return healthier after the bye. Vick is unlikely to go crazy Sunday, but I think he just barely finishes as a top-12 fantasy QB.
Ryan Mathews, currently the No. 2 RB on the Chargers' depth-chart, total yards at New Orleans 94.5
Andy — OVER. I think he can top this yardage number with ease vs. New Orleans, but the key to Mathews' fantasy value is whether he remains on the field near the goal line. I'd give Jackie Battle better odds to actually find the end zone this week.
Dalton — UNDER. New Orleans has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, and I am on board with Mathews being a buy low right now, but I'll fade this number thanks to the uncertainty of his usage Sunday night.
Brad — OVER. Everyone is overreacting to Jackie Battle's 'promotion.' It's a facade. Talent trumps in New Orleans. Against the league's worst run defense Mathews goes for 120-plus total yards.
What backup has the most FLEX appeal: Ben Tate, Brandon Bolden or Michael Bush?
Dalton — BUSH. I worry about his shoulder injury, but I'm banking on Bush getting a couple of goal-line carries. I don't particularly like any of these options this week.
Brad — BUSH. Even with Matt Forte back in action, the Bears' stringent defense should allow Bush to log plenty of second-half carries. Think 40-50 total yards and 1-2 goal-line vultures.
Scott — When in doubt, dial up a shrubbery. BUSH has a dedicated goal-line role, and the Jaguars have been chummy to opposing backs (4.3 YPC, six scores). I'm also leery of Tate; those garbage-time pile-on games haven't been in the cards yet, per the team's play calling.
Rashard Mendenhall, approximately nine months removed from reconstructive knee surgery, total yards versus Philly 64.5
Brad — OVER. This is extremely close, but Mendenhall is a strong candidate for 15-17 touches in what should be a triumphant return to the lineup. In his absence, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer were the Bert and Ernie of rushers.
[Survival Football: NFL upset picks for Week 5]
Scott — UNDER is my default call on any player off a major injury. I need a show-me game first. I do expect Pittsburgh to win in Week 5, but it will be because of Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game.
Brandon — UNDER. Three consecutive RBs have topped this number against Philly (Ray Rice, Ryan Williams and Ahmad Bradshaw), but I'm not confident that he gets thrown into the fire for more than 12-15 touches in his first game back, and that's probably not enough to get it done against the Philly D.
Brian Hartline, fresh off a franchise record 253 yards last week in 'Zona, receiving yards at Cincinnati 74.5
Scott — OVER. Follow the targets, follow the improving rookie QB. The Bengals secondary has been a mess all year. Turn on your Hartline.
Brandon — OVER I like the usage consistency — he's third among WRs in targets, and has at least eight in each game. And Cincy allows a healthy 7.7 YPA and is one of just seven teams allowing a QB Rating above 100, so the matchup is far from daunting.
Andy — OVER. Cincinnati hasn't stopped anyone through the air or on the ground this year, so it could be a decent day for multiple Dolphins. Hartline has topped this total twice in four games.
Thursday Night Throwdown: Ryan Williams or Steven Jackson?
Brandon — S-JAX. I like Ryan Williams, in theory, but the reality is that he's been good for 26 total yards or less in three of four games. And based upon the fantasy points allowed to RBs, this will actually be S-Jax's second-easiest matchup of the year.
Andy — WILLIAMS. Just playing match-ups here. The Rams have allowed 4.7 yards per carry through four games, and they gave up 4.8 last season.
Dalton — WILLIAMS. He has the more favorable matchup and is ostensibly the healthier back. However, I don't expect either to have a big game Thursday night.
Martellus Bennett receiving yards versus Cleveland 49.5
Andy — OVER. Is this where I'm supposed to discuss how effective Cleveland has been at limiting the fantasy production of opposing tight ends? Well, it's not as if they've faced a murderer's row of TEs, plus they were simply league-average in 2011. Eli is gonna need Bennett this week, given the injury situation in his receiving corps.
