Well, I was almost right last week. At least it wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous two articles turned out. Perhaps I can chalk that up as a moral victory. As they say, football is a game of inches, and I was literally inches from nailing my prediction in Week 9. On the previous play before Jennings grabbed his lone TD (an event I had predicted would not happen, especially inside the 10-yard line – wrong and wrong again), Jermichael Finley caught a pass that should have been a TD, only he didn’t keep both feet in. Had he done that, Jennings would have finished almost exactly where I thought he would. At least I was right about one thing: Jordy Nelson was the better start.
In Week 10 we get a short reprieve from the byes before having to deal with them one last time in Week 11, but we also get a monkey wrench thrown at us in the form of a Thursday game. In a way it’s kind of like daylight savings time, only instead of remembering to set your clock, you need to remember to set your lineup. I always hope to help in that regard (lineup decisions, that is), but most of you probably just read this for a chuckle. I’m like the Sunday comic section of the Café. That’s OK. As long as you’re entertained I’m happy.
Week 10 Weakling
OK, so I didn’t pick a top tier player this week. Even so, I think this should still be a good call. Although Freeman is not what many would consider a must start fantasy QB, he is decent and in deeper leagues may very well be considered a must start. In most of the leagues that I’m in, he is slightly better than middle of the pack. I feel that this week he will probably be in the bottom 25%.
The Bucs play host to the Houston Texans this week. The Texans are ranked second in the NFL against the pass, giving up 182.6 yards per contest. The reason for this is not necessarily because of stellar play on the defensive side of the ball, although they have actually played quite well. They take chances and have so far been fortunate enough to amass 11 interceptions and 24 sacks in nine games, but they’ve also given up 10 touchdowns through the air, which has them tied for ninth best in the NFL. What makes them formidable against the pass is their offense, or more precisely, their rushing game.
The combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate has proven to be an effective clock management tool. They wear down opposing defenses on the ground and almost always have a fresh set of legs on the field. This allows them to win the battle for time of possession because the clock keeps ticking between plays. The Texans rank first in the NFL in this regard.
On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay is not very adept at stopping the run. As of Week 10 they sit at 26th overall, giving up 132.4 yards per game. The combination here is obvious. One of the NFL’s best rushing tandems versus one of the NFL’s weakest run defenses is most likely going to produce rather predictable results. Look for Houston to run the ball often, which will keep the Tampa offense on the sideline.
One more factor to consider is an injury to Freeman’s thumb. It didn’t seem to have too much effect on him in Week 9, but he is still on the injury report, which means that it is likely still bothering him at least a little bit.
In the end, this one is quite easy to figure out. As mentioned already, Houston will most likely grind away on the ground for much of the game. Look for at least a 60/40 split in rushing to passing. Tampa may very well find themselves in a hole early on and be forced to throw the ball deep. To do so, Freeman will need to stand a bit longer in the pocket which will expose him to pressure and eventually, sacks. This in turn leads to mistakes, which results in interceptions. You all know the routine.
Projection: 16/27, 170 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Author’s note: I do apologize for not having as detailed an article this week as I usually do. It’s been a very busy and trying week for me. My little 13-month-old boy is going under the knife in two days from when I’m writing this. I won’t go into details, but it’s a bit more serious than just getting your tonsils or appendix removed. Fortunately for me, I live in Minnesota, and the surgeon performing the operation is from the Mayo Clinic, widely regarded as the best hospital in the world. I have been assured that all will be fine, but if any of you are parents you can probably relate to what kind of week I’ve had. Don’t let this stop you from ripping my article though. Comment away. I’m a big boy, I can handle it.
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
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