Jacobs and the Time Machine

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Jacobs and the Time Machine
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Adam Levitan recaps Brandon Jacobs' stunning night, the Bears' win and all of Thursday's news in the …

No, this is not a box score from 2008. That DeLorean you purchased at the really cool yard sale doesn’t actually work.

Yes, Brandon Jacobs actually rushed 22 times for 106 yards with two touchdowns in Monday night’s 27-21 loss at Chicago. It’s real and it’s wild.

It’s unbelievable because Jacobs, now 31 years old, came into the game averaging 2.18 YPC on his 22 carries this year. He hadn’t been an effective player in the NFL since 2010 and may not have been in the NFL this year if not for Andre Brown’s broken leg.

Of course, all the knee-jerk fantasy owners out there (there’s only about 4 zillion of them) are going to kick themselves for not adding Jacobs and plugging him into their lineup. Don’t do it. Playing without Stephen Paea (toe), Henry Melton (injured reserve, knee) and Nate Collins (injured reserve, knee), the interior of the Bears defense – especially the right side – was a disaster. Jacobs, who probably runs a 5.5 forty at this point, consistently got into the second level untouched. A Giants offensive line which hasn’t opened a hole all season created tunnels.

What wasn’t a fluke was Jacobs’ push at the goal-line. He got two chances from inside the 4-yard line and converted them both by moving the pile. That’s here to stay – at least until Brown gets back.

Toward the end of the game, Jacobs appeared to strain his quad while trying to burst around the edge. Muscle strains and 31-year-old running backs go together like peas and carrots. All in all, it was a great night for Jacobs, one he can be extraordinarily proud of. But even if David Wilson (neck) is out more than a few weeks, I won’t be chasing these stats. Jacobs played what will be his best game of 2013 on Thursday night.

GIANTS at BEARS QUICK SLANTS
Jay Cutler (262 yards, two TDs, zero INTs) was pretty flawless. The Bears’ commitment to protecting him is certainly working. … Alshon Jeffery was inches away from hauling in two long bombs that would have gone for scores. He’s still a WR3. … I repeatedly called Brandon Marshall the best buy low in fantasy this week. That window is closed now that he had a 9/87/2 line against the Giants’ miserable secondary. He squeaked a little and he got greased. … Rueben Randle slipped down on what would have been his second touchdown of the game. He also was targeted on two of Eli Manning’s three interceptions. Regardless, the natural talent is evident. Randle remains a weekly WR3 as well. … Eli was picked off on two of his first five attempts, one of which was a bad miscommunication with Randle. The third interception went off Brandon Myer’s fingertips and sealed the game. No excuses, however – Manning now has an absurd 15 interceptions in six games. … Da’Rel Scott left in the fourth quarter with an apparent leg injury.

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NEWS OF THE DAY #1
Miles Austin (hamstring) has practiced in full on back-to-back days. He’s almost certainly going to play in Sunday night’s dream matchup at home against the Redskins. DeAngelo Hall is going to shadow Dez Bryant, making the matchup even tastier (if that’s possible).

The question, however, is exactly what Austin’s role will be. We know that when he’s battling a tender hammy, he shows less burst and is far less effective. You can be sure the Cowboys know that too. They also have third-round rookie Terrance Williams playing well, as he’s caught 11 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown over the last two weeks.

I’d plan for Williams to stick as the outside receiver in two-wide sets, with Austin playing the slot in three-wide formations. The Cowboys can monitor his snaps and not humiliate him. Then these two can stage an in-season competition for reps. For this week, I’d rather use Williams than Austin on my fantasy team.

NEWS OF THE DAY #2
Check out these numbers from last Thursday’s Bills at Browns game: C.J. Spiller 13 snaps, eight touches. Fred Jackson 50 snaps, 21 touches.

Obviously, Spiller’s ankle was the reason for this wide gap. The worry for owners is that it’s not fully healed.

Spiller was spotted with a bit of a limp on Wednesday and has only gotten limited practices in. The good news is that coach Doug Marrone says his explosive No. 1 back (yes, Spiller is still ahead of F-Jax) is progressing much better this week in terms of cutting and moving. OK, so let’s estimate he’s at 80 percent.

The problem is that this week’s matchup (vs. CIN) is not good and Thad Lewis is starting at quarterback. Marrone will want to protect his quarterback with the run game, but the Bengals will sell out to stop it. Spiller and Jackson are both weak RB2s for me this week.

NEWS OF THE DAY #3
A lot of folks are wondering what to expect out of Harry Douglas come Week 7. Here’s another clue.

Mike Clay’s oTD metric (a stat that measure touchdown opportunities) notes that Douglas is 27th among wideouts. He’s been targeted twice in the end zone and three times at the 1-yard line so far this season – despite operating as the third wideout. The takeaway is that Matt Ryan won’t hesitate to throw to Douglas in the red zone.

Now, of course, Douglas is going to be the No. 1 wideout. Julio Jones (foot) is on injured reserve and Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) is week to week. The Falcons should be spending their bye week figuring out ways to put Douglas in a position to succeed. I think 8-10 targets in Week 7 is a very real possibility, and those will include a chance for a touchdown.

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INJURY QUICK SLANTS: QUARTERBACK AND RUNNING BACK
Zac Stacy (ribs) returned to practice and will start Sunday’s game at Houston. … Stevan Ridley (knee) has been a limited participant in two straight practices. I’d tentatively expect him to split the base work with LeGarrette Blount Sunday. … Rashad Jennings (hamstring), Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Marcel Reece (hamstring) are all practicing in some fashion this week. Considering the tough matchup (at KC), it’s hard to like any of them. … Ryan Mathews (concussion) still hasn’t gotten cleared. Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown are on track to carry the mail Sunday. … Michael Vick (hamstring) is working with the scout team. He says he’ll be back for Week 7. … Shane Vereen was spotted with a cast still on his right wrist. The good news is he can stay in shape as he angles toward a Week 11 return. … David Wilson (neck) is going to be out a few weeks. We’ll find out if it’s going to be longer than that after a Monday doc appointment.  

INJURY QUICK SLANTS: WIDE RECEIVER AND TIGHT END
Calvin Johnson (knee) got a little individual work in. He’s going to be a true game-time call Sunday at 1pm. … Lance Moore (wrist) still isn’t practicing. … Stevie Johnson had a death in the family, has been away from the team all week, is nursing a back injury and has Thad Lewis as his quarterback. You have to find a better option. … Andre Johnson (shin) is expected to play despite a GTD tag. … Cecil Shorts (groin) did not practice Thursday. Owners need to watch this one closely as mid-week downgrades are awful signs. … Nate Burleson (arm) is targeting Week 10 for his return. He’ll slide right back in as the No. 2 wideout. … Vincent Jackson is in a good spot this week. He’s not on the injury report, is at home, is coming out of a bye and gets the Eagles’ Swiss cheese secondary.

DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Titans OC Dowell Loggains said he wants Chris Johnson to get more involved in the passing game. That could be big. Johnson has a very easy schedule from Week 10 on. … Matt Cassel is expected to start Sunday even though Christian Ponder has been medically cleared. Once Cassel coughs up the job, look for the Vikes to turn to Josh Freeman. … The Lions claim Ryan Broyles is ready for a full workload now. I’ll believe it when he starts getting targeted consistently. … The Jets signed David Garrard to be a player/coach/mentor to Geno Smith. … Andre Roberts’ snaps have been significantly reduced because tight end Rob Housler is acting as a third receiver. Neither guy is worth owning right now.

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