Every Sunday we’re featuring the Sunday Six Pack that covers the day’s biggest story lines. We follow this up each and every Monday with The Monday Morning Hangover, which looks back on those stories and covers what we learned. These back-to-back articles are sure to get you primed, pumped and informed throughout the entire season. In addition, reading these articles will ensure you understand the dangers of not paying attention or drinking too much on Sundays.
Can #1) Gronk Smash
Welcome back Rob Gronkowski. He was a sketchy start in his first game back, but he proved that there’s nothing like chemistry between a quarterback and his top target. Gronk finished the day with eight receptions, 114 yards and one yard short of his first touchdown on the season. But his effort wasn’t enough as the Jets stunned the Patriots with an overtime field goal to win the day. Rookie passer Geno Smith managed the offense reasonably well while steering clear of the big mistake, throwing for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also added six rushes for 32 yards and another touchdown. But the today’s story in fantasy is more about the return of Gronkowski who emerged from the healthy and can now be started with confidence from this point forward. As for Tom Brady, he’s still no more than a QB2 until further notice.
Can #2) All By Himself
Tony Gonzalez may have been the focus of this particular can, but it was Harry Douglas that deserves a keg to himself. Kudos to all those fantasy coaches that had the cans to roll the dice with Douglas as a starter. Douglas turned in a career day, hauling in seven receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. We would caution owners to not expect lightning to strike twice next week, but stranger things have occurred. Without Roddy White, Julio Jones and Steven Jackson, Matt Ryan tossed three touchdowns, no interceptions while racking up 273 yards on the day. Maybe he wasn’t all by himself after all.
Can #3) Full Nelson
He didn’t put up monster yardage numbers, but fantasy coaches willing to start Jordy Nelson were rewarded with at least a touchdown on somewhat meager production, five receptions for 42 yards. Jarrett Boykin filling in for the injured James Jones pulled down eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, providing for a decent flex play if he was started. The woes continue in Green Bay as it appears that Jermichael Finley may have suffered yet another concussion. If that is the case, he may be out for a more lengthy period of time as this will be his second one in three weeks. Regardless of who is in at receiver, quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to post somewhat impressive numbers given the current injury conditions, finishing this week’s tilt with 240 yards and two touchdowns. He’s not the clear QB1 that he has been in previous years, but he’s good enough to start each week.
Can #4) Case Closed
Houston, maybe there isn’t a problem? Case Keenum actually looked the part against a touch Kansas City defense, throwing for 271 yards on 15/25 passes with a single touchdown. He did put the ball on the ground late in the fourth quarter on a blind side hit from Derrick Johnson. Keenum didn’t exactly replicate his University of Houston productivity, but there will certainly be a buzz heading into the Texan’s week eight bye. Houston is desperate for any spark at the quarterback position and he’llwill be the odds on favorite, at least from the fans, to retain the starting role when Matt Schaub is 100% healthy. At 2-5, however, Schaub’s run as a starter may not yet be over.
Can #5) Randle in the Wind
About as expected. With little behind him as the starter, Cowboy rookie Joseph Randle had a chance to showcase his talents on Sunday. With word coming out of Big D that there is waning confidence in starter DeMarco Murray, as there should be, Randle did little to stake his claim, running for 65 yards on 19 totes in addition to three receptions for an additional 28 yards. He continues to show a lack of vision, preferring to bounce most runs out to his left but seem to improve as the game wore on. Murray may return in week eight, but should he not, Randle will get another chance against a tougher Detroit front line. He’ll be a low end flex play until he proves otherwise.
Can #6) Thanks for the Luck, Peyton
The game lived up to all the emotion and banter leading up to the contest. Despite the extra motivation given by Jim Irsay the game was competitive throughout and Peyton Manning appeared to be pressing, even if just a bit. Whether due to Manning feeling the pressure of returning “home” or the physical pressure that Colt defenders were applying, it was a game that went the distance. In the end, Andrew Luck’s Colts outlasted Manning’s Broncos by the score of 39-33. Combined, the high flying pair tossed a combined 614 yards and six touchdowns, to only a single interception. If not for yet another unforgivable Ronnie Hillman fumble near the goal line late in the game, we very well could have witnessed one of the more memorable comebacks of the last ten years. Notable take-aways from this game: 1) Both quarterbacks are stellar, representing the past and the future. 2) There is officially no remaining shred of a running back controversy. Hillman cannot hold onto the ball and may even be in danger of being cut while Knowshon Moreno, for all his lack of dynamic, is consistent and dependable. 3) Trent Richardson owners should be very concerned. Donald Brown simply appears to be more versatile, at least until his next injury.