Fantasy Football Insider - Week 2
by Tim Heaney and Bryce McRae
on September 18, 2010 @ 10:53:06
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- Sam Bradford's NFL debut was busy, but the St. Louis Rams rook looked poised in the pocket and withstood frequent pressure from the Arizona Cardinals. Bradford's three picks weren't all bad decisions: One came on a Hail Mary, and one came after he was hit making a throw. His wideouts dropped four passes, and he still had nearly a 60 percent completion percentage.
- The New York Jets' offense was dominated in time of possession by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Gang Green will probably try to air it out more often in Week 2. Maybe not Air Coryell, but Mark Sanchez will probably heave it a bit more.
Joe Flacco's happy feet in the season-opening win for the Baltimore Ravens were more a product of facing a tough D than anything else.
Happy feet a problem in Week 1
- Expect to see more rollouts from the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler. He feels comfortable outside the pocket, and it gives him more time since Chicago sports a shaky offensive line.
- The Denver Broncos took more shots downfield in Week 1, something they stressed during the offseason. Kyle Orton also feels more comfortable in the offense and is making his reads quicker.
- The Green Bay Packers didn't put a spy on Michael Vick last week, which played a part in his strong game. Still, athletically, he looked like the Vick of old.
- Minnesota Vikings elder statesman Brett Favre looked rusty, not old, during Week 1, per our insider. It came down to total lack of chemistry; Favre's throws have little arc, so the timing needs to be down for success.
- The San Francisco 49ers' Alex D. Smith will probably have to be more aggressive if San Fran wants to keep teams from loading up the box against Frank Gore. The play calling was hampered by communication issues; Smith will wear a cheat sheet on his wrist with backup plays in case it happens again.
- Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young has never faced a Dick LeBeau-coach defense before, and he has a shaky history against 3-4 teams. VY might come out on the wrong end of his matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson are in a 50-50 touch split for the New York Jets, but Greene hasn't been banished to the doghouse despite his two-fumble opener. The team realizes one of them came on a fluke play as he ran into the back side of guard Matt Slauson.
- Ricky Williams was used more often than Ronnie Brown in Week 1 as the Miami Dolphins held on to a lead against the Buffalo Bills. Though Brown will continue to start, the Dolphins will continue to play game situations by ear when deciding Williams' involvement. Both will continue to see touches. Theories: Maybe Ricky could close things out because he's more expendable than Brown. Also, maybe the 'Phins are trying to keep Brown's stats down in his contract year to remove negotiation leverage.
- We should be seeing a lot of Cadillac Williams this week with Kareem Huggins (groin) likely out of action for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kregg Lumpkin might be called upon to add some depth to the backfield, but don't expect him to block Caddy's road to a full-time day.
- The Buffalo Bills probably will commit more to a conventional running game. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson could see a few more carries each game, though our source wasn't sure exactly how much. They also said it was less than 50 percent that Lynch would be traded by Week 6.
- Carolina Panthers back Jonathan Stewart is still rounding into regular season form, one reason for only five carries last week. Carolina probably should have run the ball more, too, per our insider.
- Peyton Hillis is still expected to split carries with Jerome Harrison despite Hillis' problems with ball security last week. However, our insider felt you're likely to see Harrison with more touches.
- If you're gambling on a Cleveland Browns wideout for your lineup, quarterback Seneca Wallace had the most chemistry with Joshua Cribbs in the preseason.
- The Detroit Lions' Jahvid Best (toe) is expected to start and should receive a few more looks as a receiver with Shaun Hill behind center. He'll be a mismatch for the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Omar Gaither.
- Laurence Maroney is viewed mainly as an insurance policy for the Denver Broncos. He'll have to get up to speed, which shouldn't be a big transition, and he has an outside shot at the No. 2 job in 2011.
- The Green Bay Packers will probably give Brandon Jackson 60 to 65 percent of the carries with John Kuhn taking the rest, though expect GB to run less overall. James Starks (hamstring) and Dimitri Nance are both too far out to expect much.
- Yes, the Houston Texans' Arian Foster was great against the Indianapolis Colts, but Indy looked slow and were overpursuing a lot. Fullback Vonta Leach also played one of his best games.
- Our source felt the San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis could do a good job slowing down Heisman divorcee Reggie Bush. He felt the New Orleans Saints other rushing option, Pierre Thomas, was a good play this week, especially if NO uses PT on a few screens to confuse SF's D.
- Darren McFadden looked the best he has in an Oakland Raiders uniform last week. He wasn't going down at the first sign of contact. He caught the ball well, and he pass blocked well. He was utilized about 27 times, which is right around where Oakland wants to keep him with Michael Bush (thumb) not expected to play.
- The Oakland Raiders should do a decent job on the St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson this week. Oakland wasn't that bad against the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson; they were just burned by a big run. Jackson is more of a plodder and doesn't have the speed to burn the Raiders ala CJ2K.
- The San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree showed a disconnected with quarterback Alex D. Smith last week. They weren't ready for game speed, but they made more of an effort to be on the same page in practice this week.
- Better blocking in the second half helped the Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis, who played a surprising 51 of 60 snaps last week.
- Ali-Frazier? Maybe not, but Randy Moss will try to stay off Darrelle Revis Island for Week 2. The New England Patriots wideout was stymied twice by Revis last year, but Wes Welker missed one of those games. Our Jets source said maybe Moss would see four or five catches; maybe that'll happen if Revis is rusty, but he wasn't tested much in Week 1, so his shoreline is still intimidating.
- Our Jets source surmised that New York Jets nickelback Kyle Wilson will be on Welker often, but the Jets will probably mix it up so the rookie Wilson isn't exposed too much.
- The San Diego Chargers likely will require a second-round pick if they were to trade away holdout wideout Vincent Jackson. The Bolts receive a third-round compensatory pick if V-Jax stays with them this year but walks away for 2011. The Minnesota Vikings, who are source says is the likeliest suitor, recently floated an offer that would include a one-year, $7 million contract offer to bring Jackson on board, but that has stalled because of disagreements on the Chargers' compensation.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars' Mike Sims-Walker ran into the Champ Bailey wall in Week 1 and failed to record a catch. Jags quarterback David Garrard found Mike Thomas often, proving he's doing a better job of looking off the primary wideout. Garrard's confidence in Thomas is growing, but Sims-Walker remains the No. 1 option in the passing attack.
- Per the New York Jets' plan to pass more, expect more offensive attention to be paid to wide receiver Braylon Edwards, whom Rex Ryan said wasn't used enough in Week 1. The New England Patriots' corners had trouble with the Cincinnati Bengals' Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens last week (Cincy was playing catch-up).
- Point-per-reception scroungers: Brian Hartline is having issues with his focus and performance; he failed to get open much during Week 1 and dropped a few passes. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact he's starting and is going through an adjustment period. He still ranks behind Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess in the wideout pecking order.
- Boomer Sooners? Oklahoma alums and St. Louis Rams teammates Mark Clayton and quarterback Sam Bradford have worked out on occasion in past offseasons; it appears Bradford is comfortable with the new wideout. Many think they're workout BFFs, though, and many fantasy analysts have oversold this relationship. Still, Clayton is the closest thing the Rams have to a veteran wideout and runs good enough routes to have quickly acclimated himself to this timing system. Clayton looks like he could be matched up against Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha this weekend, though.
- Laurent Robinson owners and watchers: The Rams wideout looked a bit rusty coming off his ankle injury, but he's still considered an important part of the Rams' passing game.
- The Baltimore Ravens' T.J. Houshmandzadeh looked pretty good, possibly exceeding expectations, despite only one catch for 27 yards.
- The Dallas Cowboys were testing Dez Bryant's knowledge of the hot routes, one reason for his 12 looks. He's still probably a better fantasy option than Roy Williams most weeks.
- If the Kansas City Chiefs figure out their downfield passing game (weather in Week 1 stopped it), Chris Chambers is likely to benefit most.
The Indianapolis Colts' Austin Collie was the preferred option of our insider over Pierre Garcon. Collie knows the system better this year. He doesn't drop many passes. Quarterback Peyton Manning remembers the drops, too.
Has Manning's trust
- Wes Welker still isn't technically 100 percent for the New England Patriots. Does it matter for fantasy teams? No.
- Hakeem Nicks' (ankle) big day for the New York Giants last week was helped, in part, because the Carolina Panthers were throwing double coverage at Steve E. Smith. New York was happy to let this happen because they feel confident in Nicks and Mario Manningham. It's hard to see the Indianapolis Colts doubling any of those wideouts this week in their Cover 2 set. They might just sit back and read quarterback Eli Manning.
- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick didn't spend much time working any of the No. 1s in camp, but he does have some chemistry with No. 4 wideout Riley Cooper.
- Our insider felt the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins were the two main teams interested in the San Diego Chargers' Vincent Jackson. Minny might be willing to give up a high draft pick, but SD could demand two. A long-term deal doesn't seem as vital to the discussions.
- Expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to continue to look in Marcedes Lewis' direction in the red zone. Though the two touchdowns he scored in Week 1 probably inflated his fantasy value a little, it isn't a complete fluke.
- The Buffalo Bills should put a linebacker and safety combo on the Green Bay Packers' Jermichael Finley. Our insider still felt Finley would get his; Finley's size should wear down whichever member of the secondary draws him.
- Benjamin Watson is still probably the better choice for fantasy tight end, if you're eyeing up the Cleveland Browns. Evan Moore could easily spring for 100 yards and a couple of scores - he's talented - but he's not the No. 1 in any packages. Keep in mind: Quarterback Seneca Wallace has relied on this position before, and he had a good connection with both in camp and the preseason.
- The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten should be freed up more from blocking this week with some key parts of Dallas' offensive line back.
- Detroit Lions quarterback Shaun Hill should rely a bit more on tight end Tony Scheffler than injured signal caller Matthew Stafford (shoulder) did in his limited Week 1 play, because Hill doesn't have the arm strength of Stafford.
- The Houston Texans' Owen Daniels knee was fine in Week 1, but he still needs to work on his conditioning. He played 40 snaps.
- The Indianapolis Colts' Dallas Clark could be in for a big day. New York doesn't have an answer for this position with Michael Boley a poor coverage linebacker.
- The Kansas City Chiefs may have intentionally hid Tony Moeaki in the preseason. He had a strong camp and is someone to watch around the red zone.
- The San Francisco 49ers should take a few more shots downfield to Vernon Davis this week. They only attempted one deep pass to him. However, quarterback Alex D. Smith throws a good seam pass, and the New Orleans Saints have had trouble covering tight ends.
Around the league
- The San Diego Chargers are prepared to wait out left tackle Marcus McNeill's holdout, but our source believes the two parties will reach an accord on sometime later on this year.
- As Milli Vanilli said, blame it on the rain. The Kansas City Chiefs' defense performed a tricky rain dance against the Chargers on Monday night. They had three layers of D on tight end Antonio Gates for the whole game, and in taking away Gates' middle of the field, they did their best to neutralize the rest of the passing game by forcing the passing game toward the sidelines. The slick ball and field made it harder for Bolts QB Philip Rivers to throw to the outside.
- Our insider was as optimistic as ever that Logan Mankins will play for the New England Patriots again. Mankins apologized to owner Robert Kraft, who also asked Mankins to apologize to the team, not publicly as has been reported.
- Washington Redskins rookie left tackle Trent Williams passed his first big test; he gave up only one sack and one pressure against the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware. The 'Skins didn't give Williams any help, either. Test No. 2: the Houston Texans' Mario Williams.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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