The Pack are back on track (USP)
After a major hiccup in Kansas City, the Ravens' offense got back on track Sunday, but Baltimore has won its last four games by an average of just 3.3 points, so they haven't exactly looked dominant. Should be interesting to see them travel to Houston to face a Texans team coming off an embarrassing loss on national television in Week 7 in a battle between the two teams with the best record in the AFC…This Ravens defense already looked nothing like its usual formidable self even before losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb to season-ending injuries. Fantasy owners shouldn't hesitate to start players against Baltimore moving forward…Tony Romo has got 6.7 YPA with a 0:5 TD:turnover ratio on third downs this season, good for a 43.4 QB Rating…Of course Dez Bryant ends his big 13-catch, two touchdown day by dropping a two-point conversion with the Cowboys down two points. Moreover, after that happened, Dallas recovered the ensuing onside kick with just 30 seconds left, then got a huge 20-yard penalty only to see Dan Bailey miss a field goal, which was just such a Cowboys way to lose. You couldn't draw it up any better, right down to Jason Garrett once again botching endgame time management.
After starting his career 15-for-15, my boy Greg The Leg missed three FG attempts Sunday, although in fairness two of them came from 52 and 66 yards out in windy conditions outdoors (he previously was 10-for-10 from 40+ yards)…Steven Jackson continues to look slow and worn down, as he's now getting just 3.6 YPC on the year, and the Rams' coaching staff is wisely catching up, giving Daryl Richardson just one fewer carry Sunday (11 to 12). It's a major concern for Jackson owners moving forward. This tends to happen to running backs with 2,600+ career touches, although to be fair, his schedule has been brutal, as all six of the Rams' opponents this year have been in the top half of the league in YPC against, including four in the top-10…Brian Hartline was held to a goose egg Sunday, not just in catches but also targets (although he did receive two looks that were erased thanks to penalties). Since racking up 253 yards (the 18th most ever in a single game in NFL history), he has totaled four catches for 59 yards over the last two weeks. I wish I were here to tell you I told you so, but I bid aggressively on him afterward, so that's anything but the case. Cortland Finnegan was impressive Sunday, but Hartline has a bye and then a matchup with a Jets squad that may shadow him with Antonio Cromartie, so it's tough sledding in the short-term…Reggie Bush has averaged just 2.8 YPC over the past three games.
This lady wants deer crossing signs moved to avoid accidents.
The Eagles don't have a sack since Week 3, which actually makes their secondary all the more impressive, as they have allowed just 6.2 YPA and a 69.4 QB Rating, although it remains perplexing why they had Nnamdi Asomugha shadow Calvin Johnson for the first three quarters Sunday and then abandoned that strategy in the fourth and overtime. Other than the team's 27-6 Week 3 loss in Arizona, Philly's average margin of victory/defeat this season has been 1.8 points over five games. That's pretty nuts…The Lions have scored a total of 44 points over the first three quarters of their games this season. They have scored 66 points in the fourth quarter (and another three points in overtime)…Sad news about Jahvid Best, who now looks almost assuredly never to step on a football field again…Matthew Stafford is on pace to attempt 698 passes this season, while Michael Vick is on pace to commit 35 turnovers.
This prank phone call is pure genius.
It's pretty crazy how much better Brandon Weeden has looked in the NFL than his former teammate Justin Blackmon has so far…I hope Trent Richardson's injury isn't serious, but Montario Hardesty joins Felix Jones in what looks like an interesting week to be aggressive with your FAAB…With Andy Dalton seemingly taking a legitimate step forward in Year 2 (and a defense taking a step back along with a struggling running game), it's hardly a stretch to call A.J. Green the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver and a top-five fantasy asset. He absolutely dominated Joe Haden on Sunday. Green versus Calvin Johnson ROS is a pretty interesting debate right now.
With Indy coming off such an emotional come-from-behind win against the Packers and the Jets a wounded animal after back-to-back losses playing their third straight home game, it wasn't exactly surprising to see New York easily handle the Colts on Sunday, but I can't say I saw Shonn Greene's outburst coming. In fact, he was on my bench in the high-stakes Stopa Law Firm league in which we start 3WR, 2RB, 2TE and 2FLEX. I actually considered dropping him beforehand more than I did starting him, so yes, he's a "sell" if possible. I'm just not sure how realistic that is. Greene's previous three opponents all ranked as top-11 defenses as far as allowing fantasy points against running backs, but his schedule doesn't exactly ease up moving forward, as three of his next four opponents do (rank inside top-11) as well. In fact, Greene doesn't face a defense that ranks in the bottom half in fantasy points against RBs until Week 14…Vick Ballard didn't exactly impress during his start Sunday, has got just 67 yards on 29 carries so far this year and plays for a poor-run blocking team, but at least his upcoming opponent (Cleveland) has allowed 4.6 YPC this season. He's not the worst desperation play in a week that has a whopping six teams on bye.
