Monday mornings at the water cooler always offer a football fan time to reflect and discuss with their colleagues and other fellow fans the events of the past weekend, giving them time for an in-depth look back at the full slate of NFL games just played.
No one can dissect and evaluate an NFL Sunday better than the fans. Their loyalty, undying devotion and willingness to always support their respective teams all help the avid football fan maintain an opinion about any football-related subject that concerns their team.
….And if you think they are bad, try listening to a fantasy football owner; it’s easy to see where their loyalty lies. There is only one “I” on my fantasy football team—me.
The Loss of Aaron Rogers Could Be Huge
On Sunday the Packers not only lost their game to the Detroit Lions, but during the contest they lost their starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers signal caller was took a hard hit on a scramble and then suffered another jolting hit on a sack the following play, Rodgers left the game with an apparent concussion, his second of the season.
While the injury itself did not look too severe, this being the second time Rodgers was knocked out of a game this season has to raise some concerns for the organization which now must wait for Rodgers to undergo some standard protocol testing and evaluation before he can be medically cleared to return to action.
If you are the Packers, there has to be much to be concerned about with the potential loss of Rodgers. On Sunday the team was unable to muster any real scoring threats and managed just one field goal for the day without Rodgers. This is not good news for a Packers team that still trails the Chicago Bears in the NFC North division race. It does not get any better for fantasy owners counting on Rodgers or any one of his receiving threats (Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones) to help them move deeper into the fantasy playoffs.
In the absence of Rodgers on Sunday, none of the Packers’ receivers were very productive and now look to be high risk plays without their starter. It also goes without saying if you own Rodgers, Matt Flynn may not exactly look like the best answer as a possible replacement; better check the wire and look elsewhere.
Just my take.
Even Tim Tebow Can’t Help Studesville and The Broncos
The good news for fantasy owners, it sounds like the Broncos interim head coach Eric Studesville has no intention of making a quarterback change; he’ll stick with Orton. After watching the Broncos starter Kyle Orton play the last couple of weeks that may not necessarily be the best news, but it may be the only alternative for now.
Orton and the Broncos offense have slumped the past couple of weeks scoring just 19 points in their past two games. Orton has only completed 28 of his last 69 passes and this past Sunday he added three picks. As a result of his poor play, not only have the Broncos been losing, but fantasy favorite wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has struggled with fewer chances and a few drops.
Fantasy owners can hope the two will very soon snap out of this slump, but any thoughts connected to ushering in the so-called second coming from Florida as the answer is nothing less than reaching for the stars. A change now would likely be more detrimental to the offense and it would likely have an unfavorable affect on some of the Broncos' key offensive skill players; Lloyd, Eddie Royal, and Knowshon Moreno.
Tim Tebow may have been the Broncos' first-round pick, but he has not seen much action this season playing backup behind Orton. Inserting him at this point of the season might be more like serving him to the wolves. There’s a huge learning curve going from the collegiate level to the NFL, so to expect anyone (including Tebow) to step on the field and have instant success is far-fetched.
For some folks it may makes sense to make the switch to Tebow thinking he is the future, but that is probably something best figured out this coming off season. At this point for an interim coach trying to make an impression to either keep this job or be considered for one in the future, the safe move may be sticking with Orton for the time being; for fantasy owners hopeful of something more from the Denver offense it’s probably the only move.
Just my thoughts.
There were a lot of fantastic performances over this past weekend; Tom Brady passing for 369 yards in a blizzard, Jason Witten’s two touchdowns catches on Sunday night, and DeSean Jackson’s 210 yards receiving on four grabs, but the one that stands out above the rest was the performance of the Raiders running back Darren McFadden.
Entering Sunday’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars McFadden star was beginning to shine bright again after seeming to have dimmed a bit in recent weeks. In Weeks 11 and 12 McFadden hit a dry spell not scoring once or totaling more than 71 yards of offense in each of the two games, but in Week 13 the spark returned.
The timing could not be better with most fantasy leagues heading into their post season action starting in Week 14. Even if fantasy owners were starting to get discouraged with McFadden, his effort of 127 yards of offense against the Chargers had to be enough to turn the light green and roll with him into your league playoffs.
For the fantasy owner the payoff could not have been any bigger regardless what format you play. McFadden was a one man wrecking crew and his performance undoubtedly won several fantasy league matchups. McFadden carried the ball just 15 times, but managed to ramble his way to 115 yards on the ground, scoring twice on runs of 51 yards and 36 yards. McFadden also contributed to the Raiders passing attack, grabbing three balls for a total of 86 receiving yards, including a 68 yard grab and score. For the afternoon “Run DMC” totaled 209 yards of offense and scored three times.
He’s our Fantasy Spotlight Player of the Week!
Diamonds in the Rough
RB Ryan Torain
The Redskins saw the return of running back Ryan Torian to their starting lineup on Sunday and while his return was successful on a personal level, it was not enough to return Washington to the victory column. Torain had been sidelined for the past five weeks with a hamstring injury and while it had been speculated he could start, no one was expecting a return quite like this.
Not only did Torain play, but he started the game and rushed for 121 yards in the first quarter of Sunday’s contest with the Bucs. Torain would finish the day with 24 carries and 172 yards on the ground. He also added a pair of grabs for 10 yards. Torain has been the Redskins most effective runner this season. His 100-yard effort was his third of the season and his 24 carries were his season high. Before the start of the 2010 campaign, very few even knew who he was—a carry-over from the Denver camp.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan had drafted Torain when both were in Denver. In 2008 Torain was projected to be the Broncos starter at some point during the season; that opportunity came in Week 10, but a knee injury would end his season and his career in Denver. Torain would miss the entire 2009 season, but in 2010 with the arrival of Shanahan to Washington the former fifth-round pick out of Arizona State would get a second chance.
This season the unpolished diamond (Torain) was likely a popular waiver wire acquisition for most, but looking at the 2011 fantasy season he’s going to be ranked much higher. His 172 yards has certainly got the attention of fantasy owners, so with three games left against the Cowboys (ranked 17th against the run), Jaguars (18th), and the Giants (7th). How this diamond in the rough finishes this season will certainly determine how great his value is going into fantasy drafts next season.
WR Deon Butler
The Seahawks not only lost to the Niners on Sunday, but they also lost a gem of a young receiver in second-year wideout Deon Butler. The former Penn State Nittany Lion suffered a broken leg Sunday ending his season. On Monday Butler was placed on the Injured Reserve.
Butler is one of the team’s up and coming young receivers and part of their youth movement; earlier in this season the team released wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and traded wide receiver Deion Branch. Butler had not been flashing any big numbers this season, but he did enjoy his best outing of the season against the Niners on Sunday. His five catches and 68 yards receiving were both season highs and his touchdown was his fourth of the season.
This diamond was starting to show a little shine before the abrupt halt to his 2010 season. Before the injury Butler had started eight games for the Seahawks this season and his 36 receptions were second on the team. His four touchdowns are also tied for most on the club.
Butler is not going to crack any top 20 rankings lists for the 2011 fantasy season, but with a lot of promise going into next season this diamond in the rough will be a fantasy sleeper to watch.