B.D.N. — Breaking Down News
When the Indianapolis Colts travel to Denver this week they’ll probably be without wide receiver Pierre Garcon. Garcon missed both Thursday and Friday’s practices and is listed as questionable on the injury report. The problem for fantasy owners is that the Colts-Broncos game is a late Sunday start, so to be safe Garcon should be kept out of all lineups. The good news here is that Austin Collie should see an expanded role, especially with Champ Bailey lining up on Reggie Wayne.
Also, according to the Associated Press, Broncos’ running back Knowshon Moreno has been ruled out for this game. Correll Buckhalter is expected to start in his place, but the recently acquired Laurence Maroney is also expected to contribute. Another runner to keep an eye on is Andre Brown. The former Giants running back was drafted in the fourth round in 2009, but became expendable due to the emergence of Danny Ware. If Buckhalter and/or Maroney can’t stay on the field, Brown could see enough touches to make an impact, especially against a Colts defense that is allowing an NFL high 188.5 rushing yards per game this season.
The Seahawks-Chargers match-up this week has me more intrigued than I should be. Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is coming off a miserable three interception start against the Broncos last week, and Charlie Whitehurst is sitting pretty on the bench waiting his turn. Now, Whitehurst came from San Diego, so if there was ever a game for him to kick-start his NFL career this would be it. However, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer head coach Pete Carroll is content with Hasselbeck as his starter.
“When Charlie gets his chance to play, then we’ll see how far he takes it. But that’s not even in our minds right now,” Carroll said. “We’re going with Matt, and he’s really the guy who is going to take us. We’re going to ride him and make sure we support him and make sure we do all the things around him so he can be successful.”
I wonder if Carroll will feel the same way if Hass throws two interceptions in the first half and the Seahawks total offensive yardage is well under triple digits.
The other aspect to keep in mind is that Deon Butler is starting to emerge as a real threat, and the insertion of CW may lead to even bigger and better things for Butler seeing that he was working with him for much of the offseason as a second-string option. Remember, Butler caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown with Whitehurst calling the shots in the final preseason game.
Fantasy owners received a bit of a scare last week upon seeing the news mid-game that Michael Turner exited due to a groin injury. The fearful minds spent big on back-up Jason Snelling to protect their sometimes fragile first round asset. There is good news though. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Turner fully participated in practice on Friday and is listed as probable on the latest injury report. It is important to note here that in his last game against the Saints in New Orleans Turner went off for 151 yards and a touchdown in a Falcons 35-27 loss.
I don’t know what’s bigger news thus far — Jay Cutler throwing just one interception through two games or Brett Favre having absolutely no chemistry with his wide receivers, which has led to countless miscues.
Since I have a very evil mind I’m rolling with the latest Favre news, but it’s not because he’s thrown four interceptions to just one touchdown and has a quarterback rating of 56.1. Instead, I want to focus on if the current stable of Vikings’ wide receivers are progressing their relationship with old iron man quarterback.
According to the National Football Post, wide receiver Bernard Berrian believes he is being blamed way too much from the outside for the Vikings lackluster passing attack. I don’t see this perception going away anytime soon, unless Minnesota makes a play for Vincent Jackson.
Percy Harvin has had good chemistry with Favre in the past, but is now battling not only a recurring migraine issue, but a bad hip as well. The good news is that he’s listed as probable on the injury report, and should play against the Detroit Lions this week. The big question though, is how long will he stay in the game?
And then you have Greg Camarillo, who was recently interviewed by the St Paul Pioneer Press. He was asked, “How is your synergy with Brett Favre? Is it getting better with every practice?” His answer?
“Yeah. We’re communicating in meetings, communicating on the field. I feel like he knows my capabilities. And everybody in the world knows his capabilities. We feel we’ve got a connection. We’ve just got to make it happen on Sunday.”
Camarillo has caught just two passes for 32 yards this season, but with the exception of tight end Visanthe Shiancoe seems like the safest bet of the receiving options moving forward currently on the Vikings roster at this point.
C.P.S. — Critical Player Splits
Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay (3 career games) — 750 yards, four touchdowns, six interceptions, and a completion percentage of 57.5%.
Analysis: Cutler may be red hot right now, but seeing these splits makes me want to consider keeping him on my bench, especially if I’m playing in a format that subtracts points for turnovers.
Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Detroit (2009: 2 games) — Four receptions, 44 yards, and one touchdown.
Analysis: If Shiancoe performs at the same level as last season Brett Favre will be humiliated by the Lions this week.
Jonathan Stewart (First 3 games of 2009) — 23 carries, 99 yards, and 0 touchdowns.
Analysis: If you’re looking for a running back to buy low, and stash for a late season surge, J-Stew is a nice candidate.
Eddie Royal vs. Indianapolis (1 career game) — One reception, three yards, zero touchdowns.
Analysis: I suspect Royal will produce a little better this time around, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him repeat.
U.T.B.P. — Understand The Big Picture
Anyone who is truly surprised that the Carolina Panthers have already given Matt Moore the right hook for rookie Jimmy Clausen is either too absorbed with the fact that they just don’t like Clausen, or haven’t taken a step back to understand the way the Panthers offense truly works.
In his first two games Moore threw four interceptions and had a completion percentage of 40.8%, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Moore also has a quarterback rating of 41.8, has been sacked eight times, and has fumbled three pigskins (two lost).
The confusing part is that just last season Moore recorded a 98.5 quarterback rating, and kept the mistakes down during the seven games he played in. Oh, and the Panthers went 5-2, 4-1 in the final five games.
Now, going back to the opening statement, I know some Panther fans and fantasy owners are ready to sport the Stone Cold Steve Austin look with the amount of hair follicles they’re ready to pull out because pretty boy Jimmy is coming to the rescue. I ask those people, though to consider the following.
Last season, after the first two games, the Panthers were 0-2. Jake Delhomme had thrown five interceptions to that point, and looked terrible. Coach John Fox ultimately decided to stick with Delhomme, but ended up paying the price. Delhomme continued to throw interceptions — 18 to be exact — and the Panthers went 4-7 in the first 11 games. Wait, it gets better.
During the Panthers first seven losses they averaged just 122.5 rushing yards while turning the ball over 3+ times per game. During their first four wins that rushing number was borderline ridiculous at 202 yards per, and the turnover ratio was a few ticks above 1 per game. As for Delhomme, well, he threw just three of his 18 interceptions during the games the Panthers won.
The bottom line here is that Carolina needs someone who’s going to take care of the ball to extend drives and allow the two headed rushing attack of J-Stew and D-Will to control the game. This is the key formula in keeping the Panthers offense steady and productive.
Yes, 2009 showed that Matt Moore isn’t as terrible as his early numbers indicate. However, after seeing how Jake Delhomme started the 2009 season fantasy owners and Panther fans should be elated that coach Fox isn’t just going to standby and let an error-ridden starter continue to progress in to something much worse, even if plan B includes a rookie quarterback who nobody seems to believe in.
Thanks for reading! Good luck in Week 3.
Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com. Follow him on twitter (EricHuber12).