Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Vick, Romo, worry owners

After the first few weeks of every NFL season, certain players are overrated by fantasy owners. One or two big games doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and fantasy football is about predicting the future as opposed to adding players with good games in the past.

This year is no different, as several “sleeper”-type players have exploded with great stats in one or both weeks. The tricky part is figuring out which players will help you later in the season, and which guys have played their best game.

The number one name on everyone’s lips is “Cam Newton.” The rookie quarterback now has 854 yards, three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in his first two games with the Carolina Panthers. He actually looks fairly NFL-ready, even though he’s surrounded by players who went 2-14 last season. I’m very hesitant to buy into all of his hype though. The three picks today were bad, and pretty soon defenses will realize that they can focus all of their attention on the passing game because the Panthers running backs aren’t succeeding. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 11 rushes and 18 yards on Sunday.


Another stud from the first two weeks is Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson. Henderson had at least 100 yards and a score in each game, and fantasy owners have rushed to pick him up as a replacement to the injured Marques Colston. Again, I really don’t believe in Henderson and I’m confused as to why everyone else does. Most of his production in Week Two came from a 79 yard touchdown reception, and he only had two targets besides that. As long as quarterback Drew Brees spreads the love in New Orleans, I’m staying away from Henderson.

One guy I am buying into is Nate Burleson. The Lions receiver led his team with seven catches (on nine targets) for 93 yards last week, and he seems to have a strong connection with quarterback Matthew Stafford. The pair hooked up for a touchdown in each of the three preseason games they played together. As long as Stafford stays healthy, watch for Burleson to sneak into the top 30 fantasy wide receivers this year.

Game Recaps

New York Jets 32, Jacksonville 3

Even though the Jets totaled 32 points, there weren’t too many offensive fireworks in their win against the Jaguars. Dustin Keller (101 yards, TD) and the Jets Defense (4 INTs) were both solid, but the stars of New York were relatively quiet. Both Santonio Holmes and Shonn Greene found the end zone, but each were held to less than 60 total yards. While I still believe in Holmes going forward, Greene scares me. After 49 yards on 16 carries in Week Two, he is still under three yards per carry for the year. As for the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew (107 yards) is the only player you can start with confidence.

Detroit 48, Kansas City 3

Armageddon came on Sunday for some fantasy owners, as Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was lost for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. I’d pick up Thomas Jones first if I was an owner who lost Charles. Kansas City appears to be the leader in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes after two weeks; unless they have a great matchup I wouldn’t feel good about starting anyone on Kansas City in the future weeks. Dwayne Bowe (113 yards) did manage a decent day from a fantasy perspective, but defenses know that they can just key on him in passing downs. Matthew Stafford (294 yards, 4 PaTD, 1 INT) and Jahvid Best (123 yards, 2 TD) each had great days for the Lions.

New Orleans 30, Chicago 13

Brees (270 yards, 3 PaTD) continues to be a fantasy machine, but he makes it difficult to start any of the Saints wide receivers (none had more than four targets). For the Bears, running back Matt Forte (166 yards) has a bright, bright season ahead of him. Forte rushed for 4.9 yards per carry, but had more receiving yards than rushing yards for the second week in a row. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler continues to look for Forte more than anyone else, and Forte also led the team in targets with 20. I’m all in on Forte this year.

Cleveland 27, Indianapolis 19

I’m going to make this quick and I’m going to make it easy: the only players on either of these two teams you should EVER start are Peyton Hillis (117 yards, 2 TD), Reggie Wayne (66 yards), Dallas Clark (32 yards, TD) and Joseph Addai (101 yards). If you even consider starting someone else, your team is in trouble.

Tampa Bay 24, Minnesota 20

Why the Buccaneers coaches continue to limit LaGarrette Blount’s (71 yards, 2 TD) carries absolutely baffles me. Against a D-Line that was missing two Pro Bowlers, Blount racked up 5.5 yards per rush on only 13 touches. Hopefully the play callers get it right soon, as Blount has the talent to be a premiere fantasy running back. For the Vikings, Adrian Peterson (144 yards, 2 TD) is the only player I feel completely comfortable starting. Percy Harvin (83 yards, 1 Fumble) is on the borderline, but I don’t have enough confidence in quarterback Donovan McNabb yet.

Green Bay 30, Carolina 23

Steve Smith (156 yards, fumble) continues to impress, but he’s the only Panther I’m willing to start right now. For the Packers, both Jordy Nelson (1 catch, 84 yards, TD) and Greg Jennings (2 catches, 55 yards, TD) were bailed out by grabbing long touchdowns. Both will continue to be decent fantasy options, as will Jermichael Finley (68 yards). In the running game, James Starks (115 yards) had three more touches than his counterpart Ryan Grant (39 yards), and Starks definitely produced better numbers. If I were forced into starting one of the two I’d probably choose Starks, but I would search very hard for other options.

