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Games to Watch – Week 3

fellow Sharks! From now right up through Week 17, we’ll be giving our insight
as to which games are the ‘games to watch’ each week. This is a heavy burden,
as we know a lot of you have Sunday Ticket, too much free time, and an
addiction to premium brews like Natty Lite or Yuengling. A lot of you know us
from our weekly podcast on this site (the Fantasy PRE-Wind podcast), and our
“Sine Lines” sport-toon (every Mon, Wed, Fri), or maybe one of our posts in the
Tank. We’re just like you, though. We love a good football game, no matter
who’s playing.
times Eastern:

San Francisco



– Sunday 9/27,


this… Braun and Dolfi sitting around the kitchen table making a list of who
they think they should feature in the ‘Games
to Watch’ this week (really, we were making a list of what we thought made up the
secret ingredients in Colonel Sanders original recipe chicken, but making game
lists makes us sound like we earn our exorbitant FantasySharks salary). Then,
in walks Braun’s 1st grade daughter. Pleasantries are exchanged, and the
homework pops out: “Use these two spelling words in a sentence – Interesting
and Unique”.

interesting… unique




BAM! It hits us what should be a *fantastic* GTW
this week – two teams defined by such words; two teams that are making an early
run at an NFC Title; the only match-up of the week featuring 2-0 teams; the
“interesting” Minnesota Vikings, and the “unique” San Francisco 49ers.

who they’ve played, the Vikings haven’t really knocked anyone’s socks off
starting out with a 2-0 record. This team certainly does have some of the NFL’s
more “interesting” players. The aged, yet still youthfully arrogant, QB

Brett Favre (265yd/3TD) makes his
regular season home-debut, and interestingly enough, hasn’t throw an
interception this season – a rarity for him in recent years. You also get to
see NFL stud / fantasy favorite / fan favorite RB

Adrian Peterson, (272yd/4TD) who has carried the workload for the Vikes so
far. And although the ground game is a heavy push in the Twin Cities, when
Favre does look to the air, WRs

(77yd/8rec/2TD) and

(46yd/6rec) are the go two personnel. Last year’s fantasy surprise TE,

Vishanthe Shiancoe (13yd/4rec/1TD), has
been an early season disappointment to fantasy owners – but still has the
ability to become a decent bye week fill-in.
Defensively, the run stuffing unit ranks 3rd in the NFL with seven
sacks, and has yet to allow a rushing TD this year. LB

Chad Greenway has already equaled his interception total for his
career (2) over the first two games – a pretty interesting stat if we say so
ourselves. (And we do, since we’re the ones writing this column.

= San Fransisco 49ers. “How?” you might ask? Well… let’s play ‘Captain
Obvious’ for a minute… How many people think that’s it unique that the 49ers are
actually 2-0? Let’s face it, most teams that go 7-9 the previous season, make a
head coaching switch, and never sign their 1st round draft pick aren’t exactly
the ones who upend the Super Bowl runner up from the previous year. Regardless
of how it happened,

Mike Singeltary (a
unique character in his own right) and company find themselves leading the
charge to Minneapolis looking to make it
an unexpected (and unique – at least over the past few seasons) shot at 3-0. QB

Shaun Hill (353yd/1TD) has emerged
as the starter coming out of training camp with NFC West veteran

Isaac Bruce (109yd/8rec) and TE

Vernon Davis (72yd/7rec) on the
receiving end of many of those attempts through the air. And Hill has another
unique characteristic… he’s simply not that great of a QB by NFL standards
(90.1 career QB rating), but he’s successful where it counts – the win/loss
column. Hill is 8-3 as the San Fran
starter – and that’s behind an O-line that resembles your grandmother’s lace
curtains. About the only thing that isn’t unique is that RB

Frank Gore (237yd/3TD/57rec-yd/8rec/1recTD)
is still the focal point of this team. A surprisingly solid run-stopping D is
helping keep San Fran competitive every week.

