We’re with you every Sunday to provide the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest storylines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this.
Can #1) Forceful Felix?
Felix Jones was only able to muster 43 yards on 14 totes on Sunday, but did manage to punch one in from the two yard line to salvage the day for fantasy coaches that started him. He also added another 12 yards on two receptions. Far from a dominating performance for Jones and with the return of DeMarco Murray expected soon, Jones’ owners will have to send him back to the bench to take up a valuable roster spot once again. Even while Murray is out with an injury, Jones has proven to be inconsistent and anything but dynamic, but seemingly has just enough value to keep him rostered.
Can #2) Foles Gold
Oops. Just when you thought it was safe to be an Eagles fan again, Nick Foles lays an egg and generates serious doubt about the future. But let’s be fair here. LeSean McCoy left early with what appears to be a concussion-related injury, the offensive line is just about anything other than stout, and Jeremy Maclin caught zero balls on three targets. While Foles isn’t to be blamed for much of what went wrong on Sunday, he certainly didn’t put the team on his shoulders and will them to a win. Word is that Michael Vick could be ready to return in week 12, but at 3-7, should he? One has to wonder whether Andy Reid will even make it to the end of the year. The Eagles are likely one loss away from playoff elimination and now is as good a time as any to turn their eyes to the future. Foles will likely be no better than a QB3 on any fantasy roster as a NFL starter in 2012, but to say that he doesn’t havvalue over a longer time frame would be short-sighted. Let’s see if the Foles era has officially begun before making any other assessments here.
Can #3) Black Hole Shootout
New Orleans and Oakland did manage to put up 55 points but, in the end, it wasn’t close as the Saints returned to a .500 (5-5) record by besting the Raiders by the score of 38-17. Darren Sproles didn’t return to the Saints’ lineup as originally believed but the run game still managed to produce 153 yards and a score. Lance Moore caught two touchdowns and the scoring machine that is Jimmy Graham hauled in another touchdown, while also notching six reception for 29 yards. On the Raiders side of the ball, Marcel Reece continues to be surprisingly productive, ending the contest with 103 rushing yards on 19 carries and adding 90 receiving yards on four receptions. After being listed as questionable for the game, Darius Heyward-Bay managed 69 yards on four receptions. Continuing his productive ways, tight end Brandon Myers caught six balls for 55 yards and another touchdown. While there are six games remaining, this game is a story of two teams going in opposite directions. The Saints look to be in the hunt for a playoff spot while the Raiders are in the hunt for additional play-makers.
Can #4) You Feelin’ Lucky, Tom?
True to our thoughts, neither Donald Brown or Vick Ballard were overly material on Sunday, at least in fantasy points. Brown totaled 23 combined yards while Ballard lead led all runners with 79 combined yards. But the real story here was the old rivalry between the Patriots and the once Manning-led Colts. Now under center is rookie phenom Andrew Luck and he didn’t disappoint, at least fantasy-wise, by throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns. He did line the Patriots’ defensive pockets by tossing three picks. In the other huddle, Tom Brady was Tom Brady by throwing for 331 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. You have to believe Luck was standing on the sidelines taking many notes about Tom Terrific. And talk about impact. In his first game as a Patriot, Aqib Talib amassed seven tackles and a 59 yard interception-return for a touchdown. Just what the doctor ordered …. if you/re a Patriot fan. The Colts drop to 6-4 while the Patriots find themselves at relatively comfortable 7-3. But the bigger news is that uber-stud Rob Gronkowski will be down four to six weeks due to a broken forearm.
Can #5) Big Schott
The Rams hosted the struggling Jets on Sunday and, as expected, the Rams’ rushing attack did find some per-carry success, averaging 5.7 ypc. between Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson, but without a touchdown. When the dust settled, the Jets flew home with a 27-13 victory. Mark Sanchez wasn’t overly productive but was efficient on his way to passing for 178 yards and a single touchdown. Now at 4-6, the Jets are on the outside looking in in the playoff race but are still alive. Rams’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer just couldn’t muster enough offense to throw against a motivated Jet club. At least there was no Tebow chant. The runner dejour for the Jets this week is none other than Bilall Powell, who scored twice on 11 carres for 42 yards. Say hello to another bad running back by committee.
Can #6) The Leftwich Drag
Isaac Redman left due to a concussion, Rashard Mendenhall was ineffective and Jonathan Dwyer was the only impressive runner in the backfield. That said, Byron Leftwich did his best Doug Martin impression wit ha 31 yard scamper for a touchdown in the first quarter. Some believe Leftwich is the new Robert Griffin III. Or perhaps that’s just his mother. Either way, it appears as though a Pittsburgh receiving corps. without Big Ben Roethlisberger isn’t dynamic. That’s not a hard assessment to make but I found myself expecting a bit more from the veteran passer, especially against a porous Ravens’ defense. Antonio Brown looks to be out for another week or two and with Cleveland, Baltimore and San Diego on the schedule over the next three weeks, there’s fantasy points to be had with a fully-healed Steelers club if chemistry between the group can be generated until Roethlisberger returns. For Sunday’s performance, Leftwich could only muster 201 passing yards and a single interception while also taking some nasty hits.
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff