All aboard the pain train.
The 2011 season is so far a crazy-beyond-imagination example of how different the NFL is after further rule changes to protect the players. However, what it feels like is that the only dramatic difference is the number of passing yards while we still watch our favorite players go down with injury week after week. And the top fantasy players are dropping like flies.
Add Michael Vick, Kenny Britt, and Antonio Gates to the "Suicide Hotline All-Injured All-Star Team" that you pray your players don't end up on. Just reading a story this morning as well that Peyton Manning reportedly will not return this season, and why would he want to anyway? He watches the Colts more than anybody. He knows what he's avoiding.
That Suicide All-Star Team could concievably look like this:
Manning and Vick, who has luckily avoided a broken hand
Antonio Gates at the tight end spot.
It's a terrible nightmare to imagine having a few of these players on your team right now. Chances are you've been hit somewhere by injury so far and if you've been lucky enough to avoid it, don't think it's not coming.
There's no amount of rules that the NFL can impliment to 100% prevent injury without making the game a total bore. This is the truth that we have to live with and the bad comes with the good. You just cross your fingers every week and pray your player doesn't get carted off and you see the empire crumble around you. That's why it's best to always have your finger ready on the trigger for the waiver wire. Let's get to the review for this weeks games.
Buffalo Bills are Causing a Rip in the Space-Time Continuum
Last night I had a terrible dream that I was sent back in time to prevent a future terrorist from ever being born but in order for me to convince the Pentagon that I was who I said I was they asked me one question:
"Yeah, if you're from the future, whats the Bills record after week 3?"
"Yeah right buddy, get the hell out of here!"
"No, I'm serious! They're undefeated! They just beat the Patriots to move into first place!"
"ARREST THIS MAN!"
Shocking as it may seem, this has all turned out to be true. Right at this very moment the Pentagon is kicking themselves in the butt for not believing me. It all looked like a Patriots-Bills game midway the the 2nd quarter when New England went up 21-0, but then out of nowhere Buffalo woke up and Tom Brady threw as many interceptions yesterday as he did in all of 2010.
There was a lot of buzz this week on Bills WR David Nelson, and he didn't do bad catching 6 passes for 84 yards. However now we have to wonder how much of a role Donald Jones will take up in the offense after he had 5 for 101. Stevie Johnson got the most fantasy points in the WR department for the Bills catching 8 for 94 and a TD. The Patriots are basically very generous and maybe we should praise them for that.
Fred Jackson had 161 total yards and a TD. Tight end Scott Chandler caught another touchdown now giving him four in three games. He's also got 89 total yards on the season. It would be great to see him only catch 1-yard TD passes for the rest of the year.
Patriots Lose, Tom Brady Clearly Holding Them Back
Again, Brady threw four picks yesterday against the Bills. I had a notion after week 1 that the Bills, while they wouldn't be an elite defense by any means, would be better than people thought. They'll give up yards and points, but they've got playmakers that could cause turnovers at a good rate. Some of what I saw in highlights looked like the Bills were just in the right place at a lucky time, but an interception is an interception.
It didn't prevent Brady for throwing for 387 yards and 4 TDs though.
I wasn't sure that the injury to Aaron Hernandez would really up the numbers for Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker or if another player would step up, but I was clearly wrong. Welker went video game yesterday with 16 catches for 217 yards and 2 TDs. Welker now has 81 more receiving yards than anyone in the league, 9 more catches than anyone in the league, and is third in TDs. (31 for 458 and 4)
Gronkowski is 14th in catches, 7th in yards, and 2nd in TDs. (17 for 281 and 5)
Brady is 1st in yards and TDs and 2nd in QB Rating.
All eyes were on the most anticipated game of our era yesterday and years from now I'll sit around with my grandkids and tell them about the Panthers and Jaguars epic 16-10 matchup on September 25th, 2011.
