1. It has been written about plenty but we will chime in here anyway. It seems only a matter of time before the Jets make a switch at the quarterback position. Incumbent starter Mark Sanchez has been nothing short of awful after dismantling Buffalo in Week 1 but it turns out that was hardly a monumental achievement as the Bills ranked a lowly 23rd in pass defense despite facing the Chiefs and Browns in two of their four contests. With the team’s rushing attack struggling and Santonio Holmes, the team’s top playmaker on offense, out for the season and a cast of journeymen and unproven rookie 2nd round pick Stephen Hill on the depth chart at wide receiver, the Jets will be forced to run more often. We expect the Jets coaching staff will determine that backup Tim Tebow gives the team the best chance to win over the remainder of the season. If he is available on your league’s waiver wire and you need a QB2 for your fantasy roster, grab him a week early rather than waiting a week too long and missing out.
2. Sticking with the Jets backfield, running back Shonn Greene is off to another slow start in 2012. After a solid performance in Week 1, Greene has struggled to find running room over the last three weeks, gaining just 97 yards on 41 carries and failing to top the 40-yard mark. While the Jets have faced some strong run defenses to open the season including the Steelers and 49ers, those numbers are disappointing and New York has increased backup Bilal Powell’s workload, particularly in games where the Jets are playing from behind. Greene’s contract expires at the end of the season and it does not appear the team is any hurry to offer him an extension. Given his struggles and contract situation, it won’t be a surprise if the Jets have a new starting backfield by midseason.
3. Another running back that has struggled after a solid start to the season is Buccaneers rookie 1st round pick Doug Martin. Expected to log extended playing time, Martin saw his role reduced this past week after a pair of subpar efforts in Weeks 2 and 3. In his last three games, Martin has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on his 47 attempts. Worse yet, he has failed to be a target in the passing game with just four receptions during those contests and lost goal line touches to LeGarrette Blount. Thought to be a solid RB2 entering the season, Martin is shaping up as an RB3.
4. With their win last night over Arizona, the Rams went over .500 for the first time since the 2006 season (not a typo, folks, they have been that bad). While their win over the Cardinals was big news, even bigger was the news that the team had renegotiated running back Steven Jackson’s contract to allow him to void the final year of his deal in 2013. With the Rams looking to reload at the running back position and having used 2nd and 7th round picks in this year’s draft on Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson, Jackson will need to have an impressive year to remain with the team in 2013.
5. Sticking with the Rams, the news that slot receiver Danny Amendola will miss six to seven weeks with a dislocated clavicle is a devastating development for the team’s passing attack and quarterback Sam Bradford. Clearly the team’s best receiver and Bradford’s go to guy, Amendola had caught 31 passes for 351 yards over the first four weeks of the season. Look for Steve Smith or Austin Pettis to take over his role and if one takes over the job outright, they are worth taking a flyer on in deeper leagues.
6. The word out of Green Bay is that the Packers brass has been pleased with the play of running back Cedric Benson. The question is why? He is averaging 3.6 yards per carry while finding the end zone just once in four games. What he has done is avoid coughing up the ball, fumbling just once on a play that did not result in a turnover. While there is plenty of evidence to suggest Benson will hold on to the lead role in the Packers backfield, those desperate for running back depth could stash Alex Green or James Stark on the bench in the hopes that the Packers determine they need more from their lead back or Benson rediscovers the fumbling issues that plagued his last season in Cincinnati.
7. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan compared rookie running back Alfred Morris to Terrell Davis this week and said he had a “big time” future. In past seasons, you would figure it would be any minute before Morris found himself on the inactive list. However, with Roy Helu on injured reserve, Evan Royster struggling and unable stay healthy and only Ryan Grant also on the roster, it appears that Shanahan will likely lean on Morris for much of the 2012 season. This might just be the year that the Shanny curse at running back doesn’t materialize.
8. With Santonio Holmes out for the year, there has been plenty of speculation as to which wide receiver on the roster will benefit from his absence. Rookie Stephen Hill, 2nd year player Jeremy Kerley and veteran journeyman Chaz Schilens figure to earn the majority of the playing time at wide receiver but none are expected to emerge as a solid, go to receiver for the team’s quarterbacks. If you are looking for the player to reap the benefit the most from Holmes’ absence, look no further than tight end Dustin Keller. While Keller has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, he should emerge as the team’s main weapon in the short and intermediate passing game and should be plenty motivated given his impending free agent status.
9. Broncos running back Willis McGahee was expected to see his production decrease in 2012 after a stellar campaign in 2011 when he rushed for 1,199 yards during his first year as a Bronco. However, he has benefitted from a running back depth chart that has suffered through injury, ineffectiveness and fumbling issues to continue to get a healthy number of touches each week as the team’s lead back. With 325 yards on the ground in four games, McGahee is on pace to eclipse his production from last season and while his current projected total of 1,300 rushing yards seems unrealistic, nobody on the team’s roster seems set to eat into his playing time in a big way at the moment. That makes him a great target since whoever added him to their fantasy roster likely picked him up as a RB3.