NFL Football Column: Football Daily Dose
What Now, C.J.?
We — as in the fantasy football players of America — got our wish.
C.J. Spiller finally touched the ball more than 20 times in a game. A healthy 25 to be exact.
So what did we get?
Excellent, but not scintillating, numbers. Production disappointingly — and we’re really stretching the meaning of “disappointingly” — similar to Spiller’s typical output.
22 carries for 91 yards, three receptions for 39 yards. A strong, strong night, but not quite what 7.3 yards per carry and 8.1 yards per touch entering Week 11 would have led us to believe.
But then again, it was never realistic to expect those numbers in a feature role, especially against a top-six run defense.
It’s ok to feel a bit unfulfilled. Spiller didn’t score, and 4.1 yards per carry isn’t a great night for any running back, particularly one with Spiller’s speed and explosiveness. He bounced things outside just a little bit too often. He actually totaled one fewer yard than he did in Week 10.
But don’t lose perspective. 130 yards from scrimmage? There are two players in the entire league averaging even close to that: Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin. Their weekly yardage totals? 128.3 for AP, 128.7 for the Muscle Hamster.
So even though the gaudy part-time numbers and week-long build up might have left you feeling a little letdown about “only” 130 yards, just remember there’s a strong chance that would lead the league if Spiller did it every week.
Now the question is, was this a one-game thing? The starter’s workload? You don’t need me to tell you it probably was. Fred Jackson (concussion) has 10 days to get healthy for Week 12, and will almost certainly suit up against the Colts.
But something else that’s a thing of the past for Spiller? Nine-carry afternoons. That is, as long as coach Chan Gailey has one iota of sanity left in his body. Spiller said it best himself last evening. "I answered the critics. I told ‘em I could tote it 20-plus times. I could've toted it 30 times if I wanted."
Now it’s time for Gailey to answer his. Get. Spiller. The. Ball. He’s proven he knows what to do with it, and fantasy owners have proven they know what to do with Spiller: Treat him as a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside, week in and week out.
No Push For Bush
On the other side of the coin last evening was Reggie Bush. Facing the league’s worst run defense, Bush managed a pathetic 20 yards on 10 carries. He tacked on just two catches for 15 yards.
Running up against a unit surrendering 163.7 yards per game entering Week 11, Bush was stopped for a loss three times. He gained more than two yards only four times, and not once on his first four totes.
It was a miserable night for a player coming off the first benching of his football-playing life (at least according to him). What does it mean going forward? More Daniel Thomas, we’re afraid. “Fumbling Dan” was hardly a dynamo against Buffalo, gaining 33 yards on 12 carries, but has now played Bush to a draw on the ground over Miami’s past four games.
Since Week 8, Bush is averaging 35.3 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Thomas, 33.3 and 3.5. Both have scored one touchdown.
Bush simply hasn’t been the same since his injuring his knee in Week 3. Bush entered Week 4 averaging 100.6 yards per game and 6.04 yards per carry. Since? 39 and 3.2.
Bush is proving his old injury prone and unproductive reputation true, and with Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller waiting in the wings, he’s likely punching his ticket out of Miami.
In fantasy leagues, it’s hard to trust Bush as more than a middling flex play at this point, no matter the opponent.
Speaking about bad reputations, Ryan Mathews went to work on burnishing his Thursday. He missed practice with a neck issue for the second straight day, and coach Norval Turner didn’t exactly offer assurance he’ll be ready for Sunday.
Turner said Mathews’ absence wasn’t just a precaution, but that he hadn’t “improved enough where he can practice.” He ominously added, “missing a Wednesday and Thursday sets a player back.”
We’ll know a lot more by the time the injury report comes out this afternoon, but Mathews has all the makings of a game-time decision. That’s bad news since the Chargers don’t play until 4:25ET Sunday.
Stay tuned, and hope it’s not “good night and good luck” for a player who’s been thisclose to breaking out this season, only to vex this website and frustrate legions of fantasy owners on a weekly basis.
Quick Slants: Adrian Peterson’s knee is akin to a newborn baby’s. We have our own theory. … Dwayne Bowe says he wants to finish his career in Kansas City. Whatever you say, Dwayne. … Donald Brown (knee) was downgraded to "DNP" in Thursday's practice. It’s the same pattern he followed in Week 9 before ultimately suiting up. We still expect him to split the load with Vick Ballard against the Patriots. … Alex Smith (concussion) got in a limited practice, and remains on track to start Monday. … Jay Cutler (concussion) didn’t practice, but the Bears believe he could still play against the 49ers. … Pierre Garcon (foot) will finally return Sunday, but will be at far less than 100 percent. It’s time to scoop him up if he’s on the wire, but he can’t yet be trusted as a WR3. … Julio Jones (ankle) will be a “late-week decision.” We expect him to play. … Wes Welker (ankle) missed practice, but participated in the Patriots’ walk-through. He’s going to play. … However, Welker’s teammate Aaron Hernandez is trending toward a game-time decision after getting in another limited practice Thursday.
Bizarre/Ultimately Meaningless Stats of the Week: Anquan Boldin is averaging more yards per catch than Victor Cruz. … Josh Freeman leads the league in passing yards per attempt. … Carson Palmer is third in the league in yards per game. Peyton Manning is fifth, Tom Brady is sixth. … Andre Brown is tied for second in rushing touchdowns. … Andrew Luck has as many rushing scores (five) as Trent Richardson. … 257 of Jermaine Gresham’s 448 yards receiving have come after the catch. … Matthew Stafford has more rushing touchdowns than LeSean McCoy and Steven Jackson. … Jake Locker has more rushes of 20-plus yards than Shonn Greene.
Dear NFL, please let The Ramones rest in peace, and stop haunting our Thursday nights with this.
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