Despite E.J. Manuel’s return, the Steelers won fairly easily in a game that featured mostly fantasy disappointments. Ben Roethlisberger threw for just 204 yards and one touchdown, taking four sacks (resulting in a whopping 40 yards lost). In other words, he had a Net YPA of 4.8 while posting a 1:1 TD:INT ratio…One week after looking like he was “back,” C.J. Spiller (who was likely on most benches then) ran for 23 yards on eight carries and gained 11 yards on three catches (when he was likely started in most leagues). Spiller is trolling at this point, especially considering how favorable his matchup looked (the Steelers had allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs entering Week 10). He faces a Jets front seven in Week 11 that has yielded the third-fewest fantasy points to enemy backs this season and then has a bye, so Spiller continues to frustrate…Stevie Johnson has averaged just 45.5 yards while scoring only one touchdown over his past six games and left Sunday’s contest with a groin injury. He’s not exactly a reliable option moving forward…Le’Veon Bell ceded carries to both Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones early on but finished with 96 yards on 25 touches with a touchdown. He may not be efficient with this offensive line, but he’s a rare breed these days as a true feature back, making him an every week fantasy starter without question…Antonio Brown was quiet early but ended up with six catches for 104 yards on another 11 targets. The 5-10 wideout leads the NFL with 61 receptions (Pierre Garcon is tied with him, but he’s also played one more game).
The majority of Survivor players fortunate enough to still be playing backed the Titans this week, but it wasn’t just those who got an early scare Sunday, as the three most favored teams (Titans, Colts and Giants) were are all down 7-0 immediately. Tennessee ended up losing at home as 12-point favorites to an 0-8 Jacksonville team that had put up historically bad numbers on offense…Facing an opposing defense that entered having allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, Chris Johnson managed 30 rushing yards on 12 carries. He did add 43 receiving yards but also lost two fumbles and had a bad drop (all of which occurred in the first half). It was yet another disappointing performance from Johnson…Maurice Jones-Drew reached the end zone (thanks to CJ’s early fumble), but he too failed to impress, gaining just 41 yards on 21 carries. The Titans entered having yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing backs. So while facing two of the easier opponents possible, Johnson and MJD combined to get 71 yards on 32 rushing attempts (2.2 YPC). It’s tough to fine a silver lining here…Kendall Wright has 51 targets over his past six games. He’s not an especially explosive player, but the fact he hasn’t scored over that span should be considered a fluke…Cecil Shorts was locked up against Alterraun Verner, who’s allowed an NFL low 23.8 QB Rating on passes thrown his way, so give Shorts a break on this one. He’s going to be a target monster moving forward with Justin Blackmon suspended.
This is the worst hit-and-run attempt ever, featuring someone who was apparently driving a stolen SUV.
I ranked the Giants’ fantasy defense second in the weekly rankings, and I got a few Twitter responses questioning my reasoning. I was surprised my stance was apparently controversial, as there were few strong options this week, New York had been playing well lately (their defense hadn’t allowed a single point since Week 6 if you remove special teams), they were coming off a bye and facing a (shaky) West Coast team traveling across the country to play a 10 a.m. game. So it was pretty infuriating to see the Giants give up a touchdown via an extremely short field after losing a fumble on the opening kickoff. But if you remove that and an Eli Manning pick-six, New York’s defense allowed just six points and 213 net yards, recording four sacks, two turnovers and even had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown (as well as an interception return stopped at the five-yard line, so they almost had two defensive TDs). So while I might be crazy for many other reasons, this wasn’t one of them…Terrelle Pryor has a 1:8 TD:INT ratio over the past four games…Hakeem Nicks is still searching for his first touchdown since Week 14 of last season. Meanwhile, Rueben Randle has five touchdowns over his past five games (despite seeing 21 fewer targets than Nicks over that span)…So much for working Andre Brown back slowly, as he recorded 30 carries Sunday, resulting in 115 yards and a score. Peyton Hillis lost a fumble and is now averaging 3.0 YPC on the year, while Brandon Jacobs appears incapable of physically contributing, and David Wilson was finally placed on season-ending IR. Moreover, the Giants are the only team in the NFL without a 20-yard rush this year. Meanwhile, Brown has scored nine touchdowns over the last nine games in which he’s played. He remains an injury risk, but as crazy as it sounds, Brown should be considered a top-25 fantasy asset right now considering the league’s running back situation.
Song of the Week: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life.”
Here’s my Mostly NBA Notes column from last week, in case you missed it or are just a fan of my random links.
After back-to-back weeks in which Seattle was life-or-death as big favorites, they took care of business in Atlanta, dominating a Falcons team that was last year’s No. 1 seed in the conference and is now 2-7…Roddy White recorded an early 20-yard catch and was then silent for the rest of the game (although his snap count was encouraging), while Matt Ryan got 4.8 YPA and is 1-3 over his last four starts at home…Steven Jackson has gotten 1.2 YPC or fewer in three of the fives games he’s played this season…Russell Wilson got 11.0 YPA with a 134.6 QB Rating, while Marshawn Lynch recorded a 6.0 YPC mark and scored. Golden Tate is really coming on during the second half of the year, as he secured 6-of-7 targets for 106 yards while scoring his third TD in the past three games. And one week after winning Special Teams Player of the Week, Tate got 55 more yards on three punt returns and also reeled in this ridiculous one-handed catch…As nice as the Tate TD was, this one may have been even more impressive.…Christine Michael (who had a long run called back by a penalty) sure looks like he’s going to be a future star in the league. Treat him accordingly in dynasty formats.
Here’s “sono” – A potential noise cancelling device on your window.
A near double-digit favorite Colts team (who’s beaten the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers) at home losing by 30 points to the Rams has to go down as one of the most surprising outcomes of the season. Indy was down 28-0 at halftime…Adam Vinatieri owners have to be irate after his goose egg…Kellen Clemens completed nine passes during the Rams’ 30-point road victory, while Indy’s leading RB had two rushing yards (Trent Richardson, on five carries). It’s hard to argue Donald Brown isn’t clearly the superior back…T.Y. Hilton tripped and fell during a 65-yard third quarter catch, or he would’ve added a score to his otherwise encouraging line (seven catches on eight targets for 115 yards)…Robert Mathis is on pace to finish with 24 sacks, which would be an NFL record…Tavon Austin had two catches Sunday and scored three touchdowns, with an average of 78.7 yards per TD. His snaps remained extremely limited, so this isn’t necessarily a sign of big things to come, but the rookie’s 98-yard punt return was especially impressive.
Nick Foles has a 16:0 TD:INT ratio while adding a rushing score (he also hadn’t fumbled until losing one Sunday) this season, getting 9.2 YPA while completing 63.2 percent of his passes, although this TD to DeSean Jackson was a bit lucky. The Eagles now get three straight home games, including four of their next five (although to be fair, they haven’t won in Philly in more than 400 days). The opponents appear to be favorable as well. It’s hard not to consider Foles (who’s the third QB in NFL history to throw 16 TD passes before his first interception in a season) a top-10 fantasy QB down the stretch…While Seneca Wallace was 5-for-5 before exiting with an injury, Scott Tolzien appeared to be an obvious upgrade, resulting in a nice fantasy game from Jarrett Boykin, whom I wanted no part of with no Aaron Rodgers and James Jones now healthy. Speaking of Boykin, he had a 36-yard catch early in the second quarter in which he was CLEARLY out of bounds, but Chip Kelly never challenged it, even though Green Bay was in no hurry to run its next play. Beyond bizarre and easily one of Week 10’s most glaring coaching mistakes…During Foles’ three starts this season in which he didn’t leave early due to injury, Riley Cooper has totaled 361 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He recorded two scores Sunday on just three catches, which isn’t exactly a sustainable ratio, but it would be hard to bench Cooper right now in fantasy leagues…After leading the NFL (by a wide margin) with 17 rushing scores in 2011, LeSean McCoy has just five since (over 22 games), this despite leading the league in rushing yards this season.
Seriously, how was it legal for Clay Matthews to play with this club on his hand?
Here’s Sacha Baron Cohen knocking an elderly woman (“at 87, she’s the oldest surviving actor to have worked with Chaplin in a silent movie”) off the stage at the Britannia Awards.
The Bears have typically held Calvin Johnson in check throughout his career, and he secured just six of 17 targets Sunday, although two of those receptions went for scores. One year after Johnson saw a whopping 204 targets and scored five touchdowns, he’s missed a game this year and is on pace to finish with 16 scores, and he’s getting a remarkable 9.4 YPT despite seeing constant double teams…I’ve always been a huge Jay Cutler fan, but it’s unclear whether the Bears currently have a better chance of winning with him playing quarterback or Josh McCown. Although the latter inexplicably threw the ball way out of bounds during the game’s ending two-point attempt (this play resulted in a personal foul, but that’s beside the point. Is he really worried about an interception there?)…Not only did Alshon Jeffery see 18 targets, but he also had two rushing attempts, as the sophomore wideout continues to break out…Reggie Bush split work with Joique Bell a little more than usual but got 7.5 YPC and dropped a screen pass when he had A LOT of open real estate with blockers in front of him. He had a solid game Sunday, but it easily could have been a massive one. Bush has run for 244 yards on 32 carries during his two games against Chicago this season.
Headlines of the Week: Man Sues Wife Over Ugly Kids And Wins...White Guy Wins After Leading Voters To Believe He’s Black...New Yorkers Go 24 Hours Without Shooting, Stabbing, Or Slashing Each Other...D.C. Woman’s Number of 911 Calls Prompt City to Request That She be Given a Guardian...Father Died After Drinking From Bottle of Crystal Meth He Thought Was Fruit Juice.
Ray Rice had 18 rushes Sunday, and his longest carry was five yards (imagine if Geno Atkins wasn’t out). He’s still searching for his first 15-yard carry of the season. Is he really done at age 26?…Torrey Smith actually had his most inefficient game of the season, but that also came with his first TD since Week 4 (and just his second of the year)…With Jermaine Gresham sidelined, Tyler Eifert saw an expected increase in looks, but he hauled in just 3-of-10 targets for 55 yards sans a score…Since Week 3, Giovani Bernard has secured 36-of-41 targets (including 12-of-12 over his past two games), which is impressive even for a running back…After Andy Dalton posted an 11:2 TD:INT ratio from Weeks 6-8, he has a 2:6 ratio over the past two games (and one of those scores came via this Hail Mary, when the Ravens employed the contrarian strategy of batting the ball UP). That two-game stretch also includes Dalton getting 5.9 YPA, losing a fumble and taking 10 sacks. Moreover, after Joe Flacco posted an 11:0 TD:INT ratio while getting 9.0 YPA during last year’s Super Bowl run in the playoffs, he’s gotten 6.7 YPA with a 12:11 TD:INT ratio over nine games this year. The moral of the story? Don’t overreact if a QB throws 11 touchdowns over a small sample.
Police Blotter: Three Arrested, One Shot in Reported Sasquatch Hunt...Lake Man Sets House on Fire to Avoid Arrest...Police Subject Man to Eight Anal Searches After Minor Traffic Violation...Deputies: Man Brings Meth Pipe to Meth Hearing, Gets More Meth Charges...Meet The Drunk Woman Who Mistook Her Cheeseburger For A Sandal...Edwin Tobergta, Sentenced to 11 Months For Sex With Pool Raft, Also Had Sex With Pumpkin.
