Welcome to Week 2 of the Brew Crew Corner. I don’t think I blinked once this weekend as I watched as many games as I could possible fit in. The free Sunday Ticket promotion helped big time as I flipped through game after game avoiding commercials at all cost. Monday night was a struggle as the second game ended very late here on the East Coast. My first fantasy week was a mix of domination and two losses due to players underperforming. I mainly missed out on a win due to the struggles of Ray Rice and DeSean Jackson. I know those players are going to bounceback but I’m worried about Jackson’s production with Kolb out due to injury.
Week 1 had a ton of surprises and disappointments. While you prepare for Week 2, one of the things is not to overreact. Arian Foster’s monster game in Week 1 could be a sign of good things to come, but it could also be a one-week wonder. For instance, last year Julius Jones had a productive Week 1 with 117 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He was listed as a waiver wire pickup and failed to score until week 9, and then finished the season with only two rushing touchdowns.
On the flip side of things, owners that have players that laid an egg in Week 1 shouldn’t panic and drop or bench these players. Another example is Knowhson Moreno, who last season put up just two fantasy points in Week 1, but finished the season with 947 rushing yards, 213 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns.
Don’t make drastic changes or trades unless your team is truly in trouble because of injuries. Give yourself until Week 4 to get a good measurement of how your players will perform this year. There are still a ton of games left. If you can upgrade with the waiver, then do so.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Chris Johnson – 27 carries for 142 yards, 2 TD. Johnson gets preference this week as the top fantasy player because his 142-yard performance is his 12th straight game with 100 yards or more dating back to last season. He needs two more big games to tie Barry Sanders for the record of consecutive 100-yard games. The reigning fantasy MVP starts this season strong. Can he break the 2,006 yards he had last year? So far, so good.
Arian Foster – 33 carries for 231 yards, 3 TD. Foster was one of the top sleeper picks in this year’s fantasy drafts and the later your drafts went, the higher his average draft position rose. I had passed on Foster because his price tag was just too high for someone you didn’t have full confidence in that he would be productive on a weekly basis. It is still too early too tell if Foster will be used as much as he was in Week 1. So was Week 1 a fluke or was the Indianapolis Colts’ defense really that awful? I want to see him run like that again before people start labeling him a stud.
Matt Forte – 17 carries for 50 yards; 7 receptions for 151 yards, 2 TD. Not a great game on the ground but a lot of damage through the air including an 89-yarder for a touchdown. Forte was a good value in drafts and if he can bounce back to put up numbers like he did in 2008, owners will be smiling. Yes, it was the Detroit Lions so you have to see what he will do against tougher defenses like this week’s matchup against Dallas. The rushing yards are still a concern in this offense but he has a chance to put up big receiving numbers.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Mark Sanchez – 10-for-21, 74 yards – Sanchez shouldn’t have been in your starting lineup for Week 1 unless you played in a 32-team league or waited forever to grab a quarterback. However, with all the weapons at his disposal and the injuries of the Baltimore Ravens secondary should have produced more than 74 yards. After all, Austin Collie had almost as many yards (73) on one play and six players had catches of 50 yard or more. Only Matt Cassel threw for fewer yards, but at least his team won. This is a concern for those who own other Jets players. Only three more games until Santonio Holmes returns, but there is too much talent on this team for Sanchez to perform so poorly.
Garrett Hartley – 2 missed FG, 2 XP made – Normally I don’t list kickers, but in this case it is worth mentioning since he was the third kicker drafted on average. Hartley missed a 46-yarder and a 36-yarder at home. That is at least six fantasy points lost in most leagues. If you play in a league that penalizes two points for missed field goals, then you were left you with -2. Kickers are let go at the drop of a hat so if Hartley continues to miss kicks, you can be sure he’ll be shown the door. John Carney start warming up.
Jonathan Stewart – 5 carries for 12 yards. Stewart is coming off a productive 2009, but was a non-factor in the game against the New York Giants. The Giants defense played well, but Stewart played more like a backup running back rather than a running back by committee. He received just five carries as compared to 16 for DeAngelo Williams. Don’t panic with Stewart yet, but it could be a case of inconstant fantasy production at least early on.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Matt Schaub against the Redskins. The Washington defense played the Cowboys tough, but Dallas shot itself in the foot with too many penalties which cost them the win. Last week it was Arian Foster’s coming out party, but I think the team will be much better balanced this week as the Redskins are tough up front. Schaub threw just 17 passes in the game which was a disappointment for fantasy owners but still had a touchdown. The Texans will be fired up after beating the Colts which they have lost 16 of the previous 17 games.
Matt Ryan against the Cardinals. Ryan will be looking to have a better game after a so-so Week 1 where he had just 252 yards with no scores and one interception. Credit the Pittsburgh defense for playing Ryan tough. He will have a good matchup against an Arizona Cardinals team that barely beat the Rams. They did get three interceptions but that was against Sam Bradford in his first NFL start. Ryan is a better quarterback and will have success in Week 2.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Michael Vick against the Lions. It has been so long since Vick has been a fantasy starter that most people forget what he can do. He last started in 2006 which is ancient history in fantasy land. However, in that season Vick produced with his legs putting up 1,039 rushing yards. The receivers on the Eagles take a major hit as Vick had just three games that season of 200-plus passing yards in a game. Against the Lions though, he can have a great game. The Lions, in Week 1, gave up 372 passing yards in a game they should have won. Calvin Johnson owners were not happy. This will be a good test to see what will happen should Kevin Kolb miss more time.
Good running back matchups this week:
Frank Gore against the Saints. Of the teams that lost in Week 1, I think the 49ers were the most shocking. One of the favorites for the division looked awful and Gore managed just 38 rushing yards. I’m sure the team is getting chewed out every day at practice. The good thing about a bad loss is that you have a new week to start over with. Gore will have better success this week even though the Saints held Adrian Peterson to 87 yards. The 49ers will not want to go to 0-2, so expect Mike Singletary to light a fire under all his players for the whole game. The Saints gave up 19 rushing touchdowns last year.
Brandon Jackson against the Bills. The waiver wire “flavor of the week” will get his first start of the season and a chance to prove he is ready for a bigger role. The Packers offense should jump out ahead in this game which will allow Jackson more carries to eat up clock later in the game. He could lose goal line carries to John Kuhn. Last week, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for 127 rushing yards and a touchdown. I had Jackson as a sleeper pick his first year in the league, but it has taken time for him to develop. This offseason he looked primed to contribute even with Ryan Grant in the mix. Last week against a good Eagles defense, Jackson put up 64 rushing yards taking over for Grant. Buffalo ranked 30th last season in run defense.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Clinton Portis against the Texans. Portis has been around a long time but he fell way down on the fantasy average draft position charts this season and can provide the value that Ricky Williams did a year ago. The Redskins will be all smiles this week after defeating the Cowboys and starting the season on a positive note. Portis had 63 rushing yards. The Texans allowed 17 rushing touchdowns in 2009.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Trent Edwards against the Packers. We got what we expected from Edwards in Week 1 because we knew that he was facing a tough Miami defense. This week he will have a tougher time against the Packers. The Packers offense will be better than Miami which will force the Bills to play from behind. The Packers defense last season ranked fifth in the league, but they lead with 30 interceptions, almost two per game. The Packers knocked Kevin Kolb out of the game and limited Michael Vick. This game will get ugly fast.
Carson Palmer against the Ravens. The Ravens proved that they still have that swagger on defense and made Mark Sanchez’s life hell last week. Palmer is a better quarterback than Sanchez, but I think he will struggle in this game. Palmer’s numbers looked great last week, but that was due to falling behind early. This is going to be a grind-’em-out type of game where they will need to rely more on Cedric Benson to move the offense as the Ravens will be stingy in all areas. I expect the Bengals to breakout next week when they face Carolina.
Matt Hasselbeck against the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks shocked the football world by lighting up San Francisco in Week 1. I am not ready to believe that the Seahawks are going to be fantasy gold. I see plenty of owners jumping on the bandwagon to pick up Seattle players because of one game. Hasselbeck has been an average fantasy quarterback for years. Just last season we had a similar scenario. Hasselbeck in Week 1 of the 2009 season puts up 279 passing yards and three touchdowns. The following week he layed an egg with just 97 yards and no touchdowns. Don’t make the same mistake this year. The Denver defense ranked third against the pass and even though they lost thier best pass rusher, they will still be tough playing at home.
Bad running back matchups this week:Chris Johnson against the Steelers. I know what your thinking. How is Johnson on the bad matchup list when he put up 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week while coming off a 2,000-yard season? This is not a mistake. The Steelers will play Johnson tough. Remember this is a matchup analysis, not a start or sit write-up. Pittsburgh last week held Michael Turner to just 42 rushing yards and 2.3 yards per carry. In 2009, the Steelers held Johnson to just 57 yards on the ground. This will be a difficult game for Johnson to extend his streak of 100-yard games to 13.
Cadillac Williams against the Panthers. Williams managed 75 yards against the Browns last week, but will face a tougher defense in the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are still good up front, even without Julius Peppers. They lead the league in sacks during the preseason and in their game against the Giants limited Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to 118 yards combined. This game will be a slow, back and forth field goal game where both offenses look lackluster all day.
Joseph Addai against the Giants. ‘Manning Bowl II’ will be an airshow and I like both offenses this week, but as for the run game, the Colts will have a tough time. The Giants are stacked up front and they proved it last week by holding DeAngelo Williams to 67 yards and Jonathan Stewart to only 12. Addai managed just 44 yards on the ground against the Texans who were playing without one of their best defensive players, linebacker Brian Cushing. The Giants will have to keep the defense more balanced, but will try to keep the pressure on Peyton all game.
Week 2: Use this week to really evaluate your team as most starters will make the adjustments for a poor first week and coaches will want to get their best players more involved.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 2. Follow @BrewCrewCorner