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NFL Football Column: The Morning After

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December 3, 2012
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Curse Lifted

Chet Gresham

Calvin Johnson is now on pace for 114 receptions for 1,904 yards and 8 touchdowns, which would break Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 yards in 1995.  Over his last five games he is averaging 9 receptions for 158 yards with four touchdowns.  He is the first receiver to have four straight games of 140+ yards and the second receiver with 125+ receiving yards in five straight games (Pat Studstill of the 1966 Lions is the only other). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the “Madden Curse” is no longer and I hate saying even that, because there are no such things as curses because we don’t live in a Stephen King novel, but hey, maybe it will take someone breaking Jerry Rice’s single season record to get people to shut their pie-holes about it.


Calvin Johnson is a man among small, defenseless, roly-poly, pug babies. It’s fun watching him dominate huge, fast, strong, gifted, seasoned NFL defensive players. That kind of human ability is rare and amazing and one of the reasons I watch football. He is very much on his way to going into the record books as one of the best of all time. Could he ever reach Jerry Rice’s greatness? That would truly be amazing. He has the ability, but to put up career numbers like Rice has takes something else. I hope someday he is knocking on the door, but for now I’ll revel in an amazing season.



Game Balls


Adrian Peterson – Amazingly I could have copy and pasted much of that last paragraph here for Peterson. His ability continues to be unmatched. If it wasn’t for Christian Ponder throwing two crucial red zone interceptions, he could have had an even bigger day than his 21 carry, 210 yards rushing and single touchdown performance. Peterson is now on pace for 1,928 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns coming off a blown out knee last Christmas. If you drafted Peterson this season you got an early Christmas present.


Cam Newton – Newton has gone on the road the last two weeks and put up some huge numbers. He’s thrown for 538 yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions and run for 131 yards and two touchdowns. This is the Cam you paid for. He’s had a rollercoaster fantasy season, but he’s still the sixth best fantasy quarterback this season.


Andrew LuckDonnie Avery came away with two touchdowns, but Andrew Luck was the clear game changer in this one. He finished his fifth game winning drive, tying Ben Roethlisberger for the rookie record. He once again looked like a veteran moving the Colts downfield with seconds clicking off the clock. He finished the day 24-of-54 for 391 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. They aren’t phenomenal numbers in real life, but they are in fantasy and his play at the end of the game was phenomenal in real and fake football life.  The rookie quarterback play this year has been mind-blowing to say the least.


Russell WilsonSidney Rice and Golden Tate are emerging as true play makers for Wilson and he’s making plays left and right and sideways. His 97-yard drive to take the lead in the waning seconds in Chicago against the Bears defense was a thing of beauty, and then he went and had another amazing drive to win it in overtime. And he also put up great fantasy numbers, all against a Bears defense we thought was historic just weeks ago. His 23-of-37 for 293 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions put him at a nice 63.4% completion rate on the season and a 2 to 1 touchdown to interception rate. Those aren’t numbers rookies usually mess with (unless you’re RGIII).


Wes Welker – Welker was on pace for twenty billion receptions at the half, but was slowed down in the second half, but his final line was still impressive with 12 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Welker has absolutely owned his old team since becoming a Patriot.


Demaryius ThomasPeyton Manning has decided that Thomas is the guy and has stopped splitting targets with Eric Decker and him. Thomas finished the day catching eight of ten targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns. And this is just another reminder that leagues that give bonuses for hitting 100 yards are bogus and should be disbanded with malice.


Brandon Myers – With tight ends either getting hurt or plain old sucking this season, Myers has turned out to be as reliable as it gets this season.  He ranks fifth overall for tight end fantasy points this season. And if, before the season, I told you a tight end would have 14 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown in week 13, I’m guessing Myers wouldn’t have blipped on the radar.


Brandon Marshall – The Bears lost a heartbreaker to the Seahawks, but not due to Brandon Marshall’s play. He made great catch after great catch on his way to 10 receptions for 165 yards. He’s on pace for 121 receptions for 1,418 yards and 10 touchdowns and a third place finish in standard fantasy leagues.


Bryce Brown – Thankfully backbreaking fumbles don’t hurt you too much in fantasy and 183 total yards and two touchdowns are quite nice in fantasy. Brown has put up huge fantasy numbers in his first two starts, accumulating 372 total yards and four touchdowns. Brown’s 347 yards rushing in back-to-back games eclipsed LeSean McCoy’s best two game output of 311. This will most likely be a mess whenever McCoy returns, but savor it for now.


