Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 2's Talentless Texan Touter

For a person who spends as much time watching and talking about football as I do, I sure suck at knowing stuff.  My fantasy teams are a resounding 5-7 (thank you very much, Matt Forte and Darren McFadden), I've picked just 11 out of 32 games correctly against the spread, and my Eliminator entry is done after just two weeks (how long of odds would you have given the Cardinals of beating the Patriots if their starting quarterback is hurt, Larry Fitzgerald is held to 4 yards, and Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells combine for 24 yards on 57 carries?).

So with that in mind, you should probably totally ignore what's written below.


TRIUMPH:  Um, so, how 'bout that Giants' passing game?  Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz combined to nab 21 receptions for THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY EIGHT YARDS and two touchdowns.  To put that in perspective, that's more yards for two receivers than the Bills, Seahawks, Cardinals, and Jaguars have passed for in two games total.  

TRAGEDY:  Let's just throw an umbrella on this and say that the Buccaneers defense was, well, lacking hustle.  I should point out that in a game in which the Giants allowed 34 points and were throwing the ball all over the lot, allowing just 307 yards total is pretty successful.  The Bucs, on the other hand, were fresh off holding the vaunted Panthers offense down in Week 1, and decided to celebrate by allowing over 500 passing yards.  They even added 94 rushing yards allowed against last year's worst rushing offense in a game where they led for most of the contest.  

TREND:  Let's go back to that Giants passing offense for a second.  Last season, Eli Manning posted 33% of his completions, 30% of his attempts, 35% of his yards, 52% of his touchdowns, and 38% of his interceptions in the fourth quarter.  They just throw a lot at the end of games.  Yes, a lot of that falls on their defense, but it doesn't look like that's really improved.  The Giants were down 27-13 two minutes into the second half, after all.

TRAIL MIX: You may have heard that there was a bit of a stink over the Bucs bum-rushing the Giants' kneel-down play at the end of the game, with Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano saying that he called that because he instructs his team to play hard until the final whistle.  In a league that's obsessed with player safety, pulling that move on an offensive unit that has ZERO idea that they're going to get hit is a recipe for disaster.  Yes, it's bush league, but I'm not really concerned about that.  Don't give up 500 passing yards, and you won't have to worry.


TRIUMPH: CJ Spiller is apparently greater than sliced bread.  Through his first two games of 2012, he has 29 carries for 292 yards, 5 catches for 72 yards, and 3 touchdowns.  Them's Tecmo Bowl numbers right there (OK, not quite -- that number of carries by Bo Jackson would likely produce about 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns).  But after Spiller averaged 18 touches for 105 total yards and just under a touchdown per game last year with Fred Jackson out, so it really brings into question how much the Bills are willing to limit the former first-round pick's touches once Jackson returns.

TRAGEDY: Jamaal Charles... dude...  Through two games, the JC of KC has netted 25 touches (22 carries) for 106 total yards, and no touchdowns.  For a comparison, last season Charles played in just five quarters and had 92 total yards and a touchdown on 17 touches, and in 2010, he had 177 total yards and a touchdown on 24 touches.  He hasn't shown a decline in usage, but he has shown a decline in performance.  He's as explosive as any player in the league, though, and the Chiefs have to play in a competitive game eventually, right?

TREND: Speaking of the Chiefs playing competitive games, can we talk about how the Chiefs have lost their first two games in 2012 by a combined score of 75-41 after losing their first two in 2011 by a combined score of 89-10?  Incidentally, Buffalo was involved in each of those seasons, but that's neither here nor there.  This team appears to have caught the Chargers' early-season-struggle mojo, with the Bolts surprisingly starting 2-0 each of the last two years.  For a team that's built to run the ball and keep Matt Cassel's responsibilities down, they really get blown out a lot.

TRAIL MIX: My vote for the highest ratio of fantasy-relevance to my-awareness-of-his-existence-prior-to-Week-1 might just go to Shaun Draughn, who has dramatically outperformed Jamaal Charles this season.  He had 6 total touches and gained 89 yards in this game, and now has 14 touches for 130 yards and a touchdown, compared to Charles' 25 for 106 and zero.  Seriously, when Draughn started accruing stats Week 1 on ESPN's live updates, I thought they were just mistyping Peyton Hillis or something.


TRIUMPH: Willis McGahee looked positively spry in this contest, rumbling-bumbling-stumbling for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries despite the Broncos trailing throughout the game, the majority of the time by multiple scores.  Yes, this is a small sample size, but after a renaissance season last year with 1200 rushing yards but just four rushing touchdowns, he's now on pace for 1400 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.  And this is a guy who had a devastating knee injury in college and is now on the wrong side of 30.

TRAGEDY: After fans and experts alike had a collective drool-fest over Julio Jones during the preseason and through Week 1, Jones backers got a nice taste of reality Monday night, as he had just 4 receptions for 14 yards on 7 targets.  This is the nature of the beast when you're dealing with receivers, as there's plenty of mouths to feed (and just one football) and plenty of in-game situations that can lead a player to underperform.  He'll still do great this season, but let's reel in the Megatron-circa-2011 expectations.

TREND: I'm pretty sure I wrote about Michael Turner here last week, but hey, a trend is a trend.  The guy looks like he has no explosion, no speed, no power.  It took him a few tries to get a 1-yard plunge TD early on, which is a facet of his game that was considered to be a strength.  In a game in which the Falcons led for all but five minutes, it's pretty disappointing that Turner only netted 11 carries after the first quarter.  Now, let's not go out and say that the Dirty Birds need to put somebody else out there, because the rest of the team has totaled 32 yards on 13 carries in two games.

TRAIL MIX: I don't know if it's a Broncos thing or what, but Peyton Manning looks like he has a little Tebow in him this season.  I already used this analysis on his brother, so that works out conveniently.  Peyton has produced almost exactly 1/3 of his completions, attempts, yards, and touchdowns in just the fourth quarter this season, with his Broncos outscoring their opponents 31-6, after being outscored 40-21 in the first three quarters.  Also, anyone else notice that Peyton went from one horse team (the Colts) to another (the Broncos)?  Conspiracy.

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