Week 7 Observations

To get an idea of how far Trent Richardson's stock has fallen consider the Colts brought in Ahmad Bradshaw to go along with a healthy Vick Ballard this summer because they didn't trust Donald Brown even as their No. 2 back. And when Ballard went down for the year, the Colts traded a first-round pick for Richardson because they still didn't want Brown to be their backup. But against the Broncos, the Colts gave Brown 11 carries and three targets to Richardson's 14 carries, i.e., they installed a 50/50 timeshare. It's like they said: "Brown isn't even good enough to be a backup, but if the alternative is Richardson, he's a co-starter." Richardson's fumble surely didn't help his cause either.

I guess Jim Irsay was right after all. Seriously, though, the talk of the Irsay comments motivating Manning was ridiculous, and the difference in the game was the Colts defense that sacked him four times and forced a fumble/safety and a pick. Moreover, the whole argument that Manning's run in Indy was so great it doesn't matter how many Super Bowls he won is ridiculous, just as it's equally ridiculous to suggest that winning Super Bowls is the only thing that matters. About Manning, two things are true: (1) He had an incredible run of sustained success in Indy while putting up historically good numbers; and (2) He has been only average in the playoffs and won only one Super Bowl against a Rex Grossman-led Bears team, one of the weaker Super Bowl teams in recent memory. Make what you want of those two facts, but both are simultaneously true. If you want a third fact, he shills for (and owns many franchises of) a crappy pizza chain that advertises "better ingredients," but will not disclose them.

As several others have pointed out, the Colts have beaten the Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos already this year. Indy still has games at Kansas City and at Cincinnati.

Knowshon Moreno had a quiet day, but he still got 15 carries, a goal-line carry and six targets. Ronnie Hillman got four carries and fumbled, and Montee Ball did not get a single touch. After Hillman's fumble (and his ball-security problems this preseason), I'd take a flyer on Ball in the not so unlikely event Moreno gets hurt.

Doug Martin is now out for much if not all of the season after hurting his shoulder, something that shows no running back no matter how young and untainted by prior injuries is free from significant risk. The notion that backs like Moreno, Ryan Mathews or Jamaal Charles are materially riskier than Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson might not be true. Consider how "fragile" Fred Taylor was before winding up 22nd all time on the NFL career carries list. Or that the injury-prone Frank Gore has started 39 straight games, recording double-digit carries in all but five of them. Maybe there are extremes like Darren McFadden on one side and Emmitt Smith on the other, but almost everyone else is of undetermined durability, and we make assumptions about them at our peril.

Tampa is a broken team, but Matt Ryan deserves credit for 10.5 YPA and three TDs without his top two receivers.

The Chiefs are the league's only undefeated team, but they've played an awfully soft schedule so far. They get the Broncos and Chargers twice each still, they play at Washington and host the Colts.

Tom Brady got Rob Gronkowski back but still managed only 5.0 YPA and an interception against the Jets. On the year Brady has 6.0 YPA, above only Mike Glennon and Brandon Weeden among qualifying players. Incidentally, Michael Vick leads the NFL in YPA at 9.0.

The Cowboys-Eagles game was hugely disappointing from a fantasy standpoint, and I hope you didn't invest in Foles' gold who I started over Matt Ryan in one league.

Sam Bradford's injury is sad for the player and those close to him, but I'm not sure it matters for the team which was unlikely to make the playoffs anyway and needs an excuse to move on from the underperforming former No. 1 overall pick. Bradford not only cost them a ton of money under the old rookie salary scale, but also the rights to RGIII which they traded for multiple picks.

Reggie Wayne's injury will also be considered a serious blow to the Colts, but it's not. Wayne averaged only 6.9 YPT last year and put up big counting totals only because he saw 195 targets. This year, Wayne had been far more efficient (8.7 YPT), but it's unlikely that reversal was likely to stick, given the soon-to-be 35-year old's six-year decline in that metric. Wayne will be missed as a chain mover and reliable set of hands, but this doesn't move the needle on the Colts' chances.

With DeMarco Murray down, I started Chris Ivory in the 16-team Steak League out of desperation, hoping for 12 carries. He got 34. I have no idea why.

The Giants-Vikings game was as Peter Schoenke put it like "the third preseason game" with the Vikings taking a look at potential starter Josh Freeman. The Giants still did their best to give it away, but the Vikings had no interest it. Eli Manning had plenty of time to throw, didn't get a ton of help from his receivers, but still looked off. He's lucky he didn't throw another pick six, too.

The Steelers-Ravens game was exactly what you'd expect from those teams.

Robert Griffin looks like he's all the way back with 84 rushing yards, 10.3 YPA and 298 passing yards against the Bears, who incidentally have a bottom-10 (maybe bottom-five) defense. Remember Adrian Peterson had only one 100-yard game out of his first six last year, after returning so quickly from ACL surgery, and the Bears game was Griffin's sixth. Peterson failed to get 100 yards only once over his last 10.

My bench is dominating this year.


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