Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 7 Postmortem

Fantasy football can be a painful, frustrating, humbling experience.

This week I scored the third most points in my pay league but I’ll be dropping to 4-3 because my opponent will be outscoring everyone. It happens. But what makes this humbling is his team was 1-5. What makes it painful is Mr. Personality Disorder, Chad Ochocinco, is the main reason I’m going to lose.

What makes it frustrating is having not one, but two of your starters leave the game due to injuries. Andre Johnson was taken to the hospital in the middle of another kick ass performance and Jonathan Stewart missed the first quarter after hurting his hand on his first catch of the game. Good times!

Stewart did return, but I got to watch one of the more horrible coaching performances in some time. More on that in a bit.

For the record, I still really like my team. Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson (depending on how serious his injury is), Marques Colston, and Drew Brees give me a shot every week. However, I am concerned about my running back situation. Barber hasn’t done much since he pulled up lame running for his second touchdown against the Giants, Tashard Choice is a crap shoot now that Felix Jones is back, I’ll get to Stewart in a minute and Kevin Smith is trying to run through one of the worst offensive lines in the league.

I may need to trade one of my receivers for a top line running back. May. I hate doing that, so let’s see what happens next week. After this week my entire starting lineup (with the exception of Andre Johnson) will be done with their byes. Still, the trade idea is officially on the table.

On to the games (such as they were):

- The Giants have now played two quality teams (OK, the Cardinals may simply be above average) and have lost both games. Do we still consider them a contender? The Cardinals, on the other hand, seem to be turning into the team we’d thought they be after last year’s surprise Super Bowl run. Their defense has been very good.

- Viking fans finally have the full bodied taste of the Brett Favre experience. You can blame Chester Taylor for that interception all you want, but the entire offensive side of the field sure seemed shocked the pass went to him.

- Houston is 4-3. San Fran is 3-3. I still couldn’t tell you which is the better team. Although Alex Smith looked phenomenal.

- Cleveland is now 1-6 and their season is basically over. So why does starting Derek Anderson make any sense? Shouldn’t Quinn be getting some reps and learning on the job? It’s not like Anderson gives the Browns a better chance at winning. It’s time to let the young gun take his bruises and figure out how to play before he’s labeled the dreaded B word. ‘Bust’. That’s the word I was referring to.

- Hey, speaking of BUST, JaMarcus Russell was finally benched after throwing another two interceptions and fumbling yet again. I got to see some of this game and couldn’t get over how awful Russell looked. He looks like he’s never practiced. You could throw in some random Division 2 quarterback RIGHT NOW and he would look better than Russell.

After the game, Oakland Coach Tom Cable said that Russell is still his starting quarterback. ‘That’s not an issue,’ Cable said. Uh, actually that is a HUGE issue. Your offense is an absolute joke and keeping Russell as your starter no matter how poorly he plays is most definitely an issue. Cable may be a sucky coach, but we may never know because he’s being ham strung by a senile owner and one of the worst quarterbacks I can ever remember. And, yes, I did watch Ryan Leaf play. At this point Russell is worse than Leaf.

- Hey, speaking of sucky coaches, let’s talk about the Buffalo – Carolina game for a minute, shall we? Carolina came into the game with the most potent rushing attack in the NFL. Buffalo came into the game with one of the worst defenses against the rush in the NFL. So, you’d figure John Fox – head coach of the Panthers – would have a kick ass running plan in place to take advantage of the matchup.

A game plan like…oh, I don’t know…’let’s keep running it down their throats until they prove they can do something to stop us’. Maybe I’m crazy, but that would have been my game plan if I were coaching this team.

Now, let’s add to this football soup the (major) weak link in the Panthers offense: Jake Delhomme, aka The Interception Kid. Delhomme and Fox are already on the hot seat in Carolina because of JD’s bid to break the record for most interceptions and ‘What the FUCK IS HE DOING?’ moments in one season. As it currently stands, Delhomme has 4 TD and 13 (yes, thirteen) interceptions. His QB rating is a stunning 56.5. Even Jamarcus Russell is giggling at that.

So what happens? Fox decides to stress the PASS against the Bills. Delhomme threw the ball 44 FUCKING TIMES! Carolina – I need to stress this again – owners of the best rushing attack in the league only ran 25 times. Things ended up as you would have expected. Delhomme threw three interceptions, the Panthers only managed 9 points and were embarrassed by a crappy Bills team.

I get that when teams get down early the unwritten rule is to start throwing the ball in order to get yourself back into the game, but the Panthers weren’t down by a lot and they were actually running the ball effectively. Williams was averaging nearly 6 yards a carry; Steward nearly 4 yards a carry.

Incompetent coaches panic and fall away from the strengths of their own team. It really should be called ‘How to spot an awful coach’. Fox actually helped the Bills win by abandoning the run and letting Delhomme (one of the worst QBs in the league this year) decide his team’s fate. I’m not even a Panthers fan and I was yelling ‘Why are you letting him throw the ball?’ at the television.

While you can blame Delhomme for throwing horrible picks, don’t forget to blame Fox for relying on him in the first place.

- What Fox should do this week is take a look at the Saints comeback against the Dolphins. Rather than start passing on every down, New Orleans did the exact opposite and started rushing the ball. Down 27-17 halfway through the third quarter, the Saints rushed four times in a row before ending with a 10 yard TD pass to Colston. This did two things: It brought them within 3 points and opened up the passing game for the entire fourth quarter.

Even when Miami scored to make it 10 points again, the Saints mixed it up and kept the Dolphin defense on their heels. I am liking this New Orleans team more and more. They just do whatever they need to in order to win. If you need an example, just look at Drew Brees rushing for two touchdowns in the same game.

- While there was nothing terribly surprising about the Patriots win over the Buccaneers, I will say that London stadium was very impressive in high def. That they sold out an NFL game is equally impressive.

- Note to LaDainian Tomlinson: You no longer have the right to pout and show up your coaches along the sidelines when you are removed from the game during goal line plays. Yesterday, your coaches and team mates bent over backwards to give you the ball in order to placate your massive ego and you failed not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in a row. Against Kansas City. Well done. Now take a seat so your team can score.

- Game that told us nothing about either team: Dallas 37 – Atlanta 21. Both are now 4-2.

- Statement game of the week: Cincinnati 45 – Chicago 10. As amazing as this sounds, this Bengals team could be one of the most well rounded in the league. They can pass (Palmer: 20 for 24, 5 TDs), the can run (Benson: 189 YDs, TD), they can defend (Cutler: 3 INTs, Forte: 24 YDs) and these are the things that most (if not all) championship teams do well. God help us all.

- Lost in the disaster known as the St Louis Rams is what an incredible season Stephen Jackson is having. He is basically the sole offensive weapon this team has; which means opposing defenses are focusing on one thing and one thing only: stopping Jackson. That makes his 134 yards against Indy that much more impressive. He should easily surpass 1000 yards again this year. Considering what a crap fest the rest of the Rams are, that is an amazing feat.

Holy Shit Stat Of The Week: In two career starts, Miles Austin has 16 catches for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Random Monday Night Prediction: The Eagles play down to another crappy team only get bailed out by Michael Vick’s first touchdown in three years. Eagles win 17-13.

Today’s distraction: Create your own dance routine with Dancing Paul. This is actually more fun than it has any right being.

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