Week 5 Observations
I know it was a home game against the Bills, but Alex Smith is a good quarterback. Good decisions, accurate throws and an underrated scrambler. His fantasy upside is probably limited by his defense, but he's more than a caretaker at this point.
The Giants got down 14-0, but this offense is almost never out of it. It's strange saying that about what's traditionally a defensive-oriented franchise, but if and when they get Hakeem Nicks back and David Wilson more involved, it'll be one of the top two or three units in the NFL. It's probably top-five right now.
The Falcons won yet another close game against a mediocre opponent, thanks in large part to RGIII missing nearly half the game. Matty Ice gets his 350 and 2, but with 6.6. YPA, a pick six and life or death against another mediocre team in the fourth quarter, albeit on the road this time. Even though they're 5-0, I still wouldn't have them in my top-7 teams to win the SB.
Incidentally, how many teams would you need to give someone the field in picking the SB winner? I think I'd take five (49ers, Texans, Patriots, Giants and Ravens). But if you want to take four, I'd take the field.
The Jaguars and Titans have distinguished themselves as league doormats of late. Not merely losing, but losing huge, with no hope whatsoever. Maurice Jones-Drew had a bad game, but can be counted on to produce even in the ugliest of offenses. Chris Johnson, despite the anomaly against the Texans, is on the ropes. I suppose one should trade for him, but what could you offer? Antonio Gates? As terrible as Johnson's been, that probably doesn't get it done.
The Packers offense just isn't the same, and it's hard to pinpoint what's missing. James Starks wasn't important last year, and while Greg Jennings is a good player, he never seemed like a unique game breaker. The Giants have been fine without Hakeem Nicks, for example, so it's hard to believe a QB of Rodgers' caliber is missing Jennings that much. Is it the offensive line play? The line wasn't great last year, either. Someone who knows the Packers better than I do should weigh in. It's odd watching them unable to pull away against the Colts.
I was watching that game at the bar, so correct me if I'm missing something, but why didn't Mike McCarthy uses his timeouts on defense when it became clear that the clock wasn't a factor for the Colts? The idea being in case the Colts scored, which they did, you preserve time for Aaron Rodgers to try an easier FG or even get the game-winning TD. I foolishly laid the points with the Pack, so I really didn't care, but it was surprising.
Andrew Luck has got to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback, right? What are the odds Luck outproduces Aaron Rodgers the rest of the way? 40-45 percent? How about Tom Brady? At this point, is Luck ahead of Matt Stafford and Cam Newton? At least Reggie Wayne has a decent quarterback getting him the ball for once.
I had PIT -3 in the Eagles-Steelers, and once the Steelers, down one, got the ball inside the 20 with a minute and change left, why didn't the Eagles let them score? It would have given Philly a minute to get a TD rather than hoping Shaun Suisham missed a chip shot. It also would have given me an excellent chance to cover.
Of course Shane Vereen got the Pats' first rushing touchdown, even though Stevan Ridley had another great game. I actually sat Chris Johnson (my first round pick) in a league where I had Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw and Ridley. I had a moment of panic at the bar when I couldn't remember whether I had started Johnson or Bradshaw, and that I am writing this blog and not defenestrated in a heap of broken glass is proof of it.
I backed the Chiefs plus five, and while they came through, I have to say Matt Cassel is truly an abominable player for whom to root. Of course he fumbled at the goal line. Thankfully, the Chiefs know how to play for the cover, and the Ravens know how to kill the clock. Incidentally, Jamaal Charles is getting a massive workload this year, despite coming back from ACL surgery. If you take out the game he left hurt, he's at 24 per game. That's a pace for 384.
You know you've hit rock bottom when you're 3-9 ATS heading into Sunday night and rooting for the Chargers to bail you out on the road in a two-minute drill. I realize the refs made some questionable calls on that drive, but either way, the chances of San Diego showing heart after surrendering that lead were between zero and infinitesimal. And in the event they did score, they surely would have blown the cover in overtime.