December 15, 2017

Send In The Clowns

First of all, let me say that I really enjoyed watching the Raiders last week.  It was one of the rare times that I sat there and watched a Raider game from beginning to end.  To top it off, they really played well and came away with a 24-13 win over the 49ers.  When I was a kid, I was told not to live in the past and look ahead to the future.  Well, after that nice win, I thought the Raiders would go into Arrowhead Stadium and come away with yet another win.  I should be put in front of a firing squad for thinking so optimistically.

The game started out the way a lot of Raiders-Chiefs games start.  It was sort of a feeling out process.  With a little over six minutes to go, punter Marquette King nailed a 57-yard punt that was fielded at the Kansas City 19-yard line by rookie return man De’Anthony Thomas.  He proceeded to run up the left sideline for an 81-yard punt return.  That gave the Chiefs the lead and they never looked back.  Kicker Cairo Santos added a field goal with eight minutes to go in the second quarter and the Chiefs were up 10-0.

The Raiders managed to get on the board right before the end of the first half as Sebastian Janikowksi made a 53-yard field goal.  That made the score 10-3 at halftime.  It was good to see them score, but I was nothing but pissed off.  Prior to that drive, the Raiders had the ball for six other possessions and all of them ended with a punt.   Early in the third quarter, fortune smiled on the Raiders for a few seconds.  Tight end Travis Kelce caught a short pass and fumbled.  The ball was picked out of the air by defensive end C.J. Wilson.  He took it up the right side and it looked like he might make it to the end zone.  Seeing as the offense didn’t know how to score, maybe the defense could show them where the end zone was.  No such luck.  Wilson was dragged down at the Kansas City 15-yard line.  All the offense had to do was gain 15 yards and they could tie the game up.  FIFTEEN FREAKING YARDS!!!!  They ran three plays and gained exactly ZERO yards.  Janikowski made another field goal and the Raiders trailed 10-6.

That was the last time until late in the game that the Raiders would score any points.  What follows is what happened after that field goal…

Knile Davis scored on a 3-yard run.  Santos made the extra point

Travis Kelce caught a 20-yard pass from Alex Smith for a touchdown.  Santos made the extra point.

Knile Davis caught  a 70-yard pass from Alex Smith for a touchdown.  Santos made the extra point.

While the Chiefs were doing all that scoring, the Raiders were fumbling the ball away and punting the ball away.  That 70-yard touchdown by Davis made the score 31-6.  With 34 seconds to go in the game, the Raiders finally found end zone when Derek Carr completed a one-yard pass to James Jones in the end zone.  But it was far too little and far too late.  The Chiefs came away with an easy 31-13 win.  That win improved their record to 8-6 and kept their playoff hopes alive.  The Raiders fell to 2-12 and nobody looked like they gave a damn.

Now, I think I have an answer as to why the Raiders punted on their first six possessions of the game.  It was the play calling of offensive coordinator Greg Olson yet again.  Early in the game, Latavius Murray was running the ball very well and averaging five yards a carry.  If something is working, why do you change it?  This is a question that I ask nearly every game.  All of a sudden, they were calling pass plays and totally abandoned the running game.  The defense was playing relatively well in the first half, but they weren’t getting any help from the offense.  I sincerely do not understand what goes on in the mind of Greg Olson.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 27 of 56 for 222 yards and one touchdown.  James Jones led the team in receptions with eight and Andre Holmes had the most receiving yards with 70.  Latavius Murray led the way on the ground with 59 yards on 12 carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 78 yards on 17 carries.  That’s an average of 4.6 yards a carry.  If they would have kept pounding the ball, there may have been a different outcome.  But when you have a complete moron calling the plays, you aren’t going to win many games.  Defensively, Khalil Mack led the team in solo tackles with six.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 18 of 30 for 297 yards and two touchdowns.  Travis Kelce led the team in receptions with five and Knile Davis had the most receiving yards with 70.  On the ground, Jamaal Charles led the way with 52 yards on 12 carries.  As a team, the Chiefs had a total of 93 yards on 27 carries.  Defensively, the Chiefs were in Carr’s face all day and sacked him four times.  Defensive back Jamell Fleming led the team in solo tackles with eight.

Well, only two games to go.  Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills are coming off a solid 21-13 win over the Packers.  In that game, they pressured Aaron Rodgers and picked him off twice.  However, the Packers had success running the ball.  They totaled 158 yards rushing and averaged 6.3 yards a carry.  Are you reading this, Olson?  Are you going to watch the film and see how the Packers successfully ran the ball against the Bills?  Or are you going to have your rookie quarterback throw 50 times against a very aggressive pass rush?  I think I already know the answer to that question.  Take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Just Win In The Rain, Baby!

Up next for the Raiders was a Thursday night home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Chiefs were coming off a big 24-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks and the Raiders were coming off a tough 13-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers.  As the rain poured down, kicker Sebastian Janikowksi sent the opening kickoff into the end zone and the Chiefs started at their 20-yard line.

Aside from a five-yard carry by running back Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs went nowhere and punted the ball away.  Punter Dustin Colquitt hit a huge 69-yard punt that was downed at the Oakland 15-yard line.  The Raiders managed to get one first down before punting the ball right back to the Chiefs.  The Raider defense played well on this possession and forced another three and out.  This time, Colquitt didn’t get all of it and the ball was downed at the Oakland 40-yard line.  This drive got off to a nice start as quarterback Derek Carr connected with wide receiver Vincent Brown for a gain of 19 and a first down at the Kansas City 41.  That was followed by a short carry by running back Darren McFadden and an 11-yard completion to wide receiver James Jones.  From the 27, running back Latavius Murray got in on the action and took it up the middle for a gain of six.  Two plays later, Carr found wide receiver Brice Butler and that play was good for a first down at the 11-yard line.  Murray finished the drive as he ran untouched up the left side for a touchdown.  It was the first rushing touchdown the Chiefs have allowed all year.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0.

As the rain continued, both offenses had trouble moving the ball.  With 12:40 to go in the second quarter, the Raiders took over at their ten-yard line.  This “drive” would last only about 12 seconds.  That’s because Murray ran up the middle, cut to his left and saw nothing but green grass in front of him.  He took it to the end zone for a 90-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 14-0 with 12:28 to go in the first half.

The Chiefs took over at their 20 and got off to a good start with nine-yard carries by running back De’Anthony Thomas and Charles.  On second and ten from the 37, quarterback Alex Smith connected with tight end Anthony Fasano for a gain of 11 and a first down at the 48.  They would get as far as the Oakland 44 and they were forced to punt from there.  Back to receive the punt was wide receiver Denarius Moore.  All of a sudden, I got a bad feeling.  Something was about to happen that Raider fans wouldn’t like.  The punt was high and Moore got under it, but the ball went right through his arms and was pounced on by linebacker Frank Zombo.  That gave the Chiefs excellent field position at the Oakland 11-yard line.  I can’t repeat all the obscenities I screamed at the television after that play.  That was the last we would be seeing of Mr. Moore.  The good news is the Raider defense was up to the task of stopping the Chiefs.  Charles ran up the middle for a gain of six on first down.  Smith looked for Charles on second down, but the pass was incomplete.  That set up a very big third and four from the five-yard line.  Smith had plenty of time to find a receiver and fired a pass to Thomas.  He was hit hard at the two-yard line by safety Brandian Ross and the pass fell incomplete.  Kicker Cairo Santos came on and his 24-yard field goal attempt was good.  The Raiders led 14-3 with 7:19 to go in the first half.

Murray returned the kickoff to the 25, but a holding call moved the Raiders back to the 15.  On third and three from the 22, Murray got another carry and it was good for a first down.  However, he was a victim of a helmet to helmet hit by safety Kurt Coleman.  The ball came loose and was recovered by the Raiders.  Murray would leave the game with a possible concussion and would not return.  That was bad news for the Raiders and the drive was halted at the 39 as McFadden came up just short of the first down marker on third and three.  King punted and the Chiefs still couldn’t get their offense going.  The first half ended with the Raiders leading 14-3.

Both teams punted on their first possessions of the second half.  At the 9:44 mark, the Raiders got the ball back at the Kansas City 49-yard line.  A short completion to McFadden and a six-yard carry by McFadden set up a third and one at the 40.  I was expecting to see a running play, but the Raiders came out with an empty backfield and Carr completed a two-yard pass to Jones for a first down at the 38.  On third and seven from the 22, Carr went deep up the right sideline for wide receiver Andre Holmes.  It was incomplete, but there was a flag on the play and early indications were it was defensive pass interference.  No such luck.  It was ruled that Holmes “voluntarily” ran out of bounds and therefore there was no penalty.  That meant it was time for Janikowski to try a 40-yard field goal.  It wasn’t the best kick I’ve ever seen him make, but he snuck it inside the left upright and it was good.  With 5:05 to go in the third quarter, the Raiders led 17-3.

Return man Knile Davis returned the kickoff to the 40 and the Chiefs had good field position to start their next drive.  Passes to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, tight end Travis Kelce and Thomas quickly moved the Chiefs to the Oakland 28-yard line.  On second and six from the 24, Charles ran for ten yards, but the ball was knocked loose.  Linebacker Khalil Mack was in prime position to recover the ball, but he couldn’t corral it and Thomas recovered it at the 14.  While all this was going on, a flag was thrown and the Chiefs were penalized for an illegal block above the waist.  That moved them back to the 30 and Smith found Kelce for a gain of 11.  That made it third and one from the 19.  The Raiders were expecting Charles to get another carry and brought some heavy pressure up the middle.  The only problem with that is that Charles didn’t have the ball.  Standing all by himself with no one around him was Fasano.  Smith saw him and he completed a very easy 19-yard touchdown pass.  Santos made the point after and the Chiefs trailed 17-10 with 1:52 to go in the third quarter.

Aside from a nice 37-yard pass to Holmes, the Raiders didn’t have much success on their next drive and were forced to punt again.  The Chiefs took over at their 35 and marched right down the field.  What the hell happened to the Raider defense?  There was no pressure on Smith, receivers were wide open and there were missed tackles all over the field.  Unfortunately, that’s something that’s been happening to the Raiders for a long time.  A 27-yard pass to Kelce moved the Chiefs to the Oakland 38.  Despite being flagged for two holding penalties, the Chiefs were able to find the end zone.  On second and 16 from the 30, Smith found Charles open in the middle of the field and Charles did the rest as he avoided several defenders on his way to the end zone.  Santos made the point after and just like that, the score was knotted at 17 with 12:20 to go in the game.

The Raiders gained three yards on their next possession and punted.  Return man Frankie Hammond fielded the punt at the Kansas City 35 and returned it to the Oakland 37.  That gave the Chiefs excellent field position.  On first down, Smith found wide receiver Albert Wilson wide open for a gain of 23 yards and a first down at the 14.  A short scramble by Smith and a five yard pass set up a crucial third and three.  The Raiders brought the pressure and the pass fell incomplete.  Still, the Chiefs could take the lead if Santos made the 25-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and the Chiefs led 20-17 with nine minutes to go in the game.

When the Raiders took over at their 20, there was no sign of McFadden or Jones-Drew.  Fullback Marcel Reece was the one who would be doing the dirty work.  Reece carried the ball three times and caught an eight-yard pass to quickly move the ball to the 48.  After that, Carr was sacked for a loss of two by defensive end Justin Houston.  On second and 12, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to Butler to move the Raiders into Kansas City territory.  Once again, the Raiders were in another third and one situation.  I thought Reece would be the man to go to again.  Wrong.  It was a pass intended for tight end Mychal Rivera that was almost intercepted.  So, it was now fourth and one.  Who will it be this time?  Reece?  McFadden?  Marcus Allen?  Bo Jackson?  None of the above.  Carr took it himself and got just enough for a first down at the 42.  Reece got another carry and grinded out four tough yards.  Carr went deep for Holmes on the next play.  He was open, but the ball was poorly thrown and again, it was almost intercepted.  That made it third and six.  Carr stood tall in the pocket and connected with Rivera across the middle for a gain of eight and a first down at the 30.

From the 30, Carr went deep for Jones and the pass was incomplete.  Like always, offensive coordinator Greg Olson called for a running play on second down after an incompletion on first down. The Chiefs were well aware of this and Reece was stuffed for a short gain.  From the 29, Carr threw to Holmes on the right sideline.  There was lots of contact while the ball was in the air and safety Ron Parker was flagged for defensive pass interference.  That gave the Raiders new life and a first down at the 20.  Two carries by Reece netted nine yards and Carr ran up the middle for two yards and a first down at the nine.  From the nine, Carr had all the time he needed to find a receiver and he found Jones in the end zone for a Raider touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 24-20 with 1:42 to go in the game.

Janikowski sent the kickoff nine yards deep into the end zone, but Thomas ran it out and I sincerely believe if safety Larry Asante hadn’t been in perfect position, Thomas would have had himself a 109-yard kick return.  Thomas was pushed out of bounds at the Kansas City 39-yard line.  The Chiefs had no timeouts and 61 yards to go to get themselves a win.  From the 39, Smith was pressured by Mack.  Despite having a firm grasp on Smith’s jersey, Mack was unable to bring him down and Smith got off a pass down the middle to Bowe.  It bounced before it got there and was ruled incomplete.  That was followed by a seven-yard pass to Wilson.  An illegal formation penalty was called on the Chiefs and Raider head coach Tony Sparano declined it.  That made it fourth and three from the 46.

One more stop and the game would be won by the Raiders.  It would be their first win of the year.  Surely they could get a stop here, right?  Wrong.  Smith looked for Bowe and the pass was incomplete.  But, there were several flags on the play.  Safety Charles Woodson and cornerback DJ Hayden were flagged for defensive holding.  Not only that, defensive end Benson Mayowa was flagged for hands to the face.  The penalty on Mayowa was enforced and the Chiefs had a first down at the Oakland 49.  From the 49, Charles ran for a gain of four yards.  That was followed by an incomplete pass intended for Kelce.  Now, it was third and six from the 45.  The Raiders brought the pressure and Smith was sacked by linebacker Sio Moore.  I guess they thought that was fourth down, because several Raiders were way behind the line of scrimmage celebrating.  That caused me to go off.  I screamed “THAT WAS ONLY THIRD DOWN!  WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING?  GET BACK TO THE LINE!!!!”  See, this is why you have to have veteran leadership on your team.  Defensive end Justin Tuck alertly called timeout and the Raiders were spared an offside penalty.  So, it was now fourth and 13 from the Kansas City 48-yard line.  Smith took the snap, felt little pressure and threw a pass to the left side intended for Hammond.  It was incomplete and that sealed the deal.  The Raiders finally got a win!  Dating back to last year, they had lost 16 consecutive games.  That’s the equivalent of an entire season.  It wasn’t pretty.  As a matter of fact, it was downright ugly at times.  But that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is the final score.  Raiders 24 Chiefs 20.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 20 of 36 for 234 yards and two touchdown passes.  Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles tied for the lead in receptions with four and Kelce had the most receiving yards with 67.  The last time Charles visited Oakland, he decimated the Raiders with five touchdowns.  In this game, he was the leading rusher with 80 yards on 19 carries and only one touchdown.  As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 96 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Josh Mauga and safety Ron Parker tied for the lead in solo tackles with six apiece.  The Chiefs had their opportunities in this game as there were several dropped passes by their defensive backs.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 18 of 35 for 174 yards and one touchdown pass.  Andre Holmes and James Jones tied for the lead in receptions with five and Holmes had the most receiving yards with 55.  The ground game got a huge boost from Latavius Murray.  Despite having only four carries and leaving the game early, he had 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns.  My question is why did the coaching staff wait until week 11 to give him some carries?  Marcel Reece also did an admirable job running the ball with 37 yards on eight carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 179 yards on 30 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Miles Burris and safety Larry Asante tied for the lead in solo tackles with eight apiece.  Charles Woodson had himself a solid game with seven solo tackles and a sack.  He became the first player in NFL history to record 50 interceptions and 20 sacks.

This was a very special night in Oakland and even the torrential rain couldn’t screw it up.   Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy received his ring and there were several Hall of Famers at the game.  Maybe having so many great players back in Oakland got the Raiders fired up.  Like I said, it wasn’t pretty, but they got the win.  I can’t count how many times the great Raider teams of the past had wins in this exact same fashion.  I know it’s only one win, but the last thing I wanted to see was an 0-16 season.  Up next is a trip to St. Louis to take on the Rams.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Mitchell’s Fantasy Football Notes: Week 10 (2012)

While week 9 in fantasy football was a scoring explosion compared to past weeks, week 10 for fantasy football was one known more for who was carted off the field than its performances on it.  RG3 and Aaron Rodgers had the entire week off while Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler took half days for health reasons, three concussions and one shoulder separation.  These injuries will impact week 11 and potentially the fantasy playoffs, especially in the case of Vick and Big Ben.  This new weekly column will address the relevant activity and it’s impact in every game on the weekend’s calendar for week 10 in the NFL so let’s get right to it.

Colts 27, Jaguars 10
In this game the lack of stats tells us more than the productive ones.  Vic Ballard and Donald Brown both had disappointing yardage totals and no TD’s but the split carries is the story here.  The wide receiver position is where we see reasons to be optimistic if not outright bullish.  For Jacksonville, Michael Spurlock was productive with minimal targets while both Cecil Shorts III and Laurent Robinson were productive and more importantly, targeted significantly.  All good signs for teams slogging through a 2-QB league with Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne or for owners that took a shot on Cecil Shorts III or Laurent Robinson.  For Indianapolis, T.Y. Hilton’s emergence looks to be a bit premature with Donnie Avery being the #2 guy in this offense behind Reggie Wayne and even Avery only got 6 targets.

