Fantasy Football is back!

It has come to my immediate attention that I am seemingly incapable of writing blogs shorter than a couple thousand words. So starting next week, I’m going to self-impose (just like universities trying to avoid real punishment) a 1,500-word limit on these posts, so I’m not writing pieces of biblical length. Hang on, my toilet is still flushing. Let me go fix that, and we’ll get started.

Much better.

With week one in the books, I advance to week 2 with an 4-1 overall record, one of those wins includes a massive comeback win against a team with both Peyton Manning and Demariyus Thomas. But, it’s the nine-point loss that is garnering attention in this post.

Let’s start with the three Patriots players (Ridley, Thompkins and Sudfeld) who combined for a heart-stopping 6.8 points AGAINST THE BUFFALO BILLS. Ridley, a consensus second round pick, managed 46 yards and 2 fumbles (1 lost) before being benched in favor of Shane Vereen, who consequently had a fantastic day (minus breaking his wrist and landing on the IR for 8 weeks). Now, while I will never (publicly) cheer for injuries to players, and I feel bad that he will miss playing time (not really), this unfortunate event could not have been timelier. Had it not been for this injury, my second overall pick would have been nothing more than a glorified bench warmer for the upcoming week against the hapless Jets.

Kenbrell Thompkins received 14 looks from Brady, but only manage to weasel four receptions for 46 yards. However, it only took one week for Amendola to suffer an injury, so it’s going to be hard to stay mad at him next week. Zach “Not Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez or even Tim Tebow” Sudfeld, managed a whopping ZERO POINTS. He deserves negative points because he dropped a catch right into the hands of a Bills defender. I’m sorry, you are 6’7” and can’t manage to catch one pass, or get open enough to generate targets in an offense designed to get the TE the ball in the redzone? Hello waiver wire.

But, the piece de resistance of my fantasy calamity including three touchdowns taken away via instant replay in the Lions game, two Alfred Morris fumbles and Phil Dawson missing his first field goal as a 49er (what the hell Phil?), had to be Danny Trevethan, linebacker, Denver Broncos.

This dingbat factory intercepted a poorly thrown Flacco ball (redundant, I know) and ran it back for a touchdown to improve the Broncos’ lead and add six more points to fantasy owners of the Denver defense everywhere. OH WAIT! NO HE DIDN’T, BECAUSE HE DROPPED THE BALL AT THE ONE-YARD LINE! IT WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO A TOUCHDOWN! HE COULDN’T HOLD ONTO THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING ON THE FIELD LONG ENOUGH BEFORE HE STARTED CELEBRATING!

This is like Charlie finding the last golden ticket, running all the way home like the good people of the village told him, and then dropping it into a sewer twenty feet in front of his house. EXCEPT IT DIDN’T COST HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SIX POINTS ON THEIR FANTASY TEAM.

On a separate note, Leon Lett will be holding a “thank god I’m not the biggest idiot in NFL history anymore” parade celebrating imbecilic nature of Trevethan’s premature celebration. Naturally, he made some excuse and apologized, but THAT’S NOT ENOUGH AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THE BRIEF MOMENT OF FANTASY AGONY YOU CAUSED ME, EVEN THOUGH I STILL WOULD HAVE LOST IF YOU RAN IT IN AND DID YOUR JOB!

In other news, you probably had other players, who were not on my fantasy team, so hopefully I cover them in this next section.

Game Recaps and Fantasy Notes

Baltimore Ravens (0-1) v Denver Broncos (1-0)

If you played Peyton Manning this week, I’m sorry. It’s crushing having your first fantasy loss of the season handed to you on a Thursday night game. If you own Peyton Manning, don’t get used to that. No QB has thrown 7 TD passes since the 1960’s and that wasn’t even football by comparison. No doubt, Peyton will be a fantasy stud all season, but don’t count on him single-handedly winning games for you week in and week out.

I’m sure Julius Thomas was picked up in almost every league on Thursday night after his dominating performance (5-110-2). While Dreessen and Tamme are out, Thomas is a lock in the top-ten for TEs. To the hair-tearing-out Decker owners, get used to it. Welker won’t put up two TDs every game, but he will easily see 10+ targets a game, snagging a lot of Peyton’s attention away from Decker. Demariyus “only winners get wings” Thomas (5-161-2) got lucky with the screen pass that went 78 yards for a touchdown, but he is still the Broncos clear-cut number 1. If you own them, don’t start any Broncos backs until a decision is made for the starter.

Ray Rice posted a serviceable game with 71 total yards and a TD, but if the Ravens fall behind early, they take to the air. Flacco essentially ignored Rice in the second half, on his way to throwing 62 passes to the Ravens shaky receiving corps. If you are in need of a TE, look by the way of Dallas Clark. He saw 12 targets and hauled in 87 yards, and would have had a TD if he just kept his eye on the ball.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) v Chicago Bears (1-0)

The Chicago Bears said their defensive game plan for the week was stopping AJ Green. Yea, that didn’t really happen. Green caught 9 of 13 targets for 162 yards and two TDs, and were it not for pass interference, he would have had three. News flash for the rest of the league: you can plan on covering Green, but it’s just not going to happen.

However, I think the biggest story of the day was the Bears Offensive Line. Zero sacks allowed on Jay Cutler. That’s like a Santa saying no to Christmas. That is a great sign for the Bear’s offense, as Jay should be more inclined to make good decisions without fearing for his life. Without taking the ball to the ground once, Cutler tossed for 242 yards, 2 TDs and only 1 pick. Brandon Marshall, yet again, was the main beneficiary, posting an 8-104-1 stat line. Martellus Bennett grabbed a score in his bears debut, and Forte racked up 91 total yards and a TD.

Dalton threw for 282-2-2 and Eifert and Gresham caught 5 a piece for 47 and 35 yards respectively. Benjarvus Green-Ellis was uninspiring rushing for 25 yards on 14 carries (1.8 YPC), but managed to bully his way into the end zone for a TD. Giovani Bernard, on the other hand, carried the ball for 22 yards on only 4 attempts. While the law firm is getting the bulk of the carries now, Bernard will be the one to own come season’s end.

Buffalo Bills (0-1) v New England Patriots (1-0)

Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady connected well with newcomer Danny Amendola (10-104), but the rest was fairly surprising. Julian Edelman emerged from the fantasy sleeper crypt for 79 yards and 2 TDs and wildcard Shane Vereen totaled 159 yards after the benching of Stevan Ridley (9-46). Vereen would have next week’s top RB spot locked on the Patriots depth chart, had he not suffered a broken wrist. Ridley said he understood the reason he was benched, but now he has to prove it this week. This is a BLESSING for Ridley owners (myself) as I bought high on this “sure fire” RB2. I predict he will have a huge game next week against the somehow undefeated Jets.

The Zach Sudfeld experiment is over after one target from Brady. However, don’t give up on Kenbrell Thompkins. He was targeted 14 times and had a chance to make a catch that would have resulted in a touchdown. Brady loves Thompkins and he won’t give up on him that quickly. I’m starting him with confidence next week.

EJ Manuel served the Bills well, and Stevie Johnson ended up with a TD, but the Bills’ passing game is a very high-risk, low-reward situation. And Fred Jackson is not dead after all.  Spiller owners will not be thrilled with Jackson’s 13 carries for 67 yards and 41 receiving yards. Jackson bested Spiller in both yards per catch and yards per carry. This trend won’t last long though, as Spiller is too explosive to be held in check for long.

