Ugh. Too much Thanksgiving food+too much time in the car with my family+too much alcohol+not enough good football=Tragedy in the LukeNukem universe.
* Jesus <3 Tim Tebow. It’s true. There’s no other way to explain it. While I’m reasonably sure John Fox is fine with whatever fundamentally-flawed crazy-ass way Tebow can win games, including convulsive prayer, snake handling and speaking in tongues, how can John Elway find a way to replace him with a real QB between now and April if the Broncos keep winning? If Elway’s head doesn’t a splode soon, I will be shocked (and frankly, disappointed).
* Chris Collinsworth’s Ben Roethlisberger gushing has reached uncontrollable and embarrassing levels. It’s similar to the old Madden-Favre sack-ride fest that used to go on every MNF. I actually like Collinsworth as a broadcaster; I think he notices some of the finite details that Madden was too demented to pick up on toward the end of his broadcasting days. Plus he occasionally goads Al Michaels (a clear degenerate) with gambling scenarios, and that’s hilarious. But all that “Ben” sh!t has to stop. Ben is not great. He’s pretty good. But if you listen to Collinsworth you’d think he’s the second coming. Speaking of second comings, how ’bout that Tebow character? Now he’s a real winner…
* Ndamukong Suh is not only a crazy person, he’s an asshole. I revoke my temporary Lions fan-ship, and according to my list of teams I hate from most to least, I should now naturally become a de facto Vikings supporter. I can’t do that though. So I’m back to hating every team except for Indianapolis. Though next week’s SNF bout between Detroit and New Orleans should be a dandy. I’ll watch with equal parts bitterness, jealousy and unadulterated disdain for both teams.
* The Colts are now very clearly on board the #SuckForLuck bandwagon, whether they want to admit it or not. Two weeks ago they pulled Curtis Painter, their supposed “best option” at QB at the start of a drive that, had it resulted in a TD, would have tied a division game (vs. JAC) at 10-10 in the fourth quarter. That was, by the way, the third straight game they pulled Painter. Naturally, Painter must suck, right? Well, apparently he’s actually good…at sucking. The Colts kept Painter in as their starting QB for the entire game on Sunday, even after he threw two INTs to one TD (that he can justifiably take ZERO credit for…it was all Reggie Wayne slowly and methodically weaving in and out of disinterested Panthers’ defensive backs), and one of those INTs was one of the worst of his season, which if you’ve watched him this year, is saying a lot. Indy is one pre-mature IR away from basically saying they want to go 0-16 (hint, hint…Dallas Clark). Speaking of, Indy signed Raymond Felton on Monday. If he sticks, the Colts could finish 0-16 with three (count ‘em) members of history’s only other 0-16 team: The well-documented Dan Orlovsky (who still has a chance to make history if he overtakes Painter for the starting job), Ernie Sims and now Felton. Wow. Just…wow. Their talk of bringing Manning back for “controlled circumstances” seems almost a laughably-obvious ploy to keep jaded season ticket holders like me from canceling renewals right freaking now. Quick aside: The Real KC and I left early on Sunday and went to a bar to drink more. This is the first time this has ever happened, dating back to the putrid early days of the Indy franchise, when all we went to games for was to watch Dan Marino and Jim Kelly throw easy TDs on us (not the “going to the bar to drink more” part…that happens all the time, we just, as a rule, don’t leave Colts games early to do it). Anyway, this team is ugly, bad, doesn’t care and had me so depressed at halftime that I missed Marvin Harrison’s Ring of Honor induction. Another quick aside: Lucas Oil Stadium stole The Real KC’s knife. WTF? They had metal detectors for the first time ever. Seriously? I could have still brought a gun in because their security guards were so bad at using the metal detectors, but because The Real KC showed them his pocket knife, they told him to throw it away. Then they lied about how it would still be sitting there in the trashcan after the game. It wasn’t. They took the trash out. Talk about insult to injury. What was I saying? Oh yeah. The Colts. They’re awful. And they don’t care about winning.
* Yeah, so all those people who thought that Lions-Packers game was going to be a statement moment for Detroit…they were wrong. Count me among those who at least assumed it would be a nice, entertaining matchup. The Dolphins-Cowboys game was the only Thanksgiving contest worth watching. Thankfully the Ravens-’Niners matchup was boring, because I was too drunk to enjoy it by the time it started anyway.
* Sidney Rice suffered his second head injury in two weeks. This is bad. I’d be surprised if he’s able to come back, given how sensitive the NFL is becoming with the whole concussion thing. It wasn’t as bad as Austin Collie’s situation last year, but I still think he’s likely done. Stay tuned. The Seahawks’ passing game doesn’t warrant you automatically picking up any potential replacement, but Doug Baldwin becomes a little more intriguing if he’s still out there on your wire.
* Matt Leinart’s reign as the Texans’ starting QB lasted all of 13 pass attempts. The former beer bonger apparently broke his collarbone, likely ending his season. Rookie T.J. Yates will takeover for the time being. You should not be interested in Yates. This could, however, negatively affect Andre Johnson and even the Texan’s running game. Keep a close eye on the situation. Arian Foster, besides a big first quarter run and an ensuing TD, was largely ineffective on Sunday, but then, the Jaguars held him to under 4 ypc in the two teams’ first meeting. Don’t assume that Foster is unstoppable. With literally no threat of a passing game, even the beastliest RB’s production can go down. That said, it’s not even close to panic time, and given all of Houston’s other weapons, it’s going to take Painter-like tragic QB play for Foster to become an afterthought. And the Texans’ D is so good they should be able to hang tough in a playoff race, which should keep all skill positions relevant, hopefully.