I'll tell them about how two rookie QB's battled it out with Cam Newton epically outgaining Blaine Gabbert 158 yards to 139. I'll regale them with tales of Mike Thomas's team-leading 55 yards and Steve Smith's incredible 2 catches for 15 yards.
We'll sit around the futuristic no-flame digital campfire and speak of DeAngelo Williams 10 carries for 18 yards and Jonathan Stewart's 59 yards. Oh and I'll probably mention that Maurice Jones-Drew had another good game where he didn't score a touchdown.
Or I'll forget this game happened by the time I finish this sentence.
San Francisco 49ers Get 2nd Win, Need 5 More for Division Title
If you're talking to somebody that says "offense is up all around the league this year!," show them the San Francisco-Cincinnati Bengals highlights and prove them wrong.
The Niners 2-1 record seems like a near-lock for an NFC West title when you look around the division, so get used to the idea of Alex Smith starting in the playoffs. They are not a good team and it honestly felt like their inactivity in the offseason made them the fourth best team in the division, but the Rams seem destined for another top 5 pick, as do the Seahawks and they just beat the Cardinals so what does that say about Arizona? All San Fran has to do at this point is win their next 5 games in the division (how hard could that REALLY be?) and 7 wins seems like it could legitimely take the NFC West for the 2nd year in a row.
Smith managed to look completely vanilla again, where he does absolutely nothing to remind you that he exists by not being good or bad enough to even catch your attention if it weren't for the fact that he's a former #1 pick. He was 20-of-30 for 201 yards and 0 TD/0 INT. That just looks like a fake stat line. After 3 weeks there are currently three players who have twice as many passing yards as Smith, and one of those guys is a rookie.
Over half of his attention was focused on Vernon Davis who had 8 catches for 114 yards.
I'd pretty much consider Michael Crabtree a 0% owned-worthy player right now.
Meanwhile the Bengals really "Bungled" this game. (Note to self: Trademark the term "Bungles" for Cincinnati, as I am the first one to ever say that.)
It was a thrilling 3-3 game going into the fourth quarter, and then a thrilling 23-yard Mike Nugent field goal gave the Bungles the lead, until a thrilling Kendall Hunter 7-yard run gave the 49ers the lead for good.
Not a single player on Cincinnati was a good play yesterday.
Miami Dolphins Want More Credit for Being 0-3
The Dolphins feel slighted by the media for never being mentioned as one of the worst teams in the NFL. "Hey, just because we're mostly in games that we end up blowing in the 4th quarter doesn't mean we're not as bad as Minnesota or Indianapolis," said head coach Tony Sparano.
"We fully expect to be in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes."
Daniel Thomas added 95 more rushing yards in his 2nd game. Considering how hard it is to find players these days that get 20 carries, Thomas is a must-start from this point forward. He also had Miami's only TD yesterday.
It's So Hardesty to Say Goodbye to Peyton Hillis
I thought that strep throat was just something teenagers got to get out of math tests, but apparently it can get you out of an NFL game as well. Hillis missed the game and Montario Hardesty got his first start. I guess the good news is strep throat isn't that serious so Hillis owners should consider themselves lucky.
Hardesty wasn't a great play, gaining 67 yards on 14 carries with 3 catches. Get Well Soon Peyton.
I sort of have had this belief that Colt McCoy was a real-deal NFL QB. Leading the Browns on a perfect two-minute drill at the end of the game to hit Mohamed Massequoi for the game-winning TD certainly helped affirm that belief.
It's Official: Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz "Sold Soul to Devil"
I hope he got a good deal.
At a certain point yesterday it looked like a nearly done-deal that the Lions and Bills would play like the Lions and Bills in their respective games. The Lions were down 20-0 on the road in Minnesota yesterday and they couldn't get anything going. It was almost as if they were the Lions.
The great news for Detroit fans, and sorry this news isn't about unemployment declining, is that Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford will keep you in every game. It really feels like right now that Calvin Johnson is basically akin to the most feared home-run hitter in baseball. He can change the score on any swing. Having a Pro Bowl-level quarterback at his disposal only makes him that more dangerous.
Johnson caught two 2nd-half touchdown passes and the critical 40-yard catch in overtime. He's just on another level.
Brandon Pettigrew was another fantasy standout with 11 catches for 112 yards. Stafford had 378 more yards and 2 scores without a pick. He's currently 5th in yards, tied for 2nd in TDs, has just 2 picks, and third in QB rating behind Aaron Rodgers and Brady.
Jahvid Best had a terrible day against the Vikings run defense (12 carries for 14 yards) but added 74 yards through the air.
Minnesota Vikings Could Be On Collision Course with Giving Up on 1st Round QB Before He Ever Plays
Of all the terrible teams in the NFL, the Vikings seem to be in the most precarious position if they wind up with the worst record in the league. They just picked Christian Ponder 12th overall in the 2011 draft, and of course the assumption is that he's going to be a franchise QB.
That being said, they could put themselves in the "what if?" position if they wind up as the league's worst. Ponder was sort of a surprise #12 pick and he shot up draft boards out of nowhere. There's not a lot of second-guessing going on with Andrew Luck.
Of course they will also be in the position to pick up multiple first-round picks plus more in trade if they wind up with the #1, but nothing will ever compare to the bounty of potentially having the next Peyton Manning.
Personally, I trade Ponder and accept that I just drafted a superstar in Luck. I think there's not a chance in hell that happens. Just my opinion.
Very little of note on Vikings offense that you didn't already know: Adrian Peterson is good. The passing offense is lackluster. Michael Jenkins had 9 catches for 88 yards and that will probably never happen again.
It seemed like things could be all set for a trifecta on surprising 3-0 starts when the Texans were up 26-17 in the fourth quarter. Then Houston took the rest of the game off and the Saints outscored them 21-7 in the final 10 minutes.
James Casey came out of nowhere to catch 5 passes for 126 yards and a TD. He's listed as a fullback on the roster but Kubiak calls him a "jack of all trades" that will get plenty of opportunities down the road.
Drew Brees had three 2nd-half TD's and spread them out to Jimmy Graham, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore. Graham is fulfilling expectations of being a #1 fantasy tight end so far this season. Meachem and Moore are nice commodities, but as you can see with Devery Henderson going scoreless on 62 yards, it's hard to tell which player will step up when.
Mark Ingram scored his first career touchdown.
Everybody was all excited to say how good Kafka looked last week when Vick left with a concussion. Of course, all the Eagles do is produce quarterbacks.
Then Kafka was put to the test for the second straight week, something that comes with the territory with Vick, and he went 4-for-7 for 35 yards with 0 TDs, 2 INTs, and the Giants outscored the Eagles 15-0 in the fourth quarter to win. Luckily, it appears that Vick's hand is bruised, not broken as originally feared.
Super Bowl favorite Philadelphia is now 1-2 and in actual danger of falling 2 games behind the Washington Redskins. Seriously, how are people doing in survivor leagues this year? It's getting ridiculous.
Jeremy Maclin had 5 catches for 69 yards and a hamstring injury. LeSean McCoy is in the running for best running back in the league right now after 128 more yards and a TD. DeSean Jackson continues to be crazy inconsistent.
Eli Manning responded to my criticism, specifically to ME, by throwing for 254 yards and 4 TDs without a pick. The Eagles certainly look like they really suck at defense right now, but they get San Francisco next week and then face another test in Buffalo. (Yes, I JUST SAID THEY FACE ANOTHER TEST IN BUFFALO? WHAT?)
Victor Cruz looks like a talented WR that could step up in the absence of all the unhealthy Giants wideouts. He had 3 catches for 110 yards and 2 scores. He's a solid pickup because Domenik Hixon isn't coming back and the door is open. Ahmad Bradshaw had 139 total yards and a score. I'm always ready-set-go on running backs against Philly. Kendall Hunter breakout party next week?
So Chris Johnson Just Sucks Right?
Things have to be getting really bad when you tie for the team-lead in rushing yards with the punter. Johnson has now totaled 98 rushing yards through three games on 2.1 yards per carry.
Arian Foster has an excuse. Jamaal Charles has an excuse. What's Chris Johnsons excuse? I considered Johnson to potentially be the most talented running back in the league coming into this season, but he just drew Denver (they were 28th against the run after two weeks) and he gained 21 yards on 13 carries. Where do Johnson owners go from here?
You can't just give him away, but you have to make the decision of either hanging onto Johnson when something is potentially wrong with him or the system or you can try to move him off your team while he still has value. If I owned Johnson and got a decent offer for him, I'd probably take it.
The major news in the game yesterday was Kenny Britt's torn ACL and MCL that will end his season. I listed Britt as one of the top WRs in the league that was poised for a major breakout. He had shown that star power through two games but its all over now. He's got a long road back too. It's really unfortunate.
I listed Nate Washington as a sleeper on Friday and with Dez Bryant questionable I put my money where my mouth is and started Nate. He rewarded me with 8 catches for 92 yards and a TD. Washington's value also vaults up with the Britt injury. It will be interesting to see if another WR, like Damian Williams, finally steps up.
Denver Bronco's Offense Exists, but Without Fanfare or Worth
Don't count Denver out of the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes.
Kyle Orton threw a couple of TDs, but also had 2 picks and less than 200 yards. Knowshon Moreno was out for the game but Willis McGahee was unable to follow-up last week with a big game with 52 yards on 22 carries. Tennessee's run defense is pretty good.
In Other Crazy News, Raiders Have Offensive Star
"The poor, sad, terrible, boring Raiders" are trying to join Detroit and Buffalo in changing the stigma of who they are and what they plan to accomplish.
Darren McFadden rushed for 171 yards and has 48 more yards than 2nd place LeSean McCoy in the NFL with 393. He's averaging 6.4 yards per carry and he had no issues going against the New York Jets defense. I feel like he's easily a top 5 back, if not challenging Adrian Peterson for top back in the league. Him and McCoy are both in the conversation without a doubt.
Jason Campbell basically just tried not to screw it up. The Raiders had 4 rushing TDs and none in the air. Denarius Moore followed up last week with 4 catches for 34 yards. Just don't start any Oakland WR unless you absolutely have to or until they've shown any consistency.
Sanchez Plays Well, So Jets Lose. Of Course.
The most valuable player on offense was actually Sanchez, who threw for 369 yards and 2 scores while running for another. It's highly doubtful that Ladainian Tomlinson was started in many leagues but he had over 150 total yards and a score. Santonio Holmes was a big disappointment for owners, with just 1 catch for 19 yards.
Shonn Greene had an uneventful game with 59 yards on 15 carries and no scores.
This should have been a blowout for San Diego at home as two TD favorites against the leagues worst team, but the Chargers reminded us that it's still September. Why do they fight so hard to put themselves in large early-season holes?
Philip Rivers struggled without a TD and 2 picks, but Ryan Mathews broke out for 149 total yards and 2 scores. How will he and Mike Tolbert share duties as the season goes on? It's probably an irrelevant question because the heart of the matter is that they still share duties. Tolbert was dealing with a calf injury and had only 4 carries, but I don't think this is the last we hear of him.
Antonio Gates missed the game, and Randy McMichael had 4 catches for 51 yards. Without any Rivers TD passes, no receiver had a high-scoring fantasy game.
The Chiefs moved onto life without Charles by splitting carries between Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones and round 1 of that matchup was very uneventful. Dwayne Bowe had 67 yards and a TD and even on Kansas City, Bowe seems like a solid WR2 play week-to-week.
Baltimore Ravens Vow to be Dominant in Odd-Numbered Weeks
The Bi-Polar Ravens returned to week 1 form by blowing out the St. Louis Rams 37-7. Waiver wire adds of Torrey Smith were all aflutter yesterday after he caught 3 TD passes in the first quarter. Smith finished with 5 catches for 152 yards. The beauty of Smith is that we really don't know what to expect going forward because he's a rookie who was drafted in the 2nd round of this years draft.
The scary part about Smith is that he's a rookie who was drafted in the 2nd round of this years draft.
If you have the bench spot available, of course you add Smith on a flier. But don't expect him to just become a #1 WR over night. They clearly planned to target him early and often but that might not be the gameplan every week. Especially since teams are now well aware of what he's capable of.
Ray Rice added 162 total yards and Joe Flacco nearly approached 400 yards. Starting Ravens is heavily dependent on their matchups week-to-week, and as fantasy owners we need to be well aware that St. Louis is a great matchup to have.
Facing the Ravens defense isn't so fortunate.
Sam Bradford was sacked 5 times, completed just 50% of his passes for 161 yards and threw an interception. Brandon Gibson won the "Rams Wide Receiver Who Has a Good Game of the Week" with 55 yards and a TD. But whether it's going to be him, Mike Sims-Walker, or Danario Alexander? It's hard to ever know.
Steven Jackson was made active, then carried the ball four times. Proving that its not smart to start questionable players just because they are active. They could still be very limited and the Rams had no reason to risk him getting hurt again in a game that they were down by 26 points at hafltime.
Jermichael Finley Now Averaging One TD Per Game!
As a Finley owner, I was personally dissatisfied with his lack of touchdowns through 2 games. Hey, I paid for more than that buddy! He made it up to me by catching 3 agains the Bears yesterday. In what was billed as the "Game of the Week" this was a game that the Packers pretty much had in hand the whole way, even though it was close.
Another 297 yards and 3 TDs for Aaron Rodgers, who leads the NFL in QB rating with a 120.9 score. Ryan Grant had his first good game with 92 yards rushing while James Starks struggled with 5 yards on 11 carries.
Matt Forte struggled worse on the ground for Chicago after gaining 2 yards on 9 carries. He is able to make-up for those struggles though by hauling in catches: he had 7 for 80. Forte is putting up numbers like a wide receiver who also gets some carries. He's still a RB1 this season because of that.
I'm still staying away from all Bears actual wide receivers.
NFC West Divisional Games to be Replaced with Re-Runs of Seinfeld
In the end, the Cardinals lost 13-10 but overall it was the fans and the viewers that lost. Beanie Wells was declared inactive and mega-star Alfonso Smith had 17 carries for 54 yards. Larry Fitzgerald could only provide 64 yards and one of the games two touchdowns. Kevin Kolb threw two interceptions.
The best news for Seattle was the debut of Sidney Rice and his 8 catches for 109 yards. Rice slipped in drafts because of Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks, then really fell out of favor by missing the first two games of the season. He's not going to put up numbers like that every week, and the Cardinals pass defense is really bad, but Rice is still a good NFL WR that shown he can be great.
Just the fact that the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks goes to show that this division can not be trusted. Seattle's offense is terrible and their defense should have been exploited in the passing game, but Arizona laid a big goose egg on the road. The NFC Worst is just getting worser.
Really, Atlanta? Really? No... Really?
The Falcons were a popular Super Bowl pick after their big move to get Julio Jones in the draft, and at the very least should have had an explosive offense. They've already had two really disappointing games on offense, able to gain yards but not put it in the end zone.
Matt Ryan had 330 passing yards but only 1 TD. Julio and Roddy White each topped 100 in the game but failed to score. White had some crucial fourth-quarter drops that could have led to points but the Falcons seem to really struggle in the red zone. Michael Turner struggled with 20 yards on 11 carries and he doesn't have the catching ability of a Matt Forte to ever save himself.
The Falcons play in Seattle next week, so which team is going to show up? I just don't know if they can do anything away from home, where they're now scoring 12.5 points per game.
The Falcons D shut down Josh Freeman and the passing game, but the Bucs did just enough to win 16-13, with a Freeman 1-yard run as the only touchdown for Tampa Bay.
