Welcome to the Tuesday Morning Buzz! Each week I’ll give you a quick analysis on each of the week’s games.. This week was my wife’s birthday (Happy Birthday Christina!), so I was unfortunately unable to catch the football wrecking crew known as the Buffalo Bills in their rout of last year’s AFC West Champion Chiefs.
Saints – Packers
Football’s glorious return finally arrived Thursday night as New Orleans faced off against the Packers in an NFC showdown. Have you noticed how the NFC games are always showdowns? Rare is the telecast that promotes a “showdown” in the AFC North. In the NFC, though, the only thing more numerous than the use of “showdown” in promotions was the amount of stickers on Kid Rock’s piano during the opening performance. I’d give KR a 4.5/10 for his performance, but the “Back to football” presentation overall was almost enough to draw tears.
First let me say, I think I have a man-crush on Greg Jennings. He just has the right attitude and demeanor be an absolute beast at wide receiver. Jennings scored early on Patrick Robinson and set in motion a fireworks show of a football game as offenses on both sides made good defenses look bad.
On the topic of physical freak pass catchers, how about the tight ends in this game? Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley both looked outstanding. It took a while for Graham to get involved, but I’m still a firm believer that he was one of the best values in this year’s draft. As far as running backs, look for Starks and Ingram to be the most valuable RBs from these teams, though expect low value as long as the current timeshares continue.
How about the slippery field shenanigans at Lambeau? To this end, Chris Collinsworth proved why he makes the big bucks. Collinsworth on the Saints’ slipping: “The Saints have to stay on their feet!” Where is the “$%^# Chris Collinsworth Says” blog? Anyway, I counted eight slips in the first half after Collinsworth’s magical comment. There were likely another four before that. Twelve men falling while trying to catch a pass or defend it in one half is unacceptable.
Joe Flacco is my QB due to a dreaded Peyton Manning pick I was nearly forced to make. I almost traded for Matt Schaub after the Manning news came out, but I decided to stick to my guns after I traded Arian Foster for Greg Jennings before week one of last year. Don’t take too much away from this concerning the Steelers, they should bounce back. Also don’t take too much away from this regarding the Raven’s D, they’re still getting old. Seven turnovers won’t happen again this year for them. However, do feel good about the rest of the season for the Ravens O, which came out looking like it should have looked last year.
Bills – Chiefs
I don’t know what sorts of breakdowns the Chiefs had, but I do think they are a middle-of-the-pack team. It seems to me that everyone forgot how good the Bills were last year, including the Kansas City Chiefs. Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson are among last year’s hottest waiver-wire pickups and should be owned in all leagues this year.
Eagles – Rams
The Eagles did what they were expected to do. Particularly LeSean McCoy proved he was worth the pick. On the Rams side of the ball, Steven Jackson a la Steven Jackson went out in a blaze of glory with two touches for 50 yards and a TD. In his place, Cadillac Williams proved there is still some tread on the tires despite being nearly totaled a few years back. Sam Bradford disappointed, but I think he will bounce back and still finish nice this year.
Falcons – Bears
The Bears did their best Falcons impression and came out hot to start the game. That offensive show, in conjunction with their stout D, put the Falcons in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. They say they called deep passes which were covered up, but I still don’t have faith that this offense is all of a sudden going to be a downfield offense. Watch for Julio Jones to repeat this stat line (5 catches, 71 yards) often this year.
Browns – Bengals
To hear those from Ohio tell it, the Browns are overhyped every year and disappoint every year. I think the rest of the nation understands that the Browns are going to be terrible every year and holds no expectations otherwise. Look, Colt McCoy is a good quarterback, but he’s a long way away from being relevant in football and he’s exponentially farther from being worthwhile in fantasy. My general policy is to avoid anyone playing home games in Ohio.
Chargers – Vikings
Let me start with this: the Chargers are my Super Bowl pick this year and I’ve been taking a lot of flak for it. Well, they looked pretty good Week 1, albeit not in the way you’d think. Somehow, Mike Tolbert scored more points through the air than he scored in his entire 2010 season. Tolbert got the TDs, but Mathews looked better in space and through the line. I’ll always take the talent over the “goal-line” tag. Just like I yelled for Ray Rice over Willis McGahee all last year, including when McGahee was getting all the TDs, I yell for Mathews this year. By the way, they both got 12 carries in this game. In the second quarter, the Chargers finally put one up deep as VJax blew past a defender. He’s racing down the field… Fantasy owners everywhere are on their feet… It’s a touchdown… or, it’s right through his hands and on the turf! Maybe they’re not as potent down the field as the preseason had made it seem. Watch for Jackson and Floyd to tumble down the rankings this week as they combined for 7 points. Buy low if you can.
