Let’s get to it.
N.N. — News Nuggets
Let’s start in Buffalo, where it looks like the Bills have finally found their permanent marker at quarterback. What’s even better, is that according to the
Buffalo News, that permanent marker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, is getting all his shining ink from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. In other words, Fitzpatrick and Gailey are like bread and butter. But Gailey insists that continuity is the driving force behind the Bills’ hot start on offense.
“It’s a combination of Fitz and our offensive staff being closer in tune with what we’re trying to get done,” Gailey said. “Knowing what we can do on offense, knowing what our capabilities are from our players, and our offensive line is protecting so much better. It allows Fitz to stand back there and see what he needs to see. And he’s got a better feel for the game than he had last year. I just think we’re better overall.”
Fitzpatrick seems to believe kind of the same thing, but also insists that some of it has to do with the experience level of the young players who weren’t as comfortable last season.
“I think the answer is it’s still a lot of the same pieces,” Fitzpatrick said. “Last year everything was so new. We’ve talked about the experience level of guys who are no longer wide-eyed playing in the NFL, guys that are no longer having to think on every snap to try to figure out what they’re doing because the offense is no longer new to them.
“It’s something we’ve all done together on the field,” he said. “We’ve been in game-like situations where we’ve had to react or we’ve had to adjust things at halftime, or whatever it is. We’ve already done all that together. Now it’s not as new, as fresh, to everybody. There’s a lot less thinking this year and a lot more going out there and reacting and playing.”
This week the Bills will be traveling to the place where their hot quarterback, Fitzpatrick, really started to get his NFL feet wet. And while Cincinnati is no pushover against the pass, the Buffalo offense is just too hot right now to be stopped. I would play as many Bills as possible, especially wide receiver David Nelson and tight end Scott Chandler. They’re the two players who will exploit the weakness in the Bengals’ secondary, much like Vernon Davis did last week.
In Green Bay, Packers’ running back Ryan Grant is frustrated with the latest kidney injury he suffered, an injury, that according to the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, could keep him sidelined this week when the Denver Broncos roll in to town.
“It’s definitely frustrating, Grant said. “That’s kind of the mood that I’m in right now. I think it’s even harder because of me sitting out so many games last year. I don’t want to miss a game at all. But I kind of have no say in this.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy insists that this is standard procedure when it comes to internal injuries, such as the one Grant is suffering from.
“There’s a protocol based on the history of Ryan’s specific injury, and we’ll go through that protocol,” McCarthy said. “Once again, you get into, the player thinks he’s able to go but the medical staff is going to go through the precautionary test and there’s certain markers they feel they need to hit before they can release the player to play.”
Grant looked like the 1,000-yard rusher of the past last week against the Chicago Bears, while James Starks failed to even raise an eyebrow. And while Starks was explosive last season when given his opportunity, he has lacked that high gear thus far in 2011.
Both Starks and rookie Alex Green will be available to play, with Starks expected to see the majority of the touches until the Packers build a big enough lead.
Get those trumpets out, as there is good news this week out of New Orleans. According to
The Times Picayune, wide receiver Marques Colston has been medically cleared to play, and returned to practice on Wednesday but was limited.
During Sean Payton’s press conference, the Jacksonville media picked up on a few comments that hinted at Colston possibly playing this week.
“Yeah, he was listed as limited, but he’s cleared,” a transcript of Payton’s words released by the Jaguars organization reads. “He’ll be up this week.
“I wouldn’t anticipate him getting 50 snaps but he is cleared,” Payton said. “He is in the plan.”
Fantasy owners should keep an eye on Colston’s status as Sunday approaches, but be prepared with other options. Even if he plays, he isn’t going to produce the kind of numbers that would make him a relevant starter this week.
In Indianapolis, the best news of the 0-3 season has finally arrived for Colts’ fans. Thanks to a Kerry Collins concussion, Curtis Painter is going to start on Sunday. And according to the
Indianapolis Star, there might even be a feeling of “it’s about time” within the Colts’ locker room.
Back in August when Indianapolis signed Collins and handed him the keys to the offense, wide receiver Reggie Wayne wasn’t too happy, and for good reason.
“It took me two years to learn this offense,” Wayne said. “Now, you mean to tell me you’re going to bring in somebody and he’s going to learn it in 18 days? That just didn’t sit right. That just didn’t sit right with me.
“And I know we had Curtis Painter who’d been here for three years. You just got to give him a shot. We got to give him a chance.”
Wayne continued, “I may get a lot of flak about this,” he said, “but that’s all the way different from what our whole motto is. (It) has always been ‘the next man up.’ And then we went and got somebody else. I’m like, ‘Well, that’s not how we roll, really.’”
