By: Mike Carlson
Week #9 of the NFL season is on the horizon which means we are a little over halfway done with the 17-week dissent into madness that is football fantasy football season. Not only is this sad because the end of fantasy football means we now have to have meaningful interactions with other people on Sundays as opposed to shutting out the world for hours on end, but also because weekends without football just don’t feel right.
However, in the spirit of looking at the glass (and season) half full, we can rest easy knowing that there is still a lot of football left to be played, over-hyped Johnny Manziel appearances to be had, and reality checks to be done.
So, let’s get started.
Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr: The former second round draft pick out of Fresno State has quietly put together an exceptional season as the Raiders’ signal caller. He’s tossed 15 touchdowns to only three interceptions and is more than on pace to surpass his rookie-year numbers. Moreover, he’s completing nearly 10 percent more of his passes and has developed a nice bit of chemistry with star rookie wideout Amari Cooper. What’s even more promising is that Carr has done all of this with a roster of offensive talent that is shallower than a kiddie pool. Sure, helming the Oakland offense will place a little bit of a ceiling on his week-to-week performances, but that doesn’t mean he should be brushed over as a viable option at quarterback. The Raiders will be in the hunt for a wildcard berth which means Carr will be depended more and more with every coming week. Don’t expect him to disappoint.
Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck: There’s no way around it, this has been a disappointing season for the former first overall pick. He has almost as many interceptions as he does touchdowns and has the third lowest QBR in the NFL. A lot of these struggles, though, have been products of terrible coaching and an offense that is in dire need of a vision quest. Granted, Luck has elite level offensive skills and a football IQ high enough to warrant him membership in Mensa, but right now things simply aren’t working for him. For those who drafted Luck in August, it might be time to for him to grab some pine until everything gets sorted out within the organization and he starts to play like the Andrew Luck of old.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams: After Le’Veon Bell suffered what was by all accounts a severe knee injury last week, it will, once again, be Williams taking up the lead-back mantle in his absence. There should be no questioning whether or not Williams can fulfill the duties of a starting running back. In his previous stint as the lead runner for the Steelers, he racked up 204 yards, three touchdowns, and a formidable 4.98 yards per carry. It shouldn’t take a long time for him to get back in the swing of things either as he’s been good when called upon to spell Bell. What’s most important, though, is that Williams will have fresh legs and a top 10 rushing offense at his disposal. He’s, obviously, no Le’Veon Bell, but he has the potential to be a close second in the final half of the season.
Denver Broncos TE Vernon Davis: Davis owners, undoubtedly, rejoiced at the news of his trade to the Denver Broncos. It was a much needed change of scenery for a tight end who was stuck in neutral under the perpetually sluggish San Francisco 49ers offense. Not to mention, the new guy throwing him the rock, Peyton Manning, is known for turning tight ends into megastars. Yet in reality, the only thing Davis did was trade one run-heavy offense for another relatively less run-heavy scheme. Plus, Manning’s numbers have been down the entire season and he’s attempting fewer passes than in the past. That’s not to say Davis will continue to wallow in fantasy football oblivion during his time donning the orange and blue. But, at the same time, don’t expect to see vintage Davis anytime soon.