Week 15 takeaways: Big Ben tops 500
• Is there any point in praising Peyton Manning anymore? Week after week, it's the same thing over and over again — he had an outstanding game by passing for x yards and y touchdowns. Thursday evening happened to be 308 and four, respectively. He's the equivalent of direct deposit in fantasyland.
• David Garrard wasn't that bad himself with 223 passing yards, three scores and just one interception. Playing quarterbacks against the Colts isn't a bad proposition since they don't have a lockdown defense, and any offense they face goes into the contest knowing they'll probably need to score in the 30s - minimally - in order to even give themselves a chance at beating Indy.
Joseph Addai was held out of the end zone again,
and when he is, it's a mediocre fantasy day at best for him. He
registered just 59 yards on the ground and still hasn't cracked 100
in any single game this year.
Cowboys 24, Saints 17
• OK, Tony Romo has looked a lot better in recent weeks. But who would have believed that he'd outperform Drew Brees on the road in this contest?
• I'm not suggesting you start sitting your Saints, but they don't look like the same offense from earlier this year which could post 40 points at will on any given week. In fact, their rushing attack has been rather awful in recent weeks. Reggie Bush had one carry for 29 yards, and it was good enough to lead the team in rushing on Saturday night. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell combined for 28 yards on 10 carries. Bell did rush for a touchdown, but ... ugh.
Miles Austin continues to get it done. He had
seven receptions for 139 yards and a score, and he gets my vote for
"Player whose draft position will increase the most in 2010 from
2009." Seriously. In how many leagues was he undrafted this past
season? Right now, he could be a third-round pick in 2010.
Falcons 10, Jets 7
• ugly, ugly game. Matt Ryan returned, but the Falcons offense looked better with Chris Redman under center in recent weeks. Mark Sanchez looks like he hasn't developed a great deal since the first few weeks of the season.
• Michael Turner took the first carry of the game and immediately went back to the sidelines after aggravating the ankle injury that has hampered him for the last five weeks. I doubt we're going to see him again this year, unless the Falcons somehow claw their way into the playoffs. Not that such a situation would benefit your fantasy team, unfortunately.
• A big reason the Jets lost was
Thomas Jones couldn't get going for the first time
in months. Yeah, it's a bad time for him to flop, especially since
it came against such a bad defense. But everyone has off days. I
even talked a friend of mine into benching Jones in favor of
Jamaal Charles in his league.
Texans 16, Rams 13
• The Texans need to upgrade their offensive line in the worst way. Ryan Moats ran 13 times for 46 yards while everyone else in Houston's lineup combined for six yards on 11 carries. Had this happened against the Vikings, I'd have expected it. But against the atrocious Rams defense? Yikes. Maybe Houston's line - or lack thereof - played a big role in Steve Slaton having had such a lousy season.
• Steven Jackson's hot streak for finding the end zone, but at least he was able to top 100 total yards pretty easily today. That should help ease the pain from the lack of scoring for a number of his owners. Considering the Texans dared St. Louis to beat them in the air, maybe this was the best that could have been expected from S-Jax.
Andre Johnson is a machine. Two straight weeks
with nearly 200 receiving yards at the best possible time in the
season. Next up is Miami, who allowed Vince Young to shred them in
the air. Johnson could be in line for his third straight huge game.
Browns 41, Chiefs 34
• Jerome Harrison ran for 286 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs today, which equals a pretty good month's worth of work for some running backs. Running back is the most difficult position to fill from the waiver wire, but even in dual-back systems, every NFL team has a running back who is sort of their featured back. I'm not suggesting I predicted Harrison to rush for the third-highest total in any game in this history of the NFL, but if you're in an RB bind and you see someone going against a poor run defense sitting on your waiver wire, you never know. You just might strike gold.
• Lost in the euphoria of Cleveland's win over Pittsburgh last Thursday was Brady Quinn's rather dismal six-completion performance. He wasn't much better against the Chiefs today, going only 10-for-17 for 66 yards. Josh Cribbs and Harrison stole the show, but Quinn still should have done a little better than that.
• Can you believe Jamaal Charles had 25 carries for
154 yards and a score, yet was completely overshadowed by
Harrison's performance? Charles continues to post solid numbers on
a weekly basis and should be a nice RB2 for most of you out there
Titans 27, Dolphins 24
• The 349 yards Chad Henne passed for was nice, but the 1-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio wasn't. Still, if Chad Henne is throwing for that many yards on your defense, you have some major issues. Looks like Tennessee's secondary has begun reverting to their awful form from earlier in the year.
• Chris Johnson didn't score, but do you realize he has topped 100 rushing yards in every single game since Week 5? Simply astounding. His 104 yards against Miami was his "lowest" output in that stretch. Wow. Just wow.
Justin Gage only caught two passes for 43 yards,
but both of them went for touchdowns. Hmm. How annoying for Kenny
Britt and Nate Washington owners, although Washington's only catch
of the day went for a 32-yard touchdown as well. Gage has been
something of a forgotten man, but he can certainly pop up with some
decent games every now and then.
Cardinals 31, Lions 24
• Kurt Warner atoned himself for what had to have been one of the worst outings of his career in San Francisco. Sort of. Going 23-for-37 for two touchdowns and one pick in Detroit should be expected from even mediocre quarterbacks.
• Beanie Wells was a wrecking ball today, going for 110 yards and a score on the ground. They used him almost exclusively, as Tim Hightower was more of a target on screen passes than he was used for carrying the ball.
• On the other side of the ball, Detroit's
Maurice Morris was shockingly effective today,
rushing for 126 yards and a score. Pardon me for sounding cynical,
but why do I have a hard time believing Kevin Smith would have done
the same if he was healthy? All season long, I had thought
Detroit's lousy offensive line was a large reason for Smith's
struggles. Maybe that isn't the case.
Patriots 17, Bills 10
• Ryan Fitzpatrick had a better fantasy day than Tom Brady? Which rubicon of the Twilight Zone have we officially entered?
• I thought Fred Jackson might be a decent sleeper play based on his solid performance against the Pats in Week 1. He was more lukewarm, carrying the ball 15 times for 80 yards. I've officially given up trying to predict Marshawn Lynch's fantasy value. Just when you think he's getting back into a groove, he amasses a grand total of 25 rushing yards. Ditto for T.O.
• You didn't buy into the
Randy Moss quitting nonsense, did you? All he
wants is the ball thrown his way, which isn't a very unusual
characteristic for wide receivers. He had five catches for 70 yards
and a score today. I had questions from people asking whether they
should dump him. Hey, if you're in my league, go right ahead.
Raiders 20, Broncos 19
• You could argue that the Raiders would have gotten rid of JaMarcus Russell by now if they wouldn't have to swallow such a massive hit to their salary cap to do so. Starter Charlie Frye was knocked out of the game, and Russell led Oakland's gamewinning touchdown drive in Denver with less than a minute to go. He has a really interesting matchup with Cleveland next weekend and might post some decent stats - assuming we don't see a blizzard in Northeast Ohio.