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Once again in 2014 (come September), we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
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Like Will Smith said to the alien in “Independence Day”: “Welcome to Earth.” Apparently terrified of starting the Season 2-0 the Miami Dolphins stunk up the joint versus Buffalo. Afterwards, Joe “The Ostrich” explained it was a “team loss.” When it was time to step up, the Fins said: “Who? Me?” QB Ryan Tannehill just outright missed on some throws, when he wasn’t running for his life, and when he did manage to deliver a good ball his receivers choked. RB Lamar Miller dropped a pass, hit him right in the hands, would’ve been a critical Third Down. Tannehill hit WR Brian Hartline in the effing stomach with a 50 yard bomb. All Hartline had to do was, you know – close his hands. Too much to ask. After beating the crap out of the New England (Cow) Patties, Miami goes up to Buffalo and gets their ass kicked.
Looking at this coming week, therefore, once more we have déjà vu all over again. That old Dirty Harry thing. “Do you feel lucky?” (Well, do you – punk?) Basically we have no idea what these guys might do.
A couple injuries. That sure was a great game RB Knowshon Moreno turned in versus New England. He got hurt in his first carry versus The Bills; he’s out for 6-8 weeks. Lamar Miller is now the lead back. He came out of the Buffalo game with a bad ankle, but he was not listed on this week’s Injury Report, so he looks like a full go. Don’t know how much that matters. Even once Moreno went out of the Buffalo game, the Fins rotated Miller with their Number Three RB Damien Williams, just to eliminate any outside chance he might generate any Fantasy Points. Dropping that critical 3rd Down pass could not have endeared him to the Coaches.
With Moreno out and Miller dropping the ball Miami re-signed RB Daniel Thomas, a.k.a “The Plodder.” Now we are really getting that déjà vu. This can’t be good news for Miller’s dubious Fantasy Value.
The best Fantasy prospect on the team is turning out to be WR Mike Wallace, who turned in Miami’s only positive highlight with a truly ridiculous one-handed TD reception.
The Fins have also been decimated at Linebacker, might excuse a bit of their defensive performance. Versus The Bills they didn’t have one of their Starting LBs playing. MLB Koa Misi is supposed to return this week, but last year’s big Free Agent signing, Dannell Ellerbe, is out for the year.
On the Offensive Line, C Mike Pouncey is back but RG Shelley Smith is out 2-4 weeks with a knee sprain.
The Fins are home this week vs Kansas City. Weather Forecast is a balmy 88 degrees with only 73% humidity, with the wind at 7 mph and a 40% chance of thunderstorms, which are literally hit or miss down here.
As far as your Fantasy Prospects are concerned – your guess is as good as mine. KC’s 0-2, looked really bad Week 1 losing to Tennessee. RB Jamal Charles, consensus #1 or #2 Overall Fantasy Pick, is probably out with a high ankle sprain. QB Alex Smith is more of a game manager, basically refuses to throw the ball downfield, does not care how much money they are paying WR Dwayne Bowe. They have also been decimated with injuries on the Defensive side of the ball.
The Week One Dolphins would kick ass on the Week One Chiefs. Ultimately, however, we don’t know which teams will be showing up.
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
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NEW YORK JETS
Facing the tough task of the Green Bay Packers at home the Jets failed. I know, good game and all, but they didn’t win. Rex and his staff made too many mistakes. Still too many penalties as well. That said, they showed they can play with the good teams in the league. Now they have to sharpen up and stop with the errors.
As predicted the defense stopped the run, but the secondary got lit up. QB Aaron Rodgers and his men dropped 346 yards and 3 touchdowns on them as gave let up a three score lead. CB Dee Milliner clearly was not ready and perhaps should have been given less responsibility as he was burnt for a big one.
The offense never got the running game going as RB Chris Ivory and RB Chris Johnson could only muster 44 yards between them and neither figured in the passing game. Ivory managed a touchdown to salvage his fantasy outing. The best performance of the day could have been better if WR Eric Decker hadn’t pulled a hammy. When he did he was already up to 4 catches, 63 yards and an impressive TD. They need him out there. WR Jeremy Kerley had 3 for 22 with a nice touchdown that was called back due to the latest famous Jet blunder, ‘The Timeout”. QB Geno Smith still looks okay. No big stats, but moved the ball. He mUST go an entire game without an interception. His mild day was 16/32, 1 TD and the INT. He also ran 7 times for 26 and a score that, like Ivory, gave him a solid fantasy output.
K Nick Folk kicked his 3 extras and had a 56yd FG.
It doesn’t get easier this week when they take on another aerial assault with QB Jay Cutler and the Bears. They’ll have to execute the plan better if they want to win. Eating clock with the ground game is a must and the DBs have to do sOMEthing.
Hopefully next week I’ll give a Bob Murphy ‘Happy Recap’.
Enjoy your football weekend.
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"This team is playing with all kinds of spirit and its defense is not a unit I'd want to be facing right now. If they manage to hang around for another few months, the opportunity to get Gordon back for the stretch run just might make things interesting. "--CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora tweet after the Browns upset the Saints
"I can't wait until game 11 to get back on the field."--Browns WR Josh Gordon after his suspension was reduced to 10 games.
Flash is back, err when the Browns play Atlanta in a few months, err provided he doesn't get in any further trouble. Injury report. Will he or won't he? The coaches have been cagey about whether or not TE Jordan Cameron will suit up against the Ravens but he and LB Barkevious Mingo both were in pads for Thursday's practice. RB Ben Tate is OUT. Lets delve into the numbers.
"We definitely got some different fronts and different coverages when he was in there, so they definitely had a plan for that. So it was good to see that."--Browns OC Kyle Shanahan stating the 'Manziel package' was effective in making teams plan for it
QUARTERBACK PLAY Browns QB Brian Hoyer connected on 24 of 40 passes for 204 yards with 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. QB Johnny Manziel made his first pass attempt but didn't connect. The Manziel package is working. The Browns offense is without WR Josh Gordon, RB Ben Tate, and TE Jordan Cameron, but its still effective. I think the extra tape that defensive coordinators are forced to view to plan for the read option along with having to try and figure out two different style running backs is taxing teams who face the Browns. Hoyer may struggle in bad conditions and we don't know if TE Jordan Cameron will play so sit QB Brian Hoyer this week.
"Hungry for more. Head down, playbook open."--Browns RB Isaiah Crowell tweet after his fine game against the Saints
"You damn right I'm for real!"--Browns RB Terrance West tweet responding to an ESPN article asking the question if West was for real
RUNNING BACK PLAY The 'Baby Backs' continued their stellar play as RB Terrance West ran for 68 yards on 19 attempts scoring his first 1 touchdown. RB Isaiah Crowell had 54 yards on his 11 carries and the backs were involved in the passing attack as West reeled-in 2 receptions for 22 yards and Crowell got 3 yards on his 1 reception. Only two games into the season but the Browns rookie running backs are impressing folks all over the league but they'll face the eighth ranked run defense in Baltimore Sunday. The Ravens are only allowing 89 yards on the ground per game so far. West currently ranks 5th in the entire NFL in rushing yards with 168 and he became the first rookie running back with at least 90 yards from scrimmage in his first two games since RB Chris Johnson and RB Matt Forte back in 2008. Browns HC Mike Pettine said he thinks that RB Isaiah Crowell is 'built for OC Kyle Shanahan's system.' With Tate OUT and the forecast calling for a 60% chance of thundershowers on Sunday look for the Browns game plan to be heavily run based. Tough matchup this week and the field might play a role so yellow caution for both Browns running backs this week.
RECEIVERS The pressure was on with TE Jordan Cameron OUT but WR Andrew Hawkins came up big with 6 receptions for 70 yards and WR Miles Austin had 44 yards on his 4 receptions but got his first 1 touchdown with the Browns. Also big-ups for TE Gary Barnidge who came up big-time with his 4 receptions for 41 yards, the last one converting a HUGE fourth down that lead to the game winning field goal. WR Andrew Hawkins ranks sixth in the NFL in targets with 22 over the first two weeks so he's a must start and I think Hawkins 'could' break a long one if a defensive back slips and I think the Ravens will load the box daring Hoyer to go deep on them. Obviously wait and see if TE Jordan Cameron plays but even if he suits up he may be more of a decoy. Start Hawkins but sit the rest.
IDP REPORT Amazing free agent signing by Browns GM Ray Farmer as LB Karlos Dansby lead the hit parade with 8 solos and 4 assists along with 1 big-time sack late in the game that forced the Saints to punt. CB Joe Haden was over matched going mano-a-mano on 6'7 TE Jimmy Graham even with perfect coverage but he racked up the IDP stats with 6 solos and 4 assists and 1 pass defense. Over looked and under valued S Tashon Gibson had 3 solos along with 5 assists a pass defense and 1 huge pick-six interception. Abused rookie CB Justin Gilbert had a nice bounce back game as he had 5 solos with 2 assists and 1 pass defense.
