The first couple of games we saw Nick Foles, he truly did play like a rookie. The game seemed too fast for him. He was throwing passes way too late and had to deal with the same struggles Vick dealt with concerning a porous offensive line. It really wasn’t the best set up for Nick to step into after Michael went down with a concussion and blurred vision a few weeks ago. But last week was encouraging as he was able to stay in the pocket a little bit and gain some confidence. Though I’m sure Bryce Brown and his antics were a huge part of it, that shouldn’t deter from a solid 251 yard 1 TD performance against a Dallas secondary that really isn’t that bad. Well this week was against a Buccaneers team that hasn’t been able to stop a passing attack all year. The set up could not have been better and Foles took full advantage to the tune of 381 passing yards to go with 24 rushing and 3 total touchdowns, one of which came on the ground, turning not one but two WRs – Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin - into fantasy relevant players on the day and barely missed doing the same for Riley Cooper on the game-winning drive. Keep in mind this is a team that’s in shambles from the top down. Plenty of firings, plenty of injuries and plenty of angry Eagles fans to boot but with Michael Vick all but gone after the 2012 season from Philidelphia, I think it’s a good time to think about what Foles could do for 2013 and beyond. Hey, not all of us are in the fantasy playoffs people. Some of us have to look forward while we cry into our winter beards. If you wanna skip the next paragraph because you’re in the playoffs and don’t care, I won’t stop you but I warn you there might be a pop quiz later. So before we get on with Sunday highlights, let’s highlight Foles for 2013 fantasy football…
First off, let’s make some comparisons. Coming into the year, Foles had been compared to Chad Henne and even John Skelton. Personally, I think he looks more like Jon Heder and Ron Perlman’s lovechild…hrm, these comparisons aren’t off to a very good start. The Henne comparison is reasonable: a strong-armed pocket quarterback who, though not extremely mobile, isn’t Philip Rivers either. The two biggest knocks against Foles coming into the draft were the injury issues and that his big stats came from a ‘gimmicky’ offense with the Wildcats. In reality, all this is moot as even in training camp there were rumors that Foles should’ve received the starting job and given how stubborn Andy Reid has been in making the right moves over ‘sticking with his guys’, I think we’re seeing why now. Moving forward, my main concerns with Nick would be two things. One, how quickly will he make adjustments. It took him about 2 1/2 games to get his footing to perform over these last two games. These last three games – one against a stingy Cincinnati secondary and another against a Redskins secondary that is easy to beat but man-handled him the first time the two teams played – will tell a story of how we can view Foles looking forward. The second concern is the uncertainty of the Eagles themselves. Will Reid be back? If he isn’t, who takes over and how does that change the offense next year? Change isn’t always the best thing when you’re talking about a QB and playing within a system, even if the system has failed the last two years. Though it’s ridiculously early to make these calls, I’m gonna say I see a QB who gets to throw it often given how terrible the Eagles defense has been the last two years. As Tony Romo owners can confess to, it’s nice to own a QB who plays from behind most of the time. Foles can give his owners about 3700 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 15 INT with plenty of room for upside/downside in the TD:INT ratio for the 2013 season. In re-draft leagues, I’d target him as a backup QB as long as the hype vultures don’t start circling in the off-season. In dynasty and keeper leagues, I’d be interested but not jumping out of my seat. I can tell I just got you all crazy excited for next year. You’re welcome. And now on with the news from the 2012 fantasy football season as it’s still rolling for some of us…
Alfred Morris – I said he’d end the day with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown. I didn’t realize he’d fumble it. Sorry about that, my Spidey senses went on the fritz, obviously. I guess this is as good a place as any to talk about it: Robert Griffin, III got hurt and it did not look good at all. Knees aren’t supposed to turn that way. I’m no doctor, but I once reattached a limb to a man’s body. Granted, I used superglue and it was a doll’s leg and said man was passed out at a party, but I was wearing a stethoscope while I did it. Oh and I’d be extremely surprised if RG3 is playing next week. It’s tough, but I did say to sell him way earlier this season for the very reason of health. I’m sure he carried many people into the playoffs this year but now might be taking those same teams out on a stretcher with him. And while we’re on the subject of Redskins, let’s just get this out of the way: Pierre Garcon cares not who throws to him, he shall catch a touchdown as he went for 5/87 with his final one coming from Kirk Cousins who is everyone’s distant relative, apparently.
Cam Newton - The much hated/maligned/frustrating QB of the season outside of Vick pretty much won week 1 of the playoffs for a lot of teams with his best – nay better – Foles impersonation: 287 yards passing for 2 scores and 118 yards rushing for 1 TD. You can go back to the Morris post and re-read the sell on RG3 for where I told you to buy Cam. Pretty sure this effort put him back in the top 5 of QBs this year for fantasy and put him on plenty of $hit lists from frustrated owners who traded him away.
Adrian Peterson - Another week, another 154 yards and two touchdowns to go with 16 yards on 2 receptions. So who’s the #1 RB off the board next year? Is that even really a question at this point? Oh and I put the Vikings D/ST 11th among defenses this week compared to their 21 consensus ranking. They rewarded me with a pick 6. Did you reward them with a pick up?
Ben Roethlisberger – Mispelledberger did his best Palmer impersonation as he threw two of his touchdowns when the game had pretty much been decided. Mike Wallace finished with 7/112 and 2 touchdowns as the Steelers got hammered at home by the Chargers. Just as the Mayans predicted. Wait, what?
