That's right, I'm not just a baseball fanatic (notice I used the word “just”), I'm also an avid football follower. Have been for years. So, now that the baseball season is winding down, the brain-trust at FantasyAlarm has asked me to help out in the world of the pigskin which I will gladly do. Each week I'll take a look a the gridiron and point out some of the factoids that catch my attention. Who is under-performing? Who is over-performing? Should you pick that player up off waivers or hold tight with your current group of players? All of that, and hopefully some interesting tidbits will hopefully keep you entertained week after week.
Through two weeks of the season Matt Cassel has more fantasy points than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Mathew Stafford, three of the top-4 QBs on most peoples draft boards three weeks ago. Of course it's only two weeks and there is no chance that Cassel bests those three in season long point totals, but it just goes to show you that those of you that were intent on grabbing a QB in the first or second round simply didn't have to go that early on draft day for a signal caller. To further prove that point Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford also have more fantasy points than Rodgers, Brady and Stafford.
Peyton Manning was awful in Week 1 tossing three interceptions. Let me tell you if you didn't watch the game, that it was even worse than it sounds. Manning threw all three interceptions in the first quarter, and all three passes were, let me be kind here, less than scintillating throws that were not only poor decisions but simply put bad passes with little oomph. In addition, his foot was stepped on causing him to fall over as he pulled away from center. He went to hand the ball off to Willis McGahee who --- wasn't there. Now comes this story out of the Denver Post. IF the Broncos needed to throw a Hail Mary at the end of the game the pass wouldn't have been thrown by Manning, it would have been tossed by Brock Osweiler. Now I've heard of teams having one guy kick field goals and another handle kickoffs, but have you ever heard of a team going to the backup QB to make long passes? I know that Manning looked sharp in Week 1, but as I feared during the preseason, I think those out there that have blindly penciled him into a top-10 QB role given the name on the back of his jersey are rushing to a place that I'm certainly not ready to join.
Michael Vick is a turnover machine. Through two games he's tossed six interceptions and lost a fumble (he's actually fumbled three times). He's thrown for 688 yards and three scores, while rushing for another, and that's all that matters in fantasy football. Isn't there something wrong with our game if Vick is a top-5 QB option through two weeks when he has turned the ball over seven times?
Russell Wilson, the darling of the preseason, is currently the 30th ranked QB in fantasy behind luminaries like Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert and Brandon Weeden. Through two weeks Wilson has thrown for a mere 301 yards while rushing for 48. It's a nice start for a guy who wasn't thought of as an NFL ready product two months ago, but it's a poor start to his fantasy season.
LeGarrette Blount didn't see a single touch in Week 2 for the Bucs. At this point it's probably safe to drop him in all but the deepest of leagues in favor of a guy like D.J. Ware who seems to have passed him in the pecking order in Tampa. I know that Blount has his faults on the field, but this has to be more about what is going on off the field, doesn't it? You can't tell me that he couldn't help the Bucs on the field, you just can't.
Steven Jackson's MRI showed that there was nothing significantly wrong with his groin. The team is claiming that he could have returned to game action in Week 2 but that Daryl Richardson was doing so well that there was no need to risk the groin injury becoming something significant. Don't blow your FAAB budget on Richardson as there is still a chance that S-Jax will suit up in Week 3.
Mikel Leshoure last played a full game when he was in college. He's also coming back off surgery on his Achilles tendon, a procedure that often saps the burst of players (Leshoure didn't even average 2.5 yards a carry in the preseason). I know the team continues to talk him up, but the height of lunacy is the following statement from OC Scott Linehan. “It’s not so hard to figure out that if you can crease out some runs the way Mikel did in the Buffalo preseason game or even when he made some fabulous one-yard runs in the Oakland game...” Really. “fabulous one yard runs”? Give me a flipping break. That's just not possible. I'm not saying to avoid adding Leshoure if he's available. I'm merely stating that a lot of people are thinking they they are adding an elite level runner, and I'm just now sold that is the case right now.