Dalton — UNDER. The Giants will likely be running the ball a lot nursing a lead during the second half, and Cleveland has actually defended tight ends well this season. I'll say Bennett finds the end zone but falls just short of this yardage output.
Brad — UNDER. Everyone's favorite Black Unicorn won't be worthy of a sticker on a tween's Trapper Keeper. Jermaine Gresham, Scott Chandler and Dennis Pitta were nowhere near this number against Cleveland over the past three weeks. Expect lots of Cruz, Hixon.
Minnesota D combined turnovers/sacks against Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans 5.5.
Brad — OVER. Jared Allen may accomplish this in sacks alone. Matt Hasselback is blessed with the elusiveness of an anchored oil tanker.
Scott — UNDER. Matt Hasselbeck's arm has seen better days, but he's still a sharp guy between the ears. He knows how to avoid negative plays.
[Also: DeSean Jackson is moving quickly toward a rap career]
Brandon — UNDER. I'll say that the Vikings fall just short (5). Tennessee has actually been fourth-best in the NFL in limiting sacks and the Vikings have just one INT.
QB Conundrum. Best play out of Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck and Christian Ponder.
Scott — DALTON, and not just for the Roadhouse references. The Cincinnati receiving group has proven to be deeper than anyone expected, and A.J. Green might be Robin to Calvin Johnson's Batman. And the Bengals secondary will do everything it can to keep the game competitive.
Brandon — DALTON. Dalton's the No. 2 fantasy QB over the past three weeks, and he's going to have to throw the ball a good amount this week as Miami allows a league-best 2.4 YPC.
Andy — DALTON. He's facing an opponent that allows nearly 300 passing yards per game. Layup.
Dalton — LUCK. I like all three this week, but the Colts should have to throw it a ton in a likely shootout. Luck is sneaky productive from a rushing perspective as well.
Brad — LUCK. He and Raggedy Andy are neck-n-neck here, but Aaron Rodgers should run roughshod over Indy's defense, greatly enhancing the rookie's workload. A 300-plus yard 2-3 TD day very attainable.
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Football Daily Dose: Mathews’ Melodrama
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Shuffle Up: Mo Mathews, Mo Problems
This is a Shuffle Up, my friends. These are standard ranks that consider value if the season started today. These are not Week 5 ranks and they're not PPR ranks. And this song is not a rebel song.
My actual Week 5 ranks need to be finished, so I'll shift my focus back to them for now. You're invited to peruse the ROS running back ranks after the jump. If you have respectful disagreement, I welcome your tweets. Ship them to @scott_pianowski, and include the hashtag #shuffleup. Win the debate, win the rank.
I'll add running back commentary shortly, tweak a rank or two, and fill in the tight end ranks and comments later tonight. Let's figure out this crazy season together. Quarterbacks and wide receivers return to Shuffle Up in the even-numbered weeks.
And don't forget the golden rule of fantasy: no player gains 10-20 percent of bonus value simply because you roster him.
1. Arian Foster
2. Ray Rice
3. LeSean McCoy
4. Marshawn Lynch
5. Maurice Jones-Drew
6. Adrian Peterson
7. Jamaal Charles
8. Trent Richardson
9. Darren McFadden
10. Matt Forte
11. Reggie Bush
12. Alfred Morris
13. Ryan Mathews
If you've read this series over the years, you know I'm not a Mathews guy. I don't trust his medical history, and the fumbling problem hasn't been corrected either. That said, there's only so low you can go on a back of this ability level now that he's healthy again; at some point the upside makes sense. Mathews was the No. 8 back in standard scoring last year, despite missing two games. Norv Turner is generally good to his running backs.
I don't buy Jackie Battle as a significant long-term threat — Battle's career YPA is an ordinary 4.0 and he didn't find much running room in Kansas City (15-39, 2.6, albeit with a score and 42 yards receiving). Mind you, if you have to have a Mathews handcuff or you find yourself in the market for a viable No. 2 back, okay, Battle makes some sense (and he obviously posted strong numbers in Weeks 1-3). But the Mathews benching (and the current listing of the depth chart) strikes me as a motivational ploy, nothing past that. The Chargers know who their best tailback is. Eventually, he'll get another chance to show what he can do.