K Billy Cundiff kept up with his torrid pace clicking on both of his field goal attempts and hit both of his extra point attempts, the miss was a bad snap so Billy didn't get nabbed with a miss. Dansby is a must start as is S Donte Whitner. Gilbert 'might' rate rookie cornerback status but he will likely have limited snaps again this week. Oh and start Gibson.
Hoyer is 4-1 in his five starts with the Browns and undefeated in home starts so lets hope he keeps the streak alive.
Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!
Not a good Thursday night for the 1-1 Steelers either from a fantasy or real life perspective. The 1-1 Ravens dominated all facets of the game cruising to a 26-6 victory to avoiding starting the season with a pair of home division losses. The Steelers offense actually started strong with a 14 play, 64 yard, almost 8 minute drive. Unfortunately the drive ended when WR Justin Brown lost a fumble on the Ravens’ 16 yard line. The Steelers did little the rest of the night. Next up is another prime time affair on Sunday night in Charlotte against the 2-0 Panthers. I honestly can’t say I am particularly looking forward to the matchup. The Panthers are 2nd in the league in scoring defense, 5th in total defense. QB Cam Newton had a week to shake off the rust after missing the opener due to a rib injury
QB: The play of QB Ben Roethlisberger has been pedestrian at best since he exploded in the first half against the Browns. In Baltimore he completed 22 of 37 passes for 217 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He was repeatedly hurried and sacked twice by DE Elvis Dumervil. OT Marcus Gilbert has now been beat 4 times for sacks in the first 2 weeks. Roethlisberger on Tuesday during his weekly radio spot said he expected the no huddle offense to be utilized more in Carolina. No matter, this is not a particularly good matchup for him. Taking a wait and see attitude after the last 6 quarters seems prudent. Try hard to find another fantasy quarterback this week.
RB: Not the best week for RB LeVeon Bell, yet not a complete washout. He carried the ball 11 times for 59 yards and added 5 catches for 38 yards. RB LeGarrette Blount had only 3 carries for 8 yards. RB Dri Archer did not play in Baltimore and has been limited in practice so far this week. Bell has solidified himself as the every down feature back with 197 and 97 yards from scrimmage so far. Last week is probably the worst he can do. He is an every week fantasy starter regardless of matchup.
WR: No surprise WR Antonio Brown led the receivers with 7 receptions for 90 yards. He added 2 carries for 10 yards. WR Markus Wheaton had 5 catches for 38 yards and 2 rushes for 22 yards. Justin Brown’s only catch resulted in the aforementioned fumble. Antonio Brown even more so than Bell remains a fantasy mainstay. He is even more valuable in PPR leagues. Do not even consider removing him from your fantasy lineup. Wheaton remains a fantasy backup with upside. Forget about the rest. WR Lance Moore has begun practicing after missing the first two games. His return while not fantasy relevant in and of itself would at least get Justin Brown off the field. This would clearly benefit Roethlisberger and the offense.
TE: The final nail in the coffin in Baltimore was a lost fumble by TE Heath Miller at the start of the fourth quarter down 20-6. Any thought of a comeback immediately ended. Miller finished with 4 catches for 35 yards. Roethlisberger during his weekly radio spot also said he needed to involve Miller and FB Will Johnson more in Carolina. That doesn’t mean Miller is a strong fantasy option by any means. More like an emergency play with a bit more upside than his performance in the first 2 weeks might suggest.
K: Another perfect day/night for PK Shaun Suisham with a pair of field goals. Everything comes down to opportunities for Suisham. He rarely misses. If he is your kicker I honestly see no reason to seek a replacement. Recent history tells us Suisham is more than likely to finish at the least at the bottom of the top ten in kicker scoring by the end of the season.
DEF/ST: The defense could not stop the run, produce a turnover or get to QB Joe Flacco. RB Bernard Pierce gained 96 yards on 22 carries. RB Justin Forsett added 56 yards on 8 attempts. The Steelers are currently ranked 29th in rushing defense, 20th in total defense. The rushing defense is actually worse than the Chicago Bears. LB Lawrence Timmons, LB Ryan Shazier and S Troy Polamalu led the team in tackles, most way too far down the field. The edge players did nothing. CB Cortez Allen dropped another possible interception. NT Steve McLendon being limited in practice due to a shoulder problem only makes things worse. The Steelers defense is not a legitimate fantasy option. To be honest due to the lack of big plays no individual defender is worth much in IDP leagues. My advice this week is play your Panthers.
Here are my impressions from last week’s game.
QB Ryan Fitzgerald threw for two TDs on the road against the Raiders. Fitz did pretty well again and is starting to look like a credible fantasy QB. If they keep winning the QB Marcus Mariota watch may not be off but surely out of reach.
The current OL including LT Duane Brown, LG Ben Jones, C Chris Myers, RG Brandon Brooks and RT Derek Newton played well as a team; so far no interceptions with a four yards plus average rush.
RB Arian Foster ran for 138 yards on 28 carries and scored. RB Alfred Blue and RB Jonathan Grimes each had carries. Until Arian gets hurt he’ll show that he’s still a top tier NFL back; we’ll see. In the meantime hold on to Blue.
WR DeVier Posey again was inactive. WR Andre Johnson and WR DeAndre Hopkins caught most of the 19 pass attempts with Hopkins catching one for a TD. TE C.J. Fiedorwicz didn’t play due to a minor injury; TE Garrett Graham was only targeted once. Second year TE Ryan Griffin didn’t show much as a blocker and wasn’t even considered in the passing game.
PK Randy Bullock scored 12 points; I wish I had that production on my team. The STs play again was outstanding.
CB A. J. Bouye led the team in tackles. DE J.J. Watt and company played a solid D. MLB Brian Cushing looked better in this game than he did in the opener.
Things should be tougher this week on the road against the Giants. The Texans have been playing well but I can’t believe the Giants are going to start the season 0-3. Look for them to rally and play a great game. That said I like Foster’s chances this week. Fitz will probably throw for two TDs; I’d say to a RB and a WR. The PK should be a solid play. That D is trying to create turnovers; so far they’ve been successful. The D could score on any play.
Hey there Colts' fans! Here are my thoughts on this weekend's game at home against the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars:
Injuries: Defensive leader and veteran DE Art Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the game on MNF and he was replaced on the active roster by DL Kelcey Quarles (undrafted rookie free agent), signed off of New England's practice squad. The front three will need to generate some pressure this week, so he better be ready to fit into the rotation quickly, to keep those hosses fresh! Both starting corners - CB Vontae Davis and CB Greg Toler - did not practice on Thursday, but Davis was a planned rest day and Toler is likely to play, according to HC Chuck Pagano...plus the Jaguars don't have a passing game anyway! The big blow to the defense aside from Jones is that leading tackler LB Jerrell Freeman has already been ruled out, and his absence was very evident in last week's loss because his replacements did not fill the bill. On the offense, OL AQ Shipley will start again at center as OL Khaled Holmes still is not ready to go, but Holmes may be active. From a fantasy perspective, both WR Hakeem Nicks and WR TY Hilton were held out of several practice sthis week, with Nicks currently stated as "questionable" to play and Hilton being "probable." I would bet Nicks is in the lineup this week.
QB: The Jaguars have beenvery generous ot oposing fantasy quarterbacks this year, giving up 300 yards per game and a pair of TDs each time out. While one could argue that they did a very good job containing the high-octane Eagles, they were also lit up by the Redskins' backup without his top receiver! QB Andrew Luck should have some ample opportunities to move the ball in the air this week, and I believe that 275 yards a couple of TDs is likely; he had right around 300 yards each game last year. The Jags have yet to play a mobile quarterback, so it remains to be seen if they can contain Luck outside of the pocket. As Luck has not lost consecutive games since his sophomore year at Stanford, so you know he wants to get this taste out of his mouth!
RB: After Monday's solid game by RB Trent Richardson in the national limelight, he has been a sexy pick to have a breakout game this weekend against the bottom-feeding Jaguars' run defense. I think he will be solid, but it might be foolish to yet expect him to be the bellcow back that the team traded for him to be, at least with the red hot RB Ahmad Bradshaw still in the picture. The Jacksonville defense has allowed an average of 150 rushing yards and two TDs each week, and have been beaten by both speed backs and power backs. They have also been susceptible to the screen pass, so there will be a great chance for both of these backs to be valuable #3 or flex options this week as they should combine for a huge share of the scoring. My gut feeling is that T-Rich gets in the end zone this week as he scored each game against the Jaguars last year, and the team will probably make a real concerted effort to have him look good in front of a still-skeptical home crowd on the anniversary of his trade to Indy! Bradshaw is still a 50-50 shot to score as well, as he has done so three times already in 2014.