Javon Ringer has been cleared to return to practice from his elbow issue this week for the Titans (apparently he had a nasty infection that could have cost him his arm if it progressed much further). With Chris Johnson barely averaging a yard a carry through two weeks, it might not be the worst idea in the world for CJ2K owners to add Ringer to their stable of backs. Johnson certainly had a down year last season with 1,047 rushing yards, but that's still a solid total, especially when you add in his 57 receptions. Let's take a look at some of his games on the ground last year:
That's right. Johnson had six games last season in which he didn't rush for 35 yards in a game and he still had the 14th most rushing yards in football. Keep that in mind before you jump ship.
The Giants were the first team in history to have two receivers go for 10 catches and 175 yards in a game in Week 2 as Victor Cruz (11-179-1) and Hakeem Nicks (10-199-1) pulled off the trick. The NFL's leading receiver last year, Calvin Johnson, has 14 receptions for 205 yards and no scores in two games this season. Moreover, Johnson only had one games last year with 10 receptions when he went bonkers against the Packers in Week 17 for 11 receptions, 244 yards and a touchdown.
Brian Hartline showed up, an all of a sudden the Dolphins started moving the football. Hartline has caught 12 passes in his last five quarters including hauling in nine balls for 111 yards in Week 2 against Oakland. Both totals were career bests, and while it's not a smart move to expect similar production moving forward, this guy can be a solid PPR weapon. In 2010 from Weeks 6-12 he caught either four balls (three times) or five balls (four times) each contest before injury ended his season. Last year was a season long struggle as he never caught five balls in a game, but with the dearth of elite talent out wide this season Hartline certainly has a solid short at leading the Dolphins in receiving, even if those totals don't make him an absolute lock to start on a weekly basis.
Demaryius Thomas caught eight balls for 78 yards and a score in the Broncos loss to the Falcons. That effort shouldn't be looked at as that out of the ordinary either. Thomas has now hauled in 48 balls for 933 yards and six touchdowns, if you include the playoffs, over his last nine games. To compare, DeSean Jackson caught 58 balls for 961 yards and four scores in 15 games last season. In addition, Thomas has been displaying rather remarkable consistency as well. Not only has he caught at least five balls for 78 yards and a score in both of the games this season, but he also went for 10 receptions and 297 yards in two playoff games last year, and over the final five weeks of the regular season last year he went for at least 76 yards four times. He's not a WR1, at least not yet, but he's certainly trending in the right direction making it possible that he may even exceed the heady hype he was receiving coming into the campaign.
The Bills say they would like to feature Scott Chandler more heavily on offense. Consider me slightly less than pumped at that thought. I like Chandler, I do think the Bills should use him more, but they said they same thing last year and he caught 38 passes for 389 yards. Now he did get into the end zone six times, and that is where he can help – in the red zone. So far this season he's already scored twice. I still don't think Chandler will see enough work to be a weekly play in 12 team leagues, but if he continues to get the looks down by the goaline he will certainly be a strong injury or Bye week fill-in.
Brandon Myers is likely to be picked up from a few waiver-wire's this week. After all, he has 11 receptions through two games, the same total as Jermichael Finley and one less than Rob Gronkowski. Consider it a bit lucky. Myers has caught all 11 of his targets from Carson Palmer. Oh yeah, Myers plays for the Raiders in case you didn't know.
Dennis Pitta leads all tight ends with 24 targets through two weeks, one more than Jimmy Graham. His 13 receptions also tied Graham for the most at the position. Pitta makes a great waiver-wire add this week.
Jason Witten started slowly because of his spleen injury, and through two games he has six receptions for a mere 68 yards. Last season in Week 17 he caught seven balls for 69 yards. Worse than the numbers he has failed to post the first two weeks is the fact that he has dropped four of the 13 passes that have been thrown his way. Long known as one of the “good hands people,” Witten has averaged three drop a season the past four years.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT and Friday's at 9p-12a EDT. You can read more of Ray's work at BaseballGuys.com and on Twitter at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.