Real Deal (Football) Report: Week 3 Recap

If last week was the story of close games and parity, this week was the story of two dominant teams that absolutely look like the Super Bowl favorites we thought they were.

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report: Week 3 Recap

The defending champion Detroit Lions went up against two undefeated teams in Atlanta and Cincinnati – and obliterated them both.  Detroit scored 290 points behind 41 points from Todd Gurley (Detroit draft pick), 38 points from Brandin Cooks (Detroit draft pick), 22 points from Tyreek Hill (Detroit draft pick), 26 points from Darius Slay (original franchise), 25 from Glover Quin (original franchise), and 19 points from Adoree Jackson (Detroit draft pick).  The Lions would have gone over 300 points had Jackson’s TD return not been called back.  Oh.  And they beat their undefeated opponents by a cool 183 points.

Not to be outdone, the Buffalo Bills dropped a 298.25 outing on New England and Denver, missing the 300 point mark by a single Anthony Brown tackle.  The Bills did it by a well rounded effort – literally 10/20 players scored between 17 and 32 points.  Led by, you guessed it, AJ Mother #($&)#(*$ Green (Trade), and supported by Doug Baldwin (Trade), Devonta Freeman (Trade), Rob Gronkowski (Trade), and Tyrod Taylor (Trade).  I suspect some of the defensive guys were also trades, but I haven’t done the legwork.

The moral of the story is crystal clear, and twofold.

  1. Detroit and Buffalo are insanely good and the clear favorites to meet in the Super Bowl
  2. DON’T trade Detroit draft picks, and DON’T trade Buffalo players.  If you do, you’re a bad person and contributing to the decline of society.

This has been your public service announcement from the competition committee 🙂

Games of the Week:

Atlanta Falcons 239, New Orleans Saints 220: Playoff teams, high scoring, tight games.  The Falcons may have lost an impossible game to Detroit, but they did play exceptionally well and needed it to hold off a game New Orleans team and retain control of the NFC South at 4-1.  The Falcons got an enormous 38 point burst from Chris Thompson, of all people, and a 19 point game from their kicker to overcome rough games from Jay Ajayi and Kelvin Benjamin.  The Saints kept it close via a pair of interceptions from newly acquired Terrance Mitchell, but were undone by a brutal injury to Darren Sproles, a couple of near misses on deep bombs from JJ Nelson, and a strong performance on Monday night from Carson Palmer.

Seattle Seahawks 229, Tennessee Titans 220: This one is simple.  A combined 80 points from Russell Wilson and Sterling Shepherd give the Seahawks the victory by the narrowest of margins over AFC contender Tennessee.  The Titans got a strong (114 point) defensive game, and had to be feeling gratified as Odell Beckham finally broke out (29 points) and recently acquired Case Keenum justified his acquisition costs with 34 points.  The end was brutal, however, as a Giants receiver not named Odell Beckham took a 77 yard score to the house to provide the difference.  That’s a rough situation for a Giants fan who also owns the OTHER Giants receiver.

 

On the Rise:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Every year, we predict the Buccaneers are going to be in the mix.  Every year they struggle out of the gate as Carolina, Atlanta, and New Orleans distance themselves… Wait… what’s that you say?  Not this year?  Not this year.  The Bucs just quietly scored 218 points to knock off divisional rival Carolina by 5 and the upstart Vikings by 25.  Suddenly Tampa Bay is tied with Atlanta at 4-1 and feeling serious confidence in a disruptive Defense that just dropped 155 points in a well balanced effort where no single player scored less than 8 points and Jadeveon Clowney (finally!) went off for 31.  The offense is in rough shape.  But if that defense can keep on playing…

Pittsburgh Steelers: What a difference a week makes in Steel City.  The Steelers finally found their mojo in week 3, and just in time to go 2-0, knock off the scuffling Houston Texans, and move back into their accustomed position in first place.  Same as it ever was.  How did it happen?  Well, Le’Veon Bell finally showed up, Kenny Britt finally caught a pass, and DeForest Buckner finally made a play.  The scary part is that Pittsburgh still only got mediocre games from guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Jarvis Landry.  This thing might be on a steady climb.

