Finally freed from Peyton Manning, Wayne is on pace for career highs (USP)
Ryan Tannehill has got 9.8 YPA over the past two weeks with both games coming on the road. He's also taken a respectable 10 sacks over five games and has one of the weaker receiving groups in the league to throw to. Moreover, Jake Long has been a big disappointment so far. Tannehill's 2:6 TD:INT ratio isn't pretty, but there are plenty of other reasons for optimism, especially considering how raw he was entering the league. I didn't see that coming and certainly not so fast…Andy Dalton entered with an 8.8 YPA and eight touchdown passes over the first four games of the season, but Miami's defense held him to 5.4 YPA and a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. And the Dolphins' run D continues to dominate, allowing an NFL-low 2.7 YPC. This team is far from a doormat…BenJarvus Green-Ellis has averaged 5.1 YPC against the Ravens this year. Against the rest of the league, he's averaged 2.9…Brian Hartline didn't have a big game after his Week 4 breakout, but he's clearly going to see a bunch of targets as Miami's No. 1 option and should be a WR3 at worst for fantasy purposes. He leads the NFL in receiving yards over the first five weeks of the season…Down 17-13 with 3:05 left in the 4th quarter, not only did the Bengals foolishly attempt a 41-yard field goal, but the CBS announcers called it the "right call without question." This would be a bad call even if three points were guaranteed, but the fact a 40+ yard FG is anything but a sure thing makes this so embarrassingly bad it's obnoxious. This stuff isn't rocket science. It's common sense that needs no calculator.
Brandon Weeden threw two forward passes on the same play Sunday, obviously resulting in a penalty…It was so the Giants to be down 14-0 immediately at home against the heavily underdog Browns, and while it's clear this team has legitimate issues in its secondary, New York didn't ruin yet another Survivor year like they have in recent seasons…After losing a fumble early on, Ahmad Bradshaw owners had to worry he may lose some work to Andre Brown. Instead, Bradshaw ended up with 30 carries (Brown had zero, leaving early with a concussion) for 200 rushing yards and a touchdown…Wow is Trent Richardson impressive. He doesn't necessarily get tackled as much as he goes down when he decides it's time to. Richardson is clearly a top-five fantasy commodity…The only question remaining regarding Victor Cruz's fantasy value is if you'd prefer him or Calvin Johnson moving forward.
What a terrific Packers/Colts game (assuming you didn't have the Pack in Survivor or a teaser). Indy, who finished 2-14 last season, outscored Green Bay, who was 15-1 last season, 27-6 in the second half after getting thoroughly outplayed in the first to pull off the upset. The Colts have lost at home to the Jaguars, which was Jacksonville's only win so far, but Indy has also beat the 4-1 Vikings to go along with Green Bay. And their only other loss came in Chicago…Cedric Benson took an 18-yard screen pass down to the goal line, only to see John Kuhn punch it in one play later. Adding injury to insult to his already frustrated fantasy owners, he later left with a foot injury that looks like a season-ender. Alex Green needs to be added in most leagues, but I wouldn't go nuts with your FAAB. It's probably going to end up a committee…It appears Jordy Nelson is the rare receiver who's actually hurt by his opposite starting WR going down with injury, although to be fair this entire Green Bay passing attack looks nothing like last year's version, for reason's tough to pinpoint. The Packers are now 4-5 over their past nine games (playoffs included) after winning its previous 15 contests…At one point, the head referee informed the viewers the Colts made a penalty by saying this: "false start, everybody but the center."
