Joe Flacco was serial-killer methodical in slicing up the Dolphins pretty decent secondary. He only threw 27 passes, but completed 74% of them, mostly underneath, and had two scores. That’s called using the rope the defense gives you to strangle the living crap out of them, and it’s what Flacco’s been doing most of the year. He hasn’t posted a 300-yard game, but since having his brains splattered all over the field in Week 2 against the Bengals (154 yards, four INTs), the wackiest QB in football has 11 touchdown passes against only one interception and is averaging 20 pretend points a game. If I were ranking the QBs from here till Week 16, I’d spend at least two days debating whether to put Flacco or Eli Manning as the number five butt-toucher in fantasy.
Other Week 9 Indigestions…
-Not only did Jacob Tamme haul in 11 passes, not only did he post a team-high 108 yards, not only did he catch a touchdown for the second consecutive week, and not only did he lead the league with 17 targets, but he left at least 12 fantasy points on the field. He had a 36-yard gain called back on a holding penalty, flat-out dropped another, and came thisclose to hauling in two patented Dallas Clark-type balls down the middle of the field, one of which would have been a 19-yard touchdown. Chalk up the near misses to being ever so slightly out-of-synch with Peyton Manning, something that won’t go uncorrected during practice this week. Name a tight end, any tight end, and I’ll tell you why they’re not a better fantasy option than the Tam-Man from here till the end of the year.
Side Note from a Colts fan: Just to prove my personal support of the team isn’t overly biasing my bias, I’m ready to pull the autographed Donald Brown Colts flag off my wall and use it as a cape for my dog. The 2009 first-rounder – the Colts could have had LeSean McCoy – put up 97 total yards in his second career start, but only gained 50 yards on 15 carries which equates to 3.3333333 yards-per-carry. That’s not good, though it did raise his season average to 3.1. Brown doesn’t run with authority, he’s not especially bursty or jukey, and the Colts really don’t seem to trust him in key situations. Javarrius James plucked his goal line carries this week, and when either Joseph Addai or Mike Hart return, the rest of his fantasy value will be plucked.
–Brandon Marshall came out of the Ravens game with five catches and a season-low 30 yards, and afterwards just barely refrained from calling offensive coordinator Dan Henning an incompetent geezer. While he may be on to something – the Dolphins are last in the AFC in points scored – the main culprit has been Chad Henne’s continued insistence on sucking. He threw three picks again this week, and has yet to find a way to get his studly wideout the ball down the field. Let’s hope Marshall’s implied criticism of the offense doesn’t fall on elderly, deaf ears.
-I hope you played Jay Cutler this week – it may be the last time he’ll make you happy all season. He only threw for 188 yards, but tossed two touchdowns and chipped in 39 rushing yards while staying pick-free. There was a lost fumble, Cutler’s fourth of the year, but the one sack was by far the fewest the Bears line has surrendered since Week 2. All that suggests a turning of the corner, until you remember the Bills defense has forced the fewest turnovers in the league, have only recorded 12 QB takedowns in eight games, and are the easiest unit to score on in the NFL. Suddenly, 188 yards, two scores and a turnover seems more like a missed opportunity rather than a positive step forward.
–Buc Williams had four catches for 89 yards and blew by Dunta Robinson on a slant for a 58-yard touchdown. He’s currently on-pace for 72 receptions, 1,115 yards, and 10 touchdowns – rookie numbers that have only been reached by Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston, and Michael Clayton (the receiver, not the guy from the movie). The most remarkable thing has been his consistency – Williams has at least four catches in all but one game, and has been held under 50 yard just twice – especially considering he’s working with a second-year QB, no legitimate second option, and half a running game.
-If catches were nickels, you’d be broke if you owned Kevin Walter over the past month. For the third straight game he was held without a reception, failing to garner even a single target this week. He’s been on the field – I triple-checked – so it seems safe to act on your desire to drop his arse.
On an Irrelevant Side Note: If farts were nickels, I’d have a $5.75 in my pants right now.
On a Relevant Side Note: With Andre Johnson hobbled, Jacoby Jones refusing to step up, Walter MIA, and Owen Daniels sidelined with a bum hammy, Joel Dreessen and the hyped-up James Casey combined for nine catches on 14 targets and 114 yards. Even more relevant, Arian Foster had four grabs for 70 yards, and now has 19 receptions for 161 yards in his last three games.
–Jimmy Graham is worth knowing. After playing basketball for four years at Miami, Graham stuck around the U for a victory lap, although instead of using the additional time to lie to freshman girls, he decided to give football a go. The 6-6, 260-pounder with 4.5 speed and freakish athleticism proved a quick study, and was drafted in the third round by the Saints this past April.
He had four catches for 38 yards two weeks ago, and on Sunday, subbing in for a writhing-in-pain Jeremy Shockey, made three grabs for 49 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown. N’awlins is on bye this week, so there’s a chance Shockey and his bruised ribs are healed enough to take on Seattle, but if not, Graham immediately becomes a top 15 TE in Week 11
-How bout Dwayne Bowe! Who cares if he personally cost the Chiefs a victory for the second time this season by dropping a potential game-sealing catch – it’s not like we get negative points for dropped balls! He extended his touchdown streak to four games, and caught five balls for 63 yards!
Forget the past inconsistencies, Bowe is … ahhhh, I can’t do it. My exclamation points are a facade. I still don’t trust the guy. On the year, he has a single 100-yard performance, which came against the Texans league-worst pass defense, and has only topped 65 yards twice. He’s also been held to four or fewer catches six out of eight games, and his QB is averaging 176.5 yards an outing. His TD this week came on a play in which the Oakland secondary literally forgot to cover him. Do what you want, but I’m selling high. He’s got two dates with Champ Bailey and a matchup against the Chargers top ranked pass defense in three of the next five weeks.
-I’m always a little leery when stats are compiled in bunches near the end of a game by the trailing team, especially when it comes to passing yards. The Jets were losing by 10 with a little over four minutes to play, and Mark Sanchez had 192 yards on 12 of 28 passing. With the Lions secondary dropped back in soft coverage, Sanchize completed 9-of-10 passes for 92 yards on his final two drives to tie the score, and then connected with Santonio Holmes on a 52-yarder in overtime to finish with 336 yards. I know all numbers taste the same in fantasy – and Sanchez even chipped in a one-yard TD plunge – but don’t let his big end total distract you from the fact he was mostly terrible for 85% of the game.