The Eagles, who’ve typically played better on the road than at home over the past couple of years, were near touchdown favorites while riding a five-game winning streak facing a Vikings team that entered with just three wins on the season and without Adrian Peterson. Philly ended up losing 48-30, as Matt Cassel completed 74.3 percent of his passes while getting 10.9 YPA with two touchdown tosses (and a TD run). Cassel has proven to be an above average backup quarterback this season, making Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman look like low-end QB2s…Nick Foles was shaky at times but again ultimately filled the stat sheet, which is all that matters to fantasy owners. The QB threw for 428 yards and three scores (and a two-point conversion), also leading the Eagles with 41 rushing yards. Foles has a 26:2 TD:turnover ratio with a 9.0 YPA on the year, making him the NFL’s biggest surprise of 2013, both in real life terms and fantasy…Matt Asiata rushed 30 times for just 51 yards, but he also scored three touchdowns, which is three times the amount of TDs Adrian Peterson has scored since Week 10. Fantasy football is a cruel game…One week after rushing for a career-high 217 yards, LeSean McCoy was given eight carries against a Vikings front seven that entered having allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year. Although he did add 68 receiving yards…Where did that come from, Greg Jennings?…DeSean Jackson had a huge game, hauling in 10-of-16 targets for 195 yards and a score. He could’ve had another touchdown on a reverse run (on 4th-and-1 no less) had Foles not committed an unnecessary personal foul penalty. Jackson is on pace to finish with 86 catches for 1,457 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Patriots made the unfortunate mistake of actually leading at halftime, which of course resulted in a loss, as they were outscored in the second half for the first time since Week 7. Tom Brady wasn’t efficient (6.6 YPA), but he produced just fine for fantasy owners despite missing so many weapons, throwing for 364 yards and two scores. Shane Vereen, meanwhile, was one of the biggest disappointments of Week 15, totaling just 21 yards. I expected him to flourish with such depleted options on New England’s offense. Instead, he had his worst game of the season by far…Ryan Tannehill has an 8:2 TD:INT ratio over his past three games, also throwing for at least 310 yards in three of his past four contests…Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola saw a combined 33 targets, resulting in 23 catches for 270 yards and a score…This Miami field goal attempt didn’t go as planned…With 3:24 left in the fourth quarter down 20-17 on 4th-and-5 from their own 45-yard line, Jim Nantz suggested this to the Dolphins: “You have to punt here right?” His partner Phil Simms concurred: “Oh absolutely no question.” Of course, this was ridiculous regardless of the outcome (any Pats fan at the time would have LOVED to see a punt there), but it comes as no surprise Miami went for it and got the first down, which then directly resulted in them winning the game. I really don’t know what to say at this point when it comes to commentators, and this is CBS’ No. 1 team mind you.
Here’s Paul Rudd showing the same movie clip every time he’s on Conan O’Brien, and it’s pretty brilliant.
Jordan Todman totaled 153 yards on 29 touches, and while he didn’t score, he still became the latest example of someone previously invisible making an impact in the fantasy playoffs. It seemingly happens every season and is either a glorious way to win or an extremely frustrating way to lose, depending on which side you’re on. To put this performance in perspective, Maurice Jones-Drew hasn’t reached 150 yards from scrimmage since Week 3 in 2012…Marcedes Lewis has quietly scored in three straight games…Fantasy owners who own Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will have a tough decision in Week 16, as the Bills have a plus matchup at home against the Dolphins, but who knows which back to use? Your guess is as good as mine (don’t underrate each back’s impressive YPC Sunday, as the Jaguars had entered defending the run extremely well of late).
Comedian bakes iPhone cookies to trick cops, ends up getting arrested for entirely different reason.
Case Keenum made some truly awful throws, and I’m officially embarrassed I was once excited about his future earlier this year. Having said that, the Texans should absolutely keep rolling him out there, as they are the heavy favorites to have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Houston has lost 12 straight games, and their Week 1 victory required them coming back from 21 points in the second half, while they were down eight points inside two minutes during their Week 2 win, so this team, which was 12-4 last season, wasn’t far off from going 0-16 this season. Houston scoring just three points against a shaky Indy defense looks even worse when you consider they also suffered a safety…Ben Tate fumbled two more times, and if you told me before the year Arian Foster was out for the season, and Tate was just a borderline RB3, I’d have called you crazy…Da’Rick Rogers, wha happened?!...The Colts entered having allowed the eighth most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, yet Andre Johnson somehow got just 18 yards on 10 targets…Andrew Luck has six touchdown passes over the past two weeks, and his rushing ability helps his fantasy value, but at some point, his poor YPA has to become worrisome, right? I wouldn’t feel comfortable ranking him as a top-12 fantasy QB next year, that’s for sure.
I was surprised to see Adrien Broner get so thoroughly dominated by Marcos Maidana on Saturday night, and while it was probably bad for boxing’s future, those who follow the sport closely probably didn’t consider the outcome as shocking as most. Still, it was an extremely entertaining fight, featuring “humping, acting and stumbling.” I look forward to the rematch…The UFC card wasn’t exactly bad either, as Urijah Faber continues to look like a legit contender again, beating a serious threat in Michael McDonald (who’s from my hometown!) while Demetrious Johnson had a sick (and unexpected) knockout in the main event.
Jay Cutler finished with a 71.0 completion percentage with three TD passes and a 102.2 QB Rating, but his two picks were pretty bad, which was the one glaring difference between him and Josh McCown this year (INT%). As expected, Cutler targeted Brandon Marshall heavily, but Alshon Jeffery owners weren’t left disappointed despite seeing just five targets, as he secured all of them, including this ridiculous 45-yard touchdown. Jeffery seemingly has a highlight worthy TD grab every week these days…The Browns and Bears combined for three defensive scores Sunday…I expected a much bigger game from Chris Ogbonnaya facing a Bears front seven that has allowed an NFL-high 5.2 YPC to go along with 17 rushing scores. Chicago has ceded 2,134 rushing yards this season, which is 279 more than the next worst team (New England). I didn’t expect Ogbonnaya to be a workhorse, and at least he added 39 receiving yards, but five carries for seven yards in this favorable matchup? Someone named Edwin Baker ran for 38 yards and a touchdown…After coming off the single greatest four-game stretch in a season in the history of wide receivers, it wasn’t a surprise Josh Gordon was quiet for most of Sunday, but you can only hold down such a dominant talent for so long apparently, as he still managed a 43-yard TD catch with a minute left, salvaging his fantasy value. What a stud. I’d love to hear an argument for someone other than Gordon being ranked as the No. 2 fantasy WR entering 2014.
What’s up with the asterisk here Jeopardy!? Not cool. Not cool at all.
Just when you think Eli Manning’s season couldn’t get any worse, he throws five interceptions without a TD, getting an anemic 5.0 YPA while taking three sacks against a West Coast team traveling to play a 10 a.m. game. Of course, Seattle’s defense is very good, but Manning is now up to 25 interceptions on the season, putting him on pace for 29 this year, which would be the most since Brett Favre tossed that many in 2005. Manning has already taken a career-high 36 sacks and arguably has one of the better WR groups at his disposal. I certainly didn’t see this coming. Fun Fact: Manning's $20.9 million 2013 salary cap number is the highest among all starting quarterbacks…My biggest “miss” this year might be Golden Tate, who has disappointed all year despite Percy Harvin not being much of a factor at all...Andre Brown totaled just 26 yards on 15 touches Sunday. That’s not very good…Not only were the Giants shut out at home, but they had just one third-down conversion and didn’t even attempt a field goal while getting 3.4 yards per play. New York nearly had as many punts (eight) as they did first downs (12)…The Seahawks have allowed just 19 punt return yards this season, which is mind-boggling and easily on pace to be the lowest in NFL history…Victor Cruz left with what looked like a pretty bad injury and will go down as one of fantasy football’s biggest busts of the year.
In case you missed my latest hoops article or are just a fan of the random links, here’s last week’s column.
