Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 14 Deserves Another T for Tebow

This week in the NFL gave you all you want as a fan: late-game comebacks and near-comebacks in 7 games, and blowouts in another 6.  Oh, and Tim Tebow.  If it weren't for the Christian Ponderer (nickname not mine, sadly), the Texans' ridiculously unlikely 10-3 record would be a big story this year.  Alas, I'm left adding Tebow to everything.


TRIUMPH: Although this really has been more the norm than an anomaly of late, Laurent Robinson overcame being replaced in the starting lineup by Miles Austin by grabbing 4 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, capping a 7-game stretch (4 of those as the starter) in which he totaled 530 yards and 8 touchdowns.  However, with Austin getting back into the swing of things, I don’t anticipate this continuing to the extent that the last couple weeks would indicate.

TRAGEDY: Could have been Jason Witten getting 3 receptions for 12 yards, but I’m going to go with Ahmad Bradshaw breaking a team rule and missing the first half of this game without telling any of his fantasy owners, and then coming back just in time to get 8 carries for 12 yards, while Brandon Jacobs put up 101 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Dude…

TREND: Victor Cruz has been Cruzing of late, averaging 7 receptions for just under 110 yards over his past 7 games.  Despite being “just” the slot receiver when Mario Manningham plays, Cruz has made big play after big play and is now third in the league in receiving yards and fourth among fantasy wide receivers.

TRAIL MIX: This game worked out just like you would expect an NFC East battle to: high-scoring despite name-brand defenses, lots of passing, botched snaps and fumbles by both teams, Eli Manning making a late scoring drive, and the Cowboys bungling it at the end.  All of that adds up to the Eagles still not being eliminated!

TEBOW: Speaking of prolific passers, did you know that Tim Tebow went 18-of-24 for 191 yards AFTER THE THIRD QUARTER this week?


TRIUMPH: Backup quarterbacks Tyler Thigpen and Billy Volek combined to go 2-for-3 for 19 yards and an interception, as well as having 3 carries for 12 yards.  They had combined to go 1-5 for 6 yards prior to this game.  Yes, this is a sad, sad triumph, but this was a pretty sad game for a blowout.

TRAGEDY: Vincent Jackson follows up a solid game with another “meh” performance (5 receptions, 55 yards).  He is the most consistently inconsistent player in the league, having 21 receptions for 279 yards and 0 touchdowns in games 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13, and 32 receptions for 673 yards and 8 touchdowns in games 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 this season (and that includes one fewer game AND a 1-for-15 game in the even-numbered set).  

TREND: Antonio Gates, when healthy, is the anti-Vincent-Jackson: money in the bank.  He has had between 4 and 8 receptions and between 49 and 96 receiving yards in every game he’s played (there’s 9 of them), as well as scoring 6 touchdowns.

TRAIL MIX: The Bills have had a Tale of Two Seasons in 2011, going 5-2 and scoring 30 points per game through Week 8, and going 0-6 and scoring 13 points per game afterward.  Also, remember that post I wrote about Ryan Fitzpatrick being a fair-weather flinger? Yahtzee. 

TEBOW: The Denver Fighting Tebows have won 8 of Tebow’s 10 starts since last year, and have won 7 of those with drives in the 4th quarter or overtime, while the Denver Broncos (the pre-Tebow Denver football team) have gone 4-14 in the last two seasons.


TRIUMPH: Big day for former Patriots receivers on the Redskins!  Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney combined for 10 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown in this contest.  While Gaffney has had at least 50 receiving yards in 9 games this year, Stallworth had 111 yards all season coming into this game.

TRAGEDY: Deion Branch is an old-time Patriot, so he should be used to totally disappearing from time to time as Tom Brady sees fit.  Branch was thrown to twice and caught no passes, which looks awfully similar to his 2-19, 3-37, 2-21, and 1-4 games earlier this season.

TREND: Duh, Rex Grossman.  I think we should motion the NFL to rename the strip-sack the Grossman, as he had 2 more fumbles (one lost) yesterday, bringing his total to 7 in 10 games to go with his 16 interceptions.

TRAIL MIX: Rob Gronkowski is just unreal. He is 7th in the league in receiving yards, first in touchdowns (thanks to having 10 TD in his last 6 games), and is doing all of this while being second-fiddle to Wes Welker, who leads the league in receptions and yards and has 9 touchdowns of his own.

TEBOW: Broncos-Patriots this week.  Nuff said.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seder Slate, Week 14

Not that any of you are hanging on any of the words that I put here, but I’m sure you will understand that I skipped this past week of posts due to some busy times at the old university.  But fear not; I still have some entrees left to serve.  Can’t slow down just because there’s only four weeks left and the fantasy regular season is over, right?

Seder Slate, Week 14

WHAT? Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins

WHY? Michael Vick returns after a three-week injury hiatus in which the team went 1-2 (the two losses being of the sickening and embarrassing variety), only to face a Dolphins team that started off Sucking for Luck (0-7) but has won 4 of their last 5, outscoring opponents 140-53 in that span.  After all the acquisitions that both of these teams made in the offseason, I don’t think anyone thought before the season that this game would be utterly meaningless.  Hm, that doesn’t seem like a good reason to watch the game, does it?

WHO? Generally-considered-a-bust Reggie Bush has had a bit of a renaissance in the last six games, averaging six more carries and nearly twice as many rushing yards as he did in the first six, and scoring all of his season’s five rushing touchdowns during Miami’s recent surge.  After having just two 90-yard games in his 5 previous seasons, Bush has 3 in the past six contests.  Too bad Vince Young isn’t starting, or this would be a nice little 2006 Rose Bowl reunion.

HOW? Watch it while continually checking live news feeds for the next Miami Marlins signing, because God knows nobody’s actually going to the game.

WHAT? New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

WHY? It’s always interesting to watch matchups with teams that are opposites in some sense: one of the best quarterbacks ever (Brady) versus one of the worst (Grossman), one of the best-run organizations in football versus one of the worst, and colonial Americans versus Native Americans.

WHO? Rex Grossman has thrown for some decent yardage totals this season, and facing one of the worst defenses in the league in the Patriots (who, by the way, allowed Dan Orlovsky to put up a 30-37, 353, 2 TD, 1 INT line against them in a game where they were favored by 20), he might actually look decent.  Just remember to take the context into consideration, people.

HOW? Pats fans: check it out by lamplight; one if by radio and two if by TV.  ‘Skins fans: start up a fire in that old tipi that’s been collecting dust.

WHAT? Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos

WHY? This game would be interesting for the whole Cutler-Orton-trade thing, except for the fact that Orton was cut and Cutler is hurt.  As it stands, it’s two teams right on the fringe of playoff contention duking it out, and with both teams having certain losses left on the schedule (Bears-Packers, Broncos-Patriots), this is a big week for both.

WHO? Dude.  Tebow.  After completing more than half his passes and throwing for 200 yards for the first time all season last week (despite being just 4-for-6 for 29 yards in the first half), can he keep it up against a Bears defense that’s top ten against the run but bottom five against the pass?

HOW? The only way to do it: on one knee, fist supporting your bowed head.  Tebow.