A Day of Football
Posted Sep. 10 at 06:40 AM
We're back; each Monday I'll write a wrapup of the games I caught the most of on Sunday. It's not physically possible for me to see everything, but I've got all the important channels and don't sleep much from Sunday through Tuesday, so I'll see what I can do.
For the first Sunday of the year, probably best to take you through my day. Let's go, shall we?
7:00 a.m. Coffee in hand, I flip through the channels and settle on NFL Network's "First on the Field." Pleased to see the hosts appear to be ex-Packer Sterling Sharpe, ex-Charger and Jet LaDainian Tomlinson, and ex-ESPNer from way back, Melissa Stark. I'm a big Melissa Stark fan so I don't mind that she appears to be wearing the black and white dress from the Seinfeld episode where his girlfriend wore the same dress all the time. Michael Lombardi weighs in on whether Andy Reid is on the hot seat (who cares; it's Week 1) and Mike Holmgren's future. With Sterling there it's Packers old home week.
8:00 a.m. I turn my attention to the team I drafted last night in my one league that drafts live and always does it the Saturday before the season starts. Stats from the season opener can be used which may have factored into my selection of Tony Romo; a week ago I might have selected Eli Manning instead. We'll hope that works out. With all my drafts in the books, it's now clear that this was a year where it was very easy to get a lot of good wideouts without using early picks on them, and GREAT wideouts if you did use early picks. I'll start 3 WRs in this league - Megatron, Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker. Not many weekly lineup decisions in that area. Hope we're right on Alfred Morris, though, or I'll be a running back short each week.
9:00 a.m. Time to check all my lineups, making changes as the various injury updates come in. Alfred Morris appears to be starting and is IN a couple of my lineups. Used a late pick on DeAngelo last night; he's also IN as Jonathan Stewart is ruled out. Answer a couple of lineup questions posted to my Saturday column, then head outside for an impromptu pregame Nerf football game with my son. The grass is wet and it feels like a football morning.
10:00 a.m. ESPN's pregame show starts. You may (or may not) wonder how much I watch the pregame shows. The answer is not much. I don't care about most of the fluff features, a decent percentage of the talking heads are annoying, and most importantly, the "updates" are usually behind what can be found much more quickly on the Internet. The bottom line shows guys as questionable who have already been ruled in or out. An ESPN feature on Super Bowl winning quarterbacks going to other teams failed to mention Kurt Warner, unless I blinked and missed it. Today I let the DVR record it so I can zip through it without commercials and fluff. The shows are better than nothing, I guess, but they've never really helped me be more informed or make a lineup decision. Most likely I'll switch between NFL Network and ESPN for the next three hours. I haven't seen the CBS or FOX pregame shows in about five years. Oh, I do like ESPN's SportsScience feature.
1:00 p.m. The games begin, and much time is spend on the RedZone Channel. I know everyone loves this thing and I do too, but it has its drawbacks. Mostly, you just don't get much of a feel for the game if you're not seeing drives down the field and good plays that set things up. You also don't see drops and other miscues. I like the channel and all, but seeing all the scoring doesn't mean you're seeing all the important stuff. Just saying.
Here, though, is three hours worth of stuff I did see between the hours of 1 and 4:00 p.m.
Bears-Colts: Things start poorly for Jay Cutler with sacks, knockdowns and a Pick 6 to start the game. He eventually turns it around and throws touchdowns to Brandon Marshall and a beautiful TD to Alshon Jeffery. Cutler will have some big games this year, the question is if they'll pass enough for them to be consistent. Bad offensive line will make it tough at times; let's see how things go against Green Bay on Thursday. Marshall dropped a 2nd TD, by the way. ... Matt Forte looked great. Michael Bush 2 TDs, but how often is the ball going to wind up at the goal line? He might score 10-12 TDs this year but will be very hard to start. ... Andrew Luck is going to have some big, early Peyton Manning type games. Bad line, no running game, bad defense. He won't win much, but the fantasy numbers will be good.