If anyone can make Matt Cassel look good, it's his backup Brady Quinn. I haven't told this Cassel story since joining Yahoo, so here it is one more time: once while visiting some of my friends in USC back in college after a night of drinking, we ended up on some fraternity row, and my friend challenged Cassel (I had no idea who he was at the time. He was backing up Carson Palmer) to a race on the street. They made a bet, and my friend smoked him. Cassel was extremely upset and demanded a rematch (and changed his shoes). This time, my friend actually let him get a head start, and he easily caught up and beat him again. Cassel was irate (his girlfriend had to console him) and never paid up. Tangent over…Josh Freeman has got 7.7 YPA or better in three of his past four games, including a monster effort Sunday that I certainly didn't see coming. He now faces a Saints team at home in a highly favorable matchup in Week 7…Does Philip Rivers actually miss Vincent Jackson more than Jackson misses Rivers?...What was the Bucs punter thinking here? Obviously a safety was preferable to a touchdown...This is pretty crazy, but do you realize the Chiefs (who have won a game) have actually held a lead in a game this season for exactly zero seconds?
This guy asks to borrow a stranger's cell phone. Then promptly walks away.
The Falcons sure made a bunch of Survivor players sweat it out, as they continue to look worse than their undefeated record indicates. Matt Ryan has finished with fewer than 7.0 YPA in four of the past five games. Atlanta has allowed 5.2 YPC (second-highest in the NFL) and 7.6 YPA (11th highest) this year, while rushing for just 3.6 YPC (fifth-lowest). The Falcons have been strong on special teams and have committed few penalties, but something's got to give here…Carson Palmer is on pace to finish with 4,589 passing yards this season, which would be top-25 all time. Of course, his lack of touchdowns limit his fantasy value, but he's just now getting back fully healthy weapons in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore (who looks like a legit top-25 fantasy WR while healthy)…In any league that's even halfway deep, Mike Goodson must be owned…The Raiders had zero interceptions this season before picking off Matt Ryan three times in the first half Sunday…The Raiders tried to "ice " Matt Bryant, who missed that ensuing attempt before making the following one that counted, but that wasn't even close to the biggest coaching mistake. Oakland (mind-bogglingly) called a timeout with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter at Atlanta's two-yard line on second down behind seven points (they had two timeouts left). Please think about this. If you're a Falcons fan, you are ecstatic at the time. Predictably, giving the Falcons 40 seconds resulted in them kicking a game-winning field goal on the following drive.
If by "worst" you mean "best" pickup lines then I agree.
Stevan Ridley is coming off a disappointing performance in which he totaled just 35 yards, but it came in Seattle, which is quite possibly the toughest environment in all of football right now, and Brandon Bolden appears to have aggravated his knee injury. Ridley's 25 red-zone carries this year are the second most in the league and five more than the next closest (Marshawn Lynch)…Over his last four games, Wes Welker has 40 catches for 513 receiving yards, which is a season's pace good for 160 receptions and 2,052 receiving yards…With the impressive comeback victory by the Seahawks (so is that why New England typically continues to be aggressive even with big leads?), every team in the AFC East is now 3-3…With six seconds left in the first half, the Pats ran a play from the Seattle three-yard line, which I was on board with, but it was surprising to see Tom Brady then proceed to get an intentional grounding penalty (not unlike in last year's Super Bowl) with one second left, ruining a chance for a field goal as the clock was required to run 10 seconds as a result…I'll be at the Seahawks' Thursday night game in San Francisco, hoping for some regression on both ends (not happy the SF Giants game is scheduled for literally the exact same time).
Huge cannabis plant found in elderly couple's garden.
C.J. Spiller is still tied for the second most broken tackles in the NFL with 20 and leads the league by a wide margin with 5.2 YPC after contact (next best is 3.5). He's getting 7.6 YPC on the year! Next best is Robert Griffin at 6.9. Spiller is also getting 10.8 yards-per-catch. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the second-best running back this year (with a negative blocking rank, which means little to fantasy owners), and the one RB ahead of him (Adrian Peterson) has played 107 more snaps. But Fred Jackson, who shed his knee brace Sunday (and still got more touches despite losing a fumble on the first play of the game), is pretty good himself, so this is without question a full-blown timeshare…Buffalo is the only team in the NFL that hasn't scored in the last two minutes of either half this season…I don't blame Brad Smith (although he should be) for throwing such a horrible interception late in the fourth quarter, because whenever a coach dials up a play for someone not used to the situation, it's apparent a throwaway simply should never be expected based on piles of evidence…William Powell, whom Larry Fitzgerald praised in a big way during the preseason, sure passed the eye test. But Arizona probably has the worst offensive line in football, so I'm not sure how much it matters, especially considering their upcoming schedule (@MIN, SF, @GB)…The Bills elected to punt at the Cardinals' 35-yard line in overtime, which resulted in a touchback. Wow.
I really love when TBS or FOX switches their baseball coverage to the camera angle behind the plate — says no one ever. Seriously, I've killed for less.
Despite reaching the Redskins' 10-yard line three separate times in the first quarter, the Vikings left with just a 9-0 lead, which obviously hurt them later on…I can understand why many are advising trying to buy Adrian Peterson right now, but I also think it's clear he's being hampered by an ankle injury that would probably sideline most mortals…Robert Griffin's 76-yard TD run Sunday (in essentially garbage time for his fantasy owners) was the second longest ever by a quarterback. His 138 rushing yards were the most in a game since Michael Vick in 2006 and puts him on pace to finish with 1,011, falling just short of Vick's NFL record (1,039). RG3 has also got 8.3 YPA while throwing to a weak group of receivers. Highly impressive.
As a 49ers fan, that wasn't exactly the "payback" I was hoping for against the Giants. That game was more competitive than the final score showed, but the Giants were extremely impressive (their receivers simply dominated, and Eli Manning taking zero sacks was a surprise). Alex Smith didn't play well at all, and why I get the argument Colin Kaepernick was used too much Sunday, I don't exactly buy that as an excuse for Smith's interceptions…Carlos Rogers dropped an easy would-be pick, but San Francisco didn't even reach the red zone, so plenty of props should be given to the Giants, who need to be ignored in any statistical model (whether it be Brian Burke's, Massey-Peabody's, Numberfire's, etc.), as they have clearly established themselves as a team whose results mean nothing based on opponent. They could lose at home against the worst team in the league just as easily as they could beat the best team on the road.
This article about baseball and stat geeks is hilarious.
What a performance by the Packers, possibly the best by any team in the NFL so far this season. Hope you weren't facing Aaron Rodgers in your fantasy league…Remarkably, James Jones has caught two touchdowns in each of the past three games, hauling in half of his receptions over that span for scores…Jordy Nelson owners can breathe a big sigh of relief. One of his three touchdowns actually came one play after Houston jumped off sides during a Green Bay punt attempt, giving the Packers a new set of downs…Alex Green looks like the clear beneficiary of Cedric Benson's injury, as Green Bay immediately treated him like a workhorse. The Packers don't run block all that well, but Green suddenly looks like a solid flex option. James Starks remains irrelevant…The two touchdowns saved his fantasy day, but it was surprising to see Arian Foster rush for just 29 yards on 17 carries. Houston's run blocking has taken a major step back this year, as Foster has now got only 3.8 YPC on the season. He remains an obvious elite fantasy option, but one other small area of concern is his lack of usage as a receiver. After racking up 53 catches for 617 receiving yards over 13 games last season, Foster is on pace to finish this year with just 29 and 192.
Longread of the week: An oral history of "The Wire."
Versus the Falcons, Texans, Patriots and Chargers, the Broncos have started collectively down 96-12. Their average margin of defeat during those five games is 2.75. That's pretty crazy…The Broncos overcame the second largest halftime deficit and also tied the biggest comeback by a road team in NFL history during their win Monday night…Nice to see Antonio Gates has a pulse. Hopefully it's a sign of a big second half moving forward…Eric Decker could've had an even bigger night had he not tripped and fell over his own feet while running alone toward a sure would-be long touchdown…The Chargers finish the year facing the Panthers, Jets and Raiders, so it will be fitting when the team ends on a high note, giving Norv Turner yet another reprieve.