Welcome to Week 3 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 2 in Review:
I've got to open this segment recognizing our league leading fantasy scorer, Tom Brady. As I've mentioned in comments before, this guy is inhuman, or least he's playing like it. In two weeks of football, Brady has thrown for 940 yards, 7 touchdowns, and only 1 interception totaling in 65.20 fantasy points. He's doing with this without an elite deep threat like the 2007 Randy Moss. Some around here argue Wes Welker isn't even an elite WR. Outside of that, he's making an all star out of Deion Branch and both his tight ends. These are things that only make Brady's performance up until now even more impressive. Right behind Tom in overall fantasy scoring, is the real fantasy shocker so far, rookie QB and first overall draft pick, Cam Newton. He actually just barely topped Brady this week with 29.58 fantasy points on 432 yards, only 1 TD, and a staggering 3 INTs (-6 pts), also rushing for 53 and another TD. This time it wasn't facing the likes of Arizona, he was taking on the Super Bowl defending Green Bay Packers. In his two weeks, he absolutely looks like the real deal. Sure, he's making rookie mistakes, but numbers like that are undeniable. He is a must buy in any league. Another surprise, also mentioned last week, is Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He kept up his performance in a game against Oakland, passing for 264 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT totaling 23.86. A middle of the road fantasy quarterback, yet still a surprise, is Rex Grossman (17.14), whose Redskins are now 2-0. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck (17.32) and rookie Andy Dalton (21.58) are two other lesser QBs that are unexpected solid fantasy performers.
This week leading all WR/TE/RBs is Miles Austin (32.10), who was destroying worlds all over fantasy leagues everywhere, with 143 yards and 3 TDs, a nice addition to his 15 points last week. Vincent Jackson (29.20) bounced back in a huge way vs. NE after only putting up 3.10 last week. A similar situation, Jeremy Maclin (29.20) improved on his previous 2, this time vs. ATL. Popping out of nowhere, or what could be considered the lottery of fantasy WRs (Oakland Raiders), is Denarius Moore, who exploded for 23.10 points. What's worse than a lottery? Maybe the black hole of fantasy WRs (Denver Broncos), whose Eric Decker followed up his 11.30 week with a 21.30 performance and looks to be Kyle Orton's go to guy. I doubted Kenny Britt's QB situation facing Baltimore, but was proven completely wrong, as he dropped 19.50 fantasy points and is climbing fast. Larry Fitz (19.30) and Mike Wallace (18.60) bounced back in big ways. Meanwhile, rookie A.J. Green (18.40) and deep threat Devery Henderson (16.30) are turning out to be solid fantasy receivers. Switching to RBs now, Adrian Peterson (26.10), Darren McFadden (24.30), and LeSean McCoy (23.60) all continued rolling. Bigger surprises from fantasy running backs are coming from the likes of Fred Jackson (26.00) who's enjoying his Bills run and Jahvid Best (24.30) who's getting it done on the ground and in the air. Peyton Hillis (21.70) did fantastic in fantasy terms, but benefited from a whopping 27 carries, averaging only 3.5 per, in the Browns game plan to pound the Colts into submission. Michael Turner (20.60) is a must start, but that's expected. Ryan Mathews (18.60) and Matt Forte (16.60) are rounding out the back end of the seemingly must start RBs.
Working the Wire:
As I said last week, 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! A handful of the buys last week turned out to worth it, but a couple were misses. That's fantasy football. And in only Week 2, some sleepers are still 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 still fierce. (*Lastly, the ownership percentage is going up on these guys every minute, so they are not exact.)
- Eric Decker (Den-WR-32.60) - Owned in 22% of Yahoo! Leagues - MUST - The receivers in Denver are dropping like flies. It got to the point that high profile 3rd string QB Tim Tebow was starting at the slot for them. Decker has become Orton's go-to-guy and you can't deny the results.
- Fred Davis (Was-TE-25.10) - Owned in 23% of Yahoo! Leagues - MUST - I'm not ready to believe in Washington as a team yet, but I'm definitely a firm believer in Fred Davis at tight end. Rex Grossman is playing well and he's targeting this TE with very promising production.
