Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Dave Stringer — September 28, 2012 @ 1:41 pm
1. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was held without throwing a touchdown during this week’s Monday night loss to the Seahawks, marking the first time since Week 3 of the 2011 season that has happened. Green Bay has clearly failed to move the ball as consistently as they did last season and Rodgers currently sits as the 24th ranked fantasy quarterback. With plum matchups against the Saints and Colts on tap, the odds are that Rodgers will end his slump with a pair of solid outings. However, it is worth noting that dating back to last season, Rodgers has thrown for under 300 yards in five of his last six regular season starts and looking further back, eight of his last eleven starts.
2. Another stud performer who has had an uneven start to the 2011 season is Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Once again suffering from the poor performance of the team’s quarterbacks, Fitzgerald has caught just 14 of his 25 targets for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, he had a solid performance with Kevin Kolb at quarterback this week, catching all nine of his targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. That has to be considered an encouraging sign since the two failed to be on the same page since the early part of the 2011 season.
3. Sticking with Fitzgerald, he became the youngest player to top 700 receptions, doing it just after his 29th birthday which was on August 31st.
4. Here’s to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and all the fantasy football owners who lost this week because Schwartz failed to trot out Jason Hanson for a chip shot field goal during overtime of the Lions loss to the Titans. Rather than kick the tying field to extend overtime, the Lions ran a quarterback sneak inside the Titans 10-yard line with Schwartz later claiming there was a communication error on the play. Nothing like throwing your quarterback under the bus, coach.
5. If you are looking for a buy low candidate at running back, one option has to be the Rams Steven Jackson. Sjax has had a slow start to the season, struggling in Week 1 against the Lions, suffering a groin injury that cost him most of Week 2 and then struggling while playing hurt this past week against a stiff Bears defense. With a pair of solid run defenses up next in the Seahawks and Cardinals, the road doesn’t get any easier for the Rams main offensive threat. However, those who drafted Jackson did it on the premise that the Jeff Fisher led team would run the ball plenty (which they have) and on Jackson’s distinguished performance over the past seven seasons. During that time, he has topped 1,000 rushing yards every year and averaged 1,605 total yards per season while topping 1,300 total yards six times.
Is Jake Locker ready for primetime?
6. Here is a toast to the high-flying Tennessee Titans. What’s that, you say? During the Titans overtime win over the Lions this week, Tennessee became the first team in the history of the NFL to score five touchdowns of 60 or more yards in a single game.
7. Sticking with the Titans, quarterback Jake Locker didn’t look quite ready for primetime during the team’s thrashing losses to the Patriots and Chargers to open the season with the Titans chalking up a combined 23 points. However, he had a career outing this week against the Lions, despite the continued struggles of running back Chris Johnson, throwing for 378 yards and a pair of touchdowns while completing 29 of 42 passes. Locker makes for an interesting QB2 and a solid prospect in dynasty leagues due to the presence of a number of solid young playmakers at wide receiver and tight end coupled with Johnson’s continued struggles, which now date back to the latter stages of the 2010 season.
8. And if you are wondering whether Johnson is a buy low candidate, you might want to think again. Over his past 21 regular season starts, Johnson has topped 100 rushing yards just four times while averaging 9.6 points per game.
9. With his first rushing touchdown of the season this week against the Colts, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew eclipsed Fred Taylor’s franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 63 during just his 7th season in the league. That is an impressive accomplishment considering that MJD spent the first three seasons of his career backing up Taylor and the sorry state of the franchise during his time in Jacksonville.
10. Opening the season, the San Francisco 49ers were the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC West but they now sit a game behind the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals and tied with the 2-1 Seattle Seahawks. Both the Cardinals and Seahawks feature upper tier defenses that while not yet comparable to the 49ers, have helped their organizations quickly close the gap on San Francisco. With their win this week over the Eagles, the Cardinals are now a very impressive 10-2 over their past 12 games dating back to last season while the Seahawks are 7-4 over their last 11 regular season games.
11. Rashard Mendenhall owners can thank Isaac Redman for letting the cat out of the bag during the Steelers Week 4 bye as to who was going to be starting for the team when they return to action in Week 5. Redman told the Pittsburgh Tribune that the Steelers were looking for Mendenhall to come in and “be the feature guy”. With 195 rushing yards over the first three games and a 2.6 yards per carry average, look for Mendenhall to resume his starting role during the Steelers Week 5 home game against the Eagles.
12. Giants backup running back Andre Brown gave New York’s rushing attack a jolt this week with his 113-yard, two-touchdown performance over the Panthers. That game brought Brown’s yearly totals to 33 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns. While the common assumption is that Ahmad Bradshaw will remain the team’s starter and that is likely an accurate assessment, there are certainly major question marks as to how the workload will be split up over the balance of the season. With Bradshaw leading the rushing attack in 2011, the Giants finished last in the league in average rushing yards per game and in average yards per carry. While some of those poor results could be laid at the feet of the departed Brandon Jacobs, Bradshaw was also to blame as his career low 3.9 average yards per carry attests. Throw in his inability to stay healthy and it is safe to assume that Brown is in line for a healthy dose of carries over the balance of the season, provided he can hold off 1st round pick David Wilson.
By: Dave Stringer — September 25, 2012 @ 3:14 pm
Andy Dalton, Bengals
We can forgive Dalton for a subpar opening week performance against the Ravens but he has been on fire over the last two weeks, dismantling both the Browns and the Redskins. While neither team has an above average secondary and the Browns were without Joe Haden, Dalton’s numbers were still impressive, as he passed for over 300 yards and threw for three touchdowns in each game. Up next – Jaguars (21st ranked pass defense), Dolphins, (28th) and the Browns again (26th).
Aaron Rodgers moving down? Who wudda thunk it?
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
While the Packers skill position players have not played as well as they did in 2011, partly due to injuries, the real issue with Rodgers is the team’s offensive line, which is in shambles. And nobody is even hurt. Who knows – maybe center Jeff Saturday is having trouble with the line calls. Eight sacks to Seattle is a disgrace even if the Seahawks possess one of the league’s better (maybe best) defensive backfields. With just three touchdown passes and 745 passing yards over three games, Rodgers is currently the 23rd ranked fantasy quarterback, not what his owners had in mind, although his next two matchups look sweet (dating myself here) with the Saints and Colts up next.
Mikel Leshoure, Lions
I tried to steal this guy in a couple of leagues last week but the asking price was too high. And it just went up, courtesy of his 26 carries, 100 yards, and one touchdown on the ground this week against the Titans. Leshoure also displayed some pass catching ability, hauling in all four of his targets for 34 yards. Will he get 30 touches every week? Not a chance. But he did prove that he doesn’t need a pile of touches to rack up a decent point total. Leshoure looks like a decent RB2 from here on out.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
He’s back!!!!! But not for long if the Chiefs give him 33 carries every week.
Tashard Choice, Bills
C.J. Spiller is likely out with a sprained shoulder and Fred Jackson (knee injury) says there is a 75% chance that he will play. Let’s take that bet and go on the assumption that he won’t dress. That would make Choice the starter and he was solid against the Browns, rushing for 91 yards on 20 carries. Choice is also a solid pass catcher so even if the Bills get behind against the Patriots, he figures to get plenty of touches… provided he starts.
Andre Brown, Giants
Hello, Andre Brown! Subbing in for an injured Ahmad Bradshaw, Brown did his best Jim Brown impersonation, running roughshod over an overmatched Panthers defense last Thursday night. By game’s end, Brown had chalked up 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his 20 carries as well as logging three receptions for 17 yards. Sure, the Panthers D probably couldn’t have tackled a Pop Warner reject in this one and the Giants offensive line was dominant but Brown did enough to earn a share of the workload going forward. We all know Bradshaw is injury prone, rookie 1st round pick David Wilson has been a disappointment and the Giants formula in the past has been to use multiple backs.
Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
Looks like Reggie Bush will miss some time with a knee injury and Thomas played well this week against the Jets, gaining 69 yards and scoring the first rushing touchdown of his career in the Dolphins 23-20 loss. A lost fumble didn’t help his cause but he moved ahead of rookie 4th round pick Lamar Miller on the depth chart and is the odds on favorite to get the start this week against the Cardinals if Bush can’t go.
Bilal Powell, Jets
Powell had the most extensive work of his two-year career against the Dolphins, gaining 69 yards on 12 touches. With Joe McKnight buried on the depth chart and Shonn Greene not much of a receiving threat, Powell had five targets in the passing game and may be nudging the Jets into a timeshare situation with Greene. Or maybe they reduced Greene’s workload due to the concussion he suffered last week. Either way, Powell is worth a look if you have a bench spot open.
Chris Johnson, Titans
Moving Down three weeks in a row. The funny thing is that I’m not even bitter about his pathetic performance since I refused to own him in any of my leagues this year. This is just a bit of a hate on for guys who get their money and bust and guys who won’t man up for their poor performance. CJ2K (time to replace that nickname, folks) fails on both counts.
Beanie Wells, Cardinals
Last week, we put Ryan Williams Moving Down and that didn’t work out so well. Williams got the majority of the work this week against the Eagles and played well, gaining 83 yards on 13 carries and catching one pass for 12 yards. Wells (turf toe) can’t stay healthy and he hasn’t produced when he’s been in there. Expect this backfield to be in flux for most of 2012.
Kevin Smith, Lions
I’m dropping in here for the second week in a row just so I can provide myself with an opportunity to say I told you so to a few people who were calling me out on having Moving Down last week. Petty, yes. With Mikel Leshoure in the line up for the first time ever, Smith was unceremoniously benched this week and given no touches. Joique Bell backed up Leshoure and unless there is an injury, Smith appears to be firmly planted on the bench and likely out of a job if Jahvid Best returns at some point this season.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots
Just a little reminder that the Patriots never employ a workhorse back and there will be days like this. As in, 13 carries for Ridley for 37 yards and precious little playing time in the second half when the team went no huddle. Ridley should be a solid RB3 by season’s end but not without some hiccups along the way.
Torrey Smith, Ravens
Unless you just came out of your cave, you know what I’m talking about. Heavy heart and all and Smith is the week’s top rated fantasy receiver with six receptions for 127 yards and a pair of scores.
Ramses Barden, Giants
Meet the Giants new top backup wide receiver. With Hakeem Nicks out of the lineup and the Panthers focused on shutting down Victor Cruz, Barden went wild, catching nine of his 10 targets for 138 yards. The Giants throw it enough to support three wide receivers and it looks like Barden is finally realizing the potential that he has shown since being a 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft. Nicks owners should definitely get in on the Barden action.
Denarius Moore, Raiders
Two games, 18 targets, eight receptions, 112 yards and a score. With Darrius Heyward-Bey out for an indefinite period with a concussion and Moore getting on the same page with quarterback Carson Palmer, his fantasy prospects are on the rise.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
You know, there is a line drawn somewhere in time when a player who was supposed to become something big becomes exactly what he is. It feels like Dez Bryant is about to hit that line. What he could become was always thought to be something elite. What he is right now is a guy who will score some touchdowns but doesn’t seem capable of even topping 1,000 yards. This year, Bryant’s on pace for 875 yards and he has failed to score.
Sidney Rice, Seahawks
The Seahawks are on pace to throw for 2,315 yards in 2012. Since they spread their targets around like peanut butter, Rice has just 15 looks this season, including one in Week 3.
Greg Little, Browns
Head coach Pat Shurmur says Little is on a short leash due to his propensity for dropping passes. Let’s hope you’ve had Little on a leash (as in, on your bench) thus far in 2012.
Mike Williams, Buccaneers
Yes, he has scored two touchdowns but I’m guessing that he’s not going to keep scoring at a 7:1 target to touchdown ratio. I will do the math for you. That is 14 targets on the season. Seven receptions for 104 yards. More math – 34.7 yards per game. The resurrection of Mike Williams is looking less likely as the weeks go by.
Santana Moss, Redskins
It’s officially official. The Redskins have moved on from Moss, as his target total suggests (11 on the season).
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
While Rudolph has yet to emerge as a down the field option for the Vikings, he has become a solid red zone option, hauling in three touchdowns over the past two weeks. With no proven threat opposite Percy Harvin, Rudolph looks good going forward and no, I’m not worried about the imminent return of the immortal Jerome Simpson.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
What’s wrong with Witten? The normally reliable Dallas tight end entered the season still healing from a spleen injury but has managed to catch just six of 16 targets over the past two games for a paltry 64 yards. Witten says he is healthy but you have to wonder given his low production in 2012. It might just be that some combination of injuries and age are finally catching up to the Cowboys likely Hall of Fame tight end.
By: Aaron Williams — @ 10:39 am
Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz! The first truly crazy weekend in the season had it all: fourth quarter comebacks galore, five call reversals in one game, coaches yanking on the arms of officials, emotional performances in response to familial deaths. I hope simply to make it through with my ear fully intact. Let’s get right into the action:
Well, the Panthers certainly got more than bargained for Thursday night. The Giants were large and in charge of all aspects of this game. When Cam Newton gets a rushing touchdown and still only gets 9 total points in standard scoring formats, something is terribly wrong. If the Panthers can’t get the run game going, including Newton, they can’t win. With New York, there are two names that should disappear instantly from your waiver wire if they haven’t already: Martellus Bennett and Andre Brown. Bennett is especially not going anywhere, as the Giants have had big plans for a big tight end for years. The Giants didn’t draft rookie running back David Wilson in the first round to sit him, but it will be hard to put the lightning-in-a-bottle they’ve found on the bench.
The Bears once again failed to capitalize on a defense they should have torched. Most people weren’t sipping much fantasy Kool-Aid on Jay Cutler, but there were huge expectations for Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Through three games, an unclear ankle injury, and two throw-away performances, neither has excited fantasy owners. However, I still believe there is an untapped offensive potential on this team just waiting for Mike Tice to get a scheme together for the O-Line. Trade for Bears if you can get them cheap. The Rams currently have no business being discussed in fantasy and will likely be irrelevant for the entire year.
The Bills, tied for the lead in their division through three weeks, were able to defeat the Browns in Cleveland. This is probably the biggest accomplishment for the Bills in this young season, as the city of Cleveland typically debilitates visiting offenses. However, the Bills took a huge blow when C.J. Spiller went down early on. The outlook appears good for Spiller, as there is a chance he won’t miss a full game, but I’d bench him until you’re sure you’ll get 60 minutes out of him.
For the Browns, I am still highly skeptical of Trent Richardson and the Browns offense, but it appears I was premature in saying that Richardson wouldn’t make the Top 20. He is scoring enough touchdowns early that his eventual season-ending injury should occur after he secures a spot among the top 20. Don’t take solace in that, however. In this RB-starved year, I’d sell Richardson to the highest bidder.
This week the Cowboys were a couple of touchdowns away from being a fantasy point machine. The overall result was disappointing, but take a look at these yardage totals:
If Romo had thrown even one touchdown, he and at least one of those wide receivers would have had a fantastic fantasy day.
For the Bucs, there is still little to be gleaned from their current play regarding start/sit decisions. Obviously, no Buccaneer is an every-week starter, but yours truly is beginning to wonder if they are worth the stress. I wouldn’t trade Doug Martin, but no one else has been given enough consistent touches, let alone production, to keep them from the fantasy chopping block.
In a battle of two offenses with no expectations, the Jags were able to come out with a win on the heels of an incensed Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD ran for 177 yards and a touchdown; however, I’m still terrified of a major injury due to his lack of an offseason practice regimen. He is another RB that will fetch high value, perhaps even greater value in the form of two players from another team. For the Colts, it was more of the same, as Reggie Wayne, Donald Brown, and Andrew Luck continued to have outstanding fantasy days for their status. T.Y. Hilton may be worth picking up and stashing just in case he becomes a regular big-yardage play.
Here is the good news for the Jets: They were able to defeat the Dolphins in overtime. Here is the bad news for the Jets: They needed overtime to beat the Dolphins. Oh yeah, and they lost Darrelle Revis for the season. Is this defense good enough that it can still be a value-pick, every-week start without Revis? Sadly, it appears that this Jets fantasy offense is even more tepid than the Dolphins, Browns, Bills, and maybe even the Cardinals. Yikes!
The Dolphins may have suffered a terrible injury loss as well, as their entire offense was injured when Reggie Bush’s knee was hurt for the 900th time in his career. Look for Daniel Thomas to step up in Bush’s absence, but the offense may sputter without the run and catch threat that Bush provides.
Last year, yours truly had this to say after Week 12: “Christian Ponder is the anti-Tebow. He always looks better to me than his stat line. He’s proven his mobility, his competency, and his football IQ. Yet, when it all shakes out, all of that great play amounts to less than Matt Moore or Carson Palmer put up on the stat sheet.” Luckily for the Vikings, hardworking, cerebral quarterbacks typically work out in the long run, and Ponder flashed greatness on Sunday, throwing two touchdowns and no picks versus a ridiculously nasty 49ers D.
For the 49ers, no real fantasy news here. Keep starting Vernon Davis, start Crabtree or Manningham when the matchup warrants, and hang on to Kendall Hunter in anticipation of Frank Gore’s inevitable injury.
I thought both offenses looked fantastic through three quarters, though how dubious is that statement with how pitiful these defenses have been? Jamaal Charles ran for what seemed like a season’s worth of yards and racked up two or three games’ worth of receiving yards as well. The “chief” take away from this game: start anyone who plays the Saints or the Chiefs. In that same vein, don’t be too impressed by anything you saw from this game, as it is liable to be a flash in the pan.
Pain Heals. Chicks Dig Scars. Glory Lasts Forever.
The truly amazing stat about this game is that The Replacements averaged one call reversal per quarter in a game with a quarter of overtime. My favorite part, however, is how much the hilariously named Don King sounds like John F. Kennedy. If you missed this game, go to one of the hundreds of articles bashing The Replacements and check out the calls. “Ask not what the replay booth can do for you, but what you can do for the replay booth!”
The analysis of the Titans is easy: You should not expect this kind of production from any of their players, as they will not score 40-plus points every week. Not even 20. However, even when they did score 44 points, CJ2K still managed only 24 yards on 14 carries and one reception for five yards. Chris Johnson has a 0.03 rating on the Calvin Scale this season, including a +0.02 bonus for having the same family name. I wonder if he considers that performance the fault of the O-line as well. At this point, he may be a difficult sell for any kind of value, but if someone will take him, you should make the move.
For the Lions, you may be excited about 26 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, and rightfully so, but Detroit does not run much. However, this may have been perfect timing if Stafford is indeed out. If it turns out that Stafford is back next week, LeShoure’s chances of a repeat performance are far from a sure thing.
Count yours truly among those who had no business winning in their fantasy leagues this week, except for the simple excellence of A.J. Green. Quietly, Green cashed in 183 yards and a score, including a textbook 80-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage. Also, the Law Firm scored his second touchdown on the year in what looks to be a high-scoring season for the sturdy-handed RB. For the Skins, how mad must Santana Moss be now that he finally has a passable quarterback in his 12th season, when he has lost a step and his talent is sapped. Once regarded as one of the top talents at his position, Moss now ironically relegated to one-catch games with the best quarterback he’s ever lined up with.
Oh the sad, sad prospects of the Eagles. Philly fans are cursing that lucky rabbit’s foot I warned about after the Week 1 “victory” against the Browns. If these Eagles can stop the bleeding from their turnover ratio, they may yet be able to win their division and compete in the playoffs, but fantasy prospects are looking grim for the Iggles.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are playing with so much swag after a 3-0 start that Kevin Kolb threw for Rick Ross numbers of 222 yards for two touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald also came back to life this week in a performance that can only feel like what Han Solo must have felt after being freed from the carbonite.
In a strange turn of events, Ryan Mathews had a total of 15 touches for 76 yards, but the Chargers were only able to muster an anemic 3 points against an Atlanta Falcons team that is on an NFL-wide tear. The disgusting lack of yards and points for the Chargers leaves all analysis at the door, outside of Mathews appearing to be in capacity enough to warrant a starting consideration. On the Atlanta side, there simply weren’t enough touchdowns for all of the surging skill positions. Turner, Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Jacquizz Rodgers each scored to amplify their yardage totals. Only Roddy White was left out, in what was essentially an exhibition of the Falcons’ offensive capabilities. It appears that all San Diego RBs not named Mathews are back to the bench, unless you think Jackie Battle will continue to have success as a third-down back.
Nothing goes better with football than clichés—except maybe Tapenade. Despite this, I’ve had it up to here with concept that opposing quarterbacks are battling against each other. I understand when pitchers have duels and single-handedly determine the fate of their games, but football is far too much of a team sport for that kind of talk.
Matt Schaub had a fantastic game on top of what is turning out to be a fantastic season for the Texans. However, he did not “out duel” Peyton Manning, as such seems impossible to me. Comparing two quarterbacks against one another in a game where they are playing totally different defenses is asinine, in my humble opinion. Take Schaub and Arian Foster for granted, but beware of Andre Johnson, as 72 yards and a touchdown is less impressive when you realize it was on only two catches. Manning, Decker, and Demariyus Thomas are all matchup plays and bye-week starters, but Brandon Stokley is also quickly becoming a bye-week fill-in if you’re light at WR.
If I were the head coach of the Raiders, I would always take a touchback out to the 20-yard line and then attempt a field goal on every fourth down. Janikowski is the man in my book—he looks like he cares about three things: Chicken Wings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and super long field goals. If Janikowksi ever gets the chance, I’m certain he will break the record for longest field goal. I’m sorry I’m going on so much about a kicker, but he is so white-trash awesome.
For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger dominated the Raiders defense and angered fantasy owners everywhere who benched him for Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, or Tony Romo. Todd Haley’s philosophy is starting to take hold as the Steelers offense is slowly transitioning to a passing-centered game. Watch for your Steelers passing stars to continue to rise and your Steelers 300-carry running backs to fade into oblivion.
I can’t imagine how disappointed each of these teams must have been when they lost in Week 2, knowing that they would have to play each other the next week. Going 1-2 is never a good thing, but preseason darlings that go 1-2 start to deteriorate very quickly. For the Patriots, this offense will bounce back under the cool-headed leadership of Bill Belichick, so don’t panic, but don’t be surprised if it’s a few more weeks before they really click.
The difference between Brady’s “subpar” performance and Flacco’s “elite” performance was completions for touchdown. Both completed 28 passes and Flacco threw for around 50 yards more, but the 3:1 touchdown-to-inception ratio made Flacco the far better man for fantasy. He should be writing a thank you letter to Torrey Smith, who torched the Patriots to keep the Ravens in the game. Don’t look for this kind of performance every game, but Smith has probably earned 7 to 10 targets a game and will likely be starting material for your fantasy team all season long.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On finally getting his way after screaming all of the first quarter that The Replacements weren’t throwing a flag to control the emotions when skirmishes were breaking out:
“I wouldn’t have thrown the flag—I’ll just put it that way!”
Even CC had to get into the action of abusing The Replacements this week, and I’m beginning to wonder if the NFL will eventually ask the broadcast companies to pay the issue less attention. If there should be any criticism levied from this whole situation, it should be against the players, and especially the coaches, for trying to intimidate The Replacements. Not only is it unsportsmanlike, but it’s just generally deplorable.
What a remarkable spectacle of a game. First, the Seahawks have a great defense. Especially when playing in Seattle, you should temper your expectations for any QB or WR against this lockdown defense. For the Packers, this offense will get itself under control. As the madness of the early season begins to settle down, the Packers skill players will come through for your team.
Pains Heals. Chicks Dig Scars. Glory Lasts Forever. Part II
The NFL has a mess on their hands.
Oh boy. All The Replacements needed was the fiasco at the end of this game. First, let’s restate what happened:
- Russell Wilson throws a deep bomb to the end zone where there are two Seahawks and about 52 Packers. The first infraction the world is screaming at The Replacements about is Golden Tate shoving Sam Shieldsout of the way. Even Jon Gruden, who notoriously complains about The Replacements, stated that end-of-the-game Hail Mary’s are essentially “Let ’em play” situations, and that offensive pass interference is rarely if ever going to be called on a play like that, even by the regular officials.
- Next, M.D. Jennings elevates and grabs the ball with two hands while Tate places one hand on the ball. As Jennings brings the ball to his chest, Tate places his second hand on the ball, then the pile of players collapse to the ground. If, for even a fraction of a second, Tate established 50% control of the ball before Jennings’ feet hit the ground, the correct call is “simultaneous possession.” Furthermore, the simultaneous possession that was ruled on the field cannot be overturned by replay, even if the officials saw in their review that Shields clearly had control first. The Replacements made the best call they could see on the field, which turned out to be unreviewable. And there lies the rub.
- When Tate and Jennings fell into the scrum with questionable-but-not-obvious simultaneous possession, both refs in the end zone looked at each other, nodded, and then provided two different signals. Each ref had assumed the other saw what he saw. Instead of huddling to determine the call, The Replacements felt harried and terrified and simply went with the touchdown call.
- Finally, and most inexcusably, the refs called a touchdown and got the heck out of Dodge without completing the game with the mandatory extra point. They then had to be notified to come back on the field to finish the game.
The sad truth is that The Replacements are overmatched and are being taken advantage of. Just as we say the game moves too fast for rookie players, the game is too fast for The Replacements, and they have lost all control of the field. Players are being liberal with their gamesmanship to test the mettle of the officials. How many coaches are going to receive fines because of their miserable behavior? You can blame The Replacements for the calls, they did make them, but neither the coaches nor the players are handling this with class. With an immaturity that apparently knows no boundaries, the players and coaches are applying so much pressure that they are rattling these officials into making quick decisions and playing with a disregard for the rules—the strategy NFL teams take against rookies on opposing teams. It is the official’s job to call out rule breaking; however, it is the responsibility of the players and coaches to try to play within the rules. How can we expect The Replacements to be thoughtful and accurate with the pressure being placed on them by the players and coaches? The refs are not a third team on the field, and they should not be strategized against. How many of these situations would have been different if the media didn’t barbeque them beforehand, with the coaches following suit during the game, and the players moaning and groaning about them afterwards? In the end, these guys are out there making the best calls they can—even the best refs will make bad calls—but they are the scapegoats of a bad situation mixed with unprofessional play.
My last thought is this, how much are the regular officials at fault here? They are demanding to maintain a pension as part-time employees. How many full-time employees still have a pension in 2012? I’m guessing that NFL Referee is one of the only part-time jobs in the United States that is pensioned. It simply isn’t the way of American business anymore. There is nothing wrong with the NFL pushing to move the referee job into the 21st century. Perhaps instead of moaning for the NFL to give in to whatever demands the refs make so that they can regain control the field, we should be yelling at the referees to accept being paid what is acceptable.
And that’s it! What an interesting conclusion to a very interesting week. Next week, look for your Falcons, Patriots, Vikings, Chargers, Texans, Broncos, Cardinals, Packers, and Bears to excel. Come on, these Bears have to pack some offensive firepower into a Monday Night game right? Don’t forget your Colts and Steelers are on bye, so find suitable replacements!
P.S. I really enjoyed your questions last week, keep them coming and I’ll reply on Wednesday and Thursday as they come in.
By: Dave Stringer — September 21, 2012 @ 5:43 pm
RGIII shouldn't be surprised about the rough treatment given to him by opposing defenses.
1. Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered his first loss this week, a 31-28 nail-biter against the Rams in St. Louis. Washington had a chance to tie the game but a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against wide receiver Josh Morgan pushed the team out of field goal range during the last minute of the contest. RGIII went off on the Rams this week, stating they were unprofessional and took some cheap shots at him. What he is forgetting is that the Rams formula was successful and his complaining about it after the game is only going to reinforce the notion that opposing defenses can get him off his game by playing to the whistle and slightly beyond. The reality is that it should be no surprise that the Rams were going to go after him since the Redskins entire offensive playbook is predicated on his unique set of skills. While the Rams were certainly playing on the edge and keeping with Jeff Fisher’s defensive philosophy from his days in Tennessee, we can be fairly certain that Washington’s offensive coaches apprised RGIII of what to expect during the week leading up to the game.
2. Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall was cleared for contact this week, opening up the possibility that he could playing during the team’s Week 3 road game against the Raiders. However, with both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer expected to play and Pittsburgh having a Week 4 bye, look for the Steelers to sit Mendenhall this week and for him to make his 2012 season debut in the team’s Week 5 home game against the Eagles. Neither Redman nor Dwyer have done enough to wrestle the starting roll away from Mendenhall so look for him to see a normal amount of touches by Week 8 or 9, if not earlier.
3. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has had a disappointing start to the season, notching just seven receptions for 102 yards during the Cowboys first two games. While it is clearly too early to give up on the talented Dallas receiver, another disappointing effort against the Bucs and their 29th ranked passing defense just might make the alarm bells starting going off for Bryant owners. His preseason prognosis looked solid with the team seemingly lacking a proven 3rd wide receiver. Although Kevin Ogletree may not end up being a threat to Bryant’s usage, it is worth noting that Bryant is currently on pace to record just 102 targets in 2012, one less than he had in 2011. Also concerning for his owners should be the fact that he has topped 100 receiving yards just once in 29 career games and that was in Week 10 of his rookie season.
4. In Indianapolis, Donnie Avery has quickly made his mark with the Colts, catching 12 of his 18 targets over the team’s first two games for 148 yards and a score. New Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes what Avery has brought to the team’s offense as their only true deep threat, making it likely that he will continue to have a role in the team’s offense when fellow wide receiver Austin Collie returns from his latest concussion. The first wide receiver taken in the 2008 draft, Avery flamed out in St. Louis but may have found a home in Indianapolis in 2012. He makes for an intriguing flyer in deeper fantasy leagues.
5. You have to love Titans running back Chris Johnson. A year removed from one of the least inspiring seasons a former 2,000 yard running back has ever had, Johnson is once again struggling in 2012 and apparently laying the blame at the feet of his team’s offensive line. This week, Johnson said he wasn’t to blame for his struggles and that he wouldn’t lay the blame on others. Duh. If Johnson hasn’t performed, and he hasn’t, and he isn’t to blame, then he’s blaming the offensive line. Here’s guessing the Titans offensive line isn’t too impressed by the team’s star running back comments to the press. At this point, Johnson can’t be considered a must start and if you have a decent RB3 on a good matchup, consider putting Johnson on your bench.
6. Is the Giants Ramses Barden the real deal? While he may be a reasonably talented receiver, don’t be surprised if the Giants turn that role over to rookie 2nd round pick Rueben Randle at some point in 2012. Barden’s contract is up at the end of this season and his skill set is very similar to Randle’s. As for veteran journeyman Domenik Hixon, don’t look for him to be a key component of the team’s game planning any time soon.
7. Sticking with the Giants, the Andre Brown feel good story was a nice one and he could be a decent fantasy starter if Ahmad Bradshaw is out for a significant period of time. However, that possibility seems remote and while Brown looked good against the Panthers, it was a night in which the Giants offensive line played extremely well and Carolina’s defensive line and linebackers were mostly going through the motions. A big portion of Brown’s production came after missed tackle and while he gets credit for running hard, he clearly benefitted from a subpar night put in by the Panthers defenders.
