Welcome to Week 5 of Tuesday Morning Buzz! I enjoyed the slate of games this week, even though Eric Decker, Steve Johnson, and Darren McFadden brought me a loss in my most important league. It was a week where many teams played as they were expected to, and many others showed their true colors (including Silver!)
Michael Vick cannot help but score fantasy points. His underperformances are better than most QBs‘ good weeks. In contrast, Vick’s rushing numbers alone nearly eclipsed Ryan Fitzpatrick’s entire day. Or, if you like, consider it this way: Vick’s rushing yards counterbalanced four interceptions. He can throw multiple picks and still get his complete passing stats. If you aren’t completely tired of the analogy, at least this Dream Team member continues to present nightmares for fantasy opponents.
For the Bills, there isn’t much to say. They beat an Eagles team that has lost nearly every matchup they have played this year. Buffalo didn’t come from behind, which is promising, but they did lose their deep threat in Donald Jones. Seems to me they traded a receiver with good deep-threat ability this offseason… Maybe he was too high-profile for this team.
How about them KC Chiefs? They showed a little gusto and got into a bad-team shootout with the Colts in Indy. Somehow, despite both teams missing by far their best offensive stars, this matchup was far more entertaining than last year’s snoozefest. If you don’t recall—and who could blame you—these two teams kicked field goals for three quarters last year until, finally, the illustrious Mike Hart scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. This year you saw Matt Cassel and Curtis Painter looking like Joe Montana and Johnny U. I’m kidding, but thanks to the help of Dwayne Bowe and Pierre Garcon, there was at least one game where both offenses had some steam. Let’s see if either team can carry that momentum into next week and create a week-in, week-out fantasy starter somewhere.
P.S. Start Pierre Garcon until he proves you wrong.
If someone had asked me to predict this game in the offseason, this is how I would’ve predicted it. Peterson had a great game, both QBs were middling, the Vikings defense kept the Cardinals down well enough, and Percy Harvin did nothing. My perceptions of these two teams have been off this year, but this week they were dead on. Of the combined 106 men on these two rosters, there is only one player that you should be starting next week: Adrian Peterson. If the Cardinals weren’t on bye, you’d have to start Fitzgerald; but since he’s out, you can start that bench player you’ve been tempted by all year.
I warn you: do not be swayed by this Seahawks team. Their win this week was a symptom of the New York Giants being unable to handle the pressure, not of fantastic play by the Seahawks. Lackadaisical defense can often make subpar offenses look shiny for one week. For some reason, the Giants get worse in proportion to how many points they’re favored by. Right now, in a very contrary fashion, I think the Giants are both sell-high and buy-low targets. If you can get good value for any of your Giants, I suggest selling them like Biggie T-shirts. However, if you see an owner panicking and offering players like Ahmad Bradshaw at a steal, then I say buy them up like Bank of America stock.
This is another game that played out how I would have expected in the offseason. Ben Roethlisberger lit up a defense that I thought was trending downward, and the Titans, including Chris Johnson, looked generally subpar. Johnson, like a great many other RBs this year, is someone I would never have drafted because he would’ve had to fall rounds below his ADP to be worth the risk to me. Maybe CJ2K returns to form after the bye, but I really don’t see it. At this point, I would feel better starting Darren Sproles or even Jahvid Best over Johnson. For the Steelers, watch for them to continue to play well at home and continue to look unimpressive and asleep on the road.
Jed Collins has two TDs in two games. Look for him to have three TDs max by year’s end. The Saints love putting up points with guys you’ve never heard of, but the only real stars on this team are Brees and Graham, with a nod to Colston if he can ever have another healthy season. I was worried about Cam Newton’s prospects as an NFL quarterback coming out of the draft, and once the hype came to a crescendo after a great opening game, I thought for certain there was about to be a crash. However, Newton has continued to perform and put up numbers unbecoming of his experience and his situation. And Steve Smith looks a decade younger out there.
The Raiders have looked better this year than they have in a long, long time. Their quarterback has been good enough, and that speed they’ve been drafting for years has finally paid off. If Darren McFadden had been able to really get it going on the ground, the Raiders would have done everything they wanted to against a Texans defense that’s gaining steam. For the Texans, their stock just keeps plummeting. For years, yours truly has been picked them to win that division, and I finally gave up this year and picked the Colts anyway. Now I have no faith in my ability to predict this division and will not be overly surprised if the Titans come out on top. The Texans, as well as fantasy owners, are praying every day that Andre Johnson gets back ASAP to keep this year from being lost to another 8-8 finish. Houston has a great team, but their playoff potential is slipping with each major injury.
The Color Silver
In a freakish turn of events, the Patriots had become the league’s most penalized team (in total penalties and penalty yards) through five weeks, with 40 penalties for 355 yards. The Raiders, with 11 total penalties on Sunday, in honor of their past glory, made a run at that top spot as they stalled multiple drives as the first half wound down. They even brought out the ever-popular holding penalty on back-to-back plays. But the Lions made a furious comeback on Monday Night to take first place; they were actually responsible for more Chicago first downs in the first quarter than the Bears offense was! The Lions now have 43 penalties for 315 yards.
On paper, the Jags looked better than the Bengals this weekend. Hill had better stats than Green, MJD had better stats than Cedric Benson, and Dalton had the two touchdowns, though Gabbert had better yards on fewer attempts. Really, it was the Bengals defense that made the difference, and it was their score on a fumble recovery that really iced the game. Green’s talent can’t be denied, and he certainly should be started, but you will not find him on any of my lineups per my fantasy philosophy of staying away from entire teams that I don’t feel good about. With all of the drama in Cincy, I just can’t get behind any skill players, despite how impressive their stats are. However, I would consider the Bengals DST a good fill-in for any bye weeks or bad matchups for your starters.
Well, I suppose all of those conspiracy theories that Harbaugh might throw the season to get Andrew Luck are finally put to rest. I have been hesitant to believe in San Francisco this year because of all of the hype that surrounded them last year. However, these 49ers appear to be buying into Harbaugh’s system and likely only need three or four more wins to clinch their division. If their momentum continues to grow, watch for 49ers players to quickly be snatched off of waiver wires worldwide.
If John Fox is smart, the Tim Tebow era has finally come. Tebow hasn’t proven he’s worthy of starter status, but his popularity has reached a fever pitch. The Broncos were losing when Orton was in, and they made an inspired comeback once Tebow took over. Look for Tebow to be a great Week 7 pickup as he heads to Miami where the Sunday pregame show will celebrate the ’09 Florida Gators championship. How about a maniacal fanbase cheering for your QB on the road against a team that can’t get it together at home? Yes, please. An inspired performance with that kind of crowd could win Tebow the job permanently.
For the Chargers, they have still started slow and have still been generally underwhelming through September, but unlike in previous years, they’ve managed to hang on and are 4-1. If they come on like they have in the past, this could be a devastating lead for the rest of the division to catch up to. Watch for Chargers players to be a major factor in the fortune of owners in the fantasy playoffs.
My wife’s suggestion for this section:
“Dear Jets and Patriots fans, I hated this game. It doesn’t have anything to do with your teams except for the fact that they were the ones in it.”
While mostly true, this is another game that went about as predictably as possible. The offensive line woes for the Jets are tearing apart their entire offense, and the offensive line strength of the Patriots is helping Brady tear apart defenses league wide. As much as Ryan may want the Jets to get back to “ground and pound,” they really could have stuck with the pass for one more week, as the Patriots’ pass defense is so miserable.
Honestly, I thought Aaron Rodgers would’ve defeated the Falcons twice at home by more points. I mean, with a team that talented, I thought he would throw for six touchdowns and run for two more. I can’t believe he allowed Michael Turner to run for that touchdown. Why didn’t he return a punt for a score? Certainly an athlete this fantastic should be able to play all three phases of the game.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
“Right now the Packers offensive line needs to Skype somebody on the outside ‘cause they need help!”
Shortly after Chad Clifton went down, the Packers O-line looked miserable. They appeared confused, and the Falcons pass rushers were circling their prey in anticipation. However, the Packers settled down on their next possession and went on to fend off the Falcons without a hitch for the rest of the game.
Jay Cutler flashed what convinced the Bears to bring him in and what convinced the Broncos to draft him early. For at least one prime-time game, he looked downright heroic. He was throwing hyper-accurate darts all over the field and was a couple of dropped passes from being even more impressive. It is frustrating having to watch him constantly dodge the pass rush. The believer in me is screaming, “What if he had protection? He could be the next Steve Young!” but the cynic in me is saying, “Yeah right. Remember last week when he couldn’t complete a pass? The Broncos upgraded with Orton!”
The Lions looked mighty good on Monday Night as even Jahvid Best got involved on actual rushes instead of just catching passes. They did everything they wanted on offense and kept Cutler running all night on defense. The Lions earn a well deserved 5-0 start and just have to feel somewhat unlucky to be in the same division as the Packers, the only other undefeated team in the NFL.
On that note, I bid you adieu until next Tuesday, fantasy football fans. For next week, I’m looking forward to starting Ravens and Cowboys who have favorable matchups against the Texans and Patriots. Watch for Flacco, Boldin, Romo, and Dez Bryant to all have big games next Sunday.