- David Nelson (Buf-WR-20.90) - Owned in 9% of Yahoo! Leagues - MUST - Due to Ryan Fitzpatrick, I am a believer in the Bills. I think he's got a bright future and is taking the Bills with him. Stevie Johnson was his guy but so far Nelson actually has 2 more receptions than Johnson.
- Denarius Moore (Oak-WR-23.10) - Owned in 18% of Yahoo! Leagues - DEEP - I mentioned above, Oakland is like the lottery for fantasy WRs, in that it's like any one of them might do well any given week, and the rest, no so much. But 5 receptions for 146/1 makes him worth the bench.
- Danario Alexander (StL-WR-18.20) - Owned in 5% of Yahoo! Leagues - DEEP - In a similar scenario as D. Moore, he had 0 catches in Week 1 then shows up out of nowhere and grabs 3 balls for 122/1. The WR situation on Rams leaves room for a potential up and comer like this guy.
- Brandon LaFell (Car-WR-17.90) - Owned in 3% of Yahoo! Leagues - DEEP - In Carolina, Steve Smith is obviously the go to guy and for good reason. However, with Cam Newton throwing for 400+ yards, there's a ton of room for the rest of those yards. That's where LaFell comes in.
- Jerome Simpson (Cin-WR-18.00) - Owned in 22% of Yahoo! Leagues - DEEP - I'm not ready to buy into this guy at all yet. His performances against those specific opponents just doesn't really impress me. I'm also not ready to buy this Cinci team in general. It's a wait and see, unless you're desperate.
- Willis McGahee (Den-RB-16.60) - Owned in 55% of Yahoo! Leagues - NOT DEEP - I understand that he's getting a ton more looks with the Moreno injury, I just don't think he'll ever become a legit must start in any leagues other than the ones where you literally have to play any #1 guy.
How healthy is Arian Foster, and how much action will he see Sunday?
Wow. I cannot tell you how sick I am of having to ask this question. It's almost like a running joke at this point. I might have to make it a regular segment of the Fantasy Football Feature, which is so very sad. Except for those smart enough to pass on him and avoid the issue. I can't blame those guys for the "I told you so"-s. Back to Foster and the infamous hammy. In case you haven't heard, he aggravated his previous injury on Sunday. It certainly makes people question Gary Kubiak's all or nothing "you're either ready or you're not" policy he'd been preaching. Turns out Foster wasn't ready, and he spent the large majority of the game riding pine. Not surprisingly, Kubiak has since changed his tone, and since has said that Ben Tate will be the #1 back up until Foster's hamstring is completely healed. Tate's fantasy value was already high since the MRI tweet, but it has since sky rocketed with his play being as good as it has.
Which New England tight end do I start, Gronkowski (35.20) or Hernandez (28.50)?
Since asking the exact same exact question as last week was so much fun with the last one, why not try it again? Well, I know last week we established that any team would should be confident in starting either one or even both of these guys, and we turned out to totally right. That was, until Aaron Hernandez unfortunately suffered an MCL sprain after going for 62 yards and a TD on Sunday against San Diego. The reports are saying he could miss anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, which is terrible news for his fantasy owners. If Gronkowski's value wasn't already threw the roof (it was, as the league leading TE) it just got even higher.
Other injury concerns:
- Top 5 back Jamaal Charles is on IR and obviously should be dropped in all leagues. This is devastating blow for an already struggling Chiefs team and his fantasy owners alike.
- Mike Vick suffered a concussion and bit his own tongue as he collided helmet to helmet with a teammate in an awkward hit on Sunday night. His status for Week 3 is currently uncertain, but "optimistic."
- Tony Romo suffered a fractured rib as well as a punctured collapsed lung on Sunday, yet still return to the game to deliver a performance that lead Dallas to a victory. His status for Monday is currently "unsure."
- Stevie Johnson is suffering from lingering groin pain despite putting up very solid receiving numbers. Reports say that it's getting worse, but Johnson himself said he doesn't expect to miss any games.
Unofficial DBN Fan League Standings:
I decided to change up the UDBNFL recap a bit. You can click HERE for the full size image of the Week 2 results.
Good luck in Week 3!
*Scores mentioned in the article are based on the Yahoo! Sports default settings, utilized by the Unofficial DBN Fan League.