You start the year trying to predict what a team will look like not just to start the year but over the course of it. You go off of hunches, intuition, previous year’s stats…you comb through a lot of data to try and assess just what a particular team will be able to do heading into the year. It’s never an exact science, of course, and so many factors can shape or hide a poor player or offense into something palatable. Entering into 2013, a major source of concern for the Chargers was an offensive line that was deemed one of – if not the – worst line for pass blocking and heading into 2013, there wasn’t much optimism surrounding it getting any better. Enter, stage left, Philip Rivers. A slow, pure pocket passer who had a hard time throwing the ball last year in no small part because he had a hard time staying on his feet long enough to do so. But the Chargers have made some adjustments to Rivers and his game this year and it’s allowing for some success. After his second 400 yard passing game of the year – he finished 35/42 for 402, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception – it’s clear that some of the passing game has changed for the better in San Diego. They’re using quick routes a lot more as well as dumping off to their backs in space more as well. He’s allowing his skill players to be the play makers and not relying on the deep outs as much. The VJax and DX deep route is nice but it’s not sustainable if you don’t have time to throw. After today’s game, Rivers is on pace for 4,796 passing yards and a 44:8 touchdown to interception ratio and the second most passing attempts (568) of his career. Given how erratic Mathews has played to date, I don’t see this passing trend going away. You always wonder ‘who’s going to be that near QB1 that goes undrafted or goes late a la Josh Freeman or Andy Dalton from 2012’ and you just might be seeing it. Given the schedule through week 9 (@Oak, Indy, @Jax, Bye, @Was), there’s no reason to think these Rivers can keep rolling. In other 2013 Fantasy Football news…
Jamaal Charles – Yet another ‘doesn’t wow you but produces’ week from JC with 127 total yards on 23 touches (5 were recs) and a TD. Most of JC’s stats have come in the second half of games so far and today was no exception. Something to monitor if the Chiefs face stiffer opponents moving forward. Hehe…stiff…
Matt Cassel – Must really like spotted dick! That’s a British food, don’t leave! Should I have said he wanted a hot banger in the mouth instead? Either way, Cassel played well in foggy London town, going 16/25 for 248 and 2 TDs and was able to throw the ball to receivers. That’s a major step up from Ponder. Pretty sure he just won the job until he performs too poorly to keep it. I’m kinda interested in 2 QB leagues but I’m more interested in the value he brings to the rest of the offense as Greg Jennings (3/92/2) and Jerome Simpson (7/124) can apparently play football. Who knew? Not Ponder, that’s who.
Reggie Bush – Guess he wasn’t kidding about last week when he said he could’ve played but didn’t need to because his team was gonna win. After 173 total yards and a touchdown, the bigger story in all of this is the Bears defense. After only giving up 30 or more points just once last year, they’ve done it twice in the first 4 games. So far, the sacks and the pick-6’s have negated these losses but it’s something to be weary of moving forward. Colbert warned us, we were just too blind to see it.
Le’Veon Bell – The stats were good – 67 yards and 2 touchdowns – but I’m here to tell you…he’s just ok. We know guys like AP can outperform their team but this is not a running back who can. To put it in other words, this is not for whom the Bell tolls. After today’s performance, I’d gladly move him if people price him as a mid-range RB2.
Torrey Smith – Finally scored a touchdown this year and the numbers have been much better than anticipated by me. After today’s 5/166/1, he’s on pace for 84/1740/4. Given that no one else seems to be able to catch the ball in Baltimore (Flacco finished today with 5 INT), the Torreys beat the Whigs by default.
Victor Cruz – Pretty much the only Giant to own at this point after his 164 yards was over half of the entire New York offense’s output (298). Who could’ve predicted the Giants and the Yankees season would end on the same day?
Arian Foster – Had some really nice runs today and I was thoroughly impressed by the performance (27/102 ground, 6/69/1 via the air) against a very tough defensive opponent. Apparently Fosters is still Texan for ‘RB’.
Jordan Cameron – Might be the last time I talk about him because he’s starting to slip into the ‘ya start him every day’ category. Finished with 10/91/1. So if you drafted Gronk and Cam as his backup, I think you can safely shop Gronk now.
CJ Spiller – Left the game with an ankle sprain while FJax left with an MCL sprain. The Bills almost lost the game on a sprained thought by EJ late. The Bills play on Thursday which is already a disappointing proposition since TNF is where fantasy points go to die. I might end up having to rank Tashard Choice this week. I might also have to tell you on the podcast to pick him up. Believe me when I say I don’t really want to do either but the chances we take are the Choices we make.
Coby Fleener – Had a touchdown to go with 5 for 77 and was targeted in the red zone at least twice. There are a lot of hands to fill in Indy this year but Fleener finished 3rd behind Hilton and Wayne today for targets so he could be a nice low end top 15 guy for the rest of the year. He could also Fleener the scene next week and be forgotten. TBD.
Danny Woodhead – Formerly known as the OTHER, other white meat in New England behind Welker and Edelman, Danny is finally porking out on being the only small white guy that his QB has, going for 2 TDs and 86 total yards. Even Rivers doesn’t know who he’s throwing to. I thought we signed Welker, said Rivers after the game. They all look the same to me.
Dwayne Bowe – Goes for 4/58/1 after everyone got tired of him and sat him in all leagues. He just ‘frog in a box’ed‘ everyone. Leave him in there.
Alshon Jeffery – After plenty of targets that lead to nothing, Alshon put up the big game owners drafted him for: 5 receptions on 11 targets to go with 107 receiving yards and a 27 yard rush along with a 2-point conversion. If he keeps this up, we’ll have to call him Alshine.
Garrett Graham – True story, picked him up and started him in a league last week as the Texans faced one of the teams that was the worst against opposing TEs, statistically. Instead of being rewarded with the statline he gave today – 5/69/1 – I got what I was going to get from Zach Sudfeld. Yeah, that team’s not doing well.
Matt Schaub – Easily had one of the most boring 355 yard passing days of all time. It was between him and Andy Dalton on which ‘boring QB for a Super Bowl contending team’ would end up in the top 10 for QBs. Clearly I chose wrong. I’ll consult the oracle again and rake over the tea leaves to find out what went wrong later.
Alfred Morris – At first the worry was broken ribs. Now they’re saying it’s just bruised ribs. Maybe later this week they’ll be broiled ribs with a honey-mustard glaze. Either way, there’s no reason to worry as a Butler owner as of right now but if you are, Masta Wayne, you better go say Helu to Roy.
Jake Locker – Was starting to look fantasy-relevant with a 3 TD pass first half. Fantasy Gods were having none of that. Went down with what looked to be a serious hip injury early in the second half. Hurt Locker. There I did it.
Sean McGrath – Mark McGrath’s not so identical twin keeps getting targeted in the passing game in KC. After 4/31 last week, he put up 5/64/1 this week. I’m not saying to be intrigued. I’m using these as my TE notes. See Graham, Garrett for details.
Nate Washington – Had another 100 yard receiving game, going 4/105/2 with one of the TDs with the guy who’s probably starting next week in Fitzpatrick. It’s so hard to get behind the Titans passing game. If it weren’t for a 77 yard completion, we’re talking about 3/28/1. Sure, it’s useful but if you don’t like picking up Eddie Royal, you can’t think Nate’s that great. It’s a low ceiling offense where your best plays from week to week are gonna be PPR types like Kendall Wright.
Darren McFadden – Whoever had week 4 as the Limp DMC call date is in the money. Left the game with a strained hammy. Then Marcel Reece left with a knee injury so we all got to see why Jacksonville didn’t keep Rashad Jennings. I’ve heard of swapping spit, Oak and Jax, but swapping loogies? Gross. Jennings finished with a PPR dream game (8 receptions for 71 yards) and 116 total yards. Nothing official, of course, but if you need a running back – and who doesn’t – you’re probably picking up Jennings this week.
Alex Smith – His longest completed pass on the day was for 31 to Charles and I’d guess 34 of those yards were after the catch (see what I did there?). Watching Alex Smith be fantasy relevant is like being constipated and finally reaching bowel nirvana. It takes forever, leaves you red in the face and frustrated a lot and what you produce is still crap.