WR: WR Reggie Wayne has a VERY solid history against the Jaguars, with his last three games averaging around 100 yards with a score. Some of the best games in his long career have been against Jacksonville, especially at home. When you consider that the Colts' wideouts tend to alternate big weeks and Hilton was better last week....look for a very good PPR game from Wayne. He has tended to catch a lot of passes but not always score against the Jaguars in recent years, for whatever that is worth. Hilton did have his career high in targets, receptions and yards in the season finale last year against the Jags at home, so...maybe this one could be a wild one! Call it a hunch, but I think Hakeem Nicks scores a short red zone TD this week; if he doesn't play, look for it to be WR DaRick Rogers on a fade off the bench. Neither are worth a risky start, but its a hunch that a secondary target scores the passing TD.
TE: The Jaguars have been very generous to the tight end, and this is the game in which the two Colts' studs have to break out of their fantasy funk. The Jaguars have been torched by Zach Ertz and Niles Paul, both of whom stretch the field so this in theory fits better with TE Coby Fleener's skill set. I would not hesitate to start either of them asa solid #2 this week, but despite hte great matchup and the likelihood of success....the poor showings thus far would make me reluctant to start them unless desperate. They should combine for a very solid set of numbers on the order of 8-100-1, and I would bet on Fleener getting the score if I had to play one of them since he is getting more targets.
K: The Jaguars have given up a lot of kicker points, but mostly on PATs so far in 2014. PK Adam Vinatieri usually gets a lot of action against the Jaguars in this matchup, though, as divisional rival games are often played closer to the vest; 19 of Vinatieri's 35 FGs in 2013 came in the six divisional games, for example, with him popping in 3 in each of hte matchups with the Jaguars. This should be a high-scoring game for Vinny with a likelihood of double-digit fantasy points for sure.
D: Generally this team is one to avoid all season. They mounted no pass rush in the absence of LB Robert Mathis and the replacements just are not getting it done. However, it is hard to ignore the fact that the Jaguars allowed TEN sacks in week 2, and are easily the worst team in the NFL for allowing fantasy points to defenses! The Colts defense has scored a TD in 3 of the last 4 games in this series, and the Jaguars have allowed an average of 16 fantasy points per game already this year. Despite no real playmakers, the Colts should do well this week and are worth picking up off your waiver wire and starting them this one time for a big, cheap pay out.
Overall: It is hard to not like the Colts in this one. Both teams are 0-2 and looking to get out of an early season hole, and avoid digging a huge hole with a divisional loss. The Jaguars might have played over their heads for a half against Philly, but have only scored 10 points in their last six quarters of play. On the other hand, the Colts lost two barnburners to teams that could arguably be the best in their respective conferences in prime time games. But the Colts are simply more talented, far healthier (at the skill positions especially), and playing at home. The Colts have scored 27+ points in the last three matchups, and averaged 28 PPG during the Luck era; they have also scored 27 points in each game this year against two better teams; the Jags meanwhile have only scored 27 times total in 2014. I have a hard time predicting anything other than a close game most weeks since both teams are full of professional football players...but I have a feeling that this week will be a total rout with the Colts laying into the undermanned Jaguars in front of the home crowd by a 37-17 final score.
That is all for this week from the Crossroads of America. Hopefully I will be back in the early part of next week talking about the Colts' first win of the season! Until next time, friends, remember to remain...CHUCKSTRONG!!!
KC 17 Denver 24
For the second straight week, the Broncos (2-0) jumped out to a big lead and held on for a narrow seven-point victory. A comfortable 21-10 halftime lead became a tight 24-17result which came down to the final seconds at Denver's the two-yard line where KC's fourth down pass was batted down at the line by DT Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton. Kansas City (0-2) finished with more first downs (28-19) and total yards (380-325), and dominated the time of possession (36:14-23:46).
QB Peyton Manning was 21/26 for 242 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and completed 80.8 percent of his passes. Manning stormed out of the gate with a seven-play, 80-yard drive culminating in a beautiful TE Julius Thomas (4-39-1) touchdown. Two three-and-outs followed, with Kansas City scoring ten points on a field goal and 66-yard touchdown drive. Manning came back on a quick seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive. TE Jacob Tamme’s (1-4-1) touchdown was created by using route combinations to gain space at the goal line. After KC went four-and-out, Denver marched right back with an 88-yard scoring drive. After KC went four-and-out, Denver marched right back with an 88-yard scoring drive. A picturesque Manning to WR Demaryius Thomas end zone pass/catch. After Von Miller’s first sack of the year, the Broncos went into halftime with a 21-10 lead. KC threatened again after the half, but their 10-minute, 61-yard drive resulted in a missed 37-yard FG attempt. But penalties torpedoed Denver’s next drive and the Chiefs came right back with a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive that consumed another 7:42 and put the Chiefs within 21-17 with just over seven minutes remaining. However, a short kickoff and an Andre Caldwell 54-yard return set up Denver with good field position. Denver made it as far as the two-yard line, but John Fox opted for a 20-yard field goal insead of trying for a touchdown. CB Aqib Talib had a pick-six nullified by Quant Smith jumping offside; moments later, DE DeMarcus Ware and MLB Nate Irving combined for what appeared to be a game-ending strip sack of QB Alex Smith at the Denver 37. But the play was (correctly) ruled an incompletion after review and ultimately the game ended with "Pot Roast's" heroics. RB Montee Ball didn't break any ankles, but he did break tackles for 60 yards rushing and 29 yards receiving on a total of 15 touches. RB CJ Anderson was 5-31-0 ad WR Emmanual Sanders added eight catches for 108 yards (48lgn). Mile High seemed dead as KC converted 11 of 16 thied downs, six on Denver penalties.
DENVER @ SEATTLE
The Broncos are coming off two performances in which the defense struggled in the second half. The defense has been more physical at times, but it seems to want to coast in the second half, This is a major test of how far the Broncos have or haven’t come since the Super Bowl, just three the weeks into the season. The team needs to show more skill, focus, and tenacity in the second halves having scored only eight points on ten possessions. The Seahawks are coming off a loss on the road to the Chargers but they are most difficult at home where they tends to play all four quarters. Much of the Charger's win can't be replicated by the Broncos and QB Russell Wilson's mobility will give Denver fits. SLB Von Miller (groin) and his backup LB Lerentee McCray (knee) are both expected to play, but the defense will have to find a way to stop the run when they are in their lighter nickel and dime packages. Seattle was unable to get to QB Phillip Rivers without blitzing and aging TE Antonio Gates created serious problems for their defense. TE Julius Thomas is off to a good start and could cause similar problems and the return of Wes Welker will help the Broncos underneath if Seattle concentrate their efforts on Thomas. Seatle is favored by 5 at home. Logically, it is Denver 21 Seattle 27. But as a homer I'm looking for the unlikely upset. Denver 28 Seattle 27
When you look at your fantasy matchups for the week, rarely should you bench one of your studs. However, Seattle requires serious thought about benching any of your skill positions players, especially quarterbacks.
QB Peyton Manning is a top six fantasy quarterback this week despite the Seattle Seahawks reputaton for pressue and sacks. RB Montee Ball is a top 10 fantasy running back this week. WR Demaryious Thomas is a top 5 fantasy wide receiver this week. WR Wes Welker is a fantasy wide reciever 3 this week coming off suspenion. WR Emmanual Sanders is a fantasy wide receiver 3 this week TE Julius Thomas is a fantasy tight end 2-3 this week against Seattle PK Brandon McManus is a top 13 fantasy kicker this week
D/ST is a top 20 fantasy defense this week against Seattle's power running game
"Win the Super Bowl or Bust"
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Moral Victory? If there is such a thing the Chiefs achieved one this week. Through all the offensive line woes, the wide receiver mediocrity and the rash of debilitating injuries on defense, Kansas City stayed in the game against Denver’s pony express.
Uncharacteristically, QB Alex Smith aired it out 42 times; typically, he didn’t toss a single TD in those 42 tries. In fairness we can’t lay all the blame for the lack or scoring tosses on the KC QB; a wideout on this roster needs to break a play off and do something special every now-n-then. Both starting WRs are risky pass catchers with unsure hands and the depth behind them, the ones Coach Reid elects to see the field during live action, are not ones to light a fire under Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery to play better or sit. This season already has the look of a long, fruitless campaign. We’ll probably look back on the 2014 draft and think of what could have been had the Chiefs invested in the deep crop of talented collegiate wide receivers instead of burning a prime pick on a pass rusher that is getting 6 snaps a week. OK, it’s only week 3 and things can happen.
What did happen in the game against Denver were injuries. RB Jamaal Charles suffered the dreaded high ankle sprain and was out early. Safety Eric Berry also went down with an ankle. With Charles out of the contest, RB Knile Davis jumped in and did a solid job, gaining 105 yards from scrimmage and scoring twice. QB Alex Smith also figured in as a rusher with 42 yards. In the air, TE Travis Kelce led the way against the Broncs with 4 catches and 81 yards. Kelce is the Chiefs’ only pass receiving playmaker… it has to say something about your pass offense when the tight end is the greatest threat to the opposition. Wideouts Bowe, Avery, Junior Hemingway and AJ Jenkins combined to put up 11 catches for a paltry 91 yards. OK, 42 passes and 4 wide receivers catch the football 11 times, and the best they can do is gain 91 yards? Just sayin! In comparison, 3 tight ends snagged 8 Alex Smith passes for 130 yards… again, just sayin! To their credit, the o-line did a pretty good job run blocking and protecting Smith in drop backs. Yes, Smith was flushed out of the pocket a bit, but he also looked to extend plays in an effort to find an open receiver… I’ll leave that one alone for once.
