Monday - May 20, 2019

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Couch Tomatoes – Week 12

You just have to sit back, grin and suck it all up some weeks. In one league I have lost by one point and three points, respectively, in two of the last three games. I no longer have to worry about being in playoff contention there. In another, I have lost back-to-back two-point games (three two-point losses overall) against the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in a 14-team experts league.

I now have one team in playoff contention and a good shot at making it. This is one of my dynasty teams that I took over that had a 1-12 record in 2014. Right now, I would say they are about the third- or fourth-best team overall and getting better all the time

It has been hard to find Toby the last few days. He has been kind of avoiding us, especially Bonnie. As it turns out, that silly rabbit heard Bonnie telling one of her friends on the phone that we are not roasting a turkey this year. He went and hid before he heard her explain that we are roasting a turkey breast and some thighs.

Yes, the silly rabbit thought we might be roasting him. Little does he know that eating wild game is only about No. 137,875 on my bucket list. It is just not going to happen. It was kind of cool though watching him on good behavior for a couple of days. He even brought Bonnie cheese and crackers in his little paws while we were watching TV. He knows he has more to fear from her and he shows it. When I admonish the little cotton-tailed varmint about something, he just gives me that nasty stink eye that only a crazed rabbit can give.

From Bonnie, myself and Toby, we wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day with your families, some turkey and lots of football. Remember that the occasion signifies a day of giving thanks for all that we have. It is a lot more than Black Friday Eve.

When we follow fantasy football we tend to focus on our teams and kind of ignore the big picture. I am trying to be your eyes and ears to take you into and behind the numbers, not only for the current week, but for the season to date as a whole. As usual, there was a lot to see from the couch last week …

Let us take a minute first and see who has been hot and of course who has been cold as well. From Weeks 8-11 the hot quarterbacks have been, on a fantasy points per game basis —Drew Brees (35), Carson Palmer (31), Cam Newton (29) and Eli Manning (28).

The ice cold quarterbacks have been Tyrod Taylor (14), Ryan Fitzgerald (16), Teddy Bridgewater (17) and Ryan Tannehill (17).

We have a mixed bag of the old and the new in the running back spotlight over the Week 8-11 — LeSean McCoy (22), Charcandrick West (21), DeAngelo Williams (20) and Jeremy Langford (20).

Clinging to the bottom of the running back pool over those four weeks have been Eddie Lacy (8), Chris Johnson (8), Jeremy Hill (9) and Melvin Gordon (9).

Over that same timeframe, some of the wide receivers have also stood out — Antonio Brown (34), Julio Jones (28), Odell Beckham (26) and Brandin Cooks (24).

Some of the most disappointing wide receivers over the Week 8-11 timespan have been T.Y. Hilton (7), Jeremy Maclin (8), Emmanuel Sanders (8) and John Brown (10).

The first- and second-year quarterbacks are progressing well on the playing field from a quarterback rating perspective — Derek Carr (99.4), Marcus Mariota (96.1), Teddy Bridgewater (86.6), Jameis Winston (86.6) and Blake Bortles (81.8). Rating wise, Johnny Manziel would rank third at 88.4, but his penchant to disregard management’s limitations placed on him have his tenure in Cleveland and in the NFL in jeopardy.

A big measure of a team’s success is their turnover ratio. Leaders after 10 games are Carolina (+13), New York Giants (+12) and Kansas City (+10). Teams giving the ball away significantly more than taking it away from opponents are Detroit (-10), Dallas (-9) and Baltimore (-8).

Special teams score touchdowns on punt and kickoff return touchdowns. At the Week 11 mark there have been eight punt return touchdowns and two kickoff return touchdowns. Young Tyler Lockett of Seattle has two touchdowns (one of each). Nobody else has more than one.

Third down success is an indicator of a team’s performance level offensively. Top teams thus far are New Orleans (47.2 percent), New England (46.5 percent) and Arizona (46.2 percent). Teams at the bottom of the list in this important stat are St. Louis (24.2), Miami (27.8) and Tennessee (32.5).

With 417.3 yards per game, Arizona has the best overall offense, and at the other end of the spectrum we find San Francisco with only 288.2 yards per game.

There has always been a question of whether a strong offense can compensate for a bad defense. Citing New Orleans, who is No. 2 offensively with 414.5 yards per game, and No. 32 defensively, yielding 424.3 yards per game as an example, we once again see that the answer is no. It does make for some exciting high voltage games, however.

Jimmy Clausen didn’t strike fear in any teams as Jay Cutler’s backup in Chicago. Yet when he was released the other day, Baltimore offensive coordinator Marc Trestman (former Chicago Bears coach) swiftly moved to sign him off the waiver wire. It goes to prove that the real NFL waiver wire is as weak as our fantasy football waiver wire this time of year.

All of a sudden over the last week we have found that Washington running back Alfred Morris has a rib injury. Could this be why he has been so terribly ineffective all season?

For those keeping score in San Diego as the Chargers load the trucks to move to Los Angeles, remember that Philip Rivers is throwing to Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon these days instead of Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd.

When was the last week we did not have a major officiating gaffe?

How can a quarterback like Case Keenum suffer a concussion and not get noticed in the huddle when he slurs out the next play? In these days of paying strict attention to concussions with so many mandatory protocols and evaluations, this whole episode could have easily become a tragedy with another blow to his head before he finally got out of the game.

At the beginning of the year, Jameis Winston was either the best prospect with a football IQ since Peyton Manning, or a complete bust depending on which expert you wanted to listen to. It took a few weeks to get going, but the Tampa Bay offense under Winston is sure picking up some momentum and looks pretty darn good.

Chicago had no penalties against Denver on Sunday. Over the last 15 years that has been accomplished by 23 other teams. Chicago had last accomplished that feat in 1995.

The funniest play of the week was when Tom Brady hollered out “Rex Ryan” as part of an audible. Ryan was amused by the reference when asked about it after the game, Brady said it was just another play in the playbook.

After Week 11, we still have two undefeated teams. New England and Carolina both have 10-0 records. Is it just me, or is Carolina the quietest success story you have ever seen?

Be sure to remember that the answers to our fantasy football questions can usually be found within the numbers of the game. And if all else fails ask me or Toby. You can reach us at All fantasy football questions are welcome.

About Mike Nease

Mike Nease is a member of the FSWA and has been playing the game since 1985, while also writing about it since 2001. Over the years he has sampled about all the playing scenarios that fantasy football offers, including re-drafter, keeper, dynasty, auction, IDP and salary cap leagues. He and his wife Bonnie reside in West Chicago, IL You can contact Mike at anytime and during the football season follow him @mikeinsights.