So there you have it – Interesting and Unique.
Not to mention this is the only game on the docket this week with undefeated
teams playing, Farve starting at home, and two of the NFL’s best RBs in Gore
and Peterson. Not only is this going to
be a great game, but it even helped Braun’s daughter get her homework done. (Side note: as interesting it was that those two words were
being given to a first grader to comprehend, it was a unique experience for Braun
to be getting his tax dollars worth – at least in this case.)


@ New York Jets – Sunday 9/27,


Can anyone
argue against the importance of science in sport? Although football is certainly a game, science
has firmly impressed itself on the sport the last 20 years; from scientific
diets of lineman, to medical improvements, to muscle regeneration, to computer
generated game plans and tendencies. Here at the FantasySharks Laboratories
(which really is the old break room, even if they did take out the vending machine
that had all of the Chex Party Mix and replaced it with only those little
lunch-box cans of Pringles – but we digress), we’ve come up with our own
trademarked formula: Armchair Football Intuition (or AFI for short in the
research field). Basically we sit around and predict which teams should win
next week… um… yea. That’s the ticket.
Using this powerful formula for AFI, we have determined that most people
would look at the following game and would expect that the records would have
been switched if we were predicting this game a month ago. Well, two gut-wrenching
games for one team (Titans), and a new swagger in another (Jets) has changed
all that. So, instead of what may have been expected to be a yawn of a game a
month ago, you have a game where two teams face off with a top ranked rushing
offense, versus a toped ranked defense.

Rex Ryan has brought more than just a few great quotes with him
from Baltimore to the Big Apple; he brought one heck of a new defensive
scheme. The Jets (and apparently were legally obligated to say “the J-E-T-S,
JETS-JETS-JETS”) currently host the best defense in the NFL in rushing yards
allowed, and also have allowed on average the 2nd fewest points (8.0ppg). This
facelift has made Jets fans smile throughout the Meadowlands, but what keeps
them grinning is the surprising play of the offense with newcomer QB

Mark Sanchez (435yd/2TD/1int) under
center. Helping the rookie off to a pressure-less start has been keeping the
ground game going featuring Thomas Jones (161yd/2TD) and Leon Washington
(118yd). When the Jets do decide to strike from the air, Sanchez has been
finding WR

Jerricho Cotchery (177yd/10rec)
and TE

Dustin Keller (116yd/7rec/1TD).
Starting out 2-0 has been great for the Jets fans, but a repeat of taking down
Tennessee as they did last year during week 12 would not only keep their
momentum going atop the AFC East, but make the Jets fans forget that they are
in the swamps of New Jersey.

So “who’d a
thunk it?” A Titans team with a record of 0-2? Further still – how many would
expect a 0-2 team to boast arguably the best rushing tandem in the league with

Chris Johnson (254yd/2TD/98rec
yd/10rec/1recTD) and

LenDale White
(53 yds)? Not many we’d wager. (We would
though – we’ve been known to wager on how many times

Joe Theismann talks about how great he is during an average
telecast; current record 62.) QB

Kerry Collins has put up respectable
numbers (460 yds/3TD/2int) and even WR

(105yd/9rec/1TD) has helped become a threat for opposing teams’
defenses – so why do the Titans find themselves winlpess? The simple fact of
the matter is that an overtime loss in Pittsburgh, coupled with a nail biter
against the Texans, has caused this team that was expected to be in first – to
tumble to worst, in a very competitive AFC North race. With plenty of time left
to get things back on track, the Tuxedoes are counting on the likes of

Kyle Vanden Bosch and the defensive
line (2nd in rush yd against) to keep up their solid work and hope for better
play from their secondary, who are ranked 32nd in the league in passing yd against.

Hey, we do our
best to avoid picking one ‘Game to Watch’ at the same time of day as another –
but this is truly another great match-up, and it’s on a different network so it
is very possible to flip between both or watch it in split-screen. Trust us; this
is going to be another great one that might have squeezed in under your radar,
if you didn’t have two football junkies like us manning the control tower. Jets – you are a ‘go’ for fly by… repeat… a
‘go’ for fly by.

New Orleans



– Sunday 9/27,


Most of
the time, we sit down and scan the schedule to pick the best games of the
weekend for our readers – but sometimes those games pick us instead. This one was a real no-brainer. We get to see the NFL’s #1 passing offense,
the New Orleans Saints, go head-to-head with one of the NFL’s top rushing
offenses, the Buffalo Bills – and the Bills #1 RB,

Marshawn Lynch, has yet to even play a down this season. And lest you think this game’s offense might
not live up to this marquee billing, keep in mind that the Bills sport the
NFL’s 31st ranked pass D, and New Orleans comes in with the league’s
21st ranked overall D. All of
that adds-up to a game that should be as exciting a track meet as watching Usain
Bolt race D.C. Comic’s “The Flash”. (We predict that Bolt would win, only
because he didn’t have those silly little wings on the side of his head causing
wind drag.

Orleans is the powerhouse of NFL offenses right now, racking up a staggering
936 yards of total offense in just two games – including 421 yards against a
pretty solid Eagles D last weekend, on the road no less. QB

(669yd/9TD/2int) is already nearing the 1,000 yard mark in just two
games, and his nine TDs are putting him well on pace to have a shot at breaking
Tom Brady’s record of 50, set just two seasons ago. WRs

Marques Colston (128yd/11rec/3TD) and

Devery Henderson (174yd/8rec/1TD) are big reasons why Brees is
making the opposition look foolish so far this season. Not to mention TE

Jeremy Shockey (80yd/8rec/2TD) is finally starting to earn some of
the cash the Saints threw his way last year.
The RB corps is in some disarray, with

Pierre Thomas still yet to play a game, and questionable for this
weekend, and

Mike Bell (229yd/1TD),
who has been leading the team in rushing, also questionable for this game. Kardashian boy-toy,

Reggie Bush (97 rec yd/8rec), will still get his share of swing
passes, no matter who the starter is.
The Saints D leaves a lot to be desired, however – giving up a whopping
384 yards of passing to a kid who never started an NFL game before last week
(Philly’s Kevin Kolb), even with three interceptions.

The Bills
are even more surprising in emerging as one of the NFL’s better offenses,
considering that a week before the season they canned Offensive Coordinator

Turk Schonert due to their dismal
showing in the pre-season.

Alex Van Pelt has taken over the
play-calling, and the Bills are looking solid on offense, especially in the run
game. RB

Fred Jackson (220yd run/108yd rec/11rec/1recTD) is leading the team
in both rushing AND receiving – not too shabby for a guy that is only the

Marshawn Lynch. (Trust us – if the Pelt and the Bills don’t
find a way to keep Jackson involved in the game-plan, even
when Lynch comes back next week, they are going to be sorrier than two teens relying
on the “rhythm method”.) QB

Trent Edwards (442yd/4TD/1int) has
already been called out once by his team’s new off-season WR acquisition,

Terrell Owens (98yd/5rec/1TD), but
hopefully, they’ll be able to put aside their differences for at least one
season before T.O. becomes insufferable in yet another NFL town. WR


has slipped this year, but his numbers could improve if T.O. helps draw
coverage away from Evans as the season progresses. Too bad Buffalo sports the NFL’s 28th
ranked defense or they could actually be more dangerous than they are.

scoring should come in bunches in this contest, and with two defenses this shaky,
it’ll be interesting to see if either team manages to slow the opposition down,
let alone stop them once or twice. So
grab that two-foot sub, settle into your favorite chair, dial your bookie and
bet the over, and wait for the starter’s pistol to set these two off on an
offensive race which promises to be every bit as fun and unpredictable as co-ed
nude underwater Twister.

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