Welcome to Week 3 of the Brew Crew Corner. It is just Week 3, and already with just two weeks of football played, we’ve had a number of changes to starting quarterbacks around the league. Some of these changes have been due to injuries while a few coaches have already hit the panic button and switched their starter. In either case you need to be prepared to make changes of your own, even if these players are your QB2. As the injuries and changes increase, the number of available quarterbacks in your league will decrease. Nothing is worse then having your starter off on a bye week with your backup injured or benched for that week. Let’s take a quick look at the quarterback situations that have changed.
The Eagles traded Donovan McNabb which paved the way for Kevin Kolb to take over as the starter. Fifteen plays into Week 1, Kolb goes down with an injury and is replaced by Michael Vick. The team indicated that once Kolb is healthy he starts. Kolb is healthy and was announced the starter only to have Andy Reid declare Vick the starter for Week 3 just hours later.
Fantasy Perspective: It seems the Eagles are going to ride the hot hand here and if you own Kolb and picked up Vick, you should hold onto both of them for now. If you can’t carry three quarterbacks then try to trade or pick up another option.
Mathew Stafford was injured in Week 1 and was replaced by Shaun Hill. Stafford’s shoulder injury is expected to keep him out 3-4 weeks, but he will make an attempt to come back sooner. Stafford is solidified as the starter and will play if healthy. If Stafford is out, Hill will play this weekend against the Vikings, but don’t expect the 300-yard game he had this week.
Fantasy Perspective: Stafford’s upside is worth holding onto if your starter has a later bye week which will give him time to get healthy. If you need a quarterback sooner, you may want to take the best option available on the waiver wire. Hill will have a tough matchup against the Vikings and Packers in the next two weeks before playing the Rams in Week 5.
The Panthers cut Jake Delhomme this offseason and named Matt Moore the starter. They drafted Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike but Moore remained the starter. In Week 1, Moore suffered a concussion and Clausen finished the game. In Week 2, Moore started again but was then benched. Coach John Fox announced this week that Clausen will be the Week 3 starter.
Fantasy Perspective: It is amazing how fast Moore has fallen out of favor after just two starts. Clausen will struggle with this offense and it will depend on the Panthers’ record whether they will stick with him the rest of the year or not. As far as fantasy production, it is a situation to avoid. The Panthers will rely heavily on the run game, and with just Steve Smith to throw to, the passing game is very limited. Next season will be a better option for Clausen.
You knew heading into the season that Trent Edwards isn’t the guy in Buffalo and that Ryan Fitzpatrick will eventually come in and play. Edwards has just one touchdown and two interceptions after finishing last season with only six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Fitzpatrick isn’t a better option, but someone has to play better or you will see another 0-16 team this season. They need to get C.J. Spiller more involved. They need to take notes from the Lions who have done well with Jahvid Best.
Fantasy Perspective: I made it a point to avoid all Buffalo Bills’ players this year in drafts. If you do have any players your best option is to package them into a trade and get rid of them. Hopefully you are not in such a desperate situation that you would need to pick up one of these quarterbacks. If you have one of them as your QB2, drop them and pick up someone else. Even Sam Bradford will have better production this year.
As I mentioned in the Panthers writeup, Delhomme was cut and then signed with the Cleveland Browns. The team also traded for Seneca Wallace who played under Mike Holmgren. Delhomme started Week 1 and had an average game, but he’s continued throwing interceptions and once again he is hurt. Wallace took over for him in Week 2 and will likely play again this week. Wallace in his first start this year played decent by throwing for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception. I would like for him to make more plays with his legs which would help extend more drives.
Fantasy Perspective: Delhomme no longer has Smith to throw to and is an injury concern. Like the situation in Buffalo, these quarterbacks shouldn’t be considered for your lineup at all this season.
I do believe the buzz this offseason was about the acquisition of Jason Campbell and how he was going to turn the team around. At least that is what they thought until Bruce Gradkowski played better than Campbell last week. Now the team feels that Gradkowski is better suited to run this offense then Campbell is. So, why did they bother making the move in the first place? Clearly they didn’t feel great about Gradkowski from last year, but now they are singing a different tune.