What a game by Reggie Wayne, highlighted by this ridiculous catch. He's on pace to finish the year with 144 catches and 2,024 yards. It's funny, because I always discredited Wayne's talent some — like Marvin Harrison, a great route runner, does the little things well, but nothing special athletically and put up huge numbers partly because of Peyton Manning — but he sure has impressed so far this year. That said, Andrew Luck looks like an immediate star. Not to compare Wayne to Jerry Rice, but there's something of a similar chicken-or-egg dilemma here, as it looks like he's going to benefit from not one but two elite QBs throwing to him during his career. Despite already having a bye, Wayne leads the NFL in targets. There's no reason to "sell high" here…The Colts challenged James Jones' touchdown catch, which was moronic for two reasons. 1) It was clearly a TD and 2) All scoring plays are automatically reviewed! This has been the case since last year. How can they not know this?! It resulted in an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty, and the play that was up for possible review didn't even make it to that stage by the booth above as it was so obviously a score…A really interesting play happened at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Indy had a 3rd-and-4 at midfield, and Green Bay jumped offsides, which led to a "free play." They completed a 10 yard pass to Donnie Avery, only Avery was the first to touch the ball after stepping out of bounds, so instead of a first down thanks to the offsides, or a first down thanks to the 10 yard catch, his penalty offset the offsides. So the play really wasn't "free." Luck would have been better off literally handing the ball to a Green Bay defender. And on the very next play he was intercepted. Pretty crazy.
A fireball caught on camera thanks to a "real rootin tootin little rainfall."
If Shaun Suisham had missed that field goal at the end of the game, the Eagles would have been 4-1 with a -16 point differential, winning the four games by a combined five points and with a -7 turnover ratio. Alas, it didn't happen, as Philly's seemingly good fortune came to an end…Sunday marked the first time Ben Roethlisberger didn't have a TD or INT and wasn't sacked in a game during his career…Rashard Mendenhall sure looked better than I expected during his first action of the season and should soon take over the majority of Pittsburgh's backfield duties. Between him, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson, it seems returning from ACL surgery is the new market inefficiency…Where Wallace at??? Mike Wallace has three touchdowns this season, but after racking up 800 yards over his first eight games last year, he now has just 644 over his past 12 contests.
Here's a QVC host fainting on live TV, which isn't nearly as crazy as her co-host continuing to shill afterward.
Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez combined for a whopping 17 catches by halftime, as both were heavily involved in the offense all day Sunday, although they didn't put up gaudy YPC numbers. Oddly, Jones now has 21 receptions for 269 yards and four touchdowns over three road games this year and just five catches for 44 yards and zero touchdowns during two home games…Sure, Gonzalez has benefitted from coverages paying close attention to Jones and Roddy White, but the veteran deserves credit as well, as he leads all tight ends with 10 missed tackles…I really hope Robert Griffin doesn't have to miss time with his head injury. The play certainly did highlight his heightened risk though…I'm not giving up on Pierre Garcon, but it has to be a pretty deep league to start him right now…The Redskins have now lost eight in a row at home.
A terrific article regarding birthdays, math and memory.
The Chiefs/Ravens game was one of the most boring so far this season, with nary a single touchdown scored. I can appreciate a good defensive battle, but this was hardly the case Sunday, as both teams' offenses struggled badly. Since going 11-5 with New England after taking over for an injured Tom Brady in 2008, Matt Cassel is 19-26 since joining the Chiefs. Even before succumbing to injury Sunday he was on the verge of losing his job to Brady Quinn. I'm beginning to think Bill Belichick isn't bad at coaching pro football…Kansas City fans have a legitimate beef on that questionable call by the refs when they ruled Joe Flacco dead in the pocket right before he lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by the Chiefs. The whistle came awfully quick…So, which RB in this game would you rather have ROS for fantasy purposes, Jamaal Charles or Ray Rice?
Liam Neeson is better at saving his onscreen children than he is talking American football.
Brandon Marshall left Sunday's game a few times with what looked like a leg injury, even collapsing to the ground at one point, but thankfully, it seemed to be nothing more than cramping, likely due to weather that reached 100-degree temperatures. You wouldn't know it from his dominant box score though, as he totaled 12 catches (grabbing half of those during a single drive) for 144 yards and a touchdown. He's now eclipsed 155 yards with a touchdown in three of five games this season…The Jaguars haven't had a wide receiver top 80 yards all season. The Giants have had five DIFFERENT receivers do it so far…The Bears defense has scored a touchdown in three straight games with a remarkable five total over that span. While defensive touchdowns are somewhat fluky, this Chicago defense is for real and currently looks like possibly the best in the league. They lead the NFL with 13 interceptions and a 60.0 QB rating against and are tied for the lead with 18 sacks, also allowing just 3.6 YPC and one touchdown on the ground. And realize 40% of their games played so far have come @Green Bay and @Dallas. Even in shallower leagues, they are worth keeping during their upcoming bye.