8.In Seattle, the Seahawks are sticking to their tried and true offensive formula of pounding the ball and keeping things simple in the passing game. Despite all the hoopla about the playmaking ability of rookie 3rd round pick Russell Wilson, the team has passed the ball just 54 times in two games for 304 yards. While fantasy enthusiasts may look at the numbers and surmise that a change is in order with free agent signee Matt Flynn getting a chance to start, Seahawks management seems committed to developing Wilson as the team’s long-term starter at the position. With Wilson currently ranked 30th among fantasy quarterbacks, he is little more than a prospect in dynasty leagues and his presence is a major negative factor in wide receiver Sidney Rice’s production. With Wilson at the controls, Seattle has just one fantasy roster worthy performer in running back Marshawn Lynch.
9. In case you are wondering who the 31st rated fantasy quarterback is, that would be the Texans Matt Schaub, putting to rest the debate as to whether Houston is truly a run dominant team. Consider Schaub little more than a low end QB2 in 12-team leagues in 2012.
By: Dave Stringer — September 18, 2012 @ 3:34 pm
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
The way the Chiefs are going, Cassel is going to be loading up on garbage time points in 2012. Two blowouts into the season and he is the sixth ranked fantasy passer with 559 yards and three passing touchdowns to go along with a score on the ground. Even taking away the rushing touchdown, Cassel would still be ranked in the top 10. Jonathan Baldwin’s performance in Week 2 was also encouraging.
Jake Locker, Titans
This isn’t as much of an indictment of Locker as it is of the entire Titans offense. The offensive line looks bad, running back Chris Johnson is in a coma, Kenny Britt is tied together with string and Nate Washington has a sore calf. There are a lot of things that need to change in Tennessee for Locker to be fantasy relevant.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Moving Up two weeks in a row. Boring, I know, but deserved courtesy of his demolition of the Chiefs. Spiller now has 364 total yards and three touchdowns for the year, ranking him as the number one fantasy running back. It’s beginning to look like the Bills starting running back gig is Spiller’s to lose.
Michael Bush, Bears
Bears head coach Lovie Smith says Forte doesn’t have a high ankle sprain but on the other hand, they re-signed Kahlil Bell so they are obviously concerned about Forte’s availability in the short term. While Forte won’t miss significant time if Smith’s comments are true, Bush figures to start for at least a week and maybe more. The team’s offense crashed back to earth after a solid Week 1 performance but Bush could be gold as the Bears face some weak rushing defenses over the next three weeks (Rams, Cowboys, Jaguars).
Andre Brown, Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw may miss some time with a neck injury and rookie 1st round pick David Wilson is firmly in the doghouse for fumbling in Week 1. Enter Brown, who looked good, rushing for 71 yards and a score on 13 carries while adding 19 yards on a pair of receptions. He looks to be the starter if the MRI on Bradshaw’s neck turns up something serious. With a Thursday game on tap, Brown figures to get the starting nod in Week 3.
Daryl Richardson, Rams
Meet Steven Jackson’s new handcuff. Or is that SJax’s new competition? We will likely never find out the real reason SJax spent most of the game standing on the sidelines (groin injury vs. benching) but what we do know is that Richardson looked good subbing in for him. The rookie 7th round pick has usurped Isaiah Pead, one of the Rams 2nd round picks, on the depth chart and rumbled for 83 yards on 15 carries while catching two balls for 19 yards. A fumble late in the 4th quarter was the only blemish on an otherwise solid performance. Jackson isn’t likely to miss any time but his owners need to run to the waiver wire to grab Richardson.
CJ's fantasy value is sinking quick.
Chris Johnson, Titans
From being a Barry Sandersesque talent to being a complete dud in two years. Stunning, folks, just stunning. Johnson has just 21 yards on 19 carries this season to go along with eight receptions for 58 yards. If you have anything on your bench, then sit Johnson, who faces a pair of top 10 run defenses in each of the next two weeks (Lions, Texans).
Ryan Williams, Cardinals
It’s not like Beanie Wells has been lighting it up but Williams has been awful with 18 carries for 22 yards and four receptions for 27 yards. I will do the math for you – 22 touches, 49 yards. Not to mention an almost fatal fumble late in the 4th quarter this week, giving him two lost fumbles already in 2012.
Kevin Smith, Lions
Smith was so unimpressive against the 49ers that the coaching staff turned to some retread named Joique Bell, who is 26 years old and had never carried the ball during his three years in the league. With Mikel Leshoure returning from suspension in Week 3, Smith’s fantasy value is sinking fast.
Ronnie Brown, Chargers
He’s done. Just saying.
Danny Amendola, Rams
Amendola should fumble on his first reception every game. Huh? After having the Redskins return his early fumble for a touchdown, Amendola caught fire, catching 12 passes in the first half on the way to 15 receptions, 160 yards, and one touchdown. The Rams offense goes something like this. Hand it off, pass to Amendola. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Amendola just might be a PPR demon in 2012.
Wes Welker, Patriots
Five receptions on 11 targets for 95 yards and no scores shouldn’t get you Moving Up, particularly when your head coach, the best in the league at what he does, appears to want to phase you out of your team’s offense. But with tight end Aaron Hernandez expected to miss several weeks with an ankle sprain, the Patriots no longer have the luxury of phasing Welker out.
Donnie Avery, Colts
With Austin Collie sidelined, Avery has taken over his spot in the starting lineup and amassed a whopping 18 targets over the first two weeks of the season, catching 12 passes for 148 yards and a score. A former 2nd round pick of the Rams, Avery was the first wide receiver taken in the 2008 draft, mostly due to his blazing speed and he might just be ready to be a solid contributor on a Colts offense that figures to be behind early and often in 2012. Points are points whether you get them in garbage time or not and we all know about Collie’s health issues.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Just a friendly reminder that Bowe is talented and the Chiefs don’t have much at tight end and neither Steve Breaston nor Jonathan Baldwin are consistent threats opposite Bowe. He went off this week against the Bills for 102 yards and a pair of scores. Bowe might be a fool at times but he is a talented fool who has played all 16 games in four of his five seasons in the league. And he’s motivated to finally get the lucrative, long-term deal that the Chiefs have yet to offer him.
Robert Meachem, Chargers
Kind of looking like Malcom Floyd is the new Vincent Jackson and not Meachem, who threw up an O-fer this week.
Randy Moss, 49ers
The 49ers told us Moss would be on a limited rep count and they were apparently telling the truth. Randy has had five targets in two weeks and this week’s game against the Lions told us definitively that Michael Crabtree is the team’s top weapon at wide receiver as well as quarterback Alex Smith’s go-to guy in crunch time.
Anquan Boldin, Ravens
This week’s game against the Eagles proved that Boldin cannot beat elite cornerbacks. He remains a decent WR3 but one you likely need to sit if you know he is facing a top coverage corner.
Brandon Myers, Raiders
Two games, 11 targets, 11 receptions, 151 yards. Hey, it’s not like the Raiders have a load of proven talent at wide receiver. If you’re desperate for somebody on a roll, Myers is your man. And if he stinks it up in Week 3, it’s not like you have to feel bad for dumping him. Opposing defenses appear to be backing off the Raiders speedy wideouts and with Darren McFadden also getting plenty of attention, Myers is benefitting. For how long? Who knows.
Dante Rosario, Chargers
Three touchdowns on four targets gets you Moving Up, especially when the guy you’re playing behind can’t stay healthy. But it is worth noting that Rosario had one target in Week 1 when Antonio Gates was mostly healthy and prior to this week, Rosario last scored in 2009.
Fred Davis, Redskins
Two straight tough weeks for Davis who can’t seem to get on the same page with RGIII and who doesn’t seem to be a big part of what the Redskins want to do passing the ball. Even with Pierre Garcon out and facing a poor coverage corner in Craig Dahl, Davis still had only two receptions on five targets for 14 yards against the Rams.
Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
This guy can do it all but I’m beginning to get the impression he can’t do it all for 16 games. This will be the third year in a row that he has missed time due to injury, a likely high ankle sprain sending him to the sideline this time.
By: Aaron Williams — @ 3:09 pm
Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz! After receiving the praise of an impossibly generous 1.1 rating on the Calvin scale, TMB only hopes to be able to follow up with a second effort. This week, the ultimate lesson to take away rings true in Denny Green’s famous rant, “They are who we thought they were!” Many teams returned to their original status this weekend, or had a deceptive performance that will trick many into becoming disbelievers. TMB is here with a word of caution to ignore those feelings and to wait it out. Let’s get right into it:
Bears – Packers
Impressively, Green Bay’s defense was able to clamp down on what yours truly referred to as possibly “the most explosive Chicago Bears offense in history.” Now, that is somewhat damning with faint praise, but certainly the skill players are in place. However, if your star running back has a high ankle sprain and your O-line can’t stay upright, you can’t expect the offense to click much. The Packers offense was still probably not worth what you paid for them, but don’t fret. Rodgers, Jennings, Nelson, and Jermichael Finley will all be worth it when the dust settles.
Bowe's fourth quarter explosion saved the day for his fantasy owners.
Chiefs – Bills
In the first of a few games following this trend, KC compiled some garbage points to make the match look respectable. If you started Dwayne Bowe due to the matchup this week, you got lucky, but don’t forget that he was 15 points lighter going into the fourth quarter. For the Bills, C.J. Spiller and cast dominated for 60 straight minutes. For those of you on the fence, Spiller should be started without afterthought until Fred Jackson comes back or the weather changes, ironically, since the Bills likely won’t maintain success into the second half of the season.
Saints – Panthers
The Saints are now two losses deeper than their fans thought they would be two weeks in, and I blame the offseason issues, but not in the typical fashion. I believe that these Saints had pent-up frustration regarding the offseason suspensions and persecution, but the reinstatement of the players just before the week sapped most of that anger. The Saints now are terribly debilitated and unmotivated. I wouldn’t be surprised if these Saints bail on the season if they start the first half something like 3-5. Brees and Sproles should be kept in case this thing turn around, but the rest of the Saints should be trade bait for the hopeful.
For the Panthers, Cam Newton’s passing stat line came close to mirroring Romo’s and Flacco’s, yet he was heralded as a hero at home, mostly because of his insane 71 yards rushing. In addition, Williams and Stewart combined for 120 rushing yards and Steve Smith totaled 104 receiving yards . With the dynamic Cam Newton leading the charge, keep starting those Panthers.
Browns – Bengals
The Browns and Trent Richardson were encouraging, but I still stick by my lifelong fantasy football mantra, “Never trust the Browns.” Keep in mind that this statistical anomaly was against a culture-conflicted Bengals team. If you see enough to feel good about starting a Cleveland Brown, caveat emptor; but this wise guy will stubbornly be selling, regardless of outcome. I personally don’t believe the stress and general iffy-ness is worth it, and I’d always be willing to trade for a star player in a more stable franchise.
For the Bengals, it’s simple. Dalton and Green can be starters if you need them to be, and Green-Ellis will manage 70-plus yards and a touchdown more weeks than not due to Cincinnati’s style of play. Be careful with lesser-known Bengals, however, as they have a Brownsesque tendency to look like superstars one week and then disappear.
Vikings – Colts
The Vikings hung in with the Colts all game but fell in the final moments to the immortal Adam Vinatieri, as so many have before them. Ponder and Harvin followed up solid Week 1 performances with better Week 2 performances, though Harvin could really have been a force with a touchdown. Adrian Peterson turned in a rare zero-touchdown performance as well, but he clearly is on a snap count, with only 16 carries all game.
Andrew Luck led his Horseshoes to a win, despite having a slightly worse passing day than Ponder. Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne, however, clearly outperformed their competition across the field. It turns out that Fleener may not play as much as expected (with only four targets against the Vikings). You may be wise to pick up a second TE and play the matchups if you have Fleener.
Texans – Jags
The touchdowns will not always stay the same, but in my opinion, Foster and Tate are both startable against bad defenses. I wouldn’t often consider starting a backup, but when the Texans play a bottom-half defense, I would gladly rank Tate in the top 30. The Jaguars crumbled in typical fashion, but again I preach caution: it’s early in the season and they won’t always be playing a top 10 opponent who is also a divisional rival.
Raiders – Dolphins
Imagine you are presented with this statement: “A running back in the Raiders–Dolphins game will run for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Who will it be?” Do you pick Darren McFadden or Reggie Bush? I would pick McFadden 10 times out of 10, even now. The Dolphins looked good against a mentally feeble Raiders team 3,100 miles from home in an early game. Similar to the Browns game, I believe this is far and away the exception, and a repeat should not be expected this season. For the Raiders, Carson Palmer was as double-sided as a Batman villain, what with a completion percentage of 50, a single touchdown, and an interception…and with the rest of the Raiders languishing under his leadership.
Cardinals – Patkowskis
I think there should be a children’s book called “The Gutsiest Little Cardinal” after Arizona’s Week 2 win. Kevin Kolb excelled on Sunday. Not only was he a game-managing, winning quarterback, but he was also arguably their most valuable rusher. The Pats fell into a trap game, it seems, and were looking ahead to their upcoming matchup with Baltimore. Start your Pats next week, however, as Gostkowski, Lloydkowski, Welkowski, and Gronkowski are angry and embarrassed, and should see a spike with the absence of Hernandez.
Buccaneers – Giants
Both of these offenses put up stellar numbers and won a lot of fantasy matchups, but remember that 24 of the Giants’ points came in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning’s 510 yards and three touchdowns this week makes him the NFL’s leading passer by a mile two weeks in. Andre Brown got the inevitable Ahmad Bradshaw injury carries instead of the rookie David Wilson. I would give it one full game to see if the rookie gets a crack at starting, but it’s back to the waiver wire if he gets fewer than 10 runs. On the Buccaneers side, V-Jax had a promising second effort, but I need to see him be a consecutively dominant force before he climbs the ranks out of the flex position.
The media talk on Monday centered around the controversial decision by Brian Schiano’s Bucs to rush the victory formation on the heels of a Giants interception. Obviously, the Giants are upset because of an unspoken rule that the quarterback kneel means the game is over, and that the risk of injury when the players are not expecting a defensive rush is high. However, the Bucs say that there were five seconds left and they were down by one score. Why not go for a fumble and try to tie it? Come to your own conclusions, but ponder this: Schiano still had a timeout in his pocket after that kneel-down. If it was truly a trying-to-win-it situation, why didn’t he call time and try again?
Ravens – Eagles
Philly, with a 1-point victory in each of their first two games, continues to do just enough to win. Vick is on a record-setting pace of 48 interceptions this season, with six picks through two weeks, but the rest of the offense looked typical of the Eagles. Be cautious with Brent Celek, however, as his explosion may have been scheme-driven. His history with Michael Vick is far less exciting. For the Ravens, it was much of the same as Rice and Flacco kept the Ravens in it until the last. Watch for your Ravens to be highly productive in a shootout at home next week.
Cowboys – Seahawks
Romo, with near identical stats to Flacco, did not fair nearly as well. No one around him performed particularly well, so what was the embattled quarterback to do? Don’t let the mix-up scare you, however, as Seattle is an incredibly difficult place to play. I’m sure Dallas fans and players alike cannot wait to get back home and welcome the Buccaneers to town next week. As to be expected, Seattle looked decidedly “meh” in a big win. Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch had a good day (122 yards and a score), but not a single yard was memorable. Keep Lynch in your starting lineup, and leave all other Seahawks on waivers.
Redskins – Rams
The biggest storyline for the Redskins this week was RGIII’s return to earth against a better-than-you-think Rams defense. However, the biggest story for fantasy concerning the Redskins is that Alfred Morris once again received the lion’s share of carries and Roy Helu did not advance the ball a single yard. Morris is your guy if you must, but be warned, the week you start him is the week that someone starts in his place. The Rams’ performance could be the headline of the world’s most obvious newspaper: “Sam Bradford Talented Quarterback. Steven Jackson out with Injury. World Still Turning.” Bradford is a perennial bye-week and injury fill-in, but he has the physical tools to put together a top 10 season, if only his supporting cast could keep pace. Until that changes, he’s a great option for backup quarterback and you should pick him up if he’s on your waiver wire.
Jets – Steelers
The Steelers looked impressive Sunday with controlled pass plays—not broken-down scramble plays. Todd Haley is bringing a passing aspect to the Steelers that has not been in the game plan in the past. While Roethlisberger continued to extend plays and make something from nothing, he was sacked only one time and the offense controlled the game. In addition, Brown and Wallace split the passing success for 79 and 74 yards, respectively. This is what the Steelers need to mask their annually bad O-line.
These Jets looked far less effective one week after they put up 48 points, as the certain-to-win-the-Super Bowl Mark Sanchez threw for only 138 yards and Tim “Just Win” Tebow had one run for 22 yards. It seems that the Jets spent all of their offensive firepower on Week 1. Be careful with these Jets, you never know if you’ll walk away with a win or a black eye.
Titans – Chargers
The Chargers are rolling early, which has always been their biggest struggle. The Broncos will play them close for the division title, but the Super Chargers are surging. The Philip Rivers-to-tight end connection looked particularly great as they connected for 48 yards and three touchdowns. Dante Rosario should be picked up from the waiver wire as soon as he is available. If New Orleans is in danger of jumping ship, then Tennessee is already starting to sink. Chris Johnson spoke out on Monday, saying, “People need to step up and do their job.” For some reason, I doubt the self-sure running back was speaking introspectively. Sell your Titans.
Lions – 49ers
San Francisco has a superb defense. A couple of years ago, you will recall, the Colts and the Saints were defense-proof. Both teams flirted with undefeated seasons and went to the Super Bowl as the No. 1 seed. In that vein, are the 49ers offense-proof? Can defense really still win championships? The fantasy production on offense may be light for this team (.40 Calvin), but the fantasy defense seems like a lock to be ranked No. 1. The Lions were simply locked down by the 49ers and could not get anything going on the ground or in the air. Don’t take it personally though; they won’t be playing such a terrific defense again this season.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
“Guys like Justin Smith, they don’t even need a helmet to play defensive tackle on this team!”
I’m not sure what Chris was going for with that quote, but I have already chimed in that classic schoolyard bully Jim Harbaugh has the 49ers defense playing quite spectacularly. I believe that Justin Smith would’ve been far less impressive sans headgear, but I cannot stress enough how badly San Francisco on your players schedule means SIT, possibly regardless of stature.
Broncos – Falcons
The Broncos fought notoriously to come back and win this game, but Manning’s awful first quarter made it impossible. Outside of the interceptions, however, 241 yards and a touchdown are par for the course. Considering that Manning was negative in fantasy points for much of this game, his end result is acceptable.
The Falcons are seeing their defensive front mature in front of their eyes, as the middle of their defense held strong without the presence of Curtis Lofton. Matt Ryan was excellent as usual, and Michael Turner lucked out when the Falcons got right up to the line to get him a touchdown. Tony Gonzalez, however, blew past defenders and snagged an obscene seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Unless you have Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, you shouldn’t even have to think about rostering Gonzalez if he’s on your waiver wire.
Pain Heals. Chicks Dig Scars. Glory Lasts Forever.
If you didn’t stick around to hear the diatribe in the postgame show about how awful The Replacements are, then you missed out. No one would defend otherwise, they blew a couple of calls on Monday Night, and it was a generally sloppy performance. However, John Fox replied in his postgame interview, “It was like any other game, it doesn’t matter who the officials are.” It’s as though some media members have never seen the regular officials don’t blow calls! Ed Hochuli can remind you of plenty of embarrassing blown calls that cost teams important games. Let’s give the poor Replacements a chance to get better.
Fin. Week 2 is behind us and Week 3 is waiting to begin on Thursday night. We’ll see matchups between many equally talented and positioned teams in my opinion, so this week could have far-reaching playoff implications. In Week 3 you should start your Giants, Panthers, Bears, Cowboys, Lions, Saints, Chargers, Patriots, and Ravens. Also, leave me a comment if I helped make a good or a terrible decision for you this week. I’d love to hear about it. We’ll see you Week 3!
By: Dave Stringer — September 14, 2012 @ 4:05 pm
1. It took all of one week for the notion that San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates would remain injury free in 2012 to come crashing down. Gates suffered a rib injury during the team’s opening week win over the Raiders and was limited to Friday practice prior to the Chargers home game against the Titans this week. He was generally the 3rd tight end off the board in most fantasy drafts based on the belief that he was healthy and would benefit from the free agent defection of wide receiver Vincent Jackson to the Buccaneers. Unfortunately, his fantasy owners will once again need to shuffle their rosters and starting lineups with the rib injury making him a questionable start in Week 2. With San Diego being a west coast team, those decisions aren’t always easy to make at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.
2.In the offseason, the Falcons let it be known that they planned on opening up their passing attack under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and while most pundits expected that to happen, most didn’t expect the team to go as heavy on the pass as they did in Week 1. Despite the fact they never trailed and won by a score of 40-24, the Falcons ran the ball just 23 times and threw 31 passes. The fantasy prognosis for running back Michael Turner took another hit as he had just 11 carries for 32 yards, just four more carries than backup Jacquizz Rodgers. At this point, Turner shapes up as nothing better than a fantasy backup.
3. Over in Kansas City, the expectation was that the Chiefs would rely heavily on Peyton Hillis early in the season in order to ease Jamaal Charles’ return from a torn ACL that ended his 2011 season in Week 2. However, that scenario did not materialize in Week 1 with Charles getting 16 touches to just 10 for Hillis. While this ratio doesn’t torpedo Hillis’ fantasy value, it certainly does lessen it and makes Charles a much more valuable option earlier in the season than most expected.
4. In St. Louis, the Rams bad luck with injuries has continued with free agent center Scott Wells being placed on injured reserve. Wells was signed to bolster the team’s porous offensive line and help keep franchise quarterback Sam Bradford upright. The loss of Wells lowers the value of running back Steven Jackson as well as Bradford, who will face off against Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III this week in marquee matchup featuring the quarterback the Rams could have had and the one they chose to keep. If you’re wondering what one to keep from a fantasy perspective (and I’m pretty sure you’re not), this little tidbit might help you out. In 27 career starts, Bradford has thrown for 300 or more yards three times while RGIII threw for 300 in his only start. There’s more. Bradford has 92 career rushing yards while RGIII ran for 42 yards last week. Let’s go out on a limb and jump to the conclusion that the Rams probably aren’t too enamored with the NFL’s schedule maker.
Cutlers was up to his usual tricks and picks Thursday night.
5. The Bears offense crashed back to earth in Week 2 with quarterback Jay Cutler having another awful day against the Packers. Neither outcome should be a surprise since the accolades the team’s offense was getting after dismantling an overmatched Colts defense weren’t exactly deserved. The Bears failed to address the offensive line in the offseason and remain unable to protect Cutler. And, while the addition of Brandon Marshall was a clear upgrade at the wide receiver position, the team lacks a consistent option opposite Marshall with Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and rookie 2nd round pick Alshon Jeffery sharing time at that position. At tight end, the team lacks a proven receiving option and offensive coordinator Mike Tice failed to dial up any screen passes in Week 2 to help slow down the Packers pass rush. While the Bears abysmal offensive performance in won’t likely be repeated any time soon, the team is unlikely to have anything more than a mid-tier offense in 2012, particularly with running back Matt Forte likely to miss time with a high ankle sprain.
