Fantasy Football Insider - Week 2
by Tim Heaney
on September 12, 2008 @ 18:02:15
KFFL's Fantasy Football Insider for Week 2 is here. Each week, KFFL dishes the dirt with our network of insiders with every NFL team. Along the way, juicy tidbits will emerge to help determine your fantasy football team's lineup for the given week. Here are some of the key fantasy football tidbits that came across our desk for the upcoming week....
- Atlanta Falcons rookie Matt Ryan doesn't have a favorite receiver, as noted by his seven different targets last week. He showed positive signs, though, while looking for them downfield instead of constantly checking down.
- Could the New England Patriots already have a quarterback controversy - BEFORE Matt Cassel takes a snap? The team likes third-stringer Kevin O'Connell, meaning that Cassel has until about the team's Week 4 bye to prove he's the starter.
- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning didn't really live up to the post-Super Bowl hype in Week 1. There were plenty of quarterback-wideout miscues, but it could merely be a sign of rust for the youngest Manning. KFFL still doesn't view him as better than a fantasy backup most weeks.
- Don't look for the Pittsburgh Steelers to limit Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder). The weak Cleveland Browns secondary is too tempting for the Steelers to exploit.
- The leash is still long on San Francisco 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan despite the disappointing offensive performance in Week 1.
- Expecting a repeat of Jerious Norwood's 14 carries would be optimistic; they fed him the ball after they built a big lead. A total of eight to 10 would be more reasonable.
- Moving on to a more unreasonable fantasy situation, the Baltimore Ravens should dish out 15 carries to starter Willis McGahee (knee), 10 or less to Ray Rice ... and about 15 to, yes, fullback Le'Ron McClain. With rookie quarterback Joe Flacco at the helm, the running game will continue to be the focus. This situation creates a whole mess of fantasy flex options.
- Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron likes McClain, whom he views as a heavier version of Michael Turner. However, worries about the 260-pounder's stamina could surface if they continue to use him later in the season.
- The Carolina Panthers should offer a similar touch split to last week's 19-10 split in favor of DeAngelo Williams, but they could lean toward Jonathan Stewart more to counter the Chicago Bears' physical D.
- If the Dallas Cowboys were in a close battle with the Cleveland Browns last week, Marion Barber III would've re-entered the game. Barber has practiced without problems and isn't expected to wear protection over his bruised rib.
- Still digging for stability in the Denver Broncos running game? You might find Jimmy Hoffa first. Goal line vulture Michael Pittman should continue his situational role; the Broncos like his blocking in the passing game.
- That being said, Andre Hall and Selvin Young should each see about 15 touches.
- The Detroit Lions should incorporate backup Rudi Johnson into the game plan more often this week. His issues are more evident with the play-calling terminology and blitz pickups than the actual plays. He reportedly looks healthy.
- The Green Bay Packers might give Ryan Grant (hamstring) around only 12 touches to rest him this week; a healthy dose of Brandon Jackson against the Lions would keep Grant fresh for Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars could not run the ball or protect quarterback David Garrard last week due to a decimated o-line. They face an aggressive Buffalo Bills D, so it could be a repeat of the opener.
- A game of catch-up and the New York Jets' shell defense limited the Dolphins to 17 rushing attempts last week. For those of you wondering readers, a shell defense is when the linebackers pose the illusion of a blitz and back off into coverage to jump underneath routes. Should the offense run, the 'backers are already on top of them. Expect more balance in Week 2.
- Look for Ronnie Brown to be the third-down back as he was the most effective back last week when he received touches. He is confident about the health of his knee.
- New England Patriots back LaMont Jordan was presumably the third-down back last week, but Sammy Morris made an impact instead. Ignore Jordan in almost all fantasy formats for now.
- The New Orleans Saints might work Deuce McAllister (knee) back on the fold, but it won't be this week. Pierre Thomas is the team's best RUNNING back at the moment, and once again Reggie Bush will be featured everywhere possible.
- The New York Giants probably won't look much to Ahmad Bradshaw again this week; he's buried on the depth chart.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker likely won't see more than 25 carries per game unless rookie Rashard Mendenhall has troubles holding onto the football. Mendenhall could see goal line touches as he builds up his confidence.
- LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) Alert: The San Diego Chargers stud should play, but if he needs a break or cannot go, expect Darren Sproles to see the majority of the carries with Jacob Hester spelling him in short-yardage situations.
- Our sources expect San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz to give Frank Gore at least 25 touches per game.
- Julius Jones should see 20 to 25 touches for the Seattle Seahawks this week, with T.J. Duckett subbing as needed.
- St. Louis Rams back Steven Jackson should see 25 to 30 touches in Week 2.
- The Detroit Lions' top dog at wide receiver could be switching from Roy Williams to Calvin Johnson, as Johnson almost doubled Williams' targets last week. This scenario, however, may not play out the same way each week.
- Speaking of Williams, he could see some more looks if Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) is unable to go.
- Garrard has a rapport with slightly redeemed wideout Matt Jones (hamstring) already and is likely the No. 1 wideout for this week. Jones has been battling a nagging hamstring issue, but he should be able to go.
- Sticking with Jacksonville, Jerry Porter (hamstring) would be the No. 1 option upon his return because of his physical play. This would leave Jones at No. 2.
- Despite a lackluster Week 1, Miami Dolphins wideout Ted Ginn Jr. received a vote of confidence as the No. 1, but he needs to translate his work ethic into producing like a true No. 1 wideout.
- Could Minnesota Vikings wideout Bernard Berrian be suffering from lingering effects of his toe injury? He often lost his footing while running routes dating back to the preseason, and he failed to create separation from 33-year-old Green Bay Packers corner Al Harris in Week 1 play.
- New Orleans Saints note: Running back Reggie Bush and tight end Jeremy Shockey will be the top two passing targets, followed by David Patten, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem, with the loss of star receiver Marques Colston (thumb).
- Meachem was a sleeper in fantasy drafts this year; the 6-foot-2 wideout is a good matchup against the Washington Redskins, but the team doesn't feel like he's ready to step into an every-down role.
- New York Giants wideout Steven Smith is the equivalent target of former Giant Jeremy Shockey for quarterback Eli Manning; he will be receiving the malcontent's leftover targets, not tight end Kevin Boss.
- With the Oakland Raiders receivers disappointing once again, Ashley Lelie might see additional looks; he knows the system, which was run by the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons, two of his former teams.
- Logan Payne and Courtney Taylor are expected to start for the Seattle Seahawks this week.
- Dante Rosario (ankle) has been a hot fantasy pickup, but his coming-out party isn't likely to happen much more often this year, especially with wideout Steve Smith returning in Week 3. The athletic freak should still be a legit threat as the team likes to use him as an H-back.
- The Denver Broncos are alternating Nate Jackson and Tony Scheffler as the No. 2 tight end. Don't make either of them your fantasy No. 2.
- Our source notes the return of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard should help Tony Gonzalez's numbers. KFFL's analysis doesn't find the disparity between his numbers with Huard and those with the sidelined Brodie Croyle (shoulder) quite as noticeable on a per-game basis, but the more experienced Huard should know where to find the skill on his team - namely Gonzalez and top wideout Dwayne Bowe ... along with a heavy dose of the run.
- After following a steady diet of the tight ends in Week 1, the Miami Dolphins should continue to lean on Anthony Fasano and David Martin for the foreseeable future. Their Week 2 opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, should leave the middle of the field open to avoid being beaten with the deep ball.
- Let KFFL start the trip off the Kevin Boss bandwagon. The New York Giants don't run their offense through the tight end position. Former Giant Jeremy Shockey was basically forcing their hand with the potential that he would complain if he didn't get the ball.
- The Washington Redskins officially targeted Chris Cooley only once, but two other looks to him were negated by false start penalties. Still, that's well below what they need to do to make their sluggish offense work.
Around the league
- KFFL sends our best wishes to everyone fighting through storms in the southern states. Be safe.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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