Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — September 28, 2010 @ 9:56 am
Joe Flacco, Ravens
Last week he was moving down. This week he’s moving up, proving I can reverse field quicker than Barry Sanders. My, how quickly things change. Flacco got untracked against the Browns this week, going 22 of 31 for 262 yards, along with three touchdowns to Anquan Boldin. While I’m not ready to anoint him a surefire starter on a weekly basis, I’m certainly more comfortable starting him now than I was after the Bengals game. Let’s call him a matchup quarterback for now since, hey, it was the Browns.
Kyle Orton, Broncos
I am forced to put Orton here, largely against my own will. I am typing but I do not control my fingers. And I’m not even inebriated. There are no excuses. The stats pour out at me. The Broncos lead the league in passing offense. Orton is the fourth-ranked fantasy quarterback. Passing yards: 1,078. Passing touchdowns: 4. When will I regain control of my functions? When will Orton play like the Orton we know? When will normalcy return?
Sam Bradford, Rams
Rookie quarterbacks are always a crapshoot in fantasy football, but Bradford is shaping up as a decent option after three weeks, even with the Rams getting horrible play from their wide receivers. He has a touchdown pass in every game (four in total) and is averaging a respectable 218 passing yards per game. Not great, but serviceable. Here’s the kicker: Coming up, he has the Seahawks, Lions, Chargers, Bucs, and Panthers. With the byes starting this week, Bradford shapes up as a solid backup option at quarterback.
Brett Favre, Vikings
It’s official—Favre and the Vikings passing attack are struggling badly in 2010. Whether Favre or the team’s wide receivers are to blame should be of no concern to Favre’s fantasy owners. Simply put, the Vikings can’t consistently gain yards through the air, and their passing attack is a shell of its former self. Sidney Rice is on the PUP; Bernard Berrian is MIA; and there are more developments on the injury front, with Favre saying that he had a stinger in his (presumably) non-throwing shoulder and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe suffering a leg injury, believed to be a hamstring pull. At this point, Favre is a fantasy backup at best.
Donovan McNabb, Redskins
Thus far in 2010, McNabb has been a bit of a disappointment in Washington, both in terms of his actual play and in his fantasy production. He’s been bad against the Cowboys, good against the Texans, and mediocre against the Rams. The part that concerns me the most is being mediocre against the Rams. Throwing for 232 yards on 19 of 32 passes with a touchdown and a pick against St. Louis is definitely a big downer for his fantasy owners. He’s a matchup play at this point…and maybe not even that. He couldn’t take advantage of a Rams secondary that was starting second-year cornerback Bradley Fletcher (who missed most of his rookie year with an injury) and was without their best defensive back, free safety O.J. Atogwe, for much of the game.
David Garrard, Jaguars
Garrard has failed to top 200 yards passing in his three games this season, throwing for 170, 173, and 105 yards in games against the Broncos, Chargers, and Eagles. With head coach Jack Del Rio clearly needing some wins to salvage his job, it’s fair to ask how much longer he will stick with Garrard as his starting quarterback. In fact, Luke McCown may have taken over this week had he not suffered a season-ending torn ACL during Week 2. Garrard’s only saving grace is that Todd Bouman was signed to back him up, and he’s clearly not the long-term answer at quarterback in Jacksonville. Of course, with each passing week, Garrard is proving he isn’t the answer either.
Peyton Hillis, Browns
With Jerome Harrison out for this week’s road game against the Ravens, Hillis stepped up with a 22-carry, 144-yard, one-touchdown performance that may have solidified his place as the Browns top running back. It didn’t hurt that he also chipped in seven receptions for 36 yards on just eight targets. Not many running backs get 100 yards on the Ravens, and fewer yet do it in Baltimore. While Hillis will never be mentioned with any of the better running backs in the league, he continues to prove that he can be productive when given an opportunity.
Ryan Torain, Redskins
I picked up Keiland Williams on waivers in a salary-cap league last week and debated signing him to long-term contract, but I had the nagging suspicion that maybe he wasn’t really a sleeper. Maybe he was just on the roster as a third-down running back who contributed on special teams. Maybe the Redskins would add Ryan Torain from the practice squad and he would be the real sleeper in the Redskins backfield. Didn’t he look good before he suffered a season-ending injury in his one start in Denver when Mike Shanahan was the head coach? What did it all mean? How could I figure this out? Then I checked the NFL ticker and saw the Redskins had signed Torain to the active roster. Grrr. Then he went out and got 46 yards on seven carries with Clinton Portis nailed to the bench for most of the second half. Double Grrr.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots
Now we know why the Patriots traded away perennial tease Laurence Maroney to the Broncos, along with a sixth round pick for only a fourth round selection in next year’s draft. It’s because of the man with four names. Finally let loose by the Patriots offensive schemers, Green-Ellis pumped out 98 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and caught one pass for six yards against Buffalo. The only caveat was that he got most of the playing time after Fred Taylor left the game having aggravated a toe injury. On the plus side, the Bills contained Taylor before he left (six carries, 16 yards) and Green-Ellis clearly outperformed him. Were the Patriots coaches watching?
Justin Forsett, Seahawks
Forsett was hardly dynamic this week against the Chargers, with 20 touches for 94 yards. However, the key stat is the distribution of the touches among Forsett, Julius Jones, and Leon Washington. Jones didn’t touch the ball and Washington had a just single carry, so it looks like the running-back-by-committee approach is dead in Seattle—at least for now. While Forsett seems unlikely to have a breakout campaign given the Seahawks troubles on offense, he moves into low-end RB2, high-end RB3 status for the moment. Plus, he makes for a great option at the flex position.
Marshawn Lynch, Bills
In Bizzaro World…err, Buffalo, what’s down is up, what’s up is down. Lynch was supposed to be third string, but he’s the lead back. Fred Jackson was supposed to hold the fort until C.J. Spiller was ready to carry the load, but he’s the third-down guy. Spiller was supposed to be the backup and spell Jackson plus get plenty of work in specialized packages, but he’s barely been seen. It’s hard to get too excited over Lynch starting or over his production (143 rushing yards on 30 carries over the last two games), but he is the lead man for the time being. With plenty of injures at running back, Lynch is a decent option if you’re hurting at that position.
