It’s Friday and time to put your feet up and talk about what’s interesting.
Ezekiel Elliott – So, Elliott’s suspension is on. The preliminary injunction was vacated (disallowed) and his six-game suspension is reinstated. It starts next week through Friday, November 24 after the Thanksgiving game. There are still legal maneuverings that Elliott could do: ask the same court to reconsider or ask for another preliminary injunction, litigate the case in New York or take the case to the Supreme Court. All possible and yet unlikely to prevail. Most now believe Elliott will have to serve the suspension.
As for the question of “who is the backup?” That has no clear answer. The official depth chart by the Cowboys lists Darren McFadden and then Alfred Morris. But McFadden has not been active in any game. Morris has played sparingly but at least he has played. What is most likely will be a committee of both. Elliott was a workhorse but it is unlikely that they’ll just stick in one of Morris or McFadden as a 1:1 replacement. McFadden is fresh but Morris hasn’t had that much work either. Both will play and if the “hot hand” becomes apparent, then that player will take a greater share of the workload. We cannot know that until they are playing next week.
G-Men wide receivers – In my 27 years of fantasy football and following the NFL, I cannot recall any team so decimated in one game. The Giants haven’t had a decent rusher since Tiki Barber left and the backfield changes annually to swap out mediocre journeyman backs. The pass has always been the most important and since Odell Beckham showed up – the strength of the offense. But in one game both starting wideouts were lost for the season and the No. 3 guy (Sterling Shepard) is week-to-week with an ankle injury.
This happened to an 0-6 team. I have to think that the Giants will try to bring someone in though they cannot afford much. The starting wideouts look to Roger Lewis (15 career catches), Tavarres King (4 career catches) and Ed Eagen (no career catches). I’ve never had to project for a set of wideouts that have never been starters in the NFL. And now all of them are.
Adrian Peterson – What a week for a team with no offensive line. First off, Adrian Peterson was traded to them for a “late round consideration.” Makes sense, he was getting no play in New Orleans anyway and the last thing the Cards want their season-ticker owners to think is that they are not still trying. But what to expect of a32-year-old back that averaged 3.0 yards per carry this year? Mark Ingram averages 4.0 ypc while Alvin Kamara gains 5.5 ypc.
Chris Johnson ran 45 times for 114 yards for a 2.5 ypc so the bar is low here. Peterson has to learn the playbook and run behind a below-average line. If he can deliver 50 yards per game consistently, take that as a win.
David Johnson – HC Bruce Arians said on Sirius XM NFL Radio that the “earliest” Johnson could return would be Thanksgiving. The “earliest” you or I could play would be this weekend. The reality is that all three of us are going to be chowing down for Thanksgiving and the closest we’ll come to a scrum will be diving in to get the last crescent roll. There is no timetable for his return and he is currently on injured reserve. How well his wrist does over the next few weeks will be key. But most do not expect him to play again this year. The Cardinals are already 2-3 and their only victories were 3-point wins over the Colts and 49ers. There will be nothing for him to gain coming back when the Cards are already out of contention.
Mike Williams – He’s due to make his debut this Sunday. He’s hard to remember since he’s never done anything with the Chargers so far. And the line-up already sports Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams with Travis Benjamin as the No. 3. But Williams is a 6-4, 225-pound star from National Champion Clemson that was taken with the 1.07 pick. He injured his back in the first practice and has been out since. He’s one to watch since he could get up to speed near the end of the season when you would need him most. Like so many other top-drafted wideouts from college, he’s started out with more injuries than production but that could start to change this week.
Move over Jonathan Stewart – Last night, Stewart rushed eight times for a net four-yard loss. That’s losing half a yard with every carry. So it made me think – how does that stack up against other futile rushing efforts? There have been 122 running backs that rushed for (-4) yards or worse. Since the 1967 merger, there have been 47 games where a rusher finished with a net (-4) yards. Getting worse: (-5) 31, (-6) 19, (-7) 12, and (-8) 8.
The Top-5 worst rushing games:
5. Ben Tate (-9) HOU 2014
4. Tim Biakabutuka (-11) CAR 2000
3. Jamel White (-12) CLE 2003
2. Lamar Smith (-12) NO 1999
1. LaRod Stephens-Howling (-14) 2012 ARI
Extra Point – I’d put my chips on NYG head coach Ben McAdoo not making it until the end of the season. At this rate, he might not want to answer the phone during their Week 8 bye. When the camera mercilessly pans him at bad moments, he seems to be thinking “Why does nothing work anymore? This is still football, right? Are there rule changes no one told me about?”