I’ve had a joke going with several friends over the past few weeks that Calvin Johnson has helped put the Madden Curse to rest, while we’re starting to see the emergence of an all new and much more powerful NFL demon – the Thursday Night Football QB Curse. Take this last TNF game, for instance. Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was just not-sh*tty enough with 165 yards and a TD to defeat the New Orleans Saints, who were led by Drew Brees’ 341 yards (good) and 5 INT (horrendous). Needless to say, by Friday morning, I already had several readers asking for this post.
Excluding the Thanksgiving Thursday games, which featured strong performances from Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III – hell, even Mark Sanchez wasn’t terrible – you had a double-decker turdburger from Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 11, a Blaine Gabbert-esque performance from Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck (he did rush for 2 TD in his defense) in Week 10, and Matt Cassel and Philip Rivers derping it up in Week 9. In fact, aside from Josh Freeman in Week 8, Ben Roethlisberger in Week 6 and Joe Flacco in Week 4, Thursday night games have been mediocre-to-awful at best for fantasy QBs.
I bring this up for two reasons – 1) Because Brees’ career low performance in Atlanta is almost definitely the fantasy performance that killed the most people’s chances this week; and 2) Because as someone who has Peyton Manning leading his team into the first round of the playoffs this week, I am terrified. But let’s go ahead and check out who we love and who we especially loathe this week, and share your own awful stories in the comments.
QBs We Knew We Could Count On: Andrew Luck (36), Cam Newton (34), Peyton Manning (25), Matt Stafford (22)
I guess I’m comfortable with Luck in this category now. He’s been close to spectacular in most of his games (save for the one played on Thursday). As for the rest, there were very few awesome performances from the guys we drafted early, which is very disappointing for this late in the season.
RBs We Knew We Could Count On: Adrian Peterson (28), Trent Richardson (15), Marshawn Lynch (13), Stevan Ridley (13), CJ Spiller (13)
I realize that Lynch, Ridley and Spiller have relatively low point totals, but those are the numbers that I would have basically expected from them. Like QBs, it wasn’t exactly a banner week for our elite RBs.
WRs We Knew We Could Count On: Calvin Johnson (23), Dez Bryant (21), Demaryius Thomas (21), Steve Smith (18), Brandon Marshall (16), Wes Welker (16)
A lot of WRs had great games this week, but a lot of WRs were awful. That seems to be par for the course this season. But Dez Bryant… man, that dude has me ticked off. Did you see his whole “I’m just getting warmed up” routine? Where was that in Week 1? Forget fantasy numbers and him helping to sink my auction league team, I guarantee that’s a question that Dallas Cowboys fans are asking.
QBs Who Broke Our Hearts: Drew Brees (3), Matt Ryan (12), Tom Brady (13), Aaron Rodgers (16)
Obviously, I feel no sorrow for anyone who gets double digits out of any player on their team. But we also expect more from Brady and Rodgers. I certainly expect more from Ryan, as his poor performances over the past few weeks have basically tanked my keeper team, as I hang on to the final playoff spot. I can’t wait til he’s benched for rest, too.
RBs Who Broke Our Hearts: Beanie Wells (2), Ryan Matthews (4), Darren Sproles (4), Chris Johnson (5), Marcel Reece (5), Reggie Bush (6), Doug Martin (9), Arian Foster (10), Ray Rice (13)
This list is way too long. The biggest concerns have to lie with Foster and Rice, because the former might lose carries to rest and the latter just isn’t being used properly. But I’d also be worried about Martin and the rookie wall.
WRs Who Broke Our Hearts: Justin Blackmon (0), Jordy Nelson (1), Eric Decker (1), Roddy White (2), Larry Fitzgerald (2), Jeremy Maclin (3), Torrey Smith (3), Hakeem Nicks (4), Julio Jones (4), Mike Wallace (4), Vincent Jackson (5), Reggie Wayne (5), Andre Johnson (5)
This list is way, way, way too long. I may start one of those White House petitions to get Larry Fitzgerald traded. There’s not a team in the NFL that he wouldn’t be better off with right now.
QBs Who Surprised Us: Tony Romo (31), Russell Wilson (30), Brady Quinn (21), Nick Foles (16)
I included Romo here, because I guarantee if you were playing against Romo this week, you were thinking, “Oh there’s no way he drops more than 15 on me”, and Foles was a nice surprise because you’d think that Andy Reid would be running the hell out of the ball with…
RBs Who Surprised Us: Bryce Brown (27), DeMarco Murray (15), James Starks (13), Vick Ballard (12), Jonathan Dwyer (10)
What happens when LeSean McCoy comes back? I say he doesn’t come back at all this season, which is a whole different nightmare for fantasy owners who used the No. 2 or 3 pick on McCoy and couldn’t get Brown.
WRs Who Surprised Us: Donnie Avery (21), Josh Gordon (17), Golden Tate (15)
I can’t imagine a situation in which a playoff-bound team would have needed to start one of these guys, but then again, I’m a stubborn dick who refuses to bench Eric Decker, so who knows?
All right, Leatherheads, who did you the dirtiest?