My vision with this fantasy football recap is to write a weekly
article that digests the fantasy impact of players who may have
been picked too early, too late or not at all. It is not intended
to be just a stat digest. Accordingly, I immediately will identify
those who performed at top round levels, those who performed as
expected and those who laid an egg given their draft positions.
Because of time constraints, these articles will not focus on IDPs
or team defenses.
The Week of the Rookie QB and the Invigorated RB...
Falcons 34 – Lions 21
Fantasy Superman: Michael Turner
Fantasy Performers: Jon
Hens: Roddy White
Not since I selected Jamal
Lewis in his 2000-yard year have I been so excited about one
of my fantasy players. The Burner looked like Jamal, Jr. turning
22 carries into an average of 10 ypc for 220 yards and 2 TD. At
any position in a fantasy draft Michael Turner was a gem, as a
fourth rounder, he was priceless. It could just be the Lions defense
as Norwood also ran for 94 yards and a TD, so I am keeping my
fingers crossed. Matt
Ryan is looking a lot like Ben Roethlisberger in his rookie
season. Maybe he’s not a fantasy QB quite yet, but he ran the
offense pretty successfully against a questionable Lions defense.
Roddy White only caught two balls for 54 yards.
Both Lions wide receivers did okay, with Calvin Johnson going
7 for 107 yards and Roy Williams going 3 for 47 and a 1 TD. Kevin
Smith is not yet threatened by the arrival of Rudi
Johnson – Smith averaged 3 ypc on 16 carries with 1 td and
4 catches for 32 yards. Kitna passed for 262 yards, 2 TDs and
Ravens 17 – Bengals 10
Fantasy Superman: No one –
I might consider Joe
Flacco and Le'Ron
McClain as players who outperformed their fantasy value, but
then again, they had none, so anything would have been an outperformance.
Fantasy Performers: Ray Rice
Ocho Cinco, T.J.
A real fantasy yawner here, but Joe Flacco blazed into the end
zone on a 38-yard TD run that looked more like a walk. Otherwise,
this was really a game of what did not happen. Chad Ocho Cinco
could not get his new name on the jersey, which clearly affected
his play with only one catch. TJ Houshmandzadeh caught only 3
balls for 44 yards and accordingly Palmer’s numbers were
horrid with 99 yards, no TDs and one pick. Chris Perry averaged
2 ypc for 37 yards.
All the Ray Rice fans who were excited about their great sleeper
pick with McGahee out, must have gotten quite a rude awakening
when they looked at the statline to see the name LeRon McClain
as the leading running back with 110 yards (86 on the ground and
24 in the air). Ray Rice was not awful, putting up 64 yards on
the ground and grabbing 3 catches for 19 yards. Mark Clayton didn’t
have much to write home about in the passing game, but a 42-yard
reverse for a TD.
Saints 24 – Buccaneers 20
Fantasy Superman: Reggie Bush, Drew Brees
Fantasy Performers: Earnest Graham, Jeremy Shockey, Ike Hilliard,
Devery Henderson, David Patten
Hens: Marques Colston
Some very nice stats for the Saints against perhaps their nemesis
defense. Drew Brees hooked up for touchdowns of 84 yards to Devery
Henderson, 42 yards to Reggie Bush, and 39 yards to David Patten.
Brees ended the day with 343 yards and 3 TDs. Another 3rd-4th
round running back, Reggie Bush took awhile to start putting up
stats, but in the second half he gave Saints fans hope that he
will be the running back they drafted. In a PPR league he really
showed value with 163, 112 of which came on 8 catches. Shockey
fans have to be excited with his 6 catches, even though it was
only 54 yards and no TDs.
On the Tampa Bay side of the ledger, there were no fantasy superstars,
but no one laid an egg. Earnest Graham who was drafted as a RB2
or even RB3 put up 91 yards. Galloway and Hilliard who are for
the most part WR3 or WR4 each had 6 catches for 56 and 45 yards
respectively. Garcia threw 221 yards and a TD and interception.
