Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Thomas Casale — October 1, 2013 @ 10:31 am
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.
49ers – Rams
I’m trying hard to remember why I thought Jeff Fisher was a good coach, but I’m having a really hard time. I know everyone is blaming Brian Schottenheimer, but didn’t Fisher hire him? If I hire a jerk to run my company and go bankrupt, I can’t really blame the jerk, can I? Schottenheimer’s offense is absolutely laughable. It’s nothing but curl routes and 7-yard outs. I’m sure Jet fans know all about that. This Rams team is a joke. Can you imagine a team that doesn’t even consider throwing the ball over 10 yards…ever? I own Jared Cook in all my leagues and I wouldn’t think about starting him again. If you are starting any St Louis offensive player right now, you obviously don’t understand the rules of fantasy football or you are mad and trying to sabotage your league by finishing in last place. Oh, and for the record, Fisher has had just two winning seasons since 2003. This won’t be his third.
Only and injury can keep Reggie Bush out of the fantasy top 5.
Bears – Lions
This was a wild affair that saw a combined 72 points. Normally that would mean monster days from both Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson. While both receivers had decent fantasy days, this was one of those games where so many players got involved in the action, the production got spread around. Reggie Bush and Alshon Jeffery were the two biggest fantasy winners. Bush will be a Top 5 RB in PPR formats this year if he can stay healthy. However, that’s a pretty big “if.” Jeffery was my top breakout player this season and through four games he’s seen a respectable 32 targets. He had his best game of the year on Sunday, catching five balls for 107 yards and a touchdown. He’s a player to target right now, as I expect Jeffery’s numbers to get better as the year goes on.
Seahawks – Texans
Seattle escaped with their lives thanks to a horrible throw by Matt Schaub that was intercepted by Richard Sherman and returned for the tying touchdown. Those of us who bet $100 on Seattle to win the Super Bowl at 10/1 back in May appreciate the win for home-field-advantage purposes. Arian Foster had his best fantasy day of the season. It probably didn’t hurt that I decided to bench him minutes before kickoff. Somehow I still won, even with making idiotic decisions like that. In the history of my life, that decision has never worked out in my favor. Foster out-touched Ben Tate 33-8. Even though Tate had been the more effective runner, Gary Kubiak will always go with Foster in big games.
Colts – Jaguars
Are the Jaguars one of the worst teams of all-time? I hate using the word “all-time,” but this team isn’t competitive right now. Indianapolis didn’t even play that well early on Sunday and they still beat Jacksonville by 34 points. Trent Richardson got his 20 carries but he only managed 60 yards. Luckily, he scored to save his fantasy day. I’m a big Richardson fan, but for a stud back he sure does get a lot of zero- and one-yard gains. It was one thing when he was in Cleveland, but if that continues to happen with the Colts, it’s a concern. I mean if Richardson isn’t going to have a big day when he gets 20 carries against the Jaguars in a blowout, when is he going to have a one?
Giants – Chiefs
Those waiting for the Giants to wake up can stop holding their breath. This team is in big trouble and it’s not going to turn around any time soon. I admit that I loved New York’s offense coming into the year, but other than Victor Cruz, who are you starting right now? So basically you’re starting one more Giant than you are a Jaguar. Talk about a team in shambles. I have no idea how the Chiefs score a point if it’s not from their defense, Jamaal Charles, or on special teams. I just see Alex Smith throwing three-yard passes but then I look up and the team has more than 30 points, so whatever they’re doing, it’s working. I can’t believe I was able to still get the Kansas City defense last week. Those guys are big, they’re bad, and they hate everything to do with Christmas.
Steelers – Vikings
Apparently the wildest games every week involve the Vikings now. What a difference a quarterback makes. Matt Cassel may not be Dan Marino, but the fact that he can actually throw the ball more than 10 yards make a world of difference for the Vikings’ receivers. Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson combined for 10 catches, 216 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Cassel’s presence did nothing for Kyle Rudolph’s fantasy value. He’s still stuck on the back of a milk carton. It’s obvious Ben Roethlisberger is no longer listening to Todd Haley. He’s gone back to making plays on his own and throwing the ball down the field. It’s paying off. Even though the Steelers have lost their last two games, Big Ben has thrown for 789 yards. Le’Veon Bell made his debut and scored twice. More importantly, he looked like an NFL running back. No other running back currently on Pittsburgh’s roster can say that with a straight face.
