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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

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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.