2115418 american football isolated over a cloudy sky background e1350873407228  WEEK 7 – Reflections and Illusions

By Leo Paciga   ( @FFHoudini

Week 7 was bye week hell for fantasy football owners everywhere…..just sayin’.

Having only two afternoon games on the NFL docket takes away some of the fun that comes with watching the Red Zone Channel.  Shame on the NFL schedule makers for not taking my Sunday afternoon viewing pleasure into account when working their scheduling magic.

Don’t look now, but the NFC West is developing into a physically intimidating division. We all know the 49ers are tough defensively, but the Cardinals, Seahawks and even the Rams are now built around tough hard hitting defenses that love to rush the passer.  That’s quite a change from where the division was just two years ago.

While we’re on the NFC West, that Seattle secondary is pretty entertaining to watch.

Somebody needs to tell Josh Freeman that Buccaneer QB’s aren’t supposed to throw for over 400 yards in a game.

Browns rookie WR Josh Gordon is deceptively fluid & fast for being 6’4″ and 220 lbs.

Raider offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is still married to the zone blocking run scheme even though Darren McFadden continues to struggle on a weekly basis. Both Knapp and HC Dennis Allen have really taken the steam out of the Raiders running game by refusing to revisit the straight-ahead power-blocking scheme that worked so well last year. That refusal may ultimately cost them their jobs.

No team in the NFL runs WR screens better than the New England Patriots.

Speaking of the Patriots, Shane Vereen finally looked healthy against the Jets and showed that trademark quickness the Pats have been waiting for.  A healthy one-two punch of Stevan Ridley and Veeren could serve the Patriots very well for the next few years.

A healthy Dustin Keller seems to have a calming influence on the erratic Mark Sanchez and makes the entire Jets offense much more effective.

Andrew Luck did his best RG3 imitation on Sunday with 2 rushing TD’s.  Of course if we’re truly comparing him to RG3, then Luck’s 2 TD’s were in “super slow motion”.

The current defensive squads of the Steelers and the Ravens are merely shadows of their former selves.  Sad but true.

Big Performers -

Chris Johnson, RB Titans – Ok, will the real Chris Johnson please stand up?  Johnson went off against a porous Buffalo defense for 195 rushing yards and 2 TD’s. His day could have been even bigger if Jamie Harper hadn’t vultured 2 TD’s from the 1 yard line.  Johnson’s last two games have been very productive and he’s running harder between the tackles with more decisiveness. I’m still not convinced we’ll see high end performances weekly from Johnson (and I would be looking to sell high if I still owned him), but his numbers over the past 2 games have been solid if not stellar.

Vincent Jackson, WR Buccaneers – Who says a slow footed, underappreciated WR can’t blow up for 200 yards in a game? That’s exactly what VJax did against the dismal Saints pass defense – erupting for 216 yards on 7 catches.  The Saints travel to Denver in week 8 so all you Demaryius Thomas/Eric Decker owners have to be smiling from ear to ear.

Adrian Peterson, RB Vikings – After putting up 153 rushing yards on the Cardinals, it’s safe to say he’s all the way back and he’s 100 % healthy. Peterson was cutting sharply and bulldozing defenders all over the field. He ran as hard in the 4th quarter as he did in the 1st quarter and you could see he’s regained the confidence that was missing early on in the season.

Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, WRs Packers – Yes, their recent prolific numbers are due to Aaron Rodgers finding his “passing groove” again, but these two guys have been lights out lately. Over the last 2 games, Cobb has shown those jaw dropping abilities that draw Percy Harvin comparisons and Jordy Nelson has been amazingly sharp with his route running.

Drew Brees, QB Saints – When Mr. Brees is on his game, there is no better QB in the NFL.  He was on his game Sunday and all I can say is “wow”!

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB Cardnials – 149 total yards and a TD this week, 22 total yards last week.  Sometimes fantasy football can be a fickle mistress.

Missing Persons -

Brandon Lloyd, WR Patriots – 1 catch for 6 yards??  Really?
Dez Bryant, WR Cowboys – The roller coaster ride that is Dez Bryant continues with a whopping 2 receptions for 14 yards Sunday. Even more mind boggling to me is that the Cowboys keep risking their young enigmatic star by having him return punts.

Hakeem Nicks, WR Giants – Hakeem Nicks had a decent game when you look at the final statistics (5-53-0), but it was evident that Nicks had a lot of trouble creating separation against a terrible Redskin secondary.  The Giants have enough WR depth with Ramses Barden, Rueben Randle and Domenik Hixon that they can afford to let Hakeem Nicks get fully healthy.

Joe Flacco, QB Ravens – Every time I think Joe Flacco is ready to take the next step and become elite, he does his best to channel his inner Babe Laufenberg (google him) and I throw up in my mouth a little bit with every pass.