NFL 2013 Midseason Report – What Happened To…?

I said last year that I wasn’t going to do fantasy football again. That adds to the stress of watching games every Sunday and Monday. But I broke that rule. Statistically, I enjoy football more than basketball; mainly because football has a wider net to make compare and contrast arguments and analyses.

Injuries everywhere 

Knee/ankle/foot injuries are a natural by-product of being a contact sport athlete. But it seems like this season in particular has not been kind to football players. Reggie Wayne, 1 of the game’s ironmen, is the latest stud WR to be out for the season. Michael Vick had his annual injury-related benching and even his back up, Nick Foles, is out due to concussion. Julio Jones, Roddy White, the entire Giants backfield, CJ Spiller, Owen Daniels, Matt Schaub, the list goes on. I’ve been hitting the waiver wire every other week due to injuries and now bye weeks. For some teams, like the Giants, Falcons, and Texans, injuries clearly have some correlation to their record. For others, like the Bills, the team has had to pull strengths in other areas. When they’re both playing, the running core of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson put the Bills at 5th in the league’s rushing yards per game. Despite Spiller being a 1st/2nd round pick fantasy-wise, it’s actually Fred Jackson who’s been the better man on 3rd down conversions and the red zone in game situations.

Peyton the QB God

With a receiving core of Welker, Decker, and 2 Thomas’s, Manning is on pace to throw for like 60 TDs. He already has 29 through 8 games. Under the Middle Manning, The Broncos have 1 of the strongest offenses in the league. Unlike the Saints, Packers, and Falcons, all 4 of Manning’s targets have stayed healthy. Now fantasy-wise, owning a Broncos receiver is playing a wack-a-mole. Manning has to get everybody their targets and keep them happy. Julius Thomas and Wes Welker are red zone favorites (8 and 9 TDs respectively), while Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are Manning’s long ball targets (their longest receptions being 78 and 61 yards down-field). But that’s not even the most surprising thing about the Broncos.

knowshow-moreno

Knowshon Moreno Eats

At the start of the season, nobody talked much about the Broncos’ backfield because of what I just explained. With Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, the assumption was that week to week, Coach John Fox would roll with whomever looked good. Well, the starting job is solely Knowshon Moreno’s for the remainder of the season. Much like Fred Jackson, if you rolled the dice on Moreno and actually play him, you look like a genius right now. Moreno isn’t fast like Ray Rice or Reggie Bush. But at 220lbs, he’s able to power through holes at the goal line. He also has the upside to be able to run quick slants out of the back; which is why he has almost 200 yards receiving to add to his 413 yards on the ground.

terrance-williams-cowboys

Rookie Watch 2013

When I recapped the draft back in April, I mentioned specific names for specific reasons.

– Geno Smith

– Terrance Williams

– EJ Manuel/Robert Woods

– Dee Milliner

Is it safe to say Mark Sanchez is no longer the IT guy in New Jersey anymore? As much as we all joked about Geno Smith being passed over in the 1st round, Sanchez’s injury has given him free reign to flourish. Terrance Williams is a reliable replacement for Miles Austin. Romo is building up a trust in the Baylor product and it’s translating well. Although we haven’t seen much of the Manuel-Woods connection, the pair have the opportunity to be a young tandem. Now Dee Milliner? He went into the season coming off of shoulder surgery, He did play in the Jets-Patriots game, after missing 3 weeks. He posted his season-high 6 solo tackles. With hamstring issues, we haven’t seen him at full health yet.. But this is precisely why I hate when rookies come into the draft being highly touted as the 2nd coming of [insert veteran who’s proved himself].

The Bigger Shocker: Chiefs or Panthers?

It’s surprising that the Panthers’ Defense is still available in more than 60% of leagues. I just picked them up for my squad. The Panthers are 4th in allowed rushing yards and 8th in allowed passing yards. They held the Giants to a donut and sacked Eli Manning 7 times. SEVEN! Cam Newton and company are comfortably in the NFC-South’s 2nd place and are on a 3 game winning streak. Guys, the Panthers are actually looking good right now. Kansas City is the only undefeated team left. Alex Smith isn’t anybody’s favorite QB. Yet he’s getting these wins utilizing Jamaal Charles the same way Darren Sproles is used in New Orleans. Charles has 337 yards as a receiver off 36 receptions. With great hands and his quickness off the line, you’re not catching him in the open field. [See above video] In Andy Reid’s pass-friendly offense, Charles has actually been targeted more than Dwayne Bowe. That $56 million is looking a little funny under the light now. On the defensive end, QBs should fear Justin Houston. Thus far opposing QBs are averaging just under 200 yards per game against the Chiefs. I’m hype to see what this defense does against the Broncos.

Those are my observations – what are you some of yours?

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