What Did We Learn - Week 6 fantasysharks.com Oct 16 '12
Michael Turner cannot be started with any confidence. He's still decent enough, and he plays on a high-powered offense, but it seems that the coaching staff has lost faith in his ability to pick up yards and run with power. He carried the ball just 11 times on Sunday, and he was only able to manage 33 yards. I know that people thought the end was near for Turner, but I'm not sure folks thought the dropoff was this close, or this steep. It's clear that this is now Matt Ryan's team, especially with the arsenal of weapons at his disposal, and it looks like Turner will be taking a backseat. Make plans accordingly.
Josh Gordon might be for real. Gordon is still a very young, very raw talent at receiver. He's still learning how to play the position at an NFL level, but he's showing some promise, and Brandon Weeden is looking for him. His three catches on Sunday included a 71-yard touchdown. He's a boom-or-bust guy, with 12 catches for 274 yards and three scores. Fantasy owners would be dependent on big plays for real production, but you can do a lot worse at your WR3 or flex with the injuries and bye weeks.
Shonn Greene might not be dead ... yet. Well, that was interesting. Every time I'm ready to completely write-off Greene, he has a game like this. After several weeks of splitting carries with Bilal Powell, Green exploded on Sunday for 32 carries for 161 yards and three touchdowns. I'm still not sure what to make of Greene, since I've seen him play terribly more often than not. The Indianapolis defense is suspect, so I guess I need to see more. If you own Greene, it's possible you are even more frustrated, thinking that he'll most likely get shutdown big time in his next game at New England.
Josh Freeman showed glimpses of his 2010 form. I didn't think Freeman would be all that good this year. With Greg Schiano bringing a run, run, run-some-more offensive scheme, I figured he had a poor fantasy outlook. To be fair, in the four games prior to Sunday, Freeman had posted less than 200 yards, one touchdown, and an interception per game -- not terrible, but not good either. Against a Kansas City team that looks lost right now, the Buccaneers found their offensive stride, as Freeman put up a 328-yard, three-touchdown, one-interception performance. I still need to see more, but Freeman has taken the first step towards regaining the trust of fantasy owners.
Despite Michael Vick's issues, he's still worth the start. If you watched or listened to any show dealing with the NFL, you probably heard about how bad Vick has been. As a Philadelphia Eagles' fan, I can assure you that he has, in fact, been bad. Very bad. He makes poor decisions. He doesn't protect the football. He takes terrible sacks. But even when playing poorly, as he did on Sunday against Detroit, he is still ridiculously productive. He threw for 311 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Add to that the nine rushes for 59 yards, and you've got a huge day for your quarterback. It's not going to be pretty, but if he's on your team, you're most likely already invested. Start him, and go to a movie. The numbers at the end of the day will be good. Just don't watch.
DeMarco Murray is a roller coaster ride. It seems like every time I'm frustrated by him, he does something incredible. And vice versa. Murray finally got going in the first half of Dallas' Week 6 matchup with Baltimore. He ran 13 times for 90 yards in the first half, as the Cowboys showed an offensive balance that had been lacking this season. However, in a sad turn of events, he sprained his foot towards the end of the first half. Murray now finds himself doubtful for a Week 7 tilt with Carolina, which would have been a juicy matchup. Instead, it will most likely be Felix Jones getting the start. I know. Gross.
William Powell is a flex consideration going forward. Leading up to Week 6, it was a poorly kept secret that La'Rod Stephens-Howling would "start" that game, but Powell would most likely carry the load. As expected, Powell ended up making the biggest impact in the Arizona backfield. He started slowly, but eventually finished with 13 carries for 70 yards. The fact remains that Stephens-Howling is too small a back to handle the load for an extended period of time, so he'll continue in his role as a third down, change-of-pace back. It will be Powell getting the bulk of the carries going forward.
Alex Smith fell back to Earth ... hard. He almost had me. Through the first five games, Smith had thrown for 1,087 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception. On Sunday, he threw for 200 yards, but no touchdowns and three interceptions. To pile on, the interceptions were all really bad. He misread coverages, threw directly to defenders, and couldn't get anything started for the San Francisco offense. He'll have to shake the poor outing in a hurry, as San Francisco hosts Seattle on Thursday night. It'll be interesting to see how he responds, but I'm not starting him anytime soon.
Robert Griffin III seems perfectly healthy. I figured there was no way the Washington Redskins would start Griffin III in Week 6. After suffering a mild concussion in Week 5, I assumed the organization and the coaching staff would protect their investment and sit him down. Instead, they started their prized rookie. All Griffin did was throw for 182 yards with a score and an interception. Nothing special, right? But he also ran the ball 13 times for an astonishing 138 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown run that may have been one of the most impressive runs ever made by someone not named Barry Sanders. And he had a second rushing touchdown as well. It's clear that Griffin felt no aftereffects of the concussion, and he'll look to continue the torrid start to his career against a very tough New York Giants defense.
Aaron Rodgers is finding his 2011 regular season form. Just in case anyone had forgotten, Rodgers is still pretty awesome. On Sunday night against a Houston defense that had, until Week 6, been incredible, Rodgers put up one of the great performances of the season, throwing for 338 yards and six touchdowns. He hit Jordy Nelson for a trio of scores, James Jones for two more, and backup tight end Tom Crabtree for another. He was fairly relaxed in the pocket, making all the throws we've seen him make before. He now has 1,637 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and just four interceptions through six games. This may be the game that gets he and the Packers offense on track this year. Rodgers gets St. Louis in Week 7.
Good luck in Week 7.
Drew Magyar is a fantasysharks.com staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. "What Did We Learn" will be posted each Tuesday morning during the season, and "Rock and a Hard Place" will be posted each Friday morning.