The defense also held their own despite the injuries. CB Ron Parker jumped into the void left by a hobbled Eric Berry and did rather well. Parker had played in dime packages during OTAs and pre-season practices, so it wasn’t all new to him. ILBs Josh Mauga and James-Michael Johnson were better than expected. The pass rush failed to bring heat on QB Peyton Manning and in a game like that, pressure on the passer is vital.
Coach Reid has a lot of work to do for week 3. Here’s what we’re looking at against the Miami Dolphins.
The probable starting lineups: WR 82 Dwayne Bowe WR 17 Donnie Avery
LT 72 Eric Fisher
LG 75 Mike McGlynn C 61 Rodney Hudson
RG 73 Zach Fulton
RT 68 Ryan Harris TE 80 Anthony Fasano, 87 Travis Kelce QB 11 Alex Smith FB 42 Anthony Sherman RB 34 Knile Davis
Defense LDE 99 Vance Walker NT 92 Dontari Poe RDE 97 Allen Bailey
LOLB 50 Justin Houston
LILB 90 Josh Mauga
RILB 52 James-Michael Johnson
ROLB 91 Tamba Hali LCB 31 Marcus Cooper SS 38 Ron Parker FS 39 Husain Abdullah RCB 21 Sean Smith
RB Jamaal Charles is giving it a shot on the high ankle sprain. Charles practiced and Coach Reid said the ankle “loosened up” as he went on. The effort to get back ASAP is appreciated and noted, but it is best for all that Charles sit this one out. He’s said to be a game time decision, but all bets are Knile Davis gets the green light and Jamaal sits. Davis faces a Miami run D that is underrated and fast. The linebackers are a bit suspect, but then again, Davis is a good-not-great tailback. Davis is netting 3.6 yards a carry so he’s not blwoing anyone away with big plays thus far. IF he holds onto the football, a similar line of production to his week 2 effort is likely, which isn’t a bad day at the FFB office (105 YFS- 2 TDs). Not so sure about the 2 scores, but one will get it done. If you’re thinking speedy rookie RB De’Anthony Thomas could provide a spark, nix that idea. Thomas is out with a “fatigued” hamstring. Coach Reid explained it isn’t a pull, but fatigued and it is best not to push it; Thomas sits. Cyrus Gray is the direct backup to Davis in week 3. He has some pass game chops and is fast. Remember, along with Davis’s penchant for fumbling, he hasn’t exactly been the picture of durability as a pro or in his college days. Gray may be a factor at some point. I like Cyrus Gray; I wish the coaches did also.
The receivers are what they are. Bowe and Avery start and Coach Reid takes no chances on adding snaps to the young hands behind those two veterans. Bowe may see more volume in his 2nd game back from suspension. But he doesn’t offer YAC anymore, so even a 7-8 catch day likely nets out to 80-ish yards; TDs… don’t count on it. TE Travis Kelce is the spot where Coach Reid will look to expand on. Kelce and running mate Anthony Fasano are the surest and best chances to gain chunks of yards and make the crucial catch when needed. Kelce has a potential 80-90 yard day ahead, and Fasano is always a neat threat around the goal line. Tight end is where the Chiefs air yards and scores should come from versus the Dolphins. For fanballers, Kelce is a must play against the shaky Miami linebackers, and Fasano is a sound TE2 for those facing a TE emergency.
QB Alex Smith is just not startable in fantasy football. He may or may not put the ball in the air enough, and he doesn’t have enough outside weapons that can break things open. At best Smith’s ground yards help his FFB cause, but not much.
Defense once again features the usual IDP starts, minus the injured Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry. OLBs have a shot at good performances against the Dolphin suspect o-line. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston should be in IDP lineups this week. ILB Josh Mauga is always around the football. He tracks rushers well and is not a liability in pass coverage. James-Michael Johnson is working his way in as a starter and will take time to gear his game up. I like JMJ’s potential, but right now Mauga is a no-name IDP hot look. He makes tackles, chases down ball-carriers well and has some INT potential being in on passing down. He’ll key on TE Charles Clay, who is not at full speed with a knee. Mauga is going to surprise this year. The rest of the Chiefs defensive players are not recommended.
Kicker Ryan Suc…. er, I mean, Cairo Santos… NO!
Sadly, special teams have taken a hit also due to injuries. Kick returner De’Anthony Thomas has yet to show his stuff, sidelined with that hamstring issue. Injuries to the offensive and defensive units have trickled down to the special teams, causing a shift in personnel. Coach Toub will get it figured out, but until Anthony returns to the field, KC’s special teams are nothing special right now.
Week 3 is a vital game for KC. An 0-3 start makes for a very difficult path back to the post season. Miami is no push-over and that offense has the look of something about to breakout. Unfortunately, the Chiefs offense seems to be headed in an opposite direction.
Oh, for a true #1 wideout!
The Oakland Raiders travel across the country to face the New England Patriots this week after suffering a tough home loss at the hands of the Houston Texans. That’s right, those Texans. The ones that were worst in the NFL last season, although the Silver and Black gave them a run for their money in that contest.
Against the Texans, opposing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t have to do much as the Raiders Defense allowed the RB Arian Foster rush 28 times for 138 yards and a score while rookie RB Alfred Blue had 11 carries of his own for 40 yards as well. Fitzpatrick only put the ball up 19 times, but two of those were for TDs. One of which was even to DE J.J. Watt. That’s called insult to injury.
As they face the Patriots, QB Tom Brady hasn’t been himself so far this season. In fact, quarterback rating wise, he is right in the neighborhood of our rookie signal caller, QB Derek Carr. Brady must be looking forward to facing what could be for him, a get-well defense. The unit will also be at less then 100% as CB Carlos Rogers (knee), LB Sio Moore (ankle), and DE Justin Tuck (illness) did not practice so far this week.
On the offensive side of the ball, it appears that Carr passes the eyeball test and now just needs to mature and grow in the position. Carr completed 27 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, but also misfired twice into the hands of the Texans defense. The arrow is surely pointing up for the youngster, and he has impressed his teammates both on and off the field. He has a tough attitude and desire to work to fix the teams mistakes. That is an important trait to have on a rebuilding team like the Raiders. “We’re sitting here 0-2. That’s the truth. Now when we come to work, is it going to be, ‘Yeah, we’re 0-2, maybe we’ll turn it around?' No, these guys are working to turn it around. If you just stand back and watch them, you can see it,” Carr said. “Whether it’s just a little detail here or a little detail there, just sitting back and watching those guys, you’re like, ‘I can tell that that guy has’ -- maybe he doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring, maybe he does -- but I can tell he’s a winner and he’s a champion, maybe, if he doesn’t have a ring either. You just watch them work, especially in times like this. This is the hardest time to work. It’s the hardest time to do it.”
One of the reasons I believe fantasy football originated, other than early adopters love of stats and accounting, was the feeling that regular guys like us could make better decisions than some NFL coaches. Case in point, the team was without RB Maurice Jones-Drew, and we expected a split between RB Darren McFadden and 2nd year RB Latavius Murray. It was not an effective day running the football. Although DMC did get into the endzone, he only ran for 37 yards on his 12 carries. Murray, meanwhile had only 1 carry but for 6 yards. Why not give him a few more? Why no carries for Mr. Everything, FB Marcel Reece? It seems like things both on the field and on the sidelines need to improve.
The receiving corps are certainly a guessing game too. This time around, WR James Jones had a big day, snagging 9 balls for 112 yards with a score. WR Andre Holmes was active as well. It just may be the end for WR Denarius Moore, with another flat day. He was targeted 5 times, securing 3 of those for 29 yards. The most likely receiver to be counted on normally would be WR Rod Streater, but he is and was suffering from a hip injury. This past week, the team signed WR Vincent Brown, who was released by the Chargers earlier. It’s hard to say how he will fit in.
Good luck this week. And go Raiders!
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Surprisingly, the San Diego Chargers beat the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks by the score of 30-21. The game was shocking given Seattle’s demolition of the Chargers in preseason, their destruction of Green Bay in week 1, and San Diego’s shoddy, error-prone game in Arizona. What’s really amazing is that San Diego led time of possession 42:15-17:45. Wow, big surprise. San Diego has long been one of those weird teams that loses the games you think they’ll win and vice-versa. This week, the Bolts fly to Buffalo to take on the resurgent Bills, who are favored by 2.5 points, as of this writing. This report will be a review of the Chargers week 2 win, as well as a preview of the San Diego at Buffalo game.
QB: It was a nice bounce back week for San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who went 28-37 for 284 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions. So, we have one good week for Rivers and another not-so-good week. Still, I do think he is an underrated quarterback and thus makes a reasonable week 3 fantasy starter.