Washington-New Orleans: Pinball type of game, stunning debut for Robert Griffin III. You have to note the same thing as with Cam Newton's debut last year: he was facing a really bad defense. Still, great game. Pierre Garcon a target monster. ... Alfred Morris came through for those of us who dared start him. Low yards per carry a slight concern, and he won't be fortunate enough to get 1-yard touchdowns after end-zone pass interferences every week. Still, it's clear that Shanahan's depth charts are a total joke. Helu on 3rd downs, and that's it. ... Nice game for Aldrick Robinson out of nowhere. Question is will he play at all if Garcon's foot is OK (and he says it is)? ... Drew Brees' numbers will be fine, again. Bad defense, lots of playing from behind. It's the running game you have to worry about. ... Near TD for Colston; instead he fumbled through the end zone for a touchback. Don't worry about him.
Bills-Jets: Didn't see this one coming. Mark Sanchez played about the game of his life after an early interception. Ryan Fitzpatrick was horrible. Just one game, but a pretty shocking one to anybody who saw the Jets in the preseason. Guess those struggles really didn't mean that much. Tebow came in a lot but clearly won't push to start if Sanchez plays like this. ... Fred Jackson hurt on kind of a cheap hit. C.J. Spiller plays big. Committee backfield coming, most likely, and that's if Jackson's injury isn't serious (which it might be). ... Garbage-time TD for Stevie Johnson. Those count too, but I'm concerned if Fitzpatrick doesn't play better. ... I'm not buying Stephen Hill; things won't go that well every week. Same for Shonn Greene, who was fortunate to score and avoid a pair of fumbles.
Falcons-Kansas City: Sometimes the preseason does mean something. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones picked up right where they left off from the exhibitions. Jones looks uncoverable. He was wide open for a third TD and Ryan missed him. Huge season on tap. ... Stick a fork in Michael Turner, it's over. ... Jamaal Charles looked great. Shockingly caught from behind on a 46-yard run; maybe that's a long TD pre-injury. But even if he's lost half a step he's still half a step faster than everyone else out there. Small role for Hillis, but that won't be the case every week; KC's defense won't struggle that much most weeks against most opponents.
Jaguars-Vikings: Impressive showing by Blaine Gabbert. Not perfect, but made what in most weeks is the game-winning touchdown pass. He missed a wide open Justin Blackmon for what would have been an easy touchdown earlier in the game. Think Blackmon is going to be big this year, and long-term. ... Adrian Peterson proved a lot of folks wrong, including us, for one week anyway. No reason to think he won't be his usual self going forward, although the team should still be careful with him, I think. But yeah, he's a freak. ... Harvin and Rudolph will be awesome. ... The Rashad Jennings era came to a quick end.
Dolphins-Texans: Arian Foster, another game-time decision, guy who was likely to be spelled heavily, blah blah. Once the games start it seems coaches don't care about any of that stuff and give guys their normal workloads. You just can't use No. 2 running backs. Somebody started Turbin against me yesterday, and Tate was probably in plenty of lineups. Too much risk. ... Lestar Jean nearly caught a spectacular TD. Guy to watch in dynasty. Andre Johnson DID catch a spectacular TD. Until he gets hurt, he'll be awesome.
Rams-Lions: Wasn't totally surprised the Rams were competitive. Think it's going to be a good team that wins more than most expect. But not good enough to avoid some heartbreaking losses, either. ... Disappointing game for Steven Jackson, but I think he'll be fine. Lions D best up front, poor in the secondary. He'll have better games. ... Brandon Pettigrew dropped a should-have-been touchdown. Tough throw, but the elite TEs catch those. ... Up and down game for Stafford. People forget how young he is, I think. I hate to use the young Brett Favre comparison, but there it is. He's got a great arm and loads of talent but will make the occasional mistake, too. Still, I'll take him on my fantasy team with no worries. ... Keiland Williams the No. 2. Not sure what to make of Joique Bell getting a short TD after Smith stuffed at goal line. Presumably one or both of those guys will be behind Mikel Leshoure a couple of weeks from now. Smith is the main man, though, until he gets hurt. ... Richardson the clear No. 2 behind Steven Jackson. ... Nick Fairley sighting on takedown of Bradford.
Eagles-Browns: Browns as expected. Sorry, Brandon. Richardson maybe not fully healthy and certainly can't do it alone against a good run defense. ... Lousy game for Vick, but I'm OK if I've got his various receivers on my team. Maclin, DJax, Celek; these guys will be fine.
Patriots-Titans: So there you go: the tight ends are going to be huge, the wide receivers are not. Gronk, Hernandez (in some order), then Welker and Lloyd well after that. ... Huge game for Ridley. Went one pick before I was going to take him in my Saturday draft. I suspect that one pick could be the difference between my team being strong at running back or weak. As noted above, I used a later pick on a guy I normally don't touch: DeAngelo Williams. Wasted pick there and a missed opportunity with Ridley. I know, it's just one week. ... Not surprising things went poorly for Jake Locker and Chris Johnson. Don't give up on them yet; New England's defense is much improved.
For the late games, because there are fewer of them, I get to see most of all of them.
Packers-Niners: Color me impressed. I didn't think anyone could really shut down Green Bay, but San Francisco did. Rodgers finished with nice, fantasy-salvaging numbers, but he got knocked around pretty good, didn't have a great day throwing the ball, and one of Green Bay's TDs came on a punt return. Nice game for Finley, as San Francisco clearly aimed to take away the wideouts. Finley also scored 4 TDs last year against Green Bay's next opponent, Chicago. ... If you told me before the game Alex Smith would throw 2 TDs, I'd have gone with Moss and Vernon Davis. Good history for both against the Packers. ... Frank Gore looked pretty good, with a couple of nice runs including the touchdown. ... First half ended with a 63-yard Akers field goal. Green Bay's last game ended with a completed Hail Mary by the Giants, if memory serves. They make sure fans don't leave their seats early for snacks at Lambeau.
Seahawks-Cardinals: Thrilling game that not too many probably watched. It ran long, partially due to the officials messing up a timeout situation at the end and partially due to various penalties, turnovers, injuries. Back and forth, emotional game. ... Don't worry about the Seattle D, which could have had a huge game. Leon Washington had long punt and kick returns stopped just short of being touchdowns. ... Sidney Rice looked like a difference-making wideout. Braylon Edwards looked as unreliable as ever; a good play here, a drop there. There's a reason teams don't try hard to keep him around. ... Marshawn Lynch looked fine. ... Russell Wilson made some plays, though he couldn't pull out the win. Scrambled for a first down late. Tried again but ran into Lynch's back. Threw a possible game-winning TD that Edwards couldn't hang onto. Willson can play. ... Kolb comes off the bench to lead a win. Unexpected. Larry Fitzgerald made some big plays, expected. Neither Cardinals running back had a chance or made anything happen on their own. Defense looked pretty good. Fitzgerald and the Defense, that's the only value here.
Bucs-Panthers: Well, I guess a top safety and a hard-nosed head coach make a difference. Tampa Bay's defense was worlds better than a year ago. It was almost funny on one goal-line scramble by Newton when it looked like the entire defense was waiting for it and just converged on him. Newton is going to have to pass this year. Good thing he has Steve Smith, and Greg Olsen and Brandon LaFell chipped in with some good plays too. Passing game will need to do more this year. Because.... .... If you started DeAngelo Williams and got burned, sorry. I did too. I might actually drop the guy this week. I can't imagine ever starting him again. As the lead back against last year's league-worst run defense, he rushed for negative yards. What can you say? He didn't have much chance, but he really didn't look good, either, and Newton doesn't hand the ball off near the goal line, so what is the point? I won't recommend DeAngelo again all season. ... Doug Martin looked pretty good out there, and he is basically a full-time guy, as expected. Carolina's defense did a better job than expected and kept him out of the end zone, but the Ray Rice comparisons seem legit. Should have given up more for the right to trade up and draft him in my dynasty league, methinks. ... Nothing of note to say on the Bucs passing game. As expected, it doesn't look like it will be a point of emphasis.
Steelers-Broncos: Manning looks like pretty much the same guy, doesn't he? Won't throw downfield as much. Both wide receivers will be huge, as expected. Jacob Tamme's quiet preseason looks irrelevant; he was a big part of the offense. Willis McGahee should be close to a full-time guy. ... Pittsburgh has major offensive line troubles. Roethlisberger is going to get pummeled all year. They've got to go with Jonathan Dwyer as the lead back; Isaac Redman brings nothing to the table, whether it's because he's hurting or not.
Monday, Monday: Two games tonight! Even though one is too late for those of us on the East Coast. I'm thinking shootout in Oakland, more of a defensive struggle in Baltimore. Let's pick some scores: Baltimore, 20-17; San Diego, 31-27.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Sep. 10 at 09:18 AM
Andy: Kudos to FFI on Morris. You guys had him much higher than other providers and didn't waiver on him. He was actually drafted and then dropped in my 12 team league in favor of Dallas Clark on Thursday (obviously not a FFI subscriber). Hopefully this will be the year of no Shanahanigans for his owners.
Posted by David Kennedy | Sep. 10 at 09:24 AM
A little surprised you didnt mention Randal Cobb and the unique way GB used him. He was targeted a bunch and lined up in the back feild mostly. He might be PPR gold this year.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 09:31 AM
David you are right on Cobb. Had him in my notes and just forgot to include him. Clearly if they use him that way each week he'll be a nice option, and he'll hurt the other receivers. I feel like it might have been a slightly unique situation last week -- trailing for much of the game and with no chance of running against San Francisco -- but Cobb was being used that way even before the team fell behind, so we'll probably see more of it.
Posted by stephen hicks | Sep. 10 at 09:45 AM
Andy: I'm in an 8 team ppr league so there is some talent on the waiver wire. I have first waiver pick this week since I drafted last. I have Fred Jackson on my roster. Who would you pick up between Spiller and Alfred Morris, and who would you drop between M. Turner and Shonn Green? Thanks for your input.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 09:59 AM
As far as who to pick up, I'd need to know what Jackson's injury timeline is first. If he has a 1-2 week injury (haven't heard yet), you have to go with Morris. If it's long-term, Spiller is the better talent. As for who to drop, I wouldn't really want to start either guy, so I'm not sure it matters much. Turner looked pretty much done yesterday, but I don't think Greene is much good either.
Posted by stephen hicks | Sep. 10 at 10:14 AM
That's pretty much my thought process too. Thanks Andy. Also thanks for the Ridley advice the other day. That obviously worked out well.
Posted by Roy Sherman | Sep. 10 at 02:05 PM
Andy, even if Jackson's injury isn't too serious, do you think his durability will be in question for the remainder of the season? Bradshaw is still available in our league (at the same price), so I may try and swap Jackson for him. I have another problem at RB. Like you, I also have D. Williams that I may drop (maybe for Morris?).
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 02:51 PM
Sounds like Jackson will be out at least a month, so I'd dump him for Bradshaw, yes. Morris will be productive until Shanahan changes his mind, and I can't see any way things get better for DeAngelo. If he can't produce against Tampa with Stewart inactive, when will things be better for him?
Posted by Martin Rougeaux | Sep. 10 at 07:08 PM
You actually have Deangelo Williams on you team and started him....and you are giving me advice? J. Stewart is not much better but at least he catches a few passes. Who would draft either of these guys. Who else runs the ball for your team....Ronnie Brown? Please keep writing articles because I plan to go another direction. hahaha JaMarty
Posted by Martin Rougeaux | Sep. 10 at 07:14 PM
Oh....and furthermore I just noticed Kudos on RB Morris at Redskins. Here is some of the best advice you will ever get this year. Stay Away from any Shanahan RB. It is total heartbreak. I would rather have DeAngelo Williams and he is a 4-5th RB. Look for Helu or one of the other backs to start, play and score while you watch your starter Morris sit. Hahahaahaahha JaMarty
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 07:51 PM
Thanks for reading. DeAngelo, a late-round pick, seemed like a good option against the Bucs with Stewart inactive. Morris did quite well for me yesterday, but I agree he's not necessarily a long-term option. Good luck to you.
Posted by John Evans | Sep. 10 at 08:25 PM
FI isn't always right. See Peterson this season (already whiff). But they are right more often than the other guys. Who is the best TE going forward: Rudolph, Pitta, or Cook?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Sep. 10 at 08:50 PM
Rudolph all the way
Posted by Martin Rougeaux | Sep. 10 at 09:12 PM
Andy, You have Williams, Morris. Who are your starters and did you miss some of the draft? Don't mean to bust your ass but...... Tell me you have forte. Otherwise, you must have Calvin Johnson, andre Johnson, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall......and all the great wr's yes? Other than that.....Smoke.
Posted by Martin Rougeaux | Sep. 10 at 09:25 PM
John Evans...I do agree with Andy on the TE Rudolph. Lots of upside. Pitta? Com'on, you are talking about a Baltimore TE....with Flacco throwing? NO. If you have cook he is better. But, It is possible that Owen Daniels is still available. He had pretty good te points this week. But, 4 years ago he was a stud. He got hurt and cruised for 3 years. WO Dressen, (who was a blocker anyway) I think he will have a very good year. Houston has some tough games and will not play Miami every week. Daniels will score. And.....Andre Johnson will be out with injury week 3-4 so no receptions there. By the way, this is Andre Johnson's last year. Reported first by...... JaMarty
Posted by Martin Rougeaux | Sep. 10 at 09:40 PM
Whoah, stephan Hicks....You have Jackson, and need help deciding between Spiller and Morris? Andy is Politico and doubletalking.... Ok, look at it this way. Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Foster out....Tate scores like a stud. Now we have Jackson and Spiller. Jackson out...Spiller was better anyway. And....When Jackson comes back this will be a real committee. You are welcome. JaMarty
Posted by mike burdick | Sep. 11 at 05:07 AM
wow. Martin sure is full of himself. I bet he is the best fantasy player in his mind.
Posted by stephen hicks | Sep. 11 at 08:35 AM
Hey Martin. Thanks for enlightening us all about Shanahan and the RB situation in Washington. I'm sure no one else in all of fantasy football had any clue about what has happened there the last few years. Good thing we have your genius to help us all through the fantasy landscape. In fact, whatever prizes I win this year, I feel obligated to share with you because I sure couldn't do it without your sage advice.
Posted by MARK CLURE | Sep. 11 at 12:38 PM
Had I owned DeAngelo I absolutely would've started him...looked like a lock. As it is, I DID start Rashard Jennings with MJD AND Alfred Morris on my bench. The DeAngelo advice didn't work out, but it was the right advice.
Posted by ROBERT JOHNSON | Sep. 13 at 01:36 PM
Come on, guys! Every year is different, but there are things that carry over. It looks like Carolina has been spending most of its time trying to develop the passing game so far, and the running game fell (embarrasingly) behind. If you recall, Carolina didn't really catch fire as a rushing powerhouse last year until the middle of the season. From that point on, DeAngelo Williams was running at an all-pro level, especially in a distnace scoring system like I play in. It's not like DeAngelo has forgotten how to run. Just stash him on your bench and wait. This just in -- if DeAngelo is the reason you lost in week one, your team may be a little on the thin side.
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