Cardinals – Buccaneers
If you spent a lot of time watching this game you’re either a huge fan of one of these teams or you just turned on a football game for the first time and have no idea what the sport is supposed to look like. This was ugly football. Arizona may have gotten the win but its offense doesn’t look good. The Cardinals have no running game and Carson Palmer is wildly inconsistent. Not to mention, the offensive line can’t block anyone. Mike Glennon got his first career start and looked like a rookie. Glennon may be a fine NFL quarterback someday, but he has a ways to go. That’s why I advised dumping Vincent Jackson two weeks ago. The Buccaneers are in for some tough fantasy days ahead.
Ravens – Bills
C.J. Spiller had his typical day. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry, didn’t score, limped off with another “injury” but somehow miraculously returned a little while later. It’s always something with Spiller. He’s always hobbling off with some problem. The bottom line is that, after a month, Spiller is one of the biggest busts in fantasy football. It’s tough to depend on a guy who is constantly getting attended to on the sidelines. The Ravens had an interesting gameplan on Sunday. The Bills can’t stop anyone on the ground, so Baltimore ran it just nine times. Instead, they had 50 pass attempts and five interceptions in a game that was close in the fourth quarter. To be fair, though, the Ravens did keep their committee intact. Ray Rice had five carries, while Bernard Pierce had four.
Bengals – Browns
I mentioned Trent Richardson struggling above. Maybe the Browns knew what they were doing after all. Since trading Richardson and inserting Brian Hoyer into the starting lineup, Cleveland has won two games in a row. Hoyer put up another strong performance on Sunday, throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals are going to have to find another option in the passing game to take some pressure off of A.J. Green. I’m not talking about a tomato can like Marvin Jones either. After a huge Week 1, Green has been neutralized now in three straight games. Andy Dalton’s performance isn’t helping either. Remember on Hard Knocks when they said this was a big year for Dalton? Well, he needs to get a lot better in a hurry or the Bengals’ offense is going to really struggle in the coming weeks.
Jets – Titans
This was great for your fantasy day if you started either the Titans defense or Nate Washington. If you started Chris Johnson or anyone else on the field, it didn’t amount to much. When do we start to close the book on Johnson? We’ve had to make so many excuses for him that I can’t even think of any more. I don’t care what anyone says, if Johnson gets 15 carries he should get more than 21 yards. End of story. He has had way too many of these games over the last couple of seasons. Johnson’s name used to be uttered in the same sentence with Adrian Peterson. Now he’s losing goal-line carries to humps like Jackie Battle. If you don’t think that’s a problem, you’re either blind, you’re related to Chris Johnson, or you are Chris Johnson.
Cowboys – Chargers
You really have to hand it to Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt; they have done an excellent job turning around the Chargers’ offense this season. Philip Rivers had another excellent game, throwing for over 400 yards. Antonio Gates must have thought it was 2006. He looked like his former elite self, hauling in 10 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Rivers looks like he’ll be able to put up strong fantasy numbers most weeks, so if you are having quarterback issues, he’s worth starting. I told you last week that the Cowboys wouldn’t stick with the running game. Despite averaging 5.0 yards per carry on Sunday, DeMarco Murray got only 14 carries. Dallas doesn’t run the ball in close games and they never will. You should have sold high on Murray.
Eagles – Broncos
This was expected to be an offensive showcase and one team kept up its end of the bargain. It will be interesting to see if a defense like the Chiefs can at least slow down Denver a little bit this season, because right now they look unstoppable. The Eagles looked unstoppable in Week 1 but it turns out they were just playing Washington. Remember when that reporter asked Mike Vick, “Did we just see a revolution in the NFL?” I love Chip Kelly too but, man, reporters are stupid, aren’t they? I guess the revolution is on hold, because the Eagles got plastered for the second straight week. Oh, and what is Riley Cooper doing in the NFL? He offends me. I’m not even referring to anything he said at a concert. He offends me because he’s such a terrible football player.
Redskins – Raiders
So, the Redskins started 0-3 but produced good fantasy numbers in all three games. On Sunday they finally won but their fantasy numbers weren’t that great. I guess fantasy owners should root against Washington. Two of the better fantasy days came from backup running backs that no one likely started. Roy Helu came in for Alfred Morris and produced 84 total yards and a score. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Darren McFadden left with an injury. He was replaced by Rashad Jennings, who caught eight passes for 71 yards and added another 45 yards on 15 carries. Both Helu and Jennings will be strong fantasy plays moving forward if the starters are out for an extended period of time.
Patriots – Falcons
Tom Brady completed 20 passes to eight different pass catchers. The last names of guys who caught passes from Brady were Thompkins, Edelman, Ridley, Boyce, Develin, Dobson, Mulligan and Bolden. I don’t care if you like Brady or not, when a quarterback goes over 300 yards and helps lead his team to a 4-0 record throwing to those guys, he’s pretty good. Wasn’t Tony Gonzalez going to retire? Should I become a vegan? Seriously, these vegans are superhuman. Gonzalez caught 12 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The only thing more amazing is that I faced Gonzo last week and not this week. I still don’t understand what the Falcons are doing with Roddy White. They spent four games wasting time using White as a decoy instead of making him sit out a game or two to get healthy. Guess what? Now you’re 1-3 and he’s still not healthy. It’s one of the biggest mismanagements of an injury that I remember seeing. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.
Dolphins – Saints
This was a typical Saints thrashing at home. The Dolphins had been playing well but were just a bit out of their element in this one. Drew Brees tossed for over 400 yards, while both Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham topped 100 yards receiving. Mike Wallace is starting to become a problem. Not for me but for anyone who owns him in a fantasy league. I still like Ryan Tannehill going forward as a QB2 but it wasn’t his night against the Saints. I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Lamar Miller deserves more than 11 carries a game. Tell Daniel Thomas to grab some pine and stay there.
By: Thomas Casale — September 24, 2013 @ 9:23 am
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.
Chiefs – Eagles
I’m a Chip Kelly fan but it was ugly Thursday night. The Eagles’ offense got eaten up by Kansas City and Kelly had few answers to combat the onslaught. I mentioned last week that the Chiefs would have one of the best fantasy defenses all year, but I didn’t think they would dominate the Eagles like they did. Kansas City has another tough matchup this week against the Giants, although how much more do we need to see? These guys are nasty. If the Chiefs’ defense is still on your waiver wire, go get them. Donnie Avery had a big game, catching seven passes for 141 yards. However, most of his receptions were on a play, run over and over, that Philadelphia just couldn’t cover. Avery is worth picking up simply because Alex Smith won’t throw the ball over 10 yards, and Avery is the Chiefs’ underneath receiver. Speaking of not throwing the ball over 10 yards, Dwayne Bowe owners are going to be pulling their hair out all season. Because he threw so many interceptions early on his career, Smith won’t force the ball down the field anymore, so Bowe’s fantasy numbers will suffer most weeks.
Browns – Vikings
What was expected to be a low-scoring affair ended up producing 58 points. The Vikings are in all kinds of trouble. They can’t stop anyone. Brian Hoyer made some mistakes but also threw for 321 yards and three scores. Hoyer at least looked like he belonged in the NFL, which is more than I can say for Brandon Weeden. Although, to be fair, having Josh Gordon helps. Gordon and Jordan Cameron give the Browns two young players to be excited about for the future. Cleveland would have had three hopefuls, but they traded away Trent Richardson. His replacement, Willis McGahee, made his debut and rushed eight times for nine yards. The scary thing is that out of these two teams, the one everyone said had given up on the season has more hope for 2013. Sorry Vikings.
Murray loves playing the Rams.
Rams – Cowboys
You have to wonder what’s going on with the Rams right now. They go out and get all this speed on offense for Sam Bradford and then don’t throw a pass over 10 yards. It’s either the play calling, or Bradford is gun-shy from all the sacks he’s taken early in his career. Whatever it is, St. Louis better start taking better advantage of its weapons because the Rams can’t run the ball a lick. The Cowboys ran the ball plenty on Sunday. DeMarco Murray must really love the Rams. He almost topped 200 yards against them for the second time in his career. Don’t be fooled though. When push comes to shove the Cowboys will ride the arm of Tony Romo. Murray makes for a great sell-high candidate this week, considering Dallas will always be a pass-first offense.
Packers – Bengals
Did any other A.J. Green owners keep checking to see if he was hurt on Sunday? I thought my computer was broken, Green went so long without having any stats. He ended up scoring late in the third quarter to save his day, but that’s two less-than-stellar weeks in a row from Green now. I have no idea why Giovani Bernard isn’t on the field more. Giving the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis is kind of like taking a knee. The guy is averaging 2.8 yards per carry on the season, and he must have had a 70-yarder I missed for it to be that high. After not having a 100-yard rusher in 45 games, the Packers had one in back-to-back weeks. Johnathan Franklin did the honors on Sunday but also had a costly fumble. Franklin has much more upside than James Starks. And he’s thus a much wiser waiver-wire addition this week than Starks was last week.
Buccaneers – Patriots
Last week I noted that the time may be running out on Josh Freeman. Well, now the Bucs are 0-3 and, unlike their first two games, their loss to the Patriots wasn’t close. With Freeman struggling and Vincent Jackson getting banged up, there just isn’t a lot to like about the Bucs’ offense right now. Stevan Ridley was kind of a waste of a draft pick. I know because I drafted him in two leagues and now he’s on my bench in favor of guys like Joique Bell and Bernard Pierce. Ridley is now seeing fewer carries than LeGarrette Blount and has Brandon Bolden breathing down his neck, too. That could change next week, but you know what? It could change again the week after that. Ridley’s 1000-yard season in 2012 sure seems like a long time ago.
Cardinals – Saints
This was a great fantasy game if you own Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham. Otherwise, there were a couple of average performances, some underwhelming performances, and Carson Palmer’s dreadful performance. Palmer is starting to look a little like the quarterbacks Arizona was trotting out there last season. If we can take one thing away from this game it’s that, for all the talk of the Honey Badger, Arizona is far and away the worst team in the NFL when it comes to covering the tight end. Remember that going forward.
Chargers – Titans
It seems every year there’s that one team whose games go down to the final seconds each week. This year is looks like that team is going to be the Chargers. They had their third game in a row determined in the final seconds on Sunday. Ryan Mathews had 58 yards on 16 carries. That’s actually a great game for him. Seriously, how much fantasy value does he even have anymore? Do people actually still start this guy? Mathews has less value than two other backs on his own team because he doesn’t play on passing downs or get goal-line carries. Chris Johnson gained 90 yards on 19 carries. That’s becoming his weekly stat line. Nate Washington had a big game. He’ll probably have two more this year. Good luck guessing when they’ll come.
Lions – Redskins
The Redskins did it again. They lost for the third week in a row but still put up respectable fantasy numbers overall. Washington fans may be upset that their team is 0-3, but fantasy owners could care less right now. Robert Griffin didn’t score but eclipsed 300 yards for the third straight game, so he’s doing much better in the fantasy world than the real world. See, there’s always a silver lining. There’s no silver lining for the Redskins’ defense though. It’s awful. Detroit had two receivers go over 100 yards (Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson) and Joique Bell racked up the fantasy points filling in for Reggie Bush. If you have a player going up against Washington’s defense right now, it’s like Christmas morning.
Giants – Panthers
My God, what’s going on with the Giants? This team hasn’t been the same since late last season, and they better turn it around soon because that was a disgusting display on Sunday. Regardless of how many Super Bowls Tom Coughlin has won, you can’t fire 53 players, and those guys simply don’t care right now. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are the only Giants that fantasy owners can afford to start next week against Kansas City. It’s obvious the Giants have quit, considering that Mike Shula’s offense racked up over 400 yards on them. Hopefully Shula finally realized he has Cam Newton and will start letting him throw the ball further than 10 yards in the coming weeks.
Texans – Ravens
This wasn’t a tremendous fantasy game unless you started Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker. Bernard Pierce churned out 65 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries against a tough Houston rush defense. If Ray Rice is out again next week, look for Pierce to put up much better fantasy numbers versus Buffalo. The Texans continue to split carries between Ben Tate and Arian Foster. Whether Foster gets most of the carries or the carries are evenly split, it doesn’t really matter. He’s having a rough fantasy season so far. We may be saying the same thing in December, too.
