Last week, every fantasy football commentator (including yours truly) spat on Ray Rice, wisely pointing out his low YPC and general lack of burst. So naturally (also pointed out by yours truly) Rice responded with 148 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, with a healthy 5.24 yards per carry. It should be noted that Chicago seems unable to stop the run, a far cry from the former “Monsters of the Midway” defense the Bears are known for. But Rice gained 56 yards on his first 5 carries before the tornado shut things down; who knows if the long break affected him, but that signals he may have his burst back.
So, what should fantasy owners make of this? I wrote last week I won’t start Rice until I see three consecutive strong games from him; until then, he is still a liability. As far as the fantasy season goes this is the perfect time for Rice to pick it up. There are two more weeks before playoffs start in most leagues, enough time to evaluate him for starts in games that really matter. For those fantasy owners who stuck it out with Rice, there is now a glimmer of hope you may gain a stud RB1 for the playoffs. Of course, this could just be an aberration brought on by a Tornado and a brief trip to Oz (and Ray Lewis was there, and Ed Reed, and Anquan Boldin, and a competent Joe Flacco! Lions and Bengals and Bears, oh my!), but here’s hoping Ray Rice has his groove back.
Matthew Stafford second half collapse
Matthew Stafford owners were thrilled going into half time on Sunday, as Stafford had thrown for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half, good for 21 fantasy points. While no one was expecting 660 yards and 4 touchdowns for the day (though you never know with Megatron), 30+ points certainly seemed likely for Stat Padford. His whole reputation is based on putting up gaudy fantasy numbers without ever looking like a great QB.
The second half was a completely different story; 3 for 16 for 35 yards and an interception, Padford finished with 21 points. Exactly what he started with. Disappointing stuff, but I guess it is hard to complain about 20+ points from any player.
Is Nicke Foles for real?
There are so many options at quarterback in one QB leagues (sorry, Andy Dalton owners) that embracing the unknown quantity at the highest scoring position can be daunting. But with injuries (Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler), underperformance (Matt Ryan), and Eli Manning Syndrome (Eli Manning, Joe Flacco) there are surely teams looking for a reliable QB1.
I know that many owners picked up Foles weeks ago and have probably been playing him in 2-QB leagues for a while. But you would have had to be supremely overconfident to have any certainty about his performance week to week given the small sample size. Foles has now played 5 complete games (not counting his 80-yard start against Dallas in which he left early with a concussion). In those starts, he has averaged 285 ypg with 17 TDs (16 passing, one rushing) and only one turnover (a fumble against Green Bay). I can’t say for sure if that success is due to Foles, Chip Kelly, or both, but it sure looks like Foles is the man in Philly right now and as good a QB option not named Peyton or Drew that you could hope for.
Frustrating Wide Receivers
Every fantasy player is going to have ups and downs, but the wide receiver position continues to be one of the most frustrating. Take a look at the top WRs and marvel at the fluctuations: Calvin Johnston has five 20+ point starts, but also games with 3, 0, and 2 points. Demaryius Thomas has three 20+ point starts, but also two 5 point games and one with 7. A.J. Green has three 20+ point starts to go with games of 4, 5, 6 and (most recently) 0 points. And the list goes on. It’s just hard to swallow when every week your top WR is projected for 15-20 points and one quarter of the time they put up a complete dud.
Andre Ellington owners are pulling out their hair
The Cardinals Andre Ellington was a popular waiver wire pickup after putting up starts of 14 and 21 fantasy points while assuming the starting role when Rashard Mendenhall was injured. Given that Ellington is averaging 6.3 YPC compared to Mendenhall’s 2.9, many owners naturally assumed Ellington would continue to play a prominent role in an anemic Cardinals offense. Yet Coach Bruce Arians continues to favour Mendenhall for no obvious reason; no wonder Ellington owners are pulling out their hair. Oh wait, that’s actually Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin, who pulled out a significant number of Ellington’s braids during the game on Sunday. Don’t worry, they were returned to him in a plastic bag.