Inside the Huddle: A Look at Sunday Afternoon from Week 6

It was a crazy afternoon of football with some star players shining with some huge performances.  You had QBs like Ben Roethlisberger (417 yards) and Tom Brady (6 TD).  You had RB like Maurice Jones-Drew (3 TD) and Thomas Jones (210 yards).  You had WR/TE like Sidney Rice (176 yards) and Larry Fitzgerald (13 catches).  Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 6:

Green Bay Packers 26, Detroit Lions 0

  • With Calvin Johnson out of action the Lions managed to do very little on offense.  Already without Matthew Stafford, the Lions lost Dante Culpepper (6-14, 48 yards, 1 INT) in the second quarter due to a hamstring injury, forcing the team to use Drew Stanton (5-11, 57 yards, 2 INT), the third-string quarterback.  The only positive you can point to is Dennis Northcutt, who had five receptions for 40 yards.  That gives him 10 receptions over the past two weeks, though he is still doesn’t hold much value in any format.
  • The Green Bay Packers had four receivers with at least 50 yards receiving: Donald Driver (7 receptions, 70 yards), Greg Jennings (6 receptions, 64 yards), James Jones (2 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD) and Jermichael Finley (5 receptions, 54 yards).  Over his past two games, Finley has been on fire, with 11 catches for 182 yards and 1 TD.  Tight ends are tough to depend on from week-to-week, but with Cleveland next on the schedule, he has to be an early favorite as a usable player in all formats.
  • How good is Aaron Rodgers?  He went 29-37 for 358 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT.  That’s his second consecutive game over 350 yards, his third straight with two touchdown passes and he has thrown for at least one touchdown in all five of his starts this season.
Houston Texans 28, Cincinnati Bengals 17
  • Steve Slaton may not have gotten the job done on the ground, rushing the ball 19 times for 43 yards, but he surely delivered in the passing game.  He had six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, showing why he is a must play in all formats.  He still has just one touchdown in the ground and hasn’t rushed for more than 76 yards in a game.
  • Slaton wasn’t the only Texan to deliver in the passing game, with Matt Schaub going 28-40 for 392 yards, 4 TD and 1 INT.  Andre Johnson had eight receptions for 135 yards, but the biggest star was Owen Daniels who caught seven passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns.  That’s 32 catches on the season, going for 374 yards, placing him among the best tight ends in the league.
  • Chad Ochocinco had five catches for 103 yards, his second straight game of over 90 yards.  He’s clearly re-emerged as a must start option in all formats.
  • Carson Palmer went 23-34 for 259 yards and 1 TD.  That is the fifth straight game with a TD, but with 8 TD vs. 6 INT, he is not necessarily a must start option.  He’s a good play in two quarterback leagues, but outside of that it would really depend on the match-up and your other options.  With his next two games coming against the Bears and Ravens, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Carolina Panthers 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
  • The story for the Panthers was the running game, because they clearly did nothing passing the ball.  Jake Delhomme went 9-17 for 65 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT.  He’s thrown at least one interception in all five games this season and he clearly is hindering the performance of someone like Steve Smith (who did leave with an injury).  Delhomme’s struggles drops Smith’s standing in all rankings at this point.
  • DeAngelo Williams went for 152 yards and 2 TD while Jonathan Stewart went for 110 yards and 1 TD.  Unless the passing game shows any life, look for them to continue to rely heavily on these two, making Stewart a solid play as a FLEX.
  • It appears that Carnell Williams (6 rushes, 77 yards, 1 TD) has gotten his grasp on the starting job, with Derrick Ward getting just one carry (and no more than nine in each of the past four games).  If you need the roster spot, I wouldn’t hesitate releasing Ward at this point.
Kansas City Chiefs 14, Washington Redskins 6
  • How bad are the Redskins?  I mean really?  Jason Campbell, who went 9-16 for 89 yards and 1 INT was pulled from the game.  At least Chris Cooley (5 catches, 57 yards) actually got to get involved in the passing game this week.
  • Concerns about Clinton Portis’ injuries should be alleviated, as he rushed for 109 yards while also catching three passes for an additional 15 yards.  I know, you’d like to see him find the end zone, but at least he is producing.
  • Dwayne Bowe had six catches for 109 yards while Larry Johnson rushed the ball 23 times for 83 yards (and also had three catches for 12 yards).  Needless to say, it wasn’t necessarily a pretty performance, despite the victory.  Johnson averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and broke off his longest run of the season, 17 yards.  It really is just a matter of time for Jamaal Charles to get a longer look.
Minnesota Vikings 33, Baltimore Ravens 31
  • It was a monster day for Ray Rice, despite being handed the ball just 10 times.  He rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns, but added 10 receptions for another 117 yards.  Feel free to drop Willis McGahee in all formats, as despite being a source of touchdowns early, this is now fully Rice’s team.  Over the past two weeks he’s rushed for 146 yards, had 191 yards receiving and scored three touchdowns.
  • Let’s not ignore Joe Flacco, who went 28-43 for 385 yards and two touchdowns.  It is the third time this season that he’s thrown for over 300 yards and has thrown at least one touchdown in all six games.  He’s quickly entrenching himself as a must start quarterback in all formats.
  • Yeah, Adrian Peterson rushed for 143 yards (and added 23 in the passing game), but the stories of the game for Sidney Rice (6 catches for 176 yards) and Vishante Shiancoe (4 catches for 48 yards and 2 TD).  Shiancoe has now scored a touchdown in three straight games and four of the last five, making him a solid play in all formats if you do not have one of the elite.  He’s not a must start, however, so don’t grow too attached to him.  We all know how fickle the position’s production can be.
New Orleans Saints 48, New York Giants 27