New York Jets: My my my.  One week after being competitive and coming away with nothing to show for it, the Jets got back on the horse and delivered the first multi-win week in FRANCHISE HISTORY.  They are now 3-2 and are solidly ensconced in 2nd place in the East.  Yes, their opponents in week 3 have a combined 2-8 record.  Yes, it was literally ALL from Stefon Diggs (46 points) and DeMario Davis (26).  And yes they only scored 172 points.  But 2-0!  J-E-T-S!

Indianapolis Colts: Gotta go one extra here and give a shout out to Indy, who pulled out a 2-0 week with strong wins over both Cleveland and Baltimore.  After a brutal week one offensive performance, the Colts have moved up to a respectable mid-60s offense in both weeks 2 and 3, and investments in guys like Alvin Kamara and Bruce Ellington appear to be paying dividends.  It’s probably too much to ask for Indy to climb back into the mix, but a 2-0 week restores the Colts to the ranks of the respectable.

Honorable Mentions: Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Sliding Down:

Carolina Panthers: What just happened?  The 2-1 Panthers were engaged in a pair of close games with divisional rivals Tampa Bay and New Orleans as the Falcons were getting smashed by Detroit.  This is Carolina.  The result was an inevitable pair of victories which leave them at 4-1, tied for first, and bringing their intimidating moxie to bear against upstart Atlanta.  But something happened.  Instead of a huge push from DeMarcus Lawrence putting them over the top, it fell just short on Monday night, and the Panthers lost both divisional games by 5 and 7 points respectively.  Cam is struggling, the offensive depth isn’t quite there, and the Panthers are suddenly 2-3 and last place.  What is going on?

Houston Texans: Speaking of “what is going on”, the Texans have to feel totally shell-shocked.  A trendy Super Bowl pick at the beginning of the year, the Texans have scuffled to a 1-4 start, obviously suffering from a Super Bowl hangover.  It’s not disaster from any one player, it’s lethargy across the whole roster.  The highest individual performance was 15.5 points in week 3, and no offensive player even reached 15.  Trevor Siemian is hit or miss, Lamar Miller is mostly getting hit, and the big games of old just aren’t coming.  There’s still plenty of time, but with Jacksonville and Tennessee in the last double, Houston needs to get right soon.

The rest of the AFC North: We’ve already talked about Pittsburgh.  While the Steelers were rocketing back up the standings, the rest of the league was… struggling.  Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati went a combined 0-6.  Cincy fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, scoring only 167 points in twin losses to Detroit and Green Bay.  Cleveland also dropped a pair, scoring only 146 in rough losses to Indy (now with an offense!) and Chicago.  And not to be outdone, the to point strong Ravens laid a 119 point egg and got crushed by the Colts.  Mercy.  Three teams who had playoff aspirations from the best division in football just combined to average 144 points a piece.  Blech.  We’ll see if this fixes itself or not.

Dishonorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers (attaway, commish squad!)

 

Week 4 Games of the Week: One more double!

Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills: Atlanta scored 240 points and got a loss against the undefeated juggernauts of the NFC, the Detroit Lions, and a strong win against Divisional rival Atlanta.  Their reward?  A game against the undefeated juggernauts of the AFC, the Buffalo Bills, and a tough game against divisional rival Tampa Bay.  No rest for the weary.  The Falcons do need Julio Jones to go off to a 70 point tune to have a chance in this one.  Buffalo has looked like a different team since week 1, following up a clunky 179 point opener with 264 and 298.  Scary.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The upstarts of the AFC South, both sitting pretty at 4-1.  That’s sort of where the comparison ends, though, as Atlanta has outscored Tampa Bay by 250 points thus far (50 points per game), and has the #2 point total in the league.  Unless Tampa finds its offense real fast (currently 31st in RDFL), Atlanta is going to be alone in first place, even with a potential loss to Buffalo.

New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Here’s why.  The Bucs don’t just get the Falcons, they also get the Giants, who are quietly turning in their own superb season, going 4-1 and turning in a cool #3 in fantasy points scored.  And now they have a Rivers.  This could get bad.

Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders: Don’t look now, but Denver is 3-2, just went over 200 points, and now has a Manning who now has a healthy Odell Beckham Jr.  Initial predictions had Oakland in the driver’s seat in the AFC West, but the Raiders are a Dez Bryant struggle inch on Monday night away from a loss to Washington and a 1-4 record, while the Broncos are at 3-2 and suddenly look pretty competitive.  We shall see.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams: I had to do a double check, but you know who else besides the Jets is 3-2 that is never 3-2?  The LA Rams.  They haven’t played all that well, and lack everything but a quarterback, but they have shots at Seattle and Dallas this week, and a good week could have them at 5-2.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks are sitting at 4-1 with games against Indy and the Rams.  They’d better win both, though, because the Arizona Cardinals are lurking with games against Washington and San Francisco – the league’s only two winless teams.

Good luck this week, everyone!  Enjoy the last double until week 12!

Real Deal (Football) Report: Week #3 Recap

Separation.  The first three weeks of the Real Deal Football season are critical to establish separation and pecking order.  Since they are all double weeks, we’re now nearly halfway through the regular season, and we’ve eliminated some teams from contention already, while other teams are most of the way to a division title.   In some ways, it is a merciful system because teams know early on whether to focus on contending or rebuilding.  In other ways, it is a vicious system because a couple bad weeks early on (always a crapshoot in fantasy sports, particularly with injuries) really can do major damage to an otherwise good team’s shot at contention.

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report: Week #3 Recap

That said, it is only 6 games in, and most teams still have a decent shot to make up some ground in what will now turn in to a long season.  So settle in, assume marathon pace, and enjoy the ride.

Games of the Week: Yes, that’s right, games.  You always get premium content here at the Real Deal Report, and lots of it.  And man did we have some games this week.  Three amazing games, all between good teams with playoff hopes, all where both teams scored over 200 points, and all decided by 7 points or less.  You can’t get better than that!

Cincinnati Bengals 226, Pittsburgh Steelers 219: This could also fall in the “are you freaking kidding me?” category for Pittsburgh.  The Bengals got a stunning 118 points from Andy Dalton (37), Theo Riddick (18), Rishard Matthews (34), and Chris Johnson (29).  And 15 more from some guy named Will Compton who apparently plays linebacker.  I mean, are you freaking kidding me?  And they STILL would have won except that Big Ben Roethlisberger went down early in the game with a sprained MCL and deep bone bruise which will keep him out for 4-8 weeks.  Are you freaking kidding me?  The net result is that the Steelers lose for the first time in something like 10 or 11 weeks and fall a game behind the startlingly lucky Baltimore Ravens in the North.  Man.

Cleveland Browns 217, Oakland Raiders 213: Another significant upset in the AFC and another game where much of the scoring came from very surprising places.  The difference being that in this game, it ALL came from very surprising places.  The upstart Cleveland Browns set a franchise record for points to knock off the Raiders, paced by 26 points from Gary Barnidge, 22 from Marvin Jones, 19 from Karlos Williams and 24 from Nose Tackle Brandon Williams.  Not to be outdone, the Raiders (still missing Eddie Lacy), got 35 points from the inestimable Preston Brown, 25 from Nose Tackle John Jenkins (those nose tackles!) and 34 from James Jones, who nearly combined with James Starks to bring the Raiders all the way back from a massive deficit on Monday night.  In the end, however, Oakland couldn’t overcome key injuries and dud performances from Tyler Eifert (-0.25 points on an overruled touchdown catch) and 0.5 points from Davante Adams, who couldn’t seem to make up his mind about his health.  Oakland deserves to be 6-0.  Instead they are 3-3.  Fantasy football really is brutal sometimes.