Danario Alexander - Took some mighty powerful antibiotics as he’s become matchup immune, going for 2 touchdowns against the Steelers with 88 yards and 7 receptions. Hopefully he he keeps taking them as he rounds out the standard playoff year vsCAL and @NYJ and doesn’t create a superbug while he’s at it. Meanwhile, Rivers goes into Pittsburgh and throws 3 touchdowns and doesn’t turn the ball over. If you’re still wondering what the Matrix is, looks like you can ask Philip.
Jamaal Charles - 165 yards on 18 carries with nearly half of it coming on an 80 yard touchdown run. He briefly left the game with a shoulder/rib injury but was able to return. One of the few times Charles stayed in charge of his return status after an in-game injury.
Bilal Powell - Yep.
Montell Owens- Fell out of Shahid Khan’s magical mustache while he was combing it and said ‘hey, we can’t seem to keep a healthy running back on the field. Care to give it a try?’. And thus, a 102 yard, 1 touchdown performance was born. Most of the experts put him in a barely flexible position. I had him as a low-end RB2. I may not have been right but I was less wrong…less wrong? Is that right?
Anquan Boldin – Had the day I thought Torrey Smith was going to have: 3 receptions for 78 yards and 2 TDs as he got behind the secondary twice on both of his touchdowns. Has 3 touchdowns over his last two games to go with 159 yards on 8 receptions. Or as I like to call it ‘Hey Joe Flacco, you know you have Torrey still on your team…right?’ Flacco cares not about my ranking Torrey as a WR1 this week but at least he took pity on me and gave me Dennis Pitta and his touchdown on 5 for 46.
Brandon Marshall - Hello, I’m the entire Chicago offense, says Marshall. Finished the day with 160 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions from 19 targets. If you ever wonder why Jay Cutler gets picked off so much, it’s not just the o-line. If I stared that long at one woman in public, I’d be arrested.
Steve Smith - Did what he’s done most of the season: plenty of yards (109) and receptions (7) and 0 touchdowns. If Cam is Superman then Steve is Hawkman. They’re both part of the League of Justice but you sure never remembering seeing Hawkman out there.
Kenny Britt - Now that the pressure of ownership in yahoo leagues (49%) was off, Britt could perform: 143 yards on 8 receptions via 9 targets. Granted, he’s owned in 73% of ESPN leagues but we know about 24% of those owners are no longer paying attention so the math still works. You don’t believe me, doublecheck my arithmetic. Oh and I hate you, Kenny. Headphones are for the best on that link.
Matt Ryan- Had a bounceback game – 342 with 2 TD and 1 INT – after being pretty mediocre since week 11 and finally gave us a quality week from two WRs rather than just one. He finishes the standard playoff setup with two meaty matchups in NYG and DET but has shaken the faith of most of his owners who had to watch today happen on their bench. You’re as cold as ice, you’re willing to sacrifice our love, Matty.
Brandon Gibson - Caught 6 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown because the fantasy football Gods hate you, Chris Givens owners.
Marshawn Lynch - I’ll see your All-Day and raise you a Beast Mode. I think he just scored again. Finished the day with 128 yards and 3 touchdowns…all before the 3rd quarter was over. I think someone asked me why I ranked Russell Wilson so low for QBs this week and the tandem WRs who just went for a touchdown apiece against a tough Bears defense. This was why. Game was over before the second half even started and he finished the day only throwing 13 passes while Tate/Rice combined for 41 yards. The Cardinals had 7 TOs before I ran out of fingers to count them on (don’t ask…freak hotdog eating contest mishap. Could’ve happened to anyone). That’s why you rank the Seahawks D/ST first even with the CB suspensions. At one point, Larry Fitzgerald had 8 targets for 0 receptions. At another point, I said he was a buy candidate. That point came when Kolb was still around. I’m sure AZ misses those points as much as they miss scoring them. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll never let off the throttle, pushing a touchdown across the plain with 3 minutes left to play. Clearly he thought he could help earn a better bowl game berth than the Sun bowl.
DeAngelo Williams - Likes synchronicity: 56 rushing yards to go with 56 receiving yards and a touchdown for the ladies as J-Stew sat the game out. Was well on his way to a 60 yard dud of a day before that 54 yard catch and run. Unless you’re still looking at that picture, don’t go wild about Williams.
Victor Cruz - Those aren’t boos those are CRUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZ…which, coincidentally, took a lot of booze to get that loud. I don’t know what the point of that was either. What I do know is CRUUUUZZZZZ had 121 receiving yards on 8 receptions and to the Victors go the scores as he got a touchdown. And for those who were worried about Hakeem Nicks: 67 yards and a touchdown on 4 receptions. Meanwhile, Eli Manning tried to throw at least 5 interceptions but was only successful on 2. He had to put up with a 4 touchdown, 259 yard passing day instead.
David Wilson - No Ahmad Bradshaw, no problem: 100 yards on 13 touches and 2 touchdowns to go with a kick return touchdown. He said in the interview afterwards he got pumped for the game listening to The Four Seasons on his iPod. Coughlin put it on repeat for him. No word on the severity of Ahmad’s injury but here’s your obligatory ‘pick him up’ on Wilson.
Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham - Well if they didn’t knock you out of playoff contention last week, they put the nail in your fantasy coffin this week. Brees is now tied with Andrew Luck for the league lead in INTs with 18. Probably not the league lead either guy had in mind coming into their respective seasons. Meanwhile, Jimmy was outscored in standard leagues this week by Zach Miller. Can’t always bring you the highlights, people.
LaMichael James - Had 8 carries for 30 yards and 1 catch for 15. Why am I talking about him? Because Jacobs was inactivated for this game and James got 9 touches. He faces the Patriots next week and is a change of pace back that can break a big play at any given time. See, you thought I’d leave you down in the dumps with Brees and Graham and now I’m lifting you back up as we sign off. I’m here for you, Razzball readers.