LeGarrette Blount has rebounded decently from game 1 and had 81 yards on 24 carries. Blount and the rest of the Bucs get to face the Colts next week and will hopefuly all have big games.
Colts Still Suck, Steelers Should be Ashamed
If you haven't learned anything yet, just know that winning on the road in the NFL is incredibly difficult. The Steelers went into Indianapolis as what should be a Super Bowl contending caliber team against potentially the worst team in the NFL, and they needed a game-winning field goal at the end to get out of there without loads of embarrassment.
Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over three times and Pitt nearly lost to a team that's not only without Peyton Manning but that also lost Kerry Collins during the game and had to turn to Curtis Painter.
Painter was 5 of 11 for 60 yards after taking over for Collins and his 13 of 29 for 93 yards line. Joseph Addai was a bright spot for Indy after posting 86 yards and a TD.
Mike Wallace continues to dominate and recorded 5 catches for 144 yards and a TD. He's a definite WR1 and a must-start on all matchups. He's now 2nd in the NFL in yards and averaging 18 yards per catch.
Follow me on Twitter @casetines
- In my Week 3 Preview my sleepers were: Andre Caldwell, Nate Washington, Brandon Jacobs, Tarvaris Jackson, and Mike Thomas. Caldwell had 6 catches for 53 yards, I spoke about Washington's good game, Jacobs had 61 total yards and a TD. Mike Thomas had 55 yards and a TD. Tarvaris proved that terrible is terrible no matter the situation. I give myself 4 out of 5 in PPR leagues and 3 out of 5 otherwise. Touchdowns are what really count.
- I didn't like Eli Manning, Cedric Benson, Beanie Wells, Brandon Lloyd, or Percy Harvin. Welp, Manning was a big miss on my part. Beanie didn't play and the other 3 were unspectacular. Harvin had 88 total yards. I'd give myself 3.5/5 on that one.
- The five guys I really liked were Chris Johnson, Phil Rivers, Ray Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, and Shonn Greene. I give myself credit where credit is due, but there's a reason I'm so humble. Fitz had a TD, Rice put up yards, but overall this group was pretty uninspiring.
- My Biggest Mistake of the Week: As I've said before, I am just having a hard time giving all my attention to leagues without money on the line. In my keeper league, though I really care about winning it, I obviously don't care enough because I started Peyton Hillis. Just an oversight on my part and now I'm down 1 point with Ryan Kerrigan on my team and London Fletcher on his team.
- My Best Move of the Week was picking up and starting Nate Washington, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference as I won that game by 100 points. I also started Ben Tate over Jahvid Best in another league which was beneficial to some degree.
- If Kerrigan outplays Fletcher tonight, I will go 4-0 for the first time this year with an overall record of 10-2 in 4 leagues.
- How'd your week 3 go? What moves did you make or are thinking of making? How will you proceed at 0-3 or 1-2 if that's where you stand? Right now my biggest concern is first locking a playoff spot and then locking a first-round bye. I am really desperate for that first round bye because of how many injuries we are already seeing.
- I never thought I'd say that I can't wait for the Bye Weeks, but when you top 5,000 words in reviews each week then you start praying for a few breaks here and there. Why does so much cool stuff have to happen every Sunday? And also so much un-cool, terrible, boring stuff that I insist on talking about so I don't miss anything? Why didn't I focus my attention on being a lawyer or a doctor instead? Damn it.
- My twitter is @casetines and yeah, we get a little racy on the twitter. But I'm sure it's nothing you can't handle.
- David Nelson has more yards than Calvin Johnson and Roddy White. So do Rob Gronkowski, Matt Forte, Nate Washington, and Dustin Keller.
- I'd tell you where Chris Johnson ranks in rushing yards but the list I happen to be looking at right now only goes to top 30.
- Kerry Collins passing yards + Donovan McNabb passing yards + Alex Smith passing yards = 1,463 yards. Tom Brady passing yards = 1,327.