Colin Kaepernick will likely go down as a big fantasy disappointment this year, and while his efficiency has declined (7.5 YPA), it’s worth pointing out he’s attempted 30 passes in just one game since Week 1 (and that was only 31 in Week 11), as San Francisco’s philosophy (and good defense) has limited his fantasy value. Kaepnernick extended some plays with his legs that resulted in first downs both by running and passing Sunday, and it’s hard not to be impressed by this throw to Vernon Davis, although it’s unclear why the tight end attempted to concuss himself on purpose afterward. Kaepernick has started 21 games in his career and now has Michael Crabtree back at his disposal, so while SF’s run heavy ways limit his current upside, the future remains bright…Bobby Rainey’s production has directly coincided with his matchups. In other words, he’s killed in favorable ones and disappeared in tough ones…Vernon Davis became the first tight end in NFL history with two seasons of 12+ TD catches…With 22 seconds left in the second quarter from the San Francisco 19-yard line, Jim Harbaugh thought the ideal play call was a run up the middle by Frank Gore. I don’t get it.
Matt Ryan entered with a 10:1 TD:INT ratio over six games (with a 106.2 QB Rating) at home this year and was up against a Washington secondary that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing passers, so it was disappointing to see him throw for a modest 210 yards and just one score, getting 5.5 YPA in the process despite having a seemingly healthy Roddy White at his disposal…Meanwhile, Steven Jackson ran for only 38 yards on 15 carries, although two of them hit pay dirt…Washington looked like a team that had given up on its season, having lost five straight and benching Robert Griffin, so it came as a surprise they nearly won (they attempted a two-point conversion down one with 18 seconds left, which I would give them props for if not for me hoping for overtime as a Pierre Garcon owner) despite being touchdown underdogs on the road and losing all five of their fumbles…Speaking of fumbles lost, there was a stretch in the middle of the third quarter that featured three straight plays in which that happened, which isn’t exactly common…It was just one game in a plus matchup, but it’s hard not to call Kirk Cousins an upgrade at QB for Washington. At least right now. Although it still resulted in a loss, which is great news for Rams fans. Garcon owners concur, as despite having the second-most receptions in the NFL, his TD catch Sunday matched his previous total since Week 4.
Song of the Week: Lorde’s “Ribs,” live on Letterman. (h/t RawB)
DeAngelo Williams totaled 167 yards on just 18 touches against a Jets defense that entered having yielded the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs…With eight seconds left in the second quarter and at their own 20 yard line, the Jets thought the best play call that increased their chances of winning the game (not to mention their long-term outlook) was to call a run by Bilal Powell up the middle. I respectfully disagreed…With 7:50 left in the third quarter on 4th-and-2 from New York’s 14-yard line, Carolina went for it up 16-6, and while they didn’t get the first down, this was again the right process by “Riverboat Ron.” The Panthers suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat to be the NFC’s No. 2 seed. I can’t say I’m unhappy about it (it’s still a long shot, but my favorite part about this is that the first comment under my Tweet is someone mocking me for picking Carolina because “defense wins championships”). The Panthers have allowed 14.9 ppg this season, second only to the Seahawks (14.6) who only surpassed them thanks to a shutout this week.
It was pretty disappointing to see Jamaal Charles rush for just 20 yards on eight carries Sunday, but fantasy owners will have to settle for him catching all eight of his targets in the passing game, adding 195 receiving yards for four touchdowns (to go along with a rushing score). He had four TDs with 5:42 left in the second quarter, becoming just the 10th player since 1940 to hit pay dirt that many times in the first half. Moreover, Charles was the first player since Clinton Portis 10 years ago to score five touchdowns in a game. Sunday’s performance was especially crazy, as Charles became the first running back in NFL history to record four receiving touchdowns in a game, and while Oakland’s defense helped out, check out his final TD of the day here. His game could’ve been even bigger if not for resting late (he didn’t touch the ball in the fourth quarter!), and a historic performance like this becomes more memorable when delivered in the fantasy playoffs (like Portis’ a decade ago). Charles has the best YPC (5.6) in NFL history among running backs and is also on pace to finish with 749 receiving yards and 21 total TDs this season. It’s beyond remarkable a running back scored more than 50 fantasy points and had a teammate have nearly twice as many rushing yards (not to mention his QB finished with just three fewer yards on the ground as well).
The Chiefs are 11-1 when not facing the Broncos this season and have outscored their opponents 38-3 in the first quarter over the past two contests…With 7:34 left in the second quarter, the Raiders picked up a first down on a fake punt…Here’s Andre Holmes making a sick one-handed catch in which he also loses a shoe...Rashad Jennings now has four rushing touchdowns over his past two games…Alex Smith got 14.4 YPA with a 5:0 TD:INT ratio with his leading wide receiver (or tight end) having 33 yards. Moreover, Smith’s five touchdown passes traveled a total of 13 yards downfield. Wow.
Headlines of the Week: This Driver Injected 15 Bags Of Heroin Before Crashing, Because ‘Meth Is For Quitters’...French Café Charges Extra For Rudeness...Woman Claws Her Way Out Of Locked Bathroom As In ‘Shawshank Redemption’...200,000 People Apply To Live On Mars...Ancient Martian Lake May Have Supported Life...Japan Keeps Executing Prisoners Without Giving Them Any Warning...Simulations Back Up Theory That Universe Is A Hologram.
The Cowboys had a 29-10 lead with a little more than one minute left in the third quarter yet somehow lost at home against a Packers team that had struggled mightily ever since Aaron Rodgers has been out. Dallas was also up 12 points with less than five minutes left, as what the Cowboys are doing these days is art in which no other professional sports team can match. Tony Romo’s overall clutch stats have been overwhelmingly positive actually, and I usually back him, but it’s hard to defend this interception. And apparently I’m not the only one down on his fourth quarter throw, as Jason Garrett has come out and criticized his franchise player, saying he checked out of a called run play he shouldn’t have. Either way, it’s tough for fantasy owners to complain about Romo’s 348 passing yards and two scores, and it’s also hard to ignore what Dallas did defensively in the second half, which was the main reason they lost. Dallas is on track to allow 6,837 yards this year, which would be the second most in NFL history (last year’s Saints ceded 7,042).
Matt Flynn has now led a 23-point comeback win and a 16-point tie. Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre have never had a bigger comeback by more than 14 points throughout their careers...Jason Witten set an NFL record with 110 catches by a tight end last season, yet his eight touchdowns in 2013 are as many as he totaled over his previous two years combined…DeMarco Murray is going to be tough to rank next year, as he’s a clear top-10 fantasy back when healthy but one of the bigger injury risks at the position…Jordy Nelson had seven touchdowns over the first eight weeks, but his score Sunday was his first since then. This may or may not have something to do with Rodgers missing every game (but one drive) during that stretch…Flynn had a 4:0 TD:INT ratio over the second half…Off to a slow start, Eddie Lacy caught a 34-yard pass to end the first half and opened the third quarter with a career-long 60-yard run, totaling 94 yards on two consecutive touches. He later added a short TD run to go along with his 171 yards from scrimmage. Lacy is going to be a monster for years to come as the feature back in an offense led by Aaron Rodgers.
Police Blotter: Man Jailed After Lying To Girlfriend About Being Mugged To Avoid Getting Into Trouble After Night Out...NYPD Cops Beat Up My Loved Ones, Killed My Parakeet...Voodoo Curse Victim In Fort Pierce Files Police Report…Just In Case...‘Sexual Harassment’ Wording Dropped From 6-Year-Old’s School Record...This man is suing the federal government, claiming Google’s Autocomplete has essentially ruined his life...Police Probe How Woman Got Glued To Toilet Seat In Home Depot Restroom...Charges Dropped For NY Pair After A Month In Jail When ‘Cocaine’ Proves To Be Soap.
Not only did the Saints lose 27-16, but they did so while outscoring St. Louis 13-0 in the fourth quarter. It’s no secret New Orleans is far worse on the road compared to at home, but this game was played indoors, so it was tough to see this blowout coming…Darren Sproles’ seven carries Sunday were his most since Week 1, when he had eight…During the year’s most important fantasy week to date, Jimmy Graham had two catches for 25 yards and no scores. Meanwhile, Rams tight ends Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks combined for two touchdowns Sunday, with the former’s being highlight worthy (thanks to some awful Saints tackling). Go figure…Zac Stacy left the game early with what looked like an injury in which he wouldn’t return while sitting on a cart, but he did, running for 133 yards and a score. He’s shaping up to be a top-15 type fantasy pick next year…Jeff Fisher continues to be daring, as he attempted (successfully) an onside kick up 14-0 with 2:45 left in the first quarter…Fox showed a stat saying that Drew Brees had thrown 166 consecutive passes in the red zone without an interception, and low and behold, he was picked off on the very next play.