Falcons – Dolphins
Steven Jackson was out for this game, so the Falcons obviously decided to focus on the run. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers combined for 139 yards on 29 carries. Atlanta will need its two-headed running back monster to continue to produce while Jackson sits with a deep thigh bruise. After a bad showing in Week 1, Lamar Miller has provided a spark, but he hasn’t received enough touches. I’m not a big Miller fan, but he’s making plays and deserves to see the ball more than nine times. Ryan Tannehill continues to do a good job of spreading the ball around, as nine Dolphins caught passes on Sunday. Although, Mike Wallace owners prefer that the ratio go back to what it was in Week 2.
Jaguars – Seahawks
Some games go exactly how everyone thinks they’ll go. This was one of those games. Seattle got up big, rested their starters by the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville scored a few meaningless points. Cecil Shorts owners who started him are happy for the garbage points though. I started Russell Wilson over Andrew Luck in one of my leagues. My thinking was that Wilson would probably only throw for 200 yards but I was hoping he would toss a few scores on play action passes. Like I said, this was one of those games that went the way everyone thought it would go.
Colts – 49ers
Now, this was a game that didn’t go the way everyone expected. The Colts absolutely dominated Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense. They sacked Kaepernick three times, caused two turnovers and held San Francisco to 254 total yards. Newly signed Trent Richardson was used sparingly but made his presence known by scoring a touchdown. His touches will obviously increase a great deal over the next couple of weeks as he learns the offense. Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Bradshaw will still have a role in the Colts’ offense, but Richardson wasn’t acquired to stand on the sidelines. He’s going to be the bell cow.
Bills – Jets
C.J. Spiller was supposed to take the fantasy world by storm this year. Instead, he’s finishing with 10 carries for nine yards and either getting hurt or benched every week. It’s not the start to the season owners who selected Spiller with a first-round pick were expecting. I was one of those people. After sharing carries with Chris Ivory in the first two games, Bilal Powell exploded for 149 yards on 27 carries. He’s obviously the Jets back to own now that Ivory is dealing with a hamstring issue. The Jets had two 100-yard receivers in Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill. That’s right, the Jets had two receivers who combined for 262 receiving yards, and the 49ers had 254 yards of total offense. Welcome to another crazy NFL season.
Bears – Steelers
This was a game where a team won 40-23. However, the team that scored 40 points was a fantasy dud, while the team that scored 23 points had the fantasy stars. No one on the Bears other than Matt Forte did much of anything. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger broke out and threw for over 400 yards, while Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 196 yards and two scores. One thing remained the same though; the Steelers couldn’t run the ball at all. If Pittsburgh wants to improve its ground game, they should do a better job of acquiring running backs. Think about it. Other than Le’Veon Bell, they have backs that can’t make other teams’ rosters. No one else wants Felix Jones. Jonathan Dwyer got cut and no one wanted him. I can guarantee you no one wants Isaac Redman. Seriously, get better running backs instead of three tomato cans who don’t belong in the NFL. For an organization that usually does a great job of building a roster, that’s inexcusable.
Raiders – Broncos
This was a typical Broncos thrashing of a team that had no chance of stopping their high-powered offense. The good news for fantasy owners is all of Denver’s receivers got into the act Monday night. The trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker combined for 25 receptions, 311 yards and two scores. Montee Ball looked good in the second half but fumbled for the second straight week. These young backs can’t keep expecting to get chances and screwing up. The only real fantasy bright spot for the Raiders was Denarius Moore, who caught six passes for 124 yards and a long touchdown. The Broncos and Eagles play on Sunday. This is just a hunch but that game will probably produce a few nice fantasy stat lines.
By: Thomas Casale — September 17, 2013 @ 8:40 am
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.
Charles has 11 catches in 2 games.
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.
By: Thomas Casale — September 10, 2013 @ 1:28 am
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Ravens – Broncos
It took about six seconds for Peyton Manning and Wes Welker to build chemistry together. Manning finished with an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown tosses, two going to Welker, who hauled in nine receptions in his Broncos debut. Welker should do just fine in his new system. Demaryius Thomas had a busy night. In the first half he wore No. 80 and went by Julius. In the second half he wore his usual No. 88 jersey and went back to Demaryius. As Julius, he caught five balls for 110 yards and two scores. As Demaryius he had five receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His Julius persona will be one of the hottest waiver wire additions this week, but most of us appreciated him returning as Demaryius for the second half. For all the talk of the Broncos’ running back committee, Baltimore unveiled one of their own with Ray Rice getting 12 carries and Bernard Pierce getting nine. Rice did catch eight balls and score a touchdown to save his fantasy night. Rice is still a strong fantasy play because of his role as a receiver, but this is looking like an annoying situation for owners moving forward. I finally figured out Denver’s backfield situation. Don’t start any of their running backs right now. Sometimes fantasy football really is that easy.
