–Eli Manning was missing half his offensive line, most of his receivers, and the full love and affection of his parents, and still managed to score 21 fantasy points by completing a couple of long passes to his tight ends, and tossing two scores while remaining turnover free. He only connected four times with wideouts against the Jags 28th ranked secondary, a notable statistic, but an irrelevant one considering the next opponent is the Redskins 29th ranked unit. Steve Smith should be back the next week, and Hakeem Nicks will be close behind, meaning that all the fretting over Manning and his loss of pass-catchers was for naught. Eli, after all, is just two letters away from elite. And 10 letters away from Elian Gonzalez. I have no idea what to make of that.
Other Week 12 Indigestions…
–Maurice Morris officially re-entered the realm of fantasy by picking up 75 total yards and scoring two short touchdowns against the Patriots. Jahvid Best was active, but was on the field for just one play before hobbling to the sidelines. Rumor has it he could be headed for an IR designation. Morris will definitely be the goal line back in his absence, but Aaron Brown had 13 carries to Morris’ nine, and was targeted eight times – three more passes than Mo Mo saw directed his way. I’m not advocating owning Brown over Morris, just advocating owning neither of them because of the presence of each of them.
-If all you’re judging on was the fact his fibula didn’t re-fracture, the Reggie Bush return was a smashing success. If you’re interested in production, two touches, 13 yards, a dropped touchdown pass, and a fumbled punt was all he could muster. Julius Jones led the Saints with 13 touches and 66 yards, but it was Chris Ivory and his two goal line touchdowns that got my attention. When/If Pierre Thomas returns, it’ll be Juice Jones who sees his role vanish, not Ivory and his 4.8 yards-per-carry. No matter who’s sharing time in the backfield, 7-10 handoffs and goal line duties are all but assured.
-In case you were wondering who the girl was that hauled in two passes for 40 yards in the Packers loss to the Falcons, her name is Brett Swain and I guess she’s actually a he. The Packers use him solely in their “Big Five” formation, and he has absolutely no relevance in any sane league. The only reason I mention him is because A) he can use his hair as toilet paper, which seems notable and B) his utilization illustrates the inadequacies of the Packers running game perfectly.
Brandon Jackson continued to uninspire the masses with his 10 carry, 26 yard performance, and Dimitri Nance, fresh off a 12 carry outing, received just one handoff before leaving the field drunk with concussion. As a result, the Packers bailed on the backfield in the second half, running it just six times and operating primarily out of a five-wide set. Mike McCarthy cited the fast turf conditions in Atlanta as the reason, but with three of the next four games scheduled outdoors in frigid locales, it’s obvious the Pack desperately need a boost in the backfield. Just so happens, that James Starks kid everyone’s been pining for is finally ready to be activated. The quotes have been glowing in terms of his running ability, but he’s still oyster raw in the technical details. It’s a long shot, but if you’ve been monitoring him, now’s the time to stop being creepy and pick him up already.
-If you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, you got Munsoned. If you find yourself wandering the streets at four in the morning drunk, wet, and shirtless, you got McAfeed. And if you find yourself starting Keiland Williams only to watch James Davis receive six carries to his three, you got Shanahaned. The Redskins were absolutely dominated at the line against the Vikings, and the running game didn’t produce a single carry over four yards. The Skins travel to Jets Stadium to take on the Giants this week, and Shanny refuses to name a starter. Doesn’t matter – you don’t want to go down that path anyway.
–Chad Henne‘s year of frustrating fantasy owners continues. Two weeks after it looked like he was done for the season, Henne threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns against Oakland. It wasn’t all snozberries and cream, though. The Raiders secondary featured a severely limited Nnamdi Asomugha, and Henne was only able to complete 17-of-30 passes, and ran his interception streak to eight consecutive games. He’s worth picking back up as an emergency insurance policy for the playoffs, but don’t let the Buffalo/Detroit matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 seduce you into doing something you’ll regret all summer. He’s still just as likely to throw it to the opposition as he is successfully into the end zone.
-Nice game by Randy Moss. He caught three passes for 23 yards and didn’t get cut. Best outing in a month for the Freak.
On a Rusty Smith Side Note: Not only did the unfortunately-named QB fail to produce against the powder puff team masquerading as the Houston Texans defense, but he somehow found a way to strangle the value of Chris Johnson in the process. Kerry Collins, who’s expected to beat back Father Time and suit up Sunday against the Jags, hasn’t felt this wanted since he was drinking and driving.
-We gave Darren McFadden a pass for his plopper of a performance against the Steelers, but this week’s eight carry, two-yard showing against the Dolphins was a real eyebrow raiser. Following a successful script, the Dolphins loaded up at the line of scrimmage and attacked with reckless abandon. DMC was stuffed for negative yards on his first three attempts, and finished with only three positive gains in eight carries. He did have seven catches for 63 yards, so he wasn’t a total waste, but without the rushing yards, he’s no better than Reggie Bush. Unless Jason Campbell is able take advantage of one-on-one matchups in the face of intense pressure from the Chargers league best defense – a highly unlikely proposition – it’ll be three straight stinkers for McFadden and his followers.