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Justin Blackmon's Breakout

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Justin Blackmon's Breakout
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Patrick Daugherty breaks down Justin Blackmon's hot start while sorting through the week that was

There are many striking aspects to Justin Blackmon’s scorching-hot start, but one stat I can’t get past? His 326 yards receiving through two games are 97 more than Dwayne Bowe has through six games. Yes, that means exactly nothing. We’re comparing apples and oranges, and doing so devoid of any meaningful context. On the one hand, we have a hungry second-year pro coming off an embarrassing four-game suspension catching a whole lot of passes for a team going nowhere fast. On the other, a $56 million veteran drawing fewer targets than his running back and not even bothering to publicly complain, lest he derail the surprising 6-0 train he finds himself on.


But there is one universal fantasy truth that can be gleaned: All the August preparation in the world can’t prepare you for the circumstances that will unfold once the fur begins to fly. Bowe was the No. 45 pick by ADP this season, Blackmon 111. Bowe was so high because he was the only legitimate receiver on a team being inherited by one of the league’s most pass-happy coaches. Blackmon was so low because he was the No. 2 threat for a club guided by the league’s worst quarterback, and was missing the first four games of the season.


And yet, here we are. The circumstances — Blackmon’s quarterback, Andy Reid’s offensive philosophy, to name two — have changed, and Blackmon has 3.7 more fantasy points than Bowe despite playing 66 percent fewer games. It’s just a reminder to be adaptable, and that what you knew in August may have been right then, but couldn’t be more wrong now. Adjust your lineups accordingly.  


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.


Game Balls


Justin Blackmon


Let’s delve a little deeper into Blackmon’s hot start. His 14 catches Sunday were the most by any receiver in a single-game this season. The same goes for his 20 targets. Despite missing four of Jacksonville’s first six games, he’s already 46th in the league in receiving yards. Going back to last season, he’s drawn at least 11 targets in five of his past six starts. Every one of those games was started by Chad Henne. Instead of the next Jacksonville draft bust, Blackmon is looking like a young Anquan Boldin.


Nick Foles


Making his first start of the season — and first for Chip Kelly, whose offense is a littlebit different than Andy Reid’s — Foles went on the road and carved up Darrelle Revis and the Bucs. Foles finished his day 22-of-31 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and zero turnovers. He was so good that Kelly failed to endorse Michael Vick as his starting quarterback for Week 7 afterward. Repetitive accuracy is Kelly’s most desired trait in a quarterback. It’s what Foles has shown the past 1.5 weeks, and what Vick has never been known for. Buckle up for your first real quarterback controversy of the season.      


Arian Foster


On a day where none of his teammates did their jobs, Foster did his, stinging the Rams’ woeful run defense for 141 yards on only 20 carries. For good measure, he added four catches for 57 yards. Now up to 4.53 yards per carry, Foster has piled up 487 yards from scrimmage over his past three games, and shown he can still be a rock for a team without a direction. With the Texans’ passing game cooked, Foster could rack up more touches than any player in football from here on out.  


Questions


1. Remember when the Bills didn’t sign Josh Freeman? Remember when the Vikings did?


2. Does outlasting Thad Lewis’ Bills in overtime mean the Bengals are ready to lose another road Wild Card game?


3. What happens when Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a ball as hard and far as he can? This.


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Three Down


1. Ray Rice


Baltimore’s run blocking hasn’t done Rice any favors, but there’s no real way to explain away his 2.77 yards per carry. Rice was a picture of futility Sunday, at one point failing to execute for a touchdown on three-straight carries from inside the Packers’ four-yard line. Rice has surpassed 36 yards rushing once in five games. The one time he did, he averaged … 2.7 yards per carry. He has only one more touchdown (three) than lost fumbles (two). Things aren’t going to get any easier against the Steelers this weekend.


2. Tavon Austin


One week after playing only 23 snaps, the first skill player off the board in April’s draft played four, catching one pass for three yards. Austin’s early play hasn’t forced his way into the lineup, and the Rams are responding by refusing to force anything. Austin remains worth a hold in Dynasty leagues — duh — but it’s getting harder and harder to see the light at the end of the re-draft tunnel.    