Maurice Morris, Kevin Smith, Lions
That’s only if Jahvid Best is hurt. Morris is mediocrity defined, and Smith is coming off a torn ACL suffered last year and has yet to dress in 2010. No, I’m not excited by either guy, but if Best is out, they are worth owning. Good luck figuring out which one to grab.
Kenneth Darby, Rams
That’s only if Steven Jackson is hurt. There’s a reason the Rams are reported to have interest in Larry Johnson, even though he looked washed up for the Redskins. It’s because they’ve been trying to replace Darby for two years because he’s not very good.
Shanahan is killing Portis' value.
Clinton Portis, Redskins
Something happened on the way to Portis getting his season on track during this week’s game against the Rams. Despite running well in the first half, Portis was nailed to the bench in favor of his backup Keiland Williams…err, make that Ryan Torain in another episode of “Which Running Back Will Mike Shanahan Use.”
Brandon Jacobs, Giants
Hey, hey, hey, the Giants gave Ahmad Bradshaw almost all the touches this week against the Titans. Maybe it was a one week punishment for Jacobs pitching his helmet into the stands and blasting reporters. Or maybe it’s a trend, since Jacobs received four touches in Week 2 and five this week. At this point, Jacobs shapes up as Bradshaw’s backup, spelling him when he needs a breather and maybe getting some goal-line work.
Michael Bush, Raiders
Bush returned to action this week and got three carries for 14 yards. So, now we have a better idea of how the Oakland coaches will split the carries between Darren McFadden and Bush. What we don’t know is whether McFadden will continue his history of being unable to remain healthy. It says here that we can expect a McFadden injury at some point in 2010, which makes Bush worth hanging onto for now.
Kareem Huggins, Buccaneers
We keep hearing that Huggins is going to get some touches. Then we see Earnest Graham getting some touches. Then we see LeGarrette Blount leapfrog Huggins to get some touches. But what we never see is Huggins getting any touches. Don’t let your eyes deceive you. I’m not an overly bright person (at least that’s what my wife tells me on a regular basis) but I do know that no touches always means no production.
Lance Moore, Saints
As I stated last week, Moore is the Saints player who gained the most fantasy value with Reggie Bush out of the lineup. While I have never been a big fan of Moore, he does produce when given the opportunity; it’s just that he’s not good enough to get a solid opportunity unless the Saints lose another player to injury. Of course, I like him better today more than ever, just because he made me look good. Here’s what you need to know: In 2008, when Bush and wide receiver Marques Colston missed several games, Moore responded with a career season, catching 79 passes for 928 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns. With Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson continuing to disappoint and with Bush out, Moore figures to be a big part of the game plan over the next several weeks.
Austin Collie, Colts
Meet 2010’s current top fantasy football wide receiver, and not just by a little. Collie is 12 points ahead of Anquan Boldin, the next highest ranked wide receiver. With both Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez out with injuries, Collie went wild against the Broncos, catching 12 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He is now on pace to finish the year with 144 receptions for 1,915 yards and 21 touchdowns. Odds of that happening: zero. Still, you get the drift. Plus, it’s important to note that the Colts have struggled to run the ball, other than against the Giants. And their running production in that game was a mirage, as New York used their nickel package as their base defense. Plus, we found out this week just how bad the Giants run defense is during their loss to the Titans.
Roy Williams, Cowboys
Williams owners, repeat after me: Sell High. Sell High. Sell High. Williams was a starter-worthy option at wide receiver this week and would have been in Week 1 as well if not for Alex Barron’s horrendous holding penalty that nullified a Williams touchdown reception. This week, he took advantage of the Texans secondary, catching five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps most importantly, he finally seems to be on the same page as quarterback Tony Romo. While Williams won’t come close to matching this production on a weekly basis, he is developing into a decent option at the flex position based on the matchup. Nonetheless, if you can sell high, do so now.
Vincent Jackson, Chargers
Two deadlines have now come and gone without Jackson being traded. The next one will come after his suspension ends and before the trade deadline expires, a period of only two days. What makes you think Chargers general manager A.J. Smith will lower his demands? Failing that, what makes you think that another general manager will meet Smith’s demands if none have yet? Jackson’s almost certainly down for the count in 2010. Move on.
Robert Meachem, Saints
So much for Meachem being a breakout candidate at wide receiver in the Saints high-powered offense. It certainly looks like the toe injury that cost him time in the preseason has held him back during the first three weeks of the season. In 2010, Meachem has been targeted just seven times, catching four passes for 38 yards. With Lance Moore having a breakout game this week and the team utilizing both Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas at the tight end position, Meachem has become a forgotten man in the Saints offense. Until that changes, you should consider him a forgotten man as well.
Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Hernandez has come on over the last two games, catching six balls against both the Jets and the Bills while totaling 166 receiving yards. For the season, he has 13 receptions for 211 yards and is on pace to finish the year with 1,125 yards. While that won’t happen, he’s definitely shaping up as a key cog in the Patriots passing attack, and he has emerged as a solid replacement for injured running back Kevin Faulk on checkdowns.
Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
With the Chiefs passing attack having one decent game out of three, it’s hard to get overly excited about the team’s options at wide receiver and tight end. However, Moeaki, a rookie third-round draft pick, has been a surprise, with 12 receptions for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s not starter-worthy just yet, but given the struggles the Chiefs are having at wide receiver, Moeaki has some upside as a TE2.
Ben Watson, Browns
Watson has been a perennial tease over the course of his career, a player with excellent physical abilities who has been unable to translate that into production in the passing game. When he signed with Cleveland in the offseason, most fantasy pundits (me included) wrote off the possibility of him being a useful fantasy tight end. However, the opposite has occurred, with Watson catching nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks. While he’s clearly not yet starter-worthy, he is getting enough opportunity to warrant backup tight end status.
Brent Celek, Eagles
I still like him, but come on, man! Celek has been persona non grata despite the Eagles offensive explosion over the last two and a half games. At this point, he is the biggest fantasy bust amongst tight ends, with a paltry nine receptions for 101 yards. Plus, he hasn’t found the end zone. Don’t sell low on him, but clearly he’s in the Moving Down category.
By: Dave Stringer — September 24, 2010 @ 3:39 pm
Pictured above: Brandon Jacobs - helmet securely fastened.
