Week 7: What I learned

Sorry about the absence. I have been busy building and maintaining the new microsite for Philadelphia SportsWeek, the Daily News' weekly sports magazine. If you haven't already, you should definitely check it out, especially if you're a fan of long-form journalism like me.

With no Eagles game yesterday, I got to take in a lot of NFL football. Between Fox, CBS, and the RedZone channel, it's safe to say I got my fill. Here's a look at 5 things I learned:

1. Arian Foster's back.

I was ecstatic yesterday as I watched Arian Foster run (and catch) all over the Titans on his way to a three touchdown day. Last year's fantasy MVP brought in 43.5 points for me in my work league, and even prompted an angry text from my opponent. It was just like 2010 all over again (except this time he was my top pick, rather than the steal of the draft).

Then, Karma.

DeMarco Murray went off for 32 points to take away any chance I had at coming back in the FIFL. The inevitable loss will see me fall to 3-4 on the season.

Murray, who got the start in place of injured running back Felix Jones, carried the ball 25 times for 253 yards including a 91-yard touchdown run. Granted, he was facing the Rams, one of the worst defenses against the run, but it's still impressive. Keep an eye out for this rookie out of Oklahoma.

2. Aaron Rodgers is really good...

So maybe this isn't a new revelation, but it is the truth. After a slow first half, Aaron Rodgers blew up in the second half - especially the first 5 minutes. He was 3-3 for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns in the opening 4 minutes and 31 seconds after the break. He also pushed his QB rating for the season up to 125.7. His career rating is 101.9. So yea, the kid can play. But we knew that...

3. ... and so is Cam Newton.

I still have some doubts about Cam Newton as an NFL quarterback (see 2-5 record), but as a fantasy QB, the kid is a stud. He averages 22.5 points per game and had the second highest points scored by a quarterback heading into this week.

Against a Redskins defense that had been allowing just 11.6 points per game to opposing quarterback, Newton put up a solid 25 points. He had a 127.5 quarterback rating his highest since Week 1 and completed 78.3% of his passes, by far his best mark of the season.

4. I still hate Tim Tebow.

Yes, Tim Tebow brought his team back. Yes, he threw two touchdowns and ran for a two-point conversion late in the game to force overtime and eventually beat the Dolphins. What's their record again? This may be a unwarranted shot at a Florida Gator by a former Hurricane, but can people please stop praising him?

He is yet to complete more than 50% of his passes in a game this season, and in all likelihood he won't ever be an above-average NFL quarterback. So why is he getting more publicity than Newton (see above)? Maybe he isn't. Maybe it just feels that way.

5. Kickers and defenses can put up points.

Sure, they're the red-headed step children of your fantasy roster. You neglect them, drop them during the bye, and basically don't even notice when they're missing. This week, however, Seven (four defenses and three kickers) of the top 30 scorers in fantasy came from those two positions. In fact, the Chiefs defense put up 30 points, which ranks them fourth overall this weekend. This wasn't a one-weekend anamoly either. Last week, it was the same story. Seven (also four defenses and three kickers) were in the top 30.

When you look at the whole season, however, there is only one defense (Ravens) that cracks the top 30. Clearly it's all about matchups. Maybe it's time to stop neglecting those positions, as plugging in the right kicker and defense can go a long way towards winning your matchup. Plus, there's always plenty available on the waiver wire.


I'll be back tomorrow with some power rankings for quarterbacks, which will take strength of schedule for the first 7 weeks and the rest of the way into consideration.


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Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at mmullin@philly.com. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin