1. Ray Rice is still alive?
I’d long since given up on the Ray Ray. His 2.5 yards per carry, abysmal offensive line, and inability to salvage anything in the passing game had me selling him for 50 cents on the dollar, and responding with a resounding “LMAO” when anyone tried to message me about their 1st round running back for sale.
But in the rain soaked, weather-beaten turf of Soldier Field–amidst 40mph winds and a lengthy delay–Rice put on a show, looking like the 2011, springy and explosive version of himself. Rice finished with 131 yards on the ground (his first 100+ rushing performance of the season), found the endzone, and even added three receptions.
So it’s worth it to wonder…is he back?
The short answer?
Rice had a nice game in Week 11–there’s no denying that–but he was facing a Chicago Bears defense whose injuries have forced them to field a practice squad lineup and 47 yards came from an opening drive run where several Bears defenders slipped creating a monster truck-sized hole for Rice to run through.
Rice’s 20+ touches a game are nice enough to give him RB2 value, but if someone was willing to trade me a top 15 WR for him?
I’d take that in a heartbeat.
2. Avoid WR’s matched-up against Joe Haden
You want to talk about white on rice? You want to talk about someone who deserves an “Island?”
Meet Joe Haden.
A.J. Green has been torturing cornerback after cornerback over the last five weeks, posting 100+ yard performances in each game and securing three touchdowns. He’s one of the most talented and explosive WR in the NFL.
But in the dark shadow of Haden’s coverage?
A measly two receptions for seven yards.
Andy Dalton completed two passes to A.J. Green on Sunday, but guess who he completed two more to, with a touchdown to boot?
I’m not saying bench your WR1, but if he’s got a meeting with a shutdown corner like this on tap, it might be time to look at some different options if you have the resources.
Good games will be scarce.
3. Rashad Jennings isn’t going away anytime soon
Jennings has been tantalizing fantasy owners for the past few years, biding his time as Maurice Jones-Drew’s backup in Jacksonville, drawing rave reviews from his coaches, and breaking off impressive runs with limited work. But in the tail-end of 2012 when MJD went down with a foot injury, Jennings was handed the reins, picked up in just about every fantasy league, and somewhat predictably flopped.
Now that he’s been left for dead, Jennings has taken over for Darren “the chronic hamstring pull” McFadden in Oakland and flourished to the tune of 431 total yards, two touchdowns, and 5.9YPC, looking every bit of the back fantasy owners hoped he’d be in Jacksonville.
Even though McFadden is expected (and I use that term loosely) to return in Week 12, head coach Dennis Allen implied that Jennings is going to get touches anyway. With that in mind, I see no reason why Jennings can’t retain RB2 value the rest of the way.
4. It’s finally time to sell on Knoshown Moreno
Moreno has been spectacular this season, rising from the third spot on the depth chart to be a top 10 RB in 2013. He is a plodder, with inferior burst and lateral quickness to Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, but he’s made up for it with hard-running, holding on to the ball, and excelling in the passing game.
But lately, there has been signs of a changing of the guard. Ball has been averaging close to ten touches over the last couples of weeks, and Moreno has been ceding most of the goal-line work to the rookie tailback, including two touchdowns for Ball on Sunday night.
Moreno is still a 20+ touch guy, tough to find this time of year, but if someone offers me a top 20 player for him I’m hitting the accept button.
5. The Falcons offense is a mess
Crazy to think losing Julio Jones would have this type of effect. Matt Ryan looks lost, Roddy White looks slow, Steven Jackson is running into retirement, and Tony Gonzalez isn’t getting an inch of separation. The Falcons 2013 Fantasy MVP? Sadly, it’s Harry Douglas, the garbage-time master.
At 2-8, I think it’s time to pull the plug. On the entire Falcons team.
And their fantasy expectations for that matter.