Reaction Monday: The NFL Roller Coaster
Every Autumn Sunday is a roller coaster.
You strap in (on your couch), slowly ascend up the opening hill (watch pre-game shows and go on Twitter for start/sit opinions) and then once you hit the apex of the hill (1:00PM EST), you start. It’s go time.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I went through an intense ride on Sunday. The early-afternoon games weren’t horrible to me, but they weren’t kind. I had Randall Cobb in plenty of leagues, but I also was hoping for something more from Matthew Stafford, a keeper I had in a league from last season.
Whatever. I was still competing in every matchup going into the late-afternoon games, and just needed some moderately solid games by Percy Harvin, Antonio Brown and Darren McFadden.
My beloved Steelers were in New York to face the Elis, and I was, above all else, hoping for a big W on the road from them. The game started out great, and I was at a good place on the metaphorical roller coaster.
And then, as Roethlisberger’s arm moved forward and the Giants somehow de-tucked the “Tuck Rule”, Run-DMC hurt his leg. It was almost simultaneous, too. It was as if the roller coaster completely Final Destination 3’d.
It didn’t help that Antonio Brown had left in the first quarter of the Steeler game, and Percy Harvin left his game as well. The Steelers dropped to a double-digit deficit, my teams were all screwed, and I could only think about the awful week I had ahead of me.
But then, out of almost nowhere, Mike Wallace happened. The speedster, albeit not my favorite Steeler, snagged a short 8-yard pass from Big Ben and scampered around the field and into the end zone for a score. The Steelers were down just a field goal. There was hope.
…until Mike Tomlin called a fake field goal on a 4th and 1 just yards away from the Giants’ end zone.
“Are you serious?” I screamed at the television.
The Steelers defense saved me, though. Their sound tackling, good pressure and solid deflections kept the Steelers in the game and allowed another fourth quarter score. After ups, downs, lefts and rights, the roller coaster was done. My head was hurting (from yelling at the television), but my face was smiling…even with a fantasy disaster.
Look, I watch football because I love my team. I watch it because I enjoy the ups and downs, no matter the outcome. I watch it because I can analyze something that has become one of the key elements of entertainment in our very culture.
And that’s why I do this each and every week. Because I love it.
Doug Martin becomes a household name
We’re all fantasy footballers, so we know who Doug Martin is. But your wife? Your mom? Your dog?
Everyone knows Doug Martin after yesterday’s performance against Oakland. They could’ve got to know him last Thursday, but half of America doesn’t have the NFL Network.
Martin rushed for over 250 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 51-point standard scoring outing. For the record, last week against Minnesota, Martin posted 32 points. That’s 83 points over the last two weeks. And that’s also insane.
If you’re a Martin owner, there’s no need to “sell high” on the guy. That would be idiotic. He’s moving into Arian Foster territory on a week-by-week basis, and that’s something you can’t afford to give up in the fantasy world.
Am I overreacting? No, actually I don’t think I am. Martin has posted double-digit fantasy totals all but two weeks this season, and he’s officially pushed away any fear that LeGarrette Blount would be stealing carries from him. Martin is the man in an up-and-coming Tampa Bay offense.
I was a middle-of-the-road lover of Martins coming into the season. One man, C.D. Carter (@CDCarter13), let it be known that you were getting a stud in drafting him. Let’s give some props to Carter. Doug Martin is officially a top-5 fantasy back.
Injuries ruin slim playoff hopes
If you started Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, Percy Harvin or Darren McFadden this week, your chances of winning were dropped dramatically. In one league, I had Harvin and DMC. In another, I needed Brown and McFadden to outscore Miles Austin.
Needless to say, I lost both games.
There’s nothing worse than slotting a guy in your lineup and seeing him go down in the first quarter to injury, especially when you’re an advocate of one of those players (DMC, Antonio Brown). It’s a shame to see McFadden suffer through another injury, and I really hope he’s not out for long. Please, though – don’t go saying that he’s “injury prone”. That whole idea is, for the most part, irrelevant. Check out this post by Frank Dupont on the subject: Link to article.
Andrew Luck isn’t just Lucky
If you watched the rookie quarterback against the Dolphins, you saw something special. About a month ago, I supported the idea of making Andrew Luck your top quarterback. I stand by that, especially given the Colts’ schedule down the stretch.