New Orleans Saints 206, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 205: This could have been an absolutely horrible week for the Saints, after the Carolina Panthers exploded out of nowhere to hang 295 on them.  A double divisional loss on top of a difficult start could have put the Saints in a major hole.  Instead, they found a way to survive a furious Monday night comeback attempt by Tampa Bay, who posted 45.5 defensive points on Monday night (27 from Jaye Howard!) with a Sam Shields interception of their own.  Like the real life Eagles, they were nudged to victory by a massive Darren Sproles punt return for a TD, and, some might say even better, Jimmy Graham actually got footballs thrown in his general direction.  For the Bucs, it was a missed opportunity, as Torrey Smith, Alfred Morris, Von Miller, Darrelle Revis, and Doug Miller COMBINED for less than ten points.  The Bucs are still in the lead.  But the Saints aren’t dead.  And that has to be scary for both Tampa and Carolina.

Rising Teams:

Kansas City Chiefs: Look, I hate to do this.  But I need ONE week to celebrate.  I mean, my team scored freaking 304 points, I won two games by 140+ points, and vaulted into first place in the division.  It can’t possibly go anywhere but downhill from here.  So I’m going to give the Chiefs props.  38 from Cobb.  32 (and a WR TD!) from Maclin.  22 from Gore.  18 from Jordan Reed, who has stayed healthy for THREE CONSECUTIVE WEEKS.  23 from Everson Griffen.  A combined 31 from Rashean Mathis and Brandon Carr!?!  It was a perfect storm week for the Chiefs, who now have the most points scored in RDFL by a significant margin and a one game lead in their division.  It can’t last.  But damn it feels good!

Carolina Panthers: Speaking of rising teams and perfect storms… I mean, Damn.  This was one hell of an offensive explosion, as the Panthers set the league record for offensive points in a week with 191.  Yep.  One hundred and ninety-one!  It was so ridiculous that 27 from LeGarrette Blount and 21 from Mark Ingram didn’t even seem noteworthy because they get 56 from Steve “I’m 63 years old and somehow STILL better than Dwayne Bowe has EVER been” Smith and 41 from Greg Olsen.  The sad part is that Zach Ertz and Robert Woods combined for only 14 fantasy points when their respective NFL teams scored 65 points.  Can you imagine the score if this had gone off?  Like with KC, this isn’t sustainable.  But also like KC, the Panthers are suddenly at 4-2 with some key divisional notches in their belts.

Indianapolis Colts: It appears I spoke too soon.  Just after I called out the Colts for abysmal early season play and suggested that cold, hard reality was setting in, they go 2-0 within division and rattle off a 218 point week.  The offense still stunk outside of Luck and Edelman, but the defense turned in a nice 137 point performance behind Dwight Lowery (28).  6/11 players posted double figures, and the Colts are back at .500.  They still can’t score.  But they might not need to in a division that suddenly looks wide, wide, wide open.  The problem is that the division has Brandon Weeden throwing it the football.  So even though it might be wide open, you wonder who is going to win it.

Honorable Mention: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions (again), Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens (again), Cleveland Browns

Teams Falling:

Tennessee Titans: They say that one of the difficulties facing young teams is learning how to win.  There’s a stability to veteran, championship caliber squads that younger teams sometimes simply lack.  Exhibit A: The Tennessee Titans.  How do you react to moving into sole possession of first place in the division?  Not by scoring 131 points and getting blitzed by the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts – a combined 3-7 besides these games.   The game was a brutal reminder that this team is still young and inconsistent – there will be days that the rising stars will score 131 on offense alone.  And then there will be days like this.  The division, as we’ve noted, is still winnable.  But these were two games the Titans really could have used.

Green Bay Packers: Ok… Green Bay is in trouble.  This team has scuffled in the past and had the occasional bad week in years past.  But they’ve always bounced back quickly.  After getting blown out by KC and dropping a moderately close game to Dallas, the Packers find themselves at 2-4, 4 games behind the high-flying Lions in the division and two games out of the wildcard race.  Quarterback has been a disaster for Green Bay all year, and DeMarco Murray’s injury situation hasn’t helped at all.  I suspect Green Bay will be a decent team when the injuries get cleaned up – but at this point, it may almost be too late in a tough NFC.