Steelers 38 – Texans 10
Fantasy Superman: Willie Parker, Hines Ward
Fantasy Performers: Andre
Hens: Santonio Holmes
Once again, a 3rd to 4th round running back ruled the day. All
of the worries that Parker was going to lose caries to Mewelde
Moore and Rashard Mendenhall proved false. 25 carries for 138
and 3 TDs, more TDs than he had all last season. Given the fact
that Hines Ward was a forgotten receiving stud who fell deep into
drafts, his 6 catches for 76 yards and 2 TDs (along with a 60+
yarder that was called back), elevates him to Superman this week.
Santonio Holmes crept up the draft boards and was selected in
the same position as Fast Willie, but his performance wasn’t
even close to Parkers. I list Roethlisberger as a fantasy performer,
even though his final stat lines were limited because he did everything
asked of him. He connected on 13 of 14 throws for 2 TDs. I suspect
that even the run oriented Steelers will have to have a more balanced
offense when playing other defenses this year.
On the Texans side, Walters and Johnson got some garbage receptions,
but they still put up good numbers, especially Johnson in a PPR
league. Steve Slaton looks like a good fit to be the starter in
the Texan offense and given the fact that he was inaugurated against
the Steelers defense, who has held RBs like Tomlinson in check,
Slaton may go through the NFL thinking it will never be tougher
than it was today.
Patriots 17 – Chiefs 10
Fantasy Superman: Randy
Fantasy Performers: Wes Welker, Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe
Hens: Tom Brady, Larry Johnson
I may not be very popular after this statement, but my buddy
and I both looked at each other when Brady went down and uttered:
“That is why you never pick a QB in the first round.”
Of course injuries can’t be predicted, but when you decide
to wrap up your fantasy future all in one position, at the expense
of the others, and you can’t truly handcuff that player,
this kind of injury is that much more devastating than one to
a top tier RB. Given the fact that Brady may be done for the season
and given the fact that I saw him picked in the first six picks
in three different drafts, his first quarter departure makes Brady
the mother of all hens.
Randy Moss on the other hand makes you realize that Andrew
Walter could have been a good QB if Moss cared. Matt
Cassel, who looked simply pedantic in the preseason, threw
13 of 18 for 152 and a TD…to Moss of course. Moss went for 116
yards and a score. Welker did what Welker does, He made his six
catches, which was okay if you picked him as a WR3 in a PPR league.
Larry Johnson may have had 74 yards, but he did it on 22 carries
and was a 2nd round draft pick. That’s just not enough and
he is on pace to carry for nearly 370 carries again. Tony Gonzalez
and Dwayne Bowe each made enough catches to justify their draft
position in PPR and non-PPR leagues.
Eagles 38 – Rams 3
Fantasy Superman: Brian
Fantasy Performers: I should put Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett here,
but who had them on their squad?
Hens: Steven Jackson, Torry Holt
I have to start out with the bad here. Its hard to say that Torry
Holt laid an egg given the fact that this former perennial 2nd
rounder, went in the 4th and even 5th rounds of drafts this year.
But all you need to do is look at Hines Ward’s performance
and the sympathy card is out the window. Holt’s 1 catch
for 9 yards may not be so bad given the number of benches I saw
him riding today. Steven Jackson got his looks today and ran 14
times for a total of 40 yards, not one of which was a double digit
run. Not good for a top 6 draft choice by any stretch of the imagination.
Since Marc Bulger had little fanfare coming out this preseason,
his performance deserves little mention.
The Eagles may be scaring Cowboy fans as they looked good on
the ground and in the air. McNabb’s 361 yards and 3 TDs
put him amongst the elite QBs this week, only with Drew Brees.
Westbrook was……Westbrook with 2 TDs and 91 yards on
the ground, but only 1 in the air (which went for a TD). The biggest
surprise was DeSean Jackson, the Cal rookie who ran some great
routes, got separation and hauled in 6 for 106. It was the Rams
defense, but he may really be for real. I’m not impressed
by Greg Lewis’ inflated numbers. Other than a 52-yard catch,
he basically was not heard from until the last drive of the game
when the Eagles were up 38-3 and they were giving Kevin Kolb some
regular season action.
