Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Johnson vs. DET: It’s too late to go back on my prediction
of a rebound season for C2K, so…let’s just double down and give
him a thumbs up for Week 3, shall we? (Gulp.) Crazy, you say?
Granted, he’s certainly made me—and a lot of other pundits who
predicted a resurgence—look dimwitted these first two Sundays,
compiling a ridiculous 21 yards on 19 totes. Y’ouch! In his defense,
his team has been playing catch-up right out of the gate in both
games, and Johnson hasn’t had much of an opportunity to find his
groove as a rusher. At least, that’s a best-case-scenario way
of accounting for his paltry production. Some worst-case explanations?
His line is tragically flawed, his quarterback isn’t respected
enough to divide a defense’s attention, or he’s just flat lost
his mojo. Any way you slice it, this is his last best chance to
flip the script, with Houston and Pittsburgh on deck in the next
couple of weeks.
Morris vs. CIN: While we’re chasing bad beats, why not throw
caution completely to the wind and recommend The Mastermind’s
running back du jour? I traded away the last one I’ll ever own
this preseason (not at all joking), but it wasn’t because they
necessarily lack value. Morris’s value has never been higher,
actually. Nor will it be, I’m guessing. That’s the problem with
Coach Shanahan’s backs: They never really maintain any upside.
They come from nowhere, set the world temporarily ablaze, and
then throw up a few 15-carry, 30-yard duds and…disappear back
to nowhere. Put another way, they’re completely fungible. Today’s
Alfred Morris is tomorrow’s Evan Royster is next month’s Roy Helu.
Ride Morris while he’s hot and the matchups are favorable, and
then pawn him off on a more gullible league mate. I’m pretty sure
you’ll thank me later.
Sproles vs. KC: My goal this year in our two-QB, two-keeper,
PPR league was to grab the favorite hook-ups for the league’s best
quarterbacks (Brady, Rodgers, and Brees). Easier said than done,
right? Well, I snagged Wes Welker in the first round (more on him
later), Greg Jennings in the second, and Mr. Sproles in the third.
Done, done, and done. Favorite receiver, favorite receiver, favorite…er,
running back. Sproles was actually the guy I wanted most, and that’s
primarily because of his unusual hybrid status. It’s a passing league
now, and the only way, I believe, to separate from those who have
loaded up on stud wideouts is to grab guys who do the same thing
at different positions. Nobody does pass-catching from the running
back spot better than this guy. In fact, it’s basically all he does
any longer (no carries to date). He was 2011’s most targeted RB
and is well on his way to reclaiming that title in 2012. Start him
against a dubious Kansas City secondary.
Darren Sproles should be Spillerize the
KC defense in Week 3.
Grab a Gatorade
Stewart, & Mike
Tolbert vs. NYG: The Panthers have above-average talents
at the running back position. I truly believe that and so does
the Carolina GM, apparently. All were rewarded handsomely, remember,
for subjugating individual goals to those of the team in recent
seasons. Unfortunately, this Three Musketeers approach doesn’t
do us fake GMs a danged bit of good come Sunday mornings—or, in
this case, Thursday evenings. Do you plug in Williams, hoping
his larger share of touches ultimately leads to useable production?
Do you opt for Stewart (ankle), knowing his fewer touches often
result in more six-pointers? Do you take a flyer on…naw, that’s
desperation. The best of an above-average group of running backs
in Charlotte isn’t even a running back at all. Thus, you can ignore
these other guys.
Turner @ SD: In the event that I wasn’t clear enough last
week, his days as a relevant feature back are drawing nigh. Yes,
he scored a cheapie in the Monday nighter against Denver, but
it took him three carries (and a recovery of his own fumble) to
get in from the one. He finished up with a pedestrian 42 yards
on 17 carries, predictably added nothing in the passing game (see
previous discussion about Darren Sproles), and then celebrated
his ho-hum effort by going out and getting collared for a DUI
after the game. Hmmm. He’s unlikely to be suspended by the league
(since he’s a first-time offender) but even if he skates, he’ll
still have to face his formidable former mates, the Chargers,
this Sunday. All they’ve done in the first two games is shut out
Darren McFadden and Chris Johnson, two of the league’s more talented
meal tickets. Sit him again, and start thinking about long-term
Greene @ MIA: The Dolphins grabbed an important, morale-building
victory last Sunday by exploding for 35 points against the Raiders
in South Florida, a tally I’m not sure they’ll match the rest
of this season. Nevertheless, they’ll probably be competitive
most of the way because of a defense that does one thing really,
really well: stop the run. They’ve yielded just 2.2 ypc in the
early going, best in the league. This comes on the heels of a
No. 4 and No. 3 ranking in that metric for 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Thus, it’s not exactly a fluky sample size. Of course, Greene
should know all this by now. In six career starts against the
Fish, the former Hawkeye has carried the ball 63 times for 207
yards (3.3 ypc) and zero touchdowns. Moreover, he seems to now
be splitting carries with up-and-comer Bilal Powell. I think there
are significantly less risky plays this weekend.