Week 1 Fantasy Blitzkrieg: Part II
Every week during the season, I will throw out some quick observations of the previous NFL week. With the invention of the DVR and Directv’s ”Quick Bits”, I am able to watch every snap of every game and give you a lightning (blitz) war (krieg) to bring to your fantasy league for domination. Bring on the games!
The Rams certainly suffered more than their share of injuries. Steven Jackson looked amazing on his huge TD run, then left after his second carry. Danny Amendola came out ready to be the PPR machine but then injured his elbow so bad that the networks wouldn’t re-air it. S-Jax’s injury looks to be of the short kind and Amendola may be back in October. Caddy Williams took over for the Rams and looked good after getting rid of the rust. If you need a RB for a week or so, you could do worse. Sam Bradford looked human under constant pressure; hopefully, that will change real soon. LeSean McCoy was used in his typical PPR way with a shuffle pass near the end zone and then a huge gliding 49 yard TD run. Michael Vick ran for almost 100 yards, but did have issues with the snap count and looked out of it at times.
DeSean Jackson is trying to make some money, as he had a great game topped off with a short TD grab. Even big DE Juqua Parker got in on the act and scored on a 56 yard fumble return.
The Jags went back to what works: MJD! He had almost 100 yards rushing but didn’t catch a pass, which was surprising. The Jags did limit his carries though, spelling him with Deji Karim, who was much better in the passing game than the running game. Marcedes Lewis came out of the second half due to leg cramps. Luke McCown and Mike Thomas were just average and added nothing special. Kenny Britt was the one-man show for the Titans. He had a huge 80 yard TD catch and added a short one as well. CJ2K appeared to be rusty and was not a fantasy factor. Look for his role and conditioning to improve as the season moves on. Matt Hasselbeck is the game manager that we all know, no surprises there.
The Bills handed the Chiefs a butt-whooping. TE Scott Chandler may be the hottest waiver wire pickup this week. Don’t be fooled, the Bills don’t use TEs enough. Fred Jackson was solid and put up over 100 yards, but TDs will as always be hard to get. CJ Spiller’s garbage time TD was just that. F-Jax became tired from carrying the ball up and down the field. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick had 4 TDs, but remember that Eric Berry tore his ACL during the game and that was a huge blow to KC’s defense. Stevie Johnson did his part going 4-66 yards and a beautiful athletic TD catch. Dwayne Bowe was targeted eight times, but due to Matt Cassel either throwing to him while covered or badly thrown balls, he only caught two of the targets. Cassel ended up averaging 3.3 yards per attempt. That’s not good. Yes, Jamaal Charles had 15 touches for 65 yards and a TD, but that was the Chiefs’ only bright spot.
If you didn’t watch the preseason, you would have no idea that Cam Newton and Steve Smith lacked great chemistry before this game. They hooked up twice for TDs, a 77 yarder and a 26 yarder. Smith caught 8 of his 11 targets for 178 yards: that’s good for a two-week span, let alone Game 1. Cam Newton also added a goal line touchdown as he took all the goal line carries for the Panthers, but it was his 422 passing yards that stick out. Greg Olsen added 4-78 — just remember this isn’t John Fox’ offense anymore. Beanie Wells had over 100 yards combined with a 7 yard TD. Kevin Kolb looked okay, passing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Early Doucet took a broken play and made it a 70 yard TD catch and run. Larry Fitzgerald was targeted the most with seven balls but only came down with three catches. The Cards needed a huge 89 yard punt return from rookie Patrick Peterson for a TD to seal the victory.
Vikings fans have to be happy they still have Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, as they were the only bright spots against the Chargers. Harvin had a 103 yard kickoff return for a TD and added a bit more with sweeps and short receptions. AP had just over 100 total yards and was running quite hard. The Vikings passing game was non-existent, as Donovan McNabb ran for 7 yards less than he passed and he threw for 39 yards. Ouch. Phillip Rivers took a while to get warmed up. He mostly focused on his short game with the running backs. Mike Tolbert had three TDs, with two of those in the air. He caught a team high 9 balls with 58 yards receiving. Ryan Matthews finished with almost 120 yards combined and glided through the less than stout Minnesota run defense. Rivers did not find his downfield targets much, but look for that to improve in the coming weeks.
ESPN must have been overjoyed that the junky Oakland vs. Denver game had a better lead-in than expected. If you love fantasy, the Patriots-Dolphins matchup probably was your game. Reggie Bush looked shifty and ran with purpose instead of his usual dancing. Chad Henne looked poised and threw the ball fairly well and put on the jets during his up-the-middle TD burst. Both Brandon Marshall (7-139 yards) and Anthony Fasano (5-82 yards) had very productive nights. Tom Brady had over 500 yards passing and 4 TDs against the self-proclaimed best CB tandem in the league. Other than Ocho, the rest of the Patriots passing game looked amazing. Aaron Hernandez (7-103 yards-1 TD) and Rob Gronkowski (6-86 yards-1 TD) were both finding the seams in the defense. Wes Welker’s night exploded with a 99.5 yard TD reception! This was after he had a 2 yard TD catch, finishing 7-154 yards. Don’t expect this every week, but enjoy it today.
Darren McFadden was the only star of the second half of the MNF double-header. He ran for 150 yards, despite not receiving much help from the rest of the offense. Jason Campbell threw for a horrid 105 yards with slightly over a 50% completion rate but did finish with passing and rushing TDs. I’m not sure if it was the rain, but the Denver running game under Foxy isn’t all that. Both RBs Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno couldn’t get in rhythm. Kyle Orton had the ugliest 300 yard passing day I think I have ever seen. Brandon Lloyd wasn’t bothered by a change in offensive philosophy, putting up 6 catches for 89 yards. Eric Decker showed some signs of life with a 90 yard punt return for a TD. He also added 3 catches for 53 yards. Ed McCaffrey here we come!
I wish I could say I saved the best for last, but I didn’t. The Seahawks vs. the 49ers is a game that only San Fran fans could love. This was a sloppy game. Starting RBs Marshawn Lynch (2.5 yards per rush) and Frank Gore(2.7 yards per rush ) were downright disappointing. The quarterbacks didn’t fare better, as Tarvaris Jackson averaged 5.3 yards per attempt and Alex Smith 6.2 yards per attempt . The 49ers had great special teams play, as Ted Ginn returned a kickoff and a punt each for a TD, and David Akers hit on four field goals. Seattle’s only offensive bright spot was rookie WR Doug Baldwin who broke a 55 yard reception for a touchdown, finishing with 4-83 and a score. I wouldn’t expect that again.
Next week look for only one column with 10 games or so. Have fun and good luck!