Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 fantasy recap, week 12

On Monday the NFL meted out its punishment against Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson for their violent fistfight during the final minutes of Sunday's contest (both men were ejected from the game). The verdict? A $25,000 fine and no suspension. A week earlier Raiders DE Richard Seymour sucker punched Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and drew an ejection and a $25,000 fine, but no suspension.

Here's a list of more dangerous and detrimental offenses in recent years that drew larger punishments than open, WWE-style fighting on the football field:

** February 2007: Bears LB Brian Urlacher fined $100,000 for wearing a VitaminWater hat during a media session (they're not an official NFL sponsor).
** November 2010: Eagles CB Asante Samuel fined $40,000 for making a hard tackle on a wideout who caught a pass.
** December 2009: Bengals WR Chad Johnson fined $30,000 for wearing a sombrero on the sidelines after scoring a touchdown.
** September 2010: Roethlisberger suspended for five games for being accused -- but not charged or convicted of -- an off-field crime.
** August 2010: Buccaneers CB Aquib Talib suspended for one game for punching a cab driver in an off-field incident.
** November 2010: Jets LB Bart Scott fined $30,000 for not buckling his chin strap properly.

So, remember, punching other players is OK. Just make sure you do it on national TV, and you're wearing the right sponsors' gear when you do it.

QB: Tom Brady, 37.74 pts – sitting on my bench
RB: Peyton Hillis, 41.30 pts – started by NewMike
WR: Dwayne Bowe, 42.33 pts – started by ChampMike
TE: Jacob Tamme, 17.27 pts – started by Dad
K: Nate Kaeding, 20.00 pts – sitting on the wire
DEF: New York Jets, 27.00 pts – sitting on my bench
D: Kevin Burnlett, 13.50 pts – started by Joel

For the record, my starters did manage to outscore my bench, but it was close. The 12 guys I started scored 136 pts, and the seven bench spots I had totaled 100 pts. Maybe one of these weeks I’ll get it right….

By the way, Bowe had eight catches for 120 yards and two TDs in the first half of the Chief’s game against Seattle. If you’re ever running a football team and someone puts those numbers up against you, triple-cover him in the second half. Quadruple-cover him. Put everyone on the defense in front of that one guy. Let everyone else beat you, but make sure you at least figure out how to cover that one guy.

Seattle didn’t do that, and Bowe had five more catches for 50 yards and a TD in the second half. He accounted for more than half of his team’s catches and 72 percent of the Chief’s receiving yards in the game. Take the hint already, guys.

"AFC players" edition
3rd Place: Rusty Smith, -0.48 pts -- sitting on the wire
2nd Place: Marcel Reece, -0.93 pts -- sitting on the wire
1st Place: Andre Caldwell, -2.00 pts -- sitting on the wire

Rusty Smith, who is the Titans' starting QB now and not a little-known plumber's tool, threw three picks and no TDs in Sunday's loss to the Texans, giving him a QB rating on the day of 26.7 (also known as "worse than you had" on Sunday). And yet two guys were still even worse than him.

By the way, on the season the worst fantasy player is still Bears QB Todd Collins, who accumulated -7.28 pts in two appearances this season.

A quick look at this weekend's heartbreaking losses, with analysis of which fans should feel the worst today:

** Maryland Racial Slurs (lost 17-13 to the Vikings)
Game: The Racial Slurs trailed for all of the second half, but appeared to take the lead on a 77-yard punt return TD in the fourth quarter ... only to see it called back on an illegal block.
Analysis: Meh. At 5-6, the Washington-ish squad is only slightly better than the 4-7 Vikings. It barely even counts as an upset.

** Dallas Cowboys (lost 30-27 to the Saints)
Game: The boys rallied from a 17-point first quarter deficit to grab a lead in the fourth, only to give up the game-losing TD with under two minutes in the game and miss a 58-yard FG in the final seconds to seal the defeat.
Analysis: Depressing. But the playoff-bound Saints were heavily favored in the game, and the 3-8 Cowboys should be used to this by now.

