Monday Morning Jolt
By Leo Paciga @FFHoudini
Welcome to this week’s edition of the “Monday Morning Jolt” – a weekly look back at the happenings and performances from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. Let’s jump right in and take a closer look at week number seven of the NFL season.
- In week 6, a gimpy Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) was able to get free against a 49ers secondary to the tune of 6 receptions for 117 yards and a TD – the touchdown being of the 75 yard variety. Thursday night, however, Arizona’s top wide receiver was virtually nonexistent during the Cardinals 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The lesson to be learned here my fellow fantasy football students? Seattle’s suffocating secondary plus a WR #1 playing at less than 100% equals one long, painful night of offensive production.
- Rumors are circulating that Seattle wide out Percy Harvin is close to making a return to the playing field for the Seahawks. While it’s great to see the dynamic Harvin working his way back from torn labrum surgery; fantasy owners need to pump the brakes a little on the exuberance level and the short term expectations. Certainly I believe a healthy Harvin adds a ton of play-making ability to the Seattle offense, but the Seahawks gave up a first-round draft choice and spent a ton of cold, hard cash to bring Harvin to Seattle from Minnesota. They’ve made an enormous investment in Harvin and his long term contributions will play a huge role in the team’s future success. I’m sure the temptation to bring Harvin back now is very strong, but I hope the organization makes the smart play with Harvin and takes things slowly over the next few weeks.
- Josh Freeman might not have been the answer at quarterback for Tampa Bay, but neither is Mike Glennon. Once again the Buccaneers took it on the chin with a loss and Glennon struggled with his pre-snap reads and his wide receiver progressions. Funny thought….now that the Buccaneers have started the season 0-6, Josh Freeman (the former Tampa Bay quarterback) has a chance to notch his first win before his former teammates IF he can lead his new team (Vikings) to a victory against the New York Giants Monday night.
- Zac Stacy continued to tighten his stranglehold on the St. Louis running back job by notching another solid performance. Stacy piled up 53 yards on 17 carries on the ground and added another 34 yards and a touchdown on 4 receptions. If Sam Bradford‘s knee injury turns out to be significant, look for Stacy to become even more of a factor in the St. Louis offense.
- Hey, whatever happened to the most impressive player S.I.’s Peter King observed during his jaunt through NFL training camps this summer? After a breakout performance in week one to start the season; St. Louis tight end Jared Cook has spent the past few weeks fine tuning his costume for Halloween. Yup, you guessed it….he’s going trick-or-treating as the “Invisible Man”.
- My version of fantasy football nirvana consists of watching two great wide receivers square of against each other and match one another catch for catch. We saw that very scenario in Detroit this weekend as Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green went head to head in a closely contested battle. Calvin finished the game with 9 receptions,155 and 2 TDs for the Lions while AJ racked up 6 catches, 155 yards, and a score in a victory for the Bengals. It was beautiful to watch.
- Is there a rookie wide receiver making more progress or taking bigger strides this season than San Diego’s Keenan Allen? Over the past 4 games Allan has produced stat lines of 5-80-0, 6-115-1, 9-107-1 and 3-67-0. Allen’s day against the Jaguars could have been even more productive except that fellow WR Eddie Royal decided to make some noise against a haphazard Jacksonville secondary.
- The Buffalo coaching staff needs to either let C.J. Spiller rest and heal up completely OR give the guy a chance to use his game changing abilities if he’s healthy enough to carry the load. The whole organization seems to be lost in the realm of indecision when it comes to Spiller’s role and involvement in the offense.
- While we’re talking about the misuse of running backs, can someone please tell the Miami coaching staff that Daniel Thomas isn’t the answer. Coming off a bye week, I was confident the Dolphins would enter the game against the Bills with a renewed focus and energy. Instead, the Dolphins showed up for their home game Sunday with a weak game plan, a lack of intensity and the misguided aspirations of riding Daniel Thomas to victory.
