Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NFL Homage: Week 10

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 ten.

Week ten of the 2010 NFL season was one for the record books, literally. If you watched the Monday night game, you saw this stat: this was the only week in NFL history where 13 different quarterbacks threw for at least 300 yards. Cassel, Roethlisberger, Manning, Smith, Brady, Garrard, Vick, Hasselbeck, Kitna, Hill, Anderson, Ryan, and Schaub all ended with over 300 yards passing. Oddly enough, six of those men lost their game, including the top three. Also, four other quarterbacks ended with between 290 and 299 yards passing. And this was on a bye week! Four teams didn't even play games in week 10.

Taking the win or loss out of it, even though Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions, he was not the most impressive QB performance of the weekend. That distinction belongs to Michael Vick. Vick is the only quarterback in league history to have a stat line of 300+ passing yards, 50+ rushing yards, 4+ passing touchdowns, and 2+ rushing touchdowns. The only man ever. He put up 49 fantasy points, securing victory for all of his owners, everyone except me. Yes, I managed to start Vick and still lose, since my opponent notched 174 points for the week, out-pacing my 166. This is why I like fantasy baseball more.

Even with that otherworldly performance, Michael Vick may not even be the fantasy story from that Monday night game. Ryan Torain, a man not owned in all leagues yet widely owned, was the first man I can ever remember to be questioned all week because of injury, seemingly be healthy enough to play, and marked inactive after the inactive lists were submitted and he was marked active. Somewhere between whenever those lists are made official and the coin toss, Torain did enough damage to himself to not see a single snap in the game even though he was active and expected to start. Securing the oddness of this story is that since Washington was playing in the Monday night game, Clinton Portis was officially out, and LeSean McCoy is owned in all leagues, there was only one man that could have even been added to replace the actively inactive Torain, and that was Keiland Williams.

To round out the newsworthy week, the Bills got their first win, the best teams in the league all lost, again, and two more games needed an extra session to decide the winner. Whoever is in charge of good luck charms for the New York Jets should be given a raise. The fact that they managed to win in OT again doesn't bother me, but that the Browns somehow managed to NOT run the clock out and secure the tie is a little boggling to the mind.

Not everyone was as lucky as the Jets this week. Here is week ten's lineup of 'stars who sucked.'

Quarterback - Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning sucked. Perhaps for the first time in his career, not including playoff games. 185 yards and no touchdowns left Peyton with a poor 7 fantasy points and put him nowhere near that list of 13 QBs who caught fire. Of course, unlike six of those aforementioned passers, Manning's team won.

Running Back - Rashard Mendenhall and Michael Turner. Two of the few running backs who are universally owned in fantasy leagues ended with pitiful scores. Neither scored a touchdown and neither topped 60 total yards from scrimmage. However, both faced a top tier opponent. The difference is Mendenhall's Steelers faced what was supposed to be a porous Patriots defense and he only finished with 5 fantasy points. Whereas Turner faced the staunch Ravens D and fared even worse. Let's call this a toss up. They both sucked.

Wide Receiver - Reggie Wayne and Brandon Marshall. I'm not sure if Wayne's bad day was because of Peyton's or vice versa. Either way, both guys make the 'stars who sucked' lineup. I don't go around placing blame; I just look at results. Brandon Marshall also had some quarterback trouble to deal with. Starter Chad Pennington got hurt on the first drive of the game. Chad Henne, benched starter, came in and also got hurt. Former Chief Tyler Thigpen finished the contest and all through the revolving QB door, Brandon Marshall only managed to haul in three passes. I'd say this was because of the quarterbacks but Marshall hasn't been good in five weeks.

Tight End - Jason Witten. It's funny. Witten made the team last week and I jumped on him because of how bad the Cowboys looked as a whole. Well, this week, the Cowboys thumped the Giants, looked awesome, and Witten was even worse. He ended with a fantasy zero if your league offers no fractional points. This is just another example of why any tight end not named Antonio cannot be trusted.

D/ST - Steelers. Sure, the Redskins were much worse. But, to be fair, they are much worse in real life too. Thus, they are not a 'star' worthy of being placed on the 'stars who sucked' team. The Steelers, on the other hand, were approaching "best defense in the league" territory before the stinker they laid against the Pats. Perhaps Tom Brady was on a level where no team would have been able to stop him, yet totaling zero sacks and zero turnovers, and ending with a negative fantasy score for the week put Pittsburgh owners in quite a hole. I'd feel confident starting them the rest of the season, but mainly just because I'd have to. There is no better replacement.

Some updated advice for any fantasy team owners under .500 right now: go trade for Brook Lopez. He's fantastic and off to a very slow start. Also, he plays basketball. Move on to fantasy basketball, your football season is over.

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

(Same image used as previous NFL Homage posts)

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