It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means. After an exciting Week 6 in the NFL, it’s time to reflect back on some of the top stories from the weekend and also to look ahead to Week 7. So without further adieu, here are the Top Ten fantasy football headlines for October 18, 2011.
10. The Real McCoy – The struggling Dream Team in Philadelphia got some redemption this past week as they beat up on fortune teller Rex Grossman and the Washington Redskins. Michael Vick played a relatively mistake-free game and the offense was well-balanced as LeSean McCoy was given a hefty dose of carries. McCoy is one of the league’s best running backs, but he has to be afforded the opportunity to carry the ball and do some damage. Perhaps the Eagles have finally learned that not only does the offense do well when McCoy is given a heavy workload, but it also protects Vick from taking a beating. Look for McCoy to be featured more prominently in the weeks ahead, and as a result, look for more production from him which will justify that mid-first round pick in your fantasy football draft.
9. The Cowboys Must Make a Choice – Dallas running back Felix Jones suffered a high ankle sprain during their loss to the Patriots this past weekend. Jones could miss up to a month with the injury. The team has been fielding calls inquiring about the availability of Tashard Choice for a trade deadline deal. Now with Jones’ injury, this could change the thinking of Jerry Jones. Choice has been a disappointment in Big D outside of two games at the end of the 2010 season. Even with Jones out and Choice still in the picture, look for rookie DeMarco Murray to get an opportunity to run the ball. Coach Jason Garrett may be losing confidence in Tony Romo, so Dallas may try and change the philosophy of their offense and focus more on the run. If Murray is available in your fantasy league, go get him.
8. Rashard Mendenhealed – After Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing attack lit up Tennessee last week, it was time for Rashard Mendenhall and the running game to hold up their end of the bargain. Mendenhall looked healthy after carrying the ball 23 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Leg injuries for running backs are always a concern, so keep a close eye on him. But he appeared no worse for wear after an active game, so all signs are that he is as healthy as he can be. That regret you felt for drafting him in the first round should slowly be seeping away. However, that regret you felt for sleeping with a transvestite prostitute will probably last for awhile. I’m just saying.
7. Donovan McBenched for a Quarter Ponder with Ease – Did you notice all of the McDonald’s puns in that headline? I think my arteries got clogged just typing them. The disastrous Minnesota Vikings got creamed by the Bears this past week and changed quarterbacks in the middle of the game. Donovan McNabb was 19-24 for 177 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. These numbers are not terrible, but he clearly is not generating the type of offense that is translating into points. Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier said a decision will be reached in the middle of the week whether he will change quarterbacks to Christian Ponder. If he makes the change, it will likely be a permanent change. If you own McNabb on your fantasy team, it is probably because you needed someone to fill in during a bye week. But this all but ends any fantasy relevance McNabb had left. At least his mom can serve him Chunky soup on the sidelines during games.
6. The Book of Eli – There has never been a debate over which Manning brother is more talented or is the better fantasy quarterback. But Eli Manning has received some deserved and some undeserved flack over the years for his, at times, inconsistent performance. But make no mistake about it, Eli Manning can be your number one quarterback on your fantasy team. Through six games, he has amassed 1,486 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has completed 63.4 % of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 102.3. Despite losing reliable offensive weapons such as Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, he has developed a nice rapport with the emerging Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard. These new options will help open up the Giants’ offense even more as teams focus on Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw. Like it or not, but Eli Manning is heading for a 4,000 yard and 30 touchdown season.
5. Blount Force Trauma – It looks as if Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount will miss several weeks with an injured MCL. This means that former starter Earnest Graham will have the opportunity to carry the load for the foreseeable future. He got off to a great start this past week against the Saints as he topped 100 yards in a game for the first time in several years. It is not known for sure how long Blount will be out, but Graham should be a decent option for a RB3 or flex position on your fantasy team during the bye weeks coming up. Tampa Bay is not an explosive offensive team, so they will rely on running the ball to help dictate the game. Plus, it is a nice throwback for someone who was once relevant in fantasy leagues. Maybe Errict Rhett and Mike Alstott will come out of retirement.
4. Things to do in Denver when your team is dead – The dismantling of the Broncos continues as they have officially traded Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams for essentially a tube of toothpaste. The Rams gave up a 2012 sixth round draft pick that could end up being a fifth round pick if Lloyd catches 30 passes for St. Louis the rest of the season. Lloyd, a free agent at the end of the season, will be reunited with with Josh McDaniels, the Rams' offensive coordinator who was the head coach of the Broncos last season when Lloyd led the NFL with 1,448 yards receiving. He also had 77 receptions and 11 touchdowns. This bodes well for struggling second year quarterback Sam Bradford who is desperate for some offensive weapons to help the team win its first game. In Denver, the Tim Tebow era has officially begun and he will have to spend as much time trying to find receivers as he does trying to find Jesus. With Lloyd out of the picture, Eric Decker, Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas will have to find a way to stay healthy and be productive.
3. Houston, We Have a Problem – The loss of star wide receiver Andre Johnson was bound to affect the Texans’ overall offense. They don’t have any secondary receiving options that strike fear in the faces of defensive backs or defensive coordinators. So they have to rely on Arian Foster to take on an even larger role in the offense led by the ailing Matt Schaub get something going. Schaub will be having an MRI on his hip. If he were to miss any time, it would be completely devastating to their team. They have also lost former #1 overall pick Mario Williams to a season-ending injury which severely compromises their defense. If Houston can’t stop opponents from scoring, they do not have the fire power necessary to play in a shootout. The worry is that playing from behind will render Foster’s running game useless and obsolete. This is problematic for fantasy owners who are relying on elite production from their first overall pick. It may not be the worst idea in the world to explore some trade opportunities within your league.
2. The Madden Curse – The urban legend known as “The Madden Curse” has afflicted several players over the past ten years. Such victims include Eddie George, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young and Troy Polamalu. When Browns running back Peyton Hillis was selected to grace the cover of Madden ’12, people began prognosticating his imminent demise. Sure enough, Hillis has been slowed by injuries all season and may miss more time with a hamstring injury. On top of just Peyton Hillis suffering from the curse, other people with the name “Peyton” or “Payton” have suffered similar fates. Peyton Manning underwent neck surgery and will miss most, if not, the entire season. Saints’ head coach Sean Payton sustained a broken leg and torn ligaments in his knee during a sideline collision in this past week’s game. Call it coincidence or not, but there is something to be said about this curse. The moral of the story is do not draft the player selected to be on the cover of Madden ’13.
1. Raiders of the Lost Quarterback – There have been several great stories this year with beleaguered franchises enjoying a resurgence. Teams such as the Lions, 49ers and Bills have all had early season success that was not greatly anticipated. Another franchise enjoying such a resurgence is the Oakland Raiders. After going 8-8 in 2010, including an impressive 6-0 in the AFC West, the Raiders look like legitimate playoff contenders this year as they started 4-2. But a serious injury to quarterback Jason Campbell could change all of that. While Campbell is not an elite quarterback, either real or fantasy, he was serviceable in both. He had several viable weapons at his disposal, including Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Darrius Heyward-Bay, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford. Now the Raiders turn to disgruntled Bengals’ quarterback Carson Palmer as they acquired him for a 2012 first round draft pick and a conditional 2013 pick. That is a steep price to pay for Palmer, who has not played since the end of the 2010 season. He is worth a pickup if you need a fill-in during a bye week.
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