OC Todd Haley: Pittburgh’s offense has lost it’s mojo.
Titans – Steelers
Steeler fans were wondering if Todd Haley could possibly ruin Pittsburgh’s offense any more than he did last year. They got their answer on Sunday. Some will point to the loss of Maurkice Pouncey, but that’s what we do for bad coaches; we make excuses. The bottom line is that Haley is one of the worst offensive minds in the history of the NFL and he has destroyed the Steelers’ attack. Ben Roethlisberger looks even more lost than he did last year. Pittsburgh can’t run the ball and its offense has no imagination. Other than Antonio Brown, and maybe Emmanuel Sanders in deeper leagues, there are few fantasy bright spots in the Steel City right now. As for Tennessee, Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt continue to frustrate fantasy owners. Perhaps it’s time for people to lower their expectations of these two, especially Britt, who is living off a few big games over his five years in the NFL. There’ll be better days for Johnson, but Britt will always be a tease.
Patriots – Bills
There were about 20 fantasy storylines in this game. Stevan Ridley fumbled twice and, to quote a line from Clemenza in The Godfather, “Won’t see him no more.” Ridley was benched in favor of Shane Vereen, who rushed for 101 yards and caught seven balls for 58 more yards. Things can change quickly in New England and just when it seemed like Vereen was the back to own, he goes under the knife and is expected to miss a couple weeks after wrist surgery. I drafted Julian Edelman as a flier in two leagues because I had a hunch that when games started for real, Tom Brady would throw to guys he trusted instead of inexperienced rookies. Finally, after 10 years, one of my hunches paid off. Danny Amendola led the way with 14 targets and 10 catches but he’s already dealing with a groin injury, so Edelman should be owned in all leagues now. The big story on Buffalo’s side was C.J. Spiller, who was outgained in yardage by Fred Jackson, 67-41. Spiller also lost a fumble. That’s not the debut owners who used a Top 10 pick on him wanted to see, but it’s a long season. Don’t panic…yet.
Falcons – Saints
What was expected to be a high-scoring affair turned out to be a rather boring game by Falcons–Saints standards. As usual, the Boy of Summer, Mark Ingram, did very little once the regular season started. It’s easy for coaches to say they want to get Ingram involved in June, but the bottom line is that once Sean Payton and Drew Brees get in the flow of calling a game, Ingram spends more time on the sidelines in favor of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. With Roddy White nursing a hamstring, Harry Douglas led the Flacons in receiving. He has some short-term fantasy value but only until White is 100 percent healthy again. Kenny Stills is a player on the rise. He will take over that Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem deep threat role in New Orleans. Meachem won’t resume that role because he’s a tomato can.
Buccaneers – Jets
Well, if you like ugly, this was the game for you. Actually, “ugly” describes the next four games on the list. There were five fumbles, eight sacks and two interceptions in this one. To be honest, those numbers were lower than I expected. Chris Ivory was an absolute non-factor for the Jets, rushing 10 times for 15 yards. Some people thought Ivory could be a RB2. He looks like a RB12. I can’t get Kellen Winslow out of my life. I feel like I drafted him back in 1995. He re-emerged yet again to become Geno Smith’s favorite target, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a score. He looks pretty good considering he’s 50. The Bucs’ offense was stymied all day long by Gang Green. Vincent Jackson picked up where he left off last year, but the fact that the rookie, Smith, looked better than Josh Freeman is a problem going forward.
Chiefs – Jaguars
Word on the street is that every major real estate agent in the Jacksonville area put out a call to Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater Monday morning. I don’t know if Bridgewater has ever been to Jacksonville but he may want to get familiar with the city. There was nothing good about Jacksonville’s offense on Sunday. Maurice Jones-Drew was shut down and Blaine Gabbert could barely throw a forward pass. Apparently the Jaguars had 178 yards of offense, but they must have started with 100 for that to be possible. Alex Smith looked solid in his first start, but he didn’t have to do much because Kansas City’s defense was doing most of the work. Jamaal Charles left the game with a quad injury but is expected to be fine. It was a tough game to judge the Chiefs’ offense on because their defense dominated from start to finish. It wasn’t hard to judge Jacksonville’s offense. It stinks.
