Jordy BoyTuesday, November 15, 2011
Early in the fourth quarter of Monday’s easy win over the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers scrambled to his left and scanned the end zone. James Jones was wide open in the middle, but Jordy Nelson had a couple steps on his defender as well in the back corner. Rodgers threaded the ball to Nelson.
It’s a familiar refrain for Nelson, who has quietly established himself as Rodgers’ second-favorite target behind only Greg Jennings. Over his last 16 games (including playoffs), Nelson has racked up 64 catches, 1,124 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s the primary receiver opposite Greg Jennings in most two-wide sets and is always on the field in the red zone.
Oh, and he’s also really talented. Nelson is averaging 18.6 yards per catch this season, trailing only Malcom Floyd in that category. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is not human. But you don’t get these numbers without being a beast yourself.
VIKINGS at PACKERS RANDOM THOUGHTS
Percy Harvin is a spectacular player, but he doesn’t know how to take a hit. It’s really an art, something that guys like Chris Johnson, LeSean McCoy and Greg Jennings seem to have mastered. … I can’t really explain Jermichael Finley’s lack of targets all season long. He’s so good that he gets extra attention from defenses and the Pack have plenty of other weapons. Still, it’s strange. … If Ryan Grant is a three, James Starks is at least an eight. The disparity in effectiveness between the two is blatant. … So much for getting Adrian Peterson going in the passing game. Toby Gerhart was the clear third-down back Monday.
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NEWS OF THE DAY #1
Just went you thought the Eagles season couldn’t get any worse, Sunday happened. It turns out that Michael Vick fractured two ribs on the second play of the game, didn’t tell trainers and proceeded to have one of the worst games of his career. Although the Eagles aren’t ruling him out, beat writers aren’t giving Vick much of a shot to play this Sunday.
That means Vince Young is likely to be under center against the Giants. It’s not a good matchup, but Young projects to run for enough yards to have a high fantasy floor in this offense. In 47 career starts, he’s averaged 27.9 rushing yards per game and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. He’s also averaged 165.1 passing yards and 40 more touchdowns. And none of those starts came in the Eagles’ pass-happy offense.
Young was a nice handcuff to Vick, which should serve as a reminder to other owners. If you have Aaron Rodgers, you should also own Matt Flynn. If you own Matthew Stafford, you should also own Shaun Hill. Both are QB1s if the starter goes down.
One more note on the Eagles: DeSean Jackson came clean Monday and basically admitted that he skipped Saturday’s meeting to make a statement about his contract. But now that’s all water under the bridge and he’ll start Sunday. Yawn. Jackson hasn’t shown enough on the field to be anything more than a WR3.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
The Texans appeared primed for a Super Bowl run. Not so fast. Matt Schaub was diagnosed with a right Lisfranc injury Monday and is reportedly done for the season. Matt Leinart takes over as the starter. Yikes.
Downgrade Andre Johnson -- who is finally expected back after the bye -- and the entire passing game a bit here. The Texans figure to go even more run-heavy than they already are and will ask Leinart to merely manage the game. Leinart is just a QB2.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
The Chiefs were not primed for any kind of run. But now that Matt Cassel is likely done for the year due to a hand injury, they are officially in the tank.
Tyler Palko projects as a significantly worse player than Matt Leinart. He’s a 2007 undrafted free agent that has a weak arm and won’t be able to get the ball to Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston or Jonathan Baldwin. This entire offense gets a massive downgrade.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: QUARTERBACKS AND WIDE RECEIVERS
Matthew Stafford (finger) is expected to keep playing at less than 100 percent. … Jacoby Ford (foot) isn’t going to play in Week 11. … A.J. Green (knee) is expected to be fine. … Leonard Hankerson (hip) is done for the year. … Malcom Floyd (hip) still isn’t back in practice. Good news for Vincent Brown. … Jeremy Maclin (sprained shoulder) is in doubt for Sunday. Jason Avant could be looking at a second straight start. … No update on Julio Jones (hamstring) as of Monday. Harry Douglas is the add for desperate owners. … Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice are both dealing with concussions. … Stevie Johnson has a shoulder injury that is worth monitoring. ... The same can be said for Calvin Johnson, who took a big blow from two Bears defenders during garbage time.
INJURY CHART QUICK SLANTS: RUNNING BACKS AND TIGHT ENDS
Darren McFadden (foot) is out of his walking boot, but is still a major question for Week 11. … Willis McGhee (hamstring) is tentatively expected to play Thursday. If so, he’ll be backed up by Lance Ball as Knowshon Moreno (knee) is done for the year. … Frank Gore (ankle, knee) is expected to be fine, but his workload could be limited. … LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) is in doubt for Thursday. Joe McKnight should get his chance as the third-down back. … No new news on Jahvid Best (concussion) was bad news. He doesn’t appear close. … Peyton Hillis (hamstring) has already been ruled out for this week.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Rex Grossman is expected to retain the starting gig in Week 11. … Brandon Lloyd was shadowed by Joe Haden in Week 10. He’ll get better. … Mike Shanahan had no real explanation for his decision to start Ryan Torain Sunday. The Week 11 starter is completely unknown after Roy Helu outplayed Torain once again. … Hines Ward was demoted out of three-wide sets Sunday -- even though Emmanuel Sanders (knee) was inactive.
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DEFENSIVE SPOT STARTS
Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:
1. PATRIOTS vs. Chiefs - New England’s defense is bad and got worse after losing top corner Devin McCourt (shoulder) Sunday. But Tyler Palko is even worse. And although Patriots have been lit up in terms of yardage and points, they do have 12 interceptions (T-8th in NFL) and are at least mediocre in sacks with 20 (19th in NFL).
2. JAGUARS at Browns - Losing CB Rashean Mathis (ACL) hurts, but it’s not like Colt McCoy can go down the field anyway. The Browns are averaging just 10.0 points per game over the last four weeks.
3. COWBOYS at Redskins - Rex Grossman didn’t even know that he’d be starting in Week 10 until Saturday. Mike Shanahan has lost his touch and with this kind of talent, he’s not going to find it. The Redskins haven’t topped 11 points in a game since Week 7.