Ten Things We Learned in Week Two

How We Fared With Our Picks in Week Two



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By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.

  1. This is a different Bears defense than we saw last year. The Bears came out hungry in the second half and the D-line absolutely mauled backup Jonathan Martin, who looked lost on the field. Meanwhile their secondary covered the talented 49er receivers like glue and made several spectacular plays that turned the game for them. A lot of the draft pundits really scratched their heads when they selected CB Kyle Fuller with the 14th pick, passing over CB Darqueze Dennard and a lot of talented players at other positions but it now looks like they made the right choice with the pick. (Fuller had two diving interceptions off Kaepernick and seems to have the instincts of a veteran corner). Their run defense still leaves something to be desired (they held Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde to 63 yards on 17 carries but Gore had a 54-yard TD run called back due to a questionable holding call) but this DST is now worth considering as a bye-week fill-in.


  2. Take the fork out of him, he's not done yet! A lot of us stayed away from Antonio Gates in fantasy drafts, figuring the 34-year old was at the end-of-the-line and would lose his spot on the depth chart by the younger Ladarius Green. Well, he had a career day against a tough Seattle defense, going off for nearly 100 yards and 3 TDs. Meanwhile, Green was held without a reception. This is the second week in a row that the veteran's put up 80 or more yards. Clearly his skills haven't declined and he's worth picking up if he's still on your league's waiver wire.


  3. The Pack are back. If you were watching the first half of the Packers-Jets game, where the offense played as awful as they did last week in Seattle, you were probably not alone in wondering if Rodgers is ever going to be the same quarterback again. He seemed off-target on a lot of his passes and the Packers' lack of success running the ball was putting them in a lot of 3rd-and-long situations. But he looked like the Aaron Rodgers of old in the second half and the Packers came back from a 21-3 deficit. There's an old adage in the NFL that you never abandon your running game but this is exactly what the Packers did in the second half and it paid dividends, as they were able move the ball more efficiently once they gave up on running Eddie Lacy up the middle of a stout Jets front four. Rodgers may have just been a little rusty after the prolonged lay-off but it looks like he's back to his old self now.


  4. Geno Smith has to be one of the most frustrating fantasy QBs out there. He had a nice match-up against the Packers 24th-ranked pass defense but fizzled after a nice start in the first half. I don't think I've seen another QB who throws such a nice a deep ball (like the beauty he threw late in the fourth quarter that was called back due to Marty Mornhinweg calling a time-out) or another QB who makes the kind of game-killing mental mistakes Smith makes on a weekly basis. Right now he's no better than a bye week fill-in but if he can improve on his decision-making skills he's got the raw talent to be one of the better fantasy QBs in the league one day.


  5. The Bengals defense hasn't lost a step. A lot of us who follow the team figured the DST might take a step back with a new defensive coordinator in charge and stud pass-rusher Michael Johnson gone but those concerns appear to be overblown. The Bengals D-line dominated the line-of-scrimmage Sunday, making life miserable all day for Matt Ryan. Meanwhile, their starting CBs, Leon Hall and Terrance Newman, both played a good game. Hall, who's coming off his 2nd Achilles tear in two seasons, had a nice diving pick off Ryan, and Newman, who turned 37 this off-season, seems to continue to defy Father Time. If anything, their secondary looks even better than last year, as George Iloka, a talented but raw safety who had two picks this week against the Falcons, is really developing into a difference-maker. The Bengals are looking like one of the few match-up proof DSTs and a team that it might be worth considering benching your offensive starters against (although it should be noted the team's played very well against NFC teams in recent years).


  6. Just because your RB is a workhorse doesn't make him worth starting in fantasy. If you jumped on Toby Gerhart in the later rounds of your draft, thinking more opportunities means more fantasy production, now might be a good time to re-consider. Gerhart's producing the same lackluster results Jones-Drew provided last year and horrible run-blocking by a patchwork O-line is at least partly to blame. Many of us figured the lack of a run game last year was due to MJD's skills declining and figured a fresher, younger set of legs would produce different results but that hasn't happened. Gerhart had a nice match-up against a Redskins team that allowed the 4th-most fantasy points to RBs last year and his final stat line, 8 rushing yards on 7 carries, doesn't leave a lot to be desired. This is the second week in a row Gerhart's delivered these kind of numbers. I expect the Jaguars to fall behind a lot this year and if Gerhart's gaining just a yard or two a carry, don't see getting the 50-100 carries a game he needs to have a fantasy impact. I'd give up on this experiment and drop him now in favor of a back-up RB like Jeremy Hill or Carlos Hyde, who runs behind a solid O-line and will have more scoring opportunities.


  7. Witch Hunt 2.0. Once again the talking heads on the major networks are doing anything they can to harness popular sentiment. I'm hearing a lot of them calling for immediate suspensions of players like Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Adrian Peterson and an NFL ban on any players arrested for domestic violence or child abuse. While I get that these are very, very serious crimes and the NFL has been guilty in the past of ignoring or neglecting them, this seems to be overkill in the opposite direction. Just because someone is indicted does not mean they are guilty (that gets to be decided by a jury of their peers). Last I checked, we live in a country where everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, so I perfectly understand why the NFL chooses to hold off on dispensing suspensions until due process plays out. What happens if the NFL caved into the media uproar and started suspending any and every player who gets arrested for these kind of crimes? It would not only affect team's seasons but also have legal implications if the suspended player is subsequently found innocent. By all means, there's a need for the league to take these kind of crimes more seriously than it has in the past but suspending a player before the legal system's had a chance to determine their guilt or innocence doesn't seem like a wise solution (or a very American one).


  8. Start all your RBs against the Raiders. The Raiders run defense has truly looked like a black hole so far this season. Last Sunday they allowed Arian Foster to run all over them for 138 yards and a TD, a week after allowing Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory to combine for 170 yards and a TD. The Raiders allowed 21.4 fantasy points a game to running backs last year and it doesn't look like things are going to be any different this season. They have a rookie at QB, a pair of washed-up RBs, and a lack of talent at the offensive skill positions so there should be plenty of lopsided games this year where opposing backs will get 25-30 carries against them and plenty of scoring opportunities.


  9. This may finally be the season where Jay Cutler lives up to his billing. Cutler's had the weapons on offense but failed to deliver for fantasy owners in the past. He's even available on waivers in a few leagues. He turned in a fine performance Sunday night against a 49ers defense that's had some issues with off-season personnel turnover, along with injuries and suspensions of key starters. Even though both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were hobbled by injuries Cutler still managed to throw for 4 TDs (3 of which came in clutch situations in the second half). His receivers are simply too big and too physical for most corners to cover and if the Bears can move the ball into the red zone, they'll win most of those contests. Cutler also had a couple nice back-shoulder throws to Marshall where he put the ball in just the right spot, displaying the kind of accuracy he often lacked in prior years.


  10. Anyone is worth starting at RB for Tampa Bay. Continuing the trend from last year, the Buccaneers seem to be able to get great production out of each and every one of their backs. Doug Martin was out this week with an ankle injury and back-up Bobby Rainey picked up the slack admirably, running for 144 yards on 22 carries on a Rams team that held Adrian Peterson to 75 yards and 3.6 a carry in Week 1. They play a poor Atlanta Falcons' run defense in Week 3 and if Martin misses that game, Rainey's a must-add on the waiver wire (if he's still lingering there).


report card
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.


Quarterbacks

Where We Got It Right:
Aaron Rodgers
- We ranked Rodgers as our #2 QB pick and he rewarded fantasy owners by throwing for 346 passing yards and 3 TDs, which equalled around 35 points if TDs counted for 6 points in your league. He got off to a slow start, as the Pack fell behind early 21-3 but redeemed himself with a phenomenal second half, hooking up with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb for some huge gains.

Peyton Manning
- We ranked Peyton as our #4 QB pick and he had a solid game for his fantasy owners with just 242 yards but 3 passing TDs, which was worth almost 28 points in most leagues.

Geno Smith
- We named Smith as a sleeper pick based on an attractive match-up with a questionable Green Bay secondary. He didn't have a great game passing the ball but made up for it with his legs, running for 26 yards and a TD and producing around 19-and-a-half points in standard leagues.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Matt Ryan
- We failed to accord the Bengals' defense the respect it deserved and predicted this game would be a shootout. However, it turned out to be more of an assasination, as Ryan was harassed by a very good Cincinnati D-line all day and threw 3 picks.

Robert Griffin III
- Our magic lamp failed to show us the gruesome ankle injury so we ranked RGIII as our #7 QB based on a very favorable match-up with the Jaguars. Since he went down in the first quarter, he failed to do much for his fantasy owners but if you were part of the 0.5% of fantasy owners who owned Kirk Cousins and started him, you were in for a fine day.



Running Backs

Where We Got It Right:
Arian Foster
- We made Foster, who had a great match-up against a porous Raiders run defense, our top pick this week at RB and he went off for 150 total yards and a TD, scoring 21 points for fantasy owners who heeded our advice and started him.

Alfred Morris
- We made Morris our 4th-highest ranked RB and we weren't far off the mark. He ended up scoring the 5th-most fantasy points by a RB with 85 rushing yards and 2 TDs, which provided his fantasy owners with 20.5 points.

Jeremy Hill
- We made Bengals RB Jeremy Hill a deep sleeper, despite the fact he was barely used in Week 1 and he rewarded fantasy owners who were in need of a Flex with 96 total yards and a TD, which provided owners who were in desparate need of a back with 15.6 points. The Bengals finally integrated him in their game plan and even though Bernard still got the bulk of the carries, Cincinnati got up 24-3 in the game and pounded the ball 42 times.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Montee Ball
- We made Ball the #3 pick at RB and while he had a productive game with 60 rushing yards on just 12 attempts, he failed to get in the end zone and ended up producing only 8.9 fantasy points. Eventