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Fantasy Intelligence Report — Week 2

B.D.N. – Breaking Down Numbers
– Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has a career average of 263.3 yards and two touchdowns per game while playing at home. More importantly though, he averages 279.6 yards and 35 attempts per game in the month of September. Then again, I’m not sure who’s going to be keeping either Manning out their starting lineup this week anyways.

– In his career thus far, John Kuhn has scored a touchdown every 4.8 times he has touched the ball (rushing and receiving). That means that if he carries the ball five times this week against Buffalo chances are good that he will score at least six fantasy points.

– In his last three games dating back to the end of last season, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has recorded a total of 27 receptions, 316 yards and three touchdowns, but here’s the best part – he’s been targeted 55 times by quarterback Matt Ryan. There’s a good chance that will continue this week.

– The Steelers defense held Michael Turner to just 42 yards last week. Titans running back Chris Johnson put up 100 more than Turner against the Raiders, but has a career average of 63 yards per against the black and gold, his second lowest average against any AFC opponent. It’s almost impossible to sit Johnson, but I suggest you keep those fingers crossed.

– In his previous outing against the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught six passes for 90 yards and scored a touchdown. In his career at home he has averaged more than five catches and 57 yards per game. I think Witten is a safe play this week, especially after seeing Lions tight end Tony Scheffler catch six passes for 43 yards last week.

Featured Stat of the Week
– In his last three games against the New York Jets, Wes Welker has averaged more than nine receptions and 120 yards per game, while Randy Moss has averaged just more than three catches and 25 yards. Last week Anquan Boldin caught seven passes for 110 yards, and Colts possession receiver Austin Collie (seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown) had the game of his life against the Jets in the AFC Championship game. Are you noticing a trend here?  

D.O.S. – Don’t Overreact, Sir
Good fantasy owners make good moves to improve their team on a week-to-week basis and stay competitive. Great fantasy owners keep their wits in check, and don’t overreact to one good or bad player performance.

This morning, while I was checking on one of my teams via MyFantasyLeague.com I also checked out the top drops for the week. To no surprise among the Top 20 were three players – Bernard Berrian (13.32 percent), Leon Washington (10.14 percent) and Julian Edelman (8.93 percent).

Yes, Berrian did only catch one pass last week against the Saints, but, according to
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre admitted that he could’ve looked his way more, and knows he must get the former Bears receiver more involved moving forward.  

“He is a proven veteran and seems to be perfectly healthy,” Favre said. “There were probably some opportunities that I should have gotten the ball to Bernard. Just poor reads on my part.”

It is also worth noting here that breakout star Sidney Rice caught just two passes for 17 yards in Week 1 and three for 29 in Week 2 before starting to gel with Favre in Week 3 last season.

As for Washington, well he was simply just a victim of the 49ers locking him out of the offensive equation, Justin Forsett breaking off a huge 32-yard run, and his coach’s tendency to want to pass. Moving forward though, I expect the Seahawks to get back to the run more using both runners if they want to maintain balance within the offense. Plus, Washington is still a good bench option in points per reception leagues, and as a backup to Forsett.

And Edelman … well his recent lack of fantasy love is due in large part to Welker’s great week. However, this is the NFL we’re talking about here, and it’s too early to give up on a possession receiver in a potent Patriots offense who still has a chance at seeing significant playing time if Welker’s knee doesn’t hold up for a full season.

The point is that these are all good examples of fantasy owners overreacting to good and bad player performances, and this early in the season dropping guys like these could all prove to be costly mistakes if you‘re not careful and patient.

A.N.G.R.L. – Anticipate Now, Get Rewarded Later
So there you sit atop of your league’s standings. You are team 12 of 12 in your waiver wire order, and really don’t have a need to fill, as your team is completely stacked with talent from top to bottom. Well, almost.

I mean, let’s face it, no matter how well we think we have drafted before the season begins, by Week 1 there is always at least one spot on every team’s roster that can be improved. That spot is what I like to call the utility blade. You know, it’s that one player on your bench whose performance was so dull due to lack of touches or injury that he needs to be replaced by a much sharper option. At the same time, though there is one small problem – there probably won’t be 12 much better options available on your waiver wire.

Ah yes, it is the pitfall of winning in Week 1 and having Arian Foster and Hakeem Nicks on your roster. There is a solution though. Anticipation.

OK. You know that you don’t have an immediate need to fill, but would like to get rid of Anthony Gonzalez or Ryan Grant. I don’t blame you. But who do you replace either one of them with?

The knee-jerk reaction would be to put in a request for someone who produced somewhat gaudy numbers last week. So you go down your league’s list of top points producing free agents, and list them right in order until 12 players fill your waiver request screen just in case. Sounds good, right?

Wrong. To me the waiver wire is a chance to improve my starting lineup immediately if I find a void the size of Antarctica. If the void is not present and I‘m comfortable with my depth, then I’m using the opportunity to potentially hit it big later on, or as stated above I‘m not overreacting at all to one good or bad week.

Insert Marshawn Lynch. He is currently stuck behind Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller for carries within the Buffalo Bills offense. It’s quite clear that no matter what management upstairs says in Buffalo, that the Bills have no intentions of keeping him around. Lynch has the talent to be a 1,000-yard rusher; fantasy owners have witnessed that already. All that’s left is for him to land in the right situation.

Injuries and player movement can hamper NFL and fantasy teams, but they can also open up new opportunities. The Packers recently lost Ryan Grant for the season, and with 15 games still left to play they may need an insurance policy to current starter Brandon Jackson. Dimitri Nance is not the answer yet. And the New England Patriots recently traded away Laurence Maroney, and have aging veterans with brittle bones filling the gap, along with a player who’s name maybe longer than he’s been able to stay on the field.

Those are just two examples. With the way the NFL season has been going thus far there are bound to be more to come.

The bottom line here is that you need to think outside the immediate box if you can afford to, and my guess is that if you’re on top right now that you may not have any immediate needs. Plus, when you anticipate and it works you not only improve your team, but you prevent other teams from getting better, and that’s half the fantasy battle.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.  Follow him on twitter (EricHuber12).

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