Well readers… 9-7 isn’t too terrible. Which is where I should be after the Pack win tonight. This season has just been really unexplainable. I heard it on SportsScenter last night… the differences in teams from week to week is simply incredible. One week after what appeared to be a statement win over Pittsburgh, the Ravens come out and lose to the Seahawks. Two weeks after a HUGE win over Dallas, the Eagles get beat by a Cardnials team with a QB by the name of Skelton… AND even though I did predict the 49ers over the Giants, I think that’s still somewhat of a surprise win for most people. I’m riffing this idea off of the headline story on NFL.com today, which is the surprising fact that all 4 NFC West (or Worst) teams won this past weekend. Of course that’s not all that happened… The Pats took down the surging Jets, The Saints unfortunately beat the Falcons in OT, and Carolina only managed to put up 3 points against the Titans (the same Titans who have given up 16 to Jacksonville, 38 to Pitt, 41 to the Texans and 24 to the Bengals).
As for my Quarterbacks post that I did a few days back, my predictions turned out ok. Tebow and Palmer both went for double digits this week, and both won their respective match-ups. Tebow put up about 100 total yards, and 1 passing and rushing TD against the Chiefs (who, may I remind you, defeated the Chargers on Halloween pretty handily). And Carson threw for about 300 yards, 2 TD’s an a pick. And as a side note, when you look at those numbers and think who had the better fantasy game, you’d surely be thinking Palmer… but that would be incorrect. Tebow got 1 more point than him on both ESPN and Yahoo! Which I think goes to show again, how much value a running QB has, even if he’s not great in real life terms. I also talked about the rookies, Gabbert and Ponder. Gabbert had a pretty pedestrian game this week: 8.5 points on Yahoo!, 6 on ESPN. This though is especially disappointing in a way similar to the Chris Johnson a couple weeks back… look, Indianapolis is BAD. If you have a fantasy player going against Indy, the rule of thumb is START him. But in these two instances, Gabbert and CJ, two questionable guys have proved a lot to me in a loss. If you can’t get it done against the Colts this year, who are you going to get it done against? Ponder is yet to play, finding Green Bay in the game tonight. The general idea is that his numbers should be down against a Defense like that of the Packers… but don’t forget that it was those same Packers who gave the struggling Philip Rivers his best fantasy game of the season. In fact, ESPN has the Packers ranked 28th in the league against opposing QB’s, having only 1 game all season where they held them to less than double digits. I’m not saying Ponder is going to have a break out game, I don’t even think the Vikings are going to win… But like I said before, there is a small bit of value in him during crunch time situations.
Now, that last topic already got into tonight’s game a little bit, but let me finish up with the rest of the players that should be featured tonight. For the Vikings, the only other real fantasy impact player is, of course, Adrian Peterson. AP has always been on that short list of fantasy players where the biggest question about him… is whether you should take him as the first pick in the draft. He’s been a producer week in and week out for years now. Overall, he’s 3rd in ESPN’s RBs but that should change after tonight’s game needing only 15 points to take over the #1 spot. The thing with Peterson, is that he’s a work-horse. He gets those tough yards, and is an incredibly valuable asset to middle of the road QB’s like the Vikings have had the last few seasons. This is great to fantasy owners because it simply means that he gets the ball a lot. For the Packers, what more is there to say about Aaron Rodgers? He’s having an incredible season this year, one of the best I’ve ever seen. I was able to watch him in detail two weeks ago against the Chargers… and some of the throws he was making, were simply incredible. It’s interesting because on Yahoo! Brees is actually beating him for the top spot by 1 point (which will surely be overtaken after tonight) but on ESPN Rodgers is blowing Brees away, and will probably have around a 60 point lead after tonight. One thing I do want to mention about the Packers offense though is something that I think about a few offenses out there today… and that is that they tend to spread the ball around too much for my fantasy taste. Yes, this is great for real world results… but in fantasy, unless you draft Rodgers who is at the helm of all of the plays (or Kicker Mason Crosby who is kicking out of his shoes with all their scoring), the question of who else to take (or start on any given week) is a bit of a difficult one. Greg Jennings is the safest bet, who is going for double digits nearly every week… but their next best receiver, Jordy Nelson,is only averaging 10.5 points with plenty of stinkers to go around. Their best running back, James Starks, is behind Chris Johnson in fantasy points this year. If it weren’t for a 26 point game against the Bears, TE Jermichael Finley would be the epitome of average. And their “lock down defense” is only 8th in the league behind the likes of the Bengals, Texans, and 49ers.
Granted a few of these ranks will go up after getting some points tonight, but there have always been those offense who spread the ball around too much for my liking… The Packers, Saints, Patriots, Chargers, Eagles (and the Bengals, Cowboys, Giants and Jets to lesser degrees) are all good examples for this. And what do these teams have in common (except maybe the Bengals and Jets)? They all have amazing fantasy QBs: Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Rivers, Vick, Romo, and Manning. Why is this? Because they hog all of the teams points. Even though they might get the ball to 7 different receivers in a game, they’re still the ones throwing all of the passes, and other than themselves, it makes it difficult for fantasy owners to figure out who might have a big week in any given game. So with all of that said, I obviously love Aaron Rodgers, and if you have him on one of your fantasy teams this season, then you’re probably loving life right now. But as far as the rest of the Packers go, I’m a bit hesitant to make them weekly starters. Proceed with caution readers.
This has been Sports Stock Radio. I am of course Jake, your Fantasy Sports Broker… and I am picking the Pack tonight over the Vikings.