14. Stevan Ridley
15. DeMarco Murray
16. Doug Martin
17. Frank Gore
18. Willis McGahee
19. Mikel Leshoure
20. Darren Sproles
21. Michael Turner
22. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
It's tricky to rank LeShoure at this juncture of his career, having played just two games and coming off a season-ending injury last year. But it's encouraging that he's been used liberally in the passing game in each start, and the Lions didn't forget about LeShoure in their last two losses — despite the flow of the game, he stayed on the field and kept a healthy touch count. Opportunity is more than half of the battle in this game. … There's not much exciting about Turner these days, but he's still a featured goal-line option for a high-octane offense, and quietly he's on a pace to snag a career-high 24 passes (not a gaudy total, but at least it's a step forward). And where is the flashy Jacquizz Rodgers we heard so much about in summer camp? He's averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per rush. … I wouldn't trust the Dallas blocking to hold my place in the grocery line, let alone open consistent rushing lanes. Sometimes the Cowboys offense looks like a bunch of intriguing puzzle pieces that have been imported from different jigsaw boxes. Where's the cohesion? Did everyone on this unit meet for the first time at opening kickoff?
For all the worrying about Ridley's workload, there he is with 74 carries, seventh in the league. The Patriots still look like a team headed for 11 or 12 wins, and that will afford them to keep the offense balanced more often than not. Sure, Brandon Bolden is an intriguing back and ready to take on a chunk of the work. And the club's fascinating with Danny Woodhead still exists, for some reason (albeit he does handle the spread formation well). But Ridley's level of play through four weeks hasn't gone unnoticed; he's carved out a decent role for himself, no matter who's around him.
While Martin hasn't done much in his opening four games, the timing could be right to deal for him. His owner might be inclined to liquidate at a nice price — Tampa is on bye, after all — and the Bucs have a favorable rushing schedule when they get back to work (Kansas City, New Orleans, Oakland). I blame most of Martin's struggles on the run-blocking problems; perhaps Schiano & Co. will have things tightened up when the club gets back to work. … I've been very impressed with McGahee to this point (numbers and tape), but I'd be careful here. He's shown YPC dips in the second half for the last two years, and he only scored one second-half touchdown last year (albeit the per-snap production was still solid). I know, new offense, Manning's in town, I get all that. The Denver line is good. It's not like I buried him on the page. But we're also talking about someone who turns 31 in two weeks. Keep rolling with McGahee as a No. 2, but maybe there's a good window to think about a sell-high, a lock-in-profits-now sort of deal.
23. C.J. Spiller
24. Fred Jackson
25. Ahmad Bradshaw
26. Chris Johnson
27. Ryan Williams
28. Cedric Benson
29. Steven Jackson
30. Donald Brown
31. Michael Bush
32. Rashard Mendenhall
33. Ben Tate
34. DeAngelo Williams
35. Jacquizz Rodgers
36. Pierre Thomas
37. Jonathan Stewart
38. Brandon Bolden
39. Shonn Greene
In-season trades rarely happen in the NFL, and even less so at skill positions, but if I ran the Bills I'd consider shopping a running back, probably Jackson (since he's the older of the two). It's not that daunting for a running back to change teams in the middle of a campaign, and there's no reason to have the offense tied to two legitimate starting backs. Jackson and Spiller have other problems staring them in the face: trips to San Francisco and Arizona are on tap, and the Bills just lost two-fifths of their offensive line (including well-regarded LT Cordy Glenn). … Mendenhall attracts some buzz simply because he's better than Ike Redman and Jon Dwyer. But the Pittsburgh run blocking has not been good all year, and Mendenhall was an ordinary back in 2011, even before he blew out his knee. If you acquired Mendenhall on the cheap, good for you — he's probably going to be the primary back on a good team and a solid offense. But the best time to shop him in trade might be in advance of him actually playing in a game.
Everyone knows what probably happens to Tate if Foster ever gets hurt; Welcome to the Machine. That's well-established territory. But it's been frustrating to see Tate receive limited work through the opening four weeks; despite Houston being 4-0 and plus-70 in point differential, Tate didn't make it past eight touches in three of his games. Mind you, Tate isn't lighting it up with a 3.9 YPC (and Foster's also surprisingly low, at 3.7). The hope before the year was that Tate might be playable as a flex option even if Foster were healthy and starting; that hasn't been the case thus far. … I thought I disliked Greene plenty, but it's clear from the comments that Yahoo! Nation is unified in its distrust of this guy. Glad we can agree on some things. The Jets line is also a concern: Pro Football Focus grades them as the AFC's worst run-blocking group through the opening four weeks. How are these guys going to move the ball against Houston on Monday night?
40. Andre Brown
41. Jackie Battle
42. Kendall Hunter
43. Bilal Powell
44. Peyton Hillis
45. Joique Bell
46. Dexter McCluster
47. Robert Turbin
48. Toby Gerhart
49. Isaac Redman
50. Ronnie Hillman
51. LeGarrette Blount
52. Evan Royster
53. Daryl Richardson
54. Mark Ingram
55. Mike Goodson
56. Jonathan Dwyer
57. Daniel Thomas
58. Bernard Pierce
59. Shaun Draughn
60. David Wilson
61. Felix Jones
62. Danny Woodhead
63. Vick Ballard
64. Rashad Jennings
65. Beanie Wells
And here are the tight ends.
1. Jimmy Graham
2. Rob Gronkowski
3. Vernon Davis
4. Tony Gonzalez
5. Antonio Gates
Gates is not an easy rank; you can certainly make a reasonable argument that he belongs in the 6-10 range. He's 32 and he hasn't seen a full season since 2009; chronic foot problems never really go away, and he's taken a ton of pounding all over his body through 10 years. And when he is on the injury report, it sets you up to play afternoon roulette more often than not, given where the Chargers are slotted most weeks. I'm glad I don't have any Gates shares this year; if I did, I'd be looking to move him after the next big game. Maybe he'll go off in New Orleans this weekend.
6. Martellus Bennett
7. Jermichael Finley
8. Dennis Pitta
9. Jason Witten
10. Kyle Rudolph
11. Brent Celek
No need to sweat Pitta's no-show in Week 4: the Browns were ripe for the picking on the outside with Joe Haden out, and remember the receiver positions (by that I refer to both WR/TE) are the highest-variance spots in our numbers racket, at least when considering the four basic food groups (QB, RB, WR, TE). Everyone is going to disappear downfield from time to time. Pitta built up plenty of goodwill through Weeks 1-3, and I'm also on board with Joe Flacco's step forward. Just as important, the Ravens defense isn't anywhere near the level of previous seasons. Baltimore used to wear down teams 17-10 and 23-13; we'll see more shootouts this year.
12. Greg Olsen
13. Jared Cook
14. Brandon Pettigrew
15. Owen Daniels
16. Aaron Hernandez
Let's get the Hernandez chat out of the way. There's no right answer for injured players. I'm generally less than optimistic on anyone's return when it's a major injury, a multiple week thing. That's the story with Hernandez. And the passing game is build through timing and reps — maybe it will take him a few games back before he's fully reliable for fantasy again. And remember that roster spots are a currency, especially without DL spots in fantasy football. There's a price for that hurt guy on your bench — he forces you to add another tight end, and he keeps you from adding another free agent who catches your eye.
Every year, in every sport, I usually wind up being less optimistic on the long-term injured guys. When they come back and star right away, I hear about it. When they don't — when Andre Johnson 2011 happens, or Carl Crawford 2012 happens — there isn't as much talk. That's how these things go.
To anyone that's convinced Hernandez will step right back into his normal role and production level when he returns, that's fine. That's your constitutional right. But that's not how I play the game.
