|Jay’s Journal @ the Journal – 09/14/09|
|Written by Jay Charles Johnson, Assoc. Editor|
|Tuesday, 15 September 2009 05:08|
Copyright © 2009 Jay Charles Johnson, all rights reserved
Back again for another season with my weekly column in which I give my take on where players stand following each week’s games, along with some trade targets and waiver wire suggestions. Please note that this went to press before the Monday games, so those players will not be included in this discussion.
OMG! He threw for 6 TDs! Oh wait, it was against the Lions. Seriously, after this record shattering opening day performance (which included 358 yards passing) it seems a fait accompli that Brees will once again be ranked atop the QB rankings. It also looks like he has a good shot at breaking Dan Marino’s single season passing mark of 5,084 yards.
Terrell who? Owens wasn’t missed as Romo posted a career day throwing for 353 yards and 3 TDs, including bombs for 42, 66 and 84 yards respectively. His doubters have completely silenced, at least for a week.
It was nice to see Flacco take the next step in his development, throwing for 307 yards and 3 TDs. But let’s put this is perspective – it was against the Chiefs, who continue to have one of the worst defenses in the league (only the Lions were statistically worse last year). It appears that Baltimore has taken off the training wheels and the passing game will be opened up more, but at this juncture Flacco remains a backup for most Fantasy owners.
Super Bowl losers tend to take a nosedive the following season and the Cardinals seem to be headed in that direction. The malaise we saw in the preseason has carried over and those that selected Warner with a high draft pick now have productivity issues to add to durability concerns.
This is only the first week of the season but Warner and company should have performed better against the 49ers. At a glance his numbers didn’t look that bad with 288 yards and a TD, but a closer look reveals he was sacked 3 times and had 2 INTs. His Fantasy owners need to start considering alternatives if this trend continues.
Somebody shoot him and put him out of his misery (I am just joking since some irate Panther’s fan might take me literally). This outing was really ugly. Delhomme was in self-destruct mode again and was booed off the field after turning the ball over 5 times (4 INTs and 1 fumble) before being pulled for Josh McCown (who himself was injured and has now been place on IR).
Delhomme has now had 9 interceptions in his last 51 pass attempts. It appears that Panther’s management made a serious miscalculation in not only renewing his contract but not signing a solid journeyman as a backup. Instead they double-downed on Jake and that move may cost them the season.
He threw for 2 TDs and ran for another, but the TD on the ground was costly as he suffered a fracture rib after being hit in the end zone. McNabb is tough but may have to sit out next week. If he can’t go, A.J. Feeley may have to be resigned as Kevin Kolb looked awful in relief and Michael Vick is unable to play due to his suspension (not that he is anywhere near ready to start anyway).
Note: As this went to press McNabb wouldn’t rule out playing Week 2 against the Saints and was quoted on the team’s website saying “Anything can happen. It’s just Monday right now, but if Friday and Saturday come along and I’m feeling a lot better, you just never know.
I had predicted that in his old age Favre would probably be utilized more as a game manager than a game winner and at least the first week seems to have validated that. The Vikings won 34-20 but it seemed that Bret kept out of way more than anything else and was content to give the ball to the team’s game breakers, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin.
He paid the price for missing training camp, being sacked 4 times and was not on the same page as his receivers (particularly Sidney Rice). His definitely will improve upon his modest numbers of 110 yards and 1 TD, but realistically he can not be counted on for anything more than a Fantasy bye week fill-in or a short term injury starter.
As a Cutler Dynasty owner, I must say I was somewhat dismayed watching him throw 4 INTs last night in Wisconsin. He didn’t look that good on third down either, converting just 4 of 15 while finding the Packers (2 times) almost as often as his own team (3 times). It should be pointed out, however, that if it wasn’t for a botched special teams play the Bears probably would have had a victory.
At this point I am still giving Cutler the benefit of the doubt. It was his first game of the season on a new team with receivers he has not been working with that long. It is not yet time to panic, although I might sing a different tune in a few weeks, so stayed tuned to this channel.
I thought Sanchez had a more impressive debut than we saw from Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco last year. He seems to have “it” and looked quite poised for his first start. As HC Rex Ryan remarked to Peter King of Sports Illustrated after viewing Sanchez complete 18 of 31 passes for 272 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT “We’ve got Cool Hand Luke back there.”
There still will be a learning curve for this rookie, so the inevitable bumps in the road will happen. Don’t expect to count on him to win your Fantasy league this year, but those in Dynasty leagues who took him in rookie drafts should be congratulating themselves.
Sorry, but those of you who took Jones-Drew as the # 1 pick in your draft will not get a do over. Peterson had 180 yards on 25 carries and scored 3 TDs confirming that he is still the best RB in the NFL, hands down.
Rice had 19 carries for 108 years and confirmed my belief that despite an expected RBBC even split, it was closer to a 70/30 ratio, with Rice handling the ball 19 times to 10 for Willis McGahee. Rice has good hands but was not featured in the passing game, with only 4 targets with 2 receptions for 12 yards. I expect his receiving numbers to improve and still project a finish in the # 5 to # 8 range among RBs at the end of the season.
So far so good with 21 carries for 97 yards and 1 TD, along with 5 catches for 26 yards. However he pretty much carried the Jaguars offense and accounted for 29 of their 55 offensive plays. The question still remains whether he can handle a workload like this over the course of the season.
Forte was surprisingly underutilized in the running game and ignored as a receiving option. He had a disappointing 25 carries for 55 yards and zero catches. The Bears should realized the error of their ways and will hopefully correct the game plan to feature him again predominantly in the coming weeks.
Bell had 143 yards and the lion’s share of the carries. There is some speculation in Fantasy circles that Pierre Thomas might not get his starting gig back once he returns from injury. I think that conclusion is premature and everyone should be reminded that Bell was cut in Denver while marginal players such as Selvin Young, Andre Hall and Ryan Torain were retained.
However, until Thomas has returned and this situation is sorted out, I do like Bell as a flex starter with a truer test coming next week against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Jones had 19 carries for 117 yards and a TD. Perhaps he is a late bloomer like his older brother Thomas. His owners shouldn’t get too giddy as the Rams have one of the worst run defenses in the league and Edgerrin James is also in the picture. We will need to see a few more games to know if Jones is for real and how serious the competition is from Edge.
News of Lewis demise as a RB has been greatly exaggerated. He accounted for 11 carries and 57 yards facing the toughest run defense in the league with the Vikings.
Not too bad for a player the message boards were speculating just two weeks ago was in danger of being cut by the Browns. He has lost a step or two but still represents solid backup material and a decent occasional flex starter.
Willie Parker/Rashard Mendenhall
Neither of these guys looked very good on Thursday but let’s give this a little more time before we write them off.
Hightower didn’t do much in the running game with only 8 carries for 15 yards, however he shockingly led all receivers in targets and yardage, resulting in 12 catches for 121 yards. Most of the catches were check-downs or dump-offs, but that is still an impressive figure for a player that was not much involved in the passing game last year. He has to be bumped up as a viable flex starter, partiularly in PPR leagues.
Wayne led all NFL WRs with 10 catches for 162 yards and 1 TD. Well, so much for those “so called” Fantasy experts that said he was overvalued (ahem). Although in all fairness, his numbers were inflated by the loss of Anthony Gonzalez in the first quarter. I would tend to think he may come back to earth in the coming weeks, but since I haven’t been prescient about him so far, we will have to wait and see on that.
Two weeks ago he was a malcontent who didn’t know the playbook, hadn’t practiced with the team and was working with a new QB. Despite all that he didn’t do that badly - targeted a team high 7 times with a modest 4 catches for 27 yards. Amusingly, the fluky game winning TD pass came on a play intended for Marshall.
Those who rolled the dice on him in drafts in the weeks leading up to the season may have gotten an elite WR at a bargain price. I have to stress the word may as we have yet to see whether he is simpatico with Orton, or if his sour attitude towards management will affect his play on the field.
Crayton led the Cowboy WRs with 4 catches for 135 yards, although most of his production came from an 80 yard TD. Crayton has had a streaky quality in the past and tends to disappear the following week after posting a big game. I am not yet sold on the idea that he is even a valid flex starter until I can see some consistency.