6. In Tampa Bay, rookie 1st round pick Doug Martin’s stranglehold on the team’s starting running back position became a little stronger with news that backup LeGarrette Blount suffered a stinger in Week 1. While Blount was clearly being relegated to a backup role, new head coach Greg Schiano has shown a preference for players that avoid the injury bug (witness the trade of tight end Kellen Winslow). That doesn’t bode well for Blount, who faces competition for touches from former Giant D.J. Ware, who is more familiar with new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s playbook from their time together with the Giants.
7. All it took was one week to prove that Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson should not have been a 1st or 2nd round selection in your fantasy draft. While Richardson is clearly a talented back and will have a productive career in the league barring injury, there are too many obstacles for him to have a solid fantasy season in 2012. The Browns offensive line features three largely unproven starters and the team’s group of wide receivers rank near the bottom of the league. At quarterback, rookie1st round pick Brandon Weeden figures to improve as the season progresses but isn’t ready to lift up an offense that lacks playmakers to a respectable level. Cleveland is going to struggle to move the ball on a consistent basis in 2012 and that will likely relegate Richardson to low end RB2 status by season’s end.
8. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan was up to his usual tricks in Week 1, loading up rookie 6th round pick Alfred Morris with 28 carries while dishing out two carries each to Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Darrel Young. The fact Morris started wasn’t exactly as big of a surprise as his huge workload, the most of any running back in the league. For what it’s worth, his production was more volume based than anything, as he accumulated 96 yards and two touchdowns. If I had to make a guess as to whether an NFL talent evaluator was overly impressed by Morris’ performance in Week 1, the guess would be no. Look for the Redskins to have a revolving door at running back once again in 2012 and if I had to roll the dice on one, it would be Helu.
By: Dave Stringer — September 11, 2012 @ 4:04 pm
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Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Looks like RGIII has a chance to be CNII. Nothing like a bad pun to get the year rolling. RGIII looked poised, calm and efficient on his way to a 19-26, 320-yard, two-touchdown performance and his 42 yards on the ground were just icing on the cake. Let’s call him a low-end fantasy starter until he shows us otherwise.
Mark Sanchez, Jets
Who needs the preseason? Looks like the Jets don’t. After a truly awful offensive performance during the preseason, the Jets blew out the Bills with Sanchez leading the way. He threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns and a pick. It was also nice to see rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill establish himself as a deep threat.
Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
Gabbert looked good in a Week 1 loss to the Vikings, completing 23 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all career highs. No, he’s not going to be savior for your fantasy squad this season but he may emerge as a serviceable backup.
Sorry folks, no quarterbacks are getting thrown under the bus after Week 1.
Nobody's arrow is pointing higher than Spiller's right now.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Fred Jackson is out at least a month with a knee sprain, his second injury in two seasons and a reminder that he is 31 years old. Spiller went off on the Jets for 169 yards and a score on just 14 carries while chipping in 25 yards through the air. He performed well replacing Jackson in 2011, accumulating 446 yards rushing, 187 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns over his last six games.
Alfred Morris, Redskins
Morris got the start for the Redskins this week and put together a solid, if not spectacular, game gaining 96 yards and scoring twice on 28 carries. The rookie 6th round pick is currently the apple in head coach Mike Shanahan’s eye but we all know Shanny has a wandering eye. Quite frankly, his production seemed to be based more on volume than ability. No one should be surprised if this turns out to be his high water mark for the year.
Stevan Ridley, Patriots
Ridley flashed his ability during his rookie season in 2011 but after 21 carries, 125 yards, and one touchdown in Week 1, it looks like he is ready to carry the mail for the Patriots on a consistent basis. With Shane Vereen unable to stay healthy, Ridley is splitting the work with Danny Woodhead and that is a far better fantasy situation than in 2011 when four players were vying for touches in the New England backfield.
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
With Isaac Redman looking like the consummate plodder, Dwyer may have emerged as the team’s starter in Week 1, at least until Rashard Mendenhall gets up to speed. While Dwyer’s numbers weren’t spectacular (9 carries for 43 yards; 2 receptions for 11 yards), he ran hard and looked like the most explosive player in the team’s backfield.
Chris Johnson, Titans
Ready to bounce back, eh? Four yards on 11 carries against a less than stellar Patriots run defense didn’t do much to lessen the concerns that Johnson went into autopilot after he got his big money deal.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
With Jonathan Stewart inactive and a leaky Bucs run defense on tap, Williams looked like a solid start in Week 1. Not so fast. Williams ran for negative yardage on his six carries. This isn’t an indictment on Williams as much as it is of the team’s offensive line.
Michael Turner, Falcons
With the Falcons moving to a more pass-oriented offense, Turner was expected to see fewer touches in 2012. However, his fantasy owners were hoping he would churn out some yardage in blowouts and that wasn’t in the case in Week 1, with Turner gaining just 32 yards on 11 carries. Since we know he can’t catch the ball, it seems clear that Turner is headed to his worst fantasy production since he was a backup in San Diego.
Isaac Redman, Steelers
He looked awful and that is all there is to say about that.
Alex Green, Packers
No PT for Green this week even though Cedric Benson was (is????) awful so maybe he is not Benson’s handcuff after all.
Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys
After his impressive Week 1 performance with eight receptions for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns (all single game career highs), Ogletree has to be Moving Up. But much like Alfred Morris, don’t sell the farm to get this guy.
Stephen Hill, Jets
Much like Ogletree, Hill has to be Moving Up after a five receptions, 89 yards, and two touchdowns. But let’s face it, the Bills pass defense stunk and Hill likely just used up 25% of his 2012 fantasy production sitting on somebody’s bench. He remains bye week filler but filler you are now more comfortable with.
Lance Moore, Saints
Moore was Drew Brees’ favorite target in Week 1, catching six of the 10 passes thrown his way for 120 yards and a score against the Redskins. While Moore’s target count reflected the fact the Saints were playing from behind early, it is also worth noting that Devery Henderson was targeted just twice. This just might be the year that Moore emerges as a consistent weekly threat in the high-powered Saints offense.
Donald Jones, Bills.
One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. But in Jones’ case, it is two men’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. With David Nelson out for the year and Fred Jackson out for at least four weeks and the wide receiver depth chart consisting of unproven rookie T.J. Graham and journeyman veterans Ruvell Martin and Brad Smith, Jones figures to get plenty of targets in the coming weeks.
Randall Cobb, Packers
Was it just me or did Cobb seem to spend more time lining up at running back than the Packers actual running backs? With the Pack playing from behind, Cobb gobbled up all nine of his targets for 77 yards, making him worthy to stash on your bench.
David Nelson, Bills
Done. For. The. Year.
Brian Quick, Rams
Nailed. To. The. Bench.
Greg Little, Browns
Brandon Weeden looked awful, partly because Little had one bounce off his hands in the red zone and deflect to an Eagles defender. In Week 1, it was four targets and no catches for Little and a little time on the pine due to a hands problem that plagued him during his rookie season.
Coby Fleener, Colts
The preseason hype was all about how fellow rookie tight end Dwayne Allen looked. After Fleener’s six receptions for 82 yards on 10 targets against the Bears, the Week 1 hype is all about how good Fleener looked.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens
Pitta looked good in Week 1, hauling in five receptions for 73 yards and a score in the Ravens blowout win over the Bengals. Better yet, his 9 targets were a career-high and the touchdown gave him four touchdowns in his last seven games. At this point, Pitta shapes us as the Ravens top receiving tight end in an offense that figures to get almost no production out of its backup wide receivers.
Joel Dreessen, Broncos
While Jacob Tamme was looking impressive in getting five targets and catching all of them for 43 yards and a score, Dreessen had just two looks in Week 1. Looks like this isn’t quite the 1A/1B situation many had predicted entering the season.
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