They say it's a game of inches (USP)
Throw Robert Griffin's stat line completely out the window, as Washington receivers committed at least 10 drops, and that's no exaggeration. In a week full of an abnormally high amount of them, the Redskins were the worst, highlighted by this gem. It's not often you see a quarterback commit pass interference, but so was the case with RG3 on Sunday…Heath Miller is on pace to finish with fewer than 800 yards, but thanks to nine targets inside the 10-yard line (more than any other receiver in football), he has six touchdowns and has been the No. 3 fantasy tight end so far this year…Did you see Antonio Brown run backward for the final 20 yards on a would-be punt return TD? The play was called back because of an illegal block in the back, and Brown got an unsportsmanlike conduct for good measure as well…No way even a healthy Rashard Mendenhall can start over Jonathan Dwyer right now. He has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games despite being given a modest 17 carries in each contest and provides a nice combination of power and speed. Dwyer's 4.1 YPC after contact mark ranks as second best in the NFL. Mike Tomlin typically does the right thing, so we'll see if that's the case here.
Russell Wilson entered last week with a 2:7 TD:INT ratio on the road this season, so it was nice to see him play well away from home. It looks like he's developing a strong rapport with Sidney Rice, who appears to be worth using in fantasy leagues down the stretch…What a TD run by Marshawn Lynch. The touchdowns have been predictably down this year, but the YPC is way up, as he continues to prove me wrong. Lynch's 28 broken tackles are tied for the league lead with Adrian Peterson…I wouldn't feel at all comfortable starting Mikel LeShoure on my fantasy team right now…After scoring 16 touchdowns last season, Calvin Johnson somehow has just one entering Week 9 this year. Defenses have treated him a bit differently, but I wonder if he's more injured than the team is letting on. His drop in the end zone with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter Sunday was brutal…The Lions have now trailed at halftime (and in the fourth quarter) of every game this season…Good to see Matthew Stafford break out, even giving fantasy owners a rushing score, but it's pretty crazy he hadn't thrown for more than one TD in a game before Sunday. And his YPA (7.2) remained unimpressive, although that's a strong Seattle defense.
This haircut prank is pretty good.
For the second time this season, I lost a teaser by 0.5 points because I was cheap with the juice (I only rolled the Bears down six points, meaning I gave 1.5 points). What were they thinking going for two up one point with six minutes left? Didn't they realize an extra point there would cover for me? Totally selfish of them, and I won't soon forget it…In actuality, Chicago was quite fortunate to win that game, which required an ill advised pick six thrown by Cam Newton. The Bears offense really sputtered, and they found themselves down 19-7 with less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Newton somehow has just five passing touchdowns on the year despite getting 8.0 YPA…Down 12 points with 12:09 left in the fourth quarter, it was beyond head-scratching to see Lovie Smith attempt a field goal (which was missed, but that's beside the point). It was a manageable 4th-and-5, and even had Robbie Gould made the kick, the game would have remained two scores. Speaking of odd kicking decisions in this game, Carolina chose to throw a hail mary with three seconds left in the first half over attempting a 50-yard field goal. Is Justin Medlock really incapable from that distance? Just so bizarre…Brandon Marshall is on pace to finish with 114 catches for 1,543 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, as he's been an absolute beast in PPR formats…Jonathan Stewart got just 2.5 YPC, and DeAngelo Williams actually was given 11 carries, but it really does seem like they are going to make the former the lead back in Carolina. This information is hardly a secret, but coming off a tough matchup against a Bears defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, Stewart will likely be easier to trade for now than he will be next week.
I'm not sure how real these top-10 Facebook Fails are, but they made me laugh either way.
I didn't lose any money on it like my aforementioned teaser, but I'm not going to lie, I made the Eagles my "best bet" this week, which was just so spectacularly wrong. Playing life-or-death games against inferior opponents matters far less long term if Atlanta can play like that when it matters most, although that's presuming Philly is actually a good team, which seems presumptuous about now. Nnamdi Asomugha is allowing 11.1 YPA this season. Wow…It's still not entirely clear who will be starting under center for the Eagles in Week 9. But whoever it is, they will be a must-start in fantasy leagues with a matchup in New Orleans against a Saints team that is the first in NFL history to give up 400 or more yards in each of their first seven games (and 500 in three of their past five contests)…Quirky stat: Matt Ryan hasn't finished a game this year with a YPA in the range from 7.0-8.9. That's pretty crazy actually.
In honor of Halloween, here's a head illusion prank.