Fantasy Perspective: At this point you can’t trust the Raiders as they can flip flop on the starter from week to week. They both make for a week QB2, but if you’re in a bind and you know who will be playing that week, they could provide a good game given the matchup.
With Ben Roethlisburger serving his suspension and Byron Leftwich dealing with an injury, Dennis Dixon got the start for the first two weeks, but is now out for the season. Charlie Batch will be the starter with Leftwich re-signed after a brief cut over the weekend. The Steelers’ passing game last week was awful and the defense is carrying this team. I don’t expect much from them this week against Tampa Bay.
Fantasy Perspective: I would keep all Steelers’ receivers on the bench until Roethlisburger returns. Even when he does return, we will see how much rust he will have. It may take a game or two to for him to get his timing back.
Vince Young followed up a Week 1 performance of two touchdowns with an awful game against the Steelers where he was benched for Kerry Collins. It looks as if Young will start this week but if he continues to struggle, coach Jeff Fisher won’t hesitate to bench Young for the rest of the season. Young has a better matchup against the New York Giants a team he beat last time they played.
Fantasy Perspective: In Weeks 8-17 last season, Young was the 11th ranked fantasy quarterback. When he is playing well, he can provide some good matchup options or injury/bye week fill in. However, at this time he needs to get back on track in order to keep his job. Collins provides no help to your fantasy team as a starter.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Jahvid Best – 17 carries, 78 yards, 2 TD; 9 receptions, 154 yards, 1 TD. Best is currently the top fantasy player and already has five touchdowns in two games. The only knock is the 98 total rushing yards in two games but if you are in a points-per-reception league, Best has 14 receptions in two games. He will be tested this week against the Vikings.
Jason Snelling – 24 carries, 129 yards, 2 TD; 5 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD. Snelling will be this week’s hot waiver pick up and has a chance to put up good numbers with Turner nicked up and Jerious Norwood out for the season. It just shows you how things change so fast in football. Week 1 Snelling had two carries, then in Week 2 he’s one of the top performing players.
Frank Gore – 20 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD; 7 reception, 56 yards, 1 TD. This is the kind of performance we like to see from Gore and why he was a first-round selection. If he slipped to you in the second round then you have yourself a steal.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Joe Flacco –
17-for-39, 154 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT. This was one of Flacco’s worst games as a pro and this game was bad. With all the weapons he has, he should be putting up better numbers.
Brett Favre – 22-for-36, 225 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT. Is it rust, out of sync or his ankle injury? Whatever it is, the Vikings offense looks bad and Favre may finally be out of juice. He may not make it through the season at this rate.
Ronnie Lott – I usually reserve this section for bad player performances, but in this case I read a report where Lott gave a pregame speech to the Saints who were playing the 49ers on Monday night. That is a slap in the face to a franchise he used to play for. Even though it was to talk about defending a Super Bowl, Lott could have picked another game to speak at.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Tony Romo against the Texans. You have to beleive that the stress level in Dallas is at an all-time high. There has only been three teams since 1990 that have made the playoffs after starting 0-3. If the Cowboys lose this weekend, it will be a total team meltdown which will impact their fantasy output. This will be Romo’s time to step up and show he can play. He is currently the 10th best quarterback in Shark Leagues and will face a Texans team allowing 25 points per game (25th) and is allowing a staggering league worst 411 passing yards per game. The Texans have not had an interception yet this season but Mario Williams does have four sacks this year. I like Romo to have a monster game this week.
Donovan McNabb against the Rams. Play McNabb while he is still playing well and then get rid of him. McNabb had a good game last week throwing for 426 yards and a touchdown. This will be his tune up game as he prepares for next week’s showdown with the Eagles. The Rams defense is allowing 248.5 passing yards per game with two interceptions and five sacks on the season. McNabb can still play, but it will be a matter of time until he misses a few games due to injury.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Alex Smith against the Chiefs. Does Smith have what it takes to finally be a productive fantasy quarterback? He made strides in the Monday night game against the Saints and is facing a Chiefs team allowing 253 passing yards per game (25th). The Chiefs have just one interception and two sacks through two games. With the bye weeks coming up and the quarterback changes in the league, Smith might be a decent option. Especially in larger league formats.
