Nothing is a Brees for the Saints
Just one more football game on the docket before the end of Week 2, and also the end of summer; boo hoo. The broken collarbone suffered by Tony Romo may also be the end of the Cowboys’ season, and a few Fantasy teams as well. How many owners out there went for the hookup of Dez Bryant and Romo? That’s not looking so good right about now. Now for a more detailed look at Week 2.
Through six quarters it looked like Peyton Manning was done, then it seemed to dawn on Coach Gary Kubiak to put him back in the shotgun. At this point in his career, Manning is just not going to be as effective behind center, not with that offensive line anyway. Can Manning still be a Top 5 QB this season? Yes, but only if Kubiak tailors his system to Manning, and not the other way around. As for the running game, it has the same problems. Not only does CJ Anderson have a toe injury, but once again that offensive line is not opening up any holes. The good news is that Denver will now have 10 days off before their next game. Hopefully, this is enough time for that toe to heal. If not, you may not even be able to get 50 cents on the dollar in a trade.
[caption id="attachment_73983" align="alignright" width="361"] Drew Brees is not throwing crisp passes and appears to have arm strength issues. Photo: DBKing[/caption]
So, Arian Foster didn’t play Sunday. No big shock there, but he is practicing in a limited fashion and could return in Week 3 versus Tampa. You’re running out of time to get any value out of Alfred Blue. The switch at quarterback from Brian Hoyer to Ryan Mallett didn’t produce the desired results. This is an offense that won’t work until Foster returns at full strength.
Be aware if anyone tries to trade you DeAngelo Williams this week. LeVeon Bell has served his suspension and will return to his starting role for Week 3. Could Bell be brought along slowly his first game back? Sure, but this will not be a timeshare, Bell is the man.
Carlos Hyde didn’t return to the game Sunday due to a possible concussion. He did pass all the tests, but with the outcome of the game all but decided, the 49ers elected not to put him back in the game. Hyde should start this week and be a high end RB2.
We started this column by wondering whether Peyton Manning is done, but perhaps it’s Drew Brees we should be worried about. His line versus Tampa, 24 of 38 for 255 yards, a TD and an interception. Those are pretty pedestrian numbers versus a defense that was lit up by rookie QB Marcus Mariota the week before. What makes matters even worse was that it was at home. Usually in the dome Brees has been a machine, but those days may be over. Is it because of age? No Jimmy Graham? No true number one receiver? All of these are possibilities but arm strength also seems to be an issue. Several deep balls were underthrown versus the Bucs. The bottom line is Brees and this team are overrated and won’t be the offensive force that we expected them to be. For more on Brees and the Saints, check out this video:
Note to offensive coordinator Norv Turner - this is what happens when you actually hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson more than a handful of times. Peterson accounted for 192 total yards in the win over Detroit but also fumbled three times, including twice in the red zone. His day could’ve been even bigger but those fumbles probably cost him a touchdown, as the Vikings gave FB Zach Line his only carry from the one-yard line, and he vultured a TD.
Jay Cutler left the game Sunday with a hamstring injury. As of this writing there is no official word yet about how long he will be out. If he doesn’t play Sunday, all of your Bears will get a serious downgrading, as Jimmy Claussen is not anyone’s answer at quarterback. This includes WR Alshon Jeffery, who is driving Fantasy owners crazy with this calf injury. Jeffery would sit for me this week, no matter what his health, if Cutler can’t go.
How about them Cardinals? That was 48 points they scored versus Chicago, including three touchdowns by Larry Fitzgerald. This is a dangerous team offensively. Fitzgerald isn’t the receiver he used to be but with Michael Floyd (hand) and John Brown as his running mates, he doesn’t have to be. Chris Johnson was the right play for Fantasy owners to start at RB on Sunday, but all we will remember is that David Johnson scored two touchdowns (one on a kickoff return). Otherwise he only had five carries versus 20 for C. Johnson. Remember this next week if Andre Ellington is still out.
Before you get in an uproar about LeGarrette Blount only gaining four yards on two carries versus Buffalo, remember that as a team they only rushed the ball 15 times, and four of those (Tom Brady three times , Danny Amendola once) were from non-running backs. Running the ball just wasn’t in the game plan. This is why it’s almost impossible to guess what Bill Belichick will do each game. He’s not trying to make anyone happy or bow down to any conventional thinking. If he believes throwing the ball 50 times is the best way to win a game, then throw it 50 times he will. If Blount should be the main ball carrier, then it will be Blount. If it should be Dion Lewis, well, you get the idea. He just wants to win, he doesn’t care how, and I’m not playing the Belichick guessing game each week if I can help it.
