In our fantasy league, we all love Fat G. He can rattle off stats like nobody’s business. He knows his stuff. But, over the last couple of weeks, I had a hard time trying to figure out why he was hitting some of us up so hard to make trades for running backs. I found out why.
We typically get a group of the fellas together on Thursday to talk potential trades over adult beverages, barbeque and cigars and watch the Thursday night game – until we get sick of the blowout and disperse. Fat G has been making strong overtures to a couple of owners, targeting specific players. He already has Le’Veon Bell and Andre Ellington, but has been offering up significant players to try to land Matt Forte and a couple of lesser talents – he wants Bishop Sankey off my bench in the worst way.
I didn’t understand why until last week. As I was cleaning up The Shop of bottles, bones and ashtrays, I found a folded up a piece of paper. When I opened it up, I recognized Fat G’s chicken scratch immediately. What followed was confusing at first, but, when I did some checking, it was a list of running backs and the percentage of their team’s plays that they’ve been involved in. Seeing as Fat G has no Wikileak protection, here’s the list (without the cheese sauce stains on it). An “X” denotes a team’s bye week.
Montee Ball – 88-73-76-X-37-0
Le’Veon Bell – 79-87-72-81-66-83
Giovani Bernard – 87-64-65-X-80-69
Reggie Bush – 46-41-49-58-36-0
Jamaal Charles – 95-6-0-52-75
Andre Ellington – 53-64-74-X-86-76
Justin Forsett – 65-41-54-62-72-53
Matt Forte – 95-100-99-80-91-91
Arian Foster – 97-70-0-54-82-87
Frank Gore – 72-69-50-70-55
Chris Ivory – 42-38-33-59-42-38
Fred Jackson – 50-53-64-56-64-75
Steven Jackson – 44-36-31-45-36-36
Rashad Jennings – 68-73-75-44-34-0
Chris Johnson – 47-38-33-59-42-38
Eddie Lacy – 50-76-44-96-49-49
Marshawn Lynch – 64-60-73-X-65-69
Doug Martin – 51-0-0-56-66-71
LeSean McCoy – 67-72-74-75-75-59
Alfred Morris – 59-54-65-54-50-46
DeMarco Murray – 88-72-79-76-88-69
Stevan Ridley – 26-55-56-24-57-32
Bishop Sankey – 13-8-41-47-31-50
C.J. Spiller – 48-42-36-44-36-17
Darren Sproles – 38-35-28-27-26-33
Zac Stacy – 44-67-45-X-38
Shane Vereen – 71-30-39-58-40-51
Andre Williams – 32-26-24-41-51-47
Fat G, you magnificent bastard! What his list shows is what players are the focus of the running offense for their respective teams and which ones – even those who are viewed as primary back – aren’t. From just the first look, I took away some important nuggets of wisdom. Before he got hurt, Ball was the main man in a big way. Bush isn’t a fantasy starter. Ellington is working his way into that category. Forte is the bomb! Foster, when healthy, gets a ton of field time. Y2CK sucks. Lacy has worked his way into a time share. Beast Mode gets rest each game. Martin is on the rise. McCoy is rock steady. DeMarco is a stone cold killer. Sankey is getting more chances. Spiller sucks. And Stacy gives up more playing time to Benny Cunningham than he should.
With running back numbers being skewed this year due to injuries and suspensions, having this information could be vital for those looking to make a move in their fantasy leagues. It opened my eyes, but, if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if we kept this between us.
- With rookie quarterbacks all seeming to get their shots as starters, from Blake Bortles to Teddy Bridgewater to Derek Carr, the young squires are all getting their opportunity earlier than their coaches said they would. Oh, wait. What about Johnny Football? It’s not his fault. Dating back to last year, in the last eight games the Brian Hoyer has started, Cleveland is 8-2. In the 13 games he hasn’t started, the Browns are 1-12. Coincidence? No. Hoyermania is running wild in Cleveland.
- How ‘bout them Cowboys! Dallas is 5-1 win a win in hand over Seattle that could come into play if both of them make the playoffs. They likely won’t have to face the 12th Man again and, with their next three games at home, the Cowboys could do a lot of damage – setting up Tony Romo for late-December/early-January failure that has typified his career.
