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Fantasy Intelligence Report: Week 1 Reactions, News Nuggets, and Cam Newton.

It’s Week 2, and the Cam Newton craze has hit every facet of the NFL world.  But who cares, right?  It’s time for the Fantasy Intelligence Report.

W.1.R. – Week 1 Reactions

I found it kind of odd that just because Cam Newton was behind center, the Arizona Cardinals defense felt no need to cover one of the most explosive receivers in the game. I mean, I too would’ve never expected those kind of accurate throws from the rookie, but you can’t just give them away like a welfare check.

The strangest touchdown of the week had to be the duck from Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to wide receiver Kenny Britt. Although I’m not quite sure where Jacksonville linebacker Clint Session was headed when he whiffed about as bad as a toddler trying to hit off a tee.

here are three plays that will not be stopped in 2011: the Calvin Johnson jump ball, the Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings back shoulder dagger, and the tugboat Mike Tolbert endzone dive. And if you have all four on your fantasy team, then I suggest you change your team name to 2011 Fantasy Champ.

Why in the world is Kerry Collins starting? I know he showed high class by taking the brunt of the blame for the Indianapolis Colts’ dismal showing against Houston, but he just doesn’t have the 40-year old Brett Favre mojo. At least, that’s probably what Curtis Painter is text-messaging this week to coach Jim Caldwell.

Kyle Orton looked a little frazzled on Monday night. He completed just better than 52 percent of his passes thrown, inexplicit ably fumbled, and even ran the ball once for 13 yards. Heck, he looked like the Tim Tebow most analysts claim him to be. Mark my words – by Week 4 Tebow will be the starter, especially if the fans make enough noise.

N.N. – News Nuggets

In Houston, Texans’ running back Arian Foster was back at practice running with the first team on Wednesday, and was feeling good and looking fine carrying the pigskin according to the
Houston Chronicle. Head coach Gary Kubiak hasn’t made a decision yet in regards to his status for Sunday’s contest in Miami.

“I think it’s about him getting his confidence back and just cutting it loose,” Kubiak said. “I just told him to be smart today, but he’s on top of his stuff. Had he not been out for a few weeks, I wouldn’t have known. Like I said, though, hopefully you wake up tomorrow, and he felt good coming out of it, and we move on to the next day.”

If Foster’s hamstring can hold up come Sunday he should be able to put up solid numbers against the Dolphins on the road. Have Ben Tate ready and waiting just in case though, as nothing seems to be a guarantee with Foster thus far this season.

In other Texans news it looks as though wide receiver Jacoby Jones will get the start opposite Andre Johnson, and has been taking all the first team reps this week. Kubiak has been highly impressed with Jones’ progress.

“It’s interesting the way things work out,” the coach said. “We’re fortunate enough to keep him here in the offseason. I told you guys he’s been playing pretty darn good, coming along, and boom, here it is, Week 2, and he’s a starter. Preparation meets opportunity, so we’ll see what happens.”

I would treat Jones as a wait-and-see potential waiver claim. Fantasy owners have been down this expanded role road before, and he hasn’t exactly lit up the stat column.

In New Orleans, there is some optimism surrounding the healing path wide receiver Marques Colston will take. According to
The Times Picayune, head coach Sean Payton is sticking to his best-case-scenario four-week timetable as Colston tries to recover from a broken collarbone. The normally very quiet head coach chimed in.

“It was a fracture,” Payton said. “What they put in was a small plate to stabilize it. He’s out of a sling and everything now. Now it’s just soft-tissue flexibility. The time frame when we announced it was four weeks, and I believe the timeline is very realistic. He’s feeling good. It’s just a matter of getting the stitches out and letting the bone heal. The type of fracture he had was one that was fairly clean and was able to be repaired pretty thoroughly.”

Even though Colston is optimistic, he still isn’t too happy about missing time, but insists that other players will step up in his absence.

“You’re right; it definitely is tough,” Colston said when asked about watching a game from the sideline. “But I guess the one silver lining is it is early in the season. It could be worse; it could be a playoff situation. So I’ve just got to do what I can do to get healthy, and the rest of these guys are going to step up and make plays.”

