Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:50am
Ravens running back Bernard Pierce ran hard through the middle for a pair of first downs in the third quarter Sunday, displaying no effects of a quadriceps injury that had hampered him for the past few weeks.
Despite Pierce gaining 13 yards and 12 yards on his first two carries, the drive stalled and he would see limited playing time overall in his first game back. Pierce finished with 30 yards on four carries in the Ravens' 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was his first action since getting hurt prior to the Ravens’ win last month over the Cleveland Browns.
“I felt good, like I was able to contribute to the best of my ability,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, that’s a start of more to come. Once I got in the game, it was starting to get away from us a little bit. We had to switch it up and go back to the air game.”
The Ravens ran the ball a season-low 15 times for 90 yards, but averaged six yards per carry, led by Justin Forsett’s 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro carried just five times for 18 yards. Forsett did add seven catches for 55 yards, and with the return of Pierce, seems to be the go-to guy in this crowded backfield right now.
Donald Brown had been anything but impressive in his time filling in for Mathews, then suffered a concussion giving way to Branden Oliver's monster game against what was supposed to be a stout Jets run defense. Oliver could be looking at another big game in Week 6 as the Chargers take on the Raiders. In Week 7, the Bolts play the Chiefs (another decent matchup at KC is 14th in allowing fantasy points to RBs) which means Mathews could be on track to return in Week 8 against the Broncos. Oliver is shaping up to be a nice pickup at least the next two weeks.
Broncos running back Montee Ball suffered a groin injury on Sunday that could keep him off the field for weeks.
A source told Mike Klis of the Denver Post that the Broncos think Ball will be “out for a while,” although they won’t know for sure until he has an MRI today.
The injury, which Ball suffered while blocking, limited Ball to just six carries for seven yards on Sunday. Ball has disappointed as the Broncos’ starting running back this year, averaging just 3.1 yards a carry through four games.
It hasn't been a good year for fantasy owners who took Ball. Although the schedule was going to ease up, the next couple weeks did figure to be difficult at least on paper (Jets Week 6 and 49ers Week 7). As the story pointed out, the good news is that the Broncos’ backup running backs played well after Ball went down: Ronnie Hillman had 15 carries for 64 yards, and Juwan Thompson had three carries for 15 yards and a touchdown. Hillman figures to be a solid pickup this week. The Jets rush defense was among the tops in the league, but was torched by San Diego's Branden Oliver in Week 5 which bodes well for Hillman in Week 6.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 8:51am
Carolina trailed 21-7 when it went to the no-huddle offense on its final drive of the first half and first drive of the second half of Sunday’s 31-24 victory against the Chicago Bears.
The Panthers scored touchdowns on each drive, tying the game at 21-21. Cam Newton completed 8 of 11 for 124 yards and a TD during two no-huddle drives against Chicago. Newton was particularly efficient during those drives, completing 8 of 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. He was 8-for-24 for 131 yards and a touchdown the rest of the game.
The story pointed out that Newton's numbers would have been better if not for some dropped TD passes from Kelvin Benjamin. It's a bit of good news for owners of Newton who have battled through his struggles for most of the season. The team has yet to unleash him to run due to his ankle and ribs, and the hope is that happens sooner than later. But the team's success in the no huddle seems to be a way to keep Newton productive.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 8:45am
Whenever he touches the ball these days, Antone Smith is expected to score.
The diminutive Atlanta Falcons running back entered Sunday's game against the Giants with three touchdowns in just 13 touches. His 48-yard touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 was highlighted on the weekly media guide going into the Giants game.
So what did Smith do? He simply scored his fourth explosive touchdown on a 74-yard, catch-and-run during the third quarter of Sunday's 30-20 loss. Smith's four touchdowns this season -- a 48-yard rush, and 38-yard rush, a 54-yard catch-and-run, and the 74-yarder Sunday --- have averaged 53.5 yards. And he has been battling a right hamstring issue since the start of the season, too.
Smith had four touches total against the Giants.
So far Smith as been getting about 2-4 touches a game. He's worth a stash if you have the room, but until we see more he's going to be a risky play despite his big-play capability.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 8:41am
Geno Smith is having a fortnight to forget.
A week after cursing out a fan after a home loss, Smith got benched at halftime as the Jets were blanked by the Chargers in embarrassing fashion. After the disastrous performance we found out that playing time wasn't all the quarterback missed this weekend in San Diego.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Sunday night that Smith missed team meetings on Saturday before the game.