Dez Bryant – Bryant is on pace for 95 receptions for 1,304 yards and 11 touchdowns after catching 6 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles. His ability just jumps out at you and we are finally seeing it all put together. Over the last four weeks he has 27 receptions for 475 yards and 6 touchdowns. It looks like he just helped a lot of teams into the fantasy playoffs.


Game Busts


Eric Decker – For some reason Peyton Manning has started looking away from Decker, at least compared to earlier in the season. Decker had two targets compared to 13 for Jacob Tamme, 10 for Demaryius Thomas, five for Matt Willis, five for Knowshon Moreno and two for Joel Dreessen. That’s not going to get it done.


Ryan Broyles – Broyles hurt his knee early in the game and that was that. He was set up for a great end of the season run with Titus Young being stupid. We’ll have to see how bad the injury is, but initial rumor-milling sounds scary.


Jordy Nelson – Nelson can’t get healthy and he’s now killed owners with two extremely short games. It’s going to be very tough to trust him going forward.


Aaron RodgersAaron Rodgers has been out of the top 12 in quarterback fantasy scoring three straight weeks and four of the last five weeks. I need an assistant to tell me if that’s some kind of record for him, but it has to be close for one of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks in the league.


Tom Brady – Brady had his lowest fantasy total of the season, passing for 238 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He got the win, but for a critical fantasy week, this was a horrible time for it to happen. (See Drew Brees)


Beanie Wells – After scoring two touchdowns his first week back there was a little hope he wouldn’t rush 15 times for 22 yards and no touchdowns. But he did.


Ryan Mathews – Well, it’s official. Mathews is a bust. Yes, we knew that already, but Jim Brown has now notarized it. Is his career a bust? It’s too early for all that, but Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and Mathews have combined for the most frustrating fantasy offense I’ve ever seen.


Marcel Reece – After Darren McFadden was ruled out against the Browns it looked like another great chance for Marcel Reece to put up another big yardage total, but unfortunately after a good start he lost the lead back duties to Jeremy Stewart. So that’s all she wrote.



Early Waiver Look


QB: Russell Wilson


RB: Jonathan Dwyer, James Starks


WR: Danario Alexander, Golden Tate, Chris Givens


TE: Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme, Ben Watson





Fantasy MVP of Week 13: Adrian Peterson


Fantasy Breakout Player of Week 13: Brandon Myers


Fantasy Rookie of Week 13: Russell Wilson


Fantasy Disappointment of Week 13: Tom Brady


Fantasy Fluke of Week 13: Donnie Avery



Numbers Game


8 – Wins that Andrew Luck has led the Colts to, the most of any rookie quarterback drafted number one overall.


17 – Games in which Wes Welker has 10+ receptions, tying Jerry Rice for most all-time.


20 – The number of games the Patriots have won in a row in the second half of the regular season.


29 – The new Denver Broncos single season passing touchdown record set by Peyton Manning, surpassing John Elway and Jake Plummer.


31.5 – Aldon Smith now has 31.5 sacks in his first 2 seasons, breaking Reggie White's NFL record of 31.0 since sacks became official in 1982.


60 – Colts WR Reggie Wayne had 4 more catches today. That gives him an NFL record 60 straight games with 3+ receptions.


168 – Tony Romo’s career touchdown passes, passing Troy Aikman for the most in Cowboys history.



Twitter Talk


@RotoPat  -- Most people don't realize this, but that's Brady Quinn in the Cam Newton "Play 60" commercial.


@Liz_Mathews  -- Russell Wilson said "Matt Flynn going out and getting that coin toss was huge for us".


@MoveTheSticks  -- I'd love to know the thoughts of Alex Smith and Tim Tebow this afternoon.


@billbarnwell  -- Think that might be the final straw for Ryan Lindley. Just missed a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald for a likely score. 0-for-15 on third down.


@CaptainComeback  -- Fantastic numbers for Romo. I see the Eagles are continuing the worst 6 game stretch of pass defense ever.


@ChrisWesseling  -- #Bills are such a pathetic joke in the red zone. That's what happens when you take your best player off the field every time.


@PFF_ChadParsons  -- Adrian Peterson 210 rushing yards, Christian Ponder 5 completions. 14 points for Vikings offense. It's a passing league.


@scott_pianowski  -- Look everyone, I love Andrew Luck, too. But look at the efficiency stats and show me where Luck beats Russell Wilson. Keep looking.


@MartyCaswell‬ -- 4th quarter starts with a 13-10 Chargers lead. You can actually feel the muted despondency of the fans waiting for the loss to unfold.

Chet Gresham writes Target Watch and The Morning After for and is the founder of The Fake Football. Chet can be found on Twitter .

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