1. Reports out of New York indicate that running back Brandon Jacobs hasn’t taken his demotion to backing up Ahmad Bradshaw well. Jacobs blew off reports in one instance of bad behavior and followed that up during the Giants loss this week to the Colts by inadvertently throwing his helmet into the stands. Inadvertent or not, (and it’s hard to imagine how someone inadvertently throws their helmet into the stands), Jacobs isn’t doing himself any favors. With the Giants preferring to split the carries at running back, Jacobs not playing well on the field or behaving himself off it and Bradshaw an unproven first year starter, grabbing Danny Ware off the waiver wire in deeper leagues might turn into fantasy gold by season’s end.
2. The Ravens were the preseason favorites to win the tough AFC North after Cincinnati captured the division crown in 2009. However, with their win over the Ravens at home this week, the Bengals have now beaten Baltimore in three straight games, relying on a ball control offense led by running back Cedric Benson and solid defense, led by the outstanding cornerback duo of Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph.
3. While I don’t like jumping to conclusions on players too early in the season, there are times when the performance of aging veterans should bring cause for concern early in the season. One prime example is Brett Favre of the Vikings. Favre has been perhaps the biggest fantasy bust of the year thus far at the quarterback position with just 396 passing yards and a touchdown with four interceptions after two games. While his receivers have received a large part of the blame for his poor performance, Favre is clearly struggling with an injured ankle that may be hindering his accuracy. The Lions come to Minnesota this week and if Favre doesn’t get it going against Detroit, then it might be time to pull the plug on him as a fantasy starter.
4. Keeping with the theme, Redskins running back Clinton Portis is also struggling badly early in 2010. Portis has had a slow start to the season, with just 96 yards on 31 carries in games against Dallas and Houston. His fantasy stats look respectable, courtesy of a pair of touchdown runs during this week’s loss to the Texans. The Redskins released Larry Johnson this week, leaving undrafted rookie free agent Keiland Williams as the top backup for the team’s game in St. Louis. If Portis can’t get it going against a Rams defense that has given up 285 yards to a pair of teams that were each missing a key component of their running game (Arizona – Chris Wells, Oakland – Michael Bush), then he truly is washed up.
5. I’m going to toss out a couple of “sell highs” this week. How about Raiders running back Darren McFadden? He’s looked like dynamite thus far in 2010 but how quickly we forget why he was a low-end RB3 in the preseason. McFadden missed time with a turf toe injury in his rookie year, was out with a knee injury last season and suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason, ultimately losing the starting job to Michael Bush. He beat up on the lowly Rams for 145 yards on the ground, giving him 240 rushing yards with a nifty 5.0 yards per carry average to go along with eight receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown after two games. While Michael Bush is expected back this week, it’s a foregone conclusion that McFadden will get the majority of the carries since he is an Al Davis favorite. Fortunately for Bush owners, it’s only a matter of time before McFadden gets injured or the Raiders coaches remember that Bush has been the team’s most effective running back over the last two years.
6. Not quite a much of a “sell high” is Packers running back Brandon Jackson. You’ve read that I’m not a fan of Jackson’s and he was a disappointment last week in his first start against Buffalo, with just 29 yards and a touchdown on eleven carries. Worse yet, head coach Mike McCarthy split the workload, with John Kuhn getting nine carries and Dmitri Nance getting two and then stated this week that it would be a committee approach going forward. I guess that’s because Jackson is so valuable as a receiver on third downs. Or, more likely, it’s because he’s useless as a runner. In my opinion, Jackson’s value is going to steadily decline and each passing game will prove how ineffective he is. The Packers travel to Chicago on Monday night and, rest assured, Jackson will disappoint against a Bears defense that has given up 56 yards on the ground during the first two weeks of the season. This one is “sell now” since Jackson will continue to disappoint.
7. Buying low – how about Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs? Good luck finding somebody out there who thinks that Thomas Jones is a superior running back to Charles. Err, other than Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. Once Haley comes around to realizing that the Chiefs can’t continue to win football games with a popgun passing offense and relying on defense, he will see the need for big plays and Charles’ opportunities will increase.
8. Sticking with the theme, how about C.J. Spiller of the Bills? While he clearly doesn’t have Charles’ upside, it’s also clear that the ninth overall pick in the draft needs more playing time. It seems inconceivable that the Bills would continue to give Lynch the 17 carries he had against Green Bay and it’s safe to conclude they were gambling he would come up big and tempt a running back-needy team like the Packers to pony up a solid package for his services. Of course, Buffalo is Buffalo and there’s a reason they have been one of the worst teams in the league over the past decade. Nonetheless, Spiller should see more touches soon and if his owner is getting antsy, giddy up with a lowball offer for Spiller.
9. After losses to the Redskins on the road and Bears at home, the Cowboys could go 0-5 to start the season. This week, they travel to Houston to play the Texans before a Week 4 bye. After that, it’s the Titans at home and the Vikings on the road.
10. In deeper leagues and dynasty formats, Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson had some appeal as a potential sleeper pick given his starting status and the improved play of Trent Edwards at the quarterback position. This week, Edwards was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Johnson told the Bills press corps that Roscoe Parrish was taking his spot in the starting line-up. While Parrish has looked decent so far this season, there are plenty of good reasons why he has seen minimal playing time during his five years in the league.
11. So much for diminutive second round pick Dexter McCluster being the key to a revival of the Chiefs passing attack. After two games, the Chiefs wide receivers are on track to be a major disappointment once again in 2010. Entering the season, Kansas City was hopeful that Dwayne Bowe would finally establish himself as a number one receiver and McCluster would develop into a big play threat out of the slot. In addition, the Chiefs rewarded Chris Chambers for his solid production with a lucrative contract after 2009, a move that was greeted with skepticism by most pundits. Sure enough, neither Bowe, McCluster nor Chambers has done much thus far in 2010, combining to catch 14 passes for 114 yards and no touchdowns. Rookie tight end Tony Moeaki, the team’s third round pick this year, is leading the team with eight receptions for 79 yards and a score. Looks like he may be the Chief to own in the passing game and he’s available on the waiver wire in most leagues.
12. Buccaneers running back Kareem Huggins, considered a breakout candidate once Derrick Ward was released late in the preseason, hasn’t been used much thus far in 2010. He missed last week’s game with a lingering groin injury and didn’t get a touch in Week 1. With Cadillac Williams struggling and averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, Tampa Bay could clearly use some speed and a change of pace option at running back. However, word out of Tampa Bay is that Huggins won’t get major playing time until he improves in pass protection, an area many young players struggle to master.
