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Home / Commentary / Week 9 Fantasy Intelligence Report: Reactions, Nuggets, and Hot Sheet

Week 9 Fantasy Intelligence Report: Reactions, Nuggets, and Hot Sheet

W.8.R. — Week 8 Reactions

– New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz must play Xbox 360’s Dance Central in his free time. His touchdown shake contained the same moves from Pitbull’s Calle Ocho (75, Brazil Street) beginner’s dance. It’s probably the same shake many fantasy owners shadowed upon seeing Cruz’s numbers for the game (7 receptions, 99 yards, 1 TD) too.

– Whenever you see a quarterback like Curtis Painter atop the game leader-board in rushing and passing yards, it’s never a good sign. Chris Johnson may have tried hard, but so did Tim Tebow, yet he’s being put through the wringer every day. Johnson is a bona-fide bum, bust, and absolute waste of a fantasy pick. But I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.

– Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Chiefs on Monday night. His inability to close out drives with touchdowns is starting to become a major irritation for fantasy owners, especially those who expected more than seven touchdowns through the first seven games. On the bright side, kicker Nick Novak continues to match Rivers almost point for point, or so it seems. Novak has recorded four multi field goal games through six starts, with three of those games being the four or more conversion variety.

– What does it say about Brandon Lloyd that only below average quarterbacks seem to like what he brings to the table as a wide receiver? And why did it take so long for Steven Jackson to not let his hair weigh down his legs? Then again Albert Pujols was present in the stadium, so who knows what kind of booster was slipped in to the sideline treadmill.

N.N. — News Nuggets

According to the Buccaneers, led by head coach Raheem Morris, would like to get wide receiver Arrelious Benn more involved in the offense. This, coming after Benn finished without a catch against the Bears, surrendering playing time to Dezmon Briscoe, who coincidentally was probably the most effective offensive weapon for the Bucs.

Morris on Benn: “He’s one of our more explosive players,” Morris said. “If you look at our explosive plays this year, he’s probably a part of most of them and there’s a reason: He’s big, he’s strong, he’s physical and he makes plays down the field….

“We’ve been trying. We’ve been throwing screens to him and (running) reverses. We’ve been doing a bunch of things. But we have to get him the ball down the field and let him make plays with his catching ability.”

Benn may be explosive, but he doesn’t counter what Mike Williams brings to the offense like Briscoe does. With reliable third down option and safety valve Earnest Graham gone from the equation quarterback Josh Freeman needs someone he can rely on to get the tough yards after the catch. Briscoe was that someone when Graham exited early against the Bears, and he needs to continue to be that someone if Tampa Bay wants to make a true run down the stretch.

Besides, as we’ve seen time and time before this season, just because a coach says something it doesn’t always mean it’s followed through on. Don’t pick up Briscoe just yet unless you’re in a larger or deeper league, but be prepared to pounce. He has a ton of potential as a starter in an offense that needs a possession receiver to move the chains.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Ravens’ defensive back Ladarius Webb expressed more concern over a Steelers’ wide receiver whose name isn’t Mike Wallace, as Baltimore prepares to face their division rival. In fact he believes that Antonio Brown is a better overall player than Wallace.

“Every time somebody asks me, they’re always talking about Mike Wallace,” Webb said. “But they have a guy No. 84 in Antonio Brown who is better than 17 [Wallace] in all aspects of the game. He’s a great returner, a great wide receiver.”

Brown was targeted a team high 15 times and caught nine for 67 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots on Sunday. And while I’m not ready to crown him a better receiver just yet, he’s certainly gaining the attention of not only opposing defenders, but his quarterback as well.

If Hines Ward sits out again Brown becomes a must start, even against a Ravens defense that ranks first against the pass this season.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Lions players are highly impressed with what wide receiver Calvin Johnson has been able to accomplish in 2011 thus far, and are amazed and appreciative at how good he really is.

“I’m not even used to how big he is,” receiver Nate Burleson said. ” I’m always amazed on game day what he looks like in his pads. So I can never get used to the type of talent he is. I’m very appreciative of him and playing with him.”

“He’s definitely a freak,” tight end Brandon Pettigrew said of Johnson’s size and athleticism. “But he puts in the time. It’s not just that he has it. He has it, but he works. He’s in the weight room, he’s in the film room, and he practices like he plays. What you see in the games is exactly what you get at practice. He practices that hard. He dives for the ball and makes unbelievable catches.”

Johnson and the Lions are on bye this week. When they return they will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears, a team that Johnson has scored four times against in eight games, and is averaging 76.8 yards per.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, Titans’ running back Chris Johnson is hoping that the rushing attack has hit rock bottom, and is looking at the Cincinnati Bengals second-best run defense as just “another opportunity” to rebound and start being productive again.

“This is a situation where it can’t get no worse, really, so it can’t do nothin’ but go up,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “I’m always eager to get back on the field and practice after a bad game and try to make it better.”

The Bengals are allowing 85 rushing yards per game, and regardless of their history, they’re no pushover on defense.

“They’re pretty good,” Johnson said. “They are disciplined. They stay in their lanes and things like that. They don’t make many mistakes, but there are still teams out there who are able to have a little success against them.”

Yeah, let’s hope that Johnson can at least have a “little success” against the men in black and orange, after all he did sign a 53.5 million dollar extension.

“You don’t get a big contract over expectations,” he said. “You get a big contract over things you have done.”

Huh. Who knew?

