Scouting Notebook: One of those days

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

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Andrew Luck and the Colts had a Week 10 to forget. (USAT)

The Colts are the sixth team since 1978 to have lost a home game by more than 30 points when they were favored by seven or more, according to www.Spreadapedia.com. This is not going to be a line on Andrew Luck’s resume. He salvaged some fantasy production but otherwise it was one of those days. But he’s a very good player who still could be great even though at this moment, he’s overhyped. I mean, if Luck was as good as everyone says he is, he'd be Russell Wilson. And he’s not. And don’t tell me Luck beat Wilson because then by the transitive property Kellen Clemens is better than them both. Nonsense.

Wilson came into the week being pressured on the highest percentage of passes in football, nearly 50 percent. His arm is very underrated, too, given his league-best accuracy on 20-plus-yard throws while running for his life. If the Seahawks were so inclined, Wilson could throw for 300 yards every week even with his league avg WRs.

The Panthers defense is fantasy poison. And it’s better than the Chiefs in reality because it’s less turnover dependent. And since turnovers are descriptive of past good defense but not predictive of future good defense, I’d take the Panthers now in fantasy, too. Remember, the Chiefs have played three in a row and four of their last five against QBs who did not start in Week 1.

Everyone who says they "love defensive football" should be stuck in eternity watching a loop of this week's 49ers/Panthers game. That was just brutal. I was very disappointed in Cam Newton today. He lost an opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong so I must admit that maybe they are right.

Colin Kaepernick was even worse, if that’s possible.

DeAngelo Williams showed the full package on the game’s lone touchdown. It’s too bad he's 30, he would have been such a dominant player if he wasn’t wasted for so many years with relatively meager opportunities. Pierre Thomas is like this, too. I root for guys who have gotten less than they deserve in their pro careers.

I hate it when my guys are running clear outs for other guys. I always have the clear out guy, too. That's my bias.

Speaking of guys who benefit from the clear outs, the Wes Welker traveling fantasy circus took two weeks off for their bye, I guess. Many Welker owners, especially some who frequent my comments, keep insisting their dumb luck with TDs this year was actually smart.

And I’ll come right out and say that I hate heartwarming, scrappy overchievers. I thought “Rudy” was the dumbest sports movie ever (and I want to put “sports” in quotations). And let me be clear that Welker is a scrappy overachiever only among the gods who play NFL football. He's a god amongst us mortals. But I’m never going to buy these types or buy into them. And I’ll be wrong a lot because, of course, Welker is a good player. My belief is that over the larger sample sizes, measurables beat intangibles. And it’s not like only guys with physical limitations have these human factors. Great athletes have them, too. That’s when you get players like Jerry Rice.

The screen Denver likes to run to Demaryius Thomas should be outlawed. it’s so unstoppable.

Mike McCoy is the NFL’s best new coach. What a smart move not having his defensive players give hand signals because Manning knows them all. This was like rope-a-doping Manning. All of his pre-snap spy work was completely neutralized when the Chargers went into a wristband number system. These are the little things that will add up to derail the Broncos offense just enough ultimately, and it’s why you never want to peak as early as Denver has.

The worst thing about the replay rule is that it gives the announcers the spotlight to prattle endlessly. I want to drop “NFL Philosophy 101: What is a Catch?” How was the play today by Vernon Davis (where he fumbled) not a catch? The NFL just makes up stuff and tells us it’s a rule. Davis takes two steps with the ball and turns upfield and it's no catch? Go back to sideline rules, in bounds. If you get both feet down, it's a catch. None of this, “Receiver has to maintain possession until the score and date are written on the ball and it’s put in a clear plastic case.”

It’s bad enough your club is such an abomination, Jacksonville, but the pronunciation of your team name is not “Jag-wire.” If you said “Jag-you-are” you could at least be right in Britain. Here it’s Jag-wahr. Please learn this before you win another game, which could well be next October. And no arguing, either.

I never understood people who said Andre Johnson was fading in reality because of his less-than-elite fantasy production (especially in TD heavy formats). That was all play calling based (especially the lack of touchdowns). I’m a buyer now because he’s being better utilized, plus the aging curve on wide receivers is better than at other positions unless you are tall (6-foot-4 and over; tall athletes generally age more quickly).

Why are the Cardinals still giving more carries to Rashard Mendenhall? Today, 5.0 yards per carry on 11 totes for Andre Ellington vs. 3.2 on 13 for Mendenhall, an efficiency difference that was completely predictable.

That was a career-high 18 targets for Alshon Jeffery, who I think was doubled by the Lions more than Brandon Marshall, if the announcers are to be believed. I can’t tell until I see the coaches film.

Ray Rice's whole game now is like the runs where the back is just looking to set up the field goal kicker.

Speaking of Baltimore's kicker, are you kidding me with that celebration Justin Tucker? Now you know why coaches used to put bounties on kickers, well at least Buddy Ryan did.

Matthew Stafford has been much better in reality this year than I would have expected. I thought he was a rich man’s Mark Sanchez who just happened to have maybe the wide receiver freak of all time. But he’s better than that, not sure exactly how much better though. And whose fault is it that Johnson doesn’t get plays like his first score run for him near the goal line every time. It’s unstoppable.

I’m shocked that the Giants gave 30 carries to Andre Brown, who has proven he can’t hold up to a high workload. But perhaps this was weather based as the winds were swirling at over 20 miles per hour. But it’s bad news for Victor Cruz owners that even when it subsided, the Giants seemed afraid to throw against a Raiders defense that gave up seven passing touchdowns last week.

I wonder how many times a QB threw his first TD to a receiver who also caught his first one. I bet it’s more than we'd guess. It happened today with Scott Tolzien connecting with fellow Packer Brandon Bostick, who looks like the latest hybrid tight end. I give Tolzien credit for coming in and doing anything. He’s also home-grown by the definition (not playing a snap for another team). Green Bay has 50 of 53 players on their roster who you can say this about, by far the most in the NFL.

I believe in Riley Cooper now because he put together two impressive games in a row, which he’s never done before. Don’t worry about Michael Vick being the quarterback in Philly, either. Nick Foles (16 TDs, 0 INTs) has put an end to that.
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