Animal Antics: Here’s footage of goats making a great escape from an Alpine avalanche...Here’s a Crow sledding down a roof using a plastic lid multiple times...Iran Claims It Has Sent Another Monkey Into Space...Here’s a Buffalo launching an attacking lion into the air, saving his friend from certain death...Six Seconds and a Sheep: Welcome to the World of Mutton Busting.
The Titans somehow forced overtime despite being down 34-17 with a little more than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, only to have a pretty horrible overtime. It’s almost as if momentum isn’t tangible…Andre Ellington gained more rushing yards (71) on 10 carries than Rashard Mendenhall got (69) on 21 rushing attempts, although the latter reached the end zone twice. Ellington gained another 87 yards receiving, easily leading the Cardinals. It’s too bad the coaching staff thinks he can’t handle 18-22 touches a game...Delanie Walker recorded eight catches for 53 yards and a touchdown, becoming the latest tight end to abuse the Arizona defense…Kendall Wright saw a whopping 20 targets, resulting in 12 catches for 150 yards. But he still only has two touchdowns on the year. Few players’ value changes as much as Wright when it comes to PPR (Wright leads all WRs in the league with 17 broken tackles this season. Meanwhile, Roddy White is still searching for his first missed tackle of 2013)…I’m not going to defend Chris Johnson, who hasn’t averaged more than 3.8 YPC in a game in more than a month, but he quietly has scored nine times this season. His four receiving touchdowns equal as many as he had over the previous five seasons of his career combined.
Headlines of the Week Part 2: Tacos Or Death, Sword-Wielding Robber Demands...Man Named Sam Sung No Longer Works At Apple...Arizona Man Banned From Walmart For Life Over Ad Matching?...Ireland Asks Unemployed Citizens To Move Away...Chinese Gamer Plays On While BMW Burns To The Ground...Drunks More Likely To Survive Injuries, Study Suggests...Sock Monkey’s Toy Gun Confiscated By TSA...Plastic Surgery Made Korean Woman So Beautiful That Surgeon Proposed To Her.
Ben Roethlisberger entered with an 11:0 TD:INT ratio over his past four games, but his disappointing fantasy performance Sunday night was due entirely to game situation. Big Ben got 7.6 YPA while taking just one sack against a Cincy secondary that entered having allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing passers this season. Thanks to an early turnover and special teams touchdown, Pittsburgh was up 21-0 in the first quarter, which led to an extremely conservative game plan from there on out…The Steelers ran the ball in a lot of obvious situations, helping explain Le’Veon Bell managing just 57 rushing yards on 24 carries. The rookie runner passes the eye test (he tied for the league lead with six broken tackles in Week 15), but he now sits at a paltry 3.3 YPC on the season. Good thing he’s active in the passing game, as Bell now has 43 catches for 388 yards over just 11 games…The Bengals (inadvertently) called a fair catch on a kickoff Sunday night…Only one player (Jimmy Smith) has had 5+ catches in every game in a season in NFL history before this season. Antonio Brown and Pierre Garcon have both accomplished this feat so far in 2013.
Longread of the Week: “Solitary In Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America’s Prisons.”
The Lions marched down the field immediately and scored a TD within the first 4:03 minutes of Monday night’s game. A second touchdown wouldn’t happen until 2:21 was left in the fourth quarter…Reggie Bush looked fully healthy, getting 5.1 YPC, although he added just two catches for 15 receiving yards. Still, he looks safe to roll with at home against the Giants in Week 16 for those still alive in the fantasy playoffs…Matthew Stafford entered the night having suffered a league-high 51 drops by his receivers this season, and while that shouldn’t be considered totally bad luck (Stafford not only switches his arm angles more than any QB, he often fires short passes that he’d be better off adding a bit more touch), Calvin Johnson suffered a couple of brutal ones Monday…Monday night’s game (as well as many fantasy matchups) came down to Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal, which was good by an extremely narrow margin. It was the second longest FG in Monday Night Football history and Tucker’s 33rd consecutive made. He also became the fist kicker in NFL history to connect from 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60-yard range in the same game.