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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 2
Moss Does Not Grow On A Rolling Stone Bricked Cassel

Okay. I try not to be a conformist in everything I do. But it’s difficult to overlook the implications of Tom Brady’s absence in the New England Patriot offense. Now, I will admit, I did not see this game and I could not opine on how weather or other factors may have affected fantasy performance. But given the fact many fantasy owners invested their first picks on Tom Brady and Randy Moss, an early pick on Laurence Maroney and an early middle pick on Wes Welker, Brady’s injury had potential to drastically effect numerous teams in fantasy football. In fact, it did!

In the first post-Brady week, every fantasy manager with a Patriot as an integral part of their offense realized their greatest nightmare and every owner who resisted the temptation of taking a player other than a running back in the first round are patting themselves on the back. If Randy Moss goes off for another 2-catch performance like he did this week, could we see the Moss meltdowns to which we were accustomed in Minnesota and Oakland?

Patriots 19 - Jets 10

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Wes Welker
Hens: Randy Moss, Laurence Maroney, Jerricho Cotchery

Matt Cassel is no Tom Brady and while he managed the game efficiently, connecting on 16 of 23 for 165 yards, he could not put the ball across the goal line and he could not hook up with Randy Moss for more than 2 catches and 22 yards. Wes Welker was the only mark of consistency in the passing game with 7 catches for 72 yards. Laurence Maroney left the game with a shoulder injury (he came back) and thereby catapulted Lamont Jordan up the waiver wire charts with an 11 for 62 yard rushing performance. Sammy Morris carried the ball 8 times for a TD but ended the game with no yardage.

The Brett Favre era is shaping up to be a yawner with 181 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Thomas Jones second game out was not as productive as his week one outing, gaining only 70 yards and no TDs. Jericho Cotchery hauled in only 1 catch for 20 yards and Laveranues Coles gained 72 yards on 3 catches.

Bills - Jaguars 16

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans
Hens: Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew

Not much could have been expected out of these two grind it out teams and they did not fail to live up to expectations. The Jaguars came in with a depleted offensive line, being down two guards and it showed in their running game. Fred Taylor got the bulk of the carries after Maurice Jones Drew left in the third quarter with a leg injury (but came back in). However, the two running backs totaled 66 yards on the ground and 1 TD. For the second straight week the Jaguar passing game disappointed with David Garrard throwing up his third pick of the season, equaling last year’s total. No receivers put up any notable fantasy stats.

Marshawn Lynch came out of the blocks quickly with 28 yards and a TD on the first drive. But he ended the game with only 31 additional yards for a total of 59 yards. Trent Edwards led a flawless aerial attack throwing for 20 of 25, 239 yards and 1 TD. Lee Evans had a solid performance as a WR3 with 4 for 77 and James Hardy grabbed his first NFL TD as the Bills red zone threat. Fred Jackson will not make any starting rosters, but his 7 catches for 83 yards makes him a nice possible flex player in a ppr league.

Panthers 20 - Bears 17

Fantasy Superman: Jonathan Stewart
Fantasy Performers: Matt Forte
Hens: DeAngelo Williams, Jake Delhomme

Although a very good NFL game between two good teams, this was far from a fantasy lover’s delight. Most fantasy owners suffered from week one performances playing DeAngelo Williams in week 2 while Jonathan Stewart sat on most benches. However, in week two the roles reversed with Jonathan Stewart seeing 14 carries for 77 yards and 2 TDs against a tough Bears defense that gave up only 44 yards to Joseph Addai the week before (which seems like a lot after this week). DeAngelo Williams only went 31 yards on 10 carries. Jake Delhomme performed nothing like he did in week one, throwing for only 128 yards and an interception. The top wide receiver was Muhsin Muhammad with 5 catches for 59 yards.

Chicago’s passing game mirrored Carolina’s with Kyle Orton only connecting for 149 yards, Brandon Lloyd receiving the lion’s share, 5 catches for 66 yards. Matt Forte came back down to earth with a solid but unexceptional performance of 92 yards on the ground and 21 yards in the air.

Titans 24 - Bengals 7

Fantasy Superman: Chris Johnson
Fantasy Performers: LenDale White, Justin Gage, Chris Perry
Hens: Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Let’s begin with the positives here. Rookie Chris Johnson is on pace for a 1600 yard year, breaking the 100 yard barrier this week with 109 yards on the ground. Although he only could amass 58 yards on 18 carries, his 51-yard carry is the type of run which is expected from this speedy back when he is handed the ball almost 20 times. However, LenDale White is the red zone back, with Johnson only receiving one carry at the Bengal 20 yard line and nothing closer. Justin Gage nabbed five catches for 59 yards and a TD.

On the opposite side of the field, the anemic Bengal offense should have fantasy owners who picked Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson in early rounds, quite concerned. Palmer threw for 134 yards, two picks and no TDs. For the second straight week T.J. Houshmandzadeh only reeled in 3 catches, this time for 26 yards and Chad Johnson caught only for 4 balls for 37 yards. These kind of numbers from a QB1 and two WR1’s can be devastating to fantasy owners. One bright light for the Bengals is that Chris Perry shouldered a substantial load of 21 carries for 64 yards and 1 TD. While these numbers do not sound great, keep in mind that the Titan defense only gave up 34 yards on 17 carries to Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew the week before.

Redskins 29 - Saints 24

Fantasy Superman: Santana Moss, Clinton Portis
Fantasy Performers: Jason Campbell, Chris Cooley, Reggie Bush (in PPR)*
Hens: Drew Brees, Jeremy Shockey

If Drew Brees were Kerry Collins, 216 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks would not be horrible. However, Brees was slated to have one of the top weeks against the Redskins defense, and therefore, fantasy owners received limited points from a top producer. Jeremy Shockey also let down team owners who picked him in the middle of the Tight End run, with only 2 catches for 22 yards and a fumble. Reggie Bush once again hauled in more receptions than any of the receivers, and in a point per reception league, his 7 catches for 63 yards and 28 yards on the ground were not bad for an RB2. The goal line carries however, went to Pierre Thomas. (*In those leagues where individual return yards count, Bush had another stud-like day with a punt return for a TD).

Clinton Portis put up average numbers in the first half but turned it on with two second half touchdowns and 96 yards on the ground. Santana Moss had a banner day with 164 yards on 7 catches, one for 67 yards and a TD and a 27-yard run. The only drawback is that in leagues that do not require three wide receivers, Moss was riding a lot of benches and his performance was wasted. Jason Campbell was helped out significantly by Moss and went 24 for 36, 321 yards and a TD. He also hooked up with Chris Cooley 5 times for 72, giving Cooley owners a glimpse of hope after last week.

Colts 18 - Vikings 15

Fantasy Superman: Adrian Peterson, Anthony Gonzalez, Ryan Longwell
Fantasy Performers: Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning
Hens: Marvin Harrison, Joseph Addai, Tarvaris Jackson

For those of us who selected any of the Colts typically selected in the first two rounds, we were collectively holding our fantasy breaths until there were only a few minutes left in the third quarter. While Anthony Gonzalez was obviously making up for the embarrassment he suffered at the hands of his alma mater’s drubbing on Saturday, his 9 catches for 137 yards made few fantasy owners too happy as he likely rode the bench in most formats. Reggie Wayne’s slow start of 1 catch for 4 yards materialized into 5 catches for 93 yards and 1 TD late in the game. However, Marvin Harrison never got off the ground and only hauled in 1 catch for 16 yards. Peyton Manning threw for over 300 yards, but he threw twice as many interceptions (2) as he did TDs. Joseph Addai can’t make any fantasy owners happy who jumped to grab him early in the first round after the Steven Jackson holdout, with 15 carries for 20 yards (although he did punch in a 1 yard TD). That is now 64 yards on the ground and 16 in the air over a two-week span. Perhaps the loss of Jeff Saturday, or the absence of Peyton Manning all summer is hindering this juggernaut of a team more than anticipated.

Adrian Peterson is presently on pace for a 2000 yard season and although he did not cross the goal line, 180 combined yards has to make those owners who drafted him ahead of LaDanian Tomlinson quite pleased with their choice after two weeks. However, absent Ryan Longwell’s 5 field goals, there is nothing else to write home about coming out of the Viking offense. Tavaris Jackson’s 1 yard rush cannot be all too pleasing for anyone who looked at last week’s numbers and said “that would be like throwing for another 100 yards.”

Packers 48 - Lions 25

Fantasy Superman: Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson
Fantasy Performers: Brandon Jackson, Donald Driver, Jon Kitna
Hens: Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith

Starting running backs were a true disappointment in this offensive match-up. Ryan Grant had Joseph Addai like numbers without crossing the goal line, going 15 for 20. However, his back-up Brandon Jackson performed nicely with over 50 of his 61 yards and a TD in the last quarter. But, once again, the Lions defense looked porous, this time in the air, giving up 328 yards and 3 TDs to Aaron Rodgers, making Packer nation forget the name Brett…something. Greg Jennings may not have crossed the goal line, but 6 catches for 167 yards is nothing to sneeze at. Ever reliable Donald Driver caught 7 for 52 yards and 1 TD. James Jones is also a guy to stash away after 4 catches and 1 TD.

As earlier noted, the running game was stalled with Kevin Smith going 10 for 40 yards and only partially produced in ppr leagues with 4 receptions for 21 yards. As a side note, Rudi Johnson is still not posing any threat to take away carries, receiving 1 carry all day. But it was the Calvin Johnson show with Megatron grabbing 6 for 129 and 2 TDs. Roy Williams was relatively disappointing with only 3 catches for 48 yards. Jon Kitna’s 2 TDs and 276 yards was overshadowed by his 3 interceptions, which left him with only an average performance in formats giving negative points for interceptions.

Giants 42 - Rams 13

Fantasy Superman: Eli Manning
Fantasy Performers: Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Brandon Jacobs, Torry Holt
Hens: Steven Jackson

I’m hesitant to place Plaxico Burress in only the performer section, but this was the Ram defense. Plaxico Burress had only five catches for 89 yards and a TD, while Eli Manning tossed it up 29 times and hooked up on 20 of them for 3 TDs. Thus, while Plaxico’s numbers were good, they were not great numbers. Brandon Jacobs ran hard for 93 yards, but his numbers were weakened by his giving up carries to Derrick Ward, his departure after three quarters and giving up all but one carry in the fourth quarter to Ahmad Bradshaw who got two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. However, since Bradshaw clearly looks like the number three running back in New York, his production should not merit anything more than stashing him away off the waiver wire.

It may not be pretty, but any means to put points on the board count in fantasy football and Torry Holt’s 45 yard TD gave him six catches and 76 yards with one TD. Steven Jackson for the second straight week has put up RB3 type numbers, which cannot make teams who drafted him in the first round all too happy. His numbers in a point per reception league however were not as bad as he hauled in 7 catches for 37 yards (with 53 yards rushing). At this point, Marc Bulger should not be considered anything other than a back up after throwing for only 177 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Bulger’s fantasy numbers over two weeks are only 335 yards and 1 TD with a pick.

Raiders 23 - Chiefs 8

Fantasy Superman: Darren McFadden
Fantasy Performers: Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Bush
Hens: Larry Johnson, JaMarcus Russell

It may be only the second week, but its official, Larry Johnson is no longer a fantasy threat. With his 12 carries for 22 yards in Arrowhead and his lashing out at team management, Jamaal Charles, who only had three carries, may nevertheless be a good pick-up off of the waiver wire. Three QBs saw action and it is clear that Kansas City’s offense is a mess this early in the season. The Raider’s coming off a pathetic Monday night performance and traveling half way across the country, looked like a powerhouse against the Chiefs’ offense. But for a 4th quarter TD by Tony Gonzalez and some late grabs by Dwayne Bowe, who went 6 for 90, the Chiefs put up no offense.

The Darren McFadden era may have officially begun when Justin Fargas pulled up lame with a groin pull. McFadden who was relatively silent in the first half, turned it on for 164 yards and 1 TD. A little case of fumblitis allowed Michael Bush to see some action and he may prove to be one of the two big waiver wire pick-ups this week with his 16 carries for 90 yards and 1 TD. If Layne Kiffin’s early statements about the horror that is the Raiders’ receiving game did not give cause for concern, JaMarcus Russell’s 6 for 17 performance for 55 yards should be convincing. Given those numbers, there is no wide receiver who could conceivably have stats worth noting.

49ers 33 - Seahawks 30

Fantasy Superman: Isaac Bruce, Julius Jones
Fantasy Performers: Frank Gore, J.T. O’Sullivan, Bryant Johnson, John Carlson
Hens: Matt Hasselbeck

I apologize for labeling Matt Hasselbeck as a hen, since he is not responsible for injuries to Bobby Engram, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Logan Payne, Seneca Wallace and Ben Obamanu. But nevertheless, he was played by many fantasy owners and his 189 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions did not help them out. However, all of these injuries, including the one to Maurice Morris may just turn Julius Jones into a fantasy stud with his 127 yards on the ground, 14 yards receiving and 1 TD. Once again, the top receiver in the Seattle offense was TE John Carlson with 6 for 78 yards.

J.T. O’Sullivan may be worth a look now after going 20 of 32 for 321 yards, 1 TD and 32 yards rushing. Frank Gore followed up his week one performance with a solid second showing (especially in a ppr league), gaining 61 yards rushing, 38 receiving on 5 catches 1 TD and a fumble. However, the stand out performance came from Isaac Bruce who hauled in only four catches but made the most out of them with his shortest catch being 27 yards for a total of 153 yards. Bryant Johnson also received a lot of looks, going 6 for 78 yards and 1 TD.

Buccaneers 24 - Falcons 9

Fantasy Superman: Earnest Graham
Fantasy Performers: Warrick Dunn
Hens: Michael Turner, Joey Galloway

The only Falcon players who merit fantasy discussion at this time are Michael Turner and Roddy White, neither of whom did much to impress today. Those who have Michael Turner on their squads came back down to earth after a blistering day against Detroit to see a pedantic 42-yard performance. Roddy White only caught 4 for 59 yards. However, Laurent Robinson gained some profile with 4 catches of his own for 45 yards.

Tampa Bay offered very little itself until Earnest Graham’s 68 yard touchdown run in the late 4th quarter, which gave Graham 116 yards and a 12 yard catch on the day. Otherwise, Joey Galloway followed-up his 54 yard performance in week one with only 2 catches for 18 yards. Warrick Dunn had nice numbers with 12 carries for 49 yards and 1 TD.

Cardinals 31 - Dolphins 10

Fantasy Superman: Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald
Fantasy Performers: None
Hens: Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Edgerrin James

This game was all about the Cardinals passing attack. Kurt Warner hooked up with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald for 293 of his 361 yards and all 3 TDs. Anquan Boldin got the better of his teammate by grabbing all three TDs, but they nearly equaled each other’s performance each with 6 catches and 153 yards for Fitzgerald and 140 yards for Boldin. As discussed last week, the goal line carries are going to Tim Hightower and this week, Edgerrin James 55 yard performance left certain fantasy team owners pulling their hair out. Tim Hightower got the rushing TD with 10 carries for 25 yards.

The Ricky Williams - Ronnie Brown tandem for the second straight week put up 20+ yard performances, each on 11 carries. Neither running back has yet to eclipse 30 rushing yards yet this year and Ronnie Brown’s 2 catches for 19 yards fails to enhance his value. Chad Pennington was replaced in the 4th quarter after going 10 of 20 for 112 yards.

Broncos 39 - Chargers 38

Fantasy Superman: Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler, Philip Rivers, Chris Chambers, Darren Sproles
Fantasy Performers: Eddie Royal, Vincent Jackson
Hens: LaDainian Tomlinson

I initially started this section with a commentary about learning not to get excited about first week performers. But then as I watched some of the worst officiating unfold and Eddie Royal took over. Royal, who had been silent all game, ended up crossing the goal line with both a TD and a 2-point conversion after the referees botched a fumble by Jay Cutler by blowing the whistle on what they believed to be an incompletion. Royal ended the day with 5 for 37, 1 TD and a 2-point conversion. But the story of the day is Brandon Marshall who apparently just handicapped the league with his one game suspension and then pasted the Charger Defense with 18 catches for 166 yards and 1 TD. Tony Scheffler is a definite red zone threat with 2 TDs and 6 catches for 64 yards. Jay Cutler had a huge day as well, throwing the ball 50 times, completing 72 % of his passes for 350 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception.

LaDainian Tomlinson’s toe was not better as he only ran for 26 yards on 10 carries and caught 2 balls for 14 yards. His back-up Darren Sproles had a huge day with 53 yards rushing, 72 receiving and 1 TD. In return leagues Sproles also ran for 192 yards with a 103 yard TD. Philip Rivers kept up with his counterpart Cutler, throwing for 377 yards and 3 TDs with 1 interception. His most productive target was Chris Chambers who went 4 for 83 yards and 2 TDs. However, his favorite target appeared to Vincent Jackson who reeled in 6 catches for 73 yards. Antonio Gates had a decent day with 4 catches for 62 yards.

Steelers 10 - Browns 6

Fantasy Superman: Willie Parker
Fantasy Performers: Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Kellen Winslow
Hens: Braylon Edwards, Derek Anderson, Jamal Lewis

Willie Parker may not have scored a TD tonight, but he rush for his second consecutive 100 +yard game and that is not bad for a guy going in the 4th or 5th round of most drafts. Both receivers came through for the Steelers in a wind and rain game, Santonio Holmes nabbing 5 catches for 94 yards and Hines Ward getting 5 catches for 59 yards and a TD. The rookie Rashard Mendenhall got no looks as he did not touch the ball once during these inclement conditions, suggesting the Steelers may still be concerned with his hands. Ben Roethlisberger looked relatively crisp, connecting on 60% of his passes for 186 yards and 1 TD.

The Browns looked more effective then last week and I would not abandon any Browns players just yet. But that being said, Browns players flew off the draft boards and none of them have performed yet. Braylon Edwards is still 17 TDs short of his prediction after hauling in only 3 for 32 yards. Jamal Lewis was hardly better with 38 rushing yards. Derek Anderson threw for 166 yards and 2 interceptions, but no TDs. Kellen Winslow was the lone bright spot, if in a ppr league, with 7 catches for 55 yards.