A review of the late Sunday game and Monday night double-header.
If Tony Romo is the reason Dallas lost the game on Sunday night, then it is true that the standards for good QB play are getting out of hand. Romo threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns and an average of 9.5 per attempt. He also committed two huge turnovers, no doubt. However, no one of the Dallas faithful seems to recall the ridiculous blocked punt which altered the destiny of the entire game. Felix Jones confirms that the days of the committee in Dallas are likely over, as he receives 17 of the 26 rushes on the night. However, the explosive Felix Jones of the past was a lot more exciting than 2.6 yards per carry average. At least when it came to the red zone, Jones wasn’t abandoned for a more rested or convenient option. He scored on a one yard plunge. However, if you’re an investor in Jets RBs, LaDainian Tomlinson’s retirement from relevance was given far too much pre-season hype. Tomlinson led all Jets receivers with seven catches on seven targets for 73 yards. He yielded carries to Greene two-to-one, but Greene’s 2.6 yards per carry average is much more damaging in his situation than in his counterpart Jones’. Mark Sanchez played well for most of the game, but just as you might want to blame Romo for Dallas’ demise, don’t vindicate Sanchez by lauding him with the credit. Besides the first drive of the fourth quarter, Sanchez fumbled, and was sacked twice, effectively making the Jets offense all but useless. Fantasy wise, his numbers were good enough to make him a QB1 of older times, but he’ll remain at second rate QB because of the system he’s in. Don’t expect so many of these 300+ passing yard days. Plaxico Burress played a clutch role in the passing game at the most important time, making him a steal as a late round draft pick. I expect he’ll end up with somewhere near 60 catches and 650 yards.
NEW ENGLAND/MIAMITom Brady tossed his first interception in over 350 attempts, and that was the only blemish on another dominating performance. Brady’s 517 yards and four touchdowns were the best for the week. Wes Welker has mounted huge numbers against the Dolphins before. In 2009 he gained the most receiving yardage of his career gaining 167 yards on 10 catches. However, Sunday he added two scores to his 160 receiving yards, the best fantasy numbers of his career. If Welker’s performance signaled more of the same, Chad Ochocinco’s big debut continued that theme, as he recorded just one reception. Not much change by addition to the New England offense. I believe he’ll still play a role when needed, but as is the norm in New England, no one part is given more importance than another except for Tom Brady. The tight end duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski continued to show both are valuable as fantasy receivers as they each delivered a touchdown and six-plus catches each, and the running game provided just enough variety with Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to keep the Fins defense on its heels. Meanwhile, Brady’s ridiculous evening overshadowed a career night for Chad Henne as well. Brandon Marshall caught a 139 of Henne’s 419 yards passing, and Brian Hartline was targeted seven times, hauling in four with one TD. Davone Bess also added five receptions for 92 yards. Reggie Bush showed again how great he can be catching balls out of the backfield while also showing he’s not meant to be a first string runner who’s expected to haul the rushing load. Bush added just a meager 38 yards on 11 attempts. One note, the 900+ yards passing from both QBs was an NFL record.
OAKLAND/DENVERWho says a kicker can’t have fantasy impact? Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 63 yard field goal, tying the record for the longest field goal from scrimmage ever (he put up 13 fantasy points). Not surprisingly, two of them have been converted in the thin Denver air of Mile High Stadium. There was a recent article by Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN talking about consistency ratings. His methodology rated the players against the league averages, and basically his numbers did not paint Janikowski in a favorable light. Well, the reason to own Janikowski often comes down to days like today, where the possibility of having a kicker with his range might make the difference between a team attempting a five-point FG, or throwing a Hail Mary. I’ll stick with big legs any day in the kicking game. Darren McFadden put on another rushing display against the Broncos and showed why he was my top choice as a running back this year. I expect him to finish in the Top Five when all is said and done. Of note was the performance of Darius Heyward-Bey,who delivered four catches on seven targets for 44 yards. More importantly was the amount of times in clutch third down situations that Jason Campbell looked for Heyward-Bey. He’s still not going to leapfrog into a category of elite receivers, but he may indeed pan out for Oakland and make a fine WR3 on your team. Knowshon Moreno was again a no-show, and he limped off the field late after becoming an integral part of the passing game. You have to feel for Kyle Orton, who while hearing the echo of “TEE-BOW” being chanted by the clueless Denver faithful, watched his receivers drop at least five passes in crucial situations. For some reason, that inspires people in Denver to become more religious, because just like prayers, they have faith without any proof that Tim Tebow will deliver them from evil. Orton’s only big mistake was on a terrific play call which left Daniel Fells crossing the middle of the field wide open, but as Orton went to cock the football, the wet pigskin fell from his hands and was recovered by Oakland. The Denver defense should improve under John Fox, and Oakland’s defense might be the best in the division.