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Scouting Notebook: Brady breaks out of slump

Tom Brady went a long way toward reestablishing himself as an elite fantasy quarterback with a dominating performance against the Steelers, who always seem to bring out Brady’s best.

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Brady or Big Ben for the rest of the season? Call it a push. (Getty)

Some, I know, benched him and others even cut him, but he’s back in the circle of fantasy trust for sure.

The bigger story in New England may be Aaron Dobson, who broke out in a big way and showed rare acceleration in actually increasing the distance between him and defenders immediately after the catch on his long score. You could argue that this was finally all the pieces that Brady expected to have and that we thus can expect these types of results from the Patriots QB going forward. But I’d expect something in between, enough to get him into the top 12 going forward.

Is Brady ahead or behind Nick Foles for the rest of the season? Don’t laugh. Foles has 13 TDs and 0 picks now. No second-year QB has ever tossed more than five TDs in a game and he had seven. I feel sick about not noting his still stellar QB rating after his hiccup against Dallas. It’s hard to see a scenario where Michael Vick reclaims the job. The numbers speak pretty loudly and are unbenchable, clearly.

I can’t trust Riley Cooper more than as a flex flyer. But I also don’t like Cooper. I try to judge the art and not the artist but sometimes it’s hard.

The Browns really blew their chances for getting the draft spot needed to draft a franchise QB by brooming Trent Richardson. If they kept him, they’d probably have two more losses.

Ray Rice maybe has a Brady-like bounce-back in him, but what is the rational basis for that? That Rice has “done it before,” like Brady, is less persuasive because Rice is way more likely to just be physically shot. Backs lose it fast; that’s why there aren’t more than 100 guys with his career touches. Rice has been pretty bad for a year now.

I’m very disappointed in Jason Campbell settling for Greg Little and not taking shots anyway to Josh Gordon, even though this is the correct real football move. That’s why you want your freak wide receiver tethered to a quarterback who doesn’t know better.

Jerricho Cotchery was probably played by some people who were in bye-week hell in deeper formats. He’s great fodder for bad beat stories. Feel free to share them in the comments.

Brady over Ben Roethlisberger going forward? To me that’s a push, at best. I’d probably take Big Ben. His defense seems worse, for sure. I expect greater volume. He’s also a Hall of Fame-level QB. His receivers are not as top heavy but they clearly are good enough for big days. I don’t mean to be slamming Brady but there are still a lot of interesting QBs readily available in 12-team leagues.

Doug Baldwin is a good player who doesn’t get many opportunities but who may be one of the best slot operators in the game. Entering Week 9, he was sixth in slot yards and 20th in slot targets, pretty good. But who knows what next week brings with Percy Harvin. Plus there is not a lot of volume here. The Seahawks were down 21-0 and Russell Wilson still only had 26 attempts.

Yeah, Mike James getting 158 rushing yards is very impressive but after seeing the Rams also run pretty much at will on Seattle you have to wonder how much extra credit to give James’s day. Of course, get him, even not knowing if or when Doug Martin will be back.

I guess someone told Mike Glennon he’s throwing too much to Vincent Jackson.

I’m happy for Andre Johnson and thinking maybe Case Keenum is a story. He sure looks like one early in his career and entering halftime on Sunday. Keenum will make me bet aggressively on Johnson if he’s somehow still cheaply available. I’d pay a WR2 price, if forced. Maybe one of these out-of-nowhere backs for AJ.

The Chiefs problem is that they need to dial back Jamaal Charles because he can’t possibly lead the league in percentage of a team’s offense at his size, not if you expect him to have any legs left for the postseason. But there’s exactly zero KC offense without him.

And Donald Brown shows again he’s better than Richardson. There are a lot of members in that club, son.

Chris Ivory really made his old team sorry for trading him. This could be a good running back situation. Ivory has clearly supplanted Bilal Powell and is likely going to continue to get the bulk of the carries despite being about a zero in the passing game. Rice or Ivory? These are the questions you have to ask yourself now. Ivory or James? And by the transitive property, Rice or James? I’d hate benching Rice for those guys but I’d have to do it.

Rice or Zac Stacy? Who thought we’d be asking that with Kellen Clemens at QB, no less. Answer: Stacy.

I told Twitter followers (@michaelsalfino) who kept asking me about ham-and-egg Shonn Greene that the play was to buy Johnson low.

These moves to get Greene or to think Roy Helu is anywhere close in value to Alfred Morris or even tomorrow with people feeling around for James Stark.... These are a total waste of energy. When the noise gets loud on these backs who are just not as good as the men they play behind, get the men they play behind.

I don’t understand the Cowboys offense. Why not throw down field and run the ball more? This short passing is mostly a waste of time. The Cowboys would make the late, great Sid Gillman sick by the way they read their progressions short to long. Gillman’s modern passing game is predicated to reading long to short on every play. You need one great receiver who can jump the safety to do this, but the Cowboys have that.

Ryan Mathews must not be good/reliable if the Chargers keep using Danny Woodhead near the goal-line. They had multiple shots to win the game inside the one and wouldn’t just run Mathews.

Fast fantasy friend @BMcCarthy32 asked me backstage weeks ago when both had similar games why everyone was hedging on Vincent Brown vs. Keenan Allen. I couldn’t answer that other than to say Allen was clearly my choice because Allen is bigger and faster. I’d rather lose with a bigger faster guy than win with a slower, shorter one (cough, Wes Welker, cough).
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