Russell Wilson has still yet to lose at home during his career (USAT)
Over his last seven games, Geno Smith has posted a 1:11 TD:INT ratio. Over that same span dating back to Week 6, Maurice Jones-Drew has thrown as many touchdown passes as Smith. The rookie QB has also fumbled eight times this year and sports a very poor sack percentage. It’s been ugly, as Smith was benched for Matt Simms on Sunday. The Jets will likely again select a QB early in next year’s draft. Those who own the Panthers defense have to be salivating, as they have a home matchup against New York in Week 15…With Daniel Thomas out for the year, Lamar Miller was given a season-high 22 carries (he had reached 15 rushing attempts just twice all year), and it’s best to ignore his modest 72 rushing yards, as the Jets have allowed an NFL-low 2.9 YPC (the next best is 3.5). Miller has been frustrating and hasn’t scored since Week 4, but if he’s going to be treated as a workhorse like he was Sunday moving forward, he can be a difference maker in the fantasy playoffs, especially with a home matchup against a Patriots team that yielded three TD runs to Ben Tate on Sunday in Week 15. Tate was playing with four broken ribs, was benched last week and entered with one touchdown on the year…I bumped Chris Ivory up late in my fantasy ranks this week, but it didn’t pan out as he ran for just 61 yards on 12 carries, which would have looked much worse if not for one 32-yard carry…Mike Wallace has recorded 12 catches (on 19 targets) for 209 yards and two touchdowns over the past two games, as he’s finally being utilized like the No. 1 WR Miami has been paying him to be. Although to be fair, his effort to prevent a Ryan Tannehill pick in the middle of the second quarter was pretty pathetic, and it’s possible Dee Milliner thought he was playing flag football here…Over his last six games, Stephen Hill has grabbed 6-of-25 targets, getting a microscopic 1.7 YPT over that span, while Ed Reed has an 0-10 record while playing this season.
Nick Foles has a 19:0 TD:INT ratio on the year, which isn’t bad (although he did have a pick called back thanks to a penalty Sunday). His 9.1 YPA and 125.2 QB Rating both lead the NFL. And he’s not a horrible runner on those read options. Foles has thrown 13 TD passes while getting 11.0 YPA over his last four games, also adding 29.3 rushing yards per game with a score over that stretch. He’s been a fantasy monster…Carson Palmer has thrown 11 touchdowns over the past five contests, which is three more than he had over the first seven games of the season. Aside from the team’s Week 1 game in St. Louis, Arizona’s only losses this year have been @New Orleans, @San Francisco, at home versus Seattle and now @Philadelphia, with wins coming against Detroit, @Tampa Bay, Carolina and blowing out Indy. In other words, this team is a legitimate playoff threat. The No. 6 seed in the NFC will likely come down to the SF@Arizona game in Week 17, although there’s a chance it’s moot based on the 49ers winning the tie-breaker…It’s hard to argue with what Chip Kelly has done during his first year in the NFL, but I wasn’t a fan of him bringing in Brad Smith to run the Wild Cat randomly midway through the second quarter with the team driving and on first and goal. Smith promptly fumbled the shotgun snap, losing yards that led to the drive stalling and resulting in just a field goal (and if you must run that play there, why not use Michael Vick?)…After recording zero sacks over his first six games with the Cardinals, John Abraham has eight over his past six contests…After getting destroyed by Zach Ertz and Brent Celek for three scores Sunday, Arizona has now allowed 13 touchdowns to tight ends this season. No other team has allowed more than nine…This Riley Cooper catch was pretty legit.
