Welcome to this week’s edition of the “3M Report” – a weekly look back at the mayhem, magic and mishaps from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players who caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. Let’s take a look at week number four of the NFL season.
I LOVE early morning football when the NFL plays in London. I must say after watching the first half of the game in Wembley stadium on Sunday, the NFL must be preparing the international audience for an expansion team. The Jets dominated the first half with a balance of vertical passing and the violent running of Chris Ivory. The second half seemed rather boring matching what would likely be a slow soccer match between Sunderland and Newcastle in the English premier league. Both teams lulling the audience to sleep with poor offense, but ultimately the NFL is the better football, in my opinion.
Mike Tannenbaum, V.P. of football operations for the Miami Dolphins, wins the award for the worst two weeks. Tannenbaum’s Dolphins lost to Rex Ryan two weeks ago, a man worked for him in New York. This week, he loses to the Jets, who fired him in 2012. Now, Tannenbaum becomes part of the decision making process in Joe Philbin’s future as the Head Coach heading into the Dolphins bye week. Philbin has underperformed with a team many thought would contend for the AFC East title and are off to a 1-3 start. Football is a cutthroat business, but hopefully Philbin will land on his feet if he is cut loose.
The early season Kevin Ogletree award goes to Carlos Hyde. This award is set for any player who dominated the first week of the season and has been silent ever since. Hyde’s first week stats of 26 attempts for 168 yards and two touchdowns has been followed by an average of 12 attempts for 38 yards and zero touchdowns over the last three weeks. At this point, it is almost throwing darts to determine when to play him. In week five, the Niners face the Giants, who have the second rated rushing defense in the league – that should help fantasy owners decide.
[inlinead]It is amazing what the Kansas City Chiefs have found in Jeremy Maclin. After a slow start to the season, it appears Alex Smith has developed some chemistry with the Chiefs’ free agent acquisition. Maclin has posted double digit targets back-to-back weeks with 140+ yards receiving. If Smith can prove to defenses he can find a wide receiver, this could be positive for Jamaal Charles as well as Travis Kelce in the passing game.
Todd Gurley seemed hesitant early in the Rams game today. He finished the first half with two yards on three carries. The second half was the Todd Gurley who dynasty owners were hoping for. He looked explosive, with great vision and looked comfortable once he got into his rhythm, finishing the second half with 148 yards on 16 carries. Also note Gurley did this against the Arizona Cardinals’ rushing defense. There appears to be great things ahead for the young back out of Georgia and the fantasy owners who drafted him.
The Panthers have to be excited sitting at 4-0 and heading into the bye week. Josh Norman followed up his NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors by picking off Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. As a fan, it’s great to see a player like Norman having fun playing the game he loves. His celebration of riding a horse makes me wish we could bring back some touchdown celebrations.
The Denver Broncos defense just smothers quarterbacks. With Peyton Manning playing uncharacteristically sloppy, the Broncos will need to play tough defense to get deep in the playoffs.
The Vikings may have found a diamond in the draft in the fifth round. Stefon Diggs had six catches for 86 yards in his debut as a wide receiver. Last season, it was Teddy Bridgewater to Jarius Wright. It appears Diggs is assuming the same role in the offense. If he is available on your waiver wire, I would encourage you to pick him up as a bye week fill-in the rest of the way considering the Vikings have a week five bye coming up.
Bridgewater is under fire for his lack of big passing numbers in the first few weeks of the season. He put his team in position to win against a great Denver defense on Sunday. The man is very poised, but unfortunately there are not fantasy points awarded for poise.
It appears the Bills offense can only support one pass catcher. With Sammy Watkins out on Sunday, Charles Clay appears to be the go-to target. Clay was paid big money in the off-season and Tyrod Taylor loves to target him. Nine catches for 111 yards and a called back touchdown that would have tied the game kept him from having a bigger day. Bonehead play of the week goes to Richie Incognito on a chop block that was not necessary and cost the Bills a touchdown that would have tied the game.
My heart goes out to kicker Jason Myers of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Myers missed a kick in regulation, but the Colts called a timeout and he had a second chance. On his second chance, he missed again. In overtime, he missed for a third time that would have given the Jaguars the victory. Eventually, Adam Vinatieri of the Colts kicked one through the uprights for an undeserved Colts victory.
The Jay Cutler to Martellus Bennett connection was alive and well on Sunday. Bennett finished with ten catches for 75 yards and one touchdown. Robbie Gould sealed a victory over the Raiders with a last second field goal for the win.
I find it very interesting that one of the healthiest Dallas Cowboys this season is Darren McFadden. Maybe the curse is rubbing off.
I think the Cowboys may literally turn into America’s team. So many injuries that citizens like me might be rostered next week.
Bill O’Brien and Two-Face walk into a bar. Houston’s quarterback this week is?
Last week there was a lunar eclipse resulting in a blood moon and Doug Martin rushed for over 100 yards. Coincidence?
It appears Antonio Brown owners will have to be patient with Michael Vick. The Steelers leaned heavy on Le’Veon Bell in Vick’s first game back. Hopefully we see the Steelers open it up a bit over the next few weeks. The return of Martavis Bryant adds an additional target this week for Vick.
I am also looking forward to the return of Antonio Gates this week. Injuries to Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd might mean some two tight end sets with Ladarius Green. Green has produced in Gates’ absence and deserves his snaps moving forward.
With minimal touches, another player to keep an eye on is Quinton Patton. He was able to gain 53 yards on two catches. He gave a glimmer of hope to a stagnant Niners offense.
Tavon Austin showed some worth this week and might be creating some chemistry with quarterback Nick Foles. They used him in a variety of ways going for six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He was explosive, but his teammate, Stedman Bailey, won the day with a touchdown “celebration” using the ball as a pillow following a touchdown.
David Johnson continues to grow as a player and showed he can be used in a variety of ways. His rushing stat line of three carries for 18 yards is minimal, but four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown showed he can produce with limited touches.
The Eagles’ Sam Bradford was successful throwing downfield yesterday and DeMarco Murray complained about his lack of touches. The Eagles start the season at 1-3 and sit one game out of a tie for first place in the NFC East. Murray may see some more touches, but he is at 29 carries for 48 yards on the season. It may be some of the playcalling, but Murray has to produce when he touches the ball.
Christine Michael’s first carry as a Cowboy was for -1 yards. He was put into the game as the short yardage back. I don’t think that is what fantasy owners were waiting for.
This concludes week four and my thoughts on the magic, mishaps, and mayhem. Here is to hoping your teams avoided the injury bug and that your week is filled with maximum production and minimal losses.
Good luck in the coming week!