True story, one of my favorite bands growing up was Stone Temple Pilots. The band was a chameleon. When they burst on the scene, they were brushed off as a band that was just trying to cash in on that ‘Pearl Jam’ sound. I never got that statement, made no sense. You trying to tell me you can picture Eddie Vedder performing Sex Type Thing? Heck, could you picture Creed doing it? No, you can’t and that singer was a terrible Eddie mimic. And before you say it, Creed defenders, THE DOORS MY SHINY BABOON BUTT! So what do they do after Core gets bashed but follow up with Purple, an album that swings from heavy to punk and almost always with a Led Zeppelin lilt. Admittedly, their third album could’ve been their final album. They explored no new genres after ‘Tiny Music…’ but by this time Scott Weiland was so drug-addled he thought that this was a good idea. We get it, Scott, you liked David Bowie but…well, you’re not Ziggy Stardust, my man. In the end, the DeLeo brothers could be heavy or melodic, all within the same song. They were a very underrated guitar/bass duo and Kratz was a frickin hammer on the drums. I mention all this because my title is a reference to an STP song of my youth and a reminder that even half the Peyton Manning we’re used to seeing is better than most QBs out there right now. Now I don’t have the stats from last night in terms of his splits, but here were the numbers coming into the night. Through the five games entering tonight, Peyton had a 711 yards while completing over 68% of his passes in the first half compared to 784 yards and 63% in the second…oh wait, those aren’t the telling stats. In the first half, Peyton had a 3:3 TD to INT ratio for the first half of games while holding a whopping 8:0 split in the second half. So what happens tonight but a comeback from a 24-0 deficit. I’ll spare you the suspense on part of it: Manning had a 0:1 split at half time but then turned around to throw 3 TDs in the second half. So if my math is correct, he’s now on pace to throw 29 TDs in the second half of games alone this season. Granted, Aaron Rodgers was on pace to do that in one night on Sunday Night Football but we’re not here to talk about that. Half the Manning he used to be is still better than most QBs you’d start right now and that’s a good place to be in for his owners. In other fantasy football news…
Eric Decker - Could’ve improved Peyton’s first half TD:INT splits if he hadn’t found the ground more interesting around the 45 in the first half. Oh well, he had a Tosh.0 retribution shot in the second half and he didn’t fail it as he ended the night with 6 receptions for 98 yards and a second half touchdown with his 9 targets. Quietly – and I say quietly because everyone has been hyped about D.T. since the preseason – Decker is on pace for a 90 rec, 1175 yard season to go with 5 TDs. Minus the TDs, daddy like. If you read that last sentence just right, it’s Pedo-bear approved.
Philip Rivers - Was the anti-Peyton tonight, going from a 2:1 split in the first half to a 0:2 with a fumble disaster in the second half. On the one hand, I blame Norv Turner. On the other, I blame Rivers himself. On my third hand which is actually one of our writers jaywrong trying to touch me inappropriately, Rivers short-armed a few passes in the second half for some strange reason. Not sure if it’s fatigue or carelessness but it’s concerning nonetheless.
Demaryius Thomas – Two receptions on two targets for 37 yards with one of those recs being a TD to save the night, fantasy-wise, for his owners. Nothing to worry about here, just a night in which Brandon Stokley got 4 for 48 and a TD due to the other def paying him a lot of attention. He’s still beastly and you still love him for it.
Antonio Gates - Was the main fantasy sports haven for owners of SD players on the night, nabbing two touchdowns on his 6 receptions for 81. I still think he’s a sell if you can do it. For the most part this year Antonio has looked and played like he belongs in an over 55 Gate-d community.
Ryan Mathews - The bad was he scored zero touchdowns. The worse was averaging only 3.4 YPC. The silver lining is he ran the ball 22 times with the next closest in carries being Ronnie Brown with only 3. There was a lot of fear after his fumble and the talk of carry splits going forward with Jackie Battle when I was telling you to buy him. Now just ignore everything else I said in there and I look like a frickin genius!
Willis McGahee – I think at one point in the first half, McGehee had 7 yards on 8 carries so to see he finished with 56 for 17 is actually quite impressive. Maybe second half Manning is rubbing off on his ‘ole Willy. Neverthewho, he ended the night with approx 10 fantasy points. He’s RB2-lite, peeps, don’t get angry cuz you traded MJD expecting McGehee to carry your team. BTW, thank you for trading me MJD.
Denver Defense - True story, in a friend’s league where we count everything – PPR (both rush and rec), completions and incompletions, return yards, Jon Gruden quotes – I was projected to score 142 on the week and the other guy 125. Well we went into Sunday night nearly tied at 135 and I knew I had lost because he had Rodgers and Mathews up against my merely mortal DEN DEF. My friends, there is nothing more gut-wrenching than having your defense score about 30 points for you and to have the 3rd most points overall for the week only to lose by 18 anyway. Painful. Oh and back to the defense. I think it’s better than many people think and it’s not just because of tonight. I’ve mentioned previously when they faced the Falcons they were impressive and I stand by the statement. If you’re stuck with an underperforming DEF, it wouldn’t hurt to give the Broncos a shot.