I must admit I had a difficult time putting this weekâ€™s Historically Speaking piece together. Sometimes in life you are blindsided by the unimaginable, something that rocks your world in a way like never before. Itâ€™s made gathering my thoughts and priorities a harrowing task over the past 18-24 hours and sitting down and mustering the ability to concentrate has been a chore. You see, Hostess has announced that they are ceasing operations. Yes people, the fine corporation that highlighted my youth with Twinkies, Ho Hoâ€™s, Ding Dongâ€™s (blotting eye with tissue) and even the Drakeâ€™s Coffee Cakes (Iâ€™m about to faint) is no more.
I feel like Ralphie from A Christmas Story after the Bumpus hounds knocked over and devoured their Christmas turkey. â€œBut it was gone, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! No Twinkies! No Donettes! No Coffee Cakes!!â€
Sigh. It is very troubling to see one of the basic food groups vanish before your very eyes. Good lord, whatâ€™s next??
Well, despite this regretful news, a sad day in sustenance history for sure, I will attempt to divert attention away from Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling and talk about some history on the fantasy gridiron.
I know it is all very surreal, but together weâ€™ll soldier onâ€¦
As the fantasy regular season is winding and the playoffs are looming, solid consistent performances are key down the stretch. If you are set with some of the top fantasy producers at quarterback this year, history has shown a reassuring kindness. Take for example New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. Itâ€™s been a while since heâ€™s played the Oakland Raiders, but in 2008 Brees completed 26 of 30 pass attempts for 320 yards and three touchdowns. Hey, the Constitution of the United States was written a while ago and that still matters today, right? History is funny that way.
Moving on weâ€™ll take a look at a player who is the obvious slam-dunk for Comeback Player of the Year, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Earlier this season in week six, Manning faced the Chargers for the first time as a Bronco and settled in just fine. He completed almost 80% of his passes, totaling 309 yards and tossed 3 touchdowns. The two previous times Manning went up against San Diego was as a member of the Colts, and he averaged 270 passing yards and threw four touchdowns.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan last played the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 and put together a pretty solid afternoon. He completed 21 passes for 225 yards and threw three touchdown passes, one to WR Roddy White, who youâ€™ll see highlighted later.
Two players who have found some past difficultly against their Week 11 opponent (just wait until they hear the Twinkies newsâ€¦) would be San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and Chicago Bears QB Jason Campbell, filling in for injured QB Jay Cutler. In 2009 Smith threw for only 118 yards and no touchdowns, while in Campbell went up against the 49ers twice before. In 2008 he was marginal, with 156 passing yards and a touchdown, but regressed completely in 2010 with only 83 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Taking a look at the running backs, weâ€™ll start on the positive side of things with Houston Texans RB Arian Foster. In five career games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Foster has rushed for a total of 523 yards and six touchdowns. You can expect this trend to continue against the defensively challenged Jaguars. In what may surprise a few folks, Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings actually played well against the Houston Texans. The last time he filled in for RB Maurice Jones-Drew against them was in 2010 and Jennings carried the ball 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown. If he could only do that more often. Canâ€™t say I am feeling a repeat performance coming this weekend, but you just never know.
On the down side of things, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has faced the Bengals twice in his career, once in 2008 and again in 2009 and has been held without a touchdown on both occasions. Safe to say that could spell trouble for the Chiefs in this match up. Another running back whose performances are key to their respective teamâ€™s success would be Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy. Did you know that in in five career games against the Washington Redskins McCoy only has one rushing touchdown? With a green (literally) rookie QB Nick Foles at the helm, McCoy will need to be effective.
Ending the position on a positive note, how about a quick look at Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice? The Steelers against the Ravens is always a heated match up and Rice was super solid n both games last season. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns and totaled 85 receiving yards and another touchdown in two regular season games against Pittsburgh in 2011. You can certainly look for Rice to assert himself once again this season in these key divisional games.
In one of the longer running rivalries in the National Football League, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers have brought out the best in more than a few players. For instance, Lions WR Calvin Johnson. Â In seven career games against the Packers, Megatron has averaged almost 95 yards receiving and has hauled in a crazy nine touchdown passes. Those totals include last seasonâ€™s monster Week 17 performance with 244 receiving yards and two touchdowns. In a word, wow. Staying within the match up, Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson doesnâ€™t have the lengthy history that Johnson does in this rivalry, but the last time Nelson faced the Lions is more than worth mentioning. He reeled in 9 passes for 162 yards and caught three touchdowns.
A player who is finally starting to get the credit he deserves in fantasy circles would be Denver Broncos WR Eric Decker. In four career games against the San Diego Chargers, â€“ In four career games against the Chargers Eric Decker has pulled in three touchdown passes. With a stellar game general at the helm in QB Peyton Manning running the show, you can expect Deckerâ€™s solid performances to continue.
The rivalries continue, but the Washington Redskins â€“ Philadelphia Eagles game this weekend has a bit of a different twist. Due to the draft and injuries we have a new cast of characters moving into the forefront of this match up. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III could pose an interesting challenge for the Eagles, but it wonâ€™t be easy if two of his receivers donâ€™t change history against Philadelphia. In his last four games against the Eagles WR Santana Moss has averaged just under 28 yards per game and has no touchdown catches. His teammate, WR Pierre Garcon, recorded only two receptions for 15 yards and no touchdowns as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
We will close out the receivers with two savvy veterans, Atlanta Falcons WT Roddy White and Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne. White was briefly mentioned above with his QB Matt Ryan, as in 2010 against the Arizona Cardinals he hauled in seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. The last four times Wayne has faced the Patriots, he has averaged over 88 yards receiving and caught three touchdowns.
For the always unpredictable tight end positions, some solid names for sure this week, with varied past results. The Eagles have a new signal caller this week in QB Nick Foles, but one can only hope that TE Brent Celek can keep up his solid play against the Redskins despite the change. In his last two games against Washington, Celek caught two touchdown passes and averaged 64 receiving yards. More notable was the fact that he was targeted 19 times! It would behoove Foles to continue looking Celekâ€™s way, as the big guy can be a sure-handed security blanket.
Now that New York Jets TE Dustin Keller is back in the saddle and healthy, letâ€™s hope he resumes his role as one of the more reliable receivers on the jets rosters. Maybe putting together another performance like the one he had in 2008 against the St. Louis Rams is in order? On that afternoon, Keller grabbed six passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Staying in the AFC East, weâ€™ll look at the fantasy monster that is New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. The last time the Patriots played the Colts, he reeled in five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, but also surprised with a rushing touchdown as well. The man does it all, so look for a possible FG attempt this weekend.
In conclusion, letâ€™s take a look into the window that is tight end futility. Itâ€™ll just be a quick look as to not scare anyone too much. Three heralded fantasy options, showcasing some sub par performances at the wrong time. I present to you Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis and Pittsburgh Steelers TE Heath Miller. Back in 2010, Gonzalez kept them in their seats with only two receptions for 19 yards and no touchdowns against Arizona. In 2009 against the Chicago Bears, Davis could only put forth 3 receptions for 16 yards and just as many touchdowns as Gonzalez. It gets better. In eight games against the Baltimore Ravens, Miller has yet to record a touchdown pass. All three of these guys need to step up for their teams and for fantasy owners all over the globe. Crazy beast, that history.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the games!!
My kingdom for a Chocodileâ€¦.
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