By Brett Malamud
Week four was full of blowouts, and it was pretty easy to point out the studs and duds of the week. The week began on Thursday night with a 45-14 Giants blowout in Washington, and ended with a 41-14 Patriots blunder in Kansas City on Monday night. It was quite the shock for many, and even though it feels like the season just started, the week could play a big role in the end of season standings for certain teams. Here’s week four’s edition of Studs and Duds:
Stud: Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli Manning…a stud? In a shocking twist of fate, Manning finished the week leading the entire league in fantasy points with 32 (in ESPN standard leagues). Talk about a comeback. Eli threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in what was nothing short of a blowout in Washington.
Dud: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady…a dud? Yes, Tom Terrific wasn’t so terrific on Monday night in Kansas City. The future hall of famer fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. Brady also was limited to one touchdown pass on the day. Brady will not be able to produce anything positive if he’s stuck behind an offensive line that cannot protect him. He was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter in the midst of a slaughtering.
Stud: Andrew Luck, Indianpolis Colts
This is the second straight week that Luck made the studs list, and for good reason. Luck threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-17 crushing blow to the Tennessee Titans. Looking ahead, Luck will face the Baltimore Ravens, a team that ranks 24th against the pass, in Indianapolis.
Dud: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
This is proof that you can move from stud to dud in one week. Kirk Cousins did just that, after coming out flat against the Giants. Cousins threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. Looking ahead, Cousins could stay on the duds list for another week, as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Washington for a week five matchup.
Stud: Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens
Smith faced his former team, the Carolina Panthers, in Baltimore this week. A 61 yard capped off a day to remember for Smith. He finished the game with 139 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Smith continues to produce for his new team, and leads Ravens receivers in all major categories.
Dud: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
For the man they call Shady, it was a very disappointing week. The 49ers were ranked seventh against the run headed into this game, and proved that ranking to be true this week. While Darren Sproles only had one carry for four yards, I felt that as a backup, it wouldn’t have been fair to be classify him as a “dud.” Instead I point at McCoy, who ran for just 17 yards on 10 carries. With that, McCoy has ran for just 39 yards on 29 carries in his last two games. I’d tip him about $0.20 for that performance.
Stud: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs abused Tom Brady this week, and forced a fumble and two interceptions, one of which was returned by FS Husain Abdullah for a touchdown. The entire team was happy to have the return of Jamaal Charles, who scored three total touchdowns in the game. Looking ahead, the Chiefs now will look to pair Charles with Knile Davis, who took over the starting job while Charles was out of the lineup with injury, to create a one-two punch that many teams have this season in the backfield. They’ll travel into San Francisco next week before heading into their bye week.
Dud: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have a lot of work to do. The men in silver and black traveled to the beautiful Wembley Stadium in London, England, hoping for a last gasp of air before they head into their bye week. Unfortunately, they failed to get much of anything going. Rookie and starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and sprained MCL and had to be replaced by third-string quarterback Matt McGloin. Why the third-string quarterback, you ask? Backup quarterback Matt Schaub didn’t travel to England with the team after his wife underwent an emergency c-section a week ago to deliver their baby several months prematurely. The team decided that it was best for him to stay home, rather than travel to London. That didn’t help the quarterback troubles. The day can be best highlighted by a shotgun formation snap in the third quarter that went about a foot to the left of Carr, landed behind him, and was scooped up by Dolphins CB Cortland Finnegan, who brought it back 50 yards for a touchdown. The game ended in a in a 38-14 Dolphins victory that sent the winless Raiders to 0-4 on the season. The bad news continued, as the Raiders announced Monday night that head coach Dennis Allen was fired. Allen was 8-28 as Oakland’s coach. An announcement on the interim coach is expected today. Many believe that offensive line coach Tony Sparano will be given the job, after he recently was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11, and has the most coaching experience of the likely candidates. We’ll see what ultimately happens but it’s a relief that the coach will have two weeks to prepare themselves with the bye week coming up.
Stud: Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
The rookie quarterback entered the day with high expectations and finished the day with no regrets. Bridgewater was excellent in the first start of his career, taking over for the injured Matt Cassel. The second round pick out of Louisville threw for 317 yards and rushed five times for 27 yards and a touchdown. He was carted off of the field with a sprained ankle but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer remains completely optimistic that Bridgewater will start Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.
Stud: Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo attempted just 29 passes in a run-heavy game for the Cowboys. But Williams made the most of his opportunities. The second year wide receiver was targeted a team high seven times, and he hauled in six of those for 77 yards and two touchdowns. As teams focus on stopping the Cowboys run game, Tony Romo will be given the option to pass. The man with the spotlight on him is Dez Bryant and with that, Williams should be able to produce a lot of strong stats moving forward.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy