Kansas City 13, San Diego 31
It’s becoming apparent that Kansas City is on the fast track towards the first pick of 2013 NFL Draft. In this matchup their game plan looked non-existent as the play calling was wildly misguided and predictable. Even more annoying is falling behind and yet no big shots to stretch the field. NFL defenses will always be playing downhill if the Chiefs never challenge them deep. Annoying.
The quarterback play from Matt Cassel (181 yards, zero touchdowns) has been awful, to put it politely. With the game still in the balance, Cassel managed to provide the Chargers defense with two touchdowns. The first was a sack, strip, fumble in the end zone followed on the next possession by a pick-six. Cassel likely won’t be the starter next week.
Jamaal Charles opened the game very slow but started to gain traction in the second half only to take a big shot the head/shoulder causing him to leave the game. Although reports have already surfaced that Charles will be ready for next week, three straight games under seven fantasy points is becoming alarming with the mighty Steelers upcoming.
Dwayne Bowe was the only player able to produce for Kansas City having eight receptions for 79 yards. Bowe’s value is predicated on a high number of targets. Should Cassel be benched next week, Bowe’s value would slide to the high end WR4 facing Pittsburgh.
Regardless of the score, the Chargers offense continues to play down to the competition. Facing the 23rd-ranked Chiefs pass defense this game was teed up for Philip Rivers to finally explode. Instead, Rivers kept the game close throwing an interception in the end zone just before half. Putting up a modest 220 yards and two touchdowns, Rivers has only surpassed 20 fantasy points twice this season. Up next for the Chargers quarterback is the 25th-ranked Buccaneers pass defense. After that the schedule goes downhill for Rivers who will become a bottom of the barrel QB1, at best.
Malcom Floyd remains the lone wide receiver on the Chargers roster even worth owning, let alone worth starting. As stated above, Floyd has a ripe matchup next week and should be started.
Antonio Gates owners will be thankful for the first quarter touchdown, but oddly he went missing after the early game score. Nearly impossible to sit, all you can do is pray.
Ryan Mathews‘ breakout season has been put on hold for one more game as the Chargers’ feature back was only given the rock 13 times for 67 yards. Mathews continues to linger around eight fantasy points per game giving him mid RB2 value.
Denver 31, Cincinnati 23
The Broncos are one of the few teams in the NFL that require very little analyses. In this game it was the usual suspects as Eric Decker (eight receptions, 99 yards and two touchdowns), Demaryius Thomas (77 yards) and Petyon Manning (291 yards and three TDs) all delivered for fantasy owners. Thomas did leave the game with an apparent knee injury, but returned to the game shortly thereafter. Make sure to monitor for any lingering effects.
Willis McGahee owners who did not see the game will be wondering about his 23 carries for 66 yards, averaging 2.3 yards per carry. Give credit to the Cincinnati defense for game planning to shut down the Broncos feature running back. Fear not as the Broncos have the soft Panthers run defense next on the schedule keeping McGahee atop the heap as a must start.
The other significant news to report was Jacob Tamme leaving the game with a with an arm injury giving way to Joel Dreessen as the Broncos lone tight end. The former Texan put together four receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. Dreessen’s stock would be on the rise as a must add, but Tamme later returned to the game continuing to limit both players. Dreessen has the higher upside, but remains a very low end TE1.
Andy Dalton had a mediocre day in the box score throwing for 299 yards and one touchdown. He was under constant duress from the Denver defense all game long as the Cincy offensive line couldn’t slow down the pass rush. Dalton’s fantasy value is slipping into the mid/lower QB2 range.
Jermaine Gresham has been a fantasy enigma averaging just under seven targets and seven fantasy points per game. He’s definitely worthy of a waiver addition if he’s not already picked up in your league, but his upside will be limited by play calling and Dalton’s inconsistent play.
Just as we begin to lose faith in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, he answers our prayers and gets into the end zone. Still averaging 61 yards per game and only three total touchdowns on the season, the “Law Firm” is a high end RB3. Simply based on the sheer number of carries, Green-Ellis is worthy of starter consideration in a plus matchup.
A.J Green had another solid performance and fantasy owners will be pleased with his 99 yards and one touchdown. However, he was stopped two yards short of a second receiving touchdown (ugh).
Baltimore 25, Cleveland 15
The Baltimore Ravens came out absolutely on fire with Ray Rice moving the ball straight down the field for an opening drive touchdown. On the very next possession it was fellow running back Bernard Pierce scoring from 12 yards out. After that the Ravens went into hibernation shutting down their offense until falling behind by one point late in the game. Baltimore then kicked it back into gear scoring a late game touchdown by Torrey Smith. Yawn.
The only real news to take from this game was that Rice owners should certainly have Pierce handcuffed in case you haven’t done so already.
The Browns game plan was obvious; run, run and run some more as Trent Richardson was the given the ball 31 times totaling 136 yards. Even when down 14-0 in the first quarter the Browns never deviated from their game plan.
A run heavy attack severely limited Brandon Weeden and the Browns passing game. Late riser Josh Gordon was seen double covered on a number of plays indicating the Ravens defensive plan was to shut down the rookie. Gordon had three targets on the day. Gordon did have a nice 18-yard touchdown called back by an ineffectual illegal formation (ugh). Even with the added attention, no other Browns receiver was able to capitalize, confirming that Gordon and T-Rich are the only players with viable fantasy value.