3. Danny Amendola/DeMarco Murray


Few players play harder than Amendola or Murray. Perhaps that’s why neither can stay healthy.  Amendola’s head injury — he appeared to lose consciousness — was one of the scariest you will ever see, while Murray’s knee injury — it’s unclear when it happened — was one of the most frustrating you will ever see. Murray is out indefinitely, while Amendola can be safely ruled out for Week 7.


Three Up


1. Eddie Lacy


Lacy knocked on the RB2 door in Week 5. He knocked it down in Week 6. Lacy ran all over the Ravens’ previously imposing run defense (89.8 yards per game, 3.4 yards per carry coming into Week 5), taking the rock 23 times for 120 yards. Eight of his 23 totes went for five yards or more. His big day came as James Starks again sat out with a knee injury, and fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin lost his footing on both of his touches. Lacy is locked into monster workloads for a team that might be running more in the upcoming weeks with James Jones (shin) and Randall Cobb’s (knee) status still uncertain.   


2. Zac Stacy


Sunday was Stacy’s second interview. He got the job. Stacy went 18-79 one week after going 14-78, and proved he can help provide the offensive balance St. Louis lacked in Weeks 1-4. Speaking after the game, Sam Bradford called Stacy the “spark” the Rams had been missing. Stacy gets Carolina’s 10th ranked run defense (by yards per carry) in Week 7, but will still be an RB2/FLEX.


3. Ben Roethlisberger


Big Ben entered Week 3 looking like the captain of a sinking ship. Since, he’s gone 85-of-122 (69.7 percent) for 1,053 yards (8.63 YPA). His touchdown-to-turnover ratio (4:6) has still left something to be desired, but Roethlisberger has proven to be not so done, after all. He’s back on the QB1 radar, at least in a plug-and-play fashion. Week 7 against the Ravens probably won’t be one of those times, however.   


Stats of the Week


Dwayne Bowe has one more target (35) than Donnie Avery (34).


5-foot-10, 172-pound straight-line speeder Travis Benjamin was the Browns’ leading rusher with 45 yards on Sunday. He carried the ball once. Every other Brown went 20-81.


Wes Welker has eight touchdowns this season — or exactly as many as Tom Brady. Welker has caught a touchdown in every game, and is just one away from equaling his career-best total from 2011.


Two Rams tight ends scored touchdowns Sunday. Jared Cook wasn’t one of them.


Joseph Fauria is in the top 10 in touchdown catches — and top 194 in catches.


Frank Gore leads the league in 20-plus yard runs with seven.


38 players are averaging more rushing yards per game than Ray Rice, including three quarterbacks.  


Tom Brady is completing just 56.9 percent of his passes. His previous career low was 60.2 in 2003.


Awards Section


Tweet of the Week, from @AdamLevitan: Bucs gave up 13th overall pick for Darrelle Revis, coming off an ACL tear. Then gave him a 6-year, $96M contract. And now they play zone.


Least Valuable Player, Non-Cassel Division: Sidney Rice has caught more than two passes in exactly one game. He’s making $8.5 million.


Most Absurd Moment of Week 6: This.  


Week 6 Fantasy All Pro Team: QB Cam Newton, RB Arian Foster, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Vincent Jackson, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Vernon Davis, TE Joseph Fauria


The All Buy Low Team: QB Russell Wilson (the reins are coming off, and he’s heating up), RB Trent Richardson (he’ll never be cheaper, and even if he continues to disappoint, he still has goal-line chances for miles), RB C.J. Spiller (talent this good just doesn’t stay down for long, and now he’s gotten so cheap, it would be irresponsible not to buy), WR Torrey Smith (owners always panic when someone they don’t believe in has a bad game), WR Alshon Jeffery (last week he was probably too expensive, now he’s probably too cheap), TE Rob Gronkowski (seize on the panic for less than Gronk’s worth)


The All Sell High Team: QB Nick Foles (as long as you don’t need the lad, there’s no guarantee he’ll retain value beyond Week 7), RB DeAngelo Williams (Jonathan Stewart’s return is almost here), RB Brandon Jacobs (turn him into something valuable while there’s still time), WR Andre Johnson (dude is still a gamer, but numbers are going to be harder and harder to come by in Houston), WR Emmanuel Sanders (curiously high perceived value is never going to match the real thing), TE Kyle Rudolph (get rid of his touchdown dependence while you still can)   


We leave you with Rob Ryan as Kenny Powers.

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