We’re a little late rolling this out. That is because last night and into this morning was a spectacular time for me at the ER dealing with a ‘moderate’ case of anaphylactic shock. Hey, at least they had the game on. Early in the first quarter LaRod Stephens-Howling busted out a 25 scamper on a pass from John Skelton. Unfortunately, I was forced to drop ‘hyphen’ a couple of weeks ago due to more pressing roster needs, so this is not what I wanted to see. Fortunately my eyes were swollen half shut so the visual impact was mitigated.
Far more shocking than my experience was what football fans had to witness on the gridiron this weekend. I’m wondering how many of the Bobcat faithful had to be treated at Sheltering Arms hospital in Athens, Ohio after watching the antics of savvy quarterback Tyler Tettleton in the waning moments of Ohio University’s 23-20 loss to the Miami Redhawks. Down by 3 with a first and goal at the 7-yard line with 9 seconds left, Tettleton had one more shot to try and win it before putting in kicker Matt Weller for a chip shot to send the game into overtime. OU had zero timeouts remaining, so surely Tettleton would make a quick read and just throw the ball away if nobody was open, right? One would think, instead he decided to take a sack. He wasn’t blind-sided. He had plenty of time to get rid of it, yet he elected to swallow the ball and not throw it away, allowing the clock to run out. Hmmm….very interesting strategy in that situation. The Bobcat’s run at an undefeated season ended just like that, leaving thousands of fans ill.
As bad as that was, Jamaal Charles owners had it worse on Sunday. Arguably the most talented runner in the NFL not nicknamed AD, and certainly in the top 5, the Chiefs most potent weapon was limited to 5 carries and 3 targets. No kind of defensive scheming from the Raiders or deficit the Chiefs faced justifies such lack of involvement in the offensive game plan. Antonio Brown had a dream matchup against a leaky Redskin secondary, but all he gave owners was a headache and a meager 4 catches for 38 yards. Calvin Johnson owners have a growing sense of malaise after the preseason consensus #1 pick continued to flirt with fantasy mediocrity. More decoy than primary weapon, due to a knee injury that he is playing through, Megatron caught just 3 balls. Aaron Rodgers had a ‘great’ matchup in Jacksonville, yet produced just 186 passing yards; his lowest total since 2010. Blaine Gabbert opposed him with over 300 yards through the air, hooking up with Cecil Shorts 8 times for 116 yards, all in that impossible matchup against the Packers. Alex Smith had what was billed to be a difficult task in Arizona, but flourished throwing 3 TD’s, 18 completions and ONE incompletion on his way to his second best fantasy day of the season – 24.2 points. This list goes on and on and just gets longer every week. We’ve visited this theme before but it bears repeating, by and large playing matchups is a fool’s errand. There are a few exceptions, but almost always you have to live and die with your marquee players. I’ve talked to distraught owners of Calvin Johnson, Antonio Gates, and others, all contemplating benching their stars for mediocre talents with good matchups. Don’t do it. It’s painful at times and it might make you ill on occasion, but you have to dance with the date that brought you.
While we’re on the subject of lineup decisions, never make a decision based on the weather. Just don’t do it. Nine times out of ten it will come back to haunt you. I speak from painful experience. I’m not talking about kickers or defenses here. That can pay dividends, you don’t want kickers kicking in a monsoon and playing kickers in a dome is always a safe move, but when it comes to the ‘skill’ position players the weather effects are incredibly exaggerated most of the time. I won’t name names, but most of us saw the pregame updates and know who the culprits are. Sandy was going to wreak havoc on the passing game in Philadelphia. Matt Ryan and Michael Vick would be grounded and would be forced to keep the pigskin on the ground and make short passes to Brent Celek and Tony Gonzalez. Rubbish. Matt Ryan set the tone with a 63-yard bomb to Julio Jones. He’d finish the day with 3 TD’s and 26.9 fantasy points. It would have been much worse if Philadelphia offense hadn’t been so inept. The Eagles couldn’t move the ball, but it had nothing to do with the weather. Instead of being featured in the offense, the only thing Celek and Gonzalez displayed were their lowest target totals of the entire season.
When you ask why Detroit running backs get injured, it’s like asking why the leaves fall It’s in their nature. Mikel LeShoure left the game with an injury. Detroit has denied this but they can’t be trusted. Those at the game saw him limp off. Hopefully it’s just minor and they’re lying to protect him. Kevin Smith actually received a carry on Sunday, which means that either he’s healthy, or that Jim Swartz has finally forgiven him for sleeping with his wife.
Donald Driver found pay dirt. If Jordy Nelson continues to miss time he might be worth desperation flex consideration in deep 14 team leagues if you’re stuck with other options such as Chris Ogbonnaya, just don’t expect much. He only played 27 snaps and was targeted twice.