RB: Unfortunately, RB Ryan Mathews suffered a relatively minor knee injury early in the game and will miss the next few weeks. That leaves RB Donald Brown as the new temporary starter and RB Danny Woodhead as the usual change-of-pace back, perhaps with a slightly elevated workload. Neither Brown nor Woodhead did anything worth talking about last week. While both are respectable running backs, I wouldn’t personally start them unless you have no better option at the position. However, an upside surprise is always a possibility and the Bills are not especially strong against the run.
WR: Chargers wide receivers didn’t do a whole lot. WR Eddie Royal caught 7 for 69 and no TDs, while WR Keenan Allen caught 5 for 55 yards and no TDs. Surprisingly, WR Malcom Floyd, who had a nice week in the season opener, was shut out. Allen is overdue, so I’d consider him a weak fantasy WR2. Despite the goose egg against Seattle, I’d consider Floyd a fantasy WR3 and Royal is to inconsistent for fantasy consideration at this time.
TE: I’ve called TE Antonio Gates a 2014 sleeper, which seems weird considering that he will be in the Hall of Fame one day. But no one expected much given his age, history of injuries, and emergence of TE Ladarius Green. Well how does 7 receptions for 96 yards and 3 TDs grab you? Yep, Gates was on fire and was the primary Rivers target. Will he repeat that this week? Nope. Should you start him? Yep. As good as he is, San Diego is not throwing to TE Ladarius Green. So until he performs with consistency, Green is too risky to start at this moment. That could eventually change, but not yet.
PK: San Diego PK Nick Novak booted 3 FGs and 3 extra points with no misses. He’s one of the league’s better kickers on a team that should score some points this year. That makes him a very solid week 3 option.
DEF: Interestingly, the San Diego defense is showing signs of life. They are oh so close to numerous sacks and have clearly increased the pressure on the opposing quarterback. Last week, the San Diego defense got a couple of sacks and a fumble recovery. I can’t recommend them just yet, but that could change if they continue to show improvement and fire.
That’s my report for this week. I think San Diego can beat Buffalo. Let’s hope so. Until my next report, GO CHARGERS!!!
The Dallas Cowboys beat up on the Tennessee Titans this past weekend, and it was just what the team needed. The staff must have taken a long look at what pieces and parts they had, and determined the best course of action was to run RB Demarco Murray and have QB Tony Romo do a little less. This could be the formula for success until Romo gets his feet (or back) under him again.
This week, the “Boys travel to St. Louis to battle the Rams. If we travel back a few seasons, Murray had his coming out party against the Rams, on Oct. 23, 2011, he ran for a franchise-record 253 yards on 25 carries in a 34-7 win against the Rams, as a backup. Last year he picked up 175 yards on 26 carries in a 31-7 win. Of course, these numbers mean not much if anything, but being friends with a few Rams fans, it sure feels nice to say.
Murray has certainly been on fire thus far, totaling over 300 yards so far this season, and with a pair of scores. The fact that Murray is capable of this is no secret, but now he has a nice offensive line helping bring it all to fruition.
“I think you’ve got to be really careful of going back and saying, ‘Boy, he plays great against these guys,’” HC Jason Garrett said. “Well, these guys aren’t necessarily the same guys he’s played against in the past. But, he’s certainly playing well right now. We’ve run the ball well the first couple weeks, and he’s been a big part of it.”
QB Tony Romo did end up with 29 pass attempts, completing 19 of those for 176 yards and a score. For fantasy, it’s hard to say whether he will need to do more, as a Tony Romo/Austin Davis shootout would be unlikely.
Romo may still be getting into his groove, but he certainly looks in sync with WR Dez Bryant. He snagged 10 grabs from Romo, for 103 yards and a score. Imagine what he might have done if he hadn’t left a portion of the game with a shoulder injury. On a quiet passing day there wasn’t much more to go around, but TE Jason Witten was more involved with 4 catches for 32 yards. I was high on WR Terrance Williams this offseason, but he has been slow off the mark so far. Its possible that his back injury, which was described as “sore” may still be bothering him.
As for the defense, either QB Jake Locker was that bad, or they played better. Although it sure seems the Cowboys are having a tough time covering the tight end. First it was TE Vernon Davis, and then TE Delanie Walker. If TE Jared Cook has a big day for the Rams, then a definite pattern will be evident.
A bright spot was LB Rolando McClain. If he can keep playing like this, I hope he doesn’t retire, again. He had an amazing interception in this past game, plus a sack and 5 tackles. McClain suffered a groin injury and hasn’t practiced this week. That coupled with the continued absence of LB Justin Durant. This could pose a problem at stopping RB Zac Stacy heading up the gut with a head full of steam.
The following are probable for week 3; QB Tony Romo (back), DE George Selvie (Shoulder), DE Lavar Edwards (knee), and NT Ken Bishop (illness), while these players are questionable; WR Dez Bryant (shoulder), TE Gavin Escobar (knee), RB Joseph Randle (concussion), DE Anthony Spencer (knee), LB Rolando McClain (groin), LB Justin Durant (groin), and DT Davon Coleman (knee).
Lets Go Cowboys!
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants face the Houston Texans at MetLife this Sunday. The G-Men need a win badly or risk another terrible start to the season by losing their first 3 games. The Texans are 2-0 and could be had in my opinion!
Here are the fantasy prognostications:
QB Eli Manning is facing a Texans pass defense that is ranked 23rd in the league. They have allowed 1 TD pass and a passer rating of 79.8. They also have 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. Eli seems to be clicking with the new West Coast offense but needs offensive line cohesion and receivers that can actually catch the ball. Until the running game starts gearing up, expect 225 yards and two TD’s, making him no better than a #14-16 selection.
RB Rashad Jennings will go against the 18th rated rushing defense in the league allowing 5.8 yards per carry, 2 rushing TD’s and 116 yards per game. Expect 18-20 touches for 100 total yards and a TD making him a solid #2 runningback. RB Andre Williams does not warrant fantasy consideration.
WR Victor Cruz needs to get over the cases of the drops so I expect Eli to look for him early. He should have 6 catches for 80 yards making him a decent flex play this week due to the matchup. WR Rueben Randle should chip in with 5 catches for 65 yards and a possible TD making him an intriguing sleeper play for those in need.
TE Larry Donnell is becoming Eli’s favorite receiver. Expect 6 catches for 65 yards and a TD making him a #12-14 selection this week.
The defense faces RB Arian Foster and the 8th ranked rushing offense averaging 3.8 yards per carry and 151.5 yards per game. They go against the 30th rated pass offense averaging a paltry173 yards per game. The quarterbacks have been sacked 0 times and have thrown 0 interceptions with 3 TD’s. Until this unit starts producing turnovers, stay away!
PK Josh Brown has not had field goal opportunities thus far and should be kept on the bench.
Good luck to your teams!!!
Here is a recap of Week # 2:
RB Darren Sproles carried a struggling Eagles offense on his back Monday night with a variety of long runs and even longer catches that helped the Eagles overturn an 11-point halftime deficit and down the home Colts, 30-27, at Lucas Oil Stadium. Rookie PK Cody Parkey put the finishing touch on the comeback, nailing a 36-yard field goal as time expired to sink his former team and keep the Eagles (2-0) unbeaten in the first two games while saddling the favored Colts with a 0-2 start. Two games in, the Eagles have been outscored 34-6 in the first half and outscored their opponents 58-10 in the second half. I don’t think you can underestimate how much their fitness level is helping them late in games. They’re simply wearing teams down, and it’s paying off.
Two games in, what can we say about QB Nick Foles? He really got very little help Monday night. He was victimized by five drops, and the one interception he threw was at least partially Jeremy Maclin’s fault. He hasn’t been terrible, but he hasn’t been great. He’s been OK. When he had to make big throws Monday night, he made big throws. He’s got some serious inner strength rallying the Eagles back two weeks in a row, and as long as that mental toughness is there, that ability to overcome adversity, I feel like he can get the rest sorted out. He finished the night completing 21 passes in 37 attempts for 331 yards. He threw a 9 yard TD pass but did throw his 2nd interception of the year. RB LeSean McCoy led the attack gaining 79 yards on 20 carries. He scored on a 1 yard run and caught 4 passes for 23 yards. RB Darren Sproles rushed for 26 yards on 4 carries scoring on a 19 yard run. But he destroyed the Colts defense gaining a personal record of 152 yards on 7 receptions. WR Jeremy Maclin gathered in 4 passes for 45 yards and scored on a 9 yard pass reception. TE Zack Ertz hauled in 4 pass receptions for 86 yards.
Indy QB Andrew Luck cadence drew the Eagles defensive line offside 4 times that extended individual drives by the Colts. But in the 2nd half, the Eagles defense tighten up and held them to just 10 points. FS Malcolm Jenkins had an interception that stopped a drive that would have put the Colts lead up to17. ILB DeMeco Ryans led the defense with 7 solo tackles and recovered a fumble that was forced by DE Fletcher Cox. They didn’t have any Sacks but had plenty of Hurries. But they lost the services of ILB Mychal Kendricks (calf) n the 2nd Quarter and he will not play in Week # 3.
