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RUSSELL WILSON RUNS WILD IN LOSS

Ian Riley Staff Writer October 7, 2013 1:35PM EST
Seattle suffered their first defeat on the road in Indy despite the efforts of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson. He finished the day completing 15-of-31 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a lost fumble. The Colts had him under constant pressure all game long and Wilson’s elusiveness in the pocket led to a career high 102 rushing yards. Obviously Fantasy owners who started him have nothing to complain about.

Russell Wilson’s legs are making him a potent weapon.  Photo Credit: bran.dan

Russell Wilson’s legs are making him a potent weapon. Photo Credit: bran.dan

Last season, Wilson carried the ball 94 times for 489 yards and four touchdowns. Through five games this year he has 40 carries for 234 yards, which currently puts him on pace for 749 yards on the ground. The obvious question here is, what’s the deal with the extra running opportunities?

The answer is simple, and it has been the poor pass blocking in front of him. Most of his yardage on the ground this year has been simply of the running for his life variety. Injuries to Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini and Max Unger have quickly turned a unit that was up-and-coming to a liability.

The fact that Wilson doesn’t take many hits and makes such good decisions means Fantasy owners can officially start trusting him on a weekly basis. I, for one, planted him on my bench this week to avoid what I thought would be a tough matchup on the road. This week’s performance should be further proof that you can now start him on the road and against stout opposition, knowing he will provide low-end QB1 numbers.

Observation

It’s been an interesting start to the season for the Dolphins Mike Wallace. Mainly because he has been an absolute boom-or-bust player. This week he went boom to the tune of seven grabs for 105 yards. Not a huge game, but when you take into consideration he had just five receptions for 46 yards over his previous two games, this outburst deserves a deeper look. In Week Two against Indy he went off for nine catches for 115 yards and a score in what turned out to be his only other good game. Coincidentally in both big games Wallace saw double-digit targets. In his three stinkers he combined for just 17; the two big games brought 27 targets. Wallace has cried for looks this season, and when he has seen them he has provided results. Expect Miami to start calling his number more now that he is starting to show some chemistry with Ryan Tannehill.

Speculation

Heading into Week 5 there were rumblings out of St. Louis that rookie Zac Stacy would get the start against Jacksonville. When you take into consideration Daryl Richardson was averaging just 2.7 yards per carry and Sam Bradford was tied for second on the team with 22 rushing yards it’s hard to fault a move. The Jaguars was a dream matchup for the rookie; they ranked dead last in rush defense, allowing 5.2 yards per carry. He ended up ringing them up for 78 yards on 14 carries prior to leaving the game in the fourth quarter after getting the wind knocked out of him. Richardson and Benny Cunningham combined for just 51 yards on 17 carries. Rams coach Jeff Fisher may try and play coy with the media this week in terms of who is starter will be next game, but it will be Stacy. If he wasn’t already scooped up this week he needs to be the top Waiver Wire add this week.

Revelation

Buy-low opportunities come and go very quickly in Fantasy Football. One big game is often all it takes for an owner to buy back in on that once down player. Eddie Lacy, who sustained a concussion on his first carry against Washington in Week 2, made his return this week. For your information he looked damn good. Lacy racked up 99 yards on 23 carries in the Packers win over Detroit. He ran hard in a game that was mostly tough sledding. Jonathan Franklin got just three touches. This performance firmly entrenches Lacy as the Packers bellcow. He didn’t hit paydirt this week, but the touchdowns will come. Heading into this week there have only been 13 instances of running backs receiving more than the 23 carries Lacy saw. If you don’t think getting your hands on a back that receives 20 plus carries is important then you are crazy. This kid has all the makings of an RB1.

Observation

San Francisco ended up thoroughly dominating Houston 34-3 on Sunday night football. While most are going to focus on how bad Matt Schaub was, I think an equally big story is how much trouble the 49ers have had throwing the ball. Since absolutely shredding the Packers in Week 1 for 412 yards and three touchdowns, Colin Kaepernick has only managed to throw for 557 yards and three scores while getting picked off four times over his last four. Seattle laid down the blueprint on how to stop this offense. Bracket Anquan Boldin on the outside with double coverage and don’t let Vernon Davis sneak behind your safety. Expect this to continue until Mario Manningham and possibly Michael Crabtree return to provide some quality options at receiver.  Kaepernick is absolutely oozing with talent, but he just isn’t worth using in Fantasy right now. Plant him on your bench for the time being. He still has plenty of potential to put together a great second half of the season when this team gets healthier.

Speculation

For a third consecutive week Cards backup running back Andre Ellington has had more yards from scrimmage that starter Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall received 44 touches to Ellington’s 24 while getting outgained 189 to 125. Arizona coach Bruce Arians specifically brought in Mendenhall to be his lead back, but he has looked sluggish compared to the rookie Ellington, who has been borderline dynamic. Arizona has struggled to sustain any type of offense, and an increased workload for Ellington would undoubtedly provide a much-needed boost. Expect to see more of him next week against San Francisco, where his speed figures to at least give the team a fighting chance. And in case you are wondering, he is currently available in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Revelation

It was only a matter of time before a receiver emerged opposite Brandon Marshall. The constant double-teams he demands mean single coverage for his counterpart, and second-year man Alshon Jeffery has learned to beat that single coverage. This week he absolutely abused it, hauling in 10 passes for 218 yards and a score in a game that many will consider his coming-out party. On the season he has 28 grabs for 429 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Marshall has caught 31 passes for 378 yards and three scores. Jay Cutler, who has long only had eyes for Marshall, has targeted the youngster Jeffery just two fewer times than the resident All-Pro (47-to-45). Jeffery is on pace for 144 targets, a number that would have ranked him 10th in the league last year. He was already on our radar as a WR3, but that type of usage makes him a weekly no-brainer as a start moving forward.

*All statistics include the games of Sunday, October 6.

 

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