In other news, Vikings D looked very good. Jared Allen was dominating coverage, pressure, and everything between.
Colts – Texans
I have only two points to make about this game. 1. Wow, Indy is screwed. This will be their worst game of the season, however. See if you can buy up Reggie Wayne. 2. Just like with Mathews over Tolbert, I say Tate over Ward and he proved it in this game. Don’t be too surprised if Foster/Tate becomes a timeshare of sorts.
Titans – Jaguars
MJD did well in this game and Chris Johnson did nothing. I’m expecting both of these guys to be out or limited by Week 5, so if you drafted them you’ve got to play them. I was swayed on Kenny Britt, however. If he can stay unsuspended, Hasselbeck may just be able to make a star out of him.
Lions – Buccaneers
Headline if I were a newspaper editor: “Young exciting teams play boring game.” Yeah, that probably wouldn’t sell. I guess that’s why I’m not an editor for the newspaper… Lots of average scores in this one. Stafford was great, Calvin Johnson was great, Freeman was hurt, Best was good, Mike Williams was good, and LeGarrette Blount was not good. Don’t let any of this info adjust your opinion on any of these guys.
Panthers – Cardinals
Well, it looks like Cam Newton should’ve been number one overall in fantasy too, right? I mean, if he averages that score he’ll have better points than Michael Vick did last year! The Panthers are going to Disney World! Dynasty! Hall of Fame career! Well… perhaps we’d better wait for Week 2 first. Unless you’re really hurt at QB, I’d let somebody else run the risk.
Seahawks – 49ers
Ted Ginn Jr. returned a punt and a kick for TDs to make this close game look like a blowout. As far as I can tell, no one else on this team really did anything other than what you’d expect. If Ginn plays his best this year, my bet is he returns four total TDs. Two have already gone. I wouldn’t waste a waiver pick on him.
Giants – Redskins
Giants are starting to look pretty rough. You don’t want to overemphasize one week, but it doesn’t seem like they can compete for the NFC East title this year. I still think Eli will get it together to be worth starting if you took him late. Oh, and I would pick up Fitzpatrick before I would pick up Grossman.
Cowboys – Jets
Romo and Bryant remind me of Romo and Owens. Romo is the exact same and, as for the diva wide receiver, Dez Bryant may well be even more gifted than TO in his prime. However, Dez doesn’t seem to have mastery of his own body and is often hurt, as eventually happened in this game. The actual injury report states a bruise, but he looked more hampered than that. It’s a shame too, because if there is any wide receiver that can dominate Darrelle Revis, it’s Dez Bryant. When he was healthy, he absolutely owned Revis.
The Cowboys D looked very good for most of this game, and if Shaun Lee (defensive MVP of this game) had been able to get one more yard then they would’ve nearly doubled their D/ST point total and no one would be calling for Romo’s head. Cowboys D could be an excellent pickup or start next week.
One of my favorite parts of TV coverage of NFL games is the obscure, meaningless, hyper-specific stats they use to try and prove points that are false. Try this one on for size: “Mark Sanchez is so clutch in the playoffs, he’s the first quarterback since 2002 to beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive games in the playoffs.” First, Sanchez doesn’t beat quarterbacks. His defense beats quarterback. Second, how many guys have played Manning then Brady consecutively in the playoffs since 2002? Third, 2002 was less than a decade ago. That’s not that impressive. Stats never lie, but never trust a statistician.
Patriots – Dolphins
I’m going to make this one short as there isn’t a lot to say. Tom Brady (517 yards, 4 TDs) and the Patriots are crazy good. The Dolphins aren’t as bad as we thought they were. Brandon Marshall is a top-5 WR talent and Chad Henne is good enough to make him a top-10 WR this season if they can get on the same page. Welker didn’t have that crazy of a game if you take away his one great reception. A 99-yard TD will make a good fantasy day look absolutely dominant.
Raiders – Broncos
Great player of no direct fantasy consequence: Shane Lechler. Best punter in NFL history. Raiders also have Sebastian Janikowski, my favorite current NFL kicker and maybe one of the best all-time at his position as well. This one seemed like typical Raiders-Broncos football: great talent with no discipline. A total of 25 penalties were committed. The Raiders seem to take pride in stupid fouls. McFadden looked explosive when carrying the ball, but the team is too inconsistent overall to facilitate the great running game that Run DMC could bring. Right now I’m just hoping that McFadden’s neck is okay.