Payton also hinted that Lance Moore may be ready for this week’s home opener against the Chicago Bears. Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are good, but risky, plays depending on which one wants to show up on Sunday.  Personally, I wouldn’t touch any of them unless I had no choice.

A lot of fantasy owners are probably worried about Lance Kendricks’ value moving forward, after he showed very little in Week 1. However, according to the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams almost intentionally swayed away from using Kendricks after he dropped a would-be touchdown. Chalk it up to opening week jitters.

Kendricks was targeted five times though, and will continue to be an important piece to the Rams’ passing attack puzzle, especially with wide receiver Danny Amendola potentially lost for several weeks. Don’t give up on him just yet.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson looks to be on pace for a big season in 2011 if he can stay injury free. However, according to the
Detroit Free Press, Johnson rolled his left ankle during the Lions’ win over Tampa Bay last week. And while it doesn’t sound like news fantasy owners really want to hear, Johnson is optimistic he’ll be ready this week for Detroit’s home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Get the swelling out, and I’ll be ready,” said Johnson, who missed Wednesday’s heavy practice in helmets and shoulder pads. “I’m walking fine, it’s just you’ve got to get the swelling out before you can do anything. If you don’t get that out, it’ll just blow back up. Then I’ll be down for even longer.”

I know it will be hard, especially after seeing what the Buffalo Bills were able to accomplish through the air last week against the Chiefs (four touchdowns), but fantasy owners need to keep a close eye on Johnson’s status as Sunday approaches.

NEW: W.2.F.H.S. – Week 2 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

In an attempt to improve the
Fantasy Intelligence Report, I’ve added a new hot sheet intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below. This will be a feature that will be provided every week moving forward. If there are any enhancements you would like to see, please send any suggestions, I’m always looking to improve and provide the best material.


S.O.R. – Speaking Out Religiously

Do you smell that? It’s very raunchy, and it’s not coming from my daughter’s diaper can. Nope, instead I think it’s coming from either the commissioner’s office or the Arizona Cardinals locker room, or maybe even both. Yeah, it’s coming courtesy of Cam Newton, and his miraculous Tom BradyAaron Rodgers-like right arm.

With it, I’m smelling fresh Benjamins, some of the finest yacht wax, and new red leather cushions for those paying their Arizona Cardinal dues. And if you think I’m kidding, then you’re right.  You see, I was going to write things like …

“According to
TMZ’s latest report, Cam Newton jersey sales are ‘sky-rocketing,’ and apparently the NFL didn’t know that this would happen ahead of time. Really? I mean, let’s face it folks, NFL fans are like women at the mall. You know, the ones who have to have the latest and most popular shoes every time they go window shopping at Nordstrom or Macy’s. It doesn’t take an FBI investigator or the gang from Scooby-Doo to figure out how many will be visiting the NFL shop after a Lebron-like debut.”

And …

“It does seem highly suspicious that a guy who has basically been pinned to a spotlighted wall, on a team that was laughable at best last season, with all kinds of nasty trash being thrown at him, is able to come out and not just perform well in his first regular season NFL start, but set records.”

But then I realized that maybe, just maybe, Newton was meant to perform well, and excite fans, because God has given him a gift and the strength to do so.

Yes, the NFL is just a game to most, but to others like Newton it’s a way of life and means so much more, and when staring down adversity those things that mean so much more often overcome that adversity that is thrown in front of a player’s face, literally destroying it.

Enter Rodgers, who like Newton had to face the critics of the Brett Favre variety early on in his career. The whispers would’ve destroyed any weak ungraceful heart but Rodgers never showed weak. Instead, he stuck with his favorite book, the Bible, overcame all the trash talking and disgraceful gestures, and forgave those who were once spitting f-bombs and waving the biggest finger.  And because of that, I believe Rodgers achieved the inevitable dream and won the Super Bowl last season.

Now, I’m not saying that Newton will win the Super Bowl, but he doesn’t have to. All he needs to do is keep the game of football at the front of his heart and God inside it, while letting the rest play out for itself.

It seems to have worked for Rodgers, it has worked for you and me, and I’m sure it will work for Newton.

This is what I believe to be true. Now let’s play some football! 

Thanks for reading.

Eric Huber is a staff writer for He also provides weekly material for Email him with fantasy questions at

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