Seahawks – Panthers
I tried to warn people about Mike Shula. I said, “Google Mike Shula.” Mike Shula ruins offenses. Don’t tell me Carolina was playing Seattle either. The Seahawks were without two of their top pass rushers and a starting corner. Still, Shula’s “offense” managed just 7 points and 259 total yards. Cam Newton threw for 125 yards and rushed for 38. That’s less than 200 total yards for those of you bad at math and who used a high draft pick on a Mike Shula quarterback. I’ll say it again: good offensive coaches produce strong fantasy numbers while poor offensive coaches produce poor offensive numbers. See Pittsburgh Steelers. Marshawn Lynch was held in check by a much improved Carolina front seven. Running backs won’t have easy days against the Panthers this season. Russell Wilson didn’t have a huge fantasy day, but he showed why he’s such a great quarterback by gutting out a road win. He’ll put up big numbers in the coming weeks.
Dolphins – Browns
Besides Jacksonville, the Browns may have had the worst offensive performance of the opening weekend. After showing signs of life in the preseason, Brandon Weeden was harassed all day long, and when he did have time to throw, it wasn’t pretty. Weeden was sacked six times and threw three interceptions. Trent Richardson had no holes the few times he actually was given the football. You really have to question the Browns’ play calling of 53 passes and 13 runs in a game that was close the entire way. If Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski think Weeden is their ticket to winning, they’re wrong. The lone bright spot for the Browns was tight end Jordan Cameron, who hauled in nine passes for 108 yards. Lamar Miller had all the preseason love and rewarded owners by rushing 10 times for three yards in the opener. I keep trying to tell people that Miller has the vision of a blind man. He will be yet another example of preseason Internet hype gone wrong.
Vikings – Lions
This was an interesting game. The Lions did what they do; they threw the football. Matthew Stafford tossed it 43 times for 357 yards. However, Detroit was also able to run it a little bit with Reggie Bush, who had 21 carries for 90 yards. Joique Bell added 25 yards on six carries and also scored twice, drawing the ire of Bush owners. The good news though is that Bush also caught four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. He is set to have a monster season even if Bell steals away some short scores. The Vikings are what they thought they were: Adrian Peterson and not much else. Peterson scored three times, but other than that, Jerome Simpson’s 140-yard receiving day was Minnesota’s only fantasy bright spot. Until the Vikings get better quarterback play, guys like Simpson, Greg Jennings, and Kyle Rudolph will frustrate fantasy owners with their inconsistency.
Raiders – Colts
Terrelle Pryor gave a jolt to a franchise that needed one on Sunday. He not only made plays with his feet but also kept his eyes down the field and made plays with his arm. Pryor is an intriguing fantasy option moving forward, especially if teams don’t stop him from running. Expect the better defenses he faces to force him to throw from the pocket, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: there aren’t many good defenses left in the NFL anymore. Pryor is a high-end QB2 at the moment. Whenever a team changes coordinators, it’s hard to know what to expect. Apparently, Pep Hamilton doesn’t like using tight ends or T.Y. Hilton. That’s an interesting offensive philosophy, considering Hilton is an exciting playmaker and the Colts have two talented tight ends. Hilton, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener combined for five receptions and 47 yards on Sunday. I miss Bruce Arians already.
Bengals – Bears
I don’t know how to stop A.J. Green. I hope no one figures it out, because I own him in most of my leagues. I guess Giovani Bernard should stop averaging 5.5 yards per carry. After averaging 5.5 yards on his first four carries, Bernard never saw the ball again. See Gio, in Cincinnati they like you to average less than 2.0 yards per carry. That’s how guys like BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Benson get on the field there. If Marvin Lewis and Jay Gruden want to know why the Bengals can’t run the football, they should look in the mirror. Jay Cutler did a good job of spreading the ball around. Brandon Marshall saw 10 targets, Alshon Jeffery eight, while Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett each saw six. If Cutler continues to spread the ball around like that, the Bears’ offense will be fantasy friendly to people other than just owners of Marshall.
