1. As expected, it didn’t take long for the heat to get turned up on Seattle starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and head coach Pete Carroll can blame himself for at least a portion of that problem. The Seahawks 2nd year coach signed Jackson and immediately installed him as the team’s starting quarterback sans competition. The team’s fans may not have been completely behind backup Charlie Whitehurst but there was strong sentiment that a competition was in order. And Jackson did nothing to dispel that notion with a middling Week 1 performance against division rival San Francisco, competing 21 of 37 passes for 197 yards, a pair of scores and one interception. With Seattle going on the road to face Pittsburgh, they are staring with an 0-2 record before their home opener against the Cardinals.
2. When the Jaguars decided to release David Garrard, the fantasy prospects of the team’s wide receivers and tight ends took a hit with running back Maurice Jones-Drew also going down a notch, albeit not a big one. While Garrard is clearly not a top-notch passer, he is a proven commodity which is more than can be said for his replacement Luke McCown. And if Week 1 is any indication, those predictions figure to be proven correct. The Jaguars ran the ball 47 times at home against the Titans with McCown attempting just 24 passes, completing 17 for 175 yards.
3. Sticking with that game, rookie Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak came up with one of the more perplexing Week 1 offensive game plans. Although Chris Johnson was coming off a lengthy holdout and the team correctly chose to limit his touches, they may have gone a tad too far. Johnson ran the ball just nine times (gaining 24 yards) in addition to his six receptions (25 yards). By game’s end, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had attempted 34 passes to just 13 rushing plays. It will be tough for Tennessee to balance out their run-pass ratio in Week 2 against a solid Ravens defense.
4. Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman wasn’t getting much love in the preseason and for good reason: he spent most of it listed second on the depth chart behind John Beck. However, he opened the season as the team’s starter and promptly lit up a leaky Giants secondary for 305 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This was clearly a case of Good Rex and based on history, we can expect to see plenty of Bad Rex in 2011. That being said, a quick look reveals that Bad Rex hasn’t been hanging out in Washington much. In four career starts for the Redskins, Grossman has thrown for 1,145 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions, averaging a healthy 23.5 fantasy points per game. That type of production makes Grossman a solid option if you plan on playing matchups at the quarterback position.
5. With Michael Crabtree unable to finish the 49ers game in Week 1, the team was forced to use Ted Ginn in the base offense for a number of plays. However, the team’s coaching staff would prefer to have him focus on the return game where he was outstanding against Seattle, returning both a kickoff and punt for touchdowns. If Crabtree is unable to play, look for Kyle Williams, the team’s 2010 6th round draft choice, to see time in the base offense and an increase in the number of two tight end sets.
6. The Dolphins acquired former Saints running back Reggie Bush to be their lead back in 2011 but few saw him receiving the type of workload he had in Week 1. Bush carried the ball 11 times in Week 1 against the Patriots and also caught nine passes, finishing the game with 94 total yards and a touchdown. The highest number of touches he had in 2010 was 14 and the 20 touches he had in Week 1 were his highest total since Week 3 of the 2008 season. With Bush not looking as dynamic in the fourth quarter as he did in the first, it was no surprise when the Dolphins announced this week that the plan going forward was for Bush to share more of the workload and earn about 70% of the touches out of the backfield. While that shouldn’t come as a surprise, what was a bit of a shocker was that the plan is apparently for rookie running back Daniel Thomas to share the workload with Bush. Thomas sat out Week 1 with an apparent hamstring injury and the Dolphins signed Larry Johnson and have also worked out a number of other veteran running backs. Nonetheless, Thomas seems set to make his debut and likely get 6-8 touches in the Dolphins Week 2 home game against the Texans.
7. Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell shaped up as a bit of a sleeper option in 2011 based on his final five games of the 2010 season when he averaged 19.1 points per game, not to mention a wide receiver depth chart loaded with speedsters. However, the depth chart isn’t looking so loaded these days with a number of banged up players including tight end Kevin Boss who missed Week 1 with a knee injury and may not be ready in time for the team’s game on Sunday in Buffalo. The end result for Campbell owners was a Week 1 disaster, with 105 passing yards with his fantasy day saved by a touchdown run. Week 2 isn’t looking too promising with Jacoby Ford nursing a sore hamstring, Louis Murphy suffering from a groin injury, Darrius Heyward-Bey injuring a knee in practice on Thursday and rookie 5th round Denarius Moore predictably doing a Week 1 disappearing act after having an outstanding preseason. There’s an outside chance Campbell might be chucking it to Chaz Schilens, Derek Hagan and Nick Miller a lot on Sunday.
8. You have to love the passion the Broncos fans have with reports that they are planning to post Play Tim Tebow billboards in the Denver downtown area. Personally, after watching the team’s horrendous offensive line play in Week 1, maybe the billboards should be directed at replenishing that unit, although that clearly isn’t a realistic option given the dearth of available veteran talent at the moment.
9. With Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson having only one solid season and Lee Evans having been shipped out of town, the team’s other wide receivers were worthy of late round picks in larger fantasy leagues and monitoring on the waiver wire in smaller leagues. With the news this week that 2010 4th round pick Marcus Easley was placed on injured reserve with a reported heart ailment, that proposition became a lot less lottery like. Veteran Roscoe Parrish shapes up as nothing more than an option out of the slot, leaving David Nelson and Donald Jones to battle for playing time on the outside opposite Johnson. Nelson has good size at 6’5”, 215 pounds and shapes up as a solid red zone option, as evidenced by the three touchdowns he scored in the final four games of 2010. That likely makes him the better option for a spot on the end of your fantasy bench.