Saturday - Feb 23, 2019

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Couch Tomatoes – Week 9

I feel like I am in the car, cruising at about 75 MPH on the Interstate watching the mile markers cluck by. Whoosh-Whoosh-Whoosh! Suddenly we are at Week 9, just passing the halfway point in the NFL and having only about five weeks or so to go in the fantasy football season.

Bonnie and I were sitting on the couch waiting for the Bears game to start. Being the day the clocks change to end Daylight Savings time, we were in a bit of a daze. Then out of the blue the game finally started and it was close and competitive. Then it happened. The dumb- ___ announcer made a comment about Matt Forte’s durability and how he has only missed five games in his career. And then as always happens, within just a few minutes, Forte was down on the field and was then transported to the locker room on the cart of death.

One MCL sprain later we are now ushering in the Jeremy Langford era in Chicago. As it was ending, Toby returned from a visit to his favorite bush out in the yard. Pulling on and adjusting his fuzzy little authentic made for rabbits Bears jersey he stood there and vowed he would stop watching football.

Instead, he sat down and watched in awe, debating whether to call Wolfie his bookie. He wound up betting the TD total in the Giants-Saints game would exceed the number of serious injuries this week. The TDs won by a hair… So the hare was happy!

Besides all the injuries, the numbers are showing us many anomalies. NFL football could even replace CBS’ big hit reality show, Survivor. It all goes to show that fantasy football is a game in which you have to manipulate rosters each and every week of the season. It is not a simple draft, simply relax and watch, with nothing to do during the season kind of proposition.

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 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…

Not too surprisingly after last weeks’s 101 point game, the Giants and Saints have given up more FPPG than any other teams so far. To no one’s surprise, they are followed closely by the woeful Lions.

Also to no one’s surprise, the best defenses are the Broncos, Seahawks and Panthers.

The top 5 scoring QBs on a FPPG basis are Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Drew Brees and Carson Palmer. Excuse me, but does this group shock anyone but me?

The unexpected leaders in passing yards/game through Week 8 are three of those surprising guys that are also among the top scoring leaders, Tom Brady (344.3), Philip Rivers (344.1) and Drew Brees (339.4).

Tom Brady (20) and Carson Palmer (20) are still tied at the top of the TD leader board, with each adding four more to their totals in Week 8.

For QBs not showing much accuracy wise, Andrew Luck is leading the way with 12 INTs, followed closely by Matthew Stafford (11) and Peyton Manning (11).

QBs being sacked the most are Russell Wilson (31) Alex Smith (28) and Colin Kaepernick (28).

Last week I wondered if a strong QB like Aaron Rodgers could overcome the Denver defense. He could not and was eaten alive as the Packers crashed in their first defeat of the season. Andrew Luck faces a BIG challenge next week against the Broncos.

Peyton Manning on the other hand fared pretty well against the Packers, helping to dispel rumors of his imminent demise.

As expected, the Broncos give up the least FPPG to QBs and seems to be improving each and every game, now averaging 13, followed by Carolina with 14. This could be a two game slump for Rodgers in Week 9.

While nobody wants to play the Broncos, QBs do indeed want to play the Saints and Ravens who each give up a generous 27 and 26 FPPG, respectively.

After deleting the injured Jamaal Charles and Arian Foster, as well as Le’Veon Bell and Matt Forte, who could be out several weeks, from the list, the top 5 fantasy scoring RBs are Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis, Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory.

The leader in rushing yards/game is Todd Gurley (115.0) by a landslide. He is followed by RB Adrian Peterson (90.4), almost 25 yards/game behind him.

Pass-receiving RBs continue to play a big role in PPR leagues. After eight weeks the leaders are Theo Riddick (42) and Danny Woodhead (39).

The TD race changed slightly in Week 8. Devonta Freeman still leads the field with 10 TDs and several players are now tied with seven. Freeman owners are starting to squirm as he has not had a TD since Week 6.

The stingiest teams in giving up RB fantasy points is still the Jets, who are at 17 FPPG, as well as the Seahawks who are now tied with him.

Part of the reason for the Falcons recent woes and those of the Chargers all season long, has been the fact that they are both yielding 31 FPPG to opposing RBs. That keeps their powerful offenses on the bench as their defenses kill them.

The top 5 fantasy scoring WRs are Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall. Fading out of this list is Keenan Allen who is now out for the season.

The Buccaneers WR situation is still complicated. Not to be unexpected, the unknown Donteea Dye remains unknown. We did see Adam Humphries have a 3-14-0 game. Other than Evans, the Bucs’ WR pool remains empty.

In overall pass receptions, the leading healthy WRs are Julio Jones (70) followed by DeAndre Hopkins (66). Keenan Allen is out for the season and finished with 67.

When it comes to receiving FPPG, the Week 8 leaders are Julio Jones (111.5) and DeAndre Hopkins (108.5).

The Seahawks and Broncos are only giving opponents’ WRs 21 and 23 FPPG, respectively.

A scoring bonanza awaits those with WRs playing the defenses of the Chiefs (48 FPPG) or the Ravens.

After eight weeks, we still have a large group of undefeated teams. At 7-0 we have Cincinnati, Denver, New England and Carolina.

A few weeks ago I introduced Toby in this column. I am now asking you readers to offer your input about him, if anyone really cares. Should we keep Toby, or should I lose Toby and take him out of print and send him back into the garden. If I get a significant vote one way or another I will let you know.

I asked Toby to say a few words on his behalf… “I know that rabbits don’t usually have any business interacting with nice folks such as you. I want to point out the fact that my predecessors like the Easter Bunny, Peter Rabbit, Brer Rabbit and Bugs Bunny have all brought joy to the world for a long, long time. All I want is my little chance. Being sent outdoors at the onset of a cold and nasty winter is much worse than facing the also cold and nasty Mike and Bonnie every day. I ask that you reply with a two word email saying keep Toby. Pleeeeeeeease!”

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 mnease23@yahoo.com. 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 mnease23@yahoo.com anytime and during the football season follow him @mikeinsights.