Tuesday, October 19, 2010
NFL Homage: Week 6
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 six.
Yeah the Cowboys' season is over, the Vikings saved their season, Jets got really lucky, Colts are coming back, blah, blah, blah. The real week six news came out of Green Bay. The one and only Greg Jennings actually showed up! For the first time all year, Jennings had a good game, including a long touchdown that accounted for more yards alone than any single game total of his from the first five weeks. It seems all I have to do is threaten to rename the 'stars who sucked' lineup after a player, and they come through. A week ago it was Ray Rice avoiding such embarrassment; this week it was Jennings.
On the football side of things, the picture is starting to become clear. It seems like the Steelers, Ravens and Jets are the cream of the crop. The Patriots, Giants, Eagles, Saints and Colts are in the next tier. Then a bunch of teams reside, looking great one week and terrible the next (see: Falcons, Atlanta). In fact, that second tier is not standing on very solid ground themselves. Each and every one of those teams has looked bad at least one out of these first six weeks.
The team to not underestimate is the Kansas City Chiefs. I am, of course, highly bias in this point, yet it remains true nonetheless. Starting 3-2 is exactly where they would have hoped to be whether the Chargers were sucking or not. The rest of the division playing terribly only helps their cause. I said before the Chiefs had their bye week that losing the next two games wouldn't hurt all that much, just based on their remaining 11 games. The fact that they outplayed the Colts and then had a big fourth quarter lead against the Texans should only make them more confident. Even though they lost both those games, it is clear they are good enough to compete. Bring up their remaining schedule. There is no way they win less than nine games on the season, none. And going 10-6 or 11-5 seems reasonable. With the way the Chargers are playing, nine might even be good enough to take the AFC West.
The surprising thing about the Chargers' terrible season is they have not had a single player make the 'stars who sucked' lineup all year (kickers don't count), until week six that is.
Quarterback - Mark Sanchez. The top QB's all played well this week, even Matt Schaub. I would have given this undesired distinction to Brett Favre, except his team won the game and he didn't throw any interceptions. He wasn't really that bad, just wasn't very good either. Mark Sanchez, even though his team won as well, finally had a bad game and threw his first interception of the season. It appeared as though he might be sneaking his way into the top tier of quarterbacks, but finishing with under 200 yards passing and two picks is not a way to cement your place. For now, I am going to have to throw Mark back into that group of "game managers." Yeah, I know it's painful.
Running Back - Michael Tuner and Maurice Jones-Drew. Turner has been average all year. He only has one rushing touchdown but a nice yardage total. Week six marked yet another game with no scores, but his 45 yards rushing weren't enough to overshadow it this week. If the Falcons want to get into that second tier group of teams, they need Turner to start getting into the endzone (and he needs Matt Ryan to stop being terrible). As for Jones-Drew, we've seen him before. Yet another week making the 'stars who sucked' roster and not because he has been particularly bad, just consistently disappointing. He was a unanimous top five pick in fantasy. That type of pick should guarantee solid production and Drew has been below that week after week. He has only had one game this season that would warrant where he was drafted.
Wide Receiver - Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks. Over and over again yesterday, Mike Golic was calling Miles Austin an idiot. On Mike and Mike in the Morning, they discussed the Cowboys' penalty situation and the leapfrog move Austin pulled off on Sunday. It was pretty dumb, and he deserved to be called an idiot, repeatedly. The part that bothers me though, was the lack of production. Austin was an idiot AND he didn't show up. He ended with 12 yards receiving. If you're going to be an idiot, at least put together a nice game. Hakeem Nicks was not an idiot, at least there was no evidence to prove it. However, he too did not show up, and week six was supposed to be his coming out party. Everyone thought he had made 'the leap.' Nicks, starting with this game against the Lions, had become a must-start receiver, and a top five guy. Beginning on Sunday, Nicks could just be penciled in. Well, rather than live up to that, he actually managed to produce less than Miles Austin. In leagues that do not award fractions of points, Nicks ended with a zero. I guess it was too soon to anoint him.
Tight End - Antonio Gates. I hate to do this, especially after last week. I made such a big deal about how Gates is now the only tight end in the entire league that can be trusted. And there were plenty of guys who didn't do squat this week, like always. But Gates is supposed to produce, every single time. The reason I hate putting him in the lineup is because he got hurt on Sunday. But aren't injuries part of it? In fact, getting hurt mid-game, as opposed to mid-week, actually hurts a fantasy owner more, because there is no chance to replace the player. So Antonio, I thought I would never have to do this, but you are the starting tight end on the 'stars who sucked' lineup.
D/ST - Chargers. This choice is clear this week. The Chargers, rather than take a leap to where we all expected them to be this season, instead allowed Sam Bradford to take the leap into "Wow, Bradford is already this good?" territory. It was a crushing game. They weren't terrible, but there were no turnovers forced and losing to the Rams when you have last place staring you in the face is not what Chargers fans were looking for.
Kicker - Nate Kaeding. We could all see that coming. Kaeding wasn't awful, just very, very ordinary. He ended with two extra points and one field goal: five fantasy points. Meanwhile, Dan Carpenter, owned in fewer than 10% of all Yahoo leagues, was the high scorer on the day, finishing with a dozen points, including three deep field goals. I reserve the right to, once again, remind readers that there were people who spent more than $1 on Nate Kaeding in drafts, if you can believe it.
We are halfway through some fantasy regular seasons, and approaching mid-season in most others. If you are under .500, pull the trigger on some trades to hopefully make a move. The easiest trade to make is dealing for one of the players on these lineups. Trading for a star who sucked, taking advantage of a disgruntled owner, and getting a supposed star in the process, is the easiest way to make strides in the standings. You are one week late on trading for Greg Jennings now, but go ahead and propose something for Maurice Jones-Drew because, who knows. Maybe his owner is fed up.
This has been week six's NFL homage to an homage.
(Same image used as previous NFL Homage posts)