Alf and the End ZoneFriday, November 08, 2013
Fantasy football can be a brutally frustrating game. And I’m not talking about underperforming players, scoring the second-most points when facing the guy who scored the most points or having a running back get hurt in the first quarter. I’m talking about the randomness of the actual game.
Alfred Morris owners are feeling the pain of that variance this season. Morris has played just as well as he did last season –in fact, he’s possibly played even better. The guy breaks tackles at an Adrian Peterson kind of clip, constantly shedding arms and getting downhill. After Monday night’s 26 carries for 139 yards, he’s averaging 5.18 YPC. As a rookie, Morris averaged 4.81 YPC.
The reason Morris owners are frustrated is because he needs to score touchdowns to have big box scores. And this season, he’s lost out on far too many goal-line chances. There was the Roy Helu three-touchdown game in Week 6 when the Redskins happened to find success with their “turbo” package. There was the fluky three-touchdown game from FB Darrel Young last week. And in Thursday’s 34-27 loss at Minnesota, Morris got stuffed at the 1-yard line in the first half and got tackled inside the 5-yard line in the second half.
For the most part, these goal-line chances are completely random. Does a player get tackled at the 1-yard line? Is there a pass interference call in the end zone? In the end, these events even out. Morris, who has five touchdowns so far, is going to get his down the stretch.
REDSKINS at VIKINGS QUICK SLANTS
Subbing for Kyle Rudolph (broken foot), John Carlson showed big with a 7/98/1 line. He’s worth a look as a TE2. … Christian Ponder dislocated his shoulder on a very gutsy TD scramble. Matt Cassel came in and finished out the win. … You could argue that Morris has run better than Adrian Peterson this year, but A-Pete scored twice Thursday night and now has nine rushing touchdowns. He also has 24 catches. … Pierre Garcon might be the most underrated real-life receiver in the league. He makes so many tough grabs and is a monster after the catch. … If you don’t believe Jordan Reed is for real, you’re not watching close enough. He’s like Aaron Hernandez, without all the murder stuff of course. … Leonard Hankerson had another reasonable line (5/61/0), but I’m still not biting. The Z receiver in Shanahan and Son doesn’t have upside. … Robert Griffin III was very sharp for the second straight game. He had three separate receivers drop tough catches in the end zone, but still had his first three-TD game since Week 2.
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NEWS OF THE DAY #1
Stop the presses -- Roddy White is ready to start his season now. Yes, it’s Week 10 and the Falcons are 2-6. Better late than never, right?
White (hamstring, ankle) has reportedly had a different bounce in his step this week. He’s actually practiced on Wednesday and Thursday. He says he’s ready to go Sunday in what will be his first game since Week 5.
It would be unfair for owners to expect a big game out of White in his first game back, especially since he’s facing Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom. Expectations should be tempered for Week 11 as well because he’ll match up with Darrelle Revis. But starting in Week 12, the Falcons get the following four-game schedule: vs. Saints, at Bills, at Packers, vs. Redskins. With Julio Jones on injured reserve, a 100 percent White would be a target monster and a WR2 in those plus matchups. I still think Harry Douglas has enough rapport with Matt Ryan to sustain WR3 value.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Through eight games, Larry Fitzgerald is on pace for 72 catches, 940 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s going to shatter that pace.
For the first time since pulling his hamstring in Week 1, Fitzgerald is not listed on the injury report this week. The bye appears to have done wonders. Now Fitz gets to face the following schedule: vs. Texans, at Jaguars, vs. Colts, at Eagles, vs. Rams, at Titans. I know Carson Palmer’s arm is shot and his offensive line is brutal, but this is as soft of a schedule as it gets.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
Desperate owners that have been hanging onto Doug Martin (shoulder) will finally have some clarity. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs will decide whether to place Martin on IR prior to Monday night’s game against the Dolphins. Indications are that they’re leaning toward ending his season.
Of course, that should have been a no-brainer decision a while ago. Martin is going to need surgery to repair his torn labrum regardless, so getting a jump on rehab now makes sense. The Bucs are 0-8.
Sixth-round rookie Mike James, who has averaged 20.3 touches per game over the last three weeks, is locked and loaded.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: QUARTERBACK AND RUNNING BACK
Ben Tate (ribs) is practicing and Arian Foster (hamstring) is not. Tate makes for a fine RB2 play even though he’s not at 100 percent. … Rashard Mendenhall (toe) will be back Week 10. Look for Andre Ellington to still get more touches. … Terrelle Pryor (knee) is practicing without restriction. Get him going. … Darren McFadden (hamstring) is looking at a multi-week absence. Rashad Jennings is a candidate for 15-20 touches this week and beyond. … Jay Cutler (groin) has been cleared to start Sunday’s game against the Lions. He’s right back on the back-end QB1 radar. … Trent Richardson (ankle) hasn’t practiced yet this week but is still tentatively expected to play Sunday. He’d be a weak RB2 play at less than 100 percent.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: WIDE RECEIVER AND TIGHT END
Marques Colston (knee) practiced on a limited basis again. This could end up as a game-time call, which is trouble given the 8:20pm ET start Sunday. … Jimmy Graham (foot, elbow) got a limited practice in. He appears ready to rock again. … Victor Cruz’s neck issue is not a big deal. He’s a candidate to blow up against the Raiders. … Miles Austin (hamstring) is going to sit through the Week 11 bye. … The Seahawks insist Percy Harvin hasn’t had a setback. But it’s looking more and more like he’ll be out through the Week 12 bye. … Julius Thomas (ankle) practiced on a limited basis again. He needs to be in your lineup.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
The Bengals are saying they are hesitant to increase Giovani Bernard’s role. He’s currently averaging 12.3 touches per game. It’s enough to sustain RB2 value. … Andre Brown (leg) was activated and David Wilson (neck) was placed on injured reserve. Expect Brown to start off behind Peyton Hillis and then become the lead dog here soon. Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) will be third in line if active Sunday. … The Chiefs still have faith in Knile Davis despite his extremely limited work. The rookie remains a fine lottery ticket and handcuff. He’d see tons of volume if Jamaal Charles got hurt. … Free agent Matt Flynn is expected to work out for the Packers at some point soon. That point will likely depend on how Seneca Wallace performs against the Eagles.