1 – Andre Johnson will miss more than the “low-end” three weeks that are being estimated. Johnson ended up missing seven games in 2007 when he was recovering from knee surgery and the Houston Texans said he would only be out three weeks. Given the situation in the AFC South and the recent injury dealings with Arian Foster, I believe that Houston will be much more likely to proceed with caution with Johnson and allow him ample time to recover. Owen Daniels will likely be the primary fantasy football benefactor, not Jacoby Jones.
2 – The New York Jets’ commitment to again define themselves with a “Ground and Pound” approach does not mean the emergence of Shonn Greene to fantasy relevance. Greene has been given ample opportunity to catapult himself to fantasy prominence this season by getting 51 carries while LaDanian Tomlinson has only gotten 20. With a 2-2 record and a road matchup with the New England Patriots staring them straight in the face, look for the Jets to lean on the veteran Tomlinson for stability. Tomlinson can be counted on as a pass catcher and capable blocker. Don’t count Joe McKnight out of the mix to earn a few carries either after the spark he has provided in the return game.
3 – Cam Newton has got to come back down to earth sometime … maybe, but I have no earthly idea when. Critics were quick to write off Newton’s Week 1 performance as being against a weak Arizona Cardinals team. His only subpar performance came in a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while he put up great numbers against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. The Jaguars game was asterisked by a torrential downpour that hindered the Panthers’ ability to pass the ball. Put aside trying to gauge Newton’s ability by his opponent and understand that these are not John Fox’s Panthers anymore. Newton has attempted at least 34 passes in all four games so far. Figure in that Newton has four rushing touchdowns and with his size and ability he will always be a candidate to score in the red zone. The bottom line is that Newton is quickly entering fantasy quarterback elite status. Forget the matchups. Start him!
4 – Curtis Painter has more fantasy value than you might think. Painter is no Peyton Manning. I know, I know … newsflash, right? It is likely that Painter should not appear in a single fantasy lineup this season. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have fantasy value. Painter’s experience and familiarity with the Indianapolis Colts’ system means that if he is allowed to get a few games under his belt and work out some of the butterflies he could bring a very valuable stability to the Colts other fantasy relevant skill players. Reggie Wayne was lobbying for Painter as soon as the Colts announced that Manning would not be able to start the season. Pierre Garcon demonstrated a solid rapport in Week 4 with Painter resulting in two long touchdown receptions. Without Manning there is no escaping that you likely overpaid on draft day, but don’t give up on the Colts you may have drafted just yet.
5 – At least two out of work quarterbacks will not be taking their talents to South Beach. The Miami Dolphins reached out to Jake Delhomme and David Garrard amidst injury concerns with starting quarterback Chad Henne. Delhomme declined to even work out, and Garrard could not reach a contract agreement. Two out of work quarterbacks declined the shot to start for a team that would theoretically need their services due to a season ending injury to their current starter. That can’t be a good sign. The Dolphins have been a mess and their skill players have been very inconsistent for fantasy owners. Expect more of the same as the season goes on. Matt Moore is at his best when the expectations are low. If he assumes the starting role for any period of time the fantasy value of Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess take a big hit. Reggie Bush is already easing his way back under the rock of obscurity and rookie Daniel Thomas could find the running lanes crowded with nine defenders in the box if he is able to get past his injury woes. You’ve been warned!
5.5 – Remember this offseason when we all had our nails gnawed down to the nubs worrying about the lockout and possibility of no NFL season? I’m sure there are some NBA fans out there going through the same thing right now, but I don’t know any of them. And I prefer to keep it that way! The NFL and fantasy football are the best things going and we’re just getting started!