Houston Texans:  At 2-2, with some decent performances on the first two weeks, the Texans were a solid tweener squad.  A pair of wins and a nice week could have vaulted them into contention in the winnable AFC South.  Instead, Houston showed its true colors with a 125 point stink bomb that dropped it to 2-4 and strongly suggests that the Texans are more pretender than contender.  The loss exposed a few of Houston’s fatal flaws (namely a lack of offensive contributors when Hyde and Jameis aren’t contributing) and a lack of depth on the Defensive side.  It could be argued that a great game from Joseph Randle would have helped things had he been in the starting lineup.  But Houston simply doesn’t have enough weapons to compete until Carlos Hyde, Jameis Winston, Donte Moncrief, and others are really ready to step up to the plate – something that looks much more likely to happen next year than this year.

Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers (Roethlisberger), Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos

 

Games of the Week:

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s been a LONG time since Pittsburgh has looked up at anyone in the standings, and it is not a stretch to say that the Steelers have looked like the better team, scoring 60 more points than Baltimore and doing it without Le’Veon Bell for the first two weeks of the year.  But Baltimore has been undeniably good even as it has also been undeniably lucky – and the Ravens catch their rivals without a Quarterback.  This still feels like the Steelers division, but if Baltimore can capitalize and take a 2 game lead with the tiebreaker…

New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills: Ka-boom.  Now this is a game.  The 6-0 Giants vs. the 5-1 Bills.   An in-state rivalry with possible super bowl ramifications.  The G-Men have been one of the best teams in the league so far, but the Bills are coming off a 275 point romp behind 60 points from A. J. Mother. ($)&#*()$#. Green.  Man that guy comes up every week!  He won’t do THAT every week, but with Latavius Murray and Derek Carr playing as well as they have been, they may not need to.  The Giants face QB uncertainty for almost all of their big receivers, with Romo and Roethlisberger out, Luck potentially out, and whoever starts for the Texans not being very good.  Should be an interesting show!

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Back to division rivalries, this should be a good one.  The league leading Buccaneers were 1.5 measly points away from an unblemished perfect record and a two game lead in the division.  Instead, the Panthers, riding high after an insane week, can catch them with a win this week.  The Bucs need more from Josh  McCown to hold off Johnny Football, and also need guys like Alfred Morris to do much more than they’ve been doing.  For their part, the Panthers seek to prove that last week’s explosion wasn’t a fluke – particularly guys like Steve Smith and Mark Ingram

New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: The battle of scuffling powerhouses takes place in the Lone Star state this weekend as struggling Dallas meets struggling New Orleans.  Both teams were expected to contend for a Super Bowl berth this year, and while neither team has been bad… neither team has quite appeared to be that good, either.  This game could revolve around Drew Brees, who is uncertain for this week’s matchup.  The winner will be well-positioned to keep pace in the fight for a playoff berth, while the loser might find itself in some more serious trouble.

Good luck everyone!  And whether you are buying or selling, enjoy the unpredictable marathon that is RDFL!  Who knows?  Maybe your team will make like a superhuman Kenyan and win!

Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 3 Recap

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

Fantasy Football, like the real thing, is game of inches. Did your Linebacker make that last tackle? Or did the refs call holding and negate the play? Was your TE considered a target on that incompletion, or was it considered a throw-away? Was that high ball that bounced off his fingertips a drop, or simply an incompletion?

It’s only a point deduction for a drop. It’s only a point and a half for that tackle. And it’s only a quarter point for that target. So when we are playing 20 guys a week and scoring 150-200 points, does it really matter?

Finish Reading: Real Deal (Football) Report – Week 3 Recap

Ummm… yep. For the case of the most precise score ever, where every single little thing matters, I present to you the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had a brutal week this week, playing two extremely strong opponents – Detroit and New Orleans. Detroit scored exactly 182 points. And New Orleans scored exactly 183 points. Identical. Comes out in the wash. Not even separated by a single stinking linebacker tackle.

"He split their scores in twain!!!"  Nice shot, Pedro Hood!
“He split their scores in twain!!!” Nice shot, Pedro Hood!