* Beanie Wells had some knee swelling following his big day on Sunday. However, I guess you’ll have that after you go off for over 200 on the ground. It’s just part of the weekly routine with Wells now. I think he’ll be fine, but keep an eye on him. He hasn’t been the most durable throughout his career thus far.
* After I enthusiastically touted Kevin Smith he promptly suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of the Thanksgiving Day game vs. Green Bay. So far he looks like he could still play next week vs. New Orleans, and gets extra time to heal. When healthy I view him as a starting-caliber RB in all leagues, as he was on his way to a big line (he had scored 8 PPR points in one quarter of action). Keep an eye on the practice reports this week and plan accordingly.
Guys to Keep an Eye On
* Doug Baldwin, WR SEA (25% Yahoo! ownership): Baldwin has been inconsistent this year, but he put up decent numbers on Sunday after Sidney Rice’s injury. You can expect 7-10 targets coming his way going forward, as long as Rice is out, but you can also expect opposing teams’ best corners to blanket him, so there’s that.
* Johnny Knox, WR CHI (31%): I’m not sure why Knox’s ownership is so down. KCCB dropped him in the TFN league immediately after praising him for a great game last week. I know Caleb Hanie scared people off, but I’m surprised he wasn’t a hot waiver add this time last week. After 7 straight single-digit fps performances, Knox has put up a combined 50+ fps over the last two games, including a career high 145 yards on 10 targets vs. the Raiders. Knox gets some tasty matchups during the fantasy playoffs (@ DEN, vs. SEA and @ GNB) so he’s worth a look now while you can still get him cheap.
* Kyle Orton, QB KAN (18%): Until a horrible week 5 outing vs. SDG that ultimately cost Orton his starting job and his Denver roster spot, the Neck Beard was actually pretty solid, putting up 20+ standard league fps in two of his first four games, and never sinking to single digits in that span. Now he gets the blur-offense-running Chiefs and their suddenly viable passing attack. Tyler Palko is bad, and doesn’t seem to know any of his receivers’ routes, but with Orton at the helm, that’s an offense that could potentially keep defenses on their toes indefinitely. Between Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster, there are plenty of underrated weapons in KC. Don’t expect Orton to come in and save your season, but you can add him to the list of slightly below average, yet serviceable Jay Cutler replacements for your fantasy squad.
* Maurice Morris, RB DET (36%): Kevin Smith has a chance to play this week, especially given the long layoff between Thanksgiving and Sunday Night’s game @ NOR. But if he can’t go thanks to his ankle sprain, Morris could step back into relevance. Keep him in mind, especially if you’re a Smith owner. Morris’s 8 catches on Turkey Day are what make him valuable in the first place.
* Roy Helu, RB WAS (46%): Why is Helu just 10% more owned than Mo Morris? He is averaging 5.5 yards per touch, and has scored over 20 PPR fps in each of his career 20-touch outings. As difficult as it is to trust Mike Shanahan, his RB stable is getting thin. This may finally be Helu’s time to carry a featured role, and with New England on the horizon week 14, he looks like a potential fantasy playoff savior.
Guys You Can Go Ahead and Drop
* Ryan Torain, RB WAS: Torain is still owned in nearly a quarter of Yahoo! leagues, but he should be universally dropped. Even with Mike Shanahan’s unpredictable RB ball-sharing tendencies, you don’t want to rely on Helu’s competition right now, especially after a game where Torain didn’t touch the ball once.
* Chris Ogbonnaya, RB CLE: While Ogbonnaya (seriously, can somebody get this guy an easy-to-spell nickname?) is still owned in 37% of Yahoo! leagues, this week was the time to cut bait. After piling up 44 touches over the last two games, and some solid, flex-worthy numbers to go with them, Og (there, “Og,” how’s that?) saw the ball just four times on Sunday. Given how long Peyton Hillis sat out, and the fact that he didn’t suffer a set-back on Sunday, it’s safe to say his contract year has been successfully sabotaged, and the Browns will feel free to cut him loose vs. the toughest stretch of remaining games for any RB probably ever. Three of the Browns’ next four are against either Baltimore (twice) or Pittsburgh. It’s highly unlikely Og will see much value going forward, and I’m not high on Hills or Montario Hardesty, at least not until that Arizona game in two weeks.
My Fantasy World
Accumulative Record (three pay leagues): 17-19
I went the coveted 3-0 this week in my three pay leagues. The TFN league is unbelievably close, with 9 teams still in a viable playoff hunt for six playoff spots. Only one team (Pandamonium) is a mathematical lock, and only one other team will need freakishly bad luck to miss. I’m in with a win. In my League of Idiots, I get to play the 11-seed in a 12-team playoff, and am still hoping McFadden and/or Bradshaw and/or Maclin can get healthy before next week, and I can squeak out a first round playoff win in the mean time.
Editor’s Note: We are now completely Web-sensed at my work, where I do the majority of my writing, as Bush League as that sounds. This may spell the end for www.thefantasyninjas.com. Stay tuned, but I’m pounding this out at the library right now, like the urine-soaked hobo that I probably resemble. I’ve got to think fast, and that’s not really my strong suit.