Who also knew that Johnson was going to be a bona-fide bust, bum, and waste of a fantasy pick? Did I say that already?

According to the Arizona Republic, it looks as though Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb is unlikely to start this week against the Rams. Kolb is still experiencing issues with his right foot. John Skelton will take the snaps behind center.

According to the New York Post, it’s looking more and more like Giants’ wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) will sit out this week when the G-men play the Patriots.

“My mentality I always like to bounce back pretty quick from injuries but this is something you got to be smart about,’’ Nicks said. “We got a long season ahead of us so I don’t want to … if I had to sit one week and come back the following week I’d rather take that than trying to play this one week and being out for a while. I just got to be smart about the whole situation.’’

The good news is that it’s not a serious injury.

“I don’t think it’s anything crazy like it would be two to three weeks, four weeks, nothing like that,’’ he said. “Just a matter of me not wanting it to be there so I got to be cautious about it and take care of it. Ask me tomorrow might be something different. I’m hoping to wake up and the pain will be gone.’’

Look for Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz, and even Jake Ballard to see a major increase in touches against the worst pass defense in the NFL these days.

According to the Miami Herald, running back Reggie Bush is responding to the critics and has starting quarterback Matt Moore wanting to get him the ball more often.

“Obviously he’s talented with the ball in his hands and we’d love to get him the ball,” Moore said. “I think our plans have been pretty good, and he has his share in most of our game plans. So that’s all up to the coaches but any time we can get him the ball it’s a good thing.”

Bush averaged 3.0 yards per carry to start the season, but in the past three games he has more than doubled that number (6.2), which Bush attributes to just simply getting more touches.

“Just been able to run the ball more,” Bush said with a smile on Wednesday, when asked what has been different in recent games. “I think it’s pretty simple.”

We’ll see how long this keeps up, but it certainly isn’t a bad thing that Bush is producing at a high level.

According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Browns’ running back Peyton Hillis re-aggravated his hamstring injury during practice this past week, and could miss a couple of games.

Back-up Montarrio Hardesty is out this week as well with a torn calf muscle, so Chris Ogbonnaya will start, and recently signed Thomas Clayton will fill the third down role. It may be a good idea to snatch up Ogbannaya, especially in the points-per-reception formats, as he has had success in the past catching passes out of the backfield.

W.9.F.H.S. — Week 9 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

The weekly hot sheet is intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below. This will be a feature that will be provided every week. If there are any enhancements you would like to see, please send any suggestions, I’m always looking to improve and provide the best material.


S.T.B.R. — Simply The Best Runner

So who has been truly the best at running back through eight weeks? Let’s take a look, as it’s probably not who you think.

LeSean McCoy: The Eagles running back is quickly making many forget Brian Westbrook. McCoy has scored a touchdown in each game this season (three multi-touchdown games), has recorded four 100+ rushing yard games, and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. The lowest amount of fantasy points he has scored in a single week (points-per-reception formats) is 17. In fact, McCoy has recorded 20 or more six times this season. He makes Adrian Peterson, who has recorded three games of 12 points or less, look like an inconsistent mess.

If I wasn’t such a conservative scarecrow on draft day, and actually accessed the common sense side of my brain, I would’ve selected him with the third overall pick instead of Jamaal Charles. This would be a great time to have a time machine.

S.O.R. — Speaking Out Rapidly

It’s time for a rapid fire version of speaking out. I’ll pick a few topics, and spew out a few thoughts about each one. This isn’t knock your socks off material, but it will make you think long and hard.

First on my agenda this week is an article writer Tom Silverstein scribed recently regarding NFL teams not being a sure thing coming off bye weeks.

Now, I understand the purpose of the article, and it makes sense to talk about, but unfortunately for Tom he left out an important aspect to his study that could skew the results and make people non-believers. While he enthusiastically pointed out numbers and percentages that were less than impressive to make his opinion shine, he forgot to account for teams coming off bye weeks playing teams, well, coming off bye weeks.

And while it’s probably a limited number, it still has to be researched and explained for an argument like the one he has brought to life to fully make sense to the reader. Was Tom irresponsible? Probably not. He just didn’t take a whole snapshot of the topic.

I won’t tackle the whole Tim Tebow he said-she said too much in depth, but I will say the following. To all the former players, like Shannon Sharpe, who continue to chastise the inexperienced lefty after just five starts, back off a bit, and give him a chance to grow. Besides, the last time I checked, it took Sharpe himself three seasons before he was even considered a formidable player. In his first 20 starts Sharpe caught just three touchdown passes, and looked liked Daniel Graham.

I wonder what would happen to Shann-on’s jaw if Tebow were to occupy the Oakland Raiders this week?

Finally…. What defines a good coach? Is it his perseverance? Is it his confidence? Or is it the off the field antics he doesn‘t pull?

For Rex Ryan, unfortunately, I think it’s his talented pool of players, many who weren’t even a product of his coaching. That’s right, Ryan isn’t necessarily as great as he confidently thinks he is, he just has a talent pool most NFL teams can’t match. What gets me is that he glamorizes himself as if he is somebody everyone should bow down to, yet his Jets are 4-3 and in third place behind the Bills and Patriots.

Hey Rex, the next time you announce your role in a movie as the opposing team’s fan, make sure you do it on a week you actually play that team so they can confidently rip your team apart piece by piece.

Thanks for reading! Good luck.

Eric Huber is staff writer for

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