The message boards are once again filled with heated discussions more about favoritism and racism than athleticism and professionalism. While week 11 in the National Football League (NFL) didn’t produce a 40-plus-point fantasy player, it did create a buzz.
Just as Michael Vick’s record-setting performance against Washington in week 9 set the football world afire, the Pittsburgh-Oakland game re-ignited the debate over crime, forgiveness, on-the-field violence, and racism. Many fans are divided on the subject of criminal accusations and the penalties for players who are involved in morally questionable situations.
In many discussion forums, the opinions seems to be along racial lines, with the non-white fans posting comments applauding Vick’s exciting comeback from an incarceration-forced absence from the NFL for animal rights violations, while white football fans are enraged that Vick is even playing in the NFL.
In those same message boards, the anger is over the punch/slap Big Ben Roethlisberger received after tossing a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders during Sunday’s game against the Raiders. An overwhelming amount of comments were celebrating the slap, labeling Roethlisberger as a rapist. Will the controversy ever cease? I doubt it. What does appear to matter to nearly every fantasy football enthusiast is that Roethlisberger and Vick are assets when they are on your rosters. Enough about the controversial stuff.
Week 11 in the National Football League was exciting from many angles other than Richard Seymour’s ejection. There were many close contests, and several players set a few records too.
Drew Brees set a franchise record for completions with 1,862, eclipsing Archie Manning’s long-standing record of 1,849. Manning played with the Saints for 11 seasons. Brees joined the Saints in 2006, after five seasons with the Chargers. Buffalo’s WR, Steve Johnson, caught three touchdowns and is the only player to catch a pass in all 10 games this season, according to Yahoo! Sports. Packers WR Greg Jennings didn’t set a record, but he did have a season-high 152 yards receiving on seven catches. Jennings has 32 grabs for a whopping 520 yards and six touchdowns in the past five games. You don’t want to sit him this week against Atlanta – he’s projected to provide 13.13 fantasy points. I think it will be more, as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center. So, with that said, let’s move on to the Fantastic Five from week 11.
Even with the great performance by Brees against the consistently inconsistent Seahawks, the Saints’ veteran quarterback threw for two INTs, and that dropped his fantasy points to 29.28, which barely landed him on the list this week. Interceptions have been Brees’ Achilles heel this season, preventing him from catching or surpassing his replacement in San Diego, Philip Rivers. Rivers is on fire and may smash Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season set in 1984. The Saints will pay a visit to Dallas, and Brees should easily continue to add to his totals for the season as the Cowboys’ defense, ranked 21st, is allowing 235.1 passing yards per game. Will Brees be number one on the Fantastic Five list in week 12? Time will tell.
At number 4 on my list, with 30.14 fantasy points, is Aaron Rodgers. In the last two games, Rodgers has completed 49 of 65 pass attempts. During Sunday’s winning performance over the confused Vikings, Rodgers threw four touchdowns – three of them to Greg Jennings. Now in his third season, Rodgers has already passed for more than 11,400 yards in his career and has only been sacked 20 times this season, compared to 50 last year and 34 in his rookie season. And while he has thrown nine interceptions so far this season, he still hasn’t had a fumble.
Steve Johnson’s remarkable three touchdowns in the comeback win over Cincy earned his fantasy team owners 31.70 fantasy points and etched his name in the Buffalo Bills history books as the first player in team history to have multiple 3-touchdown games in a single season. In addition to running through the end zone three times, he pulled down eight catches for 137 yards, averaging 17.1 yards per reception. This may not have been a flash in the pan, but it will be a little tougher to pocket these types of stats against the Steelers defense. You might want to sit him if you have other options.
After continuing to catch the ball against the Minnesota Vikings like he and Aaron Rodgers are the only ones on the field, Greg Jennings should rack up similar stats this upcoming week against the Atlanta Falcons. His 703 yards receiving for the season and nine touchdowns translates to the very likelihood of his continued success – assuming that the Packers defense can keep Matt Ryan and Roddy White on the sidelines. Jennings produced a staggering 33.20 fantasy points in week 11, which is good for the first-runner up/first non-winner position.
The top-dog this week, and maybe for the next couple of weeks, is Ben Roethlisberger… the quarterback, not the actor. I say he may be on the top again soon because the Steelers play Buffalo next, then the Ravens and the Bengals in three weeks at home in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, when he wasn’t goofing around, Big Ben rushed for a TD and played catch with his receivers for three more. It could be all the rest he got in the beginning of the season, huh? Roethlisberger’s 34.50 fantasy points are a respectable outing in any league setting. Keep him in the lineup for the next few weeks if you’re lucky enough to have him on your roster. The trade deadline has come and gone in all of my leagues that I participate in, or I would be trying to swap Vick or Brees for him. I have Rivers on one of my teams, and that is where he is going to stay…