Peyton Manning Destroys Baltimore
The first game of the season is in the books, and what a night it was. It started off with a weather delay due to possible lightning, and there was also severe wind and rain, so the conditions were not ideal for an aerial game. The rain and wind let up, and field conditions were fine. There’s really not much to say about Peyton Manning’s performance except wow. Seven touchdowns tied the NFL record and it was one of the best performances you will ever see. This is obviously not a sustainable performance, but it was still amazing. While I appreciate the historical context of it, I am not happy because I was unlucky enough to face him in my keeper league this week, so I am now down 51 points already. On paper, my team is vastly superior to my opponent’s, but it is next to impossible to make up that much of a deficit from one player.
Another takeaway from this game was the breakout performance of Julius Thomas. His level of ownership is going to skyrocket after last night. I will remain skeptical until he has a few more good games, as I think he is the week 1 crush much like Kevin Ogletree was last year. Ogletree quickly faded into oblivion after a hot start last season. I don’t think he will be a complete bust, but there is no way he has that type of game very often. If I owned him, I would try to trade him now while his value is at its absolute peak. One part of the Denver offense that I didn’t like was the running game. Moreno looks washed up from a few serious injuries, Ronnie Hillman just isn’t that good and Montee Ball is still picking up the offense. For the next few weeks, I would steer clear of this backfield until someone becomes the clear starter.
Wes Welker surprised me with how effective he was. I went into the year thinking he would be somewhat of a bust, but at least for one week, he shut me up. It’s such a small sample size to get a good read on the offense, but it still surprised me how often Peyton looked his way. This meant that the forgotten man was Eric Decker. He has too much talent to be kept under wraps, so I think his poor game last night was an aberration. I thought that Welker would see his targets decrease, but there’s a chance that Decker might be the victim instead. However, Decker will still be a valuable fantasy asset, so I don’t think you need to panic if you own him. If he has three or four more poor games, then I would get worried.
Because of the amazing Denver offense, it’s almost tough to remember that the defending champions also played. Baltimore didn’t look bad early, but after the fluke Jacoby Jones injury, their lack of talent on offense was fairly glaring, although this could be a good time for young Marlon Brown. Bernard Pierce looked awful for the most part, and Ray Rice was held in check as far as rushing yards, although he did have 8 receptions, which is good if you are in a PPR league. Flacco had an average game, but made a few poor decisions and was lucky he didn’t have more interceptions. Torrey Smith is now the unquestioned top target in the passing game, but with no other decent options right now, he will be the focus of opposing defenses until other proven options emerge. All in all, the Denver offense looked frightening, as did the Baltimore defense, but not in a good way. The rest of the NFL kicks off on Sunday, and I am excited to finally have the NFL back.