Jeremy Hill was benched during the game Sunday for fumbling twice. This is probably more a blip on the radar than anything else, but it could also open the door for more rushes for Giovani Bernard.
Perhaps Johnny Manziel won’t be so bad after all? Well, I’m not sure we can tell much after yesterday’s game, as he only attempted 15 passes, completing eight of them. The Browns also let it be known prior to the game that if Josh McCown was healthy, he still would’ve started. I’d still rather not start anyone other than RB Isiah Crowell if I can help it, including WR Travis Benjamin, who is actually tied for the league lead in touchdowns.
Julio Jones may have had a hamstring injury entering the game but you wouldn’t know it by his final line, 13 catches for 135 yards on 15 targets. Now, as the numbers indicate, Jones mainly caught short slants, possibly to keep the pressure off of his hammy. But still, he showed no ill effects. Roddy White, however, was barely targeted during the game and did not have a reception. This was strange, as no injury was reported and third string WR Leonard Hankerson had 11 targets. Is this a sign of things to come? Probably not, but it does give Matt Ryan another option to throw the ball to. Watch the status of RB Tevin Coleman this week, as he had to leave the game early due to a rib injury. He could miss the game Sunday, but with the way Dallas bottled up DeMarco Murray perhaps you wouldn’t want to start him anyway.
It looks like Todd Gurley should be ready to make his season debut in Week 3. Now, he is unlikely to be handed the full-time role since the team has been handling him with kid gloves since they drafted him, but it does make Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham less valuable.
All the talk in Washington now is about RB Matt Jones. He had a great day yesterday, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Now, this doesn’t mean he will take the starting role over from Alfred Morris, but it does mean that he has probably earned himself some sort of timeshare with him. This may not make either of their Fantasy owners happy.
Lamar Miller didn’t return to the game versus Jacksonville after suffering an ankle injury. Miller stated after the game that he should be fine, but leg injuries are never good for a RB. The Dolphins also lost their best offensive lineman, Brendan Albert, to a hamstring injury. If neither one can play this week, it will put an awful lot of pressure on the passing game, which just may not be able to handle that kind of pressure yet.
Derek Carr returned in a big way versus Baltimore. Carr left the game last week with a thumb injury and it was iffy whether or not he would even be able to play until Thursday. A matchup versus Baltimore didn’t seem all that appetizing either, but he proved everyone wrong by throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns. I’m not saying he is ready to take that next step as a Fantasy QB, and he is still only a start in two QB leagues, but with Amari Cooper catching passes, and Latavius Murray a threat running the ball, this offense could be one to watch.
As we mentioned in the opening, Romo is out with a broken collarbone. This will likely sideline him for at least eight weeks. This Dallas offense is now without its number one QB and best WR; not to mention the running game has been nowhere near as good without Murray. Oh yeah, TE Jason Witten suffered two sprained ankles and a sprained knee. How exactly did they win yesterday? Oh yeah, Philadelphia looked inept on offense but we’ll get to that. It’s going to be difficult to recommend starting any Dallas players with Brandon Weeden starting at QB. Teams will continue to look to shut down the running game and see if Weeden can beat them with a makeshift WR corps. A promising start in Dallas may go straight down the drain in a big hurry.
About the Eagles, that offensive line was terrible versus Dallas. Murray was being hit three or four yards behind the line of scrimmage, seemingly every time he touched the ball. Sam Bradford does not look like a QB that can handle a Chip Kelly offense. You’re still going to start Murray, but Bradford may be better off left on the bench until further notice. This shouldn’t be a problem, as most owners who drafted Bradford took him as a backup anyway, so you should have a solid starter to fall back on until the Eagles figure things out.
Why did the Seahawks trade for TE Jimmy Graham if they don’t know how to incorporate him in their offense? The Saints can’t seem to play without him and the Hawks can’t figure out how to get him the ball. You’re still starting him, however, but this team will once again rely on the legs of QB Russell Wilson.
The Packers lost RB Eddie Lacy to an ankle injury Sunday night, and there is some concern that he could miss some time. If James Starks is available in your league, go out and get him. While he may not be as good as Lacy, he’s not all that far behind either. James Jones is a must grab as well. Aaron Rodgers just seems to look his way first in the red zone.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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