Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NFL Homage: Week 7

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 seven.

Well, is it time to panic? The NFL decided player safety was a concern. Hits had become too big. Hell, players had become too big. They started a crack down, threatening fines and suspensions for vicious hits, even ones that don't necessarily receive penalties in-game. Defenses for week seven would have to be careful. And they were. The proof is in the numbers. Week seven games were host to a LOT of points.

10 teams scored 30 or more points, including Oakland, who put up an embarrassing 59 against Denver. No one scored in single digits. The average point total of all the week seven games was over 52.6. That's over 26 points per team per game for the entire week of match-ups. A lot of points were scored.

Whether this is directly related to defensive players being cautious and a step slow is to be determined, but the evidence should start to pile up. Roger Goodell may have done a little more than he realized with this hard-hitting threat, and maybe it's exactly what he wanted: an even higher scoring league where offenses go wild week after week.

Besides IDPs and team defenses, Goodell sure is shining fondly on fantasy players, as many guys went off. 19 different players scored 20+ fantasy points. There was a match-up in one of my leagues this week where the losing team put up 168 points. Yes, you read that correctly. The final tally was 176 to 168.

But, of course, not everyone went crazy. As always, there were plenty of stars who sucked in week seven.

Quarterback - Tony Romo. I usually shy away from throwing a player on the 'stars who sucked' lineup when they leave because of injury. However, Romo was bad even before he got taken out with a broken clavicle. The Giants dominated everything about that game except the turnover battle. Romo threw for just 39 yards. He managed to scrape together one touchdown throw, but only because the Cowboys started back to back drives inside the redzone and he was bound to get one in there. If Tony is out 8-10 weeks, he probably won't show up on this team again. So, there's that positive.

Running Back - Rashard Mendenhall and DeAngelo Williams. Mendenhall had been great this season, entrenching himself in "I am a first round fantasy pick for the rest of my career" territory. One bad week won't change that. DeAngelo Williams, on the other hand, may never be drafted this highly again. He has been plain mediocre all year. Add to that a foot injury and Williams may be benchable if you have alternatives. Jonathan Stewart hasn't been much better this season, so there is no immediate threat of Williams losing his job, but it seems like no one in Carolina is going to produce much this season.

Wide Receiver - Miles Austin and Larry Fitzgerald. Miles, this is becoming a trend. Adding another poor week (38 total yards) to an already up and down season, Austin is making owners question his top wide receiver billing. In the game last night, Austin had a couple huge drops too, including a dropped touchdown early on in the game. The receiver from Monday night who may be challenging Andre Johnson for best in the league next season is not Miles Austin right now, it's Hakeem Nicks. Larry Fitzgerald is not in that conversation anymore just because of his teammates. An injury mid-game to Max Hall forced Derek Anderson back in and Larry cannot produce much with that at quarterback. He is still being targeted a lot, so there is no reason to worry from that front. But unless a QB takes charge in Arizona, I'd expect more of the same the rest of the season for Fitzgerald.

Tight End - Brent Celek. Damn you Brent Celek. I had Dustin Keller on one of my fantasy teams. I dropped him this week because of the Jets' bye and the fact that no tight end is worth keeping through their bye unless his name is Antonio. But I was expecting, not big things, but at least little things from Celek. Another week with Kevin Kolb under center would start to show the Celek production everyone expected. Nope. He gained less than 10 yards for a zero in leagues that don't count fractional points. Now with Vick likely starting Philadelphia's next game, Celek is not worth owning anymore.

D/ST - Saints. After last year, the Saints were a team that thrived on turnovers and got them consistently. This year, it hasn't been there. The defense on Sunday was only charged with allowing 18 points even though the Browns finished with 30, but they also forced no turnovers and totaled one measly sack. It was a tough week for fantasy defenses all around, with some netting negative points, but a highly owned Saints team getting one point is just as bad.

Kicker - This is the last week the 'stars who sucked' lineup features a kicker. The fact is, as I have made abundantly clear, there are no star fantasy kickers. It's stupid to even argue otherwise. It's fitting at least, because ultimate fantasy star Nate Kaeding missed week seven with an injury and will probably miss at least one more game. Can the Chargers ever replace him?? Well, yes. Kris Brown came in and scored 8 fantasy points, a point and a half more than Kaeding has averaged this season. So good bye fantasy star kickers and good riddance.

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

(Same image used as previous NFL Homage posts)

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