It will go unnoticed, but it was good to see PK Cody Parkey make two game-winning kicks, the second after the first was wiped out by a Colts timeout. Parkey had missed a 38-yarder earlier in the game, and you never know how a guy in his second NFL game is going to respond to a bad miss like that. Parkey responded. P Donnie Jones averaged 53.8 yards on 4 punts. RB Darren Sproles returned 4 punts for 25 yards and CB Nolan Carroll II returned 1 Kick off for 21 yards.
Week # 3 the Eagles (2-0) will be hosting the Washington Redskins (1-1) at the Linc on Sunday @ 1pm on FOX.
PREVIEW WEEK # 3:
For the Redskins, QB Kirk Cousins will be starting for the injured QB Robert Griffin III. WR DeSean Jackson (Shoulder) has text LeSean McCoy and said that he will be playing. The Eagles Offensive line has got to hold up against the Redskins Defensive line because the Redskins sacked Jacksonville QB’s 10 times last week & expect them to rush Foles. The Eagles Running game has got to get going early to open up the Passing game. A Divisional game is always a struggle and this one should come down to the wire again. Foles has to get in sync with his WR’s. Look for the McCoy & Sproles Show again this week. Just hope that ILB Emmanuel Acho can fill in for Kendricks. Biggest question is, ”Will the Eagles fans Boo or Cheer DeSean Jackson when the starting Lineup is announced?”
That’s all for now from the BirdSeed.
The report for this week has not yet been released.
Lions report, week 3 preview
Packers at Lions
QB: I like QB Matthew Stafford to bounce back this week at home against a Packers defense that hasn’t shown much resistance yet in 2014. Let’s project him for the usual 300 yards and 3 TD passes this week as long as they can keep Clay Matthews out of his face. Right tackle is still a concern. Another concern is that Stafford seems to be more turnover prone against Green Bay than he usually is. This coaching staff has stressed taking care of the ball from day one with Stafford so this should be a good test to see if Green Bay has his number. Even last Thanksgiving when Detroit was clicking on all cylinders and destroyed the Packers 40-10, Stafford had 2 interceptions, along with his 330 yards and 3 TD passes.
RB: It will be an ongoing question as to how the workload will be distributed between RB Reggie Bush and RB Joique Bell. Bush provides an important speed element to the offense and I expect him to be utilized much more than he was last week. Bell is listed as limited practice on the injury report with a knee. I don’t believe this is anything serious, but between that and his very questionable ball security in the first two games, I am not as high on Bell this week as a lot of other people are. I think Bush is the better play this week as I see 100 total yards and a TD, with Bell adding about 60 yards. This is weakness against weakness as Green Bay is 31st in rush defense allowing 176 yards per game. However Detroit has not been able to get their ground game going yet.
WR/TE: There aren’t many questions that need to be answered here. WR Calvin Johnson has enjoyed success against Green Bay in his career and that should continue this Sunday with 120 yards and a TD catch. According to Stats Calvin has 12 TD catches in his last 12 games against the Packers, and in the last four games against them he has 606 yards! WR Golden Tate is always a safe option as a #3 fantasy receiver as I expect him to consistently catch around 5 or 6 passes every week. The three headed monster at tight end will continue this week. TE Brandon Pettigrew might need to help with pass protection given the issues at right tackle. TE Eric Ebron is coming along but isn’t worth owning yet. I have a feeling TE Joseph Fauria finds the end zone this week.
K/DST: The Lions brought some familiar veteran names (Bironas, Hartley, Henery) in for a workout on Tuesday. However, they are going to stick with rookie PK Nate Freese for now. Hopefully he is getting the message that 3 misses in 2 weeks is unacceptable and he needs to turn things around ASAP or else one of those guys will be the new Lions kicker. One report said Henery looked like the best of the three who worked out. I would avoid Freese in all formats. I don’t think settling for field goals is part of the formula to beat the Packers regardless of who is kicking. On defense, the Lions are trying to piece their secondary together and I fully expect Green Bay to spread things out and especially try to utilize Randall Cobb out of the slot. The Lions are tough to run on so I don’t know if we will see much damage from Eddie Lacy in this game but Rodgers and the receivers are all great plays.
I will review this game in my next report.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Week 2 Review: This week is a little more like what I expected. Going down 21-3 to start the game was a little depressing. In fact some teams would have started another quarterback. However, QB Aaron Rodgers came back to have 346 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 109.8 rating. He completed 59.5% of his passes which isn’t bad considering the lack of protection he recieved. He now ranks 6th among NFL quarterbacks. RB Eddie Lacy got 13 carries for 42 yards and he has 5 receptions for 29 total yards this year. He is now 40th among NFL running backs. RB James Starks had no carries this game. TE Andrew Quarless only had 8 yards on 1 reception. The tight-end position is practically nonexistent because he has had to help block. WR Randall Cobb had another 5 catches for 39 yards and 2 touchdowns and WR Jordy Nelson had another 9 catches but for 209 yards and a touchdown. However, Cobb currently ranks 40th in yards among NFL receivers - and Nelson ranks 1st in yards. Cobb does have 3 touchdowns in two games – good for 3rd among receivers. WR Asante Adams had 5 receptions for 50 yards. He could emerge as the 3rd wide out. WR Jarrett Boykin was supposed to be that guy, but dropped a touchdown pass which gave Adams his chance, and so far he has one reception. The offensive line did not lose anyone – so that is a win for the offense. But run blocking has to improve for both rushing and pass protection. K Mason Crosby put up 11 points, making 3 field goals and one2 extra points. For this week that puts him 9th in the league – but 14th overall. The now 19th ranked Packer defense played two different games. They allowed a lot of yards in the first half but stuffed the run in the second and played the pass respectably. If they could have played in both games like they played in the second half, they would have a top 10 defense. However, a more accurate passer would have had more success in the second half. In any event, credit the team with coming back to win 31-24.
Week 3 Preview: The Packers play the Detroit Lions. For the 3rd consecutive week the Packers will face a top ten defense. Sooner or later it won’t make any difference where the opposing defense is ranked because of how they have started the season. Against a defense that is as good against the run as they are the pass – at least so far this season – I think it would be wise to go with the team’s strength. For the Packers that is clearly the passing attack. And of those guys, only three guys are fantasy league quality. So unless the Packers are saving something unexpected for this week, that means QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, and WR Randall Cobb are the only offensive guys who make sense this week. The Packers have plenty of questions at this point. Like who is the third wide out, and is there a tight end that can catch a ball, and can the Packer defense stop anyone? TE Brandon Bostick is in the process of coming back from injury and was active last week but did not play. He could add that receiving element to the tight end position, but so far we are still waiting. On the year Rodgers would have 4280 yards, 32 touchdowns, completion rate of 64%, and a passer rating of 95.7. Nelson would have 144 receptions and 2336 yards and 8 touchdowns. Cobb would have 88 receptions for 776 yards and 24 touchdowns. So they are doing well. Crosby would have 120 points on the year. This could be another weekend for Crosby to get kicking opportunities. And he hasn’t missed a kick yet this year. The defense gets to face Megatron this week and this year the Lions have more pieces to go with him. I would let the defense rest this week – again.
Start QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Randle Cobb, and WR Jordy Nelson and hope for the best. I would sit RB Eddie Lacy this week. I don’t know if it is his concussion, the defensive quality, or the lack of an effective offensive line, or a combination, but he is clearly not on track yet. You might start Crosby this week because getting opportunities looks promising. I will be at the Lions game this week and hoping for a win. Assuming I survive, I will return next week to review the results of the Lions game and preview the next game against the Bears. That will be 3 road games in the first four weeks to start the season. Here’s hoping your travels aren’t as challenging as the Packers.
Wow what a week makes! For one the Vikings got totally dominated by the Patriots last week. I am not sure if there were any excuses for this game or not but they sure had a convenient one.
Unless you are living under a rock, I am sure you have all heard about the RB Adrian Peterson situation by now. I am not going to get into this very much but I will talk about it on a fantasy level. He is more than likely done as a MN Viking, but I can see another owner (Jerry Jones) making a move on him. So keep him if you can in a keeper league. In redraft leagues I think it is pretty safe to drop him but you might want to wait a few more weeks just in case something happens quickly.
The Vikings also released troubled WR Jerome Simpson but that is no loss.
As for his backup, RB Matt Asiata is nothing special and might be losing time as soon as this week to rookie RB Jerick McKinnon. There has also been a rumor reported that the Vikings might have some interest in former Bengal BenJarvis Geen-Ellis. I am not too fond of that move either. Practice Squad RB Joe Banyard is actually a pretty interesting player and I would not mind seeing him get some carries. He sure looked good in the preseason.
WR Cordarralle Patterson is a hot and cold player but should be hot this week vs a weak Saints Defense. WR Greg Jennings has caught a td in both games so far this year and he might again this weekend.
TE Kyle Rudolph needs more passes thrown his way and if so he can be a very productive TE.
PK Blair Walsh is always a starting caliber K.
The defense is one to shy away from this weekend.
Overall this has been a very tough week to be a MN Vikings fan. I don’t see the Vikings beating the Saints this weekend. Especially since it is the Saints home opener and Drew Brees is simply awesome at home.
Wow, well usually, the Thursday Night Games are a bit low scoring….so, even without WR Roddy White, what do the Falcons do, oh, well just roll out 56 points in a 56-14 beatdown of the Bucs…..this was just plain embarrassing if you are a Bucs fan….
1. QB Matt Ryan – Ryan was on the money in this one, going 21-24 for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns. He looked for his stud WR Julio Jones early and often and the rout was on!
2. Falcons Running Backs – Without LB Mason Foster and most likely DT Gerald McCoy, RB Steven Jackson had a big first half and set the tone for the offense, he gained 54 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown. All the other running backs chipped in the rest of the game once it go out of hand, but no one picked up much of anything.
3. WR Julio Jones – Jones was a monster this year and he is gonna put up a huge year if he stays healthy….should have picked him over Dez this season….All Jones did in this one was 9 catches for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns! d a score.
4. WR Harry Douglas – Filling in for the injured White, Douglas got just 2 catches for 14 yards, but he scored, before he left with an injury later on. This is the 4th straight game he has scored against the Bucs.
5. WR Devin Hester – Hester had one catch for 25 yards, but he also scored a touchdown on a 20 yard run, plus a punt return for a score!
6. WR Eric Weems – heck, even the 5th wideout got some action, getting 4 catches for 69 yards.
7. TE Levine Toilolo – 2 catches for 25 yards.
8. K Matt Bryant – No field goals, just 8 extra points!
9. Defense – Wow, the Falcons may just be the highest scoring fantasy defense and special teams this week! One interception return for a touchdown, one punt return for a touchdown, only 14 points given up, 217 total yards, the first 3 sacks of the season, 5 total turnovers……wow…..who would have thought!
Back next week for preview for week #4!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The 2-0 Arizona Cardinals are coming off a road victory over the New York Giants 25-14 last week on a short work week for them. In addition to that, the Cardinals found out that their starting quarterback would be sidelined for the game. Not many people gave the Cardinals a chance at this point. But that’s why we they actually play the game.
Cardinal Fantasy Stars of the Week:
#1 The Defense/ST! 2 Sacks, 2 TFL, 2 INTs, 1 Punt Return for TD, RB Andre Ellington 15 carries for 91 yards 1 catch 10 yards. Not enough touches! QB Drew Stanton 14/29 for 167 yards 0 TD 0 INT. WR Larry Fitzgerald (PPR) 6 for 51 yards.
Fantasy Duds this week:
WR Michael Floyd 1 catch 19 yards WR John Brown 3 catches 28 yards TE John Carlson 2 catches for 43 yards
The Cardinals ended up week 2 with a victory and find themselves facing a very angry San Francisco 49er team this week in Arizona. This game should be amazing.
The strategy this week against the 49ers will be key with the Cardinals on defense. The Cardinals have to do three things: 1) Get pressure on QB Colin Kaepernick while keeping him in the pocket. The Cardinals cannot scheme to put pressure on the young brash QB and allow him to run wild past the line of scrimmage. If that happens, the Cards won’t continue to lead the division. QB Colin Kaepernick needs to stay in the pocket and feel the pressure without scrambling. This won’t be impossible, but it will be difficult. Watch that matchup. Arizona started seeing what a good TE could do for them instead of to them. The ‘Niners have injury at the TE position this week. That will really help the Cardinals on defense this week as well. Also, the Cardinals have to continue doing a great defensive job stopping the run. They held the Giants to under 90 yards this past week.
When the Cardinals are on offense, they will have to remain very balanced. QB Drew Stanton will most likely get his second start of the season facing a huge division foe. The Niners are not happy with the result of the game last week but must stay focused on the Cardinals. RB Jonathan Dwyer hopefully is not pulling focus from the Cardinals and I doubt it is. WR Larry Fitzgerald won’t let that happen. Faith, Focus, Finish! The Cardinals will have to figure out how to balance the offense and take the pressure off QB Drew Stanton. The San Francisco defense is missing key personnel but still very very good.
Who should you start from the Cardinals’ side of the game in Fantasy Football?
WR Larry Fitzgerald. He will produce at home. WR Michael Floyd will NOT have 2 dud games in a row. QB Drew Stanton must get him the ball. RB Andre Ellington has to be on your starting roster if you have him. Period.
QB Drew Stanton but it would have to be a major emergency. RB Stepfan Taylor is a huge sleeper this week if Ellington can’t go or hurts his foot worse. Taylor has some skills.
This game will be intense, fun, and amazingly loud. Hopefully Cardinal fans will keep their tickets. I look for a tight game with the Cardinals struggling against the 49er defense and trying to keep WR Michael Crabtree in check. He could be a difference maker with his height.
Let’s call this a surprising Cardinal victory 24-21
Go Cardinals !!!
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco seemed destined for another laughable win early against the Bears last Sunday night, blocked punts, early points, nice offensive balance and, solid defense were all on display. But offensive miscues and a great and gutty performance from the Bears star players in the second half left the 49ers defeated in their first game in their shiny new stadium. QB Colin Kaepernick is largely to blame with two brutal second half interceptions that set up QB Jay Cutler and the Bears deep in 49er’s territory both times. Kaepernick must cut down on mistakes this year. The 49ers defense just can’t carry the team like it has the past three seasons. If Kaepernick had conceded the downs and punted instead of forcing the ball into tight coverage last week the 49ers would have stood a good chance at winning. The positives in the game were RB Frank Gores running and a rather solid effort by the defense in shutting down pro-bowl RB Matt Forte.
San Francisco’s offence vs. Arizona’s defense; Arizona has a well balanced defense that figures to sell out in stopping the run this week. Stopping the run would force Kaepernick to throw downfield against the Cardinals strong coverage unit. Without TE Vernon Davis on the field this week San Francisco will be a bit more transparent in their passing game. San Francisco’s offensive line has shown signs of coming out of their pre-season slump and will give the 49ers an advantage in the running game even against eight or nine man fronts. WR Michael Crabtree needs to live up to his billing as a top wide out in the NFL this week as he draws a tough cover corner in Patrick Peterson. WR Anquan Boldin will be open often enough with the underneath routes but its Crabtree that needs to find ways to get open and do damage for the 49ers this week. Again Kaepernick must cut down on his mental errors. All the key third down runs and elusive sack missing moves wont matter if he has two or three picks on his stat line by games end.
San Francisco’s defense vs. Arizona’s offence; without QB Carson Palmer the Cardinals lose a lot of steam with most of their key offensive weapons. WR Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will certainly find ways to get open against a just above average 49er coverage unit that’s missing top corner Tramaine Brock. To ensure those two wide outs are kept in check the 49ers will need to put pressure on QB Drew Stanton. Stanton has hung around the league for awhile now but is really just a replacement level talent at the position. Getting Stanton running around the pocket would certainly ease the 49ers concerns with passing game. RB Andre Ellington (brother of Bruce Ellington) has played on a bum foot but looked very strong as a runner this season. Ellington is averaging around five yards a carry and is very dangerous in the short passing game. The 49ers were poor as a defense against RB Demarco Murray in week one but very dominate against Forte last week. If Ellington can move the chains to continue to give his pass catching team-mates chances to make an impact in the game the 49er could be in trouble.
News and Notes:
-TE Vernon Davis has been hobbling around practice all week and is a certain inactive for this game
-TE Vance McDonald has a knee issue and is questionable to play this week. Without McDonald or Davis, TE Derek Carrier would get the start.
-LB Shayne Skov was released this week. Skov played for Stanford as looked strong this pre-season but the 49ers are loaded at ILB and need to add a TE this week because of the injuries there.
TE Xavier Grimble was added to the practice squad. Grimble was un-drafted out of USC this season and was an early season cut by the Giants.
Suddenly the 49ers are 1-1 and facing a surprisingly strong team in the Cardinals. With the hoopla of the stadium behind them the 49ers need to play an efficient, mistake free game this week. The 49ers shot themselves in the foot with penalties and mental mistakes last week, which must change for the 49ers to walk out of Arizona with a win.
You really had to watch the San Diego game to get it. They played well and kept Seattle’s D on the field for 42 minutes. Seattle’s offense could have won the game had they converted a few more 3rd downs or had one more drive. They only ran 40 total offensive plays. But the turnover on special teams was really the killer blow even though it happened early in the game. Between that and having no answer for TE Anthony Gates, this game should have been more lopsided than it was. Especially with the Chargers having nearly a 60% third down efficiency. This was the ‘Hawks on the road, so how much of that will translate to what Denver sees on Sunday?
