It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Jets – Patriots
If you’re searching for the epitome of the difference between PPR and non-PPR, look no further than Julian Edelman’s performance on Thursday night. Edelman caught a ridiculous 13 passes on 18 targets but they only went for 78 yards. That’s a big night in PPR leagues but kind of blah in non-PPR formats. Speaking of blah, Stevan Ridley got a reprieve when Shane Vereen broke his wrist, but Ridley only managed 40 yards. He has just 86 yards through two games and the Bucs’ tough rush defense is waiting for him in Week 3. He’s looking like no more than a flex play against Tampa Bay. New England gained just 232 yards of offense and Tom Brady was visibly upset with his receivers. I guess that system just isn’t the same system without Wes Welker. Stephen Hill shows flashes and would actually be an emerging fantasy receiver if he didn’t leave 2 or 3 balls on the turf every week. Both Hill and Santonio Holmes are worth a look if you need a receiver. Clyde Gates should be unemployed by the time you read this column.
Cowboys – Chiefs
This was ugly if you’re a fan of the running game. Jamaal Charles owners can’t like seeing his name under Alex Smith in the rushing totals. Luckily, Andy Reid made good on his promise to use Charles more in the passing game, and Charles rewarded owners with eight receptions for 48 yards and a score. DeMarco Murray was a non-factor, and we should probably get used to that most weeks with Bill Callahan calling plays. Callahan isn’t a big fan of running the football, so if you own Murray, he’ll need to contribute as a receiver too, as he did on Sunday. Dez Bryant’s ankle was obviously bothering him. He was held to just nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. I picked up the Chiefs’ defense in two leagues last week and they’re still available in many others. They had three more sacks and two takeaways against Dallas. Look for Kansas City to have one of the better fantasy defenses this year.
Rams – Falcons
There’s nothing better for Julio Jones owners than when Roddy White is injured. With White still nursing a bad ankle, Jones exploded. He caught 11 balls on 14 targets for 182 yards and a score. For the second week in a row White played but was mainly used as a decoy. Make sure to check his status and only use him in Week 3 if reports say he’s close to 100 percent. It’s not worth starting White if he’s just going to run routes to keep opposing defenses honest. Sam Bradford threw for 352 yards but Jared Cook only caught one pass for 10 yards. Cook owners shouldn’t panic though. Atlanta’s defense bracketed him on almost every play and the Falcons have done a great job of erasing tight ends in the past. Cook will rebound. His seeing so much attention opened things up for Chris Givens and Austin Pettis. If you’re looking to pick up one of the two, Givens is the better long-term option.
Vikings – Bears
This was a crazy, entertaining game. Matt Forte showed why he’s a monster in PPR formats, but putting two balls on the ground is concerning. It was nice to see Alshon Jeffery involved in the offense last week, but he came back with just one reception on Sunday. He was open late in the end zone, although Cutler overthrew him. Jeffery will be inconsistent early on but as we get deeper into the season, I still believe he’ll be a big-time fantasy receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson showed off his playmaking ability as a return man but he still has a ways to go before he helps fantasy owners as a receiver. It would help Patterson if Minnesota had a quarterback.
Panthers – Bills
One week after destroying the Panthers’ offense, Mike Shula is still doing his best to kill Cam Newton. The Panthers had only seven points at the half and had 10 other points set up by turnovers in the red zone. Overall, Carolina was held to just over 300 yards of offense; another embarrassing performance when Newton is your quarterback. The bottom line is that Shula is killing the fantasy value of Newton and Steve Smith. C.J. Spiller went over 100 yards thanks to a 46-yard run late but he lost a goal-line carry to Fred Jackson. Spiller also had only 16 carries to Jackson’s 12. Boy, for a guy who was supposed to get the ball until he throws up, Spiller must puke easily.
Browns – Ravens
The good news for Trent Richardson owners is that he got 18 carries this week. The bad news is he managed only 58 yards and Cleveland’s offensive line opened up very few holes for him. Richardson did catch five balls, although for just 21 yards. It’s only been two games so far, but it could be a long year for Richardson. The supporting cast just doesn’t appear to be there in Cleveland and now Brandon Weeden is banged up, though that may not be a negative. Marlon Brown delivered in his first start for the Ravens by catching four balls for 45 yards and a touchdown. He should be considered a WR3/flex play moving forward.
Redskins – Packers
The Redskins may be a mess right now but fantasy owners were happy with their performance on Sunday. Robert Griffin went over 300 yards and tossed three scores, Alfred Morris went for 107 yards and Pierre Garcon caught eight passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. So what’s the problem? There’s no problem in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers went over 300 yards in what seemed like the first quarter. James Starks filled in for an injured Eddie Lacy and ripped off 132 yards. He’ll be one of the most sought-after free agents this week, but owners will likely be disappointed over the long-term. At the end of the day he’s still James Starks. After being shut out in Week 1, James Jones caught 11 passes for 178 yards on Sunday. I give you the wonderful world of fantasy football.
Titans – Texans
Arian Foster looked a step slow last week but I thought it was because he hadn’t played in a long time. After watching him again this week, compared to Ben Tate, Foster simply isn’t hitting the hole as quickly. Tate out-produced Foster for the second straight week in a row as far as rushing yards but Foster found the end zone to save his fantasy day. The Texans keep saying they want to get Tate more touches. He certainly deserves it. I predicted this summer that DeAndre Hopkins would win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and he’s done nothing to make me think otherwise. Hopkins is talented enough to produce WR3 numbers most weeks. I always think Kendall Wright puts up bigger numbers than he actually does. Then when I look, he catches seven passes for 54 yards. He did score too. Wright is worth picking up if he’s still available in your league. If you need to drop someone, how about Kenny Britt?