It's hard to believe the Patriots were down 7-0 midway through the first quarter, as the final score was 45-7. New England's 12 rushing touchdowns this season lead the NFL…Nice to see Brandon Lloyd reach the end zone twice, but not so nice to see them be his only two receptions on the day…Chris Givens now has a catch for at least 50 yards in each of his last five games, setting an NFL rookie record…I'm beginning to think Rob Gronkowski is a decent red-zone target. If only he'd show some personality on the field.
Here's footage of someone stealing an iPhone on a subway.
Andrew Luck's game-winning touchdown pass to Vick Ballard (who made a sick leap to get into the end zone) was actually his first over the previous 12 quarters. Of course, I'm not disparaging Luck, who's been very good during his rookie campaign. In fact, his AirYPA is the fourth highest in the NFL, and only one QB in the league has gotten a fewer percentage of his yardage from receivers after the catch. In other words, he's attacking with down the field throws about as much as any signal caller in football right out of the gate…It doesn't look like we'll be getting the previous version of Kenny Britt until next season, unfortunately. Although it truly does appear Chris Johnson is "back"…Pro Football Focus has graded Reggie Wayne as the second best wide receiver in football this season, with only Percy Harvin ahead of him. Pretty impressive for a soon-to-be 34-year-old.
Brazilian man interrupts own funeral.
DIRECTV picked the right game to leave off the "Game Mix," (again, what's up with the nine/two morning/afternoon split? That's horrible.), as the Chargers/Browns barnburner produced 13 total points. Weather obviously had something to do with it, but Philip Rivers is making his "down" season last year look positively Hall of Fame esque in comparison. He now has a 6.8 YPA mark with a 10:12 TD:turnover ratio, and that's with five of his seven opponents so far being in the bottom 11 as far as allowing fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, which makes it all the more incredible (his next two are as well, for what it's worth). To further pile on, his receivers have committed just 11 drops on the year (and yes, this includes a really bad one by Robert Meachem last week), with only Joe Flacco seeing fewer (is it a coincidence they have just been pinched for a stickum scandal? Hmm). Although this should've been dropped…Speaking of holding onto the ball, or a lack thereof, Ryan Mathews lost yet another fumble Sunday, although Norv Turner stuck with him…I expected Malcom Floyd to either be hurt or extremely productive when on the field this year, so naturally, he's remained healthy yet entirely lackluster…Antonio Gates is on pace to finish the year with 48 catches for 544 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Guess all that preseason talk about him being healthier than he'd been in years was pure noise. Not happy I fell for it in a few leagues…Just as Julio Jones and A.J. Green have taken the league by storm at wideout, Trent Richardson and Doug Martin look like immediate stars at the running back position.
All Matt Moore does is win football games. Seriously, I talked up the Jets last week and called them far from a doormat, but that performance Sunday, well, it wasn't good, although Miami certainly is a solid team. I do think Shonn Greene remains an interesting fantasy property, something that would have seemed crazy to me as recently as a month ago. He has a bye and then a trip to Seattle coming up, but in Weeks 14 and 15 he faces two defenses that rank as bottom five as far as allowing fantasy points to opposing running backs this season…Kudos to the Dolphins, who attempted a surprise onside kick just four minutes into Sunday's game…Since recording 12 catches for 253 yards (although Marqise Lee thinks that performance was weak), Brian Hartline has totaled eight receptions for 100 yards over the following three games.
Ultimately it's hard to get worked up over a nine point win, but it was surprising to see Green Bay be up just 21-15 with less than one minute remaining at home against Jacksonville (especially with them scoring a special teams TD too). Aaron Rodgers was missing Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, but that's really no excuse for him getting just 5.3 YPA, although he really does have possibly the worst running game in the NFL at his disposal. Over the last three games, Alex Green has 64 carries for 154 yards, which is a staggeringly bad 2.4 YPC (mind you this is with defenses focused on stopping one of the league's best passing attacks). He's obviously unusable in fantasy leagues, as Green's latest stink bomb occurred while 16-point favorites, so matchups can't be blamed…I'd stick with Rashad Jennings, as even though he got just 3.5 YPC, he was active in the passing game, and his schedule eases up moving forward.
Cousin Sal's hidden camera at a Brooklyn pizzeria.
It's remarkable the Chiefs haven't led for a single second in regulation this season. Almost as crazy as a healthy Jamaal Charles getting five carries at home against the Raiders. And then his head coach openly wondering why afterward. Charles and Darren McFadden had a combined 17 rushing attempts for 20 yards at halftime…I'm actually not entirely convinced Denarius Moore is even close to 100 percent physically, which has been a lingering problem with him, but the talent is just so obvious. He's averaged 78.7 receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns over the past three games. Moore looks like a future star…This was actually Oakland's sixth straight win in Arrowhead…Did my boy Matt Cassel really have more rushing yards than Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn combined?
