By IAN RILEY
How can we not start with Nick Foles? After completing 22-of-28 passes for 406 yards and seven touchdowns it’s all anyone is going to be talking about. He threw a touchdown pass on 25 percent of his chances for crying out loud. He led the Eagles to 49 points, which happened to be three more than they scored over their last three games combined.
Nick Foles joined some elite company with his seven touchdown game. Photo Credit: Matthew Straubmuller
While Foles deserves a bunch of credit for the big game, we need to put some things into perspective. Two touchdowns were the direct result of defenders falling down. Oakland allowed 13.9 yards per pass attempt and 18.5 per completion. Seven completions were for 20 yards or more with the longest going for a 63-yard score to Riley Cooper.
Foles’ brilliant game had plenty to do with Oakland’s complete ineptitude. Remember, this is the same guy who may have had the worst performance of any quarterback this season during Week 7 against Dallas. This game doesn’t vault him into immediate QB1 status. However, he does need to be picked up in all leagues.
If anything, his performance gives him a pretty long leash on the starting gig over Michael Vick. From a Fantasy perspective this is good news for DeSean Jackson, Cooper and the rest of the Eagles receiving corps. Foles is a more accurate passer, something that has never been Vick’s forte’.
LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, is going to have a bleaker outlook. Vick’s ability to run the read option left gaping holes for McCoy. Foles can run the read option, but he doesn’t command the respect Vick does. You can’t bench McCoy, but you need to start tempering your expectations. In the four games Foles has started he has 75 carries for 261 yards and a score. That’s just 3.5 yards-per-carry on average, folks.
There was a lot to be seen during the Sunday night game between Houston and Indianapolis, so I am just going to rifle off some quick thoughts I had while watching. Case Keenum is here to stay. He moves well in the pocket and is fearless, two qualities I love in a quarterback. Andre Johnson is back to WR1 status. Arian Foster owners should worry, as he just can’t stay out of the trainer’s room. Brandon Tate gave a gutty effort, but I really like the speed rookieDennis Johnson brought to the table. Expect to see more of him if Foster misses time. T.Y. Hilton is the only player capable of helping Andrew Luck remain a QB1. Darrius Heyward-Bey has cement hands and Lavon Brazill just isn’t ready to make an impact. Donald Brown continues to outperform Trent Richardson, but as long as the Colts keep winning games we won’t see any change in usage. Expect the 60-40 split to continue in favor of Richardson, making both backs worth no more than a FLEX option.
The Jason Campbell-led Browns defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens 24-18. In his two starts he has thrown for 555 yards and five touchdowns. This week, he targeted eight different receivers, with Greg Little doing most of the damage hauling in seven of his nine targets for 122 yards. Opposing defenses are starting to lock into Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Considering how awful the Browns running game has been, their passing game is going to need a third option to emerge in order to open up opportunities for Cameron and Gordon. Little has tremendous talent, but he battles mental errors and drops. He also injured his shoulder late in the contest and may be forced to miss some time. After a career game that would be unfortunate. Davone Bess would start in his place but he doesn’t offer the same skill set.
Philip Rivers has had a bounce back season. The reason is the change in offensive philosophy that came with new coach Mike McCoy. The Chargers offensive line isn’t its strong point, so McCoy has Rivers making quick decisions with the football, and that quick hitting style has played toward the strengths of rookie Keenan Allen. This week against Washington, he hauled in eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. It was his third time in four games he’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Allen has gone from late round flier on draft day to a weekly WR2. The kid just has a knack for getting open. Combine that with an ability to make defenders miss and you have a deadly combination. Expect Rivers to continue riding him, and big numbers from both players for the remainder of the season regardless of matchup.
Tampa Bay wasn’t expected to do much of anything during their trip to Seattle. A winless squad facing what is arguably the best team in the NFC on the road had the makings of a blowout. The Bucs jumped out to a 21-point lead doing something St. Louis showed them the previous week. They ran the ball down their throats. Mike James had just 96 career rushing yards on 27 carries prior to this game, but he gashed Seattle for 158 yards on 28 carries. Over their last two games the Seahawks have given up 365 yards rushing to opposing backs. Over their first seven games they gave up just 452 yards. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice and we’ve found ourselves a trend. Rushing yards can be had running between the tackles against them, and you can expect Atlanta to give Steven Jackson plenty of chances against them next week.
Players tend to have a little extra giddy-up in their step when facing their former team. Chris Ivory is our latest example, as he racked up 139 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. With this performance, I think it finally safe to anoint Ivory the Jets clear-cut starter over Bilal Powell. His road grader run style is a perfect match for the type of game plan the Jets want to employ. For Rex Ryan’s crew to succeed they need to establish the run to open up the pass. In doing this they put rookie signal caller Geno Smith in a position to succeed. As long as Ivory remains healthy, expect him to see 20 touches a game provided the Jets don’t fall behind early. Powell should get most of his work in passing situations but won’t be worth starting in Fantasy unless you are desperate. Ivory will be an RB2 from this point forward.
Earlier this week, Titans coach Mike Munchak offered a tidbit of information that I found quite interesting. He offered up on Wednesday that he wanted to get Chris Johnson 20 carries per game going forward, with Shonn Greene getting 15. After hearing that I was positive that Munchak used this to light a fire under Johnson’s ass. He then proceeded to shred St. Louis for a season-best 150 yards on 23 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Guess it is safe to say he got the message. This was his first 100-yard rushing effort since Week 15 of last season against the Jets. Yes, I know the Rams rushing defense isn’t elite. They are exactly what the Titans needed to help build confidence in their running game. Aside from a Week 15 matchup against Arizona, Johnson has a pretty favorable schedule ahead of him. If you own him, hold tight. If you can get your hands on him via trade, I think we’ll see RB1 numbers from here on out.