Unconventional wisdom: Tebow wins hearts but not savvy minds
Despite leading Broncos to win, Tim Tebow performed poorly vs. Dolphins defense
In the last three games, Jake Ballard has 11 catches for 184 yards and two TDs
Lack of competition should give Jackie Battle plenty of carries rest of season
When you're wrong, you're wrong. Nothing you can do but admit it. Last week, I was wrong about Tim Tebow. Hats off to Tebow, who pulled a productive fantasy day together from out of nowhere to lead the Broncos to an improbable comeback victory, spawn an eponymous web site and get mentioned prominently on an episode of South Park. Unfortunately for Tebow and the Broncos, though, I'm not wrong about him for the rest of the season.
With 5:23 left in the game, Tebow had completed 4 of 14 passes for 40 yards. That's 2.9 yards per attempt against a Miami defense that had been one of the friendliest against the pass, surrendering 8.1 YPA in their first six games. Heroics aside, Tebow did not perform at an especially high level. I stand by what I said last week: Until he proves to be a legitimate threat throwing the ball, I'm selling Tebow. He may make a few plays here or there, he may rip off some electrifying runs, he may be exciting to watch and fun to root for, but he's not going to be a reliable fantasy option the rest of this season.
I seem to be the only person not worshipping at the Tebow altar. According to FantasyPros, Tebow's average rank across the web for this week is 10, while the guys at Yahoo! have him seventh this week. Detroit's defensive line should be able to get after Tebow as a runner, and he already failed in one juicy passing matchup last week. I'll believe it when I see it for more than five minutes and 23 seconds.
Amid the Tebowmania of the last week, DeMarco Murray let everyone know that Adrian Peterson isn't the only Oklahoma product who can run the ball a bit in the NFL. Murray's breakout, 253-yard game has him firmly among this week's top-15 running backs. The real question is, what is his value the rest of the season?
Jason Smith at NFL.com has Murray as the starter even when Felix Jones returns, which would ensure him a feature role in a high-powered offense. While I'm not ready to call him a lock for the rest of the season, I think he's worthy of being considered a solid second running back the rest of the season, with top-12 upside. Even if Murray holds onto a major role in the offense, Jones will undoubtedly get his share of the touches. Murray may have done in one game what it seemingly takes Jones five to do, but he's not the Lou Gehrig to Jones' Wally Pipp. He's not going to completely eliminate Jones from the Dallas' playbook. Murray's a must-start while Jones is on the shelf, and he's a great start against the Eagles this week, but if you can capitalize on the buzz surrounding him in a trade right now, do it.
And since I mocked being wrong earlier, I'll go ahead and own up to getting wooed and let down by Jones yet again. Please remind me of this next August.
Why isn't there more hype about Jake Ballard? In the last three games, Ballard has 11 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Those 11 receptions came on 12 targets, and it looks like he can fill the role of reliable pass-catching tight end the Giants always seem to find. He should see plenty of red-zone targets, as well, with the Giants being able to spread the field efficiently to expose the middle of the defense. He'll be a top-12 tight end the rest of the way.
Let's wrap this up considering the case of Jackie Battle, a guy who I don't think is getting his due for what he can be the rest of the season. While Murray certainly has a much higher ceiling and is the one I'd rather have, it's Battle who likely has the higher floor. As Montario Hardesty proved last week, sometimes volume is a running back's best friend. If the last two weeks are any indication, Battle won't have a ton of competition for carries in Kansas City. The fourth-year player out of Houston has 195 yards on 35 carries in that abbreviated stretch, getting just less than 50 percent of the team's carries. His environment has also improved, with the Chiefs three-game winning streak boosting their stock up to "kind of decent" from "potential doormat." The Matt Cassel-Dwayne Bowe connection is in the top tier or two in the league, giving Battle solid protection from the passing game. He's a reliable starter from here on out and carries top-20 potential.
The usual backups who will fill the holes among the top-12 quarterbacks, top-20 running backs, top 25 wide receivers and top-12 tight ends.
Quarterback: Matt Cassel
Running back: Bernard Scott
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Sidney Rice
Tight end: Jake Ballard (the last appearance he'll make as a replacement)
Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.
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