Familiarity is a major part of NFL success, especially in the passing game. Timing matters. Rapport matters. And when the bullets are flying, a quarterback will often look to the receiver he knows the best - no matter if it's actually the most talented option on the field.
Consider the Riley Cooper and Nick Foles show with Philadelphia.
You've already read a ton of ink on Foles, and for good reason - those seven-touchdown games deserve to be celebrated. But let's be sure to underline how well Cooper is clicking with Foles. The fourth-year wideout has caught six of Foles's 19 career touchdowns, including the hat trick Sunday and four overall this year. It's a story worth believing in. A snappy 18.1 yards per catch also jumps out at you.
(I wish I had been more bullish of Cooper prior to the week. Fortunately, some of my colleagues were out in front of the story.)
Foles and Cooper had plenty of time to click last year, when both players were primarily on the second team in Philadelphia. It's a common thing for scout-team rapport to carry over to first-string opportunity. We have to assume Foles will be the Eagles starter the remainder of the year, health permitting, and that probably pushes Cooper into WR3 territory. Look at some of those matchups down the road: Washington, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago.
The same theme flashed in Buffalo, where Marquise Goodwin and Jeff Tuel clicked for a 59-yard touchdown. Tim Wright's work in Tampa Bay followed along, clicking with Mike Glennon. Sometimes we're rewarded for looking down the depth chart.
Chew on that item for a bit, and liberally click refresh - I'll be adding more game notes from Week 9.
• A lot of the buy-low sell-high advice floating around is nebulous; there's no one-size-fits-all nature to it. And obviously if you're in a league with morons, you don't even need advice. Sure, keep floating those 2-for-1s and repeat until rich; if someone will give you Calvin Johnson for Jerricho Cotchery and Case Keenum, you've living the dream.
But if you're in a pool where the other owners actually have a clue, you might need to think outside the box a little bit. Here's a second-level piece of advice from my friend Andrew Manning, a nugget I fully agree with.
@scott_pianowski I also like to see if I can get someone to dramatically overpay in a 2 for 1. Like if I could get Brees + a WR2 for Peyton.
— Andrew Manning (@AP_Manning) November 4, 2013
Right on, Andrew. I'm with you. Again, this isn't the tack you need to take in a pool where the owners are easy pickings. But in the more-sophisticated groups, this sort of play is worth considering.
• I have been impressed with Keenum; I don't see how you can't be. His debut at Kansas City was refreshing and exciting - unlike Matt Schaub, Keenum was willing to pull the trigger on intermediate and deeper throws. And we saw even more of that theme in the explosive game against Indianapolis on Sunday night, a sure win if not for the foibles of the Houston special teams units.
Houston has done a terrific job scheming to Keenum's preferences, but we also have to give the inexperienced kid credit for his play through two games. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins surely are jumping out of their cleats, overjoyed to be relevant again.
• It was fun to see the Patriots back at full throttle in the 55-31 beatdown of the Steelers, but that doesn't mean you put all of your New England players under lock and key (especially with a Week 10 bye on tap).
Danny Amendola is one player I'd be eager to sell if I owned him. The 122-yard game (with a score) presents a window, but let's not forget the injury history with this guy. And we're still talking about a player with a modest eight touchdowns in 47 career games; sure, a lot of that is the Rams, but he'll never be the first option in New England so long as Rob Gronkowski is healthy. (And when Tom Brady looks deep, emerging Aaron Dobson is probably the preference.)
Meanwhile, running back Stevan Ridley becomes a hold for me, a player I'd like to go to battle with over the final two months. He's been dynamite since the Week 5 breather - 4.8 yards a pop, six touchdowns - and the pending Shane Vereen return is probably worrisome to Brandon Bolden, not Ridley. The Pats like Vereen as a hurry-up and receiving back; Ridley is the man they lean on for goal-line work and clock-killing work. Ridley's role seems safe here - at least, as safe as any running back's role can be for a Belichick team.
• Three hours in St. Louis made a lot of running backs look good. Zac Stacy already had Circle of Trust privileges, but on the other side of the ball, Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene ran to daylight (and the end zone). This trio didn't have a rushing touchdown on the year; now it has five. Those spikes were a sight for sore eyes.
A lot has been made of Tennessee's rushing-friendly schedule to come, but it's really a mixed bag. A pair of Jacksonville dates are terrific, though you need to be alive in Week 16 to take advantage of the second one. Indianapolis also calls twice - the Colts allow 4.4 YPC on the ground, but they're allowed just five rushing touchdowns. Denver (Week 14) and Arizona (Week 15) are terrible matchups for any rushing game.
Maybe I'm just the last of the CJ2K Haters, but this looks like a shopping window to me. I get it, I see the Jags waiting next weekend, but you're factoring that into the price. Maybe you can time the market. Let me know how you're doing in the comments.
• The two most prolific kickers in the NFL are set for a holiday. No Nick Folk, who's 23-for-23 on three-pointers. And no Stephen Gostkowski, who's 22-for-23.
And unless you're blessed with a ton of bench space and nothing much to do with it, I cut the cord. I don't carry kickers through bye weeks. You can always pick up someone else with a good matchup.
The Chiefs defense, a fantasy godsend for two months, is another problem to deal with. Kansas City doesn't play in Week 10, and then the schedule gets tricky: at Denver; San Diego; Denver. The Colts lie in wait for Week 16. Are you going to risk the Chiefs against Peyton Manning? Is it worth it to carry two defenses? It's time to start mapping out a plan.
Just don't tell me you're carrying two kickers. That's a strategy I will not get behind.