PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 10, 2012

FANTASY FOOTBALL: Random thoughts from the 2012 season

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News

— It’s been a crazy start to the 2012 fantasy season, with a ton of storylines going on. Since my mind has been so scattered on all of these things, let’s touch on as many as we can, as we delve into another Random Thoughts column. … Here goes. ...

• #ChuckStrong.

• Seriously, that was a great, inspiring performance by the Indianapolis Colts last weekend. The whole sad situation with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano being diagnosed with leukemia was enough to turn my usual Colt-hating heart to mush as Indy came back to beat the Packers. Phenomenal moment.

• Sneaky subplot to that Colts win is how good Andrew Luck has been this season. He’s the 12th best fantasy QB in an ESPN standard scoring league, throwing for 1,208 yards with seven TDs and five INTs. In a strictly passing sense, he’s been better than Cam Newton. Of course, Newton provides more impact on the ground that Luck has.

• As good as Luck has been, RGIII has outpaced him fantasy-wise this season, ranking as the third-best fantasy QB through five weeks. His possible concussion obviously complicates things, but in a small sample size, he’s shown the ability to make plays both in the passing game and with his feet. Are there many more exciting red zone threats than RGIII right now?

• As Bob Griffin has been on the ascendancy, Cam Newton has fallen on hard times. Newton is being criticized on all sides, seems to have lost his way with star receiver Steve Smith and has come up short in some clutch game situations. Newton, however, is doing enough running the ball to make up for it.

He’s still the eighth-best fantasy QB, ahead of the likes of Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick, but it has to be a disappointing start to the season for Newton owners

• Is there anything more embarrassing than losing to your wife in fantasy football? A friend of mine had that happen earlier this season. He recently put his wife into a spot in one of his long-time leagues and helped her in the draft, since she is a first-time player. So, he lost to a team he felt he had kind of, sort of drafted himself.

But, since it’s his wife, he faces all sorts of martial problems if he brings that up. Which brings up the question: is playing your wife in fantasy football a lose-lose situation? Since I’m facing that prospect this weekend, I’ll let you know.

• Thursday night marks the return of a great TV show for fantasy football fans. The League will be airing its fourth season on FX starting at 9:30 p.m. How does a show about fantasy football run for four seasons? By being very, very funny, if you like off-beat comedy and jokes about ghost-monkeys. It may not be for everyone, but The League is a great addition to your fantasy football week.

• I’m still on the fence about this Thursday night NFL game, though. While I like extending the NFL week and having an extra game to watch those nights, it does pose some problems for fantasy owners. For instance, this week Rashard Mendenhall is going up against a bad Tennessee defense. It’s just his second week back from that knee injury, so we have less time to see how he’ll bounce back from playing Sunday.

He’s clearly the feature back in Pittsburgh, but they seemed to be easing him in to the role last week. Should you play him or stay cautious? Wouldn’t you like a couple more days of info on practice before making that call? It’s just a fantasy quagmire.

• Had an interesting conversation with another friend this week. He said he threw out Matt Schaub as a great fantasy option before the season. There’s no doubt Schaub has been an elite NFL QB so far, piloting the Texans to a perfect 5-0 record. However, he’s somewhat limited as a fantasy player. The Texans emphasize the run so much, especially when they have a lead, that Schaub doesn’t always have the opportunities to rack up big yardage and scoring plays.

On the other hand, Drew Brees is playing for a bad Saints team but is putting up huge fantasy numbers, because that offense is structured around throwing a lot, especially when the Saints are losing. That may be why some people have a problem with fantasy sports. In that way, fantasy doesn’t match up to reality.

• You have to feel bad for Jamaal Charles owners. The talented Memorial grad has shown flashes of being an impact fantasy running back this season, but he’s mired in a bad offense that just got worse with Matt Cassel getting knocked out. Any time the announcer says, “Now entering the game, Brady Quinn,” things are not going to be pretty.

While Charles has proven to be an explosive runner, as always, he’s been sort of an untapped gem in the passing game. Charles can catch the ball ably out of the backfield and could give that offense another dimension, like Darren McFadden did in Week 1 for the Raiders. Alas, the Chiefs may not realize that until it’s too late.

• Kudos to a pair of beleaguered fantasy receivers this season. KC’s Dwayne Bowe and NO’s Marquis Colston came into the season with some bad vibes. Bowe had held out after the Chiefs slapped him with a franchise tag while Colston had some injury concerns along with the rise of Jimmy Graham as the team’s top receiving option.

Both have proven those doubters wrong. Colston is the fourth-best receiver in ESPN standard scoring leagues, catching 28 passes for 444 yards with four TDs while Bowe has been No. 7 with 31 catches for 402 yards and three TDs.

• Are there any good waiver wire options at this point in the season? One intriguing name that may still be out there is Kyle Rudolph, tight end for the surprising Minnesota Vikings. The giant Rudolph not only has a huge catching radius, but also is a favorite target of QB Christian Ponder and is seeing serious red zone looks.

At a position that seems deep but lacks impact, Rudolph is a much better option than the more highly-touted Antonio Gates at this point.

David Coleman writes about fantasy football once a week. He can be reached at dcoleman@panews.com or on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.