Titans 17 – Jaguars 10
Fantasy Superman: Chris
Fantasy Performers: Matt Jones, LenDale White
Hens: Maurice Jones Drew, David Garrard, Fred Taylor, Vince Young
Did I really say that David Garrard could be a hen? The problem
is that he was touted as a very safe pick with 6 TDs for every
interception and an ability to make plays on the ground. Today…not
so much. As many yards on the ground as he had interceptions (2)
and only one TD. Matt Jones on the other hand would make PPR owners
happy with his 6 catches for 80 yards. Either the Titans have
the toughest run defense (which they may) or the Jags running
game was anemic. MJD barely did it in the air with 4 for 37 and
did not do it on the ground (13 yards). Taylor only eked out an
additional 5 yards on the ground and Greg
Jones got the goal line look with a 1-yard TD strike.
While at the end of the game, it appeared that Chris Johnson
and LenDale White were splitting carries, Johnson got most of
the first half carries. Now that could be a good strategy –
tire the Defense with speed and then send the Whale down the gut.
Johnson performed very well in his rookie debut, with 93 yards
on the ground and 34 in the air for 1 TD. LenDale only went for
40 yards but crossed the goaline. Bo Scaife turned out to be the
number one receiving threat with 6 catches for 105 of the 175
passing yards. Vince Young got nothing on the ground, threw two
picks, one fumble and oh yeah, he got injured.
Jets 20 – Dolphins 14
Fantasy Superman: Anthony Fasano, Thomas Jones
Fantasy Performers: Jerricho Cotchery, Brett Favre
Hens: Laveranues Coles
Who says Brett Favre does not sell? I’m here on the west
coast and of the AFC games televised on CBS, I think I would have
loved to see any of the following games: Steelers – Texans,
Patriots – Chiefs, Jaguars – Titans. Instead I was
stuck with these two crappy teams (sorry Jets and Dolphins fans,
but the only excitement I got out of this game was a last minute
drive which could have had Pennington beating his former team).
Right now Anthony Fasano looks like the number one waiver wire
pick up with 8 catches for 84 yards and 1 TD. Since only three
teams in every league have Tight Ends to appreciate, letting Fasano
pass you by might just be a bad idea. The Dolphins tight ends
accounted for 137 of Pennington’s 251 yards. If you have a Dolphin
wide receiver on your squad, it may be time to dump them without
a single good performance among them. Where the preseason hype
Brown and Ricky
Williams both looking like good late round pick-ups, they
proved exactly why they were late rounders, neither reaching 25
yards on the ground and neither scoring.
Thomas Jones turned out to be as advertised averaging 4.5 ypc,
crossing the 100 yards barrier and scoring a TD. While Cotchery
had 80 yards and a TD (meriting his mid round draft selection),
his 3 catches should have Cotchery owners worried. Coles owners
should be even more worried since he was outperformed by Torry
Holt. I guess all that matters with fantasy football is the numbers
in the book, but did anyone see Favre’s second TD pass to
Chanci Stuckey. I think the fact that the wounded duck wobbled
to a guy named Chanci is ironic [which never would have happened
if Jeff Nugent hadn’t been injured – okay, that is
the only place you will see a kicker discussed here).
Bills 34 – Seahawks 10
Fantasy Superman: Lee Evans
Fantasy Performers: Marshawn Lynch, Robert Royal, Trent Edwards
Hens: Maurice Morris
Yes, I said Lee Evans was a superman. Granted it was only on
4 catches for 102 yards, but given the fact that Lee Evans got
drafted later than he has in the past and given the fact that
he lays eggs at the beginning of every year, a 100 yard performance
should make Evans owners super excited. Marshawn Lynch performed
decently for a late first round pick with 76 yards and a TD. Robert
Royal proves to be a solid Tight End with 6 for 52 and a TD. Edward
made no mistakes and threw for 215 yards and a TD.
Just when you can’t afford to lose another wide receiver,
Nate Burleson goes for 5 catches, 60 yards and a TD, before going
out with a knee injury. Maurice Morris gets labeled the starter
and ends up carrying the rock for all of 6 times and 31 yards.
No receivers made a name for themselves yet.
Cardinals 23 - 49ers 13
Fantasy Superman: Frank Gore
Fantasy Performers: Edgerrin James
Hens: Kurt Warner
This was a game where Kurt Warner made owners think of benching
Drew Brees. But all he did was throw for one TD and 197 yards.