A team spokesman confirmed Smith's absenteeism to the NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport calling it an "honest mistake" perhaps due to the 3-hour time change. The spokesman said Smith arrived 5-10 minutes after the meetings ended and caught up on info later with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. It was the first time Smith has missed a meeting, per the team. Rapaport added, per a team source, that players were surprised and frustrated he missed the meeting and didn't understand why he wasn't disciplined.
Perhaps the Jets head coach believes Smith just needed a breather in a blowout and doesn't want to kill his confidence. Maybe he thinks the second-year QB is the better option after Michael Vick didn't do much against San Diego.
Peyton Manning against a struggling Jets secondary is shaping up to be an ugly matchup. But it looks like the team is going back to Smith for Week 6, who will likely have to put some points on the board to keep the Jets in this contest. The Jets offense is not in a good place right now and should probably be avoided.
Branden Oliver will be a hot pickup this week and looked great against what was supposed to be a top-notch Jets run defense. We saw signs from Oliver last week when Brown struggled against the Jags. The Chargers get a great matchup at Oakland in Week 6. Shaun Draughn was signed as insurance last week and could see time as well, but if Brown can't go Oliver is already shaping up as a solid play.
Thomas threw his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter, an 81-yard catch-and-run to Andre Ellington.
With Carson Palmer inactive as he deals with a lingering nerve issue in his shoulder, Thomas is the only signal-caller left on the Cards' roster. If neither Palmer or Stanton can go, Thomas would likely get the call and the team would have to make a move for another signal caller this week. Arizona hosts Washington Week 6, a potentially good matchup. Stanton will have to go through the league's protocol if diagnosed with a concussion.
Graham originally went back into the game for two series in the first half (making a 23-yard catch in traffic on his first play back).
But after several chats with doctors and trainers between series, he eventually went into the locker room for X-rays and was later ruled out.
After the game, coach Sean Payton didn't provide a specific update on Graham's status.
"The key is being able to function at full speed," Payton said. "So I think we were smart and got a chance to take a peek and decided we were gonna wait."
The Saints weren't very forthcoming about Graham's injury, but perhaps we can take some good news out of it that he did re-enter the game even though he eventually left for good. Per Pro Football Talk, it's a sprained shoulder and the injury isn't believed to be serious. Obviously it would be a huge loss for the Saints and for fantasy owners if Graham misses time. The Saints have a bye in Week 6 which looks like it comes at a great time.
Jake Locker is once again injured for the Tennessee Titans. The team's starting quarterback left the second quarter of Sunday's 29-28 loss against the Cleveland Browns with a right thumb injury and remained out.
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game that's he's not sure how serious the injury is. Locker added he will have an MRI on Monday.
Locker was hurt on a play that saw Browns cornerback Buster Skrine hit the quarterback high as he was attempting a third-down pass attempt in Cleveland territory.
The Giants are labeling the injury a sprain. Jennings will undergo an MRI on Monday.
"We’ll find out more tomorrow," Jennings said. "We’ll see what the MRI says. But I should be all right, that’s how I feel. Just kind of got ruffled up under the pile a little bit."
Entering the day, Jennings was third in the NFL in rushing yards (341), behind only Dallas' DeMarco Murray and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell (378). He had nine carries for 47 yards in the first half Sunday, and injured his knee on his first carry of the second half, an eight-yard gain. Rookie Andre Williams replaced Jennings and finished the game with 20 carries for 65 yards, including a three-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter. Peyton Hillis also saw limited action, with two carries for seven yards. Williams would stand to see a lot more work if Jennings can't go against the Eagles in a Sunday night game in Week 6. If you own Jennings, and Williams is on your wire, grab him for some protection against the dreaded "game-time decision" in what also is a good matchup.
Bush finished with six carries for 13 yards, plus two catches for 30 yards.
"I feel good, but we'll see," Bush said. "I'll speak to the doctors and trainers and we'll take the necessary precautions to do whatever I need to do to get healthy for this week."
The Lions suddenly find themselves very shorthanded on offense as WR Calvin Johnson may miss time. RBs Joique Bell and Theo Riddick were already ruled out for Week 5 and that left the carries for Winn who finished with 11 for 48 yards. Detroit takes on the Vikings in Week 6 who were just gutted by Eddie Lacy and the Packers. Winn could have some value if Bush and the others also can't go. Jed Collins is next on the depth chart.
Sunday, October 5, 2014, 7:22pm