Cardinals – Rams
This game brought a tear to my eye because one of my draft strategies this year was to wait on a tight end and grab Jared Cook. Well, I got him in every league, so to say Week 1 worked out well is an understatement. Cook has been the most underutilized player in the NFL over the last two seasons and he showed why on Sunday. On the play where he fumbled going in for a score, Cook looked like a larger version of Usain Bolt running down the field. The guy is a beast. He’ll be a Top 5 fantasy TE in 2013. Neither the Rams nor the Cardinals could get anything going on the ground. I seriously doubt that will change much throughout the year. Andre Roberts is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. He had a solid season in 2012 with high school quarterbacks throwing him the ball. If you’re in a PPR league and need a receiver, go grab Roberts.
Packers – 49ers
If you need more proof that the preseason is meaningless, look no further than the 49ers. While Cleveland’s offense looked pretty good during the preseason, San Francisco didn’t do much of anything. Then when the lights came on for real, the Browns got squashed and San Fran unleashed its weapons. Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis put on a show. It’s funny because Boldin only looks old when Cam Cameron is his offensive coordinator. Ever since Cameron was fired last year in Baltimore, Boldin hasn’t looked old anymore. Coincidently, the Ravens also went on a run and won the Super Bowl once Cameron was shown the door. For those of you who were worried that Kaepernick may be a one-year wonder, he looks like he’ll be OK. Jordy Nelson had a huge debut and Randall Cobb went over 100 yards on a meaningless final reception, but that’s only because I was playing against him last week. Eddie Lacy was the only Green Bay back who sniffed the ball. So much for that committee.
Giant mess: David Wilson’s fantasy owners were hoping for more.
Giants – Cowboys
If you’re a gambler, you should really bet the over every time the Cowboys and Giants play in Dallas. The two teams always put up a ton of points in the new stadium. Victor Cruz had a huge night and apparently dances even when his team is trailing by double-digits. So if the Giants were losing by 50, Cruz would still do that stupid salsa dance? He’s really all about the team, huh? The Giants actually had three 100-yard receivers, with Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and the emerging Rueben Randle. David Wilson had two fumbles and was benched. Expect the Giants to bring in a veteran this week and for Wilson’s fantasy value to take a hit. It was a tough night for Dez Bryant. He was held to 22 yards receiving and left briefly with an ankle injury. Dez started last season slowly, too, but owners who used a Top 20 draft pick on him will want better results fast. Although, Bryant has another tough matchup in Week 2 against a strong Chiefs secondary, so his owners could be getting itchy trigger fingers by this time next week.
Eagles – Redskins
Are you not entertained? After watching guys like Haley and Shula attempt to call an offensive game it was a pleasure to see someone like Chip Kelly show them how it’s done. Oh wait, Kelly’s offense won’t work in the NFL, right? Isn’t that what all of Ron Jaworski’s idiotic film study told us? Listen, if you know offense it usually works on any level and when coaches like Bill Belichick are traveling to Oregon to watch your team practice, you know offense. The Eagles exploded on the scene with the trio of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson making fantasy owners jump out of their seats. They’ll be fun to watch all season unless you’re playing against them. It was a slow start for Robert Griffin III but he got things going in the second half. We have to cut RG3 some slack. He’s just been trying to get back on the field all summer. It may take a couple of games for Griffin to shake off the rust but he’ll be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks when it’s all said and done.
Texans – Chargers
It was a tale of two half for the Chargers and Texans. In the first half the Chargers’ offense looked unstoppable. In the second half it was the Texans that took over. To put Andre Johnson’s career in perspective, Monday night was the 19th time he had 10 or more catches in a game, the most ever by any receiver in NFL history. It’s going to be another huge fantasy year for AJ. It was nice to see Matt Schaub take a break from throwing to Johnson and Houston’s 12 tight ends to get DeAndre Hopkins involved. Hopkins will be one of the NFL’s top rookie and a strong WR3/flex play most weeks. Arian Foster still got 18 carries and while he was a little off, he looked good overall. Those leagues where Foster fell to Round 2 will be sorry. Once he gets a game or two under his belt, watch out. Ryan Mathews gained 33 yards on 13 carries. That comes out to 2.5 yards per carry, which is actually a good game for him on the ground. Antonio Gates caught two passes for 49 yards, which is a good game for him too, so it was a great fantasy night for Charger players overall.
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