by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It was the Devin Hester show last night, with a rushing touchdown, a punt return touchdown and even forcing a fumble in what was a joke of a football game. Of course, while some numbers are skewed there are still ample points that we can take away from the action. Let’s take a look at the five biggest stories from yesterday’s game:
1) Maybe we overvalued the upside of Davonta Freeman…
The prevailing thought had always been that, eventually, Freeman would emerge as the lead back for the Falcons. While he opened the season buried on the depth chart, in last night’s blowout he had his chance to show that he held more upside than Jacquizz Rodgers (5 carries for 6 yards, 1 reception for 3 yards) and Antone Smith (4 carries for 50 yards and 1 TD).
Instead Freeman put on a disastrous performance, picking up just 12 yards on 11 carries while adding 1 reception for 7 yards. Overall he has 13 carries for 27 yards, good for a pathetic 2.1 YPC.
Maybe he eventually gains a bigger role, but right now that’s hard to bank on. He had a golden opportunity and failed miserably. While Steven Jackson has a lot of tread on his tires, there’s no doubt that he’s going to remain the leader of this backfield (14 carries for 54 yards and 1 TD) and that it will remain a committee. Outside of dynasty formats, owners can move on from Freeman.
2) Is there a quarterback controversy brewing in Tampa Bay…
Officially Josh McCown left with a thumb injury, but it’s easy to argue that he would’ve been benched anyways. Before exiting the game he was just 5-12 for 58 yards and 1 INT, giving him 420 yards, 2 TD and 4 INT on the season.
The fact that he was handed the job was inexplicable to begin with, and Glennon once again showed some upside last night. Obviously we need to take it with a grain of salt, but he went 17-24 for 121 yards and 1 TD. Those numbers were far superior to McCown’s and come after he completed 60% of his passes in his rookie year while throwing for 2,729 yards, 20 TD and 9 INT.
Injury or not, don’t be surprised to see Glennon starting in Week 4.
3) Doug Martin appears primed to regain his job in Week 4…
With a cushy matchup Bobby Rainey was supposed to enjoy another big day and, to an extent, there were results (albeit skewed from the blowout). He carried the ball 11 times for 41 yards, while also catching 7 passes for 64 yards. Of course his longest run of the day was 8 yards and he lost a pair of fumbles.
While Martin has had his issues, at this point we should expect him back for Week 4 and to see him thrust right back into the lead back role. As it is Rainey was benched, for a time, in favor of Mike James yesterday thanks to his fumbles. Next weeks matchup with the Steelers is promising and Martin should be slotted into most lineups as a RB2.
4) Julio Jones appears to be back to full strength…
Any questions about his health have been answered, as he went off for 9 receptions, 161 yards and 2 TD last night. He’s had at least 7 receptions in all three weeks and has already picked up 23 receptions for 365 and 3 TD.
Sure Roddy White was out and Harry Douglas left with an injury, but there is little doubt at this point. Jones is one of the elite in the league and is an absolute must start each and every week (stating the obvious).
5) What’s wrong with the Buccaneers wide receivers…
Maybe we chalk this up to poor quarterback play, but the performance of Vincent Jackson is particularly troublesome. Mike Evans is a rookie and we’d expect some growing pains, so 4 receptions for 52 yards (13 receptions for 138 yards on the season) shouldn’t be too concerning.
However, while Jackson scored a TD, he had just 2 catches for 15 yards despite being targeted 9 times on the night. He hasn’t had more than 4 catches or 51 yards in any game, totaling 10 receptions for 102 yards and 1 TD despite being targeted 25 times.
Maybe a change at quarterback would help him? Hopefully we find out soon enough, but right now he has to be considered one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. Obviously there’s not much fantasy owners can do but cross their fingers and hope he gets things turned around.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: