Archive for Inside the Huddle

Onside Observations: Week Three Fantasy Fallout

by Matthew Gordan

I have been as big a Lance Moore proponent as you’ll find for a few years now. He reminds me of a faster Wes Welker, albeit with more injury concerns; it seems as if he’s been on the injury report every week for the past couple seasons. Well, he got his first extended time of the year and responded with 9 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. If he’s available in your leagues, grab him right now. There should be no doubt about investing in a Drew Brees target, especially one who capitalized on all 9 targets thrown his way (no surer way to your QB’s heart than that). And it was another week of Darren Sproles out-producing his RB teammates by a landslide. How do I not have him on any of my teams? I saw it coming from a mile away and still didn’t land him. It will haunt me for the rest of the season.

Terrible news for Kenny Britt. After commenting last week on how he’s on the verge of a monster season, Britt tore his knee trying to elude defenders on Sunday. Nate Washington is the obvious pick-up in this situation, as he is now the number one WR in Tennessee. Washington already played his way onto fantasy radars due to his early season success. The unfortunate injury solidifies this. Don’t expect fantastic numbers, but he will contribute solidly for many fantasy teams thanks to the precision passing of Matt Hasselbeck. Read more

Sunday Storylines From Week 2

It was quite a day of football action today, so let’s take at 10 quick thoughts from Sunday afternoon’s action:

  1. The Steelers defense appears to be for real, huh?  They battered the Titans, with three interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recovers.  What, no touchdowns?  It was ugly for Vince Young (66 yards, 2 interceptions), eventually chasing him from the game.  It doesn’t appear that he’s lost his starting job, but given the rocky history the seeds could be planted.  If you are in a two-quarterback league, stashing Kerry Collins couldn’t hurt.
  2. Michael Vick could certainly make things interesting in Philadelphia.  He was tremendous against Detroit, going 21-34 for 284 yards and two touchdowns, as well as rushing for 37 yards.  While the Eagles say Kevin Kolb is going to be the quarterback when healthy, you certainly have to wonder what will happen if Kolb struggles at any point.
  3. How bad has it gotten for Derek Anderson?  He eventually got lifted from the game in garbage time, with Max Hall getting a few opportunities.  Anderson went 17-31 for 161 yards and two interceptions as he continues to struggle.  While he got Larry Fitzgerald more involved (7 receptions for 83 yards), that’s about all he did and it was far from enough.  Of course, this was all overshadowed by Michael Turner’s injury and Jason Snelling’s thrashing (129 yards, 2 TD plus 57 receiving yards and 1 TD) of the Cardinals defense.  The word is that Turner could’ve returned, however, so owners don’t have to panic. Read more

Inside the Huddle: A Look at Sunday Afternoon from Week 6

It was a crazy afternoon of football with some star players shining with some huge performances.  You had QBs like Ben Roethlisberger (417 yards) and Tom Brady (6 TD).  You had RB like Maurice Jones-Drew (3 TD) and Thomas Jones (210 yards).  You had WR/TE like Sidney Rice (176 yards) and Larry Fitzgerald (13 catches).  Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 6:

Green Bay Packers 26, Detroit Lions 0

  • With Calvin Johnson out of action the Lions managed to do very little on offense.  Already without Matthew Stafford, the Lions lost Dante Culpepper (6-14, 48 yards, 1 INT) in the second quarter due to a hamstring injury, forcing the team to use Drew Stanton (5-11, 57 yards, 2 INT), the third-string quarterback.  The only positive you can point to is Dennis Northcutt, who had five receptions for 40 yards.  That gives him 10 receptions over the past two weeks, though he is still doesn’t hold much value in any format.
  • The Green Bay Packers had four receivers with at least 50 yards receiving: Donald Driver (7 receptions, 70 yards), Greg Jennings (6 receptions, 64 yards), James Jones (2 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD) and Jermichael Finley (5 receptions, 54 yards).  Over his past two games, Finley has been on fire, with 11 catches for 182 yards and 1 TD.  Tight ends are tough to depend on from week-to-week, but with Cleveland next on the schedule, he has to be an early favorite as a usable player in all formats.
  • How good is Aaron Rodgers?  He went 29-37 for 358 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT.  That’s his second consecutive game over 350 yards, his third straight with two touchdown passes and he has thrown for at least one touchdown in all five of his starts this season. Read more

Inside the Huddle: Week 5

Two receivers (Miles Austin & Roddy White) put up 200 yard efforts.  Tony Romo had the big game that owners have been waiting for.  Rashard Mendehall had another big game, making Willie Parker owners what is going to happen when he returns from injury.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Cleveland Browns 6, Buffalo Bills 3

  • The Browns may have won, but their offense was absolutely pitiful in this game.  First of all 17 passes.  That was all that Derek Anderson attempted, completing two of them for 23 yards and an interception.  That is inexplicable and almost impossible to comprehend.  Obviously, with such a terrible performance, the receivers were completely nonexistent.  Mohamed Massaquoi, last week’s darling, had just one catch for 16 yards.  There will be better days.  Actually, all should be better days because it cannot get much worse than this.
  • The only positive was Jamal Lewis who rushed for 117 yards.  That type of performance should limit the hype on Jerome Harrison, but I would not write him off completely.  If you have room on your bench, keep him stashed away.  There’s a good chance that he takes a prime role again at some point this season.
  • Marshawn Lynch didn’t take long to get into the groove.  He rushed for 69 yards as well as making 6 catches for 56 yards.  He’s a viable option in all formats.
  • We continue to wait for Terrell Owens to have a breakaway performance, but it still has yet to come.  He had four catches for 44 yards this week as his mundane season rolls on.  Despite his sub par performance to date, all you can do is to continue to roll him out there.  Sooner or later he’s going to put together a big day and you don’t want to have him on your bench for that. Read more

Inside the Huddle: A Look At Week 4s Games

The New York Giants Steve Smith no longer should be considered “the other Steve Smith”.  Mark Sanchez had a huge bump in the road.  Michael Sims-Walker, Rashard Mendenhall, Jerome Harrison and others really stepped up to help propel fantasy rosters.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Houston 29, Oakland 6

  • Simply put, the Oakland offense is pathetic.  JaMarcus Russell (12-33, 128 yards) has only completed more than 50% of his passes once this season and looks like a complete bust.  Darren McFadden was handed the ball just 6 times and he managed to rush for -3 yards.  That’s right, -3!  With a struggling QB, no wide receiver had more than three catches on the day.  At this point, you would be better off to not have any Raider players in your starting line-up until they show some sort of signs of life.
  • Steve Slaton rushed for 65 yards and 1 TD while adding 24 yards in the air and another TD.  That’s a really strong game, but is it enough to get you excited?  He averaged just over three yards per carry, buoyed by a 32-yard run.  It is actually his second best game on the ground and the first in which he scored a TD.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen him get close the 100-yard mark, but at least it gives a little glimmer of hope. Read more

Inside the Huddle: Week 3

Matt Forte & Steve Slaton continue to disappoint owners.  Maurice Jones-Drew was the offensive player of the week.  Terrell Owens was held without a catch.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Detroit 19, Washington 14

  • Jason Campbell, one of the sleeper selections for this week (click here to view), had a huge week.  He went 27-41 for 340 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT, hooking up with Santana Moss (10 catches for 178 yards and 1 TD) early and often.  It’s tough to base anything off of this one game, but this may have been the medicine Moss needed to get himself going.  With their next game coming against Tampa Bay, it’s likely that they keep things rolling another week, so now is not the time to sell high.
  • Clinton Portis could be a different story, though they aren’t really selling high.  He carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards, while adding 1 catch for 6 yards.  He was questionable heading into the game, with bone spurs in both of his ankles.  That’s not an injury that’s just going to go away, making him a risky option moving forward.
  • Matthew Stafford was solid, going 21-36 for 241 yards and 1 TD, but it was Kevin Smith who was the big start, rushing the ball 16 times for 101 yards, as well as adding 3 catches for 18 yards.  Considering he entered the game with just 103 yards on the ground, it’s a great sign. Read more

Inside the Huddle: Colts vs. Dolphins

It was a great game last night, with a few players stepping up and making an impact (if you missed the column looking at Sunday’s games, click here):

  • The Colts just didn’t run many plays in this game, but you got the feeling that the absence of Anthony Gonzalez is going to hurt the production of Reggie Wayne (3 catches for 37 yards).  Teams are going to try and make the other receivers beat them, which is exactly what Peyton Manning (14-23, 303 yards, 2 TD) did.  While Dallas Clark is unlikely to repeat numbers like last night, catching 7 passes for 183 yards and 1 TD is just an amazing game.  He’s going to be among the top TE in the game, but that isn’t news.
  • Ronnie Brown was great running the ball, out of the Wildcat or otherwise.  He was handed the ball 24 times for 136 yards and 2 TD.  Ricky Williams wasn’t bad either, rushing the ball 19 times for 69 yards, showing you that both are going to have value this season.  The major difference is Brown’s advantage running the ball out of the Wildcat.
  • Did someone in your league already sour on Ted Ginn Jr. after he caught just 2 passes in Week 1?  Take advantage of their impatience, as he had a huge game last night, catching 11 passes for 108 yards.  He has the potential to be an impact receiver all year long.

What do you think was the biggest story coming out of yesterday’s game?  Who was the brightest star?  Who was the biggest disappointment?

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Inside the Huddle: Week 2

Week 2 of the NFL season held plenty of drama, didn’t it?  Chris Johnson was the player of the day, going for 284 yards and 3 TD, total.  Frank Gore did his part as well, rushing for over 200 yards.  Matt Forte?  He continues to look like a bust, especially if you passed over Adrian Peterson to select him.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Bengals 31, Packers 24

  • Carson Palmer was not great, but he wasn’t bad either.  He went 15-23 for 185 yards, 3 TD and 2 INT.  It’s a step in the right direction, throwing for a few TD (as opposed to Week 1), but he does have 4 interceptions on the season now.  It isn’t a surprise that he’s struggled, so just sit tight.
  • It was Cedric Benson who helped to lead the way, rushing the ball 29 times for 141 yards.  He’s been great early on this season, rushing for over 200 yards in his first two games.  He’s easily worth using in all formats right now.
  • The Packers only handed the ball off to Ryan Grant 14 times.  While he did get 46 yards and 1 TD, as well as catch 3 passes for 22 yards, he needs to be more productive in the ground game.  Part of that involves getting more carries. Read more

Inside the Huddle: A Fantasy Look at Week 1s Games

It was an exciting opening weekend for the NFL, answering some fantasy questions but also opening up a host of others.  From Rookie QBs to an injury to Donovan McNabb to Adrian Peterson once again proving that there is no reason to have considered anyone but him with the first pick, there certainly is a lot to cover.  There were breakouts (Devin Hester) and disappointment (Jake Delhomme), so let’s take a look at all the action from yesterday’s slate of games:

Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21

  • Tony Romo had a huge game, going 16-27 for 353 yards and 3 TD.  Patrick Crayton was the biggest benefactor this week, catching 4 passes for 135 yards and 1 TD including an 80-yard catch.  He’s got the potential to put up solid numbers all year long, but I wouldn’t quite expect these types of results.  As for Romo, there was a lot of talk that he would be a better QB without the pressures of having to get the ball to Terrell Owens, and this one clearly would give proponents of that thinking some ammunition.  Whatever it is, Romo came out looking like a top QB.
  • Cadillac Williams (13 carries for 97 yards and 1 TD) and Derrick Ward (12 carries for 62 yards and 1 TD) basically split carries.  They both put up solid numbers, making them good Flex options, but until one emerges as a top option neither are perfect plays in shallower formats. Read more