Scouting Notebook: Decker owners find justice

Alex Smith got some bad breaks on Sunday with dropped passes, and you can say that those who speculated on him this week deserved a better fate. But the problem with being a team like the Chiefs is that you are not in the practice of passing. So when the need arises, it’s not second nature. Great quarterback play can overcome this only so far as the receivers are on the same page and accustomed to making the tougher catches that have to be made to win against an offense and quarterback of the caliber of the Broncos and Peyton Manning.

It’s not like Eric Decker took off the second Wes Welker’s touchdown run revealed itself to be the fantasy fluke of all time. And no one can ever see a four-touchdown game coming. But Decker owners got some justice today.
I do not expect justice here from the people who rip me to high heaven every time I get something wrong, which is often. It’s honestly a very small price to pay for working in the Toy Department of life. No one posts saying, “Hey, you were right about that.” But as I said weeks ago, Decker over Welker yesterday, today, tomorrow.
I don’t think anything has changed with Denver’s running back situation. This is Knowshon Moreno’s job. But let’s not call him an elite weapon who needs touches. Moreno is like a trust fund baby who finds himself born into incredible good fortune. Any competent back finding himself in this all-time offense would thrive. It just happens to be Moreno. If you own him, this means nothing. If you are thinking of owning him beyond this year, it does.
Peyton Manning’s problems with the cold are badly exaggerated. Here is my Wall Street Journal article that has his stats in the various weather conditions and, most importantly, passer rating in these conditions generally since 1998. Use these numbers as a handy reference for handicapping all passers in all playing conditions as we head deeper into December.
I don’t understand why Ladarius Green only gets six targets but I have to see the coach’s film before I comment further. But why is Green on the kickoff team? And why does Keenan Allen also play special teams? Any coach who exposes a valuable offensive weapon to special teams, which is almost entirely random and really has no predictive value, is an idiot. And I mostly like Mike McCoy.
The Bengals defense is first rate though. But having a first-rate defense and about three bucks will get you a cup of coffee and maybe a handful of change. It’s not buying you championships. Yes, you can point to the exceptions, all three or four of them. But we know from the stat gurus and the gambling sharps that it’s the offense that controls about two-thirds of the offensive vs. defense outcome. Lesson: never bench a player in a good offense due to a matchup. Clearly the Bengals get some credit but mostly Philip Rivers and company had a bad day, which can’t be predicted.
I’d get BenJarvus Green-Ellis even though the Bengals were among the league leaders in passing attempts per game. They don’t seem to want to be. The Law Firm was on waivers in a deep expert league for me this week.
Yeah, Justin Hunter didn’t work out. Tall and fast is my weakness. He’s still a dynasty play and a true sleeper for next year, not one of these sleepers that everyone loves. If everyone loves you, you’re not a sleeper.
The Bills have a tough pass defense so I respect Roddy White’s day as evidence you can trust him again off the ankle woes. And even Steven Jackson busted out by averaging a whopping 3.7 yards on 23 carries.
I don’t know what to tell you about C.J. Spiller but trust that I don’t have to because people who drafted Spiller where he was going are pretty much all done by now.
Even on his big catch, Michael Crabtree seemed decidedly non-explosive.
Vernon Davis has been a beast and registered his 10th TD catch of the year with four games left. Davis is now the eighth tight end in league history to register multiple double-digit TD years: Wesley Walls, Shannon Sharpe, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark are the others, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Josh Gordon is easily a first-round caliber wide receiver next year. He’s having a monster, history-making season. Yeah, my fears that Megatron would suffer all year due to his knee injury were completely misguided. I’m out of the injury speculation business forever because of it. But I only said to trade him for Gordon in that column and no one’s season would have been harmed if they listened to me, even straight up. So I accept your apology.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was terrible and even though he salvaged some points with his legs, touting him as a plausible option this week was a stupid move by me. We all should know by now that Fitzpatrick is not bettable, for cryin’ out loud.
Forget getting benched, Trent Richardson is lucky he’s still in the league.
The Texans were the No. 1 defense in yards, which is a stupid measure for real football but not bad for our purposes. So Tom Brady’s big day should be respected as a sign that he is back as many said he would be when is receivers returned to full capacity. But Julian Edelman is basically what we thought Danny Amendola would be. Play Edelman every week in PPR (#killthePPR).
I guess you can drop Stevan Ridley now. Last week was the fumble that broke Bill Belichick’s back.
Alshon Jeffery was amazing again. He was on our big, fast, highly-drafted breakout list. So was Stephen Hill though. It’s hit or miss, but what do the misses cost? Justin Hunter will be on it next year, you can bet. None of this would dissuade me from starting Brandon Marshall going forward.
Michael Floyd was another wide-receiver model pick. He’s on pace for 1,147 receiving yards, but is a little light in touchdowns (four). Certainly playable though. Again, he cost very little and that’s the idea: high upside, low cost. We need to leverage our middle and late-round picks. Floors don’t matter. Ceilings do. You can always find floor on the waiver wire.
You could almost predict Adrian Peterson rushing for 200-plus yards, that’s how miserable Chicago’s run defense is. I still don’t take him with the first overall pick next year though. Who do I take? That’s a tough one. Probably Calvin Johnson but maybe LeSean McCoy. I just refuse to bet heavily on backs with 2,000 or more carries. It’s a rule.
Cam Newton presents some challenges. He’s a great fantasy player but slowly builds momentum as the season progresses and we need fast starts in our short seasons.
Nick Foles had an interception taken off the board. So he’s now at 19 touchdowns and zero picks, the second best start ever behind Manning’s 20 TDs before a pick this year.
I think Michael Vick will play for the Jets next year. I don’t think it will be for Rex Ryan though. It will be a disaster.

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