Friday - Jan 22, 2021

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The Nuthouse

Welcome to the regular season edition of the Nuthouse. That was quite the first week in fantasy football, wasn’t it? It was a bloodbath on par with the beginning of Saving Private Ryan – or the beginning of the original Transformers movie, where half of the characters from the cartoon were eliminated in the first minute. The carnage included Chad Pennington, Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs, Cadillac Williams, Chaz Taylor and D.J. Hackett.

Even worse was the collateral damage (i.e. the stinkers) from the following: Drew Brees, Mark Bulger, Philip Rivers, Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Rudi Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Larry Fitzgerald, Deion Branch and Santana Moss. That’s a lot of big names. Looking at this stinker list, it seems that if you had at least two to three decent players in a head-to-head league, you had a good chance to win in Week 1 – regardless of whether or not you had stud RBs. As predicted, my terrible running backs performed terribly. But it turns out I didn’t need them. I rode Peyton Manning, my WRs and the Steelers defense to a little over 100 points and a week 1 victory.

Is this the first signal of the demise of the stud RB? Not quite – like beat writers, we fantasy sports reporters have to react on a week-by-week basis. It’s not a large enough sample to realistically call for a trend. This was more likely a perfect storm of factors (including injuries):

  • Bad matchups – Example: Tomlinson vs. Chicago (until he salvaged it in the 4th quarter)

  • Teams throwing more in the red zone (Example: Willie Parker’s zero TDs vs. Big Ben’s 4)

  • The usual suspects (RBBC, touchdown vultures)

  • Defenses loading up against the run due to mediocre quarterback play (Example: Jacksonville)

That last point is something to note. I implied in the pre-season that the QB is becoming increasingly important in fantasy football. There just aren’t that many who consistently perform in a league that has become passing-dominant. If you look at your league, you’ll probably see that if a team boasted a good QB performance, it was more than likely a winner in a head-to-head matchup. In fact, 7 out of my league’s top 10 scorers for the week were QBs – with just one RB. And with QB point explosions come WR point explosions, devaluing the RB position further.

As I said, it’s just a one-week sample, but the signs have been there from the preseason and continue to linger. Onward to some Week 2 thoughts:

  • Start anybody on your team that plays Cleveland, especially a defense.

  • Tomlinson with his second tough matchup in a row, this week against New England. Another game that will be put in the hands of Philip Rivers, who has to show something or become a fantasy back-up.

  • Anybody worried about Sammy Morris pulling a 2006 Brandon Jacobs on Laurence Maroney? Sammy’s available in a lot of leagues.

  • The only positive news coming from Atlanta at this point is indications that Jerious Norwood’s carries will increase, and probably become the starter at some point this year. I think both he and Warrick Dunn will only be viable in the best of matchups.

  • This should be the week that MJD and Fragile Fred get rolling, after seeing what Adrian Peterson did to Atlanta. If not, then it becomes indicative of what opposing defensive coordinators think of David Garrard – which is trouble for MJD owners.

  • If there is any week for Cedric Benson to go off, this is it. If not, those Corey Dillon rumors could pick up steam. Others needing to show improvement include Larry Johnson, J.P. Losman (and thus Lee Evans) and Vince Young. Not to mention the

    Arizona offense, who has a chance to surprise against underwhelming


  • The whole Philly offense needs to get going, but the Redskins may look frisky after their Monday night game.

  • St. Louis is under the microscope this week. If Bulger, Jackson and Holt sputter, then the Orlando Pace injury could cause a lot of heartache for a lot of owners.

  • Take the under in the Baltimore/Jets game. A possible Kellen Clemens debut against the Baltimore D (even without Ray Lewis)? Anybody remember Eli Manning’s 0.0 rating? Expect a lot of McGahee.

  • Who to start from the

    Green Bay – NY Giants game if Eli Manning sits? The only sure thing looks like Donald Driver. But don’t underestimate Jeremy Shockey picking up a lot of catches if the Hefty Lefty starts.

  • Nice WR matchup in

    Carolina vs.

    Houston. Andre Johnson and Steve Smith both put up huge games last week. Could this be the Jake Delhomme resurgence?

  • Adrian Peterson (MIN) vs.

    Detroit. Hmm……

We’ll keep it short and simple this week – as we said, it’s too early to make judgements across the board. If you have questions or comments, feel free to start a topic in the Article Discussion section of the Fantasy Sharks forum.


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