Bengals 31, Giants 13
Disappointing once again for Eli Manning and his “tired” arm.  TD’s are king in fantasy football and that anoints Andy Dalton into royalty in week 10 with four scores with only seven weeks to go.  Hakeem Nicks seems to be back and productive while Andre Brown and Ahmed Bradshaw both ran well in limited carries.  The big fantasy story for the Giants is TE Michael Bennett and RB Andre Brown being targeted significantly in the passing game as well as news that Ahmed Bradshaw is battling an injury going into week 11.

Titans 37, Dolphins 3
Ryan Tannehill took a step back this week with three INT’s while Chris Johnson took another step closer to solidifying himself as the stud RB he once was and people thought he might never be again.  Brian Hartline stepped up big as well in a pathetic overall offensive effort by Miami.

Vikings, 34 Lions 24
There were big fantasy stats in a losing effort for Matthew Stafford and the revitalized Megatron.  Adrian Peterson once again shows that he is a beast no matter what else is going on in Minnesota.  Concerning Mikel Leshoure, you better hope he gets some goal line carries because he doesn’t do much else well.  A monster day for AP.  The story here that matters most is when Percy Harvin sits, Kyle Rudolph matters and when Harvin plays, Rudolph seems to disappear.  This is one to watch more closely in coming weeks.

Patriots 37, Bills 31
The big story here is that YES, the Patriots pass defense is THIS bad.  They are second worst defense in the NFL on 3rd down ahead of only… yes that’s right…BUFFALO.  Start every wide receiver you can find when facing the Patriots.  Can Talib turn things around??  Seems unlikely.  Mount up WR’s.  Spiller owners should be excited with the news that Fred Jackson will miss week 11 if not more.

Saints 31, Falcons 27
Matt Ryan may end up being the highest scoring QB in the NFL which means a lot of targets to go around and the player with the biggest upside for the remainder of the season on this team is Jacquizz Rodgers.  His targets can go nowhere but up and with the Falcons essentially in the playoffs there is no reason not to continue to expand his role.  From the Saints, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram are gaining steam and may be becoming fantasy relevant.

Buccaneers 34, Chargers 24
This Bucs offense is a juggernaut, second only to the Falcons in the NFC.  Surprisingly, week 10 was not an explosive week for the Bucs versus a mediocre Chargers defense in what appeared to be a great match up.  With San Diego, a lot of passing attempts to go around but nobody to bet heavy on to catch them consistently.  Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates seem to be the safe bets but not enough consistent production for me to be excited.

Broncos 36, Panthers 14
It was a high scoring fantasy week for Carolina players that didn’t translate into a W for the Panthers who can probably be eliminated from the NFL discussion officially after losing to the Broncos.  Denver players didn’t produce enough and didn’t score enough to make their fantasy owners happy.  Willis McGahee seems to be a flex RB at this point and a mediocre one at that while Daniel Thomas looks to be elevating himself into the upper tier of WR’s with the help of Peyton Manning in Denver.  MORE TOUCHDOWNS DENVER.  WE NEED MORE SCORES.  Carolina’s running game appears to be non-existent which bodes well for Cam Newton, Brandon LaFell, Steve Smith and Greg Olsen owners.

Ravens 55, Raiders 20
On the two podcasts that I host on the Leatherheads National Podcasting Network (The Monday Rundown at 7:00 P.M. EST on Mondays and The Leatherheads Fantasy Football Show at 9:00 P.M. EST on Wednesdays), I have time and time again made the point that Ray Rice is not getting enough touches and in a big win versus the lowly Oakland Raiders, we once again saw or better said, didn’t see Ray Rice toting the rock.  In winning big, they didn’t need Rice but for one of the best all around RB’s and a top five fantasy draft pick in the game to only touch the ball 17 times, I wonder if this signals a transition from a trend to a fundamental offensive shift of focus by John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.  With more of the Raven’s offense highlighting the passing game, Joe Flacco’s role was expanding and we knew this coming into 2012, but to see the significant reduction of Ray Rice’s touches is beyond what anyone would have ever expected.  As far as the Raiders go, Carson Palmer and the WR’s are becoming legitimate and must starts.  With the Raiders likely to be behind in almost every second half the remainder of this season, there is no reason not to be upset if you own Darren McFadden and you should be elated if you own Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey or tight end Brandon Myers who all have been consistently targeted on this hot fantasy run by the Raiders offense.