  • The Giants defense simply got torched by Drew Brees and the Saints passing game, Brees went 23-30 for 369 yards and 4 TD, with each touchdown going to a different receiver.  Scoring was Marques Colston (8 catches, 166 yards, 1 TD), Lance Moore (6 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD), Robert Meachem (2 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD) and Jeremy Shockey (4 catches, 37 yards, 1 TD).
  • Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 10 times for 48 yards and a touchdown.  The Giants continue to work him into the offense and while he’s not worth using in most leagues, if you are in need of a FLEX option he is a potential play there.
  • Hakeem Nicks caught five passes for 114 yards and one touchdown giving him scores in three straight games.  This one came in garbage time, so I wouldn’t get too excited.  He’s the third receiver on the Giants, with most of the opportunities going to Steve Smith and Mario Manningham.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Cleveland Browns 14
  • After a terrible week for Derek Anderson and the passing game last week, they weren’t much better against a stifling Steelers defense.  Anderson threw for just 122 yards, most of which went to Mohammad Massaquoi (5 catches for 83 yards).  They also did little in the running game, with Joshua Cribbs (45 yards) leading the way over James Harrison (26 yards) and Jamal Lewis (21 yards).  The moral of this story is the Browns offense is a mess right now, so look to other options outside of the deepest of formats.
  • Rashard Mendenhall was the main back, rushing the ball 17 times for 62 yards and a touchdown (plus two receptions for 15 yards).  Seeing him get the bulk of the carries with Willie Parker (7 catches for 26 yards) back in the mix should speak volumes to fantasy owners.  Keep Mendenhall active in all formats.
  • There were some impressive passing performances, but none for than Ben Roethlisberger who went 23-35 for 417 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT.  Three receivers had more than 80 yards: Hines Ward (8 catches, 159 yards, 1 TD), Santonio Holmes (5 catches, 104 yards) and Heath Miller (5 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD).  At this point, who is the top WR for the Steelers, Ward or Holmes?  It certainly appears to be Ward, doesn’t it?
Jacksonville Jaguars 23, St. Louis Rams 20 (Overtime)
  • Can you believe that the Rams lost Donnie Avery (1 catch, 17 yards, 1 TD) to an injury in the first half?  Steven Jackson really is the only weapon the team has, as he rushed for 50 yards as well as caught six passes for 78 yards.  Outside of him, don’t bother with anyone else on the team.
  • David Garrard had 335 yards passing, but didn’t find the end zone once.  Still, he got the ball to the returning Michael Sims-Walker (9 catches for 120 yards) and Torry Holt (5 catches for 101 yards), who had something to prove against his former team.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew was the star, however, rushing the ball 33 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns (as well as catching five passes for 45 yards).  He had been invisible the previous two weeks, but this is the second time he’s exploded for three touchdowns in a game.  He appears to be an inconsistent option, but one that can carry your team to victory in any given week.
Oakland Raiders 13, Philadelphia Eagles 9
  • To say that this was the upset of the day would be an understatement.  The Eagles had some movement as well, with Brian Westbrook leading the way.  He rushed the ball six times for 50 yards while adding nine receptions for 91 yards.  The real question, however, is why the team only rushed the ball 14 times on the day?  This is a run defense that is pretty porous, including having given up over 100 yards to Correll Buckhalter and Ahmad Bradshaw this season.
  • Zack Miller had the big game for the Raiders, perpetuating the notion that you never know which tight end will have a big day.  He caught six passes for 139 yards and one touchdown.  That included an 86 yards touchdown grab, something I wouldn’t expect him to do very often, especially with JaMarcus Russell running the show.  With is two interceptions in this game, he has six on the season versus just two touchdowns.
  • It was Justin Fargas who was the main back for Oakland, rushing the ball 23 times for 87 yards.  He is potentially usable in deeper formats, but he certainly shouldn’t be considered a must start by any stretch.
Arizona Cardinals 27, Seattle Seahawks 3
  • Beanie Wells continues to be a non-factor in the Cardinals offense, rushing the ball 12 times for 29 yards and catching one pass for seven yards.  Sooner or later you have to think the Cardinals are going to give him a chance to make an impact, so for now just leave him sitting on your bench for as long as you can.  You don’t want to come to regret releasing him too soon.
  • The Cardinals wide receiver trio all made an impact, with Larry Fitzgerald (13 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD), Steve Breaston (7 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD) and Anquan Boldin (6 catches, 54 yards).  All three are solid options in all formats as long as they are healthy.
  • Where was the Seahawks offense?  First of all, their leading rusher was Julius Jones with five rushes for five yards.  No, that wasn’t a typo.  Just to make it worse, they had no receiver catch more than four passes (T.J. Houshmandzadeh) or have more than 55 yards (John Carlson).  The game was a disaster, there’s no other way to put it.
New England Patriots 59, Tennessee Titans 0
  • The Titans had -7 yards passing.  Again, not a typo.  Kerry Collins went 2-12 for -7 yards, with Vince Young going 0-2.  Has anyone seen a team throw for negative yardage very often?  I would expect a significantly better performance next week against Jacksonville, so don’t flock away from the Titans receivers so quickly.
  • Chris Johnson was the lone bright spot for Tennessee, rushing for 128 yards on 17 carries.
  • While the Titans had just one bright spot, everything appeared to be a bright spot for New England.  Tom Brady went 29-34 for 380 yards and 6 TD.  Wes Welker had 10 receptions for 150 yards and 2 TD (he has 36 catches in just four games).  Randy Moss broke out of his funk, catching 8 passes for 129 yards and 3 TD (he entered the day with just 1 TD).  Lawrence Maroney rushed the ball 16 times for 123 yards and 1 TD.  All you can say about this performance is wow.  There is no reason to ever doubt Brady and company because you know, sooner or later, they are going to get things on track.

