Welcome to Week 2 of the 2011 NFL season, and the latest edition of the Fantasy Football Feature. If you’re not yet familiar, this is a fantasy football mash-up open thread. Feel free to throw out any sit/start troubles your having, or any other fantasy football related questions, thoughts, ideas you might have or even have live trade negotiation.
Week 1 in Review:
Starting at quarterbacks, not all that surprisingly, Tom Brady (35.98), Drew Brees (29.06), Aaron Rodgers (24.58), and Michael Vick (23.28) all had solid-to-fantastic opening games. But of course, in almost every league, all those guys are well owned. The shockers came from the likes of Chad Henne, running ex-Browns OC Brian Daboll’s offense. Henne threw for over 400 yards, 2 TDs, only 1 INT and rushed for another TD, totaling an astounding 35.54 fantasy points. What seems to be an even bigger headline is rookie Cam Newton’s record first outing, who put up very similar numbers to Henne, but rushed for a little less yardage, still putting up 31.68 points. The Bills QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick was on the back end of the surprises. He only passed for 208 yards, but 4 of those passes were touchdowns and he didn’t throw a single pick, finishing with 24.62 points. Fitzpatrick showed he was a legit fantasy threat last season, but clearly not a lot of people had much faith in him going into this season. All three of those guys (Henne, Newton, Fitz) are free agents in our UDBNFL 12-team league.
If Cam Newton was having a huge day, you’ve got to assume the guy he’s targeting was too. In Carolina’s case, that’s veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, who led all WR/RB/TE in fantasy scoring. He caught 8 passes for 178 yards and 2 TDs (29.80). Another surprise was San Diego’s RB/FB Mike Tolbert, who was all over the field Sunday vs. Minnesota. He only had 35 rushing yards over 12 attempts, but one of those was for a TD. Flooring were his 9 receptions for 58 yards and 2 TDs. That Chargers RB situation still really scares me in fantasy terms, but I say that as a Ryan Mathews owner. Mathews had a decent day too, but any given Sunday, I wouldn’t feel 100% confident starting either of them. You can’t expect SD to put up 407 yards of offense every week. Other notes: Kenny Britt’s 25.60 point outing was inflated by an 80 yard TD catch, which involved atrocious defending on the Jags part, and was a lucky pass to being with. Ray Rice (26.90) is on pace for another great season, dropping 107 yards on the Steelers D. LeSean McCoy (25.70) and Matt Forte (21.80) are two other young backs in for a big year. Would it be in bad taste if I used this opportunity to laugh in the face of the Wes Welker (28.00) haters one more time? (Who I landed in the 6th round! Thanks, fellas.) Fantasy football isn’t fantasy football without the smack talk, right?
Working the Wire:
As I always say, this is where championships are won and lost. Even if they’re not at a position of need, good fantasy players are worth keeping off opposing teams. You either take ‘em or you play against ‘em! I already mentioned the three quarterbacks above that are available in most leagues. There’s definitely still a handful of sleepers out there. Keep in mind, owners vary in every league so some of these guys are going to be harder to grab than others. The UDBNFL waiver wire, for example, is fierce.
- - Chad Henne (Mia-QB-35.54) – Owned in 17% of Yahoo! Leagues - That many points is encouraging, and New England is no push over. But he has some tough match ups this season.
- - Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buf-QB-24.62) – Owned in 48% of Yahoo! Leagues - I see this guy as a must own in most leagues. Even though on the Bills, this performance along with last season, proved he’s legit.
- - Cam Newton (Car-QB-31.68) – Owned in 43% of Yahoo! Leagues - There’s already a ton of hype following this guy. The more people talk about him, the quicker he’s going to fly off the shelves. He’s a hot commodity, yet still a risky start.
- - Devery Henderson (NO-WR-16.00) – Owned in 29% of Yahoo! Leagues - With an injury to Lance Moore, he can move up. Brees spreads the ball around a lot, which for Henderson can be good some weeks and terrible others.
- - Carnell Williams (StL-RB-14.00) – Owned in 18% of Yahoo! Leagues - As Steven Jackson went down, Cadillac stepped up and filled the role well, despite failing to get in the end zone. As long as Jackson is out, Cadi is worth a roster spot.
- - Randall Cobb (GB-WR-15.50) – Owned in 22% of Yahoo! Leagues - If your league awards kick/punt returning, he’s worth a look. Playing Thursday means he’s already cleared waivers. But he’s still available in 88% of leagues!
- - Matt Hasselbeck (Ten-QB-18.42) – Owned in 17% of Yahoo! Leagues - I don’t trust this guy on a weekly basis. One of his only 2 passing TDs was pure luck, and the rest was a bad Jacksonville defense.
- - Early Doucet (Ari-WR-16.50) – Owned in 6% of Yahoo! Leagues - He did put up some fine fantasy totals, but the large majority of it came on a single 70 yard touchdown catch. Outside of that, he only caught 2 more passes for 2.5 fantasy points.
How healthy is Arian Foster, and how much action will he see Sunday?
Yup, for the second straight week, this is a question on the mind of a huge number of fantasy owners that wagered their team’s future on as high a risk/reward as ever seen in fantasy football. Obviously, it’s still very early in the week to be making the concrete sit/start call on him. Current reports are that he will practice Wednesday. If he does, and follows it up with a practice on Thursday, he’ll probably start on Sunday. At the very least, by then we should have enough information to make the call and do the necessary moves. Approach with caution, if it ends up being a game day call, I wouldn’t bank my week on him. I’ll try to keep this thread updated with the latest as it comes in.
Which New England tight end do I start, Gronkowski (14.60) or Hernandez (16.30)?
This was discussed last week too. It is among the tougher of the fantasy questions. I responded kind of joking at the time, kind of not, that you should go ahead and start both of them. Of course, not every league has a flex position where you can plug in W/R/T. That said, I’ve come to the firm conclusion, if you own them both and can start 2 two TEs, you absolutely should. If you only own one, feel confident in starting either one. Tom Brady is inhuman. He loves and utilizes both of these targets. Now, they’re not both going to go for 15+ fantasy points every week, but they are both going to be solid fantasy starters at TE, which isn’t exactly a make or break position, but can often be that x-factor that pushes you to a win some weeks.
Unofficial DBN Fan League Recap:
Unfortunately, it’d hard to follow all 6 match-ups close enough to write an acceptable recap for each. So, I figured it’d be interesting to let each member (or one from each match-up) recap their own game that week in the comments. I’ll start with an example of my own:
Simmsinns vs. WV Brownies
136.76 – 127.88
By far the highest scoring bout, this was probably the most thrilling match-up of the week. Brees dropping nearly 30 points in a loss was a great way start for me. Despite terrible outings by Dwayne Bowe and Zach Miller (who combined for 3.6), a whopper from Forte and the thrashing done by Baltimore’s D, put me in a decent spot. Not to be outdone, WV Brownies had Ray Rice add insult to injury for the Steelers. Cedric Benson (18.30) and DeSean Jackson (16.20) helped add to his total Sunday. Heading into Monday Night’s games, I was leading by about 17 points, with Wes Welker on my end and Tom Brady on his. I figured I was safe as long as Welker caught a few and Brady didn’t have a massive game. Well… Brady had a massive game. Big enough that despite already 1 TD catch from Welker, WV was in position to win it. That is, until he was forced into his own end zone, taking the snap from the 1, he finds none other than Wes "The Natural" Welker, who naturally broke a tackle and sprinted 99 yards to the opposite end zone, tying the record for longest receiving touchdown, and most importantly, locking up the game for me.
Good luck in Week 2!
*Scores mentioned in the article are based on the Yahoo! Sports default settings, utilized by the Unofficial DBN Fan League.