The Year of the Running Back busts?
It happens every year a star running back goes down for the season with an injury leaving their owners in a panic to replace them. Both Arian Foster and Doug Martin have now been put on IR ending their seasons; obviously both were top 5 picks coming in. However it’s been the mortifying disappointments at the position that have had the biggest affect on fantasy this season. Other first round picks like Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, and CJ Spiller all rank outside the top thirty just 10 weeks into the season.
I was wrong to think that Ray Rice’s role and touches would be enough to salvage his season, he looks just about done. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he is still nursing an injury (remember he did leave and miss one game this season). The Ravens might be clinging onto hope of the playoffs causing them to continue to roll him out on the field.
Trent Richardson is not a good running back, I won’t say it again. No issues with dropping him at all, there are about 40 backs I would take over him for the rest of the season. Names you wouldn’t have expected coming into the year like Zac Stacy, Fred Jackson, and Danny Woodhead. Even Andre Brown returning from injury looked years ahead of Richardson this week. While CJ Spiller’s problem on the other hand stems from a lack of consistency. Not just running the ball, but staying on the field as well. Spiller definitely has the best chance to break out of the ‘bust’ bracket but this far into the season it’s really hard to picture.
Yes he is fast, but so is DHB
Tavon Austin finally had the game that the entire league was waiting for. The Rams first round pick had three total touchdowns showing off the electrifying speed that made him such a highly touted prospect coming out of West Virginia. Even with the big game fantasy owners should not be overreacting to this. Austin still only received 3 targets and although the Rams were leading for pretty much the entire game he has only seen double-digit targets once, which came in Week 2. Speed kills and Tavon has it in spades but despite his big game his YPC is just above 10 for the year, and with Clemons throwing the ball in St. Louis I am noting the talent for future consideration but not making a move to pick up or trade for Austin.
Michael Vick is done in Philadelphia
Barring injury Nick Foles should be the starting quarterback for the Eagles for at least the rest of the season, and if they are smart next season as well. There was debate earlier in the season whether Chip Kelly would be looking to the draft for a QB to fit his fast pace offense. Luckily for him it looks like they have already found him. Foles has had tremendous success for the Eagles throwing 16 touchdowns without an interception, and has multiple touchdowns in every complete game he has played. In just his second season Foles is showing a lot of promise and can only develop into a smarter quarterback with more game experience. Although his stats have been helped by his wide receivers making plays for him down the field, its refreshing to see Foles continue to push the ball vertical utilizing the strengths of DeSean Jackson and his new favorite target Riley Cooper.
He has just the perfect amount of mobility to keep defenses honest and with Shady McCoy hiding in the backfield teams can’t commit to stopping the pass. The Eagles have a relatively easy schedule upcoming and as good a chance as any to come out of the decrepit NFC East. This makes Foles a legit top 10 quarterback until further notice.
Defenses are often not of the greatest importance in fantasy football, traditionally taken in late rounds and most people playing matchups from week to week. Every now and then a defense starts to make statements that get them noticed, it happened at the end of the 2011 season when the Seattle Seahawks D looked unbeatable. This season it is the Panthers defense that has emerged as a premier defense especially in their front 7 as they have been causing havoc for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. Following the 4th quarter meltdown against the Bills in Week 2 where a rookie EJ Manuel took Buffalo down the field to win the game in the dying seconds, the Panthers D hasn’t given an inch.
This information is important not only for teams looking to pick up a solid D, but when starting players against them expectations should be tempered. Coming into Week 10 the Panthers hadn’t really been challenged by a tough offense other than Seattle in Week 1, but they had their statement game against the 49ers who came in on a roll. The Panthers D are just not giving up touchdowns, having their streak of no first half touchdowns against snapped against Matt Ryan in Week 9 they didn’t give up one score to the defending NFC Champions. The front 7 kept Kaepernick in check both in the air and on the ground, which many teams will tell you is hard to do, just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Panthers defense will face Tom Brady and Drew Brees twice over the short remainder of the season and I am excited to see how those matchups shake out.
New Monsters of The Midway
Gone are the years of the bone crushing defenses of the Chicago Bears, yet the team is still managing to stay competitive in a tough division with quarterback injury issues. It has been the offense and more particularly the play of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery who are allowing the team to have so much success.
The Bears are the 5th highest scoring team with a couple teams in front of them yet to have their bye. These monsters measuring in at 6’4 and 6’3 respectfully have been matchup nightmares for opposing defensive backs. With Martellus Bennett eating up the middle of the field at 6’6 Marshall and Jeffery have seen a lot of single coverage this year and it shows. Both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown have shown great trust in both of the wide receivers giving them plenty of chances to go up and make plays on jump balls. Look no further than Jeffery’s called off touchdown and Marshalls second score this week for proof.
It was well known coming into the season that Brandon Marshall was an elite wide out option so his level of play is not very surprising. Alshon Jeffery on the other hand showed flashes in his rookie season but couldn’t stay healthy which caused concern coming into this year. With the addition of Bennett and the extreme lack of production from the tight end position since Greg Olsen left led many to believe that in addition to Forte there would be too many mouths to feed.
The entire team has proved everyone wrong especially Jeffery who has already doubled his yards from last season in one less game and is averaging just under 10 targets a game. I believe that a lot of this success can be attributed to the Marc Trestman who has created an offense that is very easy to succeed in considering McCown’s success on top of Cutler’s when healthy. Alshon is having a great fantasy season despite only having 3 touchdowns, 2 of which came in the same game. He is a stellar top 15 play going forward with upside if he can start converting his catches into more touchdowns. While Bennett remains a solid TE1, look for these monsters to keep devouring defenses the remainder of the season.