As the proprietor of a website called Stud Running Back, the developments over the first three weeks of the 2014 NFL season saddens me greatly. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to discern that football on all levels is gradually morphing into a game reliant on the forward pass. As more and more teams adapt spread-offense tendencies, the closer the old school bellcow runner inches toward extinction.
Once upon a time, fantasy championships were won with a dominant stable of running backs. Fake football legends like Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Priest Holmes, and LaDainian Tomlinson were solid gold because they were guaranteed to get 25-30 touches every single week. And guaranteed touches is music to the ears of every fantasy owner worth a nice tapered shit.
Nowadays, having one or two elite wide receivers from pass-heavy attacks is more of a sure thing than a running back who gets pulled inside the 5, alternates possessions with a second-stringer, frequents the trainer’s room, or can’t stop abusing his wife and/or kid. I can’t recall a more brutal start to a season for supposed stud backs than 2014.
The quartet of McCoy, Peterson, Charles, and Lacy have been a raging dumpster fire. Shady is running on a bum toe behind an offensive line held together with yarn and Krazy glue. Peterson is unofficially done for the season and possibly his career. Charles is A) hurt, and B) losing carries to a backup who is too talented to keep off the field. Lacy went to Alabama.
It’s still early, so everyone except Peterson has time to rebound. I just wouldn’t count on it. Ironically, the two runners with the most red flags heading into the season, Marshawn Lynch and DeMarco Murray, are straight up killing it. Second-year second-rounders Le’Veon Bell and Gio Bernard are on pace to finish in the Top 5 in points. Draft day bargains like Rashad Jennings and Ahmad Bradshaw are taking advantage of great situations.
We’ve got two-headed monsters (New England), three-headed monsters (New Orleans), four-headed monsters (Atlanta), and zero-headed monsters (Oakland) running roughshod over the league. It’s madness, pure and simple. When I’m starting Alfred Blue because I have to and want to, there’s a problem. When I feel good about having penny stock in the Atlanta backfield, something is awry. When I have to flat out drop one of the greatest running backs in history due to dwindling roster space, the end is nigh. Allow me to vent a little…
Ahhhh… much better. On to the Week 3 recap.
The greatest catch that never was
Andre Johnson trashed the Texans’ front office for signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Can hardly blame ‘Dre because Fitzpatrick is a hirsute horror show, but Fitzy is the one who decides which wide receiver is his favorite. That receiver is not Andre Johnson. It’s DeAndre Hopkins. Bite your tongue, ‘Dre.
Anatomy of a fantasy black hole
Joe McKnight is such a nonentity, I couldn’t find a suitable photo of him as a Kansas City Chief. Here he is in all his who-let-this-clown-in-the-locker-room glory as a New York Jet. This tub of zilch caught 6 balls for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Those scores could’ve gone to Knile Davis or Travis Kelce or Dwayne Bowe (just kidding, he’s a corpse). Joe McKnight is why we can’t have nice things.
That’s my quarterback!
Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Pierre Garcon, and DeSean Jackson provided the fantasy goodness. Chris Baker provided the crushing cheap shot. Jason Peters provided the don’t-fuck-with-my-quarterback awesomeness.
Eddie Royal: Fantasy Troll
Eddie Royal is up to his old shenanigans: convincing gullible newbs that he’s actually relevant. His two scores against the Bills all but assured wide receiver needy owners will bid for his services. It’s a waste of cash, but so be it. Lest we forget, Royal scored 5 touchdowns in the first two games of 2013 before promptly fading into obscurity. His last 100-yard game was in 2010. Eddie Royal teases like a boss.
Let the kids play
So much for the “sit and learn” horseshit the Jaguars and Vikings were spewing all summer long about their first-round quarterbacks, It took less than twelve quarters for Gus Bradley and Mike Zimmer to pull the trigger on Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater, respectively. Makes sense. Chad Henne is chronic diarrhea and Matt Cassel is A) horrible, and B) out for the season with a busted foot. The rookies can flat out fling it, but Bortles has the best chance to put up numbers. Hey, Cleveland. What the hell are you waiting for?
Why again did you draft a quarterback early?
Cue the rant. Hey, I do it every year, so why break tradition. Perusing the quarterback standings through three weeks, I see names like Luck, Ryan, Foles, Cutler, Stafford, Wilson, and Rivers in the Top 10. None of these guys were drafted before the fourth round. On top of that, Brees and Rodgers look pedestrian and Peyton is way off his 2013 pace. I’m sure those three will be fine when all is said and done, but spending an early round pick on them is pointless. Especially when you look at the wasteland that is the running back position. Stay tuned for three weeks from now when I hammer this point home even harder.
Fat Guy INTERCEPTION!
If not for Vince Wilfork’s superior hand-eye coordination, the Pats might’ve lost at home to the Raiders. Think about that for a second. The team with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady almost lost to the team with Dennis Allen and Derek Carr. Not good. Their backfield is a hot mess, they have no deep speed, Tom Brady looks old, and Gronk is a shadow of the beast that shredded the league in 2011.
Week 3 Golden Nutsack Award – Lame Excuses
I’m still not convinced DeMarco Murray won’t shatter into pieces by Week 7, but thus far he’s been the best first-round pick and it’s not even close. Nice job, Lame ones. With Tony Romo’s spine one hit away from snapping like a twig, Murray is the ‘Boys’ best hope of challenging for the NFC East crown. Oh, and that Matt Ryan dude is pretty good.
Prerequisite Eye Candy
For fans of the ladies.
For fans of the beefcake.
Week 4 Fearless Forecasting
I almost went with Jordan Matthews instead of Khiry Robinson last week. But I didn’t. And wet the sheets again. Dadburnit, I’m going yard this week! The envelope, please:
Golden Tate: 77 yards, 1 TD
Antonio Allen is the worst cornerback in the league. Lions offense gets right.
Stud Running Back will return…