A Day of Football
Posted Sep. 18 at 09:33 PM
A lot of big numbers yesterday, a lot of big performances. And it was one of those weeks when it wasn't the Scott Chandlers of the world putting up the biggest numbers: It was Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson and new stars like Matthew Stafford and even newer like Cam Newton. So let's get to it.
Jaguars at Jets: Shonn Greene didn't have a great stat line, and he was fortunate to get a short touchdown after a reversal of a defensive touchdown. But there was some promise there; he ran pretty well and on one second quarter drive it was almost all him. Jacksonville's no good and it wasn't really telling, but at least the guy wasn't terrible and replaced by LaDainian Tomlinson (who has great hands but not much left as a runner) or anything. More on the Jets: the Sanchez to Dustin Keller connection is for real. Maybe Keller is Mr. September, but I'm buying into a breakout season, for Keller at least. Sanchez needs to throw a few more passes away rather than to the other team. He also takes some hits on plays where he should have gone down or gotten rid of it a few seconds earlier. C'mon, man. ... I'm not sure, but I think we're approaching the end of the Luke McCown era in Jacksonville. He was brutal in this game. Not really much to say, beyond Jacksonville's receivers have no value if McCown starts again, and probably not much more with Blaine Gabbert (who mopped up). Not gonna be many scoring chances for Maurice Jones-Drew, either.
Panthers at Packers: Early in the spring, I thought Cam Newton might be a top 2 or 3 dynasty pick. Then I participated in and saw a few rookie drafts, and nobody touched the guy in the first round, sometimes not even the second. "Just a quarterback" and so forth. I took him at 12th in one draft and in the middle rounds of a another keeper league. Today, I'm feeling pretty good about it. The guy can play. Oh sure, he's 0-2, and threw some bad picks against Green Bay. But I think he might have more passing yards now than Jimmy Clausen had in half a season last year, and he's making some pretty amazing reads and throws while doing it. One pretty awesome throw to Jeremy Shockey while rolling out, and a nice touchdown to a well-covered Brandon LaFell. I don't have a great bias for or against the guy, but he's a lot of fun to watch so far. And oh yeah, I'm awfully glad I threw a few mid-round picks at Steve Smith this year. ... I can't fathom why Carolina threw so much money at DeAngelo Williams. He's in a committee and the team is going with a pass-first offense. Odd. ... For Green Bay, if you started Aaron Rodgers you were probably annoyed for about a half. Couple of bombs later to badly covered Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson (his only receptions, but what a reception), and it's just a routine 300-yard, 2 TD day. ... James Starks is running circles around Ryan Grant right now. Only a matter of time.
Chargers at Patriots: We love Mike Tolbert. We've been talking him up all offseason, even before his 3-TD game last week. But this was a tough one for him, losing a costly fumble on a bad decision to run backward with the Chargers trailing by 6 points in the fourth quarter. He also failed to convert a fourth and goal when he tripped over a lineman's ankle. Ryan Mathews, in contrast, had a mostly positive game, and was in the game for the final series with the Chargers needing to make a big play. I'm not sure anything changed, but it was definitely a poor day for Tolbert, although I guess his 8 catches saved you in PPR formats. ... Unbelievable TD throw and catch from Rivers to Jackson to pull San Diego within 7. Ball thrown in the middle of three defenders and Jackson made a diving one-handed grab. ... Philip Rivers, not a scrambler. Probably could have easily scored a pair of rushing touchdowns from inside the 10...if he could run. No catches for Gates. Can't explain it either; saw the Chargers said they switched Gates and Vincent Jackson's spots on the field, and Jackson blew up. Pretty shocking, though. ... As for New England, another big game from Tom Brady, Deion Branch, and both tight ends, who no one can cover, apparently. But, Aaron Hernandez left with an injury and was seen limping after the game, and those of us who read or write Fantasy Index and thus have him in EVERY SINGLE LEAGUE are holding our breaths. Since it's the Patriots, don't expect a detailed update anytime soon; start looking for backup options.
Eagles at Falcons: Kind of a bruising game, with players being knocked out left and right. A bunch of Eagles starters left and then returned, with Michael Vick's status the most important and a day later, the least certain. Vick suffered a concussion, but since it was initially called a neck injury, that actually seems like a positive. He'll be iffy for this week. ... Early on it looked like the Falcons could have run Michael Turner at the soft, fleshy middle of the Eagles linebacking corps all day. They didn't, as Philadelphia slowed him down until he bust a big run late, but some opponents (I'm thinking specifically of the Giants this week) will do it effectively. ... Jeremy Maclin had a huge game; he's fine. Sweet one-handed touchdown grab of a ball thrown behind him, plus another score later. DeSean Jackson dropped a touchdown in his bread basket right before Maclin's score. Of course, Maclin's night wasn't perfect, since he dropped a well-thrown ball that would have converted a fourth and 4 in the final minute. Still, he can clearly be started with total confidence right now. ... For those of you hoping for a Brent Celek revival, he caught a few passes, including one right near the goal line (and was targeted on another throw near the goal line that he couldn't hang onto. So that's something. ... I know kickers generally aren't the biggest guys in the world, but that Alex Henery looks spindly out there. Checked NFL.com: 6-1, 177. So yeah, he can stand between raindrops. ... Great play before the half, where the Eagles messed up a handoff and Ray Edwards picked up the fumble and headed the other way. DeSean Jackson was 20 yards behind Edwards, but made up the difference in about 50 yards. Guy was a blur, while Edwards looked like he was running in molasses. Falcons went on to score anyway on a spectacular one-handed touchdown by Tony Gonzalez. The old man can still play. Plus Jackson hurt his forearm on the tackle, so it probably wasn't worth it. But it sounds like he's fine.
Random notes from other games: In the final preseason game, Tony Moeaki, seen as a possible breakout tight end, tore his ACL. In Week 1, Kansas City got smoked at home by the Bills, and lost safety Eric Berry for the season. So when, early in Week 2, it was reported that Jamaal Charles left with a knee injury, you knew it was gonna be bad. Stick in fork in Kansas City's season and possibly team-wide fantasy value: they're done. ... I like watching Matt Schaub play. It's not always pretty, like his touchdown pass to Owen Daniels, but the guy is tough and can make plays. I'm glad the Texans are going to win the AFC South. ... Incredible touchdown grab by A.J. Green; make sure you see it. Great catch, great tiptoe work on the side of the end zone. Feeling no regrets about making him the No. 1 dynasty pick. And, another rookie quarterback with a big day passing the ball. Starting to think these college quarterbacks are coming into the league like, Hey, they can't touch me, they can't get near my receivers...this NFL is a snap. ... Hopefully Tony Romo's comeback win in San Francisco while dealing with a rib injury will quiet any questions about the guy's toughness. Hope even more he'll be able to play through it going forward. ... Spectacular catch of a touchdown bomb between two defenders for Denarius Moore yesterday. If he wasn't there already, move him to the top of Oakland's depth chart at receiver. He had another great catch in the game; nearly snagged the Hail Mary to end the game, too; a little too close for comfort for Buffalo fans. Only saw some of the game yesterday, but looking forward to the replay.
Monday, Monday: Hakeem Nicks should play, Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola won't. I do not like the Rams offense in this game, but maybe I'm giving the Giants too much credit. Since I wowed the masses by calling a 60-yard field goal from Seabass last week, I'll try predicting a final score here. Giants, 24-16.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Sep. 19 at 01:59 AM
Andy: I listened to FI and also have Hernandez in every league. Can't complain so far. My backup TE is Olsen. Fred Davis is a FA. Would you drop Olsen or An. Brown (PIT) to try and claim him? Brown was another FI fave and looked pretty good yesterday, but I'm not sure he's on the radar just yet. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 19 at 03:25 AM
Just saw a report that Hernandez will probably miss a couple of games with an MCL sprain. I wouldn't want to drop Brown so I would probably either go with Olsen or try to get Davis. I can't ignore what Davis has done so far but I still like Olsen a little bit better. Ian might feel differently in tomorrow's rankings, I'm not sure.
Posted by Mark Adams | Sep. 19 at 03:30 AM
I started Tim Hightower over Peyton Hillis and got burned. Where did Hightower go? He was the no. 4 rated RB of the week. I knew I should have stuck with Hillis since the Skins apparently going with a committee. I also have Dez Bryant (out)and Brandon Lloyd (out)and had to go with Nate Burleson and Lee Evans. A loss occured.
Posted by Mark Adams | Sep. 19 at 03:44 AM
Aaron hernandez is hurt??? Oh no! No wonder Gronkowski posted the higher numbers. I will have to resort to Dustin Keller. I wish all these Gronkowski's would just go away. They are proliferating.
Posted by BILL REHOR | Sep. 19 at 05:56 AM
Andy, what the heck happened to Tampa Mike Williams yesterday??? 1 reception for -4 yards? I didn't see the game - should I be panicking yet?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 19 at 06:10 AM
Bill, I watched the game this morning. He was well-covered; the Vikings defense is better than expected (and Antoine Winfield in particular is pretty good). This may not make you feel any better, but Williams did catch a pretty nice touchdown at the side of the end zone, but it was erased by an illegal shift penalty. We have been fairly cool on Williams this year, but I think we'll be higher on him this coming week (against Atlanta).
Posted by Moishe Steigmann | Sep. 20 at 12:40 AM
Andy, what the heck happened to Miles Austin on Sunday? You had him ranked #3, and he only scored 3 TDs. He couldn't even break 150 yards! I lost by .001 points, too. In another league, I can't believe that you ranked Mendenhall ahead of Redman. I should've gone with my gut and rolled with Isaac. And, don't even get me started on Jamaal Charles: you ranked him 17, and he wasn't even the most productive RB on his roster! C'mon, Andy...
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