Welcome to the league, Nick Foles (USP)
If you asked me to name one group of humans that isn't exactly known for its patience, I'd offer up Philly fans. But those are the folks who now need to avoid making snap judgments on Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles. We'll see how that goes.
Michael Vick suffered an early concussion on Sunday, so Foles finally made his regular season debut, directing Andy Reid's offense for two-and-a-half quarters. Foles was a preseason star for Philadelphia, earning the understudy role with a terrific exhibition campaign. As the losses have piled up for the Eagles, so have calls to give the third-rounder a chance.
And now we have tape to analyze, stats to review. As is often the case with first-year QBs, it's not all bad and it's certainly not all-good. Foles is a legit talent, a big quarterback (6-foot-6) with enough arm to reach his team's deep-threat receivers. But he's also a rookie, and they tend to do rookie-things.
After entering in relief of Vick, Foles' first throw was a lateral to LeSean McCoy, and the play gained five yards. Nice enough. His second throw actually hit Jason Avant in the face, yet it fell incomplete, forcing a punt. Foles' third throw resulted in a seven-yard gain for tight end Clay Harbor, but his fourth nearly became a pick-six for Dallas' Orlando Scandrick.
Foles finished 22-for-32, passing for 219 yards with one score and one interception. His first official NFL touchdown pass was a 44-yard missile to a curiously uncovered Jeremy Maclin; his first official pick was a deflected, off-target throw, returned for a touchdown. He also lost a late fumble, resulting in another Cowboys defensive TD. Additionally, Anthony Spencer had an interception negated by penalty, and Scandrick could have easily finished with three. So yeah, there was definitely some sloppiness.
Let's try to remember that Foles didn't prep to start this week, and he was facing a Dallas defense that ranks fifth in the NFL against the pass. It's much too early to conclude that he can't be the long-term (or short-term) answer for Philly. If Vick can't go next week, Foles will get a much friendlier matchup (at WAS), with a full week of starter's reps behind him. The 'Skins are allowing 301.7 passing yards per game; Maclin and D-Jax should give that defense fits.
Try to keep an open mind with Foles, gamers. Vick will be the starter if healthy and cleared, but he's got the concussion protocol ahead, and you've got a Tuesday waiver deadline.
Monday update: Andy Reid has described Vick's injury as a "pretty significant concussion," so you can't feel too confident about No. 7's chances to start next week...
"He was a little foggy last night," Reid said Monday. "Mike has a headache is what he's got — a pretty good one. He's tired. One of the things that is important is that he gets rest."
So you'll want to make a play for Foles, Vick owner. Yahoo!'s Jason Cole has reported that Vick might actually "be 'rested' for the remainder of the season by Reid and the coaching staff," as the franchise attempts to develop the rookie QB (and Reid attempts to keep his job).
Adrian Peterson, doing crazy things on his rebuilt knee (Getty)• I've really been struggling to come up with any historical comp for Adrian Peterson, because few athletes have ever recovered from a career-threatening injury on such a ridiculous timeline. So far, the only name I've come up with is Anakin Skywalker. You can make a case for Luke, too, after the hand was lopped off. But obviously those aren't perfect comparisons, because, well ... Jedis.
Peterson ran for another 171 yards on Sunday, giving him 1128 for the year. The man has topped 100 rushing yards in four consecutive games, and he's had a 60-plus-yard carry in three straight. This is just obscene. He had ACL/MCL surgery in December. Crazy.
• One more note from the Vikings' 34-24 win over the Lions: Minnesota rookie Jarius Wright had a respectable day in his debut, hauling in three balls on five targets, finishing with 65 receiving yards and a TD. But as impressive as his cameo was, you have to remember that the Vikes have a bye coming up, then Percy Harvin will presumably return to his do-everything role in Week 12. Wright isn't a guy that most of us will be claiming. Just a name for the files.
(Do I also need a blurb on Calvin Johnson's huge day? Well, if so, consider this to be that blurb. Calvin is a monster, and no one should be surprised when he hits the 200-yard plateau. 'Tron has delivered back-to-back triple-digit yardage games, so his owners can dial down the panic).
• We hit the highlights of the Atlanta-New Orleans shootout earlier in the day, so there's no point regurgitating it all here. (Quick hat-tip to Julio Jones for returning to the game after his early shin injury. That was a huge relief). But it's fair to wonder what the heck the Saints are planning to do with their backfield when Darren Sproles is ready to return. Chris Ivory was a monster on Sunday, gaining 85 yards on just eight touches, wickedly stiff-arming his way into the end zone on a 56-yard score. Mark Ingram delivered another useful game, too, with 67 yards on 16 carries. Pierre Thomas was an afterthought against Atlanta (six touches, 16 yards), but we've learned that New Orleans is willing to call pretty much everyone's number, at any spot on the field. So a muddy situation gets muddier.
• There are no easy answers to your Eli Manning questions right now, and the man himself rejects the tired-arm talk. He threw a couple wobblers in Week 9, sure, but still took deep shots. Eli put the ball in the air 46 times on Sunday at Cincinnati, completing 29 throws for 215 yards. He should have had a long TD pass to Victor Cruz, but No. 80 dropped the ball. So it goes. Manning also tossed two picks, both of them resulting from bad decisions, under pressure. (This was the worst. Awful. Not befitting a Manning). No team needs a bye the way New York does, and the off-week has finally arrived. Following the break, the Giants get Green Bay, Washington and New Orleans, so the schedule is fantasy-friendly. Hakeem Nicks returned to relevance in Week 10, catching nine balls for 75 yards on 14 targets. That's something.
Of course AJ Green was still the dominant receiver on the field in Cincy, opening the scoring with a 56-yard TD, finishing with 85 yards on seven catches. Corey Webster is still out there somewhere, looking for AJ. There's getting beat, and then there's whatever this is.
• Baltimore beat the Raiders like a piñata on Sunday, 55-20. The Ravens even scored on a fake field goal, while leading 41-17 late in the third quarter. There's something you don't see every day. Sam Koch had the best quote regarding that play...
Koch, the Ravens' punter, ran slightly to his left and went untouched into the end zone. He said he didn't notice if the Raiders were upset.
"Not that I know of," Koch said. "I was too busy doing high-fives and spiking the ball."
There was a fair amount of buzz surrounding running back Taiwan Jones leading up to gametime, but he was barely a rumor for the Raiders. Jones carried just twice for six yards; Marcel Reece took 13 hand-offs, gaining 48 yards.
Joe Flacco and Carson Palmer both surpassed 300 yards, but the Ravens QB did it on just 33 attempts (10.3 Y/A). Torrey Smith visited the end zone twice, while Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey each made one trip.
CJ Spiller, still waiting for a full workload (USP)• Fred Jackson may have suffered a concussion late in Buffalo's Week 10 loss at New England...
"I don't know if it's a concussion or not," said Chan Gailey. "They didn't tell me."
...and of course the Bills play the Thursday night game in Week 11. Thus, CJ Spiller likely gets a big value bump. Despite early-week promises that Spiller would have a substantial role against the Pats, he still finished with seven fewer touches than F-Jax. It's no insult to Jackson when we say that Spiller is the superior runner — CJ is better than most backs. He's now averaging 7.3 yards per carry, which is ludicrous.
We should note that Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 337 and two scores, the fourth straight time he's exceeded 300 yards against New England.
• Chris Johnson's matchup wasn't all that appealing this week — the 'Fins entered the day allowing just 3.6 yards per carry — but CJ nonetheless beasted, rushing 23 times for 126 yards. Check the cut-back on this 17-yard TD. That was vicious, almost from the Marcus Allen files.
Reggie Bush, CJ's counterpart, didn't have nearly as good a day. He was benched for a stretch following a fumble — "I deserved it," he later said — and ultimately finished with just 29 yards on five touches. Ugly line, helping no one. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was at least as bad, tossing three picks, averaging just 5.6 yards per attempt. Not your best work, Miami.
• It feels wrong to call Sunday's 134-yard performance a "breakout game" for Danario Alexander, because he's broken out previously. DX already had four 90-yard games on his NFL resume. Consider his big day a reminder that he's a terrific weapon, when his knees are fully functional. Philip Rivers delivered a decent fantasy line, as many QBs do against Tampa Bay, but he couldn't stop himself from hitting the bright red self-destruct button, per his usual. This throw may have been the day's worst, in any game — worse than the Eli pick linked above. Inexplicably bad.
• Another week, another frightening near-injury for Demaryius Thomas that turned out to be nothing. He was assisted off the field in the first half at Carolina, following a drop, but he later returned to a starring role. Thomas accounted for 135 of Peyton Manning's 301 passing yards in Denver's low-stress win. Cam Newton put up an acceptable fantasy number, passing for 241 yards and connecting with Greg Olsen on a pair of scores. But he was also battered by Denver's defense, sacked a season-high seven times and held to just seven rushing yards.
• Sidney Rice caught just two balls on seven targets against the Jets, but both catches resulted in touchdowns — and this one was like a gym class flag play. Russell Wilson was nearly perfect when throwing to receivers who weren't Rice, ending the day 12-for-19 with 188 yards. Marshawn Lynch had the great day everyone expected (27-124-1).
I have nothing to say about the Jets, because they haven't really earned a blurb.
Fine work, Bradford (Getty)• The Rams and Niners played to a tie in Week 10, which ain't easy. In this case, it required a pair of missed field goals in OT, one by each team's kicker. (You can hopefully forgive Greg Zuerlein, because his miss came from 58 — and it followed a successful 53-yarder, wiped out by penalty). Sam Bradford had a tremendous day, facing a degree-of-difficulty matchup, on the road. He threw for 275 yards and two TDs, completing 26 passes on 39 attempts, and he protected the football. Danny Amendola's return helped in no small way, as Bradford's favorite target finished with 11 catches for 102 yards on 12 looks, plus he had an 80-yard gain negated by a flag in overtime.
The dominant story on the San Francisco side, without question, was the Alex Smith injury. Smith suffered a first-half concussion, so dual-threat QB Colin Kaepernick took over, delivering 117 yards through the air and 66 on the ground. Kaepernick has some Tebow-style fantasy appeal, but if he's the starter in Week 11, he'd face Chicago. Not the best possible setup. Look elsewhere for fantasy assistance.
In fact, there's a chance that viewers will be treated to a Kaeprnick-vs.-Jason Campbell matchup next Monday, since Jay Cutler was also concussed this week (in a game that may have set pro football back 40 years. We shall not speak of it).
• Guys, I realize that an apology from me for today's Yahoo! site outage may seem unsatisfying and unhelpful — I can't adequately explain the technical side — but I hate to leave it unaddressed. I can tell you that a bunch of really good people have been on this thing all day, in an all-hands-on-deck sort of way. If you've been with us for a few years, then you understand how seriously we all take fantasy sports, at every point on the corporate grid.
I'm sincerely sorry about Sunday's issues, partly because one of my teams is now a smouldering ruin (Hernandez-related), but also because everyone here wants you to have the best possible experience. I'm confident we'll fix any and all problems. Thanks for playing here, and thanks as always for reading.
EARLY ADDS FOR WEEK 11
QB Carson Palmer, Oakland (vs. NO)
QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis (vs. NYJ)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo (vs. Mia)
QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia (at Was)
RB Chris Ivory, New Orleans (at Oak)
RB Marcel Reece, Oakland (vs. NO)
RB James Starks, Green Bay (at Det)
RB Beanie Wells, Arizona (at Atl)
RB Ronnie Hillman, Denver (vs. SD)
WR Danario Alexander, San Diego (at Den)
WR Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville (vs. Hou)
WR Donald Jones, Buffalo (vs. Mia)
WR Donnie Avery, Indianapolis (at NE)