Every year, the boys at The Shop get together around Thanksgiving and pick our Golden Shears team. It isn’t always the first-round talents, because when you take somebody in the first round, big things are expected of them. So you won’t see guys like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Marshawn Lynch, Demaryius Thomas or Rob Gronkowski on the list – even though their numbers or worthy of being mentioned.
No, these are the players who have earned their stripes through consistent performance especially those who were taken in the middle to late rounds. The votes are in. Here’s our regular season 2014 Golden Shears recipients.
Andrew Luck – He wasn’t in with the big boys (Peyton, Brees, Rodgers), but he is now. He has 10 300-yard games, eight of those with 370 or more, has accounted for two or more TDs in 11 games, three or more in eight games and four or more in six. If his name was Manning, Brady or Brees, he’d be a lock for MVP.
Aaron Rodgers – Sure, he was one of the first QBs off the board, but he accounted for two or more touchdowns in each of his last nine games, including four games with three TDs, one with four and another with six. If you have Rodgers, you made the playoffs.
Ben Roethlisberger (at home) – In six home games, Big Ben has thrown for 2,241 yards and 20 touchdowns. In six road games, he’s thrown for 1,464 yards and six TDs. It’s pretty easy to do that math.
Philip Rivers – He lasted deep into most drafts, but all you need to know is that he has played 12 games and has three TD passes in six of them.
Justin Forsett – He was supposed to be an afterthought, but has topped 1,000 yards rushing and has become more valuable as the season has gone along.
Matt Forte – Granted, he was a first-round talent, but the kid is the whole show in Chicago. He’s at a pace to rush 270 times for 1,100 yards, catch 104 passes for 870 yards and score 11 TDs. In a down year for RBs, those are amazing numbers.
DeMarco Murray – Another guy with a first round grade, but his production has been incredible. Ten 100-yard rushing games, eight touchdowns and 44 receptions are MVP type numbers.
Arian Foster – He dropped in the draft this year because of injuries and his missed three games. But when he plays, he can’t be denied. In the nine games he’s been in, he’s averaged 100 yards a game rushing and has 11 total touchdowns. He’s still the man.
Mark Ingram – He’s missed three games due to injury, but has four 100-yard games in the nine he has played and has scored six touchdowns – with either 100 yards or a TD in six of his nine games
Antonio Brown – He’s caught five or more passes in every game, has seven or more in 10 games, has 90 or more receiving yards in 10 games, has scored touchdowns in seven games and has two TDs in four games. He’s surpassed even the loftiest expectations.
Emmanuel Sanders – He’s not here just because I took him in our draft. He’s been the bomb. He didn’t score a TD in his first five games, but has seven TDs in the last seven and has seven 100-yard games this year – Demaryius type numbers.
Kelvin Benjamin – The Carolina rookie has eight touchdowns (caught in seven different games) and on pace to finish with 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns – not too shabby for a rookie in a bad offense.
Torrey Smith – Early in the year, he was getting overshadowed by Steve Smith, but, in the last nine games, he’s back to home run hitting. Of the 32 passes he’s caught, eight have gone for touchdowns.
Golden Tate – His lack of TD production is troubling (3), but he’s on pace to catch 107 passes for more than 1,500 yards – more than even his biggest fans could have expected.
De’Andre Hopkins – He has surpassed Andre Johnson as the main man in the pass offense, with more than 1,000 yards, seven games with 80 or more yards and six TDs.
T.Y. Hilton – What you look for in a wide receiver is consistency and he brings it. In his last 10 games, he has 80 or more receiving yards, a touchdown or both in nine of them.
Jeremy Maclin – Coming off of injury, he was down on a lot of boards, but has 1,088 yards and nine TDs already and has topped 90 yards, scored a touchdown or both in eight of 12 games.
Mike Evans – He has quietly scored eight touchdowns in his last eight games with three games with 124 or more yards. He has supplanted Vincent Jackson as the main man in Tampa town.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Owners had to wait four weeks to get him, but in the eight games he has played, he has topped 90 yards in each of the last five and has five touchdowns. Over a full year, that would come out to 1,400 yards and 10 TDs – killer fantasy numbers.
Antonio Gates – His number have dropped off a bit lately, but he’s the rattlesnake that bites. He has nine touchdowns in just five games – one TD in two games, two in two games and three in another. He’s still a home run hitter in his old age.
Greg Olsen – He doesn’t get the pub that guys like Gronk and Jimmy Graham get, but he is on pace to catch 80 passes for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns – numbers any fantasy owner can live with.
