Scouting Notebook: Ben caught stealing

Sunday was a bad day for Arian Foster owners. Ben Tate is going to be involved significantly, it seems, and that's no surprise because he's really good and continues to nearly lap Foster in yards per rush, which is pretty important.

I threw Trent Richardson under the bus last week. Being an expert merely means you've made every mistake that can be made in a very narrow field. I clearly made one here. But I didn't make one on Richardson as much as I did on Brandon Weeden. He was the key to Richardson's value Sunday as he moved the chains and allowed Richardson the touches he needs to thrive.
But Alfred Morris is for real and should be viewed as a top 15 back going forward. For how long, who knows. Next week, for sure. The Bengals clearly are a struggling defense at the moment.
I also preferred Morris to Steven Jackson and now Jackson, who actually ran pretty well, is hurt. The troubles started with him unable to convert a score from an easy distance, a career-long problem for him. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty cost the team a touchdown attempt and we wondered if that landed him in Jeff Fisher's doghouse. Jackson’s replacement Daryl Richardson actually ran very well before nearly fumbling the game away. But Richardson at under 200 pounds profiles more like a committee guy.
Speaking of which, Jamaal Charles had 22 total yards on nine touches as Peyton Hillis, who had a terrible goal-line fumble, got the bulk of the action. My theory is that for the Chiefs, who allowed five sacks, maybe this was a pass protection move. But if Charles isn't going to be the guy when trailing, that's bad because the Chiefs look like they're going to be trailing a lot.
Upgrade the Bushes, though. Michael is a top 15 back easy going forward even if the Bears collectively want to tear temperamental quarterback Jay Cutler limb from limb. Downgrade Cutler and Brandon Marshall, too. Reggie, what can you say? There were signs last year of course. But the market had already written him off so he sort of slipped through the cracks again in 2012. I liked him more than most and am still shocked by how well he's running. I guess we can flip him and Chris Johnson in our rankings now. And what about him running with power? He looked like Benny Malone circa 1974 playoffs in running over the Raiders on that first TD.
What can you say about Johnson? It's been a disaster, sure. But he very likely will have his big days. If you need consistency though, he's not your man. For now, he's in that top 15-20 range in PPR. But I'd hold him if that's all you can get in a trade. Play Morris over CJ though, for example. And both Bushes, too, of course.
Aaron Hernandez is going to be out for quite a while. I think the Cards are a very underrated defense, but this never mattered to Tom Brady before. I think the Patriots made a big mistake in their offseason and summer focus on developing a running game. The passing game looks like it suffered. It's very hard in this league to do everything well. Brady left points on the board with poor throws – missing Rob Gronkowski for a 50-plus yard touchdown for example – that you do not expect. And the same kind of thing happened in Week 1.
Ryan Williams fumbling to nearly give away the game that was won is the kind of football crime that should get him benched indefinitely. It's to David Wilson's Week 1 fumble what jaywalking is to serial killing.
And Wilson is still in the doghouse. Even after another Ahmad Bradshaw injury, this time to his neck. Bradshaw and Giants trainers definitely buy Christmas presents for each other. He knows the name of their kids for sure. Race to the waiver wire to claim Andre Brown, who looked pretty good.
The Giants and Bucs played a Sega Genesis Madden '95 game where you just went up and down the field at will, huge passing plays at a time. Eli Manning started slow but packed an entire game into the fourth quarter on his way to 500-plus passing yards. This really is the way the Giants have to play because even with that huge passing day, they had the worst secondary on the field – not Tampa Bay.
Pierre Thomas is the beast that never really was allowed to roar. The Saints are messed up now without Sean Payton and no longer have the luxury of not playing their best players. Thomas should be the man on first and second down and should also be on the field with the awesome Darren Sproles. Mark Ingram, who can't average 4.0 per carry in walk throughs, should be inactive. Every carry Ingram receives takes opportunities away from far superior backs.
The receivers of last week, Stephen Hill and Kevin Olgetree, are down. This week's finds are Brandon LaFell and Donnie Avery. But chasing receivers with FAAB money is a fool's errand unless you're sort of loaded and just acting defensively or trying to force trades. As for Hill and Olgetree, remember that Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald had just about zero days, too. Fitzgerald owners got Kolbered.
I don't know why the Ravens had such a pass-heavy play-calling split when they were mostly leading this game and running well. The Eagles are really designed to stop the pass but you can push them around at the line of scrimmage. Ray Rice owners and Ravens fans are similarly annoyed tonight. I bet Ray Lewis is, too.
Man, C.J. Spiller can really hit the hole and crease you. Can he hold up physically? Remember, the Bills seemed to think not. And what happens when Fred Jackson is ready to play? Still, it's awesome while it lasts.
These "Play RG3 or great QB X" questions I get on Twitter (@MichaelSalfino) are dumb. Like last year with Cam: trade great QB X now.
Yes, play Danny Amendola next week. When a player posts a 37-point day, you start him the next week when you own him. It's not like 15-160-1 is some sort of fluke.
Oh yeah, Frank Gore over Chris Johnson now, too.

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