Matt Ryan

NFL Observations, Including the Randy Moss-less Patriots and Moss-full Brett Favre

Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead photo credit: Icon SMI

By: Andrew Thell

– If you play in Yahoo! and you’re in need of a WR or flex play, you could do a lot worse than Danny Woodhead. He’s almost surely owned in your league, but after last week’s relatively quiet game you might still be able to get him at a discount. Woodhead looked very good in the Chargers game, shifty and quick, and it appears he’s going to be heavily involved in both the passing and running game going forward; he even got several carries between the tackles on Sunday. There aren’t many guys who will be getting 8+ carries a game that you can drop into a WR slot.

– Now is the time to invest in Atlanta Falcons skill players. Heading into their bye a lot of teams might be desperate to fill out their starting lineup, and after the bye Atlanta only faces one scary defense for the rest of the fantasy season (Baltimore in Week 10). Matt Ryan looks like he’s ready to be a reliable option from here on out and Tony Gonzalez is a definite buy-low. You’re not going to be able to get Roddy White on the cheap after that dominant performance, but for my money there’s not a WR in fantasy football I’d rather have right now. Matt Ryan is locked onto him every week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 102.0 Quarterback Rating. His four TDs last week were named White Horse, Red Horse, Black Horse and Pale Horse.

– I’m buying Robert Meachem where I can. He might be the most talented receiver on that team, and he’s definitely their best vertical threat. The Saints offense is better when Meachem is on the field and active, stretching defenses out, and they’re starting acknowledge that in his usage. The matchup in Pittsburgh is rough this week, but the schedule clears up after that.

– It’s amazing how quickly the Kansas City Chiefs has been rebuilt through the draft. We’re seeing the Scott Pioli influence taking effect, and it’s impressive. They’re a solid team now, and just a QB away from really competing.

– As predicted in this space two weeks ago, Tom Brady has had a rough go of it sans Randy Moss. You really can’t overstate the impact he had on the Patriots’ passing game, taking the opposing team’s best corner and one safety out of the picture on every play even when he wasn’t catching passes. The last two weeks Brady has put up 5.9 yards-per-attempt (YPA) with 2 INTs and just 2 TDs despite 76 pass attempts. The year before Moss came to town Brady posted a modest 6.8 YPA, and the last two healthy seasons with Moss Brady had impressive 7.8 and 8.3 YPAs. Brady will still be useful though, he’s a solid QB on a passing team, and he may have even gone from a sell-high to a buy-low.

Wes Welker, on the other hand, I want nothing to do with. In three years playing with Moss Welker caught 112, 111 and 123 passes, but now he’s drawing opposing team’s top corners and has caught just 11 passes for 78 yards combined the last two weeks. Welker’s never been a big red-zone target (3 TDs last year, 4 the year before), so if he’s not catching a huge volume of passes he’s not doing much for your fantasy bottom line.

The NFC is terrible. Just terrible. You could argue the top six teams in the NFL all reside in the AFC (Jets, Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Titans, and Colts in no particular order). The only two teams in the NFC I would actually characterize as “good” right now are Giants and Falcons. No team in the NFC West deserves to be in the playoffs.

– If the NFL is going to try and showcase their product for an overseas audience, why can’t they give them a halfway decent game? I know nobody saw this San Fran implosion coming, but 49ers versus Broncos was never what you would call a marquee matchup.

– I never though I would say this, but it might be time to give Tarvaris Jackson another shot. As bad as he looked at times during his limited career as a starter, Brett Favre has been worse this season. The Vikings have too much talent to be 2-4 and on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Brian Burke over at Advanced NFL Stats sums up just how bad No. 4 has been:

“This season is different. Injuries and distractions appear to have taken their toll. Through week 7, Favre ranks a very distant last in total WPA, with -1.89, nearly three times worse than the next worst passer. That’s -0.32 WPA per game. He’s behind Trent Edwards, Jay Cutler, Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, Max Hall–everyone.

It’s not just bad timing or bad luck in high leverage situations, either. Over his six games, he’s responsible for -20 EPA, which is basically net point (dis)advantage. He’s 5th worst in Success Rate (SR) among qualified QBs, meaning he’s consistently bad, and not just a victim of a handful of high impact plays.”

NFL Observations, Including the Randy Moss-less Patriots and Moss-full Brett Favre
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