Necessary Roughness, Week 5: Should the 49ers Have Beaten the Giants?
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Well, I’m officially back in ‘merica after a little three-week excursion across the pond, and boy was it nice to watch some football on an actual television rather than pathetically streaming games on an iPad using European Internet! Additionally, the Panthers had a bye this week so I could enjoy yesterday relatively stress-free. The same can’t be said for most fans around the league, however, as there were three overtimes and 7 out of 11 games (including Thursday’s) decided by 7 points or less.
One such nail biter of a game was last night’s match between San Francisco and New York. The 49ers actually looked like a real football team and honestly, they should have won the game. Eli Manning was wildly inconsistent, and although his 441 passing yards and 3 TDs look impressive, he probably should have had 3 INTs instead of just one. And if not for a borderline miraculous throw and catch for the game winning TD, the Giants may be 2-3 this morning instead of 3-2. If I was a Giants fan I’d also be a little concerned about the defense. The Niners have arguably the most anemic offense in the league, and they ran all over New York’s defensive front. So the bottom line is this: the G-men are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East, but if they want to be a true threat in the conference they have some work to do. As for Niners fans, you have to be encouraged by a number of things, not the least of which being that Colin Kaepernick was able to connect with Anquan Boldin eight times for 107 yards and a touchdown.
A couple other games that grabbed my attention:
Bears/Chiefs: I’m not a fan of Jay Cutler, and I doubt many Bears fans are either, but man, he was great in the 4th quarter yesterday, throwing 2 TDs in the closing minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. For a second there it even seemed like Cutler was, dare I say, visibly stoked. The big story from this game was on the other side, however, as Chiefs’ RB Jamaal Charles went down with an ACL tear. That is a massive blow to a Kansas City team that relies extensively on their run game.
Bengals/Seahawks: Andy Dalton is currently the best QB in Fantasy and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Aside from an INT by Earl Thomas, Dalton was terrific, especially when the game was on the line. This Bengals team seems like the real deal. I know they haven’t won a playoff game under Marvin Lewis, but something seems different this year. We will see how things play out, but I fully expect Cincy to run away with the AFC North. As for the Seahawks, this isn’t their year. They are struggling to protect Russell Wilson, and the legion of boom isn’t stifling offenses the way they have the last couple of years. One bright spot is that Thomas Rawls went ape shit bananas yesterday in Marshawn Lynch’s absence, running for a staggering 169 yards.
Browns/Ravens: I can’t talk about the AFC North without at least mentioning the Browns. If you’ve been playing Josh McCown on your fantasy team the last couple weeks, you’re stoked. Old boy went ballistic yesterday throwing for 457 yards and 2 TD’s. The Ravens’ defense is clearly a disaster without Terrell Suggs on the field, and it’s hard to argue that this division isn’t owned by Ohio, at least until Ben Roethlisberger gets healthy.
Broncos/Raiders: Broncos are undefeated. But not really in emphatic fashion. Their defense appears to be historically great, but what the hell is going on with Peyton Manning’s offense?
That’s it for this week, y’all. Tonight’s game is sort of a “who cares” game between the Steelers and Chargers. I’ll be tuning in, however, and I expect Philip Rivers to play well in prime time. Neither team is particularly impressive, but San Diego should win this one at home by at least a touchdown.
Paul Waggoner’s DraftKings fantasy football picks for the week:
- Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans ($7,000). Houston has a lack of depth at the WR position, so they will rely heavily on the run and short passes which will also likely involve Foster (9 receptions for 77 yards Thursday night). Matched up against a Jacksonville defense that just surrendered 123 rushing yards and 2 TDs to Doug Martin, I would expect Foster to have a big game.
- Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland ($4,400). Kinda risky since Cleveland will be matched up against the robust Denver defense, but Josh McCown and Gary Barnidge have established quite the chemistry. Barnidge was targeted 10 times yesterday and had 8 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland will have to throw the ball, for better or worse, against Denver. This could result in another big game for Barnidge.
- Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($5,000). Call me crazy, but I actually think Colin may have gotten some mojo back last night against the Giants. Next week Baltimore comes to town and clearly the Ravens’ defense is porous to say the least. Colin could have a big day on the ground and in the air.
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