Drew Brees Will Be Alright, If... 5 Fantasy Football Thoughts Entering Week 7
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Reflecting on the past, at times, is good. Or so therapists would have you believe.
So let's reflect back on Week 6, and to a point the entire season, and see if we can gather any information that might useful going forward as we try to navigate the rough waters of fantasy football.
Here are five thoughts on situations around the NFL that impact fantasy football.
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5. I Don't Like RB Matt Forte
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I'm sure Matt Forte is a swell guy. Heck, he probably even helps little old ladies cross the street. But as a running back, and in particular as a fantasy football option, I don't like Matt Forte.
As I chronicled earlier this season, Forte has never, for an entire season, averaged over 3.9 yards per carry and the 2010 season does not appear to be any different.
In Forte's rookie year he rushed for 1238 yards and eight touchdowns, both impressive statistics but each easily masked his sub par 3.9 yards per carry.
In 2009, during which time the Chicago Bears said Forte was hampered by a knee injury, Forte managed only 3.6 yards per carry.
Which leads us to the 2010 season, during which Forte has averaged only 3.9 yards per carry once again.
The 2010 season should be particularly concerning for fantasy owners because Forte has been inconsistent at best, and downright putrid at worst.
Only once this season has Forte managed to break the 50 yard plateau on the ground. Finding a way to put up at least 51 yards on the ground every week is kind of what we expect out of an NFL running back.
The most worrisome statistics are what follows. 53 percent of Forte's total rushing yards for the year came in one game in Week 5, and 56 percent of Forte's total receiving yards came in one game in Week 1. To make matters worse, 33 percent of Forte's total receiving yards came on one play.
You can draw your own conclusions from the information presented. But if I were a Forte owner, I'd be looking in to less volitale options.
4. The Kansas City Chiefs Running Game Is the Real Deal
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The Houston Texans defense entered Week 6 ranked seventh in yards allowed to opposing rushers, and exited Week 6 ranked 13th.
Running backs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combined for 193 yards, averaging 5.3 and 5.8 yards per carry respectively.
Through five games, Kansas City ranks first in average rushing yards per game with 164, and ranks third with 4.9 yards per attempt.
The trick, of course, is to figure out whether Charles or Jones is going to compile the most yards in any given week.
The easy bet every week is Charles. He is averaging 84 yards a game on the ground, and just over two receptions per game. The trend to notice is that Charles' receptions have either stayed consistent or increased from week to week, but have not yet decreased.
With the way things are trending, Charles should be an automatic start for fantasy owners.
Over the next four weeks, Kansas City faces Jacksonville, Buffalo, Oakland and Denver. All four of those defenses rank in the top 16 of defenses giving up the most fantasy points to running backs.
3. Sam Bradford Is the Next Big Thing
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In the last 50 years, since 1960, only one rookie quarterback has thrown for at least 3600 yards and 19 touchdowns.
His name is Peyton Manning.
QB Sam Bradford is on pace, through six weeks, to throw for 3619 yards and 19 touchdowns. If Bradford stays healthy, and continues to improve every week as he has thus far, he will become only the second rookie quarterback to achieve those statistics.
While great statistics make a great fantasy football quarterback, they do not make a great NFL quarterback. That is why God gave you eyes.
You have to watch Bradford play to see all the things that make him one of the best rookie quarterbacks the NFL has seen in a decade.
You have to watch his footwork, his pinpoint accuracy, and his ability to recognize coverage schemes. Only then can you recognize his potential.
There is, and only will ever be, one Peyton Manning. But you might want to keep an eye on this Bradford kid. He seems to be pretty good.
2. Peyton Hillis Is a Man Amongst Boys
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Peyton Hillis lined up on Sunday for the first snap of the Cleveland Browns first offensive series behind a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start in Week 6. Not exactly an enviable position to find oneself in on any given Sunday.
But Hillis did what he has done every single week this season: work.
Facing the NFL's best rush defense on the road in Pittsburgh, a defense allowing only 2.7 yards per carry, Hillis managed 41 yards on 12 carries, for a 3.7 yards per carry (ypc) average.
While that is nothing to write home about, the Steelers held Falcons RB Michael Turner to 42 yards on 19 carries (2.2 ypc), and Titans RB Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries (2.1 ypc).
Does that make Hillis a better running back than Turner and Johnson? No, and it's not close. But what it does is make Hillis is one of the more productive and consistent running back options in fantasy football.
Hillis has posted at least 14 points every week in points per reception leagues. If that kind of production isn't good enough for you, there is surely someone in your league that will take Hillis off your hands.
There is nothing not to love about watching Hillis play football. He is about as old school as it gets. Nothing fancy and nothing flashy. He just does work.
1. The Saints Passing Attack Will Be Just Fine, If...
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The Saints passing attack will be just fine if they get solid production from their running game every week.
It doesn't much matter if RB Pierre Thomas lines up behind QB Drew Brees, or if an undrafted free agent from tiny Tiffin Unversity named Chris Ivory carries the ball. As long as the running game is producing, Brees and company will be just fine.
The problem over the first five weeks of the season was that the Saints running game was non existent, exceeding 100 rushing yards only once.
Commentators started to speculate about Drew Brees' health as an explanation for the lack of explosion from the Saints' passing attack. But Brees' health had nothing to do with the lack of production.
The running game, or lack thereof, explains it all.
The Saints rank 21st in rushing yards per game, averaging just 98 yards per contest and only scoring two total rushing touchdowns. But in Week 6, the rushing attack came alive on the strength of Chris Ivory's 158 yard performance.
Brees looked solid, and his receivers were open. Everything clicked.
In 2009, when the Saints were tearing up and down the field scoring touchdowns at an ungodly pace, they averaged 131 rushing yards per game and over one touchdown on the ground. For the Saints, it is an effective running game that makes the offense roar.
So rest easy, Drew Brees owners. Well, easier might be more appropriate. At least we know what the problem is. Now we just have to hope that the Saints do as well.