Good running back matchups this week:
Matt Forte against the Packers. Forte is currently the third best running back in fantasy, averaging 30 fantasy points per game. He’s finding the endzone which is what fantasy owners want most. He faces a Packers team that has allowed teams to rush for more than 100 yards and a rushing touchdown. They are giving up 136.5 rushing yards per game (28th). Division games are always tough, but I think the Bears have found a good formula to get Forte involved.
Knowshon Moreno against the Colts. Moreno looks to be healthy now and even though he has been sharing carries with Correll Buckalter, he is still getting the majority of the touches. Moreno has not put up great yardage so far averaging just 55.5 rushing yards per game, but he has scored in each game. We saw what Arian Foster did to the Colts in Week 1 and even though they played the Giants better, they still gave up 120 rushing yards. The Colts are allowing 188.5 rushing yards per game (32nd). I expect Moreno to have his best game this season against the Colts.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jason Snelling against the Saints. Michael Turner is still dealing with an injury and even if he starts this week, the team will give a good part of the workload to Snelling. We saw last week what Frank Gore did to the Saints defense and Snelling has a chance to be just as productive on the ground as the Saints allow 116.5 rushing yards per game (19th). The key with waiver wire pickups is to play them while they are hot.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Eli Manning against the Titans. Manning had a tough game against the Colts and it wasn’t until the game was out of reach that he added a late touchdown that was a non-factor in the game. This week he faces a tough Titans’ defense that has limited teams to 85.5 passing yards (first) with just one passing touchdown allowed and are third in the league with eight sacks. Manning is currently the 14th ranked quarterbck in fantasy averaging just 16 fantasy points per game. His production will depend on the health of Hakeem Nicks.
Matt Hasselbeck against the Chargers. As I wrote in my Week 2 article, Hasselbeck will follow up a good game with a bad game. This week the poor play continues which will lead the Seahawks to question if Hasselbeck can be depended on anymore. This week his tough matchup is against the Chargers who are allowing 170.5 passing yards per game (eighth) with two passing touchdowns, but have four interceptions. Week 1 was a fluke and you will see this weekend just how bad the Seahawks’ offense is.
Jimmy Clausen against the Bengals. Clausen will make his first NFL start, but it will be a tough game for him to showcase what he can do. The Panthers’ offense still lacks a second receiver and until the run game can get back on track, defenses will have plenty of 3rd-and-longs. The Bengals are allowing 204 passing yards per game (15th) with four passing touchdowns allowed to go with four interceptions. If you are a Steve Smith owner, you have to be concerned and maybe look to move Smith.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Arian Foster against the Cowboys. Foster is currently the second-best running back in fantasy thanks to his Week 1 performance. He still had a productive Week 2 but will have a very tough matchup against the Cowboys who are allowing just 63.5 rushing yards per game and have not allowed a rushing touchdown. If Andre Johnson is slowed due to his ankle injury, that will allow the Cowboys to apply more pressure up front. This is a win at all cost game for Dallas so expect Foster to struggle.
Steven Jackson against the Redskins. Jackson was shut down in the second half against the Raiders and will have a tough matchup this week. The Redskins are holding teams to 80.5 rushing yards per game (eighth) and have not allowed a rushing touchdown yet. This week the team will stack the box, something Jackson should be used to, and force the Rams to beat them with Sam Bradford. Jackson has not scored yet this year, but is currently the 14th-best running back in fantasy.
Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams against the Steelers. After watching the Steelers shut down Chris Johnson, you have to be very concerned for Tampa Bay’s running game this week. The Steelers defense is carrying the team and are playing out at a very high level. The Steelers are allowing just 52 rushing yards per game (fourth) and have yet to allow a rushing touchdown. Williams is currently the 25th running back in fantasy and is looking for his first TD this year.
Week 3: Make sure to solidify your quarterback situation, even if you have a top quarterback like Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers because it will only take an injury to put your fantasy team in trouble.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 3. Follow @BrewCrewCorner