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.
Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and D’Angelo Williams do not seem right. All three look surprisingly slow and tentative while displaying none of the vision that helped them become All-Pro (and record setting) players. D’Angelo’s situation is the most dire, as his backup, Jonathan Stewart, is playing extremely well in the passing and running games, using his speed and strength to rack up any yards found behind the underachieving Panther O-Line. Add in Cam Newton, who will vulture any and all touchdowns within the five-yard line, and it’s looking like a bust of a season for Williams. As for Johnson and Gore, they’re pretty much guaranteed reps throughout the rest of the season barring injury, although Gore may lose out some to Kendall Hunter if he continues to regress. Johnson is obviously the best weapon for Tennessee, but with Britt’s injury, defenses will key up even more on Johnson. I would recommend trading Williams for anything you can get, but it’s tougher with the other two. Conventional wisdom says they’ll rebound and so you should hold onto them, but after seeing them play, something physically is wrong. Maybe in Johnson’s case, because of the missed training camp time, his timing is off. But watch the tape yourself (nfl.com has highlights, folks). He’s not the same, nor is Gore. Sniffing out what you might be able to obtain from your fellow league members for the All-Pros is the very least a responsible owner should do.
Torrey Smith is a popular name right now, and with good reason. Scoring three touchdowns in one quarter (as a rookie in the first quarter of his first start) is absurd. But adding Smith and expecting consistent production is also absurd. He’s a rookie WR on a run-first team with veterans surrounding him everywhere. He’s excellent depth, but nothing more for fantasy teams. At the same time, if he continues to produce like fellow rookie Denarius Moore, owners will have to start both of them. But I’d wait for that. Same goes for James Casey. Interesting player? Sure, especially since he qualifies in most leagues at TE and RB. But he isn’t going to take too many targets away from Owen Daniels or the Texan running backs. Great for depth, but maybe not more (which is not a bad thing at all. Remember, bye weeks are starting to appear and injuries are beginning to pile).
All hopes for a big year from Chad Ocho Cinco should have gone out the window with his miserable performance Sunday. And BenJarvus Green-Ellis owners might have to start looking over their shoulders soon, as Steven Ridley has begun receiving carries. All the other Patriots? Start them, sit back and laugh every weekend. There should be plenty more Sundays of arcade-like numbers from Brady and company.
Darren McFadden and Ryan Matthews , come on down! While McFadden is not a surprise, he has cemented his status as an elite RB after running roughshod over the Jets. Might be a long time until we see a similar performance against that defense. Matthews, meanwhile, is a surprise. Actually, he’s a massive surprise when you consider he failed a conditioning test to open training camp. After all, he’s a running back! But Matthews rebounded and has firm control of the Chargers backfield. And if anyone needs reminding, the Chargers are a juggernaut offensively with Philip Rivers leading the way. There should be no reason for McFadden to finish outside the top-5 and Matthews the top-10.
Speaking of surprises, Daniel Thomas is officially The Man in Miami. As amazing as Reggie Bush was in college, it hasn’t, nor ever will, translate to the NFL. Thomas is hitting holes with authority, something he didn’t do in the pre-season, and Bush has gone back to his twinkle toe days. This combination will lead to at least a top-20 RB season for Thomas.
One week after the Giants RB situation looked dire for fantasy players, Ahmad Bradshaw had a great performance against the Eagles and received twice as many carries as Brandon Jacobs. This running back by committee approach, while smart and productive for the real teams and players, is killing my fantasy sports enjoyment! But Jacobs did score a touchdown via reception, so all was not lost for either player.