By: Mike MacGregor — September 22, 2010 @ 10:41 am
I’ve decided to try my hand at high-stakes fantasy football this year, after taking a number of years off from spending little more than a pittance on league fees in the couple of annual money leagues I do compete in. I see that big grand prize up for grabs and think, why not me?
Sure, it sounds like my parents’ retirement plan to win the lottery, but in this case my odds are considerably better. Plus, even if I crash and burn, I’ve written some articles for FFToday and you guys can have a good laugh at my expense.
In terms of just weighing the options, the Footballguys contest operated by Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) does set itself apart by escrowing the prize fund. I find the 1.5 points per reception for TE interesting, but I’m not sure I’m that in love with the TE position being so valuable that they jump off the draft board before players normally more worthy.
The National Fantasy Football Championship Online Championship (NFFC), despite its tongue-twister of a name, seems to strike a great balance between unique rules and strong payouts. I like the Kentucky Derby Style (KDS) draft preference system, which gives you some opportunity to choose your draft pick. The jury is still out for me on 3rd Round Reversal (3RR) draft order. I’d probably just prefer a regular serpentine draft order.
WCFF has a nice-looking smaller-scale contest here, as it is capped at 144 teams. And for those who love head-to-head competition rather than total points deciding things, this is the one to go with. The league championship is a head-to-head game between the top two teams through eleven weeks, and the championship bracket uses a 16-team head-to-head elimination bracket to determine the grand prize winner. Honestly, I don’t mind total points, as I do think it reduces the luck associated with head-to-head matchups and better recognizes the best teams.
RotoBowl doesn’t appear to be associated with FHM anymore, but Ray Rice is the commissioner. Yes, that Ray Rice! That is pretty cool, but really not a huge consideration here. No offense to the RotoBowl players out there—although I’m not sure how this can come off any differently—but I have a feeling the competition in RotoBowl may be not quite as tough as the other contests. Hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right? That is a good thing for someone planning to win. What I’m not crazy about is the uncertainty about the number of teams in RotoBowl. Those estimated payout percentages may be too low, but they may just as easily be too high depending on how RotoBowl entries are selling.
As mentioned last time, some of the decision about which contests to enter is going to come down to scheduling. For example, the WCFF draft dates and times just didn’t work for me. Ultimately, I decided to join the FFPC drafting on Thursday August 26 at 10:00pm Eastern, and the NFFC drafting Monday September 6 at 9:00pm Eastern.
Wish me luck! I’ll be back with draft reviews from each event.
By: Dave Stringer — September 21, 2010 @ 8:26 pm
Bush can't shake the injury bug.
New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush left the team’s road game against San Francisco Monday night with a leg injury and did not return.
Bush was injured while recovering a muffed punt midway through the fourth quarter of the Saints 25-22 victory over the 49ers. With the wind swirling at Candlestick Park, punt returners for both teams had difficulty fielding punts.
ESPN is now reporting that Bush suffered a fractured fibula and will be out 4-6 weeks.
The most likely scenario is that Bush will miss six weeks. With the Saints bye scheduled for Week 10, such a scenario would result in Bush missing six regular-season games.
In 2009, New Orleans used the running back trio of Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell, and Bush. However, the Saints chose not to match the offer sheet Bell received from the Eagles. In addition, Lynell Hamilton, who was expected to replace Bell, suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Former Packers running back DeShawn Wynn was added to the roster on August 23rd, and the Saints also have undrafted rookie free agent Chris Ivory, who is currently out with a knee injury.
While Bush has not lived up to his lofty draft status or fulfilled the expectations that many had for him coming out of USC, he nonetheless is a key cog in New Orleans’ high-powered offence. He creates mismatches for opposing defences, forcing coordinators to commit extra defenders to him much of the time.
Now the Saints have a pair of unknown commodities in Wynn and Ivory at running back.
While with Green Bay, Wynn had a reputation for being an undisciplined player who lacked conditioning. At Florida, he failed to top 700 rushing yards in any of his four seasons there. He is a powerful runner but lacks top-end speed.
Ivory graduated from Tiffin University after spending three years at Washington State. He had injury problems for much of his college career and was dismissed from Washington State for violating team rules. He has decent size and good speed, running a reported 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Given Wynn and Ivory’s lack of experience, the Saints are unlikely to rely on either player other than to briefly spell Thomas. In fact, fullback Heath Evans could be called upon as the primary back-up to Thomas.
Alternatively, it would not be surprising if New Orleans were to acquire a veteran free agent to bolster the position. Ladell Betts was released in the team’s final cuts and could possibly be re-signed.
In the receiving game, look for Lance Moore to be utilized in more formations. Moore has had success when given an opportunity and is best suited to replace Bush in most of the plays in which the Saints used him. In 2008, when Bush and wide receiver Marques Colston missed several games, Moore responded with a career season, catching 79 passes for 928 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns.
From a fantasy perspective, the player who gains the most from Bush being out is clearly Moore. Consider him a decent option as a flex player in fantasy leagues that use that position.
By: Dave Stringer — @ 11:11 am
Mark Sanchez, Jets
Slim pickings in the Moving Up category, unless the ascension of Jimmy Clausen in Carolina or Bruce Gradkowski in Oakland excites you. (For me those would be a “No” and a “Maybe…as a backup.”) Sanchez chewed up the Patriots in Week 2, proving either that he’s capable of bouncing back or that the Patriots pass defense is even worse than people thought it would be. Sanchez dinked and dunked his way to 220 yards and three touchdowns while completing 21 of 30 passes.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
Two games, one mediocre performance last week and one absolutely dreadful performance against the Bengals this week, which included one touchdown pass, four interceptions, and just 154 passing yards. Flacco was a preseason breakout candidate due to the acquisition of Anquan Boldin, and that prediction was bolstered by the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh just prior to opening day. However, Flacco now looks like a matchup quarterback after struggling against solid defenses in New York and Cincinnati.
Jason Campbell, Raiders
So much for Campbell coming to Oakland and finally providing the Raiders with some respectable play at the quarterback position. Head coach Tom Cable benched the team’s key offseason acquisition at halftime of this week’s game against St. Louis in favor of backup Bruce Gradkowski. Despite the Rams bringing a decent pass rush, Gradkowski led the Raiders to a come-from-behind victory, finishing 11 of 22 for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception, which came on a tipped ball. With all things in Oakland revolving around owner Al Davis, it’s also worth noting that Gradkowski had a nice rapport with 2009 first-round pick (and supposed Davis favorite) Darrius Heyward-Bey, who caught six balls for 80 yards in the most impressive game of his young career.
Two INTs in ten passes is offensive.
Vince Young, Titans
Unless you reside on another planet, you know how inconsistent Vince Young can be. However, there’s inconsistent and then there’s absolutely pathetic. Young got yanked this week after throwing two picks out of only ten passes in a home game against the Steelers that most expected Tennessee to win.
Matt Moore, Panthers
There’s pretty much no reason for Panthers head coach John Fox to stick with Moore. Simply put, he’s been horrible during the first two weeks of the season. After going 14 of 33 for 182 yards with a touchdown and three picks to open the season against the Giants, Moore followed that one up with another stinker this week against a suspect Buccaneers defense, completing just six of 16 passes for 125 yards with a touchdown and an interception. With a young team clearly in a rebuilding phase, there’s little point to sticking with Moore when second-round pick Jimmy Clausen is clearly the team’s future quarterback.
Jahvid Best, Lions
Hello, RB1 status. Best was pedestrian in Week 1 against the Bears, putting up solid fantasy production courtesy of two touchdowns but managing just 36 yards on 19 touches. No such problems this week against the Eagles. Best went wild, racking up 78 rushing yards, 154 receiving yards, and three touchdowns on 26 touches. After this performance, look for the Lions to get Best major touches on a weekly basis.
Jason Snelling, Falcons
After Michael Turner left with a groin injury, Snelling ran over the Cardinals defense in a home win. He racked up 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, and he pitched in on the receiving end as well with five receptions for 57 yards and a score. The Falcons have indicated that Turner could have returned, but his services weren’t required in a blowout win over the Cardinals. Nonetheless, giddy up to the waiver wire to see if Snelling is available, since there is mounting evidence that Turner cannot stay healthy.
Mike Tolbert, Chargers
Two games, two Ryan Mathews fumbles—and an ankle injury this week for good measure. Tolbert got the work this week, picking up 82 yards and two touchdowns on six carries in the Chargers’ crushing defeat of the Jaguars, Don’t get excited on this one; the Chargers are clearly heavily invested in Mathews. Two points worth noting: We now have evidence that Tolbert can produce when given an opportunity, and he—not Darren Sproles—was the Chargers’ go-to guy with the lead and with Mathews out.
LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets
Tomlinson has outperformed starter Shonn Greene in two straight games to open the season. With Greene benched for fumbling in Week 1 against the Ravens, Tomlinson piled up 78 total yards on just 13 touches. This week against the Patriots he had 102 total yards on 15 touches and is now averaging an impressive 6.3 yards per carry, and he looks much better than he did in 2009 with the Chargers.
Brandon Jackson, Packers
I basically was forced to put him in the Moving Up category last week since he was taking over as the starter for the high-powered Packers offence. But even with the Bills and their pathetic run defense on tap in a home game, I knew there was a chance Jackson would be “Moving Down” after Week 2. Sure enough, he proved how completely mediocre he is, with just 29 yards on 11 carries against Buffalo. His fantasy line was saved, however, by a touchdown. Here’s my math on this one: The Packers want to go to the Super Bowl, they have the potential to go to the Super Bowl, and the odds of them not acquiring a running back to supplant Jackson seem incredibly low. Even a general manager who loves draft picks as much as Ted Thompson loves them would still love going to the Super Bowl more. No?
Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Cowboys
Two games, 132 yards rushing and 43 receiving yards. That’s low-end RB2 or high-end RB3 fantasy production for any single player. Unfortunately, that’s what Barber, Jones, and Choice have combined for during the Cowboys first two games, both of which were losses. Perhaps the Cowboys offensive line is actually worse than advertised.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
As noted above, two games, two fumbles. The rookie first-round pick is clearly pressing and in danger of losing playing time if he can’t control his fumblitis.
Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
I generally don’t follow the “take away a play” kind of analysis, but let’s go there in Mendenhall’s case. Take away the 50-yard touchdown run in overtime against the Falcons in Week 1 and Mendenhall has 139 yards and no touchdowns on 44 carries, which averages out to 3.2 yards per carry. Also, the Steelers have scored only one offensive touchdown in two games. They are also down to third-stringers Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich at quarterback. If somebody in your league wants to pay up for Mendenhall, it’s definitely worth listening.
Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
It’s nice that the Bucs have given Caddy 49 carries so far this year. Not so nice that he’s turned those carries into 126 yards and no touchdowns. Backs that average 2.6 yards a pop start to lose touches pretty quickly in the Not For Long league.
Devin Hester, Bears
Last week Hester looked like a fantasy albatross, with just one target during the Bears victory over the Lions. However, the Devin Aromashodu experiment is apparently over (see below), and Earl Bennett is no threat to unseat Hester from the starting line-up. The end result this week against the Cowboys was four receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Kevin Walter, Texans
Houston head coach Gary Kubiak seems like a perfectly smart coach, and the Texans have won twice to open the season. It’s easy to imagine Kubiak getting Walter even more involved, since so far he’s caught all 13 passes thrown his way—for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Looks like the whole Jacoby Jones versus Walter preseason debate was a waste of time since there are plenty of touches to go around in Houston with tight end Owen Daniels missing from action, at least for the early part of 2010.
Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Read Jason Campbell above. With Gradkowski in for the second half against the Rams, Heyward-Bey caught six balls for 80 yards, which moves him into WR4 with upside status. Murphy gets the same rankings courtesy of a six-reception, 91-yard, one-touchdown performance.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Meet Denver’s new number one wide receiver. Although Eddie Royal has been solid over the Broncos first two games, he is clearly better suited to fulfilling the number two role, with the 6’3”, 230-pound Thomas taking over for the departed Brandon Marshall in the team’s offence. After missing Week 1 with a foot injury, Thomas was targeted nine times in his debut against Seattle, catching eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. He’s not starter-worthy just yet but definitely worth grabbing on the waiver wire, if he’s available.
