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September 15, 2008

Week 2 Fantasy QB Stats

favreweek2.jpgPhoto by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Best Week 2 QB Fantasy start? Belongs to Kurt Warner naturally.

Accumulates 150+ yards early on without any incompletions thanks to two long plays to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Warner finishes with 361 yards on only 24 pass attempts and 3 TDs. All to Anquan Boldin who puts up an astounding 6 catches 140 yards 3 TD's while Fitzgerald matches him with 6 catches 153 yards.

Warner could have put up sick numbers but the Cardinals called off the dogs late in the game as the lead got to 31-3. Hard to believe this type of success will continue at this pace for Warner and friends, but you could spot this fine matchup a mile away. Even with new coaching / personnel, this is still the same Miami team that got lit up by the Patriots and everyone else last year defensively.

Warner will still be producing throughout the year, but has a tough stretch coming up at Washington, at NY Jets, Buffalo and Dallas.

Drew Brees meanwhile lays an egg in Washington, with a decent game (216 yards 66% completion) but only 1 TD and 2 interceptions. The Saints offense lacked explosion down the field and had a non existent running game. Part of this was a nice defensive effort by the Redskins at home in a must-win situation. Colston's return is still a ways away and it remains to be seen how his departure will affect this passing offense long term, but they should find success the next few weeks. Brees is at Denver, San Francisco, Minnesota and Oakland next. All solid match-ups especially a Denver defense ripe from a Philip Rivers torching.

Peyton Manning bounces back after a terrible week 1 and an even worse start to week 2. You could see the tide in this game turn as the Vikings failed to convert touchdowns and Manning began to get some flow with Anthony Gonzalez and Reggie Wayne. Fantasy owners missed a long lateral TD from Manning to Gonzalez to Wayne and Joe Addai stole that TD. However, Manning threw for a TD to Reggie Wayne along with 300 yards and 60%+ passing. Manning is back on track and you knew it would happen against a porous pass defense in the VIkings.

How about that Aaron Rodgers? Clearly Detroit is a giving defense, already letting Michael Turner scorch them for 3 TD's and 200 yards. The Packers however just passed their way down the Lions throat with 328 yards and 3 TD's from Rodgers. If you had Rodgers you likely started him at Detroit unless you had someone significantly better. With all the hoopla about Favre leaving, it's easy to forget the Packers have a decent supporting cast on offense and defense. This aids Rodgers but still be wary; he doesn't play the Lions every game of the season. Next week at home against NFC powerhouse Dallas should tell us a lot about Mr. Rodgers.

Also in that game, did we not call Jon Kitna's line perfectly in the pre-week 2 QB analysis? It definitely was ugly, but Kitna definitely put some numbers up. All the turnovers ruin the pretty numbers, but it's clear that with Calvin Johnson, Jon Kitna has a budding superstar to get the ball to and Kitna will be passing a lot with the Lions down in games due to their crappy defense. 276 yards 51% 5 sacks 2 TD's 3 picks...that's about right.

David Garrard owners are grumbling, but it is hard to have any pity for them. Garrard was a clock management type QB the year before, which looked nice when he came out of no where as a backup to seize the starter's job. Now that he's the full time starter though he lack of production in the passing game becomes much more glaring for the Jaguars, who are in must-win mode now. 165 yards 0 TD's 1 interception 60% for Garrard in today's game against Buffalo. Sure he has played two defenses, but does this passing offense scare anyone? Reggie Williams 10 TD's were clearly a fluke last year and he'll be lucky to get half of that. Tennessee and Buffalo are not pushovers defensively so there will be better games ahead for Garrard, but owners who drafted him as their starting QB in a 10-14 team league are going to need to start looking at the wire to play match-ups. At Indy and Houston at home are next, so Garrard should at least be a mediocre start.

Derek Anderson and Carson Palmer are going to shoot down my lists for a while. They too have been relegated to match-up duty. Anderson I could see this coming for, considering he really only had a few games last year where he produced and fell off tremendously at the end of the year. The Browns too have had a tough slate with Dallas and Pittsburgh, but the offense has looked anemic. At least we can assume they are solid plays when they go against each other in Week 4.

And how about Jay Cutler? The Broncos are no longer the team that is run-first with random RB's. Cutler likes to pass and has done so proficiently. 4 TD's and 350 yards today, and Brandon Marshall absolutely blew up with 18 catches. The Broncos have an underrated group of wide receivers and Tony Scheffler at Tight End, so Cutler has viable weapons, and is in a division where he already lit up San Diego and Oakland. Those who drafted Cutler late are pleased but are probably holding their breath that he is going to be this good. Still, we are seeing a bit of a changing of the guard at QB around the NFL. Guys like Cutler, Rivers and Aaron Rodgers look like a gamble worth taking when you look at the downfall of Garrard, Palmer, Derek Anderson, etc.

Speaking of Rivers, he needs to be mentioned for his last two nice games. LaDainian Tomlinson has not looked like himself, but Rivers has stepped up valiantly with 377 yards 3 TD's and a pick against Denver. It was not enough for the victory, but he is finding Chris Chambers at astounding rates. Rivers' numbers were also padded by a 66 yard TD from Darren Sproles, but he has always been aided by RB's catching passes (LT). If LT continues to underperform, Rivers is worth using. We have seen in the past Rivers being used little when Tomlinson was dominating the games. Part of it could be Tomlinson's injury that has set this up, but Rivers' maturation should not be overlooked.

Who was the better quarterback in Seattle on this afternoon? Wasn't Matt Hasselbeck. JT O'Sullivan threw for 321 yards, a td and no turnovers. He threw early and often, finding Isaac Bruce for some long plays to the tune of 4 catches 153 yards. Another sleeper QB who is materializing on the field and is in a division conducing to scoring. Oh, and Mike Martz is his coach. You know they're going to throw and surprise some people.

Matt Cassel's long awaited debut was hardly worth watching. This is like watching the pre-Randy Moss days of the Patriots. The games are ugly and the stats uglier. Still, Cassel committed no turnovers so despite his 165 yards and 0 TD's his effort must be lauded for that. Surely, Randy Moss and owners are not pleased with the 2 catches 22 yards. Moss times to get upset when he is not involved and getting his numbers. This was Cassel's first start, so let's assume the passing game is more active later on especially as the game situation dictates the Patriots to pass.

Fantasy QB Studs Week 2
Philip Rivers
Jay Cutler
Aaron Rodgers
Kurt Warner
JT O'Sullivan

All over 300 yards. All 3 TD's or more (besides O'Sullivan).

Fantasy QB losers Week 2
David Garrard
Carson Palmer
Derek Anderson
Brett Favre
Matt Cassel

September 14, 2008

Titans Johnson burns Bengals

chrisjohnsonweek2.jpgap

Chris Johnson
now has 202 yards in 2 games for the Titans. Lendale White vultured the short yardage touchdown and will always be a threat for that, but White gained just 59 yards on 18 carries as opposed to Johnson's 109 yards on 19 carries. Johnson's breakaway ability means more likely that he'll get a long touchdown but again, watch out for White stealing those goal line touchdowns. Still, considering the Titans run-first philosophy, expect Johnson to be emphasized throughout the season and should be a stalwart at RB for years to come for this team.

Kerry Collins managed the game well with just 123 yards but with no turnovers and a short touchdown to Justin Gage. Collins has the arm to throw deep and stretch the field, but with the Titans up early and often against Cincinnati his passing was not needed.

Titans defense has performed well the last two weeks, holding the Jaguars and Bengals down offensively. Star linebacker Keith Bullock even blocked a punt and recovered it for a TD, making Tennessee one of the top defenses for the week (not quite the haul the Packers provided in Detroit though).

Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh continue to disappoint fantasy owners. Not many teams could match the offensive firepower of the Bengals the last few years, but they have faced two tough defenses and the numbers show. 4 catches 37 yards for Chad Johnson, 3 catches 26 yards for TJ. 134 yards passing with 0 TD's and 2 interceptions for Carson Palmer. Palmer now has little over 200 yards in 2 games with 0 TD's and 3 interceptions.

Knock the Bengals passing studs down a bit, but this is a nice buy-low opportunity as well. They still have games against the porous Browns, and other favorable matchups should be followed. But what once were sure-fire starts now have to be examined closer and if you have someone more reliable, it might be worth a change. Hard to believe JT O'Sullivan would be a better QB than Carson Palmer so far, but this is true. Matchups have been a big key to the Bengals failures but there may be something more there.

With games at the New York Giants, at Dallas, home vs. Pittsburgh all coming up, these Bengals might be better off on your bench. But week 4 against the Browns at home is the true test. If they cannot light the Browns up, this could be trouble.

September 12, 2008

Week 2 Fantasy QB Starts

breessaint.jpgChris Graythen/Getty Images

It's been one week and you can say goodbye to the top QB on the list. Bouncing back from this injury for owners will be impossible at best considering you had to draft him in round 1 to get him. Keeper leagues are even worse because they have to hold onto Tom Brady for next year. Being from Minnesota of course I yearned for a Daunte signing in New England to reunite Moss with Culpepper, even though I've seen how immobile Daunte has become. Clearly not going to happen. But you can pick up Matt Cassel.

From the preseason fantasy QB ranking list you can tell we're high on Tony Romo here over Peyton Manning for the #2 spot. The main worry for Romo is what happened on Sunday; despite a nice game with 320 passing yards, the running game put in the touchdowns on this day against Cleveland. Romo's passing game is in tact and performing efficiently as judged by Romo's 75% completion percentage, but to be fair Cleveland's defense was porous with a non-existent pass rush.