This Russian truck holds more people than you'd expect.
The Panthers backfield of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, who are currently signed to contracts worth a combined $90.811 million, combined for 11 carries for 25 yards…Cam Newton started Sunday's game 3-for-16 and was equally as ineffective through the air as his teammates were on the ground. With less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter on 4th-and-goal, his throw straight into the ground to a wide open receiver in the end zone was particularly ugly…The Panthers have been a bit unlucky in one regard, as opposing kickers have made all of their NFL-high 16 FG attempts against them so far this season…It appears this Seattle defense is legit even when not playing at home…Golden Tate has scored on 30% of his receptions this year…Late in Sunday's game, Seattle purposely took a safety. While it would have been an absolute no-brainer (well, maybe not for all NFL coaches) if backed up at their own goal line, they elected to do this at their own 18 (the score was 16-10, so it still took a touchdown to beat them, and they now can punt without a pass rush coming and from slightly closer), so their outside the box thinking needs to be applauded…Bruce Irvin = Aldon Smith. Actually as a 49ers fan, I'm kind of terrified he could be Aldon 2.0.
Here's a crazy leopard kill caught on camera.
If Colin Kaepernick weren't such a nice guy, the 49ers would have now outscored their opponents 86-3 over the past two weeks. The NFC West has a combined 14 wins. The next best division has 11 (to be fair one of their teams has had a bye)…According to Pro Football Focus, Mario Williams has been the 43rd most valuable 4-3 defensive end so far this season…Solomon Wilcots, one of the worst in the business, right after Kaepernick's lost fumble: "Kaepernick is not a big guy." He's 6-4, 230…Speaking of the "Wild Kap," not sure why the 49ers unveiled so much of it after the game was decided Sunday. But that formation looks legitimately like possibly the best wildcat or pistol formation since Ronnie Brown and the Dolphins started it a few years back. If only Kaepernick were just a little bigger, like 6-9, 450. By the way, he's the only player in the history of college football to rush for 4,000 yards and throw for 10,000 yards.
If Frank Gore went down, not an especially unlikely occurrence, Kendall Hunter could be absolutely huge…San Francisco had gone 27 straight games without a 300-yard passer, and Alex Smith had 237 passing yards by halftime Sunday. Of course he barely stopped the streak, ultimately finishing with 303 yards. Smith has the best QB Rating in the NFL right now…The 49ers have 556 rushing yards in their past two games, which is more than 18 teams have totaled over the entire season…Buffalo entered the week leading the NFL in touchdowns but scored zero Sunday. On defense, over the past two weeks they have allowed two 300-yard passers, three 100-yard rushers and four 100-yard receivers. The Bills have also been outscored 90-17 over the last six quarters, allowing a franchise record 621 total yards to the 49ers in the process, when San Francisco became the first team in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 300 rushing yards in the same game.
I went to the A's/Rangers game No. 162 last week, which was an incredible atmosphere, probably the loudest baseball game I've ever been to. I'm especially glad I went since Bay Area baseball has been a total dud since, highlighted by my Giants getting embarrassed by the Reds. Ugh! I'm depressed.
It was pretty cool to see Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning again. And for what it's worth, Brady is now 9-4 during head-to-head matchups. If not for a Willis McGahee fumble (he also had an absolutely terrible drop on a crucial 4th-and-2 play earlier in the 4th quarter), this would've been the third time this season the Broncos were legitimately competitive in a game in which they were once down at least 20 points, although they haven't won any of them…In a league that's become more pass heavy than ever, it's pretty funny that three of the best teams in football (New England, San Francisco, Houston) are all run heavy (with Atlanta being the one stark counter, and New England's rushing attempts are a bit skewed thanks to their innovative breakneck pace). Really surprising to me, especially one year removed from record setting stats in the passing department.