While playing a near full fifth quarter helped (with the Vikings almost finishing with their second tie in a row), it’s pretty rare to see teams combine for 976 total net yards with a modest 43 points. The Vikings had more fourth down conversions (three) than the Bears did third down conversions (two) Sunday. Apparently, concussing Christian Ponder was a really bad strategy by Chicago…Josh McCown got 9.9 YPA with a 2:0 TD:INT ratio while Matt Forte ran for 120 yards on 23 attempts (5.2 YPC), yet the Bears lost to a team that entered with two wins on the year that lost its starting quarterback early on…Late in the fourth quarter, Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long had both a legal reception and a lost fumble on the same play, which isn’t something you see every week…Adrian Peterson was facing a Chicago front seven that has been getting gashed against the run, but his performance was remarkable nevertheless, rushing for 211 yards on 35 carries, with his fourth down run in the fourth quarter especially noteworthy...Peterson has 801 yards after contact this season. The next highest is Alfred Morris with 578...Having said that, AP might not have been the most impressive player on the field Sunday, as Alshon Jeffery secured 12-of-15 targets for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He entered with just one TD since Week 5, but the sophomore wideout has been targeted 61 times over the past five games, so he’s become an elite fantasy option even with Jay Cutler sidelined. Jeffery’s play here is a candidate for catch of the year…And yes, Marc Trestman’s decision to attempt a 47-yard field goal in overtime on second down was pretty bad.
Over the Patriots’ last three games, they have been outscored 51-10 in the first half while winning the second half 78-35. It appears the offense has made some decent halftime adjustments…Case Keenum provided some pretty good evidence for the flaws of QB Rating, as while he completed just 50.0 percent of his passes Sunday, he took just one sack, committed only one turnover, got 9.1 YPA and ran for a touchdown. In other words, he played better than his 67.6 QB Rating suggests, although he’s hardly cementing himself as the team’s long-term answer at the position…Speaking of playing well, Ben Tate ran for 102 yards and hit paydirt three times, tripling his previous TD total on the year (and nearly matching the amount N.E. had yielded to opposing backs (four) on the season entering the game). Good thing I had Tate on my bench in the Stopa Law Firm League, which has an $8,000 payout I’m very much in the running for…It wasn’t totally shocking to see Stevan Ridley inactive, but it was surprising to see Brandon Bolden get just three carries after that decision. James Develin getting a score, really? Obviously, the only Patriots running back worth trusting in fantasy leagues down the stretch is Shane Vereen, who nearly had two more TD catches to go along with his one Sunday…Over his last four games, Tom Brady has an 8.8 YPA with a 10:2 TD:INT ratio…If the season ended today, the Texans, who’ve lost 10 games in a row, would have the No. 1 pick in the draft, which is pretty mind-boggling.
Headlines of the Week: A Woman Caught A Man Masturbating In Walmart And Shamed Him On Video...Synthetic Alcohol Substitute Could Eliminate Health Risks – And Hangovers...Waitress Fired For Calling Cops On Mom Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding...Scunthorpe Fans Asked Not To Dress As Squirrels For Alan Knill Return...Despite Outlaw Image, Hells Angels Sue Often...NSA Planned To Shame ‘Radicalizers’ By Revealing Their Porn-Browsing History...U.S. Prisoners Are Fighting Wildfires For 50 Cents An Hour.
Cam Newton was picked off twice, but he wasn’t sacked, tossed two TD passes, got 9.1 YPA and added 68 rushing yards and a score on five carries. He did so facing a resurgent Tampa Bay defense and with a running game that got 3.28 YPA when he wasn’t a part of it. It’s pretty remarkable this Panthers team that’s won eight games in a row started 1-3 this season…Mike Glennon actually played pretty well against one of the league’s best defenses and continues to look like the Bucs’ long-term answer at quarterback, although his lost fumble with 12:28 left in the second quarter was pretty awful…Even with DeAngelo Williams out, the Carolina backfield remains unusable in fantasy terms…”Riverboat Ron,” who was again up to his newfound (brilliant) tactics Sunday, going for it on 4th-and-goal with 25 seconds left in the second quarter (resulting in a touchdown), apparently prefers to be called “Analytical Ron." Either way, I can’t think of a coach getting so much better at his job, going from one extreme to another, so quickly…Darrelle Revis is clearly not close to 100 percent, as he was burned badly by Ted Ginn Jr. during the wide receiver’s 36-yard TD on Sunday.
The Jaguars are 3-1 over the last four weeks, with all three victories coming on the road…Josh Gordon became the first player in NFL history to have 200+ yards receiving in back-to-back games despite leaving Sunday’s game at one point after taking a vicious hit. Over his past two contests, Gordon has totaled 24 catches for 498(!) yards (the most ever over a two-game stretch) and three touchdowns while playing alongside a bottom-five QB situation in Cleveland. Gordon was suspended the first two games, but he’s averaged 124.9 receiving yards per game on the year, which is actually higher than Calvin Johnson’s record setting pace last season (122.8). Seriously, check out Gordon’s 95-yard score Sunday, which he makes looks easy. To reiterate, Gordon has the second most receiving yards in the NFL this season despite missing two games and having horrible quarterbacks throwing to him while playing his home games outdoors, and he’s just 22 years old. Gordon is going to enter 2014 as a top-3 fantasy wide receiver, worthy of a top-15 overall pick.
Police Blotter: Thanksgiving in Jail For World’s Most Busted Man...Thai Man Arrested For Allegedly Attempting To Donate Methamphetamine To Flood Victims...Hanover Cops: Santa Claus Groped Female Elf...Man Drives Himself To Jail In Stolen Police Cruiser...Jury Convicts Thomas Huggins Of Animal Cruelty For Killing, Cooking And Eating Family Dog...Cops: Horse Killed In Drive-By Amish Buggy Shooting...Police: Naked DUI Suspect Fights With Officers...Knoxville West High School Teen Arrested For Trying to Set Teacher on Fire.
Nice to see Indy properly recognize its personnel and bench Trent Richardson in favor of Donald Brown, although the Colts’ upcoming schedule isn’t exactly favorable (@CIN, HOU, @K.C.) for the latter’s fantasy owners. It’s pretty funny there’s an argument no team should trade a first round pick for any running back not in the Adrian Peterson type mold, and the Colts did so for a terrible one! He’s literally been benched for the team’s incumbent back in which they spent a first round pick on in 2009 but obviously declared not the long-term answer a short time ago…Chris Johnson has once again been a disappointment this season, but he has nearly as many receiving touchdowns (three) as he had over his career (four) previously…Andrew Luck faced a solid Tennessee secondary that entered having allowed an 8:9 TD:INT ratio on the season, but he struggled even while playing at home, finishing with a 59.4 QB Rating while taking five sacks. He got just 6.3 YPA without a TD pass and tossed a pick. Luck now has a 2:5 TD:INT ratio over his past four games, yet Indy is the overwhelming favorites to be the AFC’s No. 3 seed...Tennessee committed a personal foul on what would have been the final play of the first half, which then resulted in a Colts field goal...Down one point with two minutes left, it’s unlikely the Titans let the Colts score a touchdown on 2nd-and-goal from the 4-yard-line (I say this because they stopped Trent Richardson for no gain before the two-minute warning, but then again, maybe he was tackled despite Tennessee hoping he’d score), but it certainly wouldn’t have been the worst idea if they did…I expected more from T.Y. Hilton with Reggie Wayne out, but he hasn’t been targeted any more than he was beforehand…Kendall Wright leads all wide receivers with 16 broken tackles this season.
Animal Antics: Cat takes advice from crowd and jumps from burning building...This video of a sperm whale exploding is not for the faint of heart (you’ve been warned)...Canine Crowned World’s Ugliest Dog in 2007 Dies...Here’s a possum carrying 15 babies on its back giving a death stare to the person with the temerity to film it...Dog On Death Row Is Saved After Falling In Love With A Goose.
E.J. Manuel has looked down for the count twice now early in games this season, only to return to play fully afterward. The rookie QB has been sacked once over his last 74 pass attempts…I declared Steven Jackson dead a few weeks back, but he’s scored three touchdowns over the past two games, so no matter how poor his YPC is, I was wrong. SJax is back!...Speaking of resurrections, Roddy White hauled in 10-of-14 targets for 143 yards Sunday, while C.J. Spiller ran for 149 yards on 15 carries, although it was pretty disappointing to see him get tackled from behind during this 77-yard run…The Bills were facing a team coming off extra rest for the sixth time this season...Stevie Johnson lost a fumble in field goal territory in a tied game late in the fourth quarter, while Scott Chandler lost one during the second play of overtime, so this loss for Buffalo was especially frustrating…Here’s a good take by my buddy Scott Pianowksi on why Matt Ryan may be someone to target moving forward.
Headlines of the Week Part 2: Pot Falls From Sky In San Diego...Rich Tourists Now Staying In Luxury ‘Shanty Towns’ So They Can Pretend To Be Poor...Smarter People Stay Up Later, Do More Drugs And Have More Sex...Man Has Lip Reattached After Woman Bites It Off During Oktoberfesr Fight...Gangster Scarecrows Keep Robbers Away From Detroit Home...Mystery Tipper Is Giving Thousands In Tips Across The US...Woman Makes Her Fiancé Take A Lie Detector Test Every Time He Leaves The House And Bans Him From Watching Women On TV.
Michael Crabtree was eased back into action, although that featured a 60-yard catch. Maybe it’s an indictment he didn’t score on the play, but Crabtree’s never been the fastest wideout, and it’s safe to give him something of a break considering he’s returning from an Achilles’ tear (this is a 49ers fan rationalizing/hoping the injury didn’t do long-term damage, in case it wasn’t clear)…Not only did Chris Givens get just 30 yards on nine targets, but he dropped a crucial third down pass while wide open. It’s truly been a miserable year for him…To say Eric Reid dropped an easy interception would be an understatement. He basically could have called a fair catch, although to be fair, the sun was in his eyes. The following drive resulted in a field goal, while the Rams’ lone TD came with 18 seconds left in a game that was well decided, so SF defense owners have reason to complain…I’m as worried about Colin Kaepernick as anyone, and I get that he’s regressed, but the same can be said about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. Kap lost the highest graded left tackle (Joe Staley) according to Pro Football Focus early on and still finished with 9.8 YPA and a 67.9 completion percentage and 111.5 QB Rating, as the return of Crabtree probably didn’t hurt…Despite missing one game and most of another, Vernon Davis has scored 10 touchdowns. He and Anquan Boldin still have all 15 of the 49ers’ receiving touchdowns this season…Down 10 points with 14:49 left in the fourth quarter, the Rams attempted a fake punt on 4th-and-8 from their own 22-yard-line. It didn’t work, and the very next play resulted in a Vernon Davis touchdown, but you have to give St. Louis credit for having some major guts. Speaking of Davis, his hurdle here was pretty sick. Moreover, after this play, Davis proposed a new rule.
Police Blotter Part 2: Here's a Policeman Arrested On Suspicion Of Killing And Chopping Up A Man He Met On The Internet Who Had Long Fantasized About Being Killed And Eaten...iPhone Thief Sends Victim 11-Page Handwritten List of 1,000 Contacts...Minnesota Man Arrested After Tossing Money To Mall-Goers...Italian Mafia Fed Man Alive To Pigs, Police Say...Prisoner Escapes From Prison To Visit Dentist, Is Slapped With Extended Sentence After He Returns To Jail.
After a hot start to the year, Antonio Gates has scored once since Week 4, averaging 41.4 yards over his last seven games. Teammate Ladarius Green looks like a beast and the superior TE option moving forward…Keenan Allen has been one of the most impressive offensive rookies this season. He secured 8-of-10 targets Sunday for 106 yards, but his fumble midway through the fourth quarter was crucial, although to be fair, San Diego got the ball right back when BenJarvus Green-Ellis (once known for never fumbling) coughed up the ball three plays later. The Chargers then kicked a FG to get within seven points, but the Bengals were able to run out the clock over the final 4:35 after getting the ball back…The Chargers game was the first local blackout of the 2013 NFL season.
Here’s my latest NBA column, for those who like hoops or just my random links in general.
The Broncos essentially locked up the AFC’s No. 1 seed with their win in Arrowhead on Sunday, although the Chiefs proved they were no frauds during a tough battle. The Chiefs held a 21-7 lead late in the second half despite Alex Smith throwing a bad pick on first and goal, which was his first interception in the first half of a game this season. But Denver outscored Kansas City 28-7 thereafter, as Peyton Manning tossed another five touchdowns. The 37-year-old’s 41 TD passes are the second most of his career and puts him on pace to finish with 55, which would easily break Tom Brady’s NFL record of 50…Montee Ball gained 117 yards on just 13 carries, while Knowshon Moreno got just 18 on 15 rushing attempts, although the latter added four catches for 72 yards and a TD. And you have to love Moreno getting so emotional right before the game started…Eric Decker had 174 yards with a whopping four touchdowns, more than doubling his total entering Week 13. Decker was due for a breakout like this, but few predicted such a dramatic explosion. Despite his longest catch being 42 yards, Decker got 14.5 YPT in a dominant effort. It helped Julius Thomas was out and Demaryius Thomas was banged up (Thomas left with a shoulder injury, but he frequently exited with injuries last year only later to return like he did Sunday), but Decker entered averaging more yards-per-game (72.5) this year compared to last (66.5), when he scored 13 touchdowns.
Andre Brown entered as a workhorse back who had been a big help in yardage only to be taken out at the goal line, so naturally, he runs for 35 yards on 14 carries yet scores twice, with one from the one-yard line (Brandon Jacobs being out helped)…Speaking of the flukiness of TDs, Robert Griffin ran for 88 yards Sunday night, the third highest total of his NFL career, although it once again didn’t result in a touchdown. RG3 has rushed for one touchdown over his past 22 games. One!…After scoring 19 touchdowns over the previous two years, Victor Cruz has scored once since Week 1. He’s been one of the most disappointing fantasy wide receivers this season, especially since he’s been healthy…Sticking with the theme of lack of touchdowns, Hakeem Nicks hasn’t scored since Week 14 of last season. Moreover, as much as I love Pierre Garcon, it’s pretty crazy he’s scored just three touchdowns this year despite seeing a whopping 132 targets…The refs blunder at the end of Sunday night’s game was pretty bad, but it would have been moot had Washington not committed so many drops, a season long theme for them (Griffin has seen his WRs drop 35 passes this year, which is the third-most in the NFL). Still, I’d be pretty upset if I were a Washington fan…The Giants are the only team to commit a turnover in every game this season.
Longread of the Week: “Bad Blood: How Radioactive Poison Became The Assassin’s Weapon Of Choice.”
What a dominant performance by the Seahawks, who outgained the Saints in yards 429-188. In fact, New Orleans entered having thrown for 200+ yards in 43 straight games, which came to a screeching halt. Drew Brees got 3.9 YPA, his lowest mark in a game in a decade, despite Seattle missing both Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. Moreover, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram were held to 22 yards on 12 carries. It’s almost as if Seattle is a tough place to play…The Saints’ run defense came to play, holding Marshawn Lynch to just 45 rushing yards on 16 attempts while playing exclusively from behind, often delivering pretty big hits and forcing a fumble…As stated throughout Monday night’s telecast, the Seahawks have allowed 15 punt return yards this season. In total. That’s insane…Russell Wilson completed 73.3 percent of his passes while getting 10.3 YPA and posting a 3:0 TD:INT ratio, as the sophomore QB continues to impress. Wilson has been a top fantasy QB despite playing for a team that has attempted the most rushes in the NFL (while playing with a depleted offensive line and missing Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin). Over his past six games, Wilson has gotten 9.7 YPA with a 14:2 TD:INT ratio. He’s good at football.
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