Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Williams @ BUF: Remember him? It’s been a quiet half-decade
for the guy who once sat atop the fantasy RB heap (283.9 points
in 2008) and I’ll admit to having completely written him off a year
or so ago when the Panthers allegedly shopped him despite having
less-than-reliable alternatives (see Stewart, Jonathan) at the position.
They found no takers (which further fueled my belief he’d become
irrelevant), kept him around as a change-of-pace guy, and then had
no choice but to plug him in as the opening day starter last Sunday
when Stewart predictably ended up on the PUP list. Well, you know
what? They could do worse. Williams scampered for 76 yards on 16
carries against Seattle’s elite defenders in Week 1, giving him
286 rushing yards in his last two starts dating back to last year.
Wait, huh? Was I taking a nap when he ran for 210 big ones in the
2012 finale against the Saints?
DeAngelo Williams: Remember me?
Bell @ ARZ: I’ll tell you who I absolutely wasn’t napping on
this preseason. While others hyped Ben
Brown, and Bernard
Pierce, I couldn’t take my mind off the backup who outperformed
every one of them in 2012, and not by an inconsiderable margin.
Most felt the acquisition of Reggie
Bush would spell the end of Bell’s run as a relevant fantasy
option, but it appears the opposite will actually be true. He’s
Leshoure (healthy scratch in Week 1) as the change-of-pace option
AND goal-line back in Detroit and he’s still a vital part of the
Lions’ passing game. In other words, he’s not so much a backup as
a second option who gets semi-regular work and does plenty with
it. Bush outscored him last week, sure, but only two other backs
did. That includes ALL RBs, by the way, not just backups.
Ridley v. NYJ: Ridley’s owners had to be swallowing hard when
he dropped the leather on the Orchard Park carpet last Sunday, incurring
the wrath of his perfectionist QB and earning an immediate hook
from his even less indulgent coach. Hand-wringing and hair-pulling
probably ensued when Shane
Vereen seized the opportunity and ran literally all over the
place with it (14 carries for 101 yards and 58 more receiving yards).
Could a quick demotion or, at best, a 50-50 job share be far behind?
That’s probably where we were headed, but Ridley fans can rest easy
for now. Vereen has been placed on short-term IR and won’t be supplanting/complementing
Ridley anytime soon. That’s not to say a guy like Brandon
Bolden or LeGarrette
Blount couldn’t swoop in and keep the pressure on, but I like
Ridley to solve that fumbling problem and re-earn his coach’s trust
Grab a Gatorade
Wilson v. DEN: Did somebody say “fumbling problem?” Oy vey.
I don’t typically sympathize with struggling NFL players since
they get paid extravagant sums to play football, something this
5’11”, 175-pound desk pilot could only dream of doing. Nevertheless,
it was awfully difficult watching Wilson self-destruct on Sunday
night. His punishment, a seat on the Giants bench, seemed particularly
unfair since Eli Manning was giving away footballs like so many
Christmas hams. Such is life in big-time football, however. It’s
much easier to find a new running back than replace a franchise
QB. The New York brass made that abundantly clear by going out
and unearthing/re-signing former Giant, Brandon
Jacobs, on Tuesday. If a coach is willing to bring in Jacobs
to motivate his first-string meal ticket, he’s probably the kind
of guy who’d be willing to use him. Avoid Wilson until further
Miller @ IND: Another preseason hype-generator bites the dust?
Wilson’s Sunday certainly turned out to be a catastrophic one,
but Miller’s wasn’t a whole lot better. The only thing that may
have saved the young Dolphin in this case was that his backup
only slightly outperformed him. And that’s really saying something
when you consider that said backup, Daniel
Thomas, rushed for only 14 yards on eight carries. How bad
was Miller’s day, you’re wondering? At the rate he was gaining,
he would have needed 34 carries to net the Fish…a SINGLE FIRST
DOWN!!! Yep, the former Hurricane averaged about one foot per
carry against the Browns on Sunday, a microscopically small total.
We shouldn’t write him off for the long term just yet, but it’s
safe to say he’s a really risky play until he produces something
relevant. Avoid both Miami running backs this weekend.
Redman @ CIN: Mike Tomlin was pretty blunt in his assessment
of Redman’s Week 1 performance against the Titans: “He played
a bad game.” Gotta love a coach who doesn’t blow smoke up skirts,
no? Redman tallied just nine yards on eight carries in the Steelers’
humiliating home defeat and also put the ball on the Heinz Stadium
turf twice (losing one in very costly fashion). If we’ve learned
anything at all through this first week of the regular season,
it’s that fumbling is the quickest way to endanger your livelihood
as a starting running back in the NFL. Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh’s
brain trust followed New York’s lead and immediately reclaimed
a former Steeler, Jonathan
Dwyer, early this week. Though Tomlin has indicated Redman
will get one more chance to start, the leash will be dangerously
short with Dwyer back on staff. Look elsewhere this Sunday.