Week 15 Observations
Between his play down the stretch against the Ravens and his 329-yard 8.9-YPA, 2-TD/1-INT performance in Cleveland, Kirk Cousins looks like yet another quality quarterback in easily the best rookie QB class ever. Of course, Cousins could channel Joe Montana for two weeks, and he'd still never supplant RGIII, the greatest rookie of all-time.
Trent Richardson sure looks good getting 2.5 YPC. Is it the blocking, or does he lack vision or have some other flaw of which I'm not aware?
Five Redskins receivers had 47 or more yards. None had more than 65.
Adrian Peterson had another 212 yards, putting him at 1,812 on the year, a pace for 2,070 over 16 games. He needs to average 147 yards over his last two games to break Eric Dickerson's record of 2105.
I really thought over 0.5 for the combined point totals of the Bucs, Giants and Chiefs was a lock. Seriously, how did the Saints OR Raiders, allowing 29 and 31 points per game, (30th and 32nd, respectively) shut an opponent out?
The O/U in the Saints-Bucs was 53.5, so it figured to be a good fantasy game. But like the Thursday night NO-ATL game, it was a disappointment for many of its skill players including Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Josh Freeman and even Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston from the team that scored 41.
The Falcons put on a clinic in execution against the Giants, converting on what seemed like every big down and thwarting the Giants three times on fourth and short. It's hard to lose 34-0 when the opposing team has just two plays of 20 or more yards and none for more than 40, but that's how big the disparity was on those key plays. (The Giants incidentally had four plays of 20-plus).
Aaron Rodgers played well, and it's amazing that James Jones leads the NFL with 12 receiving TDs, but the end of this game was bizarre. First off, Mason Crosby can't make a field goal to save his life, so it's shocking that the Packers tried one up 11 on 4th-and-1 from the Bears 24. Second, it's insane that up 11, the Packers tried a backward lateral pass on a punt return. Third, once the Bears were back in the game thanks to those gifts, the refs re-gifted the game back to the Packers calling a horrible late hit on Julius Peppers that extended a drive, called a terrible offensive PI on Alshon Jeffery that stalled a drive and then didn't call an obvious PI against Jeffery by Sam Shields. Finally, on the last desperation drive, Jay Cutler took a sack with about 30 seconds left and made such a half-assed attempt to get off a final play, it seemed like he had simply had enough.
The Seahawks scored 50-plus for the second straight game. (The 2007 Patriots who went 16-0 and set the record for points scored in a season, only scored 50-plus twice, and it was over a three-game span.) It's too bad the Bills didn't provide much resistance on offense because Russell Wilson might have had an all-time fantasy day. As it stands, he had 41 points in standard leagues despite handing the ball off for most of the second half.
It brings me great joy to announce I got the Chargers right this week, fading them at home against the Panthers. It was the third time all year. Unfortunately, I lost my Mike Tolbert under 3.5 rushing TDs bet to Kevin Payne during that game.
I knew the Cardinals would come to play after last week's embarrassment, but I had them scoring somewhere between 0 and 37 points. Somewhat annoyingly, I started Beanie Wells in Week 14 and benched him for David Wilson in Week 15. Also, a lot of people streamed Detroit's defense in this game and had to be sorely disappointed when Matthew Stafford staked the Cardinals to a lead that allowed them to take virtually no chances.
When the No. 32-ranked defense shuts you out, it's time to consider some changes on offense. I also lost another bet Jon Baldwin (4 targets, zero catches) vs. Kris Durham (5 targets, 1 catch, 14 yards) to Payne, though I should have stipulated that there's no bet unless either guy gets at least 50 yards or a TD. (I lost a third bet on the Giants, too).
Sebastian Janikowski is the best kicker in NFL history. Of course, many who had him (including me) got bounced last week when he scored just one point.
The Steelers-Cowboys was the only remotely good game this week, and unfortunately I made Pittsburgh my best bet and took them in Survivor as a pot odds play, fading Miami and Detroit. (In the end, I should have gone Seattle, but I didn't trust them on the road). Mike Tomlin rarely loses back to back games, and Dallas almost always chokes in big spots. But to the Cowboys credit, they held it together, and it was the Steelers that made the key mistakes - the Antonio Brown fumble, Brown letting the 42-yard punt bounce and roll to 59 yards and of course Roethlisberger's game-sealing pick.