Miami Dolphins (1-0) v Cleveland Browns (0-1)

So, one week and Mike Wallace is already complaining about being in Miami. Let’s do a little math here. Wallace makes $12 million a year and plays 16 games. That equates to $750,000 a game. Wallace also had one catch in this game. “I don’t feel like talking… Ask coach, not my game plan.” Shut up. Shut your mouth. You get paid to play a game. You are getting grossly overpaid to open up the Dolphins offense and you aren’t even that great in the first place. I, along with about 99.5% of the world’s population, would gladly get paid $12 million a year to run around on a field and catch a football. Just shut up.

In the other game news, Thomas and Miller combined for 17 yards on 18 carries (woof) and Brian Hartline (9-114-1) matched his touchdown total from last year. Don’t give up on Miller yet, he will be the heart and soul of the Dolphins offense in the near future, he just had a rough go against the Browns stout run D. Caleb Sturgis looked pretty impressive too.

On the Cleveland/losing side, Trent Richardson didn’t live up to his preseason hype, but I wouldn’t read much into that either, as the Dolphins run D is just as impressive as the Browns. The big news out of Cleveland is the big man Jordan Cameron (9-108-1). I wasn’t sold on him last week, and I’m still not, but you can’t deny he is going to be Weeden’s go-to guy when the pressure is on.

Detroit Lions (1-0) v Minnesota Adrian Petersons (0-1)

That’s not a mistake in the heading. Minnesota will live and die by Adrian Peterson, because there is nobody else on this team that can consistently move the ball. Jerome Simpson somehow posted seven receptions for 140 yards, but he, along with every other Vikings receiver, will be plagued with Ponder’s inability to accurately throw to his own players. Peterson mustered 93 rush yards, 78 of which came on his first run of the game, and came away with 3 TDs. However, there are definitely some questions that need to be answered after yesterday’s game. Mainly, after his first run, he ran the ball 17 times for 15 yards. Did he lose a little explosiveness or is the Lions frontline that good? It’s definitely something to keep an eye on, especially since teams will be keying in on him after last year’s dominance.

If there is ever a time I hate replay, it was yesterday. I lost a Matt Stafford passing TD and 2 Reggie Bush TDs due to instant replay. Granted, the correct calls were made, it killed a little bit of my soul each time a TD was awarded to my player and then stripped away. Reggie Bush, as long as he is healthy, will be a top 5 back this season. Boom. Be sure to cuff him with Bell if you own him. Calvin Johnson lost a touchdown yesterday to the dumb rule named after him, leaving him with nothing to show for the day.

Tennessee Titans (1-0) v Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) 

This game started off bad, and ended even worse. As a matter of fact, I can’t say for certain whether they actually finished this game or they just stopped playing and gave the Titans the win. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, this was an utter embarrassment. The Steelers went up 2-0 on the OPENING KICKOFF when Dunce McGillicuddy (not his actual name) fielded the ball at the half yard line, then took it back into the end zone to down it for … A SAFETY! GO TITANS. The Steelers then proceeded to lose Maurkice Pouncey for the season when David DeCastro decided to chop block HIS OWN CENTER! Look at the video and try to figure out for yourself what happened. It would be downright hysterical if it weren’t such a serious injury to Pouncey.

Isaac Redman was so bad (8 carries, 9 yards and 2 fumbles) that the Steelers re-signed Jonathan Dwyer, who they cut a couple weeks ago. My suggestion, don’t waste a waiver priority on Dwyer. Let your friends do that, because the Steelers showed no semblance of a team who will do anything positive this year. Jericho Cotchery caught a touchdown, which is stunning because did anybody actually know he was still in the league?

For the undefeated Titans, CJ?K was average and unlucky as Jackie “used to be on the Chiefs” Battle came in to vulture a touchdown. If you own any other Titans player aside from Chris Johnson or Rob Bironas, you’re doing it wrong. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) v New York Jets (1-0)

If you saw the end of this game, you know the Jets should be 0-1. Of all the dumb, idiotic, moronic things you can do, hitting a quarterback when he’s running out of bounds, out of field goal range, when you team has the lead is probably up there on that list. That 15-yard penalty put the Jets in field goal range and cost the Bucs a win they desperately needed for the NFC South. Otherwise, it was a fairly uninspiring game for both teams.

