A Day of Football
Posted Oct. 01 at 05:01 AM
I think part of the fun of watching sporting events is in trying to match wits with the coaches; thinking what you'd have done differently, and what they should have done to change the outcome of their games. And when it's something which also has a major fantasy impact, all the better.
There was plenty of that yesterday, lots of situations that allowed for (or demanded) second-guessing. As often seems to be the case, one of those involved Buffalo, so let's start with that game.
Patriots at Bills. The Bills talked all week like Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller had a chance to play in this game, and turns out they did. But was it wise? Neither player did anything positive, and both lost costly fumbles on plays where they were hit at the line of scrimmage and dropped the ball. One was at New England's goal line, the other set the Patriots up with great field position. Easy to say that both of those guys are way better than Tashard Choice, but I wonder if the Bills did them any favors by rushing them back. If they were really fully healthy, they weren't much good. Huge numbers for Bufffalo's passing game, anyway, except for the one guy being started by most fantasy coaches, Stevie Johnson. ... New England's offense did pretty much whatever it wanted for pretty much the entire game. And if it wanted to pile on late, as it seemed to in running out to a 52-point total, so be it. That's the Patriots offense, and I don't think it was because the real refs are back but because Buffalo's defense has some problems. Hey, they even made the Jets look good a few weeks back. Speaking of which....
49ers at Jets. Perhaps some of you remember my writing off the Jets offense after one preseason game. New York had that Week 1 hiccup of life against Buffalo, but otherwise they have been bad, bad, bad. Very good defense they played today, of course, but what can you say? And is there even any reason to bench anyone for somebody else; any reason to think the replacements will be better? I think they have two bad quarterbacks, a collection of bad running backs, a group of mediocre receivers. Will Tebow, Powell, and whatever healthy, breathing receivers they can cobble together for next week's game (which is against Houston, by the way, and also a pretty fair defense) be better? It's an absolute trainwreck that's going to be blown up at the end of the season. ... San Francisco had some success with Colin Kaepernick in the Wildcat, which must have been fun for Jets OC Tony Sparano to watch. Scored a touchdown and nearly had another one from about 70 yards away; couldn't get by the last man. Frank Gore looked better than his numbers, Kendall Hunter is a strong No. 2. Passing game was kind of disappointing, but that often happens when the other team...doesn't... score. Things should be better against Buffalo next week, just ask New England.
Panthers at Falcons. Pretty awesome play by Matt Ryan and Roddy White to pull this game out of the fire, a 60-some yard bomb from their own end zone to set up the winning field goal. Awesome game by White, period, who is clearly still the No. 1 wideout here. I admit I bought into and furthered the idea he'd play second banana to Julio Jones this season. Jones is great, no question, but White is better right now. Ryan-White-Jones-Gonzalez. Might not be much stopping those guys this season. Guess what: they still get to play Washington, Oakland, Carolina again, and the Saints TWICE. Even Michael Turner might have some more good games left with that ridiculously soft schedule of defenses. ... I am still in Cam Newton's camp, but it is clear he needs to keep running to set up the pass. And that might be OK, because he's a pretty big guy and not as likely to get hurt as a lot of the other running quarterbacks. A bigger issue for me is that Steve Smith has been a little disappointing so far. Just 3, 4 and 3 catches the last three weeks, and still no touchdowns on the season. It now looks like Greg Olsen is Newton's first read, and I did like Olsen entering the season. Just didn't think it would be at Smith's expense. ... Traded away DeAngelo Williams last week, so naturally he scored. No regrets though. Not sure I'll ever end up with a Carolina running back on any of my teams again.
Vikings at Lions. Lions allowed kick and punt return touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. That's gonna work its way into the defensive rankings for Detroit's opponents coming up. ... Brandon Pettigrew dropped his second touchdown in the first month of the season, a really costly one. (Megatron couldn't hang onto one the play before, but he really got clobbered in the end zone; Pettigrew has no such argument.) Not sure what the Lions can do about it since Tony Scheffler is kind of limited, but I tend to think Pettigrew's not gonna see as many end-zone targets going forward. ... The Vikings passing game had a choice matchup, but if like me you started Kyle Rudolph (several leagues) and Christian Ponder (over Tony Romo) and lost because of it, I feel your pain. What can you say? You can't predict a team will have two special teams touchdowns and play better than expected defense and not have to pass much; sometimes it just happens. Like Dennis Pitta getting shutout last Thursday, there are certain things you just can't do much about. ... Lions running game becoming a bit of a headache for fantasy coaches. Kevin Smith goes from starter to deep reserve for seemingly no reason, Joique Bell emerges as passing down back, heck soon Jahvid Best might even come back. Not pretty. I think Mikel Leshoure is still the guy; Vikings continue to have a pretty decent run defense. But they're gonna mix things up there.
Saints at Packers. Sometimes games go pretty much as you expect. Like this one. If you started a Packer, almost any Packer, he scored for you. Even Jordy Nelson, finally. Big game for James Jones, and he's gonna be the hot pickup this week, since Greg Jennings aggravated his groin injury and watched the second half. Jones has shown questionable hands at times, so his game-clinching reception was even more impressive. Randall Cobb re-emerged, which means next week he'll be forgotten. Jermichael Finley dropped a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers, as expected, lit this defense up (and probably lost a touchdown by being sidelined for one play where backup Graham Harrell botched a handoff, see, told you they needed a better backup plan). ... For the Saints, reports of Marques Colston's demise a little bit exaggerated. Guy got open over the middle again and again and again, it was kind of like the Ramses Barden game against Carolina. Drew Brees also was nearly perfect; but for a couple of drops, he probably comes out a winner. But that's not how things are going for the Saints now. ... I dropped Mark Ingram in a non-PPR league where running backs are very scarce. I think you can too. Just nothing to see there.
Random notes from other games. If you're wondering if anybody faced Brian Hartline and his 40-some odd PPR fantasy points yesterday, the answer is yes; I did. Tough way to lose, but it looks like the Tannehill-Hartline connection is for real. ... Also for real: Alfred Morris. There are negatives (Shanahan, him not being a part of the passing game, the chances he'll get any touches at all if the team is behind), but the positives count for more at this point. ... Wow that Raiders pass defense is bad. I guess if you let guys like Nnamdi Asomugha and Kamerion Wimbley and all your high draft picks go year after year after year, it starts to catch up with you. Say good night. And yes, starting Darren McFadden in the SuperLeague was a mistake, and the decision that kept me from posting my highest score of the season; oh well. I also benched Demaryius Thomas, who really should have had an even bigger day but fumbled in the midst of a long reception. Manning, Decker, Thomas, looks like a pretty good trio, with some good games yet to come. ... I was going to write some about Giants-Eagles, but I slept through the first half. Only part of it was because I was tired. After that, though, things got interesting. Guess we can say that Ramses Barden and, sadly, Andre Brown are firmly out of the picture unless there's another injury at their respective positions. Really figured Brown would get a larger share of the work in the backfield, but that wasn't the case.
Monday, Monday. Not sure what to make of this game. Both teams have talented quarterbacks and receivers, both teams have elite pass rushers and flawed offensive lines. I need Miles Austin to do better than Dez Bryant, for the one or two of you who care about my fantasy teams. I do not know what's going to happen with Matt Forte, but I certainly wouldn't start him (as with the Buffalo running backs yesterday). There's enough uncertainty that I wouldn't use Bush, either. Most of you have probably already made your lineup choices, so hope they turned out well for you. I'll got Cowboys 20, Bears 17, and am thinking it will be kind of sloppy out there.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Oct. 01 at 06:05 AM
Andy: The Lions schemed to take away Harvin and Minny's short passing game (Rudy included) and Martellus Bennett was used as a blocker to give Eli more time in the pocket. So on the team where I started one @ TE and the other @ Flex, they got me a combined 1 point. Like you said, "there are certain things you just can't do much about." Regarding Ingram, it makes you wonder why New Orleans used a first round pick on the guy when he clearly doesn't fit what they do and they had Chris Ivory to fill his role for a lot less money.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 01 at 07:16 AM
I think the Saints actually used a 2nd and a 1st for Ingram; they gave the Patriots a future first to trade up from the second round. New England eventually used that pick on one of their first-round defenders this year, which would probably have looked pretty nice in New Orleans. (Although they might have had that pick taken away anyway...) Yeah, the poor outings from Bennett and Rudolph you just can't see coming. I'm in a league where Harvin didn't even get credit for the return TD, adding insult to injury. Oh well.
Posted by t d | Oct. 01 at 10:01 AM
Greg Jennings is killing one of my teams + costing himself a ton of money. He doesnt seem to be a big focus of the Packers offense even the rare times he is on the field. What should we expect from him the rest of the way? I also think the Martellus Bennett love affair is over for a while. I think the Giants offense may be a bit of sync until Nicks is back.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 01 at 11:09 AM
I'm not going to get down on Bennett after a bad game against a team with a really good pass rush; he just had to block more. Jennings is hurt, so I am wondering if the team might need to hold him out for a week or two (or more) until he gets healthy.
Posted by BILL REHOR | Oct. 01 at 12:00 PM
Andy, feel your pain. In my 14-team league the other guy was short at wideout, so he plugged in the only two warm bodies he could find - namely, James Jones and Brian Hartline. Sigh.
Posted by t d | Oct. 02 at 05:17 AM
I'm in a. 12 team standard league and have a loaded team with Foster but major weakness at qb with Romo and luck at qb. Someone had offered to trade me Flacco for Ben Tate. I don't want to kill my insurance for foster but think I need Flacco to win. What do you think?
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 03 at 07:18 PM
Maybe seeing this too late, but I would probably keep Tate.
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