Julius Thomas – In terms of scoring, he has few peers. Of the 10 games he has played, he has 12 touchdown and the Denver offense struggles somewhat without him.
J.J. Watt – Really? Yes, really. Watt can be drafted as a tight end because he lines up there. He has five touchdowns this season, including three as a tight end. I didn’t vote for him, but enough of the boys in The Shop did to include him. Congrats, Double-J.
- What are the odds that my boy Andy Luck could hit the number so many times? In 12 games, he has thrown for exactly 370 yards in four of them.
- Can we get any more teams with 7-5 records in the AFC?
- The Seahawks are making their move and are sending a message to the rest of the NFC after posting back to back 19-3 wins over division rivals Arizona and San Francisco.
- Even with their loss to the Packers, it’s going to be hard to keep the playoffs from running through New England. As things currently stand, the Patriots have wins over all three of the other division leaders.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. Isn’t That Special – The Carolina Panthers entered play Sunday a half-game out of first place against a Vikings team that is battered and beaten. The Carolina defense did its job, but two blocked punts on special teams were returned for touchdowns that may have been the final nail in the defending division champ’s coffin.
9. Start Spreading the Booze – The Jets decided to go one dimensional and play small-ball with the Dolphins Monday night in hopes of finding some kind of spark. Instead, the Jets gave up 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in a 16-13 loss and have Sexy Rexy cleaning out his office for the next guy.
8. 52-O-Town – Coming off their upset win over the Chiefs, there was reason for optimism in Oakland, despite a 1-10 start. However, the 52-donut blowout loss to the Rams has Oakland looking as toxic and poisonous as ever.
7. Unwanted Dinner Guests – It was bad enough that NBC set up the postgame turkey leg chow-down for the Seahawks-49ers game on the San Francisco logo in the middle of the field, but when they knew it was going to be Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman doing the eating, not only didn’t they move the feast to somewhere less disrespectful, the only question Michele Tafoya seemed capable of asking was what a spit in the face it was that the players were eating in the belly of the best. Show some class, NBC.
6. Start Spreading the Booze, Part II – Remember when the Giants were 3-2 in October? Neither do most of us. The G-Men have lost seven straight and, with a road loss to woeful Jacksonville, it seems about time to implode the Tom Coughlin regime and start new with another coaching staff.
5. We’re Not In Kansas Anymore – The Chiefs were primed to set themselves up for a prime time playoff spot, but, after a loss to Oakland last week, doubts crept in and the confidence they had coming into their home matchup in prime time with Denver wasn’t as hot as was a week earlier. More rested and in front of Chiefs Nation, the Broncos run up down and over the Chiefs, holding the ball for 40 minutes and imposing their will on a team with a recent history of folding after Thanksgiving.
4. An Ugly Chick in Charm City – The Ravens had a golden opportunity to solidify their playoff positioning. Cleveland and Pittsburgh had both lost and the Ravens took a 10-point lead at home against San Diego, which had traveled cross-country for an early start game. Instead of locking down a much needed head-to-head and conference tie-breaker, the Ravens gave up 21 fourth quarter points and lost – putting a damper on their entire season and leaving more questions than answers.
3. The Valley of the Setting Sun? – The Cardinals had everything lined up their way to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC, despite a humbling road loss to division rival Seattle. But, with a loss to hapless Atlanta Sunday, the Cardinals have fallen into a tie with Green Bay and Philly for the top spot and have Seattle breathing down their necks. With a closing schedule that includes the Chiefs and all three division opponents, the playoffs are starting early in Arizona – by force, not choice.
2. Lie, Cheat and Steelers – The Pittsburgh Steelers have been their own worst enemy all season. No team from the AFC South other the Pittsburgh had lost to a team from the NFC South prior to last weekend other than the Steelers. On Sunday, they repeated the ineptitude, losing at home to New Orleans. At 7-5, the Steelers are still in the playoff chase, but Sunday’s loss combined with losses to Tampa Bay and the Jets have shown that the Steelers don’t belong in the postseason.
1. Here We Go Again – When Dallas was 6-1, they were the talk of the NFL. This Cowboys team was different from the struggling Cowboys of previous seasons. Since that point, Dallas has gone 2-3, with all three losses coming in front of the home fans. Suddenly, the Cowboys are looking like a wild card team at best and, with three of their final games on the road and their only home game against a much improved Indianapolis team, we may be seeing the typical Cowboys late season playing itself out again.