Edgerrin James ran for 100 yards on 26 carries, which made me
reconsidered my philosophy on 31-year-old running backs, but the
fact is that Hightower got the important carries. The receivers
both performed okay, but not to their expectations. Fitzgerald
hauled in a TD, but only on 3 catches for 31 yards, while Boldin
hauled in 8 for 82, but no TDs.
I’m considering Gore a superman only because the concerns
attached to him in a Martz system. He broke of a nice 41 yard
TD run, 96 yards on the ground and 4 catches for 55 yards. If
it’s good enough for Bush to be a superman, it’s good
enough for Gore. Otherwise, this offense should go unmentioned.
Panthers 26 – Chargers 24
Fantasy Superman: Philip
Fantasy Performers: Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, Jake Delhomme,
Okay, I am a huge Tomlinson fan, but less than 100 yards and
no TDs for the number one pick of a draft, is an egg to me. The
Chargers came into this game with a banged up passing game, yet
Rivers looked healthy with 217 yards and 3 TDs, Gates 4 catches
for 61 yards and a TD and Chambers and Vincent Jackson each with
40+ yards and a TD.
Dante Rosario? Everyone was sleeping on Jeff King. Yet Rosario
caught 7 for 96 and a TD. DeAngelo Williams got the bulk of the
carries with 18 for 86 making his selection in the late middle
rounds payoff. Delhomme showed no ill effect from Tommy John surgery
with 247 yards and a TD.
Cowboys 28 – Browns 10
Fantasy Superman: Marion Barber, Felix Jones
Fantasy Performers: Jason Witten, Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton,
Kellen Winslow, Tony Romo
The Cowboys really controlled this game, in the air and on the
ground. Marion Barber made those who drafted late in the first
round and those who traded studs to move down to get him, very
happy with his 2 TDs on 100 yards in the air and on the ground.
He got the bulk of the carries and did not relinquish to Felix
Jones until he went out for rib x-rays. But Jones proved worth
the handcuff carrying 9 for 62 and a TD. Owens was Owens with
87 yards and a TD and while Romo threw for 320, he only crossed
the end zone once, which equaled his turnovers.
The Browns looked rusty, not having played together for most
the summer and going up against the Cowboys was a tough start.
But Winslow caught 5 for 47 and a TD meriting his early tight
Bears 29 - Colts 13
Fantasy Superman: Matt Forte, The Bears D
Fantasy Performers: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne
Hens: Joseph Addai
This is being submitted with two minutes left in the game and
frankly the Bears D seemed to rule the Colts. Matt Forte surprised
with a strong 123 yards and a TD.
Harrison and Wayne both looked good, but Addai, for an early
to mid first round pick only got 44 yards.
Giants 16 – Redskins 7
Fantasy Superman: Plaxico Burress, Brandon Jacobs
Fantasy Performers: Clinton Portis
Hens: Eli Manning
If the first drive of this game were the stage setter for the
season, Eli Manning could be moving aside his Super Bowl MVP Trophy
to make room for a league MVP trophy. 4-7 for 67 yards and a 1
yard TD run made the relatively few Eli Manning owners who played
him this week (except in 2 QB leagues) anoint themselves as their
respective league’s fantasy guru. The only problem is that
in most formats, Manning’s production for the remainder
of the game was one-third his production on the first drive. If
Zorn had remembered to load stick’em on the flight to New
York, Manning would have thrown at least four picks. However,
on the positive side of the slate for New York, Plaxico got targeted
13 times and made the best of them with 10 nabs for 133 yards
and 0 TDs. While the Manning-Plaxico hook-up had fantasy owners
licking their chops, Manning threw twice as many balls to his
WRs, RBs and TEs and came up with less receptions (9) and significantly
less yards (83). Jacobs also produced nicely with a tough 116
yards and a 5.5 yards per carry. John Carney signs after Tynes
goes out and immediately goes 3 for 3.
Very little to speak of on the other end of the ball. Considering
the utter lack of a passing game, Clinton Portis’ 84 yards
were pretty impressive. While I would like to get excited that
Randle El caught 7 balls for 73 yards, nearly half his catches
and yards came on the last drive of the game, when the Giants
were giving up the short passes.