Vincent Jackson picked up right where he left off last year, catching 7 of 13 targets for 154 yards. Mike Williams (4-52-1) was right on par for where you’d expect him to be, and Doug Martin (24-65-1) was fairly grounded. Again, the success of Buccaneers fantasy players rests on the ability of Freeman to throw accurately on a consistent basis.

For the Jets, Geno looked mediocre as expected, but the win will definitely buy him time as the starter for a few more weeks. He was the leading rusher on the Jets with 6 carries for 47 yards, which says something, as Powell and Ivory combined for 22 carries for 44 yards. I would look somewhere else in terms of ground game help. This apparently could be the year of the resurgent old TE’s as Winslow was the Jets leading receiver with 7 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. For now, he’s a serviceable back up for fantasy.

Oakland Raiders (0-1) v Indianapolis Colts (1-0)

The story of this game is Terrelle Pryor. As a Buckeyes fan, I’m mixed on how to react to Pryor’s success, but since no one really cares about how I feel, we’ll move on to fantasy.  His passer rating will never be pretty, but he has potential to be a solid back-up QB because he can do things like lead the Raiders in rushing with 112 yards on 13 attempts. I wouldn’t waste a waiver on him, unless you are desperate for the QB help, and I mean desperate.

McFadden stayed healthy, which is a Raider’s victory in itself, and he managed to tally 64 yards and a TD. It remains to be seen how consistent he can be over the course of the season, but Pryor taking carries away won’t help his cause.

For the Colts, Luck looked sharp, going 18-23 for 178 yards, 2 Tds and no INTs, but it was by no means his most productive game as a passer. He did however, out rush Ahmad Bradshaw, who showed little signs of life in his Colts debut. It’s going to be a very frustrating season for both Bradshaw and Ballard owners. As usual, Reggie Wayne (8-96-1) was Luck’s main target. A couple weeks ago, the Colts said they planned to balance out their offensive attack, however once they figure out they don’t really have a running game, they will turn the ball back over to Luck, leading to more production from the Colts’ receivers.

Atlanta Falcons (0-1) v New Orleans Saints (1-0)

The triumphant return of head coach Sean Payton to New Orleans. This was a pretty typical game for both teams in terms of fantasy production.  Drew Brees threw for 357 yards spreading the ball around to 7 different receivers, Sproles racked up 110 yards mostly through the air and Colston and Graham both caught TDs. For Ingram owners, it might be time to look another direction, as Thomas outperformed Ingram on the ground and in Sean Payton’s offense, that’s usually grounds for a switch on the depth chart. 

On the other side of the ball, Tony Gonzalez (3-36-1) is probably never going to retire, because nobody can really stop him. Matt Ryan looked impressive 304 yards on 25 attempts for 2 Tds and 1 INT, and that interception was the result of a ball just tipped out of Gonzo’s hands. Julio Jones owners are happy while Roddy White owners are sad, and next week it will be the other way around. Jones (7-76-1) and White (2-19-0) never seem to be able to put up two consistent weeks in a row. Steven Jackson totaled 122 yards and dropped a pass that could have produced a touchdown, so it was a decent week one performance. Keep an eye on Harry Douglas (4-93). He’s definitely not worth a pick-up now, but could be in the future if his production stays consistent.

Seattle Seahawks (1-0) v Carolina Panthers (0-1)

So, Super Bowl contenders, huh? The Seahawks are going to need to play much better than a 12-7 win against the Panthers if they want to make it into February. I’ll give them credit they held Cam in check, but still 12-7 against the Panthers? Russell Wilson threw for 320 yards on 25 attempts and the Seahawks only managed one touchdown against a very suspect defense. Lynch turned in an unbeastly 17-43 performance and Doug Baldwin was the leading receiver with 7 receptions for 91 yards. Everyone who reached on Sidney Rice is probably banging their head against a wall, and I can’t tell you it will get better. Doug Baldwin will be more productive this season than Sidney Rice, so it might be time for a switch.