T. J. Houshmanzadeh
T. J. was overshadowed by stablemate Nate Burleson but still had a nice day with 6 catches for 48 yards. Burleson has had uneven production over the course of his career, so Housh, as expected, will probably lead Seattle WRs in yardage and catches after all is said and done.
After the drafting of Michael Crabtree and the emergence of Josh Morgan, the Reverend Ike was pretty much written off by most observers and was expected to serve only as a mentor and/or backup for the youngsters on the team. However the problems with signing Crabtree allowed Bruce to retain his starter’s spot. He may have lost a step, but there is still some life left in him, as indicated by his 4 catches for 74 yards against the Cards.
Steve Smith (Giants)
As some predicted, it appears that Smith will be the darling of PPR league owners, after leading the Giants with 6 catches for 80 yards against the Redskins. He doesn’t get into the end zone much and as usual had no TDs, but he looks to be Eli Manning’s go to guy at this point in time.
Of Marc Bulger’s 191 passing yards, 87 of them went to Robinson. Production will be limited by being on the Rams, but he is a player that I wish I had now in my Dynasty leagues.
There was a Shockey sighting in New Orleans yesterday. Since leaving the Giants, this player is better known for passing out poolside in Las Vegas rather than his production on the field. However, he made his presence known again with 4 catches for 31 yards and 2 TDs (the first time he has found the end zone as a Saint).
It should be pointed out that it was only a few years back that he was considered among the elite TEs in the league. Maybe he has finally adjusted his attitude which seemed to negate the obvious talent he possesses. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he has turned the corner and will actually turn out to be a team player rather than the egocentric personality we have had to live with.
What Fantasy owner could ask for a better day? Carlson had 6 catches for 95 yards and 2 TDs. I honestly don’t expect these numbers to continue as there are too many other good receiving options in Seatlle, but his owners should enjoy the ride while they can.
Carson Palmer – Bengals
Reports are that it didn’t seem to be that his ankle that was limiting him, it was from facing an unexpectedly tough Denver defense. Palmer has demonstrated elite talent in the past and has a cache of weapons to work with. People weren’t that high on him before the season began, so his price has probably dropped even further from what I considered a bargain level.
Steve Smith – Panthers
Talk about a buy low candidate. Smith owners were bemoaning the fact on message boards today that they probably couldn’t give Smith away with Delhomme continuing to run amuck and destroying Smith’s Fantasy value in the process.
Certainly acquiring him in redraft leagues is a bit dicey (to say the least). If he is to worth anything this season, one of three things must happen: 1) Delhomme will have to return to form (possible but unlikely). 2) Matt Moore will have to step up now that McCown is on IR (maybe, but don’t hold your breath on that). 3) Some veteran like Jeff Garcia or Gus Frerotte will be brought into to salvage things (tough to do on a new team once the season has started).
Since his owners are completely demoralized and he can be had fairly cheaply. You might get him for a serviceable flex RB or an aging WR who has seen better days. Remember that the elite WRs tend to do well no matter who is throwing them the ball (providing the QB can actually find them and not the opposing team). It is a long shot but if the stars align properly, Smith could still represent good value later in the season.
I still like him in Dynasty leagues and would target owners who have an aging roster lineup and need to win this year – those that don’t have the luxury to wait for this mess in Carolina to sort itself out this season.
Eddie Royal – Broncos
His owners shouldn’t be panicking yet, even after only 2 catches for 18 yards, but they may be a little nervous. At this point, he is not living up to his billing as the next Wes Welker, so you might be able to take advantage of that. He should bounce back big time, particularly in PPR leagues, so you could float an offer and hope you get lucky by catching his owners in a moment of weakness.
Earl Bennett – Bears
Yes, Cutler looked dreadful and I would stress that fact in any trade talks with Bennett owners. However, Bennett makes a good acquisition candidate, because he seems to have picked up right where he left off with Cutler in his freshman year at Vanderbilt.
It looks to me that he indeed has become Cutler’s “go to” guy. Bennett was targeted 13 times yesterday and the others weren’t even close (Olson was a distant second with 6 looks, while Hester only had 4). Time to acquire him is now, with all the doubts about Cutler.
Donald Driver – Packers
Driver didn’t have that much to show for the evening as evidenced by only 4 catches for 39 yards. However, this normally sure handed receiver uncharacteristically had two drops on long passes, that not only would have put him over the 100 yard mark, but would have probably given him a TD as well.
I am recommending Driver despite reports that he has lost a step at age at the age of 34, because last night to me he looked just about as quick as ever. Throw out the first week, he will do well this year as usual.
Laveranues Coles – Bengals
What happened to this guy? Only 1 catch for 11 yards. He was supposed to be the replacement for T. J. He is only 32 so I don’t think age has caught up with him. It is true he is not ideally suited to the slot position, but he has good hands and speed, so for the time being I am classifying Week 1 as an anomaly. One must proceed with caution, however - Andre Caldwell was the most targeted WR and had 6 catches for 54 yards and he could eventually bump Coles as a starter.
On The Waiver Wire
Jeff Garcia – Free Agent
Several teams look like they may need help fairly quickly for a few weeks (Philadelphia) or the season (Carolina) and Garcia has proven to be a great stop gap measure in the past. There were reports that he asked to be released from the Raiders because he didn’t want to play anymore, but perhaps the real reason was that he just didn’t want to be in Oakland. Worth a stash if you don’t have depth at the QB position and have the roster space.
Carnell (Cadillac) Williams – Buccaneers
It was announced that Williams would be the starter (in rotation) early last week and by that time most drafts had been completed and waiver wires closed. Subsequently he can still be had in some leagues. His injury history indicates he probably won’t hold up for the entire season, but after 13 carries for 97 yards and a TD, you have grab Cadillac if he is still available (but don’t count on getting him if you don’t have one of the first picks).
Melwelde Moore – Steelers
Pick him up this week if you own either Willie Parker or Rashad Mendenhall. Although he is not featured back material, Moore filled in well last year when both were injured and was the workhorse against the Titans, while those two sat on the bench for most of the game. In all fairness, the Steelers were utilizing a hurry-up offense which Moore is best suited for of the three backs.
Mark Bradley – Chiefs
I had this guy among my recommended WR sleepers and he is still languishing on the waiver wire in most redraft leagues. He was targeted more than Dwayne Bowe in the opener (7 times to 5) and had more receiving yards (73 to 40). Pick him up now before it is too late.
Pierre Garcon/Austin Collie – Colts
One if not both of these guys may pick up the slack for the injured Anthony Gonzalez (although Dallas Clark could benefit the most). With Manning throwing the ball these guys will have some value. It looks like Collie is the better choice in PPR leagues while Garcon has the edge in non-PPR leagues - but we will have to wait a week or two to see how this plays out.
Sidney Rice – Vikings
It remains to be seen who among the receiving corps will emerge as Favre’s favorite: Berrian, Rice, Harvin or Shiancoe. I would put my money on Rice as Favre seemed to be looking for him on the long passes. There was probably a TD negated on a bad call and another in the end zone that was lost due to the pair not being in sync. Rice is an underachiever but as a rookie was touted as being the next Plaxico Burress (for his talent, not that he is a problem child). Perhaps with Favre at the helm he will have a breakout year.
Michael Clayton – Buccaneers
We haven’t taken Clayton seriously since his rookie year, but maybe we should start doing so again. Clayton has been a perennial disappointment, so I won’t go out on a limb here in touting him, but he did have 5 catches for 93 yards. Perhaps he may have recaptured what made him a sought after commodity many moons ago.
Robert Royal – Browns
Hey, somebody in Cleveland has got to catch the ball besides Braylon Edwards. Quinn was looking to Royal all day Sunday and he led the team in targets (9) receptions (4) yards (60) and TDs (tied with 1). Royal admittedly hasn’t done much in the past, but looks to be worth a flyer for anyone who needs depth at the WR position.
Randy McMichael – Rams
On the Rams, so he is available in just about all leagues. This one time star of the Dolphins has seen better days but is good backup material if you didn’t address that position in the draft. His numbers won’t be great, as evidenced by his 4 catches and 44 yards yesterday, but he will give you some Fantasy points if needed a short term starter for any reason.
That’s all until next week.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 September 2009 05:51|