** Buffalo Bills (lost 19-16 to the Steelers)
Game: The Bills sent the game into overtime with a last-second FG, and had their star wideout open in the end zone in the extra period. But he dropped the potential game winning score, and Pittsburgh won moments later.
Analysis: Mind-numbing. The Bills could have used a win over one of the league's top teams as a inspiration point for next year. Now, they have to re-teach their WRs how to catch.

** Carolina Panthers (24-23 loss to the Browns)
Game: Carolina trailed nearly the whole game until the fourth, when they took the lead on a late FG. The Browns responded with a FG of their own to retake the lead, but in the waning seconds the Panthers drove down to the 25-yard line ... only to bounce the game-winning FG off an upright.
Analysis: Suicidal. The Browns are a terrible team, but it take a special kind of terrible to match Carolina's 1-10 record.

Last Wednesday, a reporter asked Titans RB Chris Johnson how important it was to defend his rushing title this season (going into the weekend, he trailed Texans RB Arian Foster by about 100 yards). His response?

"It's very important to me. That's one of my goals. I can't worry about what he's doing. I just go to keep worrying about myself and hopefully at the end I'll be the leader. At the end of the day, I just worry about my job and just continue to put up numbers myself."

Two issues with that:

1 -- If it's one of your goals to be the top rusher in the league, maybe you should worry about what the other guys are doing. That's kind of the point.

2 -- If the rushing title is very important to you, maybe you should do better than seven yards on five carries. Foster, who was playing against Johnson's Titans, picked up 143 yards.

The San Francisco 49ers lost Pro-Bowl RB Frank Gore on Monday night, but their running game didn't miss a beat. That's thanks to a 23-carry, 136-yard performance by long-lost Eagles RB Brian Westbrook, who said afterwards he knew he still had some great football left to play.

Here are a few other unlikely comebacks by former birds you could see in coming weeks:

** Trailing by 10 late in the fourth, the Vikings steal a remarkable victory thanks to a pair of TD receptions by sixth-string WR Hank Baskett.
** Rams rookie QB goes down with a leg injury early in the first half, but the team rallies for a 20-point win behind a 300-yard passing day by QB A.J. Feeley.
** In a key match-up with division rival Pittsburgh, the Cleveland Browns score a 27-19 upset victory on a last-minute 98-yard interception TD by CB Sheldon Brown.
** Repeating his greatness from his Philadelphia days, WR Terrell Owens collects 120 yards receiving and two TDs ... while his Bengals lose again and remain in last place.

The Eagles this Thursday start a rare two-week set against the same state, squaring off against the Texans this week and the Cowboys the next. I usually use this space to expose the evil of the Dallas crew, but I wondered if Houston's relative proximity to that pit of wickedness has any effect on their souls. The result?

The Lone Star State's Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys
** Lousy Texas has two bad clans, no talent, no heart. Tossed.

With a combined record of 8-14 this year, that's hard to argue against.

Click on the image below to make it bigger.

Big weeks by the two Mikes again vault them forward, and Bob has finally been unseated as the leader of the pack. But, with five weeks left and fewer than 200 pts between fifth and first, don't count anyone out yet.
Except Anthony. Feel free to count him out.

** Dad and I split our picks this week, thanks to Colts QB Peyton Manning's inexplicable meltdown against the Chargers Sunday night. Let that be a lesson to all of you -- never rely on a Manning for anything.

** The Eagles play on Thursday night this week and Sunday night next week. In other news, I'm already tired from staying up too late to watch those games.
** The big stories this week: WR Andre Johnson gets in a fight, RB Chris Johnson lays an egg, WR Steve Johnson drops the game-winning pass for the Bills, NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wins his fifth championship in a row. Next week maybe we'll move on to a few Joneses.

No comments: