Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NFL Homage: Week 5

Peter King, long-time Sports Illustrated writer, has a column titled Monday Morning Quarterback or MMQB. This is speculative hearsay as I have never read it. But that is the rumor. Similarly, Gregg Easterbrook, short-time ESPN.com author, has a column titled Tuesday Morning Quarterback or TMQ. This is factual, as I have seen the links to it, but have never read it. Supposedly TMQ is an homage to MMQB where, in both, the author summarizes the goings-on of the previous NFL week of games. Well, in the Sports Pinata, each week I will be writing a post about the previous slab of games, call it an homage to an homage as I am copying the idea, but as I have never read either man's work, don't know if I will be copying ideas. Let's hope not. On to week five.

That sound you heard was a huge sigh of relief. No, not from the '72 Dolphins. The sigh came from Ray Rice owners. After four sub par games to start the season, Rice finally put together a performance to warrant his high selection. Ray Rice ended the Broncos game with 133 yards and two touchdowns. It's a good thing too, because I was one week away from renaming the 'stars who sucked' lineup after Rice himself.

A couple other players who have been members of the lineup a number of times were not as lucky as Rice and were not able to shed their starting role. Making the team once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is getting near trend territory.

Quarterback - Matt Schaub. Guess who? Matt Schaub, the next "it" quarterback for a team with a plethora of weapons on offense, has only had one good week all year in an overtime win over the Redskins. Other than that, he has been flat out bad and week five was no exception. Ending with under 200 yards passing, no touchdowns, and one interception may qualify as Schaub's worst game in an already pitiful year. Good thing for Arian Foster or this Texans team would be last in their division. This team does not have an easy schedule the rest of the way. Let's just say I'm getting worried about Matt. I'm not totally worried yet, but I am getting there.

Running Back - DeAngelo Williams and Arian Foster. Oddly enough, Foster also makes the team this week. Even though he has had a great year up to this point, week five against the Giants was a struggle for the entire Texans roster. Foster ended with just two fantasy points. It's hard to win when both your quarterback and running back struggle to produce. As for DeAngelo Williams, 2010 has been a bit of a disappointment. His team is awful, the worst in the conference. His quarterback situation is awful. His team's receiving corp is empty with Steve Smith hurt. In other words, this was supposed to be Williams' team to carry and he hasn't really done so. Only 59 yards from scrimmage isn't going to cut it when the Panthers need him to go wild to have a chance to win.

Wide Receiver - Anquan Boldin and Greg Jennings. One man's success oftentimes means another's failure. Ray Rice had his best game of the year this week, meaning the passing game wasn't needed as much. Consequently, Boldin ended with just one catch for eight yards. The Broncos were able to take him away and still got trounced. I don't see many more weeks like this for Boldin in the future. But boy do I for Greg Jennings! We missed you last week. Jennings took a week off from the 'stars who sucked' lineup but now is back claiming his old roster spot. Jennings is having one of the worst years for any star receiver on such a powerful offense. He has yet to have a 100 yard receiving game. In fact, other than week one where he gained 82 yards, Jennings' game high is 36 yards! Thirty-six. Luckily he has three touchdown catches out of his putrid 14 total catches on the year or his fantasy total would be near the bottom of all qualifiers.

Tight End - Dallas Clark. What Clark's inclusion on this team signifies is more than him having one bad week. What it signals is the domination of Antonio Gates. He is the only tight end that can be trusted for week in and week out production. Clark had a bad game, ending with just 2 fantasy points, but Tony Gonzalez and Dustin Keller also had bad games, Jermichael Finely got hurt, and really no one can be counted on to put points on the board besides Gates. On the year, Gates has over 30 more fantasy points than any other tight end in the league, and we've only played six games. Unless Gates makes this lineup one week, there is not a single other name that would surprise me anymore, Dallas Clark included.

D/ST - Cowboys. Coming off a bye, with the NFC East completely up for grabs, this Dallas team had a chance to get back into the thick of things. Instead, they host Tennessee and give up 34 points and don't force a single turnover at home. It is impossible to say this team is out of it with the Giants, Eagles and Redskins having no identity yet, but for a Super Bowl contender, Dallas' defensive performance coming out of the bye week is not something that should breed too much confidence.

Kicker - Ryan Longwell. Two points on two PATs. That's what he scored. We get it. Kickers are completely unpredictable. From now on, just to rub it in even further, I am going to include a barely owned kicker who outperformed all the "top guys." Jason Hanson, owned in less than 10% of all leagues, scored 14 fantasy points on five PATs and three field goals for a team that had previously been winless. Go figure.

I wish I could say the league is finally taking shape after five weeks are in the books, but with a few exceptions, I still have no idea who is good and who's not. Is there even a good team in the entire NFC? The Bears, Falcons, and Bucs are the only teams with less than two losses. Meanwhile, the entire AFC South is 3-2 and Kansas City is two losses ahead of the rest of the AFC West. I'll have to wait another week or two to update my power rankings with any kind of certainty. As for the fantasy landscape, if your team is 0-5 right now, start trading for keepers. If you don't play in a keeper league, go join a new league.

This has been week five's NFL homage to an homage.

(Same image used as previous NFL Homage posts)

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