4:02 pm, October 8th, 2012
RotoExperts.com will be bringing you 11 immediate reactions from the weekend that was in Fantasy. Whether it’s a waiver commodity you need to jump on early, or an emerging trend you need to know about, they’ve got you covered. This week, Scott Engel tells you about a good backup QB option, why it’s safe to start Rashard Mendenhall, and why you might want to roll the dice with… Mario Manningham?
1.1. Pick up Andrew Luck
All the hype and fuss in Fantasy Football has been about Robert Griffin III, it's almost like we forgot about this guy. He was fully willing and able to trade offensive punches with Aaron Rodgers, throwing for 362 yards, two TDs and an interception. Luck will continue to throw a lot, as the Colts will be vulnerable defensively and lack a dependable running game. If you have Cam Newton or Matthew Stafford and they continue to underperform, strongly consider Luck as an alternative.
2.2. Bill Belichick is making your life a living hell
And you thought Mike Shanahan hated Fantasy owners? Four different running backs carried the ball for New England against Denver, and Shane Vereen’s only carry was for a one-yard TD. Stevan Ridley ran for 151 yards on 28 carries, but now there is concern he may see a reduced role going forward after he lost a fumble late in the game. Vereen actually played in passing sets late in the game and Brandon Bolden had 14 carries. Tom Brady threw for just 223 yards and one TD. The Patriots running personnel and schemes from week to week are totally confusing. Just start Brady, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski every week, and only use Ridley and Bolden as flex options. Keep an eye on Vereen’s role as well.
3.3. You can start Rashard Mendenhall now
Here’s yet another RB who has made an apparently successful return from a major knee injury in quality fashion. Mendenhall rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per pop. Mendenhall displayed good burst and ran with authority and there seems to be little reason to be concerned about his health. Mendenhall faces the Titans next week, so the outlook is even more positive in the short term.
Those who follow my articles on RotoExperts.com and listen to me on the RotoExperts Sirius/XM morning show know I always point out that when guys face their former teams, they have upside potential in that week. I was widely recommending Robert Meachem as a great Week 5 desperation play as he faced the Saints. Meachem scored twice, as pros love to stick it to their former employers and trash talk their old buddies. You may not hear from Meachem again for another five weeks, but hopefully you used him this time. Week 6 former team Fantasy alert: Mario Manningham vs. the New York Giants.
5.5. Cam Newton isn't a must-start anymore
Is this the same Cam Newton that lit the Fantasy world on fire last year? The Carolina QB delivered another stinker this week, throwing for just 141 yards with no TDs and adding 42 rushing yards. He had tunnel vision for Steve Smith and ignored Greg Olsen. The Seahawks defenders kept him in check often when he tried to break the pocket and snuffed out a goal-line series late in the game. Newton is no longer a must-start in Fantasy, as defenses have learned how to keep him under wraps. Until he shows he can be more consistent as a pocket passer, you can’t lock him in your lineup anymore.
6.6. Robert Griffin III will get hurt often
I have been talking about RG3 possibly being an injury concern since the preseason. Yesterday, our fears were realized when Griffin was knocked out of the game against the Falcons with a concussion. Griffin is going to be in danger often because he is a fearless runner and he is not elusive, either -- he’s more of a straight-line speed guy. He also takes a lot of big hits behind the line. Keep a solid backup behind RG3. (Ironically, Andrew Luck is a good option here.)
7.7. In Cruz we Trust
You can’t rely on any other Giants WRs other than Victor Cruz when Hakeem Nicks is out. First Ramses Barden stepped forward, then Domenik Hixon, and it was Reuben Randle leading the team in receiving yards in Week 5 with 82. Martellus Bennett has been quiet the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Cruz scored three times. Eli Manning distributes the ball well among his secondary targets when Nicks is out, and Hixon and Barden are injury risks. Plus, you can’t use any of them other than Cruz at San Francisco next week.
8.8. You're pretty much screwed if you own Chris Johnson
Just when we thought Chris Johnson was starting to show signs of life again, he went back in the Fantasy crapper at Minnesota. Johnson looked tentative and hesitant again, and the offensive line couldn’t open up any running room. Again. Johnson rushed for 24 yards on 15 carries. He also caught only one pass for five yards. There’s nothing you can do with Johnson right now but bench him. His trade value is completely shot after yet another awful outing. Try to move him again when he teases us with another quality outing sometime soon.
9.9. Demaryius Thomas: elite
Demaryius Thomas has officially stamped himself as an elite Fantasy wide receiver. He registered another 100-yard game at New England on Sunday, catching nine passes for 188 yards. Thomas is simply electric and nearly uncatchable once he gets behind defenders. His only occasional detriment seems to be himself, as he has fumbled two weeks in a row in the open field. His numbers have been so good recently, though, you may hardly notice the negative points that come with the turnovers. Focus on the positives with Peyton Manning’s new No. 1 WR: Big-play ability and regularly outstanding statistical performances.
10.10. Where art thou, Jordy Nelson?
Jordy Nelson came through with another stinker on Sunday, catching only two passes for 29 yards. Nelson has been very disappointing this year so far, failing to reach the 100-yard mark with just one TD, and not being able to crack the 30-yard barrier in two of the past three games. Without an injured Greg Jennings in the mix consistently, Nelson is not getting free consistently. He’ll be a gamble until the Packers get their true No. 1 WR back.
11.11. Ryan Matthews is schizophrenic
Ryan Mathews’ owners have been going batty so far this year. First an injury shelved him, and now he has not started in two consecutive games. Still, he made a statement last night that he still deserves most of the carries. He totaled 139 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches and scored on a 13-yard run. Don’t expect the injury-prone Mathews to get a bellcow-type workload, as the Chargers want to monitor his reps to keep him healthy. He also may cede some goal-line touches to Jackie Battle. But he will make the most of every touch if he can avoid any more injuries.
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