Dolphins – Colts
One week after Mike Wallace owners had to be talked off a cliff, he bounced back with a 9-catch 115-yard day that also included a touchdown. The Dolphins’ offense in general has looked good now two weeks in a row. Charles Clay had a huge day and even stole a goal-line carry from Lamar Miller. It was Clay’s only carry of the day. Sometimes fantasy football can be so cruel. Andrew Luck had a 300-yard game but it’s days like this that prevent him from being a top fantasy QB. Luck has yet to consistently combine the big-yardage games with the multiple-score games. He’s a very good fantasy QB, just not an elite one yet. It was nice to see new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton realize that he has T.Y. Hilton on his team. Thank God it only took him a week. It would have taken Todd Haley three years to figure that out.
Chargers – Eagles
The Eagles’ offense dominated for the second week in a row. The problem for Philadelphia and good news for fantasy owners is that their defense also has to take the field. Mike Vick had a huge game. Boy, remember how long he was lasting in drafts? I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I wish I could turn back the clock a few weeks. Both LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson went over 100 yards receiving and the Eagles went over 500 total yards, yet they still lost. How? Well, because San Diego ran 79 offensive plays, held the ball for over 40 minutes and also topped 500 yards of total offense. Hey Chip, you have to play some defense. Philly’s defense is so bad, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates looked like the players they were four years ago. Eddie Royal is on absolute fire, scoring five touchdowns in his first two games. I think Royal has more fantasy points than my starting running backs in all of my leagues combined.
Lions – Cardinals
With Larry Fitzgerald hurting, Carson Palmer gave new definition to “spreading it around.” Palmer completed 22 passes to 10 different receivers. While that’s good in the real world and the Cardinals got the win, it stinks for fantasy purposes. Any time Kerry Taylor and Jaron Brown are catching passes, it’s annoying for fantasy owners. Heck, Patrick Peterson caught a pass and he plays on defense. Matthew Stafford tried a different approach. He decided to throw a lot of his passes to a guy named Calvin Johnson. Megatron rebounded from an unusual quiet game in Week 1 to go over 100 yards and score twice. Reggie Bush suffered an injury in this game and Joique Bell replaced him. Bell caught his normal five passes for 41 yards. If Bush is out for next week or any period of time, Bell will be a strong RB2 in PPR formats. He should be owned in all leagues.
Saints – Buccaneers
The Saints are still trying to get Mark Ingram involved apparently. Another week goes by and it’s eight carries for 20 yards. If this were a movie, they would show Ingram older with a grey beard sitting on the bench waiting to get into the game. Lance Moore could be a good play next week against Arizona. He usually has one good game a month, and Moore has put up two stinkers to start the year. The odds say he’s due. Josh Freeman has been living on borrowed time. His time looks like it’s up. If you own Vincent Jackson, it’s a good week to shop him in trades, because rookie Mike Glennon will be throwing him the ball soon.
Broncos – Giants
This was supposed to be a back-and-forth game but it started off slowly and then the Giants never got going. To be honest, the Giants haven’t really been going since late last year. It’s time to be a little concerned about this team. They can’t run the football at all, they have no real identity on offense and Eli Manning is turning the ball over way too much. I say after two games David Wilson is the biggest fantasy bust. He’s been a complete non-factor. Eric Decker bounced back from an atrocious Week 1 performance and Julius Thomas showed he wasn’t a one-week wonder. Montee Ball was about to have his moment in the sun but he fumbled heading into the end zone. After that, Knowshon Moreno ran for 93 yards and two scores. Ball and Hillman have had their chances. It’s likely Moreno time in Denver now.
Jaguars – Raiders
The Jaguars went 35 minutes of game time without getting a first down. Well, at least we know it’s not just Blaine Gabbert. Hey, Teddy Bridgewater, get your suit on, we need you. This team is in trouble until they do something about their quarterback situation. It’s just that simple. The thing is, they actually have some pretty good young receivers: Justin Blackmon, when he returns; Cecil Shorts; and Ace Sanders, who was one of my deep sleepers this summer. However, they just can’t be counted on to put up consistent fantasy numbers every week with these quarterbacks. Maurice Jones-Drew is hurt again and he may as well tap out because he doesn’t stand a chance in this offense. Much to the dismay of owners who overreacted and started him, Terrelle Pryor didn’t have the same impact that he had in Week 1. That’s why you don’t ever sit studs at the QB position for gut feelings. It’s not worth the risk.
49ers – Seahawks
It’s hard to believe that a game with so many fantasy stars had so little fantasy production. Other than Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Defense, this game was a complete fantasy dud. The 49ers have bigger problems than just this loss. Their running game has gone nowhere two weeks in a row, outside of Colin Kaepernick. Frank Gore has been invisible. I’ll take the blame; I own him and every running back I own does nothing for some reason. To be fair to Gore though, he hasn’t had anywhere to run. After catching 13 passes in Week 1, Anquan Boldin caught one pass against Seattle. That may be the biggest one-week swing in NFL history. My cousin sat Dez Bryant in favor of Boldin. He ended up losing by five points. Can you imagine walking around life being that stupid?
Steelers – Bengals
It’s nice to see the Bengals’ coaches were smart enough to realize Giovani Bernard needed more touches after he averaged 5.5 yards on his first four carries last week. The kid is going to be a superstar. He maximizes his touches. Bernard will score double-digit touchdowns this season. Actually, if the Steelers refuse to fire Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator, Bernard may score more touchdowns than the entire Pittsburgh team. You have to give it to Haley though. The Steelers are improving. After scoring nine points in Week 1, Pittsburgh scored 10 points on Monday night. At this rate the Steelers could put 20 points on the board by Halloween.