A passer rating of 119.1 usually does not translate to a loss for QB Russell Wilson, but it does when he simply is not on the field long enough. His numbers still translated into 200+ yards passing for 2 TDs in the loss continuing to earn him a place in the top ten of fantasy quarterbacks. I anticipate 30+ points against the Broncos again, so Wilson remains a QB1 and should be started over all but the elite QBs.
Similarly, when RB Marshawn Lynch averages 6 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per reception, that is usually a win. But Marshawn barely saw 20 snaps! Having 10 touches and a TD on that number of reps is not a bad thing in general, but did not provide the anticipated fantasy points. If he did not have his 14 yard walk in the park TD reception, then it would have been much worse. Lynch remains a stud and must be started. RB Robert Turbin did play half as many snaps as Lynch and scored, but he is not worth starting even in a very deep league.
Similar to Lynch, on very few snaps WR Percy Harvin had 45 rushing yards, 5 receiving yards and a TD. The TD should have been called back, but the fantasy points still count. The ball would have been around the SD 25 and if anything that would have been better for Seattle overall. Harvin may well have scored on the following plays and the defense would have had more of a break from the 120 degree heat. Regardless, Harvin is answering the question of whether or not he is a WR1 by scoring and can be expected to this weekend again. With Wilson leading the league in passing accuracy and Harvin getting more reps, it just makes sense that he will have more fantasy points this week. WR Doug Baldwin is playing a new role this year and is growing into it. He had the most targets last week with 6, but only caught 3. Baldwin is sneaking up on being a WR3 and should be scouted accordingly.
TE- TE Zach Miller was on blocking duty all game last week and had several issues, including penalties. I am not sure I have seen that much emotion out of the guy before. He had an early catch of 22 yards and then was shut down. But he was also really angry. I expect that to translate into more focus this week and predict that he will score. This is one of the rare weeks that I will recommend starting Miller.
K- PK Steven Hauschka had only 3 extra points since the ‘Hawks could not get or keep drives within field goal range. Again that is a rare exception to the norm and he should be started with confidence this week.
Seattle’s team D laid a goose egg as they could do nothing to stop the QB Phillip Rivers to TE Antonio Gates connection. This week they face the QB Peyton Manning to TE Julius Thomas connection, but I do not see this going the same way. Still, starting the team D this week is dangerous since Denver is likely to score no matter what. The D is angry and focused though and is likely to score so a gambling fantasy owner with limited alternatives could give them a shot.
The FS Earl Thomas punt return experiment was at least put to an end. Thomas put in a decent amount of tackles at 7, but LB Bobby Wagner had double digits again this week making for 24 tackles in the first two weeks. Rivers did let CB Richard Sherman play, and Sherm put in 6 tackles including one for loss. Now the media is going with a ‘Sherm Exposed by the Bolts’ headline? I saw one or maybe two plays where Sherm was out of position against a decent receiver. I mean it wasn’t like he was playing against WR Michael Crabtree. That means this game becomes a revenge game for Sherm and I would not be surprised to see him dancing with Sea Gal Jessica again. Wagner is the sure bet IDP, though.
I think the ‘Hawks win this by 6 and score over 30, so lets go with:
ST. LOUIS RAMS
PERSEVERANCE! After an embarrassing home opener loss to the Vikings, St. Louis gets a much needed victory in Tampa Bay with former number three QB Austin Davis leading the way. It was a close game that went back and forth until the very end and Tampa almost pulled out a win but ran out of time. Rookie receiver Mike Evans got hurt on the last play of the game and since he needed assistance and Tampa was out of timeouts, a 10-second runoff of the clock took place and since there were only 8 seconds remaining, the game was over. The Rams return home this week and take on the Dallas Cowboys fresh off their beat down of the Tennessee Titans. Let’s take a look at the Rams Fantasy positions in week two with possibilities for week three.
QB: QB Austin Davis (22-235 with no touchdowns or interceptions) started for injured QB Shaun Hill and although his numbers were not spectacular, he did enough to earn a victory for the Rams. Austin got better as the game progressed and he made crucial completions on the game winning drive. Davis is a gamer with a fiery personality so it was good to see him come through in the clutch, especially considering that it was his first professional regular season start. Hill is still recovering from his thigh injury so Davis might get his second start this week. Dallas is ranked 13th against the pass allowing 212 yards per game and 3 touchdowns in two games. The Cowboys have 2 interceptions and 3 sacks in their first two games. Week 3 Recommendation: Austin Davis is still a Fantasy gamble as HC Jeff Fisher has reiterated that Hill is the starter as soon as he is healthy, but if Davis does start, you could expect similar numbers as last week with hopefully a touchdown or two.
RB: RB Zac Stacy (19-71 rushing with 1 touchdown and one lost fumble) carried the load for the Rams and scored the first (and only) touchdown of the season for St. Louis. Stacy exemplifies this Ram team, not flashy but hard working and determined. RB Benny Cunningham (6-15 rushing and 1-4 receiving) was Zac’s sub and performed his duties with diligence. Rookie RB Tre Mason and rookie RB Tre Mason were both inactive against the Bucs. Dallas is ranked 14th against the rush at 104.5 yards per game and has surrendered one rushing touchdown in two games. Week 3 Recommendation: Zac is a must start as the Rams are a run first team and will try to control the clock and keep the ball away from the potent Dallas offense. 100+ yards and a touchdown are attainable for Zac. Cunningham is a valuable sub but not on Fantasy teams.
WR: WR Brian Quick (7-74) had another productive game and is clearly the lead receiver after two games. WR Tavon Austin (2-21 rushing) failed to catch a pass and injured his knee on an attempted completion. The diagnosis is a sprained MCL and he could be out a few weeks. With the upcoming bye in week 4 it would be smart to sit him down this week and give a good three weeks until the next game on October 5. WR Chris Givens (1-15) and WR Kenny Britt (1-12 rushing and 1-17 receiving) continue to add minimal statistics. WR Austin Pettis (3-46) stepped up with Tavon out and made a huge catch on the winning drive. WR Stedman Bailey got reinstated two games early after the new drug policy was accepted and he should help this offense, especially with Tavon recovering. Week 3 Recommendation: Quick has put together two strong games and will hopefully have a third against the Cowboys. Play him as a low end WR2 as I think he scores a touchdown this week. Tavon is doubtful to play and has not done enough to merit Fantasy play. Britt, Givens, and Austin have no Fantasy value. Keep an eye on Bailey as he was having a strong preseason and could be heavily involved going forward.
TE: TE Jared Cook (4-46) had another decent game. TE Lance Kendricks (3-25) and TE Corey Harkey (2-8) provided key receptions and Harkey avoided disaster when he got hit directly on his knee making a catch. He suffered a sprained MCL but the hit looked like it could have been a lot worse. Week 3 Recommendation: Cook should continue to produce 3-5 catches and might find the end zone.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (4 of 4 field goals (36, 35, 46, and 38 yards) and one extra point) was money all game and his only mishap was a short kickoff to the up-man that went for a long return. Greg was called for a facemask penalty at the end of that return and it gave the Bucs great field position. Week 3 Recommendation: Zuerlein should continue to produce especially if the offense stalls in the red zone. I always play Greg with confidence.
DEF: Does anyone know where Sack City is? The defense gave themselves this nickname in the preseason, but after two games there is only one resident in Sack City as St. Louis has recorded only one measly sack. Not only is this overrated defense failing to get to the opposing quarterback, they can’t stop the run either and are 29th in the league allowing 171 rushing yards a game. Dallas ran for 220 yards last week and will try to continue that success against the Rams. The McSafties, SS T.J. McDonald (5 solo tackles, 1 blocked punt and 1 blocked field goal attempt) and FS Rodney McLeod (5 solo tackles and 1 interception) made game saving plays all day and it was McDonald’s hit that hurt Evans at the end of the game. LB James Laurinaitis (4 solo tackles and 2 assists) and LB Alec Ogletree (4 solo tackles and 2 assists) were a little more active and need to continue to improve. DE Robert Quinn (2 solo tackles and 1 assist) is still looking for his first sack of the season. Congratulations go to Robert on his well deserved contract extension. The first official sack of the season went to rookie DT Aaron Donald (2 solo tackles and 1 sack). Donald has been impressive and should continue to improve. Week 3 Recommendations: Laurinaits, Ogletree, and Quinn are the top IDP Rams. I missed on Quinn last week but he is due and Dallas has given up 7 sacks in two games so hopefully Robert and his teammates can get to Tony Romo several times.
St. Louis got a much needed win in Tampa and need to keep the momentum going with a victory over the Cowboys. The defense needs to wake up and play to their full potential while the offense needs turn field goals into touchdowns. It looks like Austin Davis will start and hopefully he will continue his success. Who knows? We might be seeing another rags to riches story similar to Kurt Warner! Congratulations to QB Kurt Warner, WR Isaac Bruce, WR Torry Holt, and OT Orlando Pace on their Hall of Fame ballots. Love and blessings to my Family, miss you Pops. Aloha!