- The prodigal son…..err….umm…I mean the prodigal tight end finally returned to the NFL on Sunday. Rob Gronkowski hit the field this week bearing fantasy football gifts and finished the game with a solid stat line of 8-114-0. The Patriots failed to pull another magical come-from-behind victory out of Tom Brady‘s hat, but Gronkowski’s performance certainly takes some of the sting out of a tough divisional loss to the Jets.
- Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles must have bought a “speedpass” during the week because he set a new world record while traveling from the penthouse to the outhouse. Last week Foles was near perfect going 22 of 31 for 296 yards and 3 TDs. Against the Cowboys, however, Foles never found any rhythm and struggled his way to a stat line of 11-20, 80 yards and 0 TDs before leaving the game late with an injury.
- DeSean Jackson‘s level of toughness and focus seems to completely coincide with his involvement in the offense.
- Two weeks in a row now the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has put together solid offensive game plans. Sure, Tony Romo is still good for one or two terrible decisions each week, but Jason Garrett is doing a nice job minimizing Romo’s poor choices and maximizing the offensive firepower of the Dallas play makers.
- Former University of Florida tight end Jordan Reed spent Sunday afternoon doing his best Aaron Hernandez impersonation for the Redskins. When I say impersonating Hernandez, I’m obviously talking about between the hash marks and not the tragic off field behavior. Washington’s rookie tight end lit up the Bears by hauling in 9 catches for 134 yards and a TD while showing great chemistry with RG3. Speaking of RG3, the Redskins quarterback finally appears to be regaining his trademark mobility and confidence…..something that I’m sure defense coordinators around the league are noticing.
- Yes, Alfred Morris had a dominant rookie season for the Redskins in 2012, but after watching Roy Helu perform well the past two weeks AND knowing HC Mike Shanahan’s penchant for running back shenanigans, I’d be sleeping with one eye open if I’m Alfred Morris.
- For as much progress as Jay Cutler has made this season under Marc Trestman’s guidance, he still seems to mentally fight his way through the post snap decision making process. Before leaving the game early Sunday with a groin injury, Cutler made multiple bad reads and poor choices that he could have easily avoided.
- The schedule makers must not like the Titans very much since they lined up back to back games for Tennessee with Seattle and San Francisco. Playing the tough hitting Seahawks in Seattle and then facing the no nonsense 49ers the following week has to be a daunting task both mentally and physically.
- Jamaal Charles is as slippery in traffic as he is fast……talk about a lethal combination.
- The Texans finally snapped their streak of throwing a “pick six” in five consecutive games….so at least there’s that if you’re a Houston fan.
- Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weedon plays football like he’s dealing with the onset of rigor mortis. I guess that’s fitting since Weeden sucks the very life out of the Cleveland offense and greatly diminishes the impact of potential play makers Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon.
- While the level of excellence may be somewhat diminished; the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens is still full of emotion and hard hits and continues to deliver great entertainment.
- I’d like to welcome Atlanta wide receiver Harry Douglas and Green Bay wide receiver Jarrett Boykin to fantasy football relevance. Hopefully you both enjoy the flight, but please return your seats to the upright position when the 2013 season comes to a close.
- It was great to see the standing ovation for Peyton Manning as he returned to Indianapolis. Classy fans, a classy quarterback….and a Hallmark moment perfect for television.
- On last Wednesday’s Dynasty Pulse podcast, Josh Haymond (@JPesoFF) and I discussed Trent Richardson and my observations that Trent lacks elite vision and instincts between the hand-off and the line of scrimmage. Don’t get me wrong, I love Richardson’s combination of power, balance and agility once he hits the second level, but unless the running lane is clearly visible early on in the play, Richardson struggles to locate creases or cutback lanes as they open. This issue was again evident this week as the Colts struggled to run the ball against the Denver Broncos. Hopefully Richardson is able to adjust and improve in this area; he’s so talented in the other phases of his game, I’d hate to see this shortcoming hold him back.
Well, that wraps up this week’s “Monday Morning Jolt” and a look back at week number seven of the NFL season. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me here at DFW or on Twitter @FFHoudini. Until next Monday, here’s hoping all your fantasy starters perform well and stay injury free.
Read more DFW articles by: Leo Paciga