- Remember when the Colts were 0-2 and everyone in Indy was worried that the sky was falling? Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the poor house. The Colts have won four straight, including wins over each of their three divisional opponents and have them alone on top with a win in hand against them all.
- Things are almost unfair in Denver again this year. After a slow start, Demaryius Thomas over the last two games has been targeted 28 times, catching 18 of them for 350 yards and three touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Orange Julius has at least one touchdown in every game and is on pace to catch 29 TDs. And they’re in second place in the division.
- Dating back to last year, the Chargers have won nine of their last 10 games and are looking like they’re heading back to the playoffs one way or another.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. O-Fer September Moves to October – It’s almost become a running joke with Oakland and Jacksonville. The Jags had a chance to beat hapless Tennessee as time expired Sunday, but the potential game-winning field goal was blocked. Oakland had a seven-point lead with five minutes to play, only to allow San Diego 10 points in less than two minutes to end the game. Just lose, baby!
9. T-Rex Going Extinct – Rex Ryan knew his job was on the line this year after overachieving to finish 8-8 last year despite having a pathetic offense. Off to a 1-5 start, the calls for his large head are getting louder all the time.
8. The No-Offense Huddle – Sure, Minnesota is without four of its opening day starters, including Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph, but they’ve hit bottom the last two weeks against Green Bay and Detroit – wins they needed if they wanted any hope of being a playoff contender. Over the last two games, the Vikings offense has allowed more sacks (14) than they’ve scored points (13).
7. Kissing Your Sister? – I’ve never understood the saying that a tie is like kissing your sister. That sounds illegal for some reason. In the NFL, a tie is like kissing your shop teacher. The Panthers and Bengals both have playoff aspirations, but that tie may come back to haunt both of them, especially the Bengals, who missed a chip-shot field goal as time expired to keep the tie in play.
6. Go Big or Go Home – What’s with the Buccaneers? First they allow themselves to get trucked by the Falcons, trailing 56-0 before getting a couple of late, meaningless touchdowns. On Sunday, the allow Joe Flacco to throw five touchdown passes in 16 minutes. Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier may have the respect of their peers, but they don’t have the respect of opposing offenses, who are cutting them to shreds and at times doing it at will.
5. I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up – It’s amazing how the Panthers go through running backs like a fat man goes through hot wings. Through six games, Cam Newton is their leading rusher with 149 yards. DeAngelo Williams has missed four games. Jonathan Stewart has missed the last three. Mike Tolbert has missed the last three and Fozzy Whittaker got injured Sunday. They’re keeping Tim Biakabutuka’s phone number nearby.
4. 12 Angry Men (a.k.a. the Angry 12th Man) – There were a lot of people who thought the Seahawks were invincible. But, after losing to San Diego, signs of vulnerability were shown. Their previous home game, they got pushed to overtime before beating Denver and, on Sunday, Dallas showed them that their home field advantage isn’t a lock. What makes that loss so critical is that Dallas is 5-1 now with a win in hand against Seattle. Depending on how things turn out, that win could be the difference between playing a potential playoff game in Seattle or in Big D.
3. Atlanta’s Burning – When the Falcons took a 56-point lead over Tampa Bay it looked as though they were back in a big way. Since then, things have gone south in a hurry. The lost at Minnesota and at the Giants by 13 and 10 points. They needed to stop the bleeding at home against Chicago and got hammered by 14 points. This is a team going in the wrong direction because they don’t have a strong running game and their defense can’t stop anybody.
2. The Prune Pitts – The Steelers have won one, lost one all season long. But, in the AFC North, that won’t get it done. Not only are the Steelers in last place at 3-3, but the last two of those losses have come at home to Tampa Bay and on the road in a 31-10 dismantling by the Browns – a team they have always owned. With three straight home games coming, the Steelers need to right the ship quick or it’s going to be a long November on the road.
1. Escape From New York – The Giants were the talk of the league after posting their third straight double-digit win, but what a difference a week can make. Not only did they lose Victor Cruz (apparently there is crying in football) for the season, but they got jacked up 27-0 by the Eagles, which may just be the start of bad things to come. That game started a brutal stretch in which the Giants will play at Philly, at Dallas, vs. Indianapolis, at Seattle and at home against San Francisco and Dallas. If they can finish that stretch 3-3, they will be lucky. If they don’t, their season will be over by Thanksgiving.