By Ray Kuhn
Here are some thoughts that I had after Week 11’s games.
- To say that Andre Johnson had a big day would be an understatement. Johnson found the end zone for the first time since week 3 (and the third time all season) and his 273 receiving yards account for 31% of his total yards for the season. Health has not been an issue for Johnson this season, but with the Texans dominating their opponents for the most part, a big game like this has not been needed from Johnson. After this week, we know he still has it in him and, hopefully for Johnson owners, he carries this momentum into his Thanksgiving Day battle with the Lions.
- In the same game Justin Blackmon reminded owners why they had such high hopes for him coming into this season. It seemed that despite what the Jaguars coaching staff was saying and the targets in some games, it was only a matter of time for Blackmon to have a break out game. For even the most optimistic Blackmon owners, this could not have been something they expected. His 236 yards gained represent almost half of his 486 yards on the season. Even better than the fact that Blackmon was targeted 13 times and had 7 catches was that he had some big plays and had an 81 yard touchdown catch. Those are the type of plays that Blackmon should be making each week. The fact that it looks like Chad Henne will remain at quarterback for Jacksonville also is a positive for Blackmon.
- In a season where it looks like Matt Ryan is taking steps to be called an elite quarterback (at least in fantasy circles as he has yet to prove anything in the playoffs), it looks like he took a step backwards against the Cardinals. Despite pulling out the win and passing for 301 yards, people will only remember the 5 interceptions. What must be considered is that Arizona does have a good defense and they made it their mission to pressure, blitz and make Ryan’s life miserable all day. On 3 of Ryan’s interceptions the ball was tipped by an Arizona defender before being picked off and Julio Jones was essentially a non factor. Facing Tampa Bay this coming week should be a nice opportunity for a bounce back week for Ryan, but he is not as bad as he looked this past week, or as good as he has looked in some other weeks this season.
- Maybe it’s the injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson this season, or the lack of a running game and the struggle to establish it, but Aaron Rodgers does not seem to be having the same video game type season as last year. Now this is not to say a quarterback that has 27 touchdown passes and 2,619 yards thru 10 games is having a bad season, but not every game for Rodgers has been a fantasy masterpiece this season. As opposed to last season when it seemed the Packers were lighting up opponents at will in the passing game, they are more efficient this season. The 236 yards Rodgers threw for this week was his highest over his last 3 games, which were all wins. That and the 8 touchdown passes versus 2 interceptions for Rodgers over that span are reason enough for me not to worry about him.
- Bilal Powell did a lot more with his 13 touches than Shonn Greene did with his 18 touches. For that reason it looks like Powell is in the lead position in the Jets backfield. Yes Greene is still the starter, but Powell scored 2 touchdowns and got all the important touches in the red zone and on third down. As of this point it looks like Powell is in the more advantageous position going forward as this is clearly a situation of riding the hot hand and Powell certainly has looked better.
- Based on the comments from Jim Harbaugh and the performance of Colin Kaepernick Monday night, it looks like Kaepernick might be getting another week under center. The 49ers put up 32 points in a game that was in hand early. The ball seemed to flow a lot better down the field and Vernon Davis was once again in play as he caught 6 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. As long as Kaepernick is under center he certainly could be a good option for fantasy owners searching for help at the quarterback position. He can throw the ball well downfield and with nice accuracy and velocity. This allows the 49ers to open up their offense a little more which could benefit all of their skill position players.
- It really is becoming more and more clear that AJ Green just cannot be stopped. Green had 6 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown putting up what seems to be the worst case scenario Green owners can expect. Not only does this boost the status of Andy Dalton as Green continues to make him look good, but also it raises the stock of the other Bengals receivers as defenses are forced to pay extra attention to Green.
- Entering the fourth quarter it looked like owners were right in having doubts about Josh Freeman and his consistency. Then a switch flipped and Freeman looked like a different quarterback in the 4th quarter and in overtime. Freeman rallied the Bucs back from an 11 point deficit to win the game in overtime and he ended up with 248 yards passing and 3 touchdowns (although he did have 2 interceptions). Yet again Freeman showed comfort in the pocket and was able to whip the ball downfield with ease. Don’t look now, but in his last 6 games Freeman has 16 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions. Based on his talent and upside, it is looking like this could be just the beginning for Freeman.