Buffalo Bills 16, New York Jets 13 (Overtime)

  • Trent Edwards started well, going 5-5 for 43 yards, but was forced from the game with a concussion.  He only has potential value in two quarterback formats at this point, so stay tuned if you are in need next week.
  • It was an awful performance from Mark Sanchez, who went 10-29 for 119 yards, 0 TD and 5 INT.  He entered the day having thrown five interceptions over his first five career starts and this performance has to knock him down a few pegs (he has just one touchdown pass over his last three games).  Granted, he should still be viewed as a potential option in two quarterback formats against the Raiders next week.
  • While Sanchez struggled, Thomas Jones stepped up in a big way.  He rushed the ball 22 times for 210 yards and one touchdown (plus two catches for 17 yards).  While it was a huge day, how often do you expect him to average 9.5 yards per carry?  Leon Washington had 15 carries for 99 yards while catching three balls for 46 yards.  If Jones isn’t going to see the bulk of the carries while he’s as hot as he was in this one, you have to think he never will.  I wouldn’t get too excited by this performance, since it appears he’s going to be sharing time going forward.

What do you think was the biggest story coming out of yesterday’s games?  Who was the brightest star?  Who was the biggest disappointment?

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Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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Inside the Huddle: Week 5

One comment

  1. Jimmy says:

    Tom Brady’s day was simply unbelievable. This should get him back on track, for sure. And you can’t say enough about Aaron Rodgers, who’s doing it against the league’s best and worst defenses, even with a pretty bad O-line. Bad day for Mark Sanchez, but it should be expected with a rookie… Jets fans have to be patient

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