So what did Minnesota do?   Bisected them. Scored exactly 182.3. Beat Detroit by THREE-TENTHs of a point and lost to New Orleans by SEVEN-TENTHs. That’s damn near impossible.

And it MATTERS. Minnesota is 2-5. Had they gotten that one, single behind the line of scrimmage reception for zero yards, they would be 3-4 and only one game back in a surprisingly vulnerable NFC North. And had Matthew Stafford thrown for FOUR more yards, the Lions would be 5-2 and alone in first place.

In the AFC, things are even sillier. Baltimore continued its brutal run of luck with a loss to Jacksonville – 154.25 to 153.25. A single addition reception and it’s the Ravens who are 3-4 (and a game out of first place) instead of the Jaguars.

Last week, Tennessee pulled off a win over the Indianapolis Colts by 2.25 points. One more 3 yard completion from Andrew Luck to Reggie Wayne would have won the game for Indy. Instead, the Colts went three and out. Instead of 5-2 and in sole possession of first place, Indy is 4-3 and tied for first, one game ahead of Tennessee, not three.

But perhaps the most ridiculous bout of absurd luck belongs to yours truly. After all my whining last week, my Chiefs pulled out a pair of wins over Oakland and Miami by a COMBINED margin of victory of 1.45 points. Less than a Linebacker tackle COMBINED. With those wins, the Chiefs are 4-3, tied for first place in the West. Without them, they are 2-5, two games behind the rest of the division, and holding on to a top 10 draft pick.

The moral of the story – every target counts. And it’s distinctly possible that when we get to the end of the year, one

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

team will make the playoffs and another miss – because of a game that ended by less than a point.

 

On to your regularly scheduled column:

Game of the Week: Dallas 250 – Philadelphia 225. Our NFC heavyweight match-ups do not disappoint. Two weeks after the Giants and Lions went crazy on each other, the Cowboys and Eagles went head-to-head for AFC East dominance. And boy did the Eagles get up for this one. Despite putting up a zero at QB (RGIII injury) and getting only a 2.5 point dud from LeSean “scores like he tips” McCoy, the Eagles put up a 225 point effort behind 27 from DeSean Jackson, 21 from Kyle Fuller, and a cool 40 from Jeremy Maclin. But it wasn’t enough, as Dallas cruised to a dominating 7-0 record behind Devin “Better than Primetime” Hester, a pick-up which most of us scoffed at in the off-season, but which looks prophetic now.

Nobody's gonna catch the Cowboys.  They're on a mission from God.
Nobody’s gonna catch the Cowboys. They’re on a mission from God.

What more can be said about Dallas’ performance so far? Every week this teams does something incredible. The Cowboys have broken 200 every week (207, 273 and 250), lead the league in points by more than 200, are undefeated in the hardest division in football, and just threw down a 138.5 point offensive explosion where every single offensive starter scored in double digits.

 

 

 

 

Stock Rising:

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

The NFC East: Lest we forget in the face of Dallas’ explosion, the entire NFC East has been pretty darn good so far. The top team in scoring? Dallas. The second team in scoring? New York. The third team in scoring? Philadelphia. Yes, that’s right – the NFC East has the TOP THREE teams in the league in scoring. In fact, the Washington Redskins are no slouches either, ranking #16 in fantasy points coming off a 185 point effort. Yes. The division is so ridiculous that the Redskins are in the top HALF of the league in fantasy points scored, but are just 1-6. Not surprisingly, they have the second most points against (1492). Silly good division.

Atlanta Falcons: Very nice week for the Atlanta Falcons, riding a 46.75 point performance from Julio Jones to put the wood on divisional rival Tampa Bay and drop the Pittsburgh Steelers from the realm of the unbeaten. It wasn’t just a one-man show, either, as Martellus Bennett, Zac Stacy, Byron Maxwell and Nate Irving all kicked in strong performances for the suddenly 5-2 Falcons. Atlanta ranks 7th in the league in Fantasy Points scored, and features the third ranked offense. With a game this week against the Cassell-less, AP-less Vikings, the Falcons should take a 6-2 record into a mammoth showdown with the Giants in week 5.

