Heading into their bye week the New Orleans Saints had some serious issues with their pass defense. Opposing quarterbacks were averaging 299 yards passing and racked up 10 total touchdowns (nine passing, one rushing) against them. Now one would think that the team would use the extra time to do all they could to shore up what has been their biggest problem. Apparently they must need much more than a week.
The Saints ended up eeking out a 35-28 victory behind a mammoth game from Drew Brees that saw him throw for 377 yards (313 in the first half!) and four touchdowns. The problem here was the effort by Brees wasn’t even the biggest on the field. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman actually ended up throwing for 420 yards and three scores. He did so while completing 24 passes for an average of 17.5 yards-per-reception. Vincent Jackson was responsible for more than half the damage, hauling in seven passes for 216 yards and a score.
Heading into this week starting Josh Freeman was a sneaky good move. A solid game was a reasonable expectation from a guy in a plus matchup. A monster game was what he rewarded Fantasy owners with. While I don’t want to knock a guy after such a good game, I feel pretty safe in saying the Saints pass defense is equally responsible here. Expect Freeman to come crashing back down to earth next week in Minnesota.
As for the Saints, expect much more of the same. Brees and company will continue to have to put 30-plus points a game to have a chance at winning. Their defense will continue impersonating a bunch of guys that look like they are playing tag with the ball carrier. Peyton Manning will have two weeks to prepare for these guys. Let me go on the record right now in stating he is going to lead all quarterbacks in scoring next week.
Over his last four games Chris Johnson has 451 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. This is including a 15-carry, 24-yard performance in Minnesota. While he continues to dance a bit too much behind the line of scrimmage for my liking, there have also been some holes finally being opened by his offensive line. His detractors will say his big Week 7 performance against Buffalo was courtesy of an 83-yard touchdown scamper, but if you remove that tally he still had 112 yards and a touchdown on his other 17 carries. It also isn’t a coincidence that Johnson’s revival directly coincides with Matt Hasselbeck taking over behind center for the injured Jake Locker. Opposing defenses are a little more hesitant to stack the box knowing the wily vet can make them pay for it. If Hasselbeck keeps the job upon Locker’s return to health, expect Johnson to continue to post solid numbers. A return of Locker very well could stymie his resurgence.
I don’t know what is worse in Fantasy football. Watching your stud running back get carted off the field in the first half of his game or watching him return in the second half in street clothes and on crutches. All of you Maurice Jones-Drew owners feel free to hit me up and let me know on Twitter. He ended up getting injured on his second carry against the Raiders in what looked to be just a run of the mill tackle. The only word we currently have is that it is his left foot. Rashad Jenningscarried a full load in his place against Oakland and looks to be in line for at least a few starts in the coming weeks in place of MJD. Jennings is one of the better backup options in the league and also happens to be available in 80 percent of leagues hosted on CBSSports.com. He is without a doubt the top option on waiver wires this week and should be viewed as a valid RB2 option that Fantasy owners may be able to use for an extended period of time.
I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn express last night either. I did however witness Adrian Peterson absolutely shred what I consider a Top-10 defensive front seven in Arizona for 153 rushing yards and a score on 23 carries. Five of those carries were over 12 yards in length with his long on the day being 27 yards. He showed off his patented burst, wiggle and power that he displayed prior to his season ending knee injury last season. Peterson himself claims every week he is getting stronger and the results definitely indicate that is the case. With the way the running back position is shaking out this season I think Peterson will finish second in scoring behind Arian Foster. He is on pace to carry the ball 312 times for 1,498 yards and seven touchdowns. Throw in the fact that he is also on pace to catch a career-high 50 passes and you have yourself a recipe for success here folks. If you own him, congratulations on having the stones to take him early on draft day.
Heading into Week 7, the major detractor when it came to the Browns Josh Gordon was the fact that he wasn’t going to be able to help Fantasy owners because of the limited amount of targets he has seen. Through his first six games he had received 26 targets and was able to catch 12 of them for 274 yards and three scores. This week against the Colts he caught two passes for 59 yards and another score while receiving 10 targets. He could have had a huge game had he not dropped a 55-yard would-be touchdown pass on a play where he lost the ball in the sun. There are going to be growing pains in the form of improper reads between Gordon and fellow rookie Brandon Weeden. That comes with the territory. The combination of Weeden now consistently looking his way and the team actually calling Gordon’s number on a regular basis makes him a legitimate WR3. If this guy is still floating around on your waiver wire go out and get him.
The Carolina Panthers fell to 1-5 after a tough 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at home. Nothing of major significance happened during the contest from a Fantasy perspective. The press conference after the game provided all of the fireworks. Cam Newton proceeded to go off when questioned on his team’s performance. He offered “The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director” and “It’s kind of getting boring. This taste, this vibe – I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change.” When asked a follow up question on his suggestion as to what to change he said he didn’t know and offered up using a “suggestion box” for people to add their ideas. Now I don’t know about you, but this reeks of dysfunctional. Newton’s character and leadership have come into question and this type of action is precisely why. This will undoubtedly create a media firestorm, not to mention strife in the locker room. All of these distractions are not going to be good for his play. In my eyes he is no longer a lock as a weekly start.
Mark Sanchezhad his best game of the season this week and believe me when I say, it was no coincidence that Dustin Keller played a huge part in it. The tight end hauled in all seven of his targets for 93 yards and a score. After missing the team’s first five games, courtesy of a hamstring injury, the Jets eased him back into action last week prior to unleashing him in full this week against their division rival. Fantasy owners out there with a glaring hole at the position should look no further then Keller. He led the team in targets and receiving yards last season and was without a doubt the man Sanchez looked to when he needed a big catch. With Santonio Holmes done for the season and nothing but unproven options in the passing game around him, Keller should lead this team in targets moving forward. He won’t post elite numbers, but will provide steady production for those of you out there who don’t have the luxury of employing a Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski.