Monday Morning Takeaways: Week 2
Sep 17, 2012
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Green Bay 23, Chicago 10
Who drew up the defensive battle? If you had this game pegged as a shootout, you weren’t alone as the Vegas over/under was set at 50.5 points. The best play of the night was a Packers' fake field goal resulting in punter Tim Masthay throwing a 27-yard shovel pass to Tom Crabtree for a touchdown. On the downside, it’s never good when one team’s punter matches each quarterback in touchdown passes.
As stated, this was a defensive battle from the word “go” as Aaron Rodgers was never comfortable in the pocket taking five sacks and throwing one interception. Rodgers was also hindered by receivers' drops and the lack of favorite target Greg Jennings, who was ruled inactive before the game. Better games are on the horizon.
It was clear the Packers put together a game plan relying heavily on the ground game as Cedric Benson racked up 81 yards on 20 carries. Fantasy owners should be high on Benson’s performance as he was running hard and finding lanes. Just remember, this was the most carries by a Packers running back in a single game since the 2010 playoffs.
Randall Cobb was last week’s darling as coach McCarthy made open statements all week to get Cobb more involved. Fantasy owners saw this as an opportunity to start Cobb with Jennings' absence. However, we were duped as Cobb played just 20-of-69 offensive snaps. The preseason sleeper remains a high end WR5 until further notice.
Jay Cutler’s performance on Thursday was downright despicable including four interceptions and seven sacks. In the wake of this game the media came down hard on Jay Cutler saying he was “arrogant, a poor leader, childish, smug and quits when things are not going his way”, and I can’t disagree. In his defense, which is very little, the offensive line play was horrible, the adjustments made by the Bears coaching staff were non-existent and the Packers defense was ferocious all night long with exceptional coverage and constant pressure. What to make of Cutler going forward you ask? We’ll see this attitude again, but up next is the Rams in what should be a rebound performance.
Perhaps the bigger news coming out of this game was the high ankle sprain suffered by Matt Forte. Recovery time for high ankle sprains usually runs from four-to-six weeks. With a bye coming in Week 6, Forte likely won’t be on the field until Week 7 at the earliest. Also, this is yet another example of why we handcuff our studs. Hopefully you did so.
Brandon Marshall’s output mimicked that of Jay Cutler, producing a meager 24 yards by games end. Marshall has been plagued by drops his entire career. This reoccurring issue reared it’s ugly head when Marshall missed an easy touchdown pass that would have salvaged his fantasy production and could have altered the outcome to this game.
Alshon Jeffery was getting much publicity after a solid Week 1 performance, but fell to earth in Week 2 being blanketed by the Packers' elite cornerbacks. Also hindering Jeffery’s value is a timeshare with Devin Hester, as Jeffery should be viewed as a lower WR4 with upside as the season continues to progress.
Kansas City 17, Buffalo 35
The Chiefs were stymied much of the game by a suddenly improved Bills defense as the Kansas City running game never caught traction. In fact, it was third string running back Shaun Draughn picking up big gains in junk time to the Chiefs' running backs in average yards-per-carry. Hillis and Charles will have better days, but continue to limit each others fantasy value in one of the leagues most evenly balanced RBBC.
A conservative Kansas City coaching staff severely hinders the fantasy value of Matt Cassel. It wasn't until the Chiefs fell down by four scores in the second half that Cassel starting chucking the football. He quickly went after his primary wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, who ended the game with 15 targets for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners who saw Bowe’s upside in the sixth round of fantasy drafts should be in for a “sleeper” season.
C.J. Spiller’s speed was outright electric, as defenders continued to take poor angles while missing tackles, allowing the third-year running back to break long gains. So long as Fred Jackson remains absent Spiller can be considered an RB1.
The Bills defense must have been listening to the critics because they came to play, constantly swarming Matt Cassel. Unfortunately, the score does not reflect how awesome this team played, as the Bills pulled a number of defensive starters late in the game while nursing a big lead.
The loss of slot receiver David Nelson has pushed tight end Scott Chandler to the forefront of the Bills passing attack. Now acting as the underneath target and short yardage chain/red zone target, Chandler has climbed into the mid/low TE1 range. He can safely be started in most leagues until further notice
Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 34
After entering the season with questions about his knee, Trent Richardson owners must be ecstatic after watching his week two performance total 23 touches, 145 total yards and two touchdowns. Carrying the load now in two straight games, T-Rich can safely be started with confidence moving forward.
Brandon Weeden had a coming out party, amassing 322 yards and two touchdowns. Weedens’s decision making was much improved, but let’s be honest, it couldn’t get any worse. We should also remind ourselves that the Bengals secondary is hindered by injuries and poor play. Tougher matchups are upcoming.
Mohamed Massaquoi continues to pace all Browns receivers with five receptions for 90 yards. Greg Little also made his presence felt with 57 yards and touchdown. With no discernible number one, it’s still hard to recommend any Browns receivers at this juncture.
What should have been a plus-matchup for the Bengals ended up being a close game. The Browns rush defense did a nice job bottling up BenJarvus Green-Ellis who was projected as a high end RB2 entering the game. This game should have BJGE owners slightly concerned.
Andy Dalton had a stellar performance topping 300 yards passing including three touchdown passes, but the Bengals also surrendered six sacks. Let us not forget that the normally staunch Browns pass defense was limited without shutdown cornerback Joe Haden who is currently serving suspension.
A.J. Green feasted on the Browns secondary, enjoying his first touchdown of the season on a nice fade pattern to the back corner of the end zone. The young man is a solid WR1.
The player to watch in the Bengals passing offense is, yet again, wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. A similar skill set to Antonio Brown, Hawkins explosive play-making was put on full display catching a dump pass on a broken play and turning it up field for a 50-yard touchdown. Hawkins has limited value until the coaching staff finds alternative ways to get him the football, but after watching this game it'll be hard to keep the ball out of his hands.