The NFL season really never ceases to amaze me. We think we have all the stats broken down, know where all the great matchups will be, and then act surprised when the games don’t turn out the way we expected them to. This is what drives Fantasy owners crazy, but it’s also what makes the NFL great. It’s truly the best reality television program out there, as you really never know what is going to happen.
Are the Colts playing games with us? All week long, Andrew Luck was supposed to play. They even released third string quarterback Josh Johnson, seemingly to indicate that Luck is healthy. Then they re-signed Johnson but supposedly, that was because backup QB Matt Hasselbeck had to spend a couple of days in the hospital due to illness. Then, come game day we find out Luck will not be active and that Hasselbeck will start. How bad must Luck’s shoulder injury be that the team was forced to start a QB who spent two days in the hospital that week? The good news is that Hasselbeck made Andre Johnson relevant again. I know, you’re going to say it was a revenge matchup, but that is really a myth. How did the revenge factor work earlier that week for WR Golden Tate or for DeMarco Murray in Week 2?
If you’re relying on the Texans’ quarterback situation, then you really deserve what you get, but this is kind of ridiculous. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett have played in each game and usually haven’t played with any kind of consistency. It’s amazing the kind of season WR DeAndre Hopkins is having when you consider he is there only real downfield option. Arian Foster is back and showed Thursday that in PPR leagues he can catch the ball early and often out of the backfield. This is a big plus, as that offensive line didn’t open up any holes versus the Colts.
No Alshon Jeffery, no Eddie Royal, no problem, as Jay Cutler still managed to lead Chicago to a victory (I wonder if at the end of the season Chicago will regret winning this game, as it might cost them the number one overall draft pick). With Jeffery missing yet another game with a different injury (hamstring, calf) I’d like to sit him and watch him play before returning him to my Fantasy lineup.
As of this writing, we don’t know the full extent of the injury to Jamaal Charles, but there is plenty of speculation that it will end up being a torn ACL and thus, end his season. This is a tough blow to Fantasy owners, as Charles was more than likely a Top 5 pick in your draft. Those who are wondering who to grab as the starter in KC, don’t automatically assume it will be Kniles Davis. Charkandrick West will be involved in some kind of timeshare, possibly even more than you might think.
We knew that Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) wasn’t going to play this week, but we didn’t know that Thomas Rawls would tear up the Bengals’ defense. This was a surprise, as the Bengals boast one of the better defenses in the game; whereas the Seahawks have had their issues with the offensive line. You have to believe that Rawls won’t be forgotten once Lynch returns. Now we know why Seattle didn’t mind trading away Christine Michael.
Fantasy owners are sure to be alarmed about the performance of Julio Jones versus the Redskins. Yes, he scored a touchdown, but that was on a fumble recovery. Otherwise, he only had five receptions for 67 yards. Those are very pedestrian numbers for Jones. What is most concerning, however, is watching him move. There is an obvious hitch in his giddy up. That hamstring is bothering him quite a bit and the Falcons play again in just four days. You’re still starting him Thursday (assuming he plays), but assuming he puts up big numbers versus a pretty bad Saints defense may be wishful thinking. Roddy White looks old and slow right now, but perhaps he has a recovery similar to Andre Johnson this week. I wouldn’t bet on it, however. Tevin Coleman owners may have gotten a tad bit excited when they heard that he would split the carries with Devonta Freeman. Yeah, not so much, as he had two carries for three yards.
How about Doug Martin? Hopefully, his big game versus the Jaguars will end up doing more than just reminding everyone that he did the same thing in his rookie season versus the Raiders.
Julius Thomas surprised quite a few people when he returned Sunday. He received just two targets during the game, catching both, but his presence should open up the outside passing game for Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, which should open up the running lanes for T.J. Yeldon. The problem is that Yeldon had to leave the game with a groin injury. Keep an eye on his status during the week; but this offense should be able to continue to score points.
DeMarco Murray accounted for 120 total yards versus the Saints. Yes, it was against a porous defense, but he still touched the ball 27 times. Murray is one of those backs who gets better as the game moves along and needs to be fed the ball. If you didn’t start him this week, and you were waiting for him to show some sign of life before putting him back in your lineup, it looks like you got what you were waiting for.
The Ravens’ defense is just awful without Terrell Suggs. Josh McCown put up 457 yards against them. 457 yards! Are you kidding me? I’m not trying to drown the Browns here, but that is just pathetic. If you still own the Ravens DST, it’s time to move on.
The Browns are figuring it out offensively. They are using Duke Johnson more and more each week (so should Fantasy owners). Duke can catch the ball out of backfield as well as run it; he is a dual threat back. Tight end Gary Barnidge (8-139-1) has come out of nowhere to become a must-start each week. The Browns’ offensive players are no longer a must-sit each week.
What did we learn about the Rams’ offense Sunday? Nick Foles is terrible and he is not going to take this team to the Promised Land; and Todd Gurley is the real deal. Think about how good Gurley could be. He rushed for 159 yards Sunday. This was behind a porous offensive line (one that tried to get Foles maimed in the first half), and when the defense knew he was going to get the ball. He is that talented, and is a must-start in just about every type of league. For more on Gurley and Foles, check out this video:
If you sat and watched the entire Buffalo-Tennessee game Sunday, hats off to you. That game was pretty brutal. The bloom is certainly off the rose for QB Tyrod Taylor; but is that fair? He was without his number one WR for the second straight game, as Sammy Watkins couldn’t play through his calf injury. The Bills were also down to their third string running back, as both LeSean McCoy (groin) and Karlos Williams (concussion) were out. Any QB is going to struggle without those weapons. He still willed the Bills to win, mainly with his legs. He’s not a QB1, but you shouldn’t just forget about him either; he can still be useful to your Fantasy team.
There really isn’t much to say about the Cowboys on offense. Without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, they will continue to struggle. It’s not all Brandon Weeden’s fault, but at this point I’d be shocked if Matt Cassel didn’t start for them after their bye week.
Whether or not you’re able to is a different story, but if possible, I would want to stay away from the Broncos’ running game for the foreseeable future. C.J. Anderson out-touched Ronnie Hillman 11-8, but neither was effective. Somehow, the Broncos continue to win, but it’s not because of their running game and that may not change anytime soon.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.