Week 9 Observations

I caught only two hours of action Sunday while eating at a Taqueria in Mexico City, but the way they show games there actually seems better than the Red-Zone channel as they cut to the action for several key plays at a time, no matter where the team is on the field. You end up getting a better-rounded sense of the games (though maybe that's because there were only six early ones). In any event, here's what I took away:

The Chiefs are awfully lucky this year, getting two defensive TDs Sunday, one of which was essentially a 10 or 14-point play as the Bills were inside the five-yard line. The Bills even with Jeff Tuel were the far better team Sunday.

Adrian Peterson's touchdown was aided by his teammates pushing him toward the goal line, but it was clear once he regained his footing, there was no natural force that could prevent him from reaching the goal line. Between that play and the TD vs. the Packers the week before, it's hard to think of a player with a better nose for the end zone.

I advised people to fade the Cowboys in survivor, and it came very close to paying off big. Never mind that Dallas pulled it out - it goes to show why you play the pot odds where it's warranted. That even Seattle almost lost at home to Tampa should drive home that point even further.

I wrote last week that Tom Brady would almost certainly regress positively to the mean above his sub-6.0 YPA - at least to league average of 7.2 during the second half. After he got 13.1 YPA and 432 yards against the Steelers, that's going to be a very low bar to clear. On the year, his season-average is now at 6.6, still sub-par but only .35 yards below Andrew Luck. With Aaron Dobson now on the same page and Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski back, Brady is a top-seven QB, behind only Aaron Rodgers (if healthy), Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo. You could make an argument for Colin Kaepernick, Philip Rivers, Andrew Luck or even Nick Foles, but I'd take Brady over them.

Andy Dalton crashed to earth after a three-game stretch of strong play. Quarterbacks are a lot like pitchers in that average ones are capable of great success over short samples, but it's hard to tell when a run portends long-term growth. That said while even Vince Young looked great for half a season, you have to wonder why quarterbacks who haven't even flashed potential in the short term like Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder are still around.

Here's a team you could have started with your Broncos, Niners, Lions and Giants on bye:

QB: Nick Foles (7 TD, 406 yards)
RB: Mike James (TD pass, 166 YFS), Chris Ivory (139 yards, TD)
WR: Riley Cooper (139 yards, 3 TD), Jerricho Cotchery (96 yards, 3 TD), Aaron Dobson (130 yards, 2 TD)
FLEX: Darrel Young (3 TD) or Marlon Brown (54 yards, 2 TD)
TE: Timothy Wright (58 yards, TD)

It's one thing for key scrubs in your lineup to eke out the win and quite another to set an all-time scoring record in your league with them.

When's the last time four wide receivers scored three TDs each in an NFL week? I can't imagine it's a common occurrence. Maybe once every five years?

After only two 100-yard RBs last week, there were 13 this week, and that's with six teams on bye.

I wonder where Mike James' 158 yards rushing for a 16-point underdog ranks all time among teams getting that many points. Probably it's the most ever.

Nick Foles looked great against Tampa, awful against Dallas and all-time great against Oakland. It'll be hard not to gamble on him against the Packers and Redskins the next two weeks. In fact, Colin Kaepernick owners who picked up Foles for the bye will have a tough choice to make the next two weeks.

The downgrade from Aaron Rodgers to Seneca Wallace is like diving off Mount Everest into the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Jordy Nelson goes from a top-five WR to outside the top-20 so long as Rodgers is out.

Is there some reason the Cowboys never stick with DeMarco Murray? I started Chris Ivory and Murray in a 16-team league with Knowshon Moreno on bye, and when Moreno returns, I might have to put Ivory above Murray.


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