San Francisco 49ers: How do you win a pair of divisional games including one against your arch-rival, move into a tie for first in your division, and score over 200 points when you zero points from your running back position and your 13.7M off-season summoning scores you only eight points? Simple. Get 50 points from your starting receivers (Alshon Jeffery and Michael Crabtree) and 110 points from your defense, including 31 points from Jets defenders Sheldon Richardson and Antonio Allen on Monday night to beat the Seahawks by 8. San Francisco isn’t going away, folks.

Honorable Mention: St. Louis Rams (win this week and you go to the top of my list!), Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

Stock Falling:

Green Bay Packers: They are up! They are down! They are up again! Nope, they are down again! Who are these guys? Are they Super Bowl contenders able to crush divisional rivals without their star running back? Or are they low perennial low 100s underachievers who get blown out even at full strength? The Packers went 0-2 in week #1 with a league low 131 score, 3-0 in week #2 with a league high 275 score, and 0-2 in week #3 with a league low 118 score. Yes, that’s right. The Packers were the WORST team in the league in week #1, the BEST team in the league in week #2, and the WORST team in the league in week #3. What gives? What we do know is that this Jekyll and Hyde squad will have some good days and some bad days – and that’s worse than what was hoped at the beginning of the year.

Chicago Bears: Another NFC Central team with a rough week, the Bears dropped two games behind an offense that managed only 50 points during the week. This is a team with serious depth concerns, as four slots on the offense combined for less than 7 total points. The saving grace for Howard Roher’s squad is that they have mostly stunk against non-conference opponents, going 2-1 against the division and 0-4 against everybody else. Only two games out of first and with Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler not yet having put it all together in the same week, the Bears remain in striking distance. But unless the role players on the team can provide more support for the stars, it may not matter.

Baltimore Ravens: Ooof. If anyone should be furious and bitter at the Fantasy gods at this point, it is the Baltimore

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

Ravens. After a 2-0 first week, the Ravens have lost five consecutive games – ALL by less than 20 points and three to divisional rivals. Sometimes, it just seems like the universe is an asshat. This week, Jeremy Kerley proved his worth with a 25 point outing, only to have it squandered as Joe Flacco, Keenan Allen, Joique Bell and Mychal Rivera turned in sub-par outings. And to add insult to injury, Dennis Pitta returned to the IR for the second time in two years, joining Ray Rice in the “guys who should have been studs but won’t play this year” category. This Ravens team should play better as the year progresses, and bounced back from a similar record last year to win the division – but definitely face an uphill climb.

Dishonorable Mention: Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers

New England Patriots of the Week: The New England Patriots!

The New England Patriots of the week are the New England Patriots, narrowly beating out the other competitors, the New England Patriots, the New England Patriots, and the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots had a rough week, losing 2 games by less than ten points. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scored only 16 points for the New England Patriots, while New England Patriots receiver Danny Amendola was only targeted once. The New England Patriots find themselves at 2-5 after the multi-weeks, facing a difficult climb. However, the New England Patriots are the most New England-y, Patriotic team in the league, and if anybody can climb out of the hole, it would be these awesome New England Patriots!

 

The New England Patriots!
The New England Patriots!

Week #4 Games of the Week:

Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints – The Best Team of This Year vs. the Best Team of Last Year. Can the Cowboys keep up their run of dominance (or, put another way, can they stay healthy?). Can the Saints recover their dominant swagger? This could very easily be an NFC Title Game Preview.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers – The Eagles are the mystery team of the year – they lose RGIII to the IR and just keep winning. LeSean McCoy provides no production – and they just keep winning. This team has proven itself impressively resilient. As has San Francisco, tied for first in the West. This game isn’t about dominance so much as it’s about toughness. The winner of this game may not be the best team in the conference – but it will not be a team anybody wants to face.

New England Patriots vs. that other team that is NOT the New England Patriots, but is playing the New England Patriots: The New England Patriots are playing!

Good luck everybody!