Imma be real with you here, I don't have much motivation to write this post right now. I'm also never going to make a pun based on that awful Black Eyed Peas song. But I digress. It's been a hectic week for reasons totally irrelevant to this blog, and I'm heading to Boston tomorrow morning for my first real fantasy road game against The Girl. She caught me on an off week with Drew Brees and Matt Forte on a bye, but I'm not one to sit around and let a loss show up on my ledger.
But anyway, let's see what I can scrounge up as I watch Chris Johnson trudge through the mud that I assume must be surrounding his feet.
WHAT? New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks
WHY? Unstoppable force, immovable object, you get it. The Patriots set the field ablaze against the Broncos, running 89 plays (including 54 rushing attempts, more than the Chiefs ran last week in their absurdly run-heavy game plan last week) and gaining 444 yards. Interestingly enough, their yards-per-play was exactly the same as the 'Hawks had last week, but Seattle ran 27 fewer plays for 130 fewer yards and scored 14 fewer points. However, the Seattle D is 1st in total defense, 5th against the pass, 3rd against the run, and 2nd in scoring defense. These teams are also almost identical in terms of average time of possession (albeit accomplished through entirely different schemes), ranking 7th and 8th in the league.
WHO? It's always Tom Brady with the Patriots, isn't it? Wrong. I'll be taking a look at the Pats' breakout running backs Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden, who have combined for 448 yards and 4 touchdowns on 80 carries the last two weeks. Now, those games were against two teams in the bottom ten in the league against the run (although obviously those stats are skewed by their performances in these games), so perhaps we should take that with a grain of salt. It will be interesting to see how the third-ranked rush offense (which has made its hay against weaker rush defenses) fares against the third-ranked rush defense (which has made its hay against weaker rush offenses).
HOW? Drive to Cambridge, MA, throw on a Shady McCoy jersey, and watch a wee little Giants fan squirm as she's forced to watch Tom Brady dissect the defense of Matt Vogel's boys. Oh wait, that's what I'll be doing.
WHAT? New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
WHY? This rematch of last year's NFC Championship game has a very similar feel to it, in that the 49ers' offense is coming off an impressive showing (600+ yards last week) and the Giants upset a heavily favored team in impressive fashion (they topped the Browns 41-27 last week). Oh, the Browns weren't favored? Oops. Well the G-Men are coming off an impressive offensive performance themselves, but it will be more interesting to see how their defense handles the apparent juggernaut that is the 49ers' O. In that NFC Championship game Alex Smith was just 12-for-26 for 196 yards; last week, he was 18-for-24 for 303 yards.
WHO? After rushing for 200 yards and a TD on 30 carries last week, I'm intrigued to see how Ahmad Bradshaw performs this week when he's facing a top-10 rush defense instead of a bottom-10 one, in a contest in which he's not likely to receive nearly that kind of workload. He had just 35 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown in his first three games combined, and has carried the ball at least 20 times just six times in his career before last week. This 49ers defense held Adrian Peterson and the formidable Bills duo to just over 3 yards per carry this season, so I'm not seeing Bradshaw providing anywhere close to a repeat performance.
HOW? Start a pickup football game. Get beat to the tune of a 24-point deficit late in the third quarter. Make it all the way back to take the lead. Then read the rulebook on ineligible receivers downfield.
WHAT? St. Louis Rams at Miami Dolphins
WHY? You thought I'd pick a game with high-exposure (or at least good) teams? Ha! This game is a fantasy defense goldmine! Both good sleepers this week, the Rams are 7th and the Dolphins 9th in fantasy scoring, mostly due to their ranks of 7 and 8 in sacks. But more importantly, these teams aren't likely to run up the score offensively. These teams have scored at least 21 points just three times out of their 10 total games, and the Rams are going to be without what qualifies for a #1 wide receiver in St. Louis, Danny Amendola (no slight on him, but he's not exactly Calvin Johnson or even Dwayne Bowe).
WHO? To me, this game might be decided by whether or not the Dolphins' rookie QB Ryan Tannehill can get the ball to underrated receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess against this Rams pass defense. St. Louis has allowed just two passing touchdowns all season while nabbing 8 interceptions, recording 15 sacks, and allowing the third-lowest opponents' passer rating in the league. Tannehill has thrown just two touchdowns himself this season, but has thrown just 3 interceptions in his past four games after throwing 3 in Week 1, including a 430-yard game on just 41 attempts against a now-famous Cardinals defense.
HOW? Yeah, I'm going to be honest, you probably shouldn't watch this.