17. Heath Miller
18. Jermaine Gresham
19. Fred Davis
20. Scott Chandler
21. Jacob Tamme
22. Coby Fleener
23. Dustin Keller
24. Brandon Myers
25. Marcedes Lewis
I don't see a lot of upside to Davis. He's never been a big touchdown guy (just six spikes over his last 32 games) and the Redskins have other preferred scoring weapons from in close (most notably, Morris and Griffin). And if Pierre Garcon can get back on the field at close to 100 percent — admittedly, that's no sure thing — Davis's role in the offense will probably take another hit. I grasp that Davis has been a solid yardage man for a couple of years, but in the 2012 version of the NFL, it's not that difficult to find pass-catching tight ends. I'd rather swing for a higher return once we move into the Davis tier.
26. Anthony Fasano
27. Joel Dreessen
28. Lance Kendrick
29. Tony Moeaki
30. Zach Miller
31. Ed Dickson
32. Dallas Clark
33. Kellen Davis
34. Dwayne Allen
35. Ben Watson
36. Jordan Cameron
37. Todd Heap
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Mostly NFL Notes: Week 4 Recap
What a dominant performance by the 49ers, holding the Jets to just 2.9 yards per play on defense while rushing for 245 yards on offense (the most the Jets have allowed since Rex Ryan took over). Tim Tebow completed his first pass attempt of the season for nine yards (resulting in his vulnerable receiver getting blown up and losing a fumble), but it was Colin Kaepernick who continues to be the bigger threat when entering the game, although his deep ball to a triple-teamed Randy Moss wasn't the best decision. As a runner, he looks like a problem for defensive coordinators moving forward. And how nice was he sliding down before a sure touchdown at the end of the game?…Michael Crabtree is San Francisco's most reliable wide receiver, but Mario Manningham is clearly more explosive…That injury when Santonio Holmes gave away a touchdown to SF didn't look good. Mark Sanchez has plenty of faults, but he also might have the worst weapons at his disposal in all of football…Aldon Smith had two more sacks (and had another taken away thanks to a penalty. Although to be fair, Tebow actually blew him up while blocking on another play), giving him 20.5 over the first 22 games of his career (including the playoffs). As crazy as it sounds, Patrick Willis is probably the fourth most important player on the 49ers' defense.
Over his past 11 games, Steven Jackson has reached 80 rushing yards once. He had a 23-yard run Sunday. On his other 17 carries, he got 22 yards…If healthy, I thought Sidney Rice would have fantasy value this year. I was wrong. Feel free to cut bait…St. Louis' fake field goal was fantastic. It resulted in the team's first offensive touchdown over their previous 100 plays…So I just realized Saturday the Rams' kicker might be following me on Twitter (it could be a fake, but from what I can tell, it's him), so I was happy to see the rookie go 4-for-4 on FG attempts, including boots from 48, 58 and 60 yards out. He's now 12-for-12 on the year (including eight from 40+ yards) and became the first kicker in NFL history to kick a 50 and 60 yard FG in the same game. Greg The Leg!
Luckiest truck driver in Russia.
The Falcons entered Sunday having trailed this season a grand total of zero seconds, but they soon fell down 7-0, although that ultimately didn't matter thanks to an incredible comeback. Despite starting at its own 1-yard line with just 50 seconds left and no timeouts, Atlanta won on a last second field goal, thanks mostly to a terrific 59-yard play from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, who tore it up all of Sunday. I actually had multiple people text me wondering if Julio Jones left hurt, as he was held without a catch until the middle of the fourth quarter. Part of it is defenses giving him extra attention, but could his hand issue also be limiting him in such a capacity? He did have some drops…Worried Cam Newton owners can certainly breathe a big sigh of relief. After rushing for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, he's on pace for 668 and 12 this year, as the regression police weep. He's also getting a decent 9.5 YPA…More fun with "on pace for" numbers; Matt Ryan's current projection calls for 4,648 passing yards with a 48:8 TD:turnover ratio…Since I made fun of those who called for Cam Newton's decline, it's only fair to point out I thought Michael Turner was done like dinner. He certainly didn't look so Sunday, although now is probably the time to try to sell if possible…I'm beating a dead horse by now, but yes, Ron Rivera's decision not to go for it at the end was terrible.
TSA agent caught stealing iPad.
Before this season, RotoWire's Chris Liss argued against Matthew Stafford, saying he relied too much on volume in 2011, as his 663 pass attempts were the third most in NFL history. I argued back that while acknowledging that's not repeatable, his efficiency will increase; after all, he entered last year (at age 23) with just 13 career starts under his belt and got 8.7 YPA over his final six games (including playoffs), which I said showed real growth from a young player. So naturally, Stafford is on pace to finish with 692 pass attempts this year, which would be an NFL record (mind you this is also with Shaun Hill attempting 13 passes), and he's got just 6.8 YPA. Funny stuff…This Vikings team has officially become interesting. Here's Minnesota's upcoming schedule before its bye: TEN, @WAS, ARI, TB, @SEA, DET. So they absolutely could enter Week 12 with a 7-3 or better record…The Lions became the first team in NFL history to allow a kick and punt return for a touchdown in each of their past two games and are now 6-10 over their past 16 contests (including the playoffs)…According to Pro Football Focus, Percy Harvin has forced 10 missed tackles this season. Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker and Vincent Jackson combined = zero.
Here's a ridiculous 30-yard behind the back TD pass.
Well Ryan Mathews owners, I didn't see that coming, even after GM A.J. Smith called him out for his fumbling issues this week. Entering the fourth quarter, Mathews had four carries for one yard, as apparently he was lucky it was such a lopsided score so he could get some action in garbage time. Jackie Battle, really? Call me stubborn and/or crazy, but I say make trade offers to Mathews owners aggressively this week…The Chiefs surprisingly entered the week leading the NFL in offense, getting 441.7 yards per game…What was up with the Chargers attempting an onside kick with a 37-20 lead with 1:56 left? Supposedly substitute kicker Nick Novak misread a signal, but who would ever even think of such a play in that situation? Weird…Jamaal Charles didn't have his best game Sunday, losing two fumbles, but his 37-yard TD run in the second quarter was easily one of the best plays of the season so far. With the new regime clearly not worried about his workload, how high should he be ranked right now? I mean, if a draft were held today, he'd certainly be a top-five pick.
Here's a crazy 2-point conversion — AKA "The Bouquet Pass."
Nice to see Chris Johnson have a pulse, although I imagine he was on a lot of fantasy owners' benches during a tough matchup in Houston. He really did look much better, but the worry here is that now with this performance he's going to be started with confidence next week, which happens to be in Minnesota against a Vikings defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, presenting an opportunity for him to become even more frustrating…It's almost as if Kenny Britt can't be relied upon to stay healthy…Arian Foster is on pace to finish with 448 touches this season. Entering the fourth quarter with a 21-point lead, he was still given seven carries compared to just two to Ben Tate. Houston should eventually ease back this pace (and this is coming from someone heavily invested in Foster), but this is no timeshare in Houston.
I saw "Menomena" last week in what turned out to be a perfect combination of a group I absolutely love yet not famous enough to still have to play in an awesome venue like this. Easily a top-five concert I've ever been to. Their new album is lyrically genius and ridiculously good.
The last time the Patriots faced the Bills, they found themselves down 21-0 after the first quarter, only to ultimately win 49-21. This week New England was down 21-7 to Buffalo into the second half, ultimately winning 52-28. Of course this means nothing, but it's pretty crazy to point out the Pats have scored 80 points after halftime during these teams previous two meetings…After ruining my Survivor pool, I can't say I was exactly broken up to see Stephen Gostkowski shank his first two attempts, although it was a bit like cutting off my nose to spite my face, since I bet on the N.E. "over" before the season…Ryan Fitzpatrick put up a nice fantasy day, but some of his passes were truly awful, highlighted by his interception toward the beginning of the second quarter…The Buffalo backfield situation didn't clear up much, as Fred Jackson saw 16 touches while C.J. Spiller saw 10. Jackson totaled 79 yards compared to Spiller's 38, but both lost fumbles, and Spiller was considered the more injured of the two entering the game…As for the Pats' backfield, Stevan Ridley owners can't be thrilled with Brandon Bolden getting 16 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown, but on the other hand, how can you argue with 22 totes for 106 yards and two touchdowns? His production may be more unpredictable than you'd like, but barring an injury, Ridley should easily finish as a top-15 fantasy back…And yes, this is pretty much the best picture ever.
Here's a pretty funny "Key & Peele" sketch.
After going his entire NFL career without fumbling, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has now done so in back-to-back weeks, with Sunday's being lost at the goal line…Even after Sunday's game, the Bengals have still allowed an NFL-high 5.4 YPC, so it was highly disappointing to see Maurice Jones-Drew run for just 38 yards (2.9 YPC)…A.J. Green had another nice game, racking up 117 yards and an 18-yard touchdown, but while his fantasy owners won't want to hear it, he was also tackled during two different drives at the 1-yard line. His day was so close to being truly monstrous.
Woman screams at a bear on her property. Bear runs away frightened.
Both the Broncos and Raiders entered their matchup Sunday 1-2, with each of their lone victories coming against the Steelers. Still, I thought their similarities ended there and didn't understand all the hate on Denver, whose two losses came against the two teams most likely to be considered the best in football (@ATL, HOU), so I happily made the Broncos part of my two-team teaser this week (please don't take this as bragging, as my other team was Green Bay -1.5. Damn me for being cheap with the juice, but how rare does 1.5 vs. 0.5 matter?! But I digress). Anyway, bottom line, this Broncos team is very good, and Peyton Manning isn't even close to done. And even if he's not what he once was, he has the benefit of working with probably the most (at least athletically) skilled teammates he ever has…While Denarius Moore clearly shouldn't be on any waiver wires, Mike Goodson shouldn't be either in deeper leagues…It's interesting to note most of Demaryius Thomas' big plays this year have come off WR screens, but it's worked either way. He's on pace for 1,300 yards this season. Keep it up!
Here's possibly the best HR trot in baseball history, as Michael Morse first runs the bases backward, then swings with an imaginary bat, then re-runs bases forward.
This Dolphins defense is no joke against the run, now allowing a league-low 2.4 YPC (next best is 3.0). They also tallied eight sacks Sunday, while on the road facing one of the only three remaining undefeated teams in football. Even with Ryan Tannehill (who actually got 10.5 YPA on Sunday) at QB, don't confuse Miami with a doormat…The Cardiac Cards! As someone who roots for the 49ers and started Miami's defense (in a last second decision over SD's, which was agonizing after seeing the Chargers get six turnovers and a defensive touchdown before the Dolphins game even started), watching yet another crazy finish go Arizona's way wasn't exactly ideal. But I've got to hand it to them. The NFC West is no joke…The Dolphins entered as the only team in the NFL without a QB to WR touchdown. I, for one, didn't see Brian Hartline's outing coming. And for that, I apologize.
This has to be one of the better mug shots of all time.
Robert Griffin continues to be an absolute fantasy monster, and this considering he lost a fumble about an inch before recording yet another rushing score Sunday (he may have crossed the line, but the review became moot - although certainly not to fantasy owners - when teammate Pierre Garcon recovered the fumble in the end zone). It was also nice to see Garcon back in action, but let's hope it didn't cause further damage to his foot…Griffin is on pace to finish with 1,008 rushing yards, just shy of Michael Vick's NFL record 1,039 set in 2006. Of course, Vick ran for just two scores during that campaign, while RG3 is on pace for 16 rushing TDs…Billy Cundiff was 0-for-3 Sunday (missing badly on every attempt) before making the game-winner with just three seconds left…Doug Martin hasn't lived up to the hype, but fantasy owners should remain patient. After the Bucs' upcoming bye, he faces teams that rank in the bottom nine in RB fantasy points against in three of the following four weeks.
Restaurant shut down after roadkill brought into kitchen.
Before scoring on their second drive Sunday, the Packers were the only team in the NFL that had zero points in the first quarter this season…With 9:27 left in the second quarter, Green Bay successfully executed a fake punt at their own 17 yard line, which was quite the gutsy call…Regarding the Darren Sproles kick return in the fourth quarter in which he clearly fumbled, the main takeaway is that referees should always err on the side of "can this close call be reviewed or not?" The Packers had no challenges left in this case and were therefore, totally screwed. Of course, Mike McCarthy deserves some of the blame for using a challenge early in the game on a play that wasn't of significant consequence…Kudos to the Saints for making such a game out of it (and they looked awfully bad using the transitive property in the early games after the Chiefs got annihilated at home to SD), but the score could have been much different. With five minutes left in the third quarter, the Packers had 1st-and-goal from the 2 yard line, and a touchdown would have put them up 28-17. But Aaron Rodgers sat out a play thanks to a scratched cornea, and backup Graham Harrell couldn't execute a simple handoff, tripping over his own lineman's feet while losing a fumble. And boom, an 80-yard TD pass by New Orleans right afterward (of course, they deserves credit for that). Not that I'm bitter about losing that teaser or anything.
If by "worst" you mean "best" death scene in a movie, then I agree.
Michael Vick entered Sunday night's game having been sacked nine times, yet remarkably, none were by a defensive lineman. LB Chase Blackburn made it 10 before Osi Umenyiora brought an end (no pun intended) to the madness…The Eagles' three wins this season are by a combined four points…It's a meaningless stat, but Philly is now 8-1 over its last nine games against the Giants…As impressive as he was against the Panthers, it's clear it will take an injury for Andre Brown to be usable in fantasy leagues. Also, David Wilson sure was explosive during his kick returns…It's certainly not a stretch to call Victor Cruz the No. 2 fantasy wide receiver right now. Andre Johnson has the most receiving yards per game in NFL history with 78.8. Since becoming a starter, Cruz has got 110.5 ypg.
A pretty crazy read about someone getting quite a surprise after discovering who's been trolling him online in the worst way.
And speaking of trolling. Wow is this a terrible article.
Not that he was making big plays downfield or anything, but it was nice to see Jason Witten finally have a good game, as he reeled in 13 of his 14 targets. The same can't be said about Dez Bryant. While he set a career-high with 105 receiving yards, Bryant couldn't possibly have been any less impressive while doing so, as he was likely responsible for at least one interception and probably more while leaving a ton of yardage on the field as well thanks to his shaky hands. What a massive disappointment. Could the Dallas offense look any more discombobulated?...For the second year in a row, I made a Dez Bryant vs. Miles Austin bet before the season (backing Bryant), but it looks like it's going to take another hamstring issue for me to win again. I've changed my tune and would prefer Austin right now in fantasy leagues…I'm a believer in DeMarco Murray's talent, and his schedule has been awfully tough so far, but man does Dallas have a bad run blocking O-line…With seven minutes left in the second quarter, Brandon Marshall caught a 13-yard pass on 1st-and-15, but Lovie Smith decided to accept a 5-yard penalty for illegal contact instead. Um, what? Not only is 2nd-and-2 preferable to 1st-and-10, he also forfeited eight yards! Ultimately it's a minor thing, but it continues to blow my mind just how bad coaches are with the simplest of common sense issues…Speaking of Marshall, don't underestimate just how impressive his performance was Monday night. The Cowboys entered having allowed by far the fewest points to opposing WRs this season.
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Football Daily Dose: Romo’s Reverse Masterpiece
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Norv: We still have ‘great trust’ in Mathews – Ryan Mathews | SD
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Mathews to be feature back again soon for SD – Ryan Mathews | SD
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