Blount Force Trauma
If I am five minutes late to work nobody notices. Jonas Gray definitely wishes it worked that way for him. His cell phone died; unfortunately, it also functioned as his alarm clock, so he showed up late to practice on Friday. In case you haven't heard, that kind of thing is frowned upon by Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
[caption id="attachment_85477" align="alignright" width="300"] Blount's return to New England puts him back on the Fantasy map. Photo Credit: jdn[/caption]
LeGarrette Blount was cut by Pittsburgh last Tuesday because he left the field before the Steelers win the Sunday before. He went unclaimed on waivers, leaving him free to sign with any team. New England swooped in and signed him to a two-year contract on Thursday morning. At the time, it looked like a depth signing. It turned out to be much more.
Having spent last season with the Patriots, Blount was familiar with their offense. Belichick decided to teach Gray a lesson by keeping him active for the game but not allowing him to step on the field. Gray’s work instead went to Blount, who had 12 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Blount played 17 snaps on the afternoon, in a game that was very pass-heavy. Most, if not all of those snaps would have been Gray's had he not overslept.
Blount averaged 5.0 yards-per-carry last season for the Patriots. Gray averaged 4.8 yards-per-carry prior to the arrival of Blount. These two are essentially the same in terms of skill-set. Fantasy owners that picked up or already owned Gray went from having the Patriots’ early down/short yardage thumper to a guy who will likely share his work with Blount moving forward. It’s just another example of a running back that turns into fool's gold in New England.
This little observation isn't totally Fantasy Football related, but for those of you that haven't seen the touchdown catch by Odell Beckham, it was just plain sick. He reached behind his head to make a one-handed (actually three finger) catch on a ball, and he was interfered with on the play as well. There are videos of him making crazy catches in warm-ups. The fact that he is now carrying those over into games makes him downright scary. Beckham also has made every player in the secondary he has faced look silly. His short area quickness is without a doubt among the very best in the league. Over his last four games he has 31 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns. This kid is a legit stud, who is going to carry Fantasy owners to plenty of championships.
Ahmad Bradshaw's season ending broken leg opened the door for Trent Richardson to dominate the touches out of the Colts backfield. From the looks of things, Richardson doesn't understand the concept of walking through said door. In fact, he didn't even get the start against Jacksonville; that went to Dan "Boom" Herron. Richardson got out-touched 17-13 and out-gained 96-42 on the afternoon. The fact that Richardson didn't start says to me that the organization is acknowledging that he isn't the back they thought he was when they traded for him. Herron was quicker and looked like the superior player and the numbers back this claim. He even lost a fumble in the contest but the Colts stayed with him anyway. If Herron is available in your league, he needs to be added; he should continue to out-touch Richardson, putting him firmly on the RB2 radar from here on.
Cleveland coach Mike Pettine tried playing coy with the media when he said that star receiver Josh Gordon would be on a "pitch count." On game day, FOX's Jay Glazer reported that Gordon would be a full go, and that is exactly what everyone who pays any attention to football knew was coming. Gordon is the Browns’ unquestioned best player. Brian Hoyer attempted 40 passes in Cleveland's last second 26-24 victory over Atlanta, and 16 of them were intended for Gordon. He hauled in eight of them for 120 yards. I’m pretty sure that means he was involved in the game plan. The only issue I saw in this game was the chemistry between Gordon and Hoyer. Two of Hoyer's three interceptions were on passes that were well off the mark and intended for Gordon. When these two get on the same page it's going to be dangerous. Gordon has played three full games with Hoyer under center; Gordon has 22 receptions for 337 yards and a touchdown on 44 targets in those games. Fantasy owners that held him all season long are going to reap those rewards if they make the playoffs.
Fantasy owners hoping for the upside Colin Kaepernick brings to the table in the form of his freakish athletic ability have been greatly disappointed this season. As a passer, he has shown slight improvement. His accuracy has improved; he had a 54.8 percent completion rate last year, while posting a 61.6 percent mark so far this year. He is on pace to throw for 3,804 yards and 22 touchdowns. Both would be career-best marks but not the kind of numbers that make him anything more than ordinary. His legs were supposed to help make up for his average throwing results. However, his rushing numbers have lacked as well. He has gained just 336 yards on 75 carries this year. Last season, he racked up 524 yards and four touchdowns on 92 carries. Kaepernick has just one 300-yard passing game and just three games with more than one touchdown pass. The next step in his development hasn't come. Do yourself a favor and don't chase that athleticism next season unless it's going to be as a bye week filler for your starter.
When something positive happens, any good Fantasy owner will make a mental note of it, especially if it involves a little known player. If that player repeats the performance, it becomes time to look a little closer. Minnesota's Charles Johnson has now led the team's receivers in both Fantasy scoring and targets. The results aren't exactly other-worldly, as he has nine receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. That, however, looks to be more of a representation of the state of the Vikings’ passing game than anything else, though. Over that same time span, no receiver has more than five receptions, 42 reception yards or eight targets. He has replaced Jarius Wright as the team's third receiver. With Cordarrelle Patterson lacking polish and the ability to catch the ball, and Greg Jennings playing the role of a possession receiver, there is an opportunity for Johnson to continue to carve out a role. If you are hurting at receiver, Johnson is definitely worth a flyer, and he has a pair of plus matchups on tap against the Panthers and Jets.
Montee Ball suffered his second groin injury of the season last week against the Rams. The first injury cost him five games; this one is expected to cost him two or three more. While Ball was out the first time around, Ronnie Hillman drastically outplayed him, showing more burst on routes and looking like a better fit for the offense. That was, of course, until Hillman went down with his foot injury. With Hillman and Ball on the shelf, C.J. Anderson got the start this week against an underrated Miami defense. He absolutely shredded them for 195 yards from scrimmage, which happens to be the best performance by a Broncos running back this season. There are two things you need to know here. First being, if Anderson stays healthy he very keep the job. Second being, that Ball probably won't start another game for the Broncos while Anderson and Hillman are healthy. If you own Ball, you can cut him loose.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.