Aside from the first quarter against the Falcons, Peyton Manning has an 11:0 TD:INT ratio this year…With 8:22 left in the 4th quarter and up 31-14, the Patriots went for it on 4th-and-5. In hindsight, it's tough to criticize them for rubbing it in, as this game very nearly became precarious at the end...Even with a teammate getting 30 carries over the past two weeks, it's hard not to consider Stevan Ridley a top-15 fantasy asset right now, although him fumbling for the second straight week is of some concern, no question. One more and suddenly Brandon Bolden is a top fantasy player…Shane Vereen has scored a touchdown on 50% of his rushing attempts this season…I fully expected Brandon Lloyd to be more productive this year, although it's worth noting he probably scored on this play that the Pats didn't bother challenging…After racking up nine catches for 188 yards (and losing a fumble for the second straight game), Demaryius Thomas is now on pace to finish with 1,642 receiving yards. Keep it up, DT!
In honor of the premiere episode of "30 Rock" during its final season, here's a classic Tracy Morgan clip in which he declares he's going to get someone pregnant while on live TV.
As feared, some owners of Chris Johnson, who averaged just 27.0 yards from scrimmage over the first three weeks and was facing a difficult matchup in Houston, benched him last week only to start him again Sunday thanks to his "resurgence," getting four absolute duds and have his one good game missed. It's about as bad as it gets for a healthy first round pick…Percy Harvin is a top-five fantasy wide receiver, but that shouldn't exactly be a controversial statement at this point. I wouldn't trade him for any quarterback (assuming it's not a 2QB league, of course)…After allowing an NFL-worst 107.6 QB Rating (8.1 YPA, 34:8 TD:INT ratio) last year despite tying for the league-lead in sacks, the Vikings have ceded just 6.1 YPA this season. With Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, this team has marquee players at marquee positions, not to mention the impressive development of QB Christian Ponder. The Titans didn't make it past the Vikings 47-yard line until the 4th quarter Sunday.
Mark Ingram has totaled 16 yards or fewer in four of five games this year (getting 53 in the other) while averaging 2.9 YPC. It's probably true defenses key on him when he's in the game, knowing it's a sign he's getting the ball, but if Ingram lacks the skill set to block/catch, then how is this going to change any time soon? And he looks average at best when running anyway. He can probably safely be dropped even in deeper leagues…Antonio Gates faced a New Orleans team that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but it's close to the point of panic time for his fantasy owners, which includes me, who bought into the hype entering the year when SD beat writers and coaches as well as the man himself declared Gates healthier than he's been in years and looking dominant. Frankly, it looks like he's running with 25 pound ankle weights on right now. And it's hilarious the one game he missed resulted in his nondescript backup scoring three touchdowns. I'm not benching Gates this week, but another no-show will be beyond worrisome…Congrats to Drew Brees and his record-setting accomplishment.
Also congrats to Marques Colston owners, who many likely made a crazy comeback during SNF. After totaling 10 catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns over the first three games, Colston has 18 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns over his last two…I'd treat Ryan Mathews as a top-15 fantasy commodity right now…Among the 33 quarterbacks who qualify (including Matt Hasselbeck), Philip Rivers has dealt with the fewest dropped passes (four) by his wide receivers this year. In comparison, Brandon Weeden's wideouts have dropped 21 balls…In what should come as absolutely no surprise, Norv Turner has the second worst record in one possession games in NFL history, now 49-68-1. Speaking of which, how fitting was the end to Sunday night's game?
Longread of the week: Can you call a 9-year-old a psychopath?
I appreciated the Jets faking a punt, going for it on 4th-and-1 (although not sure why they didn't use Tim Tebow instead of Mark Sanchez there) and attempting an onside kick after scoring on a return touchdown, knowing well just how big of an underdog they were…Arian Foster has been used far less as a receiver so far, but he remains on pace to finish with a whopping 422 carries this season…After a nice Week 1, Andre Johnson has totaled just nine catches for 164 yards and one touchdown over the past four games…Among non-quarterbacks, J.J. Watt is easily a top-five commodity in the NFL, and especially with Darrelle Revis tearing his knee, he has an argument for No. 1 (Calvin Johnson?). Not that I never make mistakes, but this is a pretty funny article to go back and read in hindsight.