Seahwaks 28, NY Jets 7
The Jets don’t have much fantasy relevance unless Tim Tebow can somehow tear the starting QB job from the cold, dead hand of Rex Ryan.  Shonn Greene appears to have the RB carries almost completely too himself but the production from those carries is miserable.  Jeremy Kerley is getting some targets and he has some big play ability, but how do you make big plays when your QB can’t throw the ball well enough to get it to you?  As for Seattle, it is all about  Marshawn Lnynch.   If Lynch can manage to survive the season, he is going to be one of the hardest worked RB’s in the game–if not the history of it.  Only Arian Foster has more carries this season and may pass him by season’s end.  Ride Lynch to the ground and ignore the horrible Jets all together.  Oh, and maybe you may want to claim Golden Tate because he throws the ball better than Russell Wilson.

Cowboys 38, Eagles 23
In a game that saved the Cowboys season and officially ended the Eagles one, we saw what many fans were hoping for and what most fantasy owners dreaded, Nick Foles in and Michael Vick out.  An offensive line that singlehandedly can be blamed for the abysmal Eagles season in this fantasy expert’s opinion, finally got Michael Vick knocked out and it could be awhile before we see Vick play again–and it may be with another team next season.  Nick Foles made one play, a 44-yard TD on a broken coverage, while Tony Romo, who didn’t sparkle, did make a few highlight reel plays and was able to get it done for the Cowboys.  Felix Jones seems to be finding his groove and Jason Witten is officially the only true, reliable player to catch Romo passes.  For the Eagles, Jeremy Maclin was targeted over and over, which is normally a good thing, but for me its a mirage.  This offense can’t overcome an offensive line that leaks like a swiss cheese built boat and refuses, not unlike the Ravens, to get its superstar RB the ball.  If your thin then Maclin seems to be a consistent play, but I rank him as a WR3 at best.  I would downgrade him from there with Foles at the helm.

Rams 24, 49ers 24
In a rare tie in the NFL, this was a game where an injury was possibly the best thing that could happen to a struggling fantasy owner.  Alex Smith looks to be sidelined due to a concussion which opens the door for the fleet afoot Colin Kaepernick.  The issue here is that the 49ers have a tough matchup versus the Bears in week 11 (a team who also lost their starting QB in week 10) and this may be the only week Alex Smith misses.  So the one week where a fantasy team owner that picked Kaepernick has a chance to start him, it may be better to sit him due to the matchup and then lose the upside to a returning Alex Smith.  I can’t even recommend holding on to Kaepernick even if you have the roster space because it seems unlikely he gets any playing time.  He is an intriguing guy if you are desperate.  As for the Rams, Stephen Jackson had a big game versus one of the best run defenses in football and that may give some breathing room to Jackson owners who can feel the footsteps of Daryl Richardson right behind them.  Danny Amendola came back from a life threatening injury to have a big game and it looks like he is a reliable WR3 if not even a WR2 in the right matchups.  Oh, and if you are truly desperate make a claim on Rams punter Johnny Hekker who was 2-2 for 40 yards passing.  Who knows how often he throws the ball but he is still a better play than Mark Sanchez so keep that in mind.

Texans 13, Bears 6
The biggest story of this game was defense.  Both that Chicago’s didn’t score and that it suffocated scoring with the exception of Arian Foster and Brandon Marshall who both hit the century mark.  From an NFL matchup perspective, this was the game of the week.  From a fantasy perspective, it was almost entirely irrelevant.  The Bears lost Jay Cutler before halftime to a concussion and Jason Campbell will have to lead the Bears in week 11 vs San Francisco.  A tough loss for the Niners both in week 10 and week 11.

Steelers 16, Chiefs 13
Perhaps, the biggest fantasy story in week 10 was all the injuries with the Steelers potentially losing Big Ben Roethlisberger for the season as possibly the biggest one.  The Steelers continue to mess with fantasy ballers heads by playing musical carries.  Is it Rashard Mendenhall?  Is it Jonathan Dwyer?  Is it Isaac Redman?  Week 10 predictors say Dwyer, but with Mendenhall coming back the picture remains muddled.

Time for Week 11!!!