What a defensive battle between the Panthers and 49ers, with just one touchdown scored, including only three points total in the second half. San Francisco lost Vernon Davis early to a concussion (along with Eric Reid, who was another costly loss), but it’s still no excuse for the team getting 46 net passing yards. Carolina probably has the best front seven in football, but the 49ers’ offensive line have taken a major step back in pass blocking this year…Aldon Smith returned to the field, although he played just 12 snaps…Colin Kaepernick has completed more than 16 passes in just one game this season, while his opponent next week, Drew Brees, has completed more than 25 passes in all but one game…Sunday marked the first time the Panthers didn’t lead a game at halftime this season (which was just the fifth time since the merger over a team’s first eight games)…Luke Kuechly is good at football…The 49ers lined up to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the Panthers’ two-yard line in the middle of the second quarter up 6-0, and after a Carolina timeout, they did the same, only with no intention of actually going for it. After not drawing the Panthers offsides, they kicked the chip shot field goal. While Brian Billick climaxed on air talking about this being the obvious right move, he failed to say otherwise when Carolina proceeded to drive for a touchdown after the following kickoff. It’s crazy when commentators (and more importantly, the coach of my favorite team like Jim Harbaugh in this case) don’t factor in the field position advantage if you don’t get the TD (or in this case, the first down even), as playbooks shrink so much when backed at the one-yard line (not to mention the added crowd noise and unlikelihood of a 99-yard touchdown drive). It’s unreal.
Animal Antics: Wildlife Officials Searching For Deer With Arrow in its Head...I’m going to go ahead and declare this tiger didn’t like getting forced to swim but feel free to disagree in the comments (something that never happens, right?)...Here are two male giraffes fighting over a female...Snake Massages Look Utterly Horrifying...Here’s someone giving the Heisman to a Tiger Shark.
I really liked Houston +3 this week, but people I strongly respect liked the other side (and in fairness, this Cardinals team is now 4-1 at home this season, with wins against the Lions and Panthers and only loss coming versus the Seahawks). The first play from scrimmage resulted in a defensive score by Arizona, which had me shaking my head, but the ultimate result was a tie ATS. So go figure…With Arian Foster on the IR (if I admitted when I was wrong earlier when he looked good after I said all preseason he’d be the biggest bust, do I now brag after he’s done for the year? Is the back injury even related to my concerns at the time? It ultimately doesn’t matter, but I’m being serious with these questions), Dennis Johnson needs to be stashed in all leagues with Ben Tate dealing with four broken ribs. He looked competent (and faster than Foster or Tate) during his brief time on the field Sunday, and while Houston’s offensive line is nowhere near what it used to be, Case Keenum has the offense revitalized. Having said that, Tate is a must-start in Week 11...Any carry Arizona gives to Rashard Mendenhall instead of Andre Ellington is a gift to the defense.
I might be in the minority, but I’m done making excuses (whether it be his QB, or his health) when it comes to Larry Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t view him as a top-20 fantasy WR moving forward. Maybe not even top-25…With 4:53 left in the fourth quarter and down 10 points, the Texans punted on 4th-and-10 from their own 39-yard line. It’s almost as if Wade Phillips doesn’t understand game theory…Case Keenum got just 4.7 YPA but that included three TD passes with zero interceptions, so he now has a 7:0 TD:INT ratio this year. After Andre Johnson scored zero touchdowns over the first eight weeks this year (and this was no fluke, as the WR finished outside the top-60 in red-zone targets last year despite having the fourth-most catches (112) and second-most receiving yards (1,598), resulting in only four TDs), he’s surpassed that total with five touchdowns over his last two games (thanks to Keenum), including this ridiculous catch (who would’ve ever thought he might be a weapon near the end zone?).
Headlines of the Week Part Two: Wearing Rubber Gloves In The Bath And Trying to Swallow a Watermelon: The Desperate Poses of Russians Looking For Love Online (Which May Reveal Why They Are Single!)...Mystery Surrounds Collapse of Banksy Sale to Benefit Housing Works Charity...The Broker: In His Own Words...Deadly Diseases Like Measles And Mumps Make Frightening Comeback...Richard Lustwig, Seven-Time Lottery Winner, Shares His Secrets To Success.
The Chargers had a time of possession advantage of 22:17 vs. 7:31 in the first half, yet Denver led 21-6, revealing how irrelevant that stat is...Danny Woodhead currently has more receptions than Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Eric Decker and Jordy Nelson…Philip Rivers’ current 71.6 completion percentage would go down as the highest in NFL history…I wouldn’t be too worried about slow games by Keenan Allen, Wes Welker or Eric Decker…What a crazy athletic 74-yard TD catch and run by Julius Thomas…Is there a tougher play to defend in all of football than the screen to Demaryius Thomas?...The Chargers kicked an extra point down 28-19, and it was humorous to listen to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talk about how it was the OBVIOUS right decision for reasons I’m still not sure of (something regarding the motivation of Denver’s offense?), but this was clearly the wrong move, as going for it there lets the offense know what they need to do moving forward (I know, this isn’t rocket science, but apparently this still needs to be said)…Peyton Manning hasn’t been quite as good as he was after his unbelievable start, so it’s easy to overlook just how amazing the 37-year-old has been this season, as he’s on pace to throw for 5,776 yards and 59 touchdowns, which would both shatter NFL records.
This might be the greatest thing in Internet history: Every Grunt From “Home Improvement.”
To say the Saints beat down the Cowboys on Sunday night would be an understatement (they were outgained by 432 yards). Dallas entered allowing the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, but this game was still far more lopsided than most expected. New Orleans set an NFL record while recording 40 first downs (the Cowboys had 43 PLAYS). And New Orleans lost the turnover battle! This wasn’t quite the level of Jon Gruden versus the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, but Rob Ryan sure seemed to enjoy his revenge (and implemented a terrific game plan)…Mark Ingram rushed for 145 yards on 14 carries (he had never reached 100 rushing yards during the previous 29 games of his career), while Marques Colston gained 100 receiving yards for the first time in 2013…The Cowboys entered as the first team in NFL history to allow four different passers to throw for 400 yards in the same season, and Drew Brees fell eight yards short of becoming the fifth only because he didn’t attempt a pass after 12:43 was left in the fourth quarter…Sean Lee departing with an injury obviously contributed to the problems with Dallas’ D (and no, I wouldn’t count on Mark Ingram moving forward), but how does Dez Bryant see just two targets? It’s truly inexplicable. If Jason Garrett is still Dallas’ coach next year, Jerry Jones has officially lost it…Tony Romo had zero completions to a running back or wide receiver in the first half…It wasn’t a great week for the Kiffin father/son duo, to say the least…Terrance Williams now has five touchdowns over the past six games.
Longread of the Week: Oops, You Just Hired The Wrong Hitman.
With the Jaguars and Buccaneers winning this week, do the 2008 Lions get together and pop a bottle of champagne like the 1972 Dolphins do? I’d like to think so, at least…Mike Glennon’s second half interception was his first in 159 passes to open his career…After scoring each of the past two weeks, Tim Wright saw a season-low one target, while Vincent Jackson has totaled just 39 yards over the past two games…The Dolphins gained two rushing yards Monday night, which was the lowest in franchise history…Finally healthy enough to play man, Darrelle Revis completely shut down Mike Wallace, holding the high-priced free agent to 15 yards on seven targets, although to be fair, Ryan Tannehill missed Wallace badly when he was open on a possible would-be 80-yard touchdown early in the second quarter…Filling in for an injured Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews dominated, securing 11-of-14 targets for 120 yards and two scores…Mike James once again looked terrific, so it was an especially brutal blow when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Brian Leonard will remain in the mix, but Bobby Rainey is the guy to spend your FAAB on (and at this point of the year, might as well bid aggressively for a RB who could be a difference maker down the stretch).