Drew Brees is now up there with Romo, though he should be knocked down a few pegs losing Marques Colston for 4 to 6 weeks. Still, they throw the ball often in New Orleans and Brees connected deep a few times. Brees gets even more action passing considering Reggie Bush is an RB best used in the flat catching passes. He always performs well at home and even against a top defense (Tampa Bay) Brees put up 343 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Peyton Manning should have one of his better games against Minnesota, if his offensive line holds up. Opponents have not been able to run on this crew, but have been able to pass at will despite some talent in the defensive backfield in Antoine Winfield. The lack of pass rush for the Vikings did not go away against Green Bay so it remains to be seen if it can make an impact at home in the loud Metrodome. Still, Manning will be passing a lot in this game and will likely hit the end zone a few times. And despite a tough loss against Chicago, and no practice in the Preseason, Manning completed 30 / 49 passes for 257 yards 1 TD and 0 interceptions but was abandoned by his running game.

Kurt Warner at home against Miami is a matchup we definitely like for him and his receivers of course. Not that Miami is terribly bad because they did shut down the Jets passing attack besides that Jerricho Cotchery long touchdown and a few plays. Warner though is similar to Brees in that he is going to throw often enough to put in a few touchdowns and accumulate near 300 yards. Even though the Jets ran on the Dolphins last week, the Cardinals have been a pass-first offense lately especially for their big plays.

Eli Manning had a tough game against Washington, with 216 yards 0 touchdowns and a pick. However he found Plaxico Burress for 10 passes 100+ yards and if you look at Donovan McNabb's display against St Louis (361 yards 63% 3 TD's 0 INT's) it is clear the Rams have a secondary that can be passed on. One reason I don't trust Eli much in general is because of the Giants love for running the football with their numerous RB's, but the matchup is so that Eli is probably a must start at St Louis.

Speaking of McNabb, he'll have a harder time in Dallas against the Cowboys. They shut down Braylon Edwards (though Edwards did drop some passes) and the Eagles WR's are not much to speak of despite DeSean Jackson's emergence. Plus when healthy, this is Brian Westbrook's team. But few RB's are as involved in the passing game as Westbrook is, so McNabb is still good for a score or two in this one but it won't be anywhere near as pretty as his line against the Rams.

A surprise guy I like this week is Jon Kitna at home against the Packers. Green Bay got away with plenty of holding Monday Night that they may not get away with in Detroit. Not to mention the Lions receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams greatly outclass Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian of the Vikings. I still think the Packers will get the victory but I think the Lions will be passing throughout. It may be ugly with a few turnovers, but Kitna will get near 300 yards and a few TD's.

What of Matt Cassel, the new New England QB who hasn't started since High School? Hard to say, but what shouldn't be forgotten is the increase in offensive output when Randy Moss came to town (Wes Welker too, but he has the room to thrive because of Moss' coverages). Moss has made Gus Frerotte, Jeff George, and Todd Bouman look like All-Pro's. I can't imagine he is unowned at this point in a league but he must be owned for his potential with those offensive pieces. Obviously he's no Brady and you should probably wait a few starts to see what this guy can do, but at the very least he should be matchup-worthy quality.

Hard to peg the Cleveland / Pittsburgh game. One would think Cleveland would play better, but Pittsburgh tends to bully the Browns and should be able to score at will. Meanwhile, the Steeler defense should put up a solid effort, and even if Derek Anderson gets yards and a score or two, he will likely get banged around for some sacks and turnovers. If Cleveland gets down early to Pittsburgh, this is likely what will happen. Ben Roethlisberger should be able to throw when he wants against Cleveland, and Ben was a fortunate QB last year throwing for as many TD's as he did with a low yardage total. Last week's output was solid but unspectacular; it could be a sign that Ben's numbers are going to go down a bit as Willie Parker gets some more TD's this year, but with a terrible defense such as the Browns playing he is worth a start unless you have an elite option.

Carson Palmer has become a real question mark in an offense that used to be one of the very elite, with a top RB, QB, and two fine WR's (not to mention a worthy third WR). The running game is in flux and Carson Palmer had 94 yards 37.5% 0 TD's 1 INT against the Ravens in the opener. He can't possibly play this bad? The problem is the way will not be any easier this week against a Tennessee defense that slaughtered the Jaguars and certainly rivals that of the Ravens. Expect a similar line to Derek Anderson's in Cleveland, as both will likely be passing from behind and will have yards, maybe a few scores but some picks / fumbles from the constant pressure.

Week 2 QB Rankings
1. Tony Romo vs Phi
2. Peyton Manning at Min
3. Drew Brees at Was
4. Kurt Warner vs. Mia
5. Jon Kitna vs GB
6. Eli Manning at Stl
7. Ben Roethlisberger at Cle
8. Donovan McNabb at Dal
9. Matt Cassel at NYJ
10. Derek Anderson vs. Pit
11. Philip Rivers at Den
12. Carson Palmer vs. Ten
13. Jay Cutler vs. SD
14. Damon Huard vs. Oak
15. Aaron Rodgers at Det
16. Brian Griese vs. Atl
17. Matt Hasselbeck vs. SF
18. Jake Delhomme vs. Chi
19. Tarvaris Jackson vs. Ind
20. Jason Campbell vs. NO


September 9, 2008

Brady ruins knee / ACL / MCL

Some fantasy owners are upset about this I think :)