Pittsburgh 24, Seattle 0

Ben Roethlisberger (298 yards, 1 PaTD) had a good day, but if I owned him I would try my hardest to trade him while his value is high. The Steelers offensive line does an awful job of keeping Big Ben from getting hit, and I would be very surprised if he didn’t suffer an injury sometime soon. I know Marshawn Lynch (6 rushes, 11 yards) has had a couple of terrible weeks, but I wouldn’t discard him as an option thus far.

Tennessee 26, Baltimore 13

This was a battle of two elite running backs, but neither performed at the elite level. Ray Rice (96 yards, TD) managed to find the end zone on a dump off from quarterback Joe Flacco, while Chris Johnson (65 yards) was held scoreless for the second straight week. Both are still every-week starts, don’t panic and bench them any time soon. Kenny Britt (135 yards, TD) was a monster and look for him to continue his success after quarterback Matt Hasselback has targeted him more than any other Titans wideout.

Washington 22, Arizona 21

It wasn’t all that pretty, but quarterbacks Rex Grossman (291 yards, 2PaTD, 2 INT) and Kevin Kolb (251 yards, 2 PaTD, INT) each had relatively good fantasy numbers. I believe that this will continue, and both will be start-worthy once bye weeks come around or if their matchups are favorable. The rushing distribution for the Redskins was certainly more representative of a Mike Shanahan offense than in the first week. Tim Hightower (106 yards) still had a majority of the carries (20), but Roy Helu (112 yards) also had 10 rushes and three catches. Watch for the touches to become more evenly split as the season progresses, which will give Helu more value. If you have a roster spot available, Helu is a guy you want to stash.

Buffalo 38, Oakland 35

This game was a real thriller, but I have my doubts about most of the big performances. Sure, Fred Jackson (140 yards, 2 TD) and Darren McFadden (143 yards, 2 TD) are great running backs and will continue to perform well. But Denarius Moore (171 yards, TD), David Nelson (83 yards, TD) and the rest of the guys with breakout games shouldn’t be picked up unless you play in a very deep league. This game was a shootout like nothing these teams have seen for a long time (and probably won’t see for a while). These big fantasy number games were a product of bad defenses more than anything else, so stray away from falling in love with either team’s star players as fantasy options.

Dallas 27, San Francisco 24 (OT)

Tony Romo (345 yards, 2 PaTD) suffered a fractured rib, but came back to finish the game. Romo continues with a troubled history of injuries, which is cause for concern for his long-term value and staying power at quarterback. Other than securing a solid backup, I’m not sure what you can do besides hoping he stays healthy. Frank Gore (64 yards, TD) averaged 2.4 yards per carry against an average-at-best Cowboys defense. It seems that Gore’s day as a premier running back may be coming to an end, especially with a questionable 49er passing attack allowing defenses to focus on Gore.

Denver 24, Cincinnati 22

No Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) meant good things for Willis McGahee (106 yards, TD). He is definitely worth a look if Moreno misses any more time this year. Brandon Lloyd (groin) also missed this game. Hopefully he is back next week or else Denver will have to put quarterback Tim Tebow in at wide receiver again. I like Eric Decker (113 yards, 2 TD) as the Broncos second receiver, but it’s tough to start him when Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tebow are the guys throwing him the ball.

New England 35, San Diego 21

Tom Brady (423 yards, 3 PaTD) and Philip Rivers (378 yards, 2 PaTD, 2 INT) showed why they should never be benched, and neither should their main wide receiver targets Wes Welker (81 yards) and Vincent Jackson (172 yards, 2 TD). Antonio Gates (0 catches) was completely locked down by the Patriots, but there’s nothing you as a fantasy owner can do. He is a must-start every week, and he will get back on track soon.

Houston 23, Miami 13

Last year’s leading rusher Arian Foster (40 yards) reinjured his hamstring, which seems like it might be a nagging injury for the rest of the year. We’ll see if he misses time, but I still think he has a few gigantic games in him. For the Dolphins running game, rookie Daniel Thomas (117 yards, Fumble) was far better than Reggie Bush (21 yards). I don’t feel good starting Bush for now, and I’d try to deal him to someone who is enamored by his highlight-capabilities.

Atlanta 35, Philadelphia 31

This was another game where everyone’s numbers were inflated because of the back-and-forth, video game-style performance on offense. Roddy White (23 yards, TD) had a subpar game, but that’s because Matt Ryan (195 yards, 4 PaTD, 2 INT) wanted to avoid throwing near Eagles shutdown corner back Nnamdi Asomugha. Ryan had to spread the ball around to his other receiving options, as he completed passes to seven different targets. Eagles fans and fantasy owners alike are very concerned about the injury status of Michael Vick (242 yards, 2 PaTD, INT, 2 Fumbles). It’s been reported that he suffered a concussion, and even spit up blood at one point. However, this isn’t the type of injury that Vick owners should be afraid of because it doesn’t sound like it’s season-ending.

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