Wayne wasn’t available for comment this week, but you know he’s dancing in his cleats somewhere. Last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Collins targeted him 12 times, but Wayne only was able to pull in three of those floating ducks that all seemed to sail away from him. As a Wayne fantasy owner I couldn’t be happier that Painter is finally getting a start. Collins is awful (13-of-29, 3.2 yards per pass last week), and needs to be sent back to the recliner.
W.3.R. — Week 3 Reactions
– I hope a NASCAR official was checking equipment in the Saints locker room during post game showers. I don’t ever remember seeing a wide receiver catch nine passes and not drop or miss a single one. I guess I can now cross that off my bucket list, as wide receiver Lance Moore did just that. He only gained 88 yards, but that’s beside the point. It’s not like you can work on your agility while playing catch with the jugs machine, anyways.
– For the second straight week Phildelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has lead the team in targets, receptions and yardage. I can’t say that I’m surprised though. I’ve always felt that DeSean Jackson is about as overrated as Simon Cowell’s new show, and that Maclin is a much more consistent option. In other words, I factored in an “X” next to Jackson’s name in my ratings before the season even started.
– Jermichael Finley had a big week against the Chicago Bears, catching seven passes for 85 yards and scoring three times. However, I’m kind of worried that Finley may have a Randy Moss complex brewing. Last season Finley caught more than five passes in just one of the five games he played in, and it was against the Bears. This season through three games he has caught more than five in just one game as well, and it was against the Bears. Are you noticing a trend here? It’s scary, isn’t it?
– New York Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz made Nnamdi Asomugha look like Pat Lee and Ahmad Carroll wrapped in bacon. Nnamdi got fried. I still haven’t decided if Cruz is that good, or if Asomugha is that bad. For now I’m in Cruz-control, and will wait to hear if Mario Manningham can get his head back in to the game before making any rash waiver decisions. Besides, the last time I checked the Giants still have Hakeem “25 yards” Nicks blowing up fantasy lineups.
– Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub owes Joel Dreessen a 12-pack for tricking the Saints’ defense in to playing a classic game of hot potato. Dreessen knew himself and wide receiver Kevin Walter could pull it off all along though. It was the only play the two had scripted for them in the Houston offensive playbook.
W.4.F.H.S. — Week 4 F.I.R. Hot Sheet
The weekly hot sheet is 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. 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.F.F. — Speaking Out Fine Free
One of greatest hits on a quarterback I’ve ever seen came back during the late 1980s when Jim Burt absolutely pummeled Joe Montana. With George Martin creeping from Montana’s right, and Leonard Marshall breathing heavy from his backside the 49ers’ quarterback had to get rid of the pigskin fast. So he did, and Burt still made him pay, sending him airborne.
Back during that time, monster helmet ripping hits on the quarterback were considered an okay norm and a part of a good defensive strategy. You wear down the quarterback and throw him off his game. I mean, football, like hockey, is a full contact sport. So it only makes sense for players to crush each other like they’re at a demolition derby. Imagine if there were no hits in hockey.
But that has all changed now, my friends.
Now, if a defensive player even lays a finger on the quarterback’s helmet while trying to knock down a pass the yellow hanky is going to be chucked. If you’re Desmond Bishop, and you use perfect form to wrap up and tackle the quarterback, even a second after he releases the pigskin, the yellow hanky is going to make you red. And if you’re Raheem Brock, and you get blocked in to the quarterback’s knees you’d better look out, because you may even get pegged with the yellow hanky.
Oh, let’s not forget the quarterbacks like Michael Vick that complain about the calls they’re not getting. Please. If that guy wouldn’t scramble around like he’s on some kind of battlefield with Thor, put on some heavier pads, and stand in the pocket on every pass like Peyton Manning, we would see yellow hanky fireworks every week. The funniest part about Vick’s comments is that everything he said contradicts the type of player he labeled himself a few weeks back.
Yes, my friends, this your new age flag football NFL. It’s an age where the quarterbacks’ uniform code will eventually include pretty pink tu-tus and sparkling ribbon braiding their long wavy hair. Tom Brady will model it. It’s an age that could eventually include a warning fire engine siren in the quarterback’s helmet every time a defensive lineman is bearing down. And it’s an age where big hits only occur when Cam Newton plays his air guitar in the end-zone.
So if you find yourself in a fit of rage and a migraine headache every Sunday, because your team just lost thanks to Bill Leavy passing ballerina school, feel free to shoot the commissioner a letter with your thoughts and a torn up yellow hanky. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll start listening to those who actually pay his salary. Then again, I’m not actually sure if he knows what good customer service is. I’ve already seen it first hand.
Thanks for reading!
Eric Huber is a staff writer for F
antasysharks.com. He also contributes a weekly fantasy column to E
spnmilwaukee.com. He can be reached for questioning at firstname.lastname@example.org.