Mario Manningham, Giants
Hakeem Nicks is the breakout candidate and Steve Smith is coming off a 107-reception season. But it’s Manningham who has led the Giants in receiving yards in each of the first two games.
Devin Aromashodu, Bears
In Week 1 he was the Bears receiver to own, courtesy of his ten targets. Different story in Week 2, with no playing time and no targets against the Cowboys. Earl Bennett played with Devin Hester and Johnny Knox in three-receiver sets.
Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Ravens
Mason’s been targeted 11 times this year and has caught three for 52 yards and a touchdown. Houshmandzadeh’s been targeted 10 times this year and has caught one for 27 yards. Maybe the Ravens got Houshmandzadeh because they thought Mason was washed up. As it turns out, they’re both washed up.
Steve Smith, Giants
I’m not giving up on him yet, but the bottom line is that he’s caught nine of 17 targets for 78 yards in two weeks—a far cry from his 2009 production of 107 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. Sure, the Giants struggled this week against the Colts, but it’s clear that Nicks and Manningham are far more explosive players than Smith.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
In Week 1 when backup tight end Tony Scheffler got seven targets to Pettigrew’s two, it seemed that Pettigrew’s recovery from a last season’s torn ACL might relegate him to more of a blocking role, at least for the early part of 2010. However, he came back with a vengeance this week with seven receptions on eight targets for 108 yards. If wide receiver Nate Burleson’s ankle injury causes him to miss some time, Pettigrew will be in line for an increased workload in the coming weeks.
Dustin Keller, Jets
After suffering through a sophomore slump in 2009, Keller is getting more opportunities this year, and he took advantage of that in Week 2. Against the Patriots, Keller caught seven of nine targets for a cool 115 yards and a score. He was shaping up as a marginal backup entering the season but now looks like a quality backup with upside, especially in dynasty leagues.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
Well, I feel like I have to put somebody here, so of the underachieving tight ends, I’m going with Gonzalez for a number of reasons. First, he’s the oldest, and age is no friend to NFL players. But more important than his age is how he’s being utilized. With Michael Jenkins out of the lineup, you would think Gonzalez would be getting more opportunities. Instead, after two games, he has just four receptions for 54 yards with no touchdowns. Surely he’ll come around, but it’s worth noting that his targets were way down in his first year with Atlanta, and there’s nothing to suggest that will change following these first two games.
By: Dave Stringer — September 17, 2010 @ 11:46 am
1. Michael Vick had a huge performance in his first extended playing time since his return to the league last season. Eagles head coach Andy Reid’s comment that Kevin Kolb will start this week provided he is healthy didn’t exactly address who would be the team’s starter over the balance of the season. Kind of reminiscent of his comment that Donovan McNabb was the team’s starting quarterback not long before he shipped him off to Washington. Kolb owners who were expecting him to be a worthy fantasy starter would be well served to acquire a solid backup in short order.
No threat to Moreno.
2. There is a lot of speculation out of Denver that Laurence Maroney will quickly assert himself and earn a large share of the work out of the Broncos backfield. Knowshon Moreno owners surely weren’t impressed but it says here that his move is more directed at Correll Buckhalter’s performance. The 32-year old Buckhalter seems to have lost a step and Maroney may take away his touches in short order. None of the three players play on special teams so it would seem unlikely that all three would dress on game day which reduces the risk of head coach Josh McDaniels utilizing all three on game day, which would render them all useless from a fantasy perspective.
3. Mike Thomas of the Jaguars was listed as a starter on the depth chart at wide receiver entering training camp and managed to hold onto the job throughout the preseason. He performed well in Week 1 against the Broncos, catching six passes for 89 yards, helping to solidify his starting position. This week, Jacksonville placed Jarett Dillard, Thomas’ main competition for a starting position, on injured reserve with a stress fracture in his foot, which all but guarantees that Thomas will remain in the starting line-up for the remainder of the season provided he can stay healthy.
4. Keeping Falcons wide receiver Roddy White on your fantasy roster is clearly a no-brainer but should a ridiculous offer come your way, you might want to hold off on accepting until Michael Jenkins returns from injury. Although Jenkins is hardly going to eat into White’s targets when both are healthy, White was targeted a whopping 23 times during the team’s Week 1 loss to the Steelers with Jenkins out of the line-up. If White gets anything approaching that many targets on a weekly basis, he is all but guaranteed to average roughly 15 fantasy points per game in regular formats.
5. The Cowboys rushing attack looked pretty mediocre during the team’s Week 1 loss to the Redskins and that result wasn’t exactly surprising given that the team was missing two starters on the offensive line. Look for a better performance moving forward as both right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier are expected back in the starting lineup this week. Unfortunately, it appears the team will have a three-headed fantasy monster on their hands with Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice splitting the workload, making none of the three viable fantasy options other than perhaps in deep leagues that employ the flex position.
6. Looks like an injury has resolved the issue of how the Colts were going to allocate playing time at wide receiver opposite Reggie Wayne. In his first game back since missing almost all of 2009, Anthony Gonzalez suffered a high ankle sprain and the team has not disclosed how long they expect him to be out. Austin Collie went gangbusters in Week 1 against the Texans catching 11 of his targets for 163 yards and a score while Pierre Garcon caught just three of his 11 targets for 43 yards, including a three drops with one coming in the end zone. While Garcon may have more upside and for some unknown reason seems to be the sexier player to have on your fantasy roster, Collie is far more reliable and more productive. If you’ve got a chance to grab, do so fast.
7. The Vikings receivers looked pretty pathetic during the team’s Week 1 loss to the Saints. In particular, Bernard Berrian looked completely disinterested while Percy Harvin appeared to be more rusty than anything, although he didn’t always seem to be on the same page with quarterback Brett Favre. There are rumblings that Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson could be on his way to Minnesota but if that doesn’t materialize, Greg Camarillo should be considered a decent option in larger PPR leagues. And just maybe he puts up a big game this week as his former team, the Dolphins, comes to Minnesota.
8. New Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has created a three-headed running back fantasy monster in Seattle by splitting the carries almost evenly amongst Justin Forsett, Julius Jones and Leon Washington. If that hadn’t pretty much extinguished the hope that Forsett would emerge as a breakout fantasy threat in 2010, then the current state of the offensive line will. This week, the Seahawks placed starting right guard Max Unger on injured reserve. The 2009 2nd round pick, who started every game last year as a rookie, suffered a toe injury during Seattle’s opening week win over the 49ers and will be replaced by Eagles castoff Stacey Andrews. Rookie left tackle Russell Okung will miss at least one more with a high ankle sprain. With injury-prone Chris Spencer starting at center and left guard Mike Gibson having made his first start last week, there are plenty of question marks along the team’s offensive line. If there’s a team in your willing to overpay for Forsett, move him now.
9. Don’t be fooled by Tim Hightower’s opening week fantasy performance during the Cardinals road win over the Rams. At first glance, the numbers look good and might have you thinking he’s well on his way to holding off Beanie Wells for the starting job. Not so fast. First off, it was against the Rams. Second, he fumbled twice and lost both, including an inexcusable fumble late in the fourth quarter. Third, he lost playing time to LaRod Stephens-Howling for much of the game. If anything, Hightower’s performance likely means Wells be in the starting line-up sooner rather than later.
Why all the fuss?
10. Why all the fuss about Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson having his suspension reduced from six to four games if he is traded to another team? The Chargers didn’t have to put him the roster-exempt list prior to the season but they chose to do so. With a deadline looming to trade him prior to his roster-exempt status beginning, the Chargers failed to find a trading partner. There’s little reason to think that a team will step forward and meet their demands now.|
11. So much for the Cowboys easing rookie first round pick Dez Bryant into the offense. After missing much of the preseason with an ankle injury, it was expected that the Cowboys would use Bryant somewhat sparingly over the first part of the season. However, he was targeted 12 times in his debut, catching eight passes for 56 yards. If they’re going to throw numerous wide receiver screens to him, he will be mighty attractive in PPR leagues. Looks like Roy Williams fantasy value will take a hit much sooner than expected.
12. Keeping with wide receiver that were injury concerns entering the season, Wes Welker put the worries of his fantasy owners to rest in Week 1, catching eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Welker commented during the week that he wasn’t at 100% and that the bulky knee brace he wore hindered his cutting ability but he overcame those obstacles with a nice performance. Julian Edelman had some upside if Welker was limited but his fantasy value is pretty much nil if the Patriots are healthy at wide receiver. In redraft leagues, there’s no point in keeping Edelman on your roster.
By: Dave Stringer — September 15, 2010 @ 11:25 am
The Green Bay Packers suffered a major blow in their Week 1 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia. The team has announced that starting running back Ryan Grant will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his right ankle.
Grant’s loss is a huge blow to a Packers team with Super Bowl aspirations in 2010. He is one of the few workhorse running backs in the league and has carried the bulk of the load at the position since taking over as the team’s starter at the midpoint of the 2007 season.
A powerful runner with enough speed to break long runs, Grant has been a perfect fit in Green Bay. Since taking over as the lead back, he has rushed for 3,430 yards and 23 touchdowns in 42 games.
With Grant out, the Packers will turn to Brandon Jackson. Taken in the second round of the 2006 draft, Jackson has not lived up to expectations in Green Bay.
In his first three years with the Packers, Jackson has just 626 rushing yards. He’s mainly fulfilled the pass catching role out of the backfield for most of his career but has failed to excel in that capacity, retaining his roster spot mostly because of his pass blocking ability, which allows the team to put either four wide receivers or three wide receivers and a tight end in patterns on passing downs.
The team has signed Dimitri Nance, an undrafted rookie free agent, from the Falcons practice squad. James Starks, picked in the sixth round of this year’s draft, is on the physically unable to perform list and will mist at least the first six weeks of the season.
After underperforming for his entire career, Jackson finally gets an opportunity to step into the lead back role in Green Bay. However, the best indicator of future performance is past performance so expectations for Jackson should be held in check.
The Packers coaches have chosen to use Jackson less as his career has gone on. His touches have decreased every year he has been in the league, from 91 to 75 to 58.
It’s safe to assume that trend would have continued in 2010 had Grant not went down.
On the plus side, with no proven player currently behind him on the depth chart, Jackson figures to receive the majority of touches out of the backfield. He should be considered a RB3 with upside in most leagues and a decent flex option in leagues that employ the position.
However, acquiring him is not without risk. Look for Green Bay to scour the free agent market for a veteran running back or perhaps acquire one via a trade. Ahman Green, who split time with Jackson as the team’s top backup for the last half of 2009, is an obvious candidate to be re-signed. Buffalo Bills running Marshawn Lynch, rumoured to be available in a trade ever since the team selected C.J. Spiller in the first round of this year’s draft, is a similar player to Grant and would make sense in Green Bay.
If a veteran isn’t added to the mix, look for either Nance or Starks to get an opportunity at some point in 2010 with Starks likely the better option. The rookie from the University of Buffalo is a skilled but injury-prone player who has the talent to play in the league provided he can stay healthy.
By: Dave Stringer — September 14, 2010 @ 5:33 pm
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Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
While I’m certainly not sold, Hasselbeck and his cast of questionable wide receivers came through in Week 1 against a 49ers defense that came out inexplicably flat. Hasselbeck went 18 of 23 for 170 yards and two touchdowns and chipped in a rushing touchdown to boot (note that it’s a sad commentary on your running backs when you call a quarterback sneak with a 34-year old, injury-prone QB with a history of back problems).
Jay Cutler, Bears
The whispers that Cutler could be a decent fantasy starter will grow into a chorus after his Week 1 performance against the leaky Lions defense. Cutler started shaky but finished with 372 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception. Cutler made some questionable decisions and the offensive line needs to improve however, if Cutler gets protection, the Bears passing game should be dynamic.
Trent Edwards, Bills
Edwards looked good in the preseason, shedding his propensity to check down while opening up the Bills offense with solid production in the passing game. The question was whether he would continue to do so once the regular season began. Well, the lights came on and he was in full Captain Checkdown mode, going 18 for 34 for a paltry 139 yards and a touchdown. With the game winding down and the Bills needing big chunks of yardage, he checked down on four consecutive passes to end the game, proving that some people never change.
Matt Schaub, Texans
You generally shouldn’t read too much into the opening week of the season but the way Arian Foster ran against the Colts, it seems abundantly clear that the Texans will throw far less frequently than they did in 2009, when Schaub finished with a league-leading, 4,770 passing yards. He’s clearly not a player that should be unloaded but the odds of him finishing as a top five fantasy quarterback look a lot less likely after watching Foster’s performance.
Arian Foster, Texans
What is there to say? The top fantasy performer of the week and if you had him in your lineup, you almost certainly would have won with a 41 point outing courtesy of a Texans’ record 231 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Foster looked like the real deal, repeatedly shredding the Colts suspect run defense. Move him up to RB1 status and try to grab him if his owner isn’t a believer.
Matt Forte, Bears
Anybody who gambled that Forte would get the lions share of the touches over Chester Taylor was rewarded in Week 1. Forte shredded the Lions defense, catching seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 50 rushing yards on 17 carries. Granted, it was the Lions but Forte looks like a solid play against everything except the league’s top defenses.
Darren McFadden, Raiders
With Michael Bush and the Raiders fell behind early, McFadden had his most productive day since his second game as a pro, finishing with 95 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards and one touchdown against the Titans. Although he isn’t likely to get the 24 touches he had in Week 1 when Bush returns, he did enough to solidify his status as a decent flex option and RB3 with upside in leagues that don’t utilize the flex spot.
Peyton Hillis, Browns
Hillis moved up to the top backup spot after second round pick Montario Hardesty’s season ending injury. However, the expectation was that he would spell Jerome Harrison and likely get the short yardage work. Instead, he split time with Harrison and finished with more touches (13 to 10). He finished with 41 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and four receptions for 24 yards.
Brandon Jackson, Packers
It’s tough to say that Jackson will excel as the lead running back in the Packers explosive offense but we’re about to find out as Ryan Grant is out for the year with an ankle injury. Jackson played reasonably well against the Eagles in Week 1, finishing with 63 yards on 18 carries and 12 receiving yards. The Packers added Falcons’ practice squader Dimitri Nance to the fold on Tuesday, although they will hope to get rookie James Starks back off the PUP list sometime after Week 6.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Spiller couldn’t get anything going Sunday and finished with 14 total yards. The Bills offensive line couldn’t block the Dolphins front seven – a group that can hardly be considered one of the top run defending units in the league. Trent Edwards looked horrible and the Bills finished with 166 total yards of offense. Spiller is good but he can’t carry an entire offense this devoid of talent.
Justin Forsett, Seahawks
So much for Forsett winning the starting job. If Week 1 was any indication, it’s a full on running back by committee in Seattle with Forsett getting seven carries to eight for Julius Jones and six for Leon Washington. Provided that remains the status quo, none of the Seahawks running backs has any fantasy value. Move Forsett to your bench until the situation changes.
Donald Brown, Colts
No carries, one reception and apparently no fantasy value unless Joseph Addai gets hurt.
Kareem Huggins, Buccaneers
No carries, no receptions and apparently no fantasy value unless Cadillac Williams gets hurt.
Mark Clayton, Rams
Clayton was rookie quarterback Sam Bradford’s top target in week 1 against the Cardinals and appears to be the team’s number one wide receiver moving forward. While, Laurent Robinson was ignored because the Rams were avoiding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Clayton was targeted 16 times, catching ten passes for 119 yards. He also dropped a pass where he could have split the safeties and scored a touchdown.
Steve Breaston, Cardinals
While Larry Fitzgerald and Derek Anderson looked completely out of sync, Breaston looked like he had played with Anderson for years. Breaston caught all seven of the passes thrown his way, finishing with 132 yards. Much of it came against inexperienced cornerback Bradley Fletcher but Breaston looked dynamic and may end up duplicating Anquan Boldin’s production by the end of the season.
Legedu Naanee, Chargers
Nice game against the Chiefs in Week 1 with five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. He clearly outplayed Malcom Floyd so let the debate begin on exactly who is the Chargers top fantasy wide receiver…?
Devin Aromashodu, Bears
Aromashodu was listed as a backup entering the season but he emerged as Jay Cutler’s go-to-guy in Week 1. He was targeted 10 times, catching five passes for 71 yards and dropping a pass in the end zone. While Devin Hester and Johny Knox were tabbed as the Bears wide receivers most likely to breakout under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense, after Week 1, it looks like Aromasho is the player to own of the Bears receivers.
Eddie Royal, Broncos
With head coach Josh McDaniels stating that he likes to spread the receiving workload around, the Broncos may rely on a different receiver in any given week. However, Royal started out the season on fire, catching eight passes for 98 yards. Chalk him up as the Broncos top wide receiver to own… at least for now.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Fitzgerald says he’s at 70% and he had absolutely no chemistry with starting quarterback Derek Anderson in Week 1 against the Rams. Despite being targeted 15 times, Fitzgerald caught three passes for 43 yards. He scored a touchdown but that came on a play where the Rams got no pressure on Anderson, allowing Fitzgerald to get completely open in the corner of the end zone.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
I guess preseason does matter. Crabtree and quarterback Alex Smith weren’t on the same page with Crabtree causing one interception and seemingly not running the proper pattern on more than one occasion. Add it all up and the end result is two catches for 12 yards despite a healthy 8 targets. Not exactly a good start to the breakout season that most were predicting. He also drew the ire of head coach Mike Singletary after a lacklustre effort to make a tackle after an interception. Vernon Davis had a breakout campaign after getting lit up by Singletary…unfortunately that breakout occurred the following year.
Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, Bears
See Devin Aromashodu above. The lines – Hester, one reception on one target for 17 yards; Knox, three receptions seven targets for 52 yards.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
Lewis has always had decent talent but his fantasy value heading into the season was low based on his lack of touchdowns (never more than two in any season) and the emergence of Zach Miller as a receiving threat. However, he scored touchdowns on both of his receptions in Week 1 against the Broncos. Has he used up his touchdown allotment for this year or is he on his way to a decent fantasy season? Might be worth a look if you’re in the market for a backup on your roster.
Owen Daniels, Texans
No shocker here since head coach Gary Kubiak said Daniels would be limited to 20-25 plays in Week 1 against the Colts. That number seemed about right and the Texans only passed it 17 times with running back Arian Foster dominating the Colts on the ground. While that trend won’t repeat itself every week, the Texans clearly are a much-improved team running the ball with Foster. Couple that with Daniels questionable health, and you’ve got a risky fantasy starter for the early part of 2010.
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