I still can't believe the Giants won the World Series. It's not quite as improbable as some have made it seem, since they scored the second most runs in all of baseball on the road this season (without the benefit of the DH) and have now won two of the past three World Series, but consider the following: Tim Lincecum had a 5.18 ERA, they lost their closer for the season (same with their expected second baseman), Pablo Sandoval hit 12 homers, Brandon Belt didn't break out like hoped, they lost the league's leading hitter to a PED suspension in mid August, and their big trade acquisition, Hunter Pence, hit .219/.287/.384 in the regular season and even worse (.210/.231/.290) in the postseason, so yeah, the playoff run was a bit unlikely.
With just two afternoon games, at least the Giants/Cowboys was highly entertaining. Tony Romo couldn't have played a worse first half, and Dallas was down 23-0 just 17 minutes into the game. But their defense quietly played really well, holding Eli Manning to a season-low 6.6 YPA and without a touchdown for the first time. The Giants also gained just 3.7 YPC (although that was nothing compared to the Cowboys' 1.1 mark). But obviously the score dictated some of New York's play calling on offense…Romo has a 2:10 TD:INT ratio over three home games this season…If you own Jason Witten in a PPR league, his performance Sunday was of epic proportions…As a starter this year, Felix Jones has averaged 2.1 YPC…Since 2004, Eli Manning has 25 fourth quarter comeback wins (including the postseason). The next most is his brother with 22…The Giants are now 4-0 while playing in the new Cowboys stadium…The unbelievable pass-and-catch by Romo and Dez Bryant that looked like a game-winning touchdown only to later be overturned thanks to Bryant being ruled out of bounds was such a perfect microcosm of Bryant's career and the current state of the Dallas franchise in general. You couldn't have written the script any better.
Not only were the SF Giants down 2-0 with three upcoming games in Cincinnati, they were also down 3-1 against a Cardinals team I thought was the best in baseball with an upcoming matchup of Barry Zito (who was left off the team's postseason roster in 2010) starting in St. Louis. San Francisco didn't have a seven game winning streak during the regular season, so I guess they picked a good time for their first one. During their last title run, Cody Ross won MVP of the NLCS, which made it perfect that Marco Scutaro did this year (106 swings in the postseason, with just two misses). And while Pablo Sandoval wasn't exactly as crazy as Edgar Renteria winning the World Series MVP, Panda was a bench player last time. The Tigers were shut out twice during 162 regular season games, yet the Giants shut them out in back-to-back games during their four World Series games, holding Detroit to a collective .159 batting average (only two others have been worse, and none have been since the 1960s). Bruce Bochy was masterful in the postseason and a big reason why SF won. Along with this guy.
This Denver team is officially scary. The offense putting up 530 yards against what appears to be a historically bad defense should come as no surprise, but the defense holding the Saints to just 4.2 yards per play is eye opening. The Broncos currently sit at a modest 4-3 and just one game up in the AFC West, but they will be an underdog in just one of their remaining nine games and could legitimately have a bye in the postseason. Peyton Manning has averaged 9.1 YPA with a 12:1 TD:INT ratio over the last four games…After having not scored over the first three games this year, Eric Decker has five touchdowns over his past four contests, and Demaryius Thomas has the third most receiving yards in football. There's still hope!…Seriously, how bad is this Saints defense?
This zombie drive-thru prank is pretty good.
Since the minimum is 20, Alex Smith was one pass attempt (and assumed completion) short of setting an NFL record for completion percentage Monday night, and while the sample was small, he did get 12.2 YPA with three touchdowns and a near perfect QB Rating (157.1), so it wasn't exactly all dink-and-dunk (although to be fair, he benefited from a large amount of YAC)…San Francisco has allowed the fewest YPA in the NFL this season (5.8) and is tied for the fewest TD passes given up (six) as well, but they actually entered Monday with a modest 11 sacks, which was nowhere near last year's pace. They recorded four against Arizona, but that could actually be considered a disappointment, as the Cardinals are on pace to be sacked a whopping 78 times this season. Having said that, the 49ers tied a team record by allowing only seven rushing yards Monday night…I was surprised to see Larry Fitzgerald return, as it sure looked like he was concussed. Glad he wasn't though…Vernon Davis has three catches or fewer and 37 receiving yards or fewer in four of his past five games and hasn't scored since Week 3… Where did that playmaking ability come from, Michael Crabtree? And it looks like Randy Moss still may have something to offer other than being a decoy, although one nice play doesn't come close to warranting fantasy attention…It's not the worst time to be a San Francisco sports fan right now.