DeAngelo Williams actually looked pretty good against the tough Seattle defense, which should inspire confidence in his owners. With Stewart out for the better chunk of the season, Williams has the potential to be a decent RB2/flex player especially if Cam gets him involved in the passing game. Greg Olsen caught 5 of 10 passes thrown his way for 56 yards and Steve Smith added 51 yards and a touchdown. Nothing really exciting to see here folks, move along.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) v Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)

How bad are the Jaguars? They lost 28-2 to the Chiefs. That should answer that question.

Granted the Chiefs are actually shaping up to be a somewhat decent team with Alex Smith at the helm, they are in no way a team anybody should only score 2 points against. Scoring two points means the Jaguars weren’t even savvy enough to move the ball into a range where somebody could kick it 55 yards through the big yellow thing. MJD was a dud, taking 15 carries for 45 yards, and posting fewer yards per carry than Blaine Gabbert. Cecil “Matthew Berry’s “The Truth”” Shorts pulled in only 3 of 11 targets for 40 yards. I won’t get on Cecil’s case here because when your QB throws 16 of 35 for 121 yards and 2 interceptions, there really isn’t much you can do as a receiver.

Jamaal Charles posted 100 total yards and a touchdown on 19 touches, despite leaving the game for a minor calf injury. No need to worry, he will be good to go next week. If you are a Dwayne Bowe owner, pay attention. Dwayne Bowe is never going to have big numbers. Alex Smith doesn’t throw down field, because he isn’t confident in his abilities, thus taking away all of Bowe’s value. Even when he had Crabtree on the Niners, who is a better receiver than Bowe, Crabtree was never utilized to his full potential. Get used to a lot of 40-yard performances with a TD sprinkled in every couple weeks for good measure.

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) v Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Shout out to Kurt Felson! He owes me $10: $5 for the 49ers beating the pack and $5 for James Jones not scoring a TD!

I think Green Bay is a very strong team, however until they learn to adapt in game time scenarios, they have zero chance of making it to the top of the NFC. Last year Kaepernick torched them on the ground, this year he did it through the air using one receiver. Looking at the 49ers depth chart at the receiver position, it’s one name and one name only that sticks out. Anquan Boldin. Aside from Vernon (6-98-2) who had a beastly game, Anquan Boldin is the only other player to throw to, and the Packers couldn’t stop him. Thus, he racked up a league leading 208 yards and a TD.

Boldin is a stud receiver. He’s not fast, but he has strong hands and makes plays when his team needs him the most. Don’t expect that many points from him ever again, but it’s definitely a good sign that him and Kaepernick are connecting at such a strong level. Kaepernick has definitely been coached to stay in the pocket and protect himself on runs, which is great for the 49ers but terrible for fantasy purposes.

For the Packers, Lacy was (fat) unimpressive and James Jones was held without a catch. The verdict is definitely still out on Jermichael Finley, who is a head case with a terrible tendency of dropping the ball. If you grabbed Jordy Nelson despite his injuries, you are probably feeling pretty good right now. It’s clear Cobb and Nelson are the main men in GB. And Rodgers looked pretty damn good too.

St. Louis Rams (1-0) v Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

He lives! Larry Fitzgerald emerges from the depths of fantasy receiver purgatory after being bogged down by virtual QB crap, to grab 8 of 14 targets for 80 yards and 2 TDs. Do you think he’s happy to have Carson throwing to him? Does a one-footed duck swim in a circle? Carson Palmer (327-2-1) threw to a bevy of other receivers including Andre Roberts (8-97) and Michael Floyd (4-82), but it remains to be seen how Housler will be incorporated into offense upon his return from injury. Mendenhall was decent, sporting a 3.8 YPC, however the incorporation of Alfonso Smith curbed his production significantly. Look for this trend to continue in the near future in order to save Mendenhall’s knees.

I believe Matthew Berry said “wake me up when [Jared Cook] produces.” Well, wake up Mr. Roto. Jared Cook led the Rams with ten targets, pulling in 7 receptions for 141 yards and 2 TDs, and would have had another, if that pesky Honey Badger didn’t strip him of the ball at the 3-yard line. Cook managed almost half of Bradford’s total yards on the day, so that should tell you something about owning other Rams’ receivers. Richardson totaled 96 yards on 25 touches, and should be considered a low-end RB2/Flex position.

New York Giants (0-1) v Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

The overrated and overpaid Quarterback Bowl! It’s amazing how different public opinion can be on two brothers who play the same sport and the same position. Why is Peyton so loveable and Eli so easy to hate? What happened there? It was almost impossible not to laugh when his first throw of the game was straight to a defensive lineman standing ten yards away from him. Yet, despite his three picks, he tossed for 450 yards and 4 TDs, leading to another strong yet terrible performance.  Victor Cruz (5-118-3), Hakeem Nicks (5-114) and Rueben Randle (5-101) all had strong performances, but don’t expect these numbers to continue consistently in the coming weeks. I like Randle over Nicks for the immediate future.

David “fumbletron” Wilson, was so spectacularly miserable, the Giants went out and re-signed Brandon Jacobs after his historic five-carry-cut-in-December season for the 49ers last year. If you wasted a waiver on Jacobs, I am truly sorry for not getting this post out sooner, as he will be injured about 20 minutes from now

Meanwhile, the Cowboys performed as expected, with the exception of Dez Bryant who reeled in four receptions for 22 yards, before spraining his foot. It’s going to be a rough go of things for Bryant owners for awhile as he deals with his ailing left foot as well as extra coverage. And the Cowboys won at home against the Giants! How sad is it that this is big news for Cowboys fans?

Washington Redskins (0-1) v Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

Chip Kelly said the Eagles were too slow on offense against the Redskins… Good God, woman. The Eagles offense looked better than it has in years under the new direction of Kelly, which is great for three owners. DeSean Jackson owners (7-104-1), LeSean McCoy Owners (31-184-1) and anybody who owns offensive players playing against the Eagles. With the super fast moving Eagles offense, opposing offenses will have more attempts to make things happen on the field.

Vick played well, so if you are smart, you will trade him now before he gets injured or loses stock after playing against a stronger defense. It’s clear DeSean is the only Eagles receiver to own right now.

RGIII made his return after SportsCenter spent all summer hyping him up more than Jesus before the last supper, but it wasn’t anything to celebrate about. Alfred Morris was awful, but salvaged his performance with a TD, and Garcon was slightly disappointing. It will be interesting to see if Leonard Hankerson overtakes Morgan’s spot somewhere down the line after his 5-80-2 performance, but for now RGIII spreads the ball around too much to count on any receiver other than Garcon at this point.

Houston Texans (1-0) v San Diego Chargers (0-1)

The San Diego Chargers box score looks like they only played one half of a game, minus Rivers’ four TD tosses. They ran 51 total offensive plays, which I know if pretty high for one half, but still. Ryan Mathews caught a TD, but was otherwise his usual terrible self, only managing 33 yards on 13 carries. Eddie Royal led the team in receptions with three, and two of them were touchdowns! BUY BUY BUY! Just kidding, please don’t own any chargers, unless they are in backup positions.

For the Texans, Schaub actually looked pretty good completing 34 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson grabbed 12 receptions for 146 yards and Daniels (NAPERVILLE PRIDE) posted a 5-67-2 stat line. Foster definitely did not look like his usual dominant self, only managing 57 yards on 18 carries for a 3.2 YPC. Tate on the other hand looked explosive and ready to pounce on any chance he received, carrying the ball 9 times for 55 yards (6.1 YPC). Keep an eye on Foster’s workload as the season continues, but unfortunately his best days are over.

Week one recap complete! I need a nap.

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