Week 5 ObservationsDavid Wilson, I honestly have to say: "**** fantasy football."
It's one thing to lose Michael Vick for a half, or Darren McFadden early in the first quarter of Week 4 - you're upset, and the timing is rarely good, but those players were discounted appropriately. With Wilson, you endured his benching in Week 1, terrible blocking and play calling for four games, ineptitude by Eli Manning that shelved the running game and ended drives, a called-back TD on a bogus holding call and a timeshare with scrubs like Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott. Finally, Scott gets cut, the Giants draw a great matchup, and Wilson scores early. Here it is - that monster game there for the taking, a reward for those who showed patience or bought lowest. And he leaves with an ****ing neck injury.
Serious question: What would Eli Manning or Tom Coughlin have to do to lose their jobs. I think Coughlin should go, and Eli should stay, but regardless, what would the Giants record/performance have to look like before management made changes? Would 0-8 be enough? What about 20 picks in half a season for Eli? I'm just curious where the line is, or whether the team can go into a bottomless abyss before a single change is made. Hell, Alex Smith lost his job, and the team was winning. Cam Cameron lost his offensive coordinator gig, and the team was at least average (and went on to with the Super Bowl partially as a result). What's it going to take before there's accountability in New York? Other than David Wilson's benching, of course.
Speaking of Alex Smith, it's funny Jim Harbaugh replaced him with Colin Kaepernick because the latter gave the 49ers a chance to win the Super Bowl. Only remember, the 49ers lost in the championship game with Smith in overtime largely due to Kyle Williams' fumbles, while Kaepernick got to the Super Bowl because Matt Ryan came up 10 yards short on a play that could have been called pass interference. But Kaepernick has much more upside, obviously - he can throw down the field, and he can run! But Smith has seven more rushing yards than Kaepernick this year (as well as 233 more passing yards) and two more completions of 20-plus yards. How is this possible? Because like Smith last year on the 49ers, Kaepernick is playing the role of caretaker, not playmaker. In fact Kaepernick is 22nd in passing attempts, but behind the pace of players like Cam Newton, Terrelle Pryor, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Brian Hoyer and Josh Freeman who have played fewer games.
The Giants defense is actually not that bad - 12th in YPA allowed (7.0) and 14th in YPC (3.9). This despite giving up 36, 41, 38, 31 and 36 points in their five games this year. Given the Giants lead the league with 20 turnovers, that four of the TDs scored against them were either on special teams or offense and that their offense is last in the league with 25:59 minutes of possession per game, that disparity isn't too surprising.
Congrats to Matt Schaub who broke Peyton Manning, John Elway (and many others') record for consecutive games with a pick six. Sadly, fantasy owners and Texans fans won't be able to spew their most hateful thoughts to him on Twitter anymore.
Tony Romo threw for 506 yards Sunday, the 15th time a player eclipsed the 500 mark. But Romo did it on only 36 attempts, the fewest ever. (Y.A. Tittle was the only other player to do it with fewer than 40). In other words, it was the most efficient 500-yard game in NFL history (14.7 YPA). Yes, Romo threw a costly late pick, but let's cut him some slack the way we would a pitcher with a perfect game who gave up a home run in the ninth to lose 1-0.
And while Romo throwing a pick to a diving linebacker hurt the Cowboys' chances to win, nothing sealed their fate like Jason Garrett and Monte Kiffin not instructing their players to let the Broncos score rather than allowing them to have a game-ending first down. The odds of missing a chip-shot field goal are about one percent. The odds of driving down the field with a minute or more left and scoring a game-tying touchdown (in a 55-48 game, no less) are substantially greater. That everyone on Twitter (and eventually even the genius that is Phil Simms) came around to this obvious conclusion and the Cowboys coaching staff did not is disturbing. It's one thing to bitch out on 4th and 1 from mid-field in the first half, but quite another to be out to lunch when the options are so clear and stark. I sincerely hope a reporter grills Garrett et. al. about this during the week. (I'd also like to hear John Fox say whether the Broncos had instructions not to score).
I'm beside myself for not getting Keenan Allen is some key leagues after I cited him as a player here last week. I was outbid (I think) by Mark Stopa in the Stopa Law Firm League, but I know I outbid Jeff Erickson in our Steak League, ($29 to $10), but the bid fell through because it wasn't in a separate tier from another apparently higher-ranked bid on MyFantasyLeague. I say "I think" Stopa outbid me because that league's on the same service, and I also erroneously put all my bids on one slate and thought they'd take. (Apparently, you need to start a new series of bids for each player you want). In any event, it's now obvious he's the team's best and most explosive receiver and might have been a first rounder in the NFL draft had he not had a foot problem.
In my 0-4 14-team NFFC main event league, my first pick was Calvin Johnson. When I found out he was scratched, I was forced to put in my only other available receiver, Rueben Randle. I would not have started him otherwise. Between Randle and Austin Pettis, I was up by a sizable margin heading into the afternoon games, and I pretty much booked it as a win. Then I checked, and I was somehow behind by 13 points. He had Romo go off for 56 (6 points per pass TD). So I needed decent games from Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis. But the 49ers were winning in a blowout, and neither player was doing anything. I tweeted a complaint about it, and not 10 seconds after I sent it, Kaepernick hit Davis for a gratuitous 64-yard TD. I still need Jeremy Kerley to fall below 13.5 points to hold on, but no matter what happens, I got my money's worth.
The Browns are a good set-up for a quarterback, so it's too bad Brian Hoyer's out for the year. Josh Gordon is a rising star, Jordan Cameron is a prototype pass-catching tight end, Davone Bess is a good slot option, the offensive line is good and the defense will usually keep it close. Even Brandon Weeden can succeed at times, but he stands in the pocket with the urgency of a DMV clerk.
Teams with bad offenses and good defenses are death on your fantasy teams. The Bucs, Jets and Bengals qualify.
Andrew Luck has only 7.3 YPA this year after getting 7.0 last year (league average is 7.3 in 2013). But he's 15-6 in his 21 starts, and leads the NFL in come-from-behind fourth-quarter wins over that span. (Sure, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are usually leading in the fourth). So is Luck the next great NFL QB as his record and dramatic comebacks seem to indicate, or one of many decent young QBs as the numbers seem to say?
The Lions never win at Lambeau Field, and when Calvin Johnson was scratched, I switched my survivor pick from the Rams to the Packers (at least my official one as my pools have different rules). Grantland's R.J. Bell recently wrote about how Vegas moves the lines in the absence of key players, and Johnson clocks in at only 1.5 points, well below even marginal quarterbacks like Sam Bradford. But I think Vegas is wrong here. In fact, I'd give Shaun Hill a better chance to beat the Packers with Johnson than Matthew Stafford without.
The Chargers-Raiders game should have been played so late that no one watched it. It was Thursday night bad. Terrelle Pryor might not be polished but he sure makes great plays under pressure. He deserves the season to develop.