Another Sunday, just another reminder about how much we do not know about the NFL in 2011. Naaman Roosevelt led the Bills in targets, Jackie Battle rushed for more than 100 yards and even Darrelle Revis is no match for the Patriots receiving corps.
One thing we do know: Good or bad, the Tim Tebow era is about to begin. It was fun reading all of the reactions on Twitter. There are a lot of people who clearly hate Tebow. There are a lot of people who want him to succeed. Twitter is fun.
Let’s get to the games.
Raiders 25, Texans 20
I’m sure a lot of people detected some cheese with all of the Al Davis love on Sunday, however, he was an NFL icon. The Raiders won in a fashion that would have made Davis proud. Sebastian Janikowski, one of Davis “crazy” picks hit four field goals, including three of more than 50 yards, racking up huge fantasy points.
Derrius Heyward-Bey, another “crazy” pick, had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Jason Campbell targeted him 12 times. In the rest of that receiver battle, Jacoby Ford was targeted seven times (3 catches, 36 yards) and Denarious Moore was targeted six times but did not make a catch.
Working without Andre Johnson, we were all waiting to see how the passes were going to be distributed in Houston. Jacoby Jones led with 11 targets but caught just one pass for nine yards. Owen Daniels had the same number targets but caught seven for 89 yards. Joel Dreessen was targeted nine times and caught 5 for 112 and a score. Kevin Walter, who had six targets, also scored in a 5-81 game.
Matt Schaub threw for more than 400 yards, thanks in large part to a pass-catching Arian Foster. Foster finished with 116 yards receiving on five catches. He also rushed 22 time for 68 yards. He’s healthy.
Eagles 24, Bills 31
Michael Vick continued his Oops Machine play, throwing four picks. He also rushed for 90 yards and threw two touchdowns. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin each caught touchdowns, but Jason Avant led the Eagles with 10 targets and nine catches for 139 yards. He also had a costly fumble.
The victorious Bills got an efficient 21-for-27 out of Ryan Fitzpatrick. His most-targeted receiver: Naaman Roosevelt with seven. Roosevelt caught five passes for 41 yards. Those sneaky Bills. Steve Johnson was targeted five time and caught four for 29.
Seahawks 36, Giants 25
Tarvaris Jackson played well before his injury and Charlie Whitehurst continued that success in his place. The duo combined to go 26-for-41 for 315 yards, two TDs and an INT against the Giants squishy secondary.
Doug Baldwin was the best receiver, going 8-136-1 on nine targets. Ben Obamanu led the team with 10 targets, catching six for 51 and a touchdown. Sidney Rice, who was targeted five time caught four for 38. Rice will be better, but don’t sleep on Baldwin, a rookie.
Eli Manning was picked off three times, including a game-loser, but also threw for 420 and three TDs. He’s becoming a fantasy stud again. Victor Cruz was the most targeted Giants receiver, he caught 8-of-11 for 161 yards and a touchdown. He is frustrating but should not be on a single waiver wire after this performance. Jake Ballard, a sneaky TE play for teams with bye-week issues, paid dividends. He caught three passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Hakeem Nicks, the most talented Giants receiver, caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Mario Manningham was targeted second most, catching 5-of-9 for 56 yards.
Chiefs 28, Colts 24
This was one of those games with quite a few fantasy story lines. First, I’m going to address Jackie Battle, who rushed for 119 yards on 19 carries against the Colts. He shouldn’t stay on waiver wires, but considering what success Thomas Jones had (10-55), it means the Chiefs’ running game was moving the ball well. Battle has been in the league for four years. Let’s see a few more performances before we anoint him the next anything.
Curtis Painter and Matt Cassel each had excellent games. Painter threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, both to Pierre Garcon (five catches, 125 yards). Cassel threw for 20 fewer yards, but tossed four TD passes. Dwayne Bowe had seven catches for 128 yards and two scores. Steve Breaston also had two scores in the win, making him a bye-week game-changer for some owners.
Colts running back Joseph Addai left the game with a first-quarter injury. His replacements were Donald Brown (eight rushes for 38 yards) and Delone Carter (12 carries, 22 yards and a TD). I’d rather own Carter if Addai is out for a lengthy stretch.
For you IDP players: Pat Angerer made 15 tackles and Antoine Bethea racked up 12.
Cardinals 10, Vikings 34
Adrian Peterson is awesome. There’s nothing new here, but he rushed for three TDs and 122 yards on 29 carries. He’s the only Vikings offensive player worth starting every week in most leagues. Devin Aromashodu caught two passes for 81 yards, but Michael Jenkins was targeted more.
Kevin Kolb threw for just 232 yards, was picked off twice and lost a fumble. Kevin Kolb just doing his thing. He targeted Early Doucet the most. Doucet was thrown to 16 times, catching half of them for 92 yards.
Titans 17, Steelers 38
Ben Roethlisberger‘s foot didn’t seem to bother him much. He was only sacked once and that was the only hit he took. An upright Roethlisberger is a good Roethlisberger. He threw five TD passes, including two to Hines Ward.
The passing game opened things up for a run game that appeared to be freed from the Rashard Mendenhall anchor. Isaac Redman rush for 49 yards on 15 carries and Jonathan Dwyer (back from the fantasy dead) rushed for 107 yards on 11 carries. I imagine Mendenhall would have had a great game if he was healthy. Don’t trade him for a peanut butter sandwich yet.
The Titans were not great, but we’re still monitoring the pass distribution since Kenny Britt‘s season-ending injury. Damian Williams led in targets and had the best performance, catching six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 11 times. Jared Cook was second in targets, going 4-59. Lavelle Hawkins and Nate Washington were each targeted eight times. Washington had another flex-worthy PPR performance, catching five passes for 69 yards. Hawkins caught four for 33 yards.
Jason McCourty (14 tackles) and James Farrior (13 tackles) each had big games for their fantasy owners.
Saints 30, Panthers 27
As usual, we’ll mock the Saints’ pass distribution. Well, we’ll mock everything after Jimmy Graham. Graham was targeted 12 times catching eight for 129 yards. Marques Colston and Lance Moore were each targeted six times. Darren Sproles was targeted seven times. Robert Meachem was targeted five times. Typical Saints.
I thought it was interesting to see Cam Newton spread the ball around a bit beyond Steve Smith. Smith (3-79-1) still got his, but Legedu Naanee was the most-targeted receiver, catching four for 63 yards. Jeremy Shockey was targeted as much as Smith and Greg Olsen was targeted five time. Both Shockey and Olsen caught TDs.
One of my big concerns was seeing what Newton does when Smith doesn’t have 150-yard games.
Bengals 30, Jaguars 20
Blaine Gabbert‘s two fumbles lost eclipsed another solid but unspectacular passing performance (15-28 for 221 and a touchdown). Jason Hill was his top target, catching five of eight passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Andy Dalton continued to target A.J. Green (5 catches, 90 yards and a touchdown) the most, but Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham (seven targets each) were only one target behind.
Buccaneers 3, 49ers 48
This blowout was one of those not-as-we-expected stunners. 49ers rookie Colin Kaepernick played in the game, but it wasn’t to replace a benched Alex Smith. Smith threw three TDs. Josh Morgan was his top target, but Vernon Davis caught two touchdown passes. Frank Gore (20-125-1) had another strong rushing performance. Kendall Hunter rushed for 65 yards on nine carries.
The Buccaneers were a mess. LeGarrette Blount rushed just 10 times for 34 yards. Josh Freeman was picked off twice. Mike Williams was targeted nine times and caught four for 28 yards. Big disappointment for anyone who picked him in the second-third rounds.
Chargers 29, Broncos 24
Tim Tebow is certainly dominating headlines in Denver today. He wasn’t terrific, but the Broncos definitely have more energy when he’s in the game. His windup is slow, but he threw a TD pass and rushed for a TD. He’ll be the starter next week or John Fox will be run out of town.
Last year he scored more fantasy point than any other player in the final three weeks. He’s a must-add if he’s available in your league, but let’s withhold judgement until we see some more snaps.
His arrival may be bad for Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker. Lloyd and Decker were targeted nine times. They caught three passes for 16 yards. Half of that can be blamed on Kyle Orton (6-for-13, 34 yards, interception), but this offense will definitely change with Tebow in there. Something tells me Moreno’s TD catch might be a sign of things to come.
Willis McGahee rushed for 125 yards on 16 carries. His role in the offense might change with Tebow’s arrival.
San Diego’s offense was very unselfish. Malcom Floyd caught Philip Rivers only touchdown pass. He finished with three catches and 100 yards. He was targeted the most (seven times), Vincent Jackson and Randy McMichael, who had forgettable fantasy totals, were each targeted six times.
Mike Tolbert was concussed. Early reports say he’ll be fine after San Diego’s bye week. He was on pace for a good game, rushing for 24 yards on five carries and making three catches for 25 yards before getting hurt. Don’t assume Ryan Mathews will get all the work if Tolbert is not ready to go or gets hurt in the future. Jacob Hester rushed 11 times for 47 yards and caught two passes for 13 yards in Tolbert’s absence.
Jets 21, Patriots 30
Mark Sanchez throws only 26 passes against the worst pass defense in the NFL? How does that happen? Two of those passes were touchdowns, one to Santonio Holmes and one to Jeremy Kerley. Kerley likely will replace Derrick Mason in the starting lineup.
The poor play-calling led to an 83-yard-and-a-TD game out of Shonn Greene.
Meanwhile, the Patriots won the game doing what they do. What we learned about the Patriots: The best cornerback in the league and the defense that has allowed the least fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2011 cannot slow down Tom Brady and company.
Brady threw for 321 yards and a touchdown. Wes Welker caught five passes for 124 yards despite Darrelle Revis‘ harassment. Deion Branch, who had seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, proved that focusing solely on Welker is not a winning strategy either. The return of Aaron Hernandez (nine targets, five catches and 56 yards) cut down Rob Gronkowski‘s (four targets, four catches, 31 yards) fantasy value as expected.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis rushed 27 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Rex Ryan, that’s how you ground-and-pound and win.
Packers 25, Falcons 14
Kickers get little love in the notes, but Mason Crosby deserves some recognition. He scored four field goals, including a 56-yarder. Aaron Rodgers again rocked. He found James Jones (5-140-1) the most. Greg Jennings also had a great game, catching four for 82 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers frustrated owners who played his other targets, hitting 12 other receivers in the contest.
Matt Ryan was picked off twice and threw a touchdown in a lackluster performance. Tony Gonzalez had six catches for 60 yards and Roddy White had six catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Michael Turner again saved a mediocre performance (16-56) with a touchdown.
What did I miss? Add your notes in the comments.