One week down and many more to go. Don’t get all crazy because of what happened in Week 1. I’ve been seeing it already in some of my leagues. Guys going and getting Kevin Ogletree and Alfred Morris because of their Week 1 performances. My buddy was asking if he should start Michael Bush this week because he had two touchdowns last week. Now, Week 1 performances are great to get an idea of what teams are doing offensively this year, but don’t go crazy over one week.
Pick up some of these players that had good showings, but stash them on your bench. You don’t need to be throwing them in your lineup just because they had one good week. You just want a general idea of what teams were putting on the field. Yes, Washington beat New Orleans, but does that mean that Washington is going to come close to New Orleans’ 13-3 record last year? Nope, but it does show us that maybe New Orleans isn’t going to be the powerhouse they were last year.
What that means for fantasy is that maybe every team that plays New Orleans this season isn’t going to have to be playing catch up and passing a ton. The Washington Redskins ran the ball 43 times and only attempted 26 passes because they were up for much of the game. This could be a trend for teams that play New Orleans this year. This is the kind of thing we should be taking away from Week 1, not which obscure running back or wide receiver had a monster week. We should pay attention to that as well, but just don’t put as much weight on it as most guys in your league are. It takes a three or four weeks to really see good trends at the start of the season. Now on to the calls for the week.
Eli Manning looked bad last week. His 213 passing yards and one touchdown did not help you. The last time Manning threw for so few yards was Week 14 of the 2010 season. This is a guy who averaged 308 passing yards a game in 2012. This week, things are going to be different. He gets to play Tampa Bay at home. The Buccaneers ranked 29th against the pass last year, so Manning should have a better chance of putting up some good numbers. Plus, I think Victor Cruz is really going to be working on catching the ball this week in practice after his drops last week. Starting Manning would be a ‘good call’ this week.
Andrew Luck had 309 passing yards last week, but his four turnovers has a lot of people saying, “It looks like he’s got a lot to learn, but the potential is there.” Yes, it is there and a matchup with the weak Minnesota secondary for the home opener in Indianapolis will show us more of what Luck has in the tank. The Vikings were the easiest team for quarterbacks to score fantasy points on last year, and even Blaine Gabbert had 260 yards and two scores against them last week. Anyone think Gabbert is a better quarterback than Luck? I don’t. Luck would be a ‘good call’ if you’re weak at quarterback this week.
Ben Roethlisberger gets a tough matchup with the New York Jets this week. The Jets were the third-hardest team for quarterbacks to score fantasy points against last year. They already showed that they can shut down fantasy production again this year by stopping Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. In my mind, Fitzpatrick and Roethlisberger are pretty close in terms of fantasy football production. The Jets have a pair of really good cornerbacks, and that can really hurt a quarterback’s fantasy numbers. This week Roethlisberger is a ‘bad call.’
Matt Schaub had a pretty quiet Sunday last week. Besides his one touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, he didn’t do much for you. This week is going to be much of the same. A trip to Jacksonville for the Texans isn’t going to get much for you if you start Schaub this week. Last year the Jaguars were one of the Top 10 defenses against quarterbacks in fantasy. I just don’t see the Texans having to pass much to beat Jacksonville, and that will result in low numbers for Schaub and a ‘bad call’ from me this week.
C.J. Spiller had a great week last week. This week he will get the start and the full work load because of an injury to Fred Jackson. Spiller had 20-plus points in four of his last five games to end last season while Jackson was on the sideline. I think he’ll be doing that again this week. Kansas City was one of the 10 easiest teams for running backs to score fantasy points against last year. Last week the Chiefs defense didn’t do much run-stopping because Atlanta was throwing all over the place. Buffalo has a more balanced offense and Spiller will be a large part of it again this week. Spiller is a ‘good call’ to start for you this week.
I’m going to go against everything I said in my intro and recommend Alfred Morris as a ‘good call’ this week and I’ll tell you why. I usually stay away from Washington’s running backs because of all the shenanigans that head coach Mike Shanahan does with his running backs. Here’s what I’ve seen out of Shanahan from a fantasy perspective: when you’re not sure if you should start one of his running backs after a good week, they blow up. When you think one of his running backs is a can’t miss after three or four weeks of stellar numbers, they tank on you. Well I’m jumping out in front of this one and recommending you start Morris, and just remember that when you get to the point where he is a “must start” it will be time to bench him. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If you’ve been watching football for even a little while you know that Pittsburgh has a pretty good defense. You also know that Shonn Greene isn’t an elite running back. Put the two together like you will this week and you get a ‘bad call’ if you’re going to be starting Greene this week. Greene may have looked good last week against the Buffalo Bills, but come on, it’s the Bills. They ranked 30th against running backs last year. The Steelers, on the other hand, ranked sixth. Yep, I’m looking for someone else instead of Greene this week.
Anyone want to take a guess at how many rushing attempts Willis McGahee had inside the 10-yard line last week? Zero. Knowshon Moreno came in and vultured away McGahee’s touchdown. Red zone rushes were McGahee’s specialty when he played behind Ray Rice in Baltimore. This week McGahee and the Broncos take on the Atlanta Falcons. I see this as more of a passing matchup between Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan than a rushing matchup between McGahee and Michael Turner. I would even venture to say that neither of those two running backs gets more than 15 carries in the whole game. Sorry, McGahee is a ‘bad call’ to be in your lineup this week.