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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) The Return of Gordon
No. Not that Gordon. Hey, remember that guy who was the PPR WR3 and led the league in receiving yards in only fourteen games with three different starting QBs? Well, he’s back this week if didn’t already know. The Browns are already ranked a fairly respectable fourteenth in the league in passing offense with 244.3 yards per game, especially considering the weapons that Brian Hoyer has had to work with. Now, with the return of stud WR Josh Gordon and a running game that’s gotten going a little bit with Isaiah Crowell at the helm, the Browns get to play a Falcons team that is ranked dead last against the pass and give up an average of 281.2 yards per game through the air. Even if Gordon is on a “pitch count” in this game, he is a must start. His potential is through the roof.
Can #2) The Return to Chicago
Josh McCown and His Band of Renown. In a soft matchup against the Washington Football Team’s “defense,” QB Josh McCown was able to complete 15/23 passes for 288 yards and two TDs. With the accelerated development of rookie WR Mike Evans, now up to the PPR WR12 and three games in a row over 25 PPR points, McCown looks to bring the suddenly lively Buccaneers offense into Soldier Field to show the Bears and Marc Trestman that they shouldn’t have put all of their eggs in Jay Cutler’s apathetic basket. The Bears are ranked just 25th in the league against the pass, giving up an average of 256.4 yards per game. I wouldn’t get too excited about holding Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings to just 158 yards last week. I’d expect something on the higher end of the spectrum between that effort and the 315 yards that Aaron Rodgers hung on Chicago in about three quarters the week before.[inlinead]?
Can #3) Dropping the Mallett
No you’re not! New Texans starting QB Ryan Mallett surprised most people by leading the Texans to a 23-7 win in Cleveland and going 20/30 for 211 yards with two TDs and one INT last week. This week he gets his first home start against an inconsistent Cincinnati Bengals team that managed to hold Drew Brees to 33/41 for 255 yards and only one TD in the Superdome. Which Bengals defense shows up on Sunday is a big question. With Arian Foster missing another practice Friday, it looks like the Alfred Blue show (156 yards on 36 carries) will roll on, even if Foster manages to be active. On the WR front, after averaging 180 targets over the last two years, Andre Johnson is only on pace for 146 this year and has fallen back to the PPR WR27 and has just one TD on the year. While DeAndre Hopkins is on pace for just 115 targets, that would beat the 91 he received last year, and he’s found the end zone four times. It certainly looks a changing of the guard is occurring in the Houston receiving corps. Mallett targeted Johnson nine times and Hopkins eight last week. It will be interesting to see if that holds as Mallett continues to settle in.
Can #4) Mad Peyton Beyond Thunderdome
Dyin’ time’s here! Peyton Manning is going to be hopping mad after getting harassed, picked and held to seven points in St. Louis last week. While the Dolphins defense is ranked second in the league against the pass, giving up just 208 yards per game, that might not help them against the Wrath of Number 18. Emmanuel Sanders is probable and seems to be recovered from his concussion and Julius Thomas looks to be a gametime decision, but has a chance to play. Meanwhile, with Ronnie Hillman still out with a foot injury and Montee Ball reinjuring his groin, expect to see a healthy dose of C.J. Anderson. He’s got the makings of a workhorse back just this all important lead in to the fantasy playoffs. Look for Peyton to rebound in a big way at home.
Can #5) Angry Birds
It’s addicting. Even with Drew Stanton at the helm and a gimpy Larry Fitzgerald, I find it interesting that the Cardinals are a seven point underdog at Seattle this week given how the two teams have played as of late. Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals defense were able to hold Calvin Johnson to five receptions for 59 yards on twelve targets last week. Now they go up against a struggling Seahawks passing game who’s top receiving option is Doug Baldwin. The most interesting matchup to me in this game is Marshawn Lynch, who has rushed for over 100 yards in two straight games, against the Cardinals run defense, which is ranked third in the league, only giving up 80.5 rushing yards per game. Not to mention Russell Wilson, who is averaging 70 rushing yards per game in the last five games. If the Cardinals can hold the Seahawks’ ground attack in check, then betting against Arizona could end up putting you in the red.
Can #6) Rich in Carries
Poor in results And besides, coffee’s for closers. Trent Richardson won’t be getting coffee anytime soon. Averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this year, and the owner of a 3.3 career yards per carry average over 574 carries, Richardson has looked pedestrian at best. His continued hesitancy has continued to drive his owners and Colts fans crazy. Now with Ahmad Bradshaw (and his 4.7 yards per carry average) going on injured reserve with a broken ankle, Richardson looks to have the backfield in the Colts high-octane offense all to himself. While he will get by on volume, the best news is that Bradshaw’s 47 targets over the first 10 games are now available. Whatever deficiencies Richardson has had as a runner, he’s always been an above-average receiving back. With an increased workload, and especially increased targets, Richardson should be a nice high-floor RB2 with a little TD upside, especially against the Jaguars and their 25th ranked rushing defense.[ad5]?