by Ray Kuhn
As we embark on Week 4, here are some thoughts that I have:
- What is the story with Cam Newton? He had a great rookie season, maybe one of the best ever, but his first half was far and away better than his second half. Newton has not been great at all this season, but at least in the first 2 games there was some optimism to be had. In Week 1 he passed for 303 yards and in Week 2 he ran for 71 yards. But his performance in Week 3 was just brutal to watch. And if that was not bad enough, his body language, sulking, and overall demeanor as things went sour and then when Derek Anderson replaced him could not have made fantasy owners feel good. Steve Smith did speak to him as a leader, and there is concern about his mental state in Carolina. This week after having a few extra days between games he takes on the Falcons. I am very interested to see how Newton reacts to all the scrutiny and adversity. I would like to think the past few weeks are merely a speed bump and Newton will remind us why he was drafted in the first two rounds, but I’m not sure how optimistic I truly can be.
- Adrian Peterson has been looking better each week, and last week against the tough 49ers defense, he looked like he was truly ready to take flight and announce that he is back. Overall his day was not good, but that can attributed to the defense he faced. Peterson rushed for 86 yards, but 21 one those yards came on one 4th quarter rush, which was the cause for increased optimism. That rush, and the fact that he was able to carry the ball 25 times, and looked strong doing so and killing the clock in the 4th quarter leads me to believe that he will rush for over 100 yards and find the end zone at least once this week.
- Lack of talent in not the issue for Ryan Williams. Injuries, fumbling, and lack of playing time behind Beanie Wells were the issues. But Williams appears to be healthy and Wells is out for a while. Williams had 13 carries for 84 yards against the Eagles last week and with Kevin Kolb behind center, it will be interesting to see Williams can follow up on that performance and how he handles being the number one back. If Williams can remain healthy, there could be some value here as he is an explosive running back.
- Chris Johnson has just been brutal to watch. Granted he did look good in breaking off three long runs, but he also had multiple runs where he lost yardage and just in general did not look good. He has not shown any explosiveness or much ability to get thru a hole and is averaging 1.36 yards per carry thus far and he is without a touchdown. Houston’s run defense is ranked 5th in the league so the outlook does not look much better for Johnson this week. There really is no guarantee that he will break out, but all it takes is one run to break the cycle. If you have other options I would look to bench him for this week, even given the painful possibility that he breaks out on your bench, because the starts do not seem to point that way.
- Another thing I am keeping an eye on this week is how Aaron Rodgers reacts to and rebounds from the Monday night debacle. Forget about the outcome, Rodgers was sacked 9 times, only passed for 223 yards and did not have a touchdown. Granted the Saints are beyond desperate and perhaps overdue for a win, but their defense is not very good and it seems that everything is lined up for Rodgers and his stable of receivers to have a big game.