Week 2 Late Games
Many of the late games didn’t live up to the hype. They were either sloppy, boring or a blowout-most of the exciting games had already been played, except for the Saints last second win. Below are some notes from the late games.
Saints @ Bucs
Very quiet game from Drew Brees, which was probably a shock to his owners. The Bucs defense is actually pretty good, but I still expected more from Brees. Jimmy Graham was his top target and continues to have a stranglehold on the top TE spot in fantasy. He finished with 10 catches for 179 yards and a score. Darren Sproles had his usual volume of catches, with six, but they only went for 36 yards. He is a starting RB in PPR only at this point. Marques Colston had a fairly quiet game with 4 catches for 63 yards, but that was because he had to face Revis and company all day. Continue starting him each week. The Saints running game was invisible like it seems to be every week. Avoid all of their running backs.
For Tampa Bay, it was yet another heartbreaking loss and makes you wonder when Josh Freeman is benched or Greg Schiano is fired. Vincent Jackson had another good game, but it would have been even better if his 73 yard TD reception wasn’t called back due to a penalty. Even with a bad QB, he is still a solid WR2 each week. The rest of the TB WRs had forgettable days. Doug Martin did well on the ground with 144 yards on 29 carries. It looks like the Muscle Hampster is starting to get going and live up to his loft draft status.
Lions @ Cardinals
This game marked the return of the Megatron we all know and love. He was absolutely unstoppable and finished with 6 catches for 116 yards and 2 TDs. He should continue this type of production almost every week and solidify himself atop the WR rankings yet again. Matthew Stafford had an efficient game with 278 yards passing and the two TDs to Calvin Johnson. After a smashing debut, Reggie Bush was fairly quiet this game, as he had 25 yards rushing and 44 yards receiving. He is also dealing with numerous nagging injuries, so he may miss a game or two as he continues to get beat up. Luckily for his owners, the MRI on his knee came back clean so he should be fine. Waiver wire pickup Joique Bell had a quiet game as well, and I think you need to temper expectations for him. I don’t think he’s even a solid flex play on a weekly basis at this point.
Because Larry Fitzgerald was unable to finish the game due to a tender hamstring, Carson Palmer spread the ball around to his receivers. The top WR was Andre Ellington with 2 catches for 42 yards, so it’s hard to trust anyone other than Fitz to be consistent week to week. Rashard Mendenhall had a solid game with 66 yards and a TD. I think that’s his ceiling at this point and he will be a decent flex play, but nothing special.
Broncos @ Giants
The Manning Bowl was basically a laugher for the most part. The Broncos moved the ball with ease most of the game, and the score would have been even worse if Montee Ball didn’t lose a fumble while running to the goal line on the Broncos’ first drive of the day. He was a non-factor after that. Instead, the bulk of the work went to Knowshon Moreno, who had 93 yards rushing and 2 TDs. The backfield is still cluttered, but for now at least, Moreno is the one to own. There was nowhere for Peyton Manning to go but down after throwing for 7 TDs last week, but he still had a solid game with 307 yards passing and two TDs. The Denver receiving corps all had decent games. Eric Decker bounced back with 9 catches for 87 yards after a poor opener. Demaryius Thomas had a decent game, but nothing outstanding, with 5 catches for 52 yards. Julius Thomas and Wes Welker didn’t have monster games like they did last week, but both were able to snag TD passes from Peyton to salvage their days. All four options are weekly must starts because the Denver offense appears to be unstoppable, even though they may have lost stud LT Ryan Clady for the season due to a foot injury.
The Giants are in trouble. Eli Manning is either not on the same page with his receivers, or he has morphed back into bad Eli and is making poor decisions with the ball. He finished the day with 362 yards passing, but those numbers are inflated because of glorified garbage time. He threw for one TD and FOUR interceptions. Victor Cruz was the primary beneficiary again, as he finished with 8 catches for 118 yards. Hakeem Nicks had a solid day with 4 catches for 83 yards and Brandon Myers ended with 6 catches for 74 yards. Nicks and Cruz remain weekly starters because Eli will continue to throw a ton. The Giants running game was laughable, as it was visibly evident that David Wilson is petrified as soon as he touches the ball. He was more concerned with not fumbling instead of trying to actually gain yardage. He only had 7 carries for 17 yards and should be on your bench until he shows he is past these fumbling issues. He is also a very good buy-low candidate because he certainly has talent. Brandon Jacobs did score a TD in his return to New York, but ended up with a pathetic 4 yards on 7 carries. He isn’t in football shape yet, so his numbers won’t stay that bad, but he also is past his prime, so don’t get your expectations up too much.
Jaguars @ Raiders
This game was an eyesore and not many people watched it or had any fantasy implications. MJD had 27 yards rushing before leaving with an ankle injury of unknown severity. If he is out any length of time, the Jaguars offense will be that much worse. Chad Henne started in place of the injured Blaine Gabbert and had a decent day with 241 yards passing and a TD to Clay Harbor. Cecil Shorts continued to show his great chemistry with Henne and had 8 catches for 93 yards. He’s one of the few bright spots on that offense until Justin Blackmon returns from suspension. Everyone else on that offense should be considered fantasy afterthoughts.
The Raiders weren’t much better. Terelle Pryor had a down game, which is to be expected from such a raw QB. He had 126 yards passing and 50 yards rushing, but no TDs. The lone Oakland TD came from Marcel Reece. On the bright side, Darren McFadden looked like the stud he used to be when healthy, running for 129 yards on only 19 carries. He could be another buy-low candidate if you’re willing to roll the dice. No Oakland receivers did anything of note and they shouldn’t be owned unless you’re absolutely desperate.
49ers @ Seahawks
What was billed as the game of the week wasn’t as close as expected. It was a wild game, with turnovers, a safety, poor QB play on both sides, a blocked punt and an hour-long delay due to lightning. For the Niners, Colin Kaepernick had his worst game of his young career. He shockingly finished with negative fantasy points in most formats, as he had 127 yards passing, but lost a fumble and had 3 interceptions. He did have 87 yards rushing, but it was a forgettable game for him, along with the entire San Francisco offense. Frank Gore was bottled up to 16 yards on the ground in 9 carries. He has had a very slow start this year and I think is the perfect buy low candidate as long as you set the proper expectations. He isn’t going to carry your team as a RB1 anymore, but is a solid RB2 or a great flex option. Buy now while you can because they have much easier matchups on the horizon. The SF receivers fell victim to the league’s best secondary, as Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis were complete non-factors. This is an aberration, as the Seattle secondary shuts everyone down. If VD isn’t limited by what appears to be a minor hamstring injury, he and Boldin can be started next week against the Colts with confidence.
Even though the score is lop-sided, the Seattle offense wasn’t as effective as you’d think. Russell Wilson threw a TD pass to Marshawn Lynch, but other than that, he had a forgettable day. His receivers were fairly well covered for most of the game, as his leading receiver was Doug Baldwin with 51 yards, but all of those yards came on one catch. It’s tough to like any of the Seattle passing options because they are all inconsistent on a weekly basis and there is no true top option, but Wilson gets the job done and is a safe fantasy play. Lynch, yet again, went Beast Mode on the SF defense and had 3 total TDs, including 2 rushing TDs to go along with his 98 yards. He was the only offensive player in the game to impose his will. The re-match in San Francisco later in the season should be quite interesting, as I would expect a bounce-back game from the SF offense.
Steelers @ Bengals
This felt like a typical sloppy Thursday night game, but it was on Monday night instead. The Steelers offense is going to have a lot of problems this year and Big Ben could be in line for a poor season. He had an alright game, with 251 yards passing and a TD, but he never looked comfortable in the pocket and the offensive line is suffering immensely from the loss of Pouncey. The running game was a joke, as Felix Jones led the way with 37 yards. Le’Veon Bell can’t return fast enough. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown predictably led the way in receiving. Sanders had 5 catches for 78 yards and Brown had 6 catches for 57 yards. Neither is a lock as a WR3 or flex option on a weekly basis. I would avoid all Pittsburgh offensive players until the offense shows signs of life.
After going nuts in the opener, AJ Green was held in check by Ike Taylor, as he had only 6 catches for 41 yards. Andy Dalton was very erratic, as he was missing throws high, low, short and long. It makes me wonder how great the Bengals would be with even a slightly better QB. Tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert each led the Bengals with 66 yards receiving. There are a lot of options aside from Green for Dalton to throw to, so I would be hesitant to start anyone else in the passing game because you never know who will see more targets from game to game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had his typical plodding but effective game, with 75 yards on 22 carries. However, the big story was the emergence of rookie Giovani Bernard, as he scored twice, once on a running play and once on a pass from Dalton. He has big play potential and I can certainly see him getting more week as the season progresses. If you drafted Bernard late in your draft, you may be rewarded in a few weeks as I can’t see how he won’t take over from BJGE by midseason.