Unfortunately, Luck was just decimal points away from surpassing Aaron Rodgers in yet another fantasy week. While it doesn’t necessarily support my direct argument, it should be eye-opening to any non-believer in my strategy. Andrew Luck is a rookie quarterback, and he’s on pace to throw for well over 4,000 yards. That’s something only two quarterbacks – regardless of tenure – accomplished less than ten years ago.
The NFL has changed for quarterbacks…all of them. A yardage total of 433 was unheard of by any quarterback not long ago. Now, it’s nearly commonplace, even for rookie quarterbacks.
Mikel Leshoure was Lesurely a good start
Matthew Stafford owners were very disappointed when the Lions rushed for four touchdowns on Sunday. And three of them came from Mikel Leshoure.
It’s not as though Leshoure had all that strong of a game. He had 16 carries for 70 yards – a very Cedric Benson-like performance. That’s what you need to expect from him now and moving forward each week. If you’re starting him, you’ll probably get around 7 to 9 points each time he hits the field. Not usually much more, not usually much less. Just expect it.
There was Non-Existent Tight End Production in Week 9
There was just one tight end with over 100 yards receiving in Week 9: Jermaine Gresham. Oh, imagine that, he was “really neat” in my weekly start/sit column this week. (just let me brag about that one, please!)
Could it be that it’s because the Patriots were on a bye and Jimmy Graham plays tonight? Maybe. But what I did like this week was that Brandon Myers finally was able to do something with the targets he’s been accumulating. He could continue to be a decent matchup play moving forward.
Randall Cobb is better than we expected
A lot of us were high on Cobb coming into 2012. With Aaron Rodgers tossing the rock all over the field, many figured Cobb’s explosiveness could work well with Rodgers’ ability to get the ball down the field.
After 9 weeks of football, Cobb is showing us that his sleeper potential is now sleeper reality.
Cobb now has six touchdowns over the last five weeks, and was the third highest scoring receiver in plenty of league formats this weekend. He’s turning himself into a high-end WR2 right before our very eyes. If you own him, feel fortunate. There are good days ahead for the Packers’ receiver.
Adrian Peterson torches Seattle
For the owners who decided to take a risk on AP this season – your risk is paying off. Peterson ran for 182 yards on just 17 carries against Seattle, and was the best running back outside of Doug Martin in Week 9.
One big takeaway is that Seattle’s rush defense isn’t looking as strong now as it did towards the beginning of the season. They gave up 12 fantasy points to the Lions’ backs last week, and 22 to the 49ers the week before that. They’re no longer a “tough” matchup, especially on the road.
What do we do with Steeler running backs?
I never thought I’d say this, but the Steelers offensive line is playing really well. It seems like whoever is running behind them is able to go for a big day. Isaac Redman was this week’s winner.
So, if you’re a Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman owner – what do you do? If I’m a Redman owner, I’d first see if someone in my league will trade for him. I don’t expect him to be a lead back once Dwyer and Mendenhall are healthy.
If I’m in a keeper league and Jonathan Dwyer is out there, I’d snag him. With Mendenhall’s contract due to be up, the Steelers will have a hard time re-signing him. Why? Well, if he does well, the Steelers won’t want to overpay for him to stay. If he doesn’t do well, then the Steelers won’t want to re-sign him.
I see it being Dwyer’s job next season, as the Steelers offense slowly transforms into one of the more balanced ones in the NFL.
Dez Bryant is a headache
I recently traded Dez Bryant in a league because his being on my team made my stomach hurt. His hip injury has hindered his ability to make plays, and it’s showing. One catch on four targets isn’t something you want in your lineup every week, and if I’m a Dez owner, I’m looking for other options at a very deep position.
Carson “Garbage Time” Palmer does it again
If you look back at my 32 in 32 post on the Raiders, you’ll see that I had love for Carson Palmer way before the season started. It’s not necessarily because I think he’s a good quarterback – because he’s not. It’s because his weapons are there, and he’s a prime example of a quarterback consistently getting points in garbage time.
Do you know who the best fantasy quarterback was this weekend? Carson Palmer. Do you know why? Doug Martin.
Full circle – just like a loop on a roller coaster. Have a good one, folks.