Week 3 Studs/Duds Review
After a fairly accurate first week, I’ve been getting worse and worse with my weekly predictions. I barely had any correct for Week 2, so let’s look at the carnage below. Just like last week, my initial predictions are underlined and the actual stats are in bold.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit QB-So let’s see, one of the most prolific passing attacks in the NFL, along with the best receiver in the game, facing the worst defense in the league by far? I smell easy pickings and Stafford should absolutely torch the awful Redskins defense. Calvin Johnson usually eats up DeAngelo Hall, and promising rookie David Amerson has little to no help in the secondary, so it’s too much to expect him to shut down other Lions passing options by himself. Stafford should be able to throw at will, and may do so even more if Reggie Bush doesn’t play or has a snap count. Stafford owners should be drooling at this matchup. Prediction: 410 yards passing, 3 TDs.
Actual Stats: 385 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT. I was fairly accurate with this one. The Lions are the most pass happy team in the NFL and the Redskins have the worst pass defense in the NFL, so it added up to a lot of big numbers in the passing game. Stafford is clearly a QB1 now as long as Megatron stays healthy.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants WR-The Giants try to get back on track this week against a Carolina defense that has basically lost its entire starting secondary. Cruz has been a target magnet through two games and it should only continue this week, especially if the running game falters against a good Panthers front seven. If Carolina can put some points on the board, it may force Eli to throw consistently, which is always good for fantasy numbers. Cruz is a must start each week. Prediction: 9 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD.
Actual Stats: 3 receptions for 25 yards. A total dud of a game for Cruz, and for the Giants as a team. Nothing went right for them and they couldn’t play any worse. I don’t expect that to happen again, even if they do face a stout KC defense this week.
Frank Gore, San Francisco RB-Gore has been very quiet so far this year, leading to some whispers that he has nothing left in the tank. I don’t think that’s the case-he played a Packers defense that sold out to stop the run and read option, so they were gashed through the air. He then played the toughest defense in the league in Seattle, so a bad game was basically expected. He gets back on track this week against an average Colts defense. Even if he has lost a step, he still runs behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, so expect him to have a breakout game. The time to buy low on him won’t last much longer. Prediction: 95 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, 2 TDs.
Actual Stats: 82 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving, 0 TDs. I had the rushing and receiving numbers fairly accurate, but missed on the TDs. The Niners inexplicably gave Gore 3 touches in the second half, even when the game was still close. He should be fairly fresh this week against a Rams defense that was just gashed by DeMarco Murray.
Jason Witten, Dallas TE-Witten had a bad game last week, with only 3 catches for 12 yards. Expect him to rebound in a big way against the Rams. The Rams defense has been weaker than expected, so Tony Romo should go right back to using his safety valve, especially if the run game once again proves to be ineffective. I think it’s safe to pencil in Witten for a top 5 TE day on Sunday. Prediction: 8 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD.
Actual Stats: 5 catches for 67 yards and 0 TDs. The Cowboys lit up the Rams, yet Witten never got into the end zone. He had his usual solid game, but owners were hoping for a score or two. That has been is MO in recent years-tons of catches and yards but very few TDs. He should continue producing around 6catches for 70 yards a week with hopefully an uptick in TDs as the season progresses.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST-This is not something I usually do, but it’s so obvious this week that I had to include a defense in my list of studs. The Vikings defense has been above average this year and has been able to cause turnovers. Expect that to continue in a big way this week against what may be the worst offensive performance of the week. The Browns are comically outmanned on offense, so Jared Allen and company should be able to have their way with new starter Brian Hoyer. If you can pick up the Vikings defense, please do so. Prediction: 3 points allowed, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery, 5 sacks.
Actual Stats: 31 points allowed, 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery, 3 sacks. The Vikings defense somehow allowed the Browns to move the ball at will. They were able to bail out fantasy owners by getting sacks and turnovers, but allowing 31 points was a shock. I would say that I got this half-correct.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville RB-This is a no-brainer. He’s no lock to play after an ankle injury last week, but even if he does, it’s going to be a disaster. The Jaguars are the worst team in the league, and they are playing the NFL’s best defense with the biggest home-field advantage. Can you say annihilation? I would steer clear of any Jacksonville players this week, as they may not even get in field goal range. Prediction (if he plays)-40 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, 0 TDs.
Actual Stats: 43 yards rushing, 19 yards receiving, 1 TD. I had this almost exactly correct, but MJD’s cheap two yard TD run ruined a perfect prediction. He was bottled up by the Seattle defense and was smartly taken out once the game became a blowout. I don’t trust him as anything more than a flex play because of the terrible Jaguars offense.
CJ Spiller, Buffalo RB-For some reason, the Bills are employing a time-share again, even though Spiller is clearly one of the most talented backs in the league. Combine that with a very stout Jets run defense and you have the makings for another poor game. Jackson is past his prime and usually deals with nagging injuries, so I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets hurt and Spiller takes over most of the work. If you can find a way to buy low on Spiller, I would do so immediately. Prediction: 70 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, 0 TDs.
Actual Stats: 10 carries for 9 yards, 1 yard receiving, 0 TDs. Spiller had another underwhelming game and to make matters worse, he left the game with a thigh injury. Owners are surely getting tired of their first round pick failing to deliver, and Fred Jackson is getting more and more work each week. Let’s see if/when he has a bounce back week.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland TE-The poor Browns are going to get mauled by the Vikings defense. After the shocking trade of Trent Richardson and the injury to starter Brandon Weeden, they are left with third stringer Brian Hoyer and street pickup Willis McGahee this week. This has caused owners everywhere to grab the Minnesota D because they should be able to feast on this poor excuse for an offense. Cameron has been the go-to guy so far this year, but Josh Gordon returns from suspension and may take away targets. However, Hoyer has not shown he can be a starting caliber QB in the NFL, so don’t expect anyone in the passing game to post big numbers. Bench Cameron if you have better options. Prediction-4 receptions, 55 yards, 0 TDs.
Actual Stats: 6 receptions, 66 yards and 3 TDs. I had the yardage and receptions fairly close, but I never in a million years expected him to catch three TDs, especially one from a punter. Cameron has quickly become a true TE1 and a must-start each week. I won’t be putting him on my duds list anytime soon.
Russell Wilson, Seattle QB-Wilson has underwhelmed so far this year, but his team is 2-0, so he certainly won’t complain. I don’t think he will have a bad game here; it’s more of the circumstances and the opponent. The Seahawks are unbeatable at home, so bringing the worst team in the league to their field has the makings of a drubbing. I figure the Seahawks will absolutely dominate this game and therefore not have to throw as much. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see Wilson taken out in the second half along with other starters once the game gets really out of hand. He will probably throw for a score, but he won’t be slinging the ball around like Matthew Stafford in this one. Prediction: 225 yards passing, 20 yards rushing, 1 passing TD.
Actual Stats: 202 yards passing, 14 yards rushing, 4 TDs. Again, I had the yardage pretty much on point, but completely whiffed on the TDs. Wilson threw an absurd 4 TDs in only about 3.5 quarters of action. This was the breakout game everyone was looking for, and the offense used the Jaguars to get back on track. He can be safely moved back into low end QB1 consideration.
Julian Edelman, New England WR-The Patriots passing attack has looked pretty bad this season. They now face a Tampa Bay defense that is one of the best units in the league, and Edelman may be shadowed by Darrelle Revis for most of the game. Gronkowski looks like a 50/50 shot to play, and if he doesn’t, that means more focus will go on Edelman. He may rack up catches, but they won’t go for any significant yardage. He is still a good WR2/3 option in PPR, but nothing more than a flex option in standard leagues this week. Prediction: 7 receptions, 45 yards, 0 TDs.
Actual Stats: 7 receptions for 44 yards and 0 TDs. This will probably be my closest prediction of the year. Just call me Nostradamus on this one because I basically got it exactly right. Edelman is a very poor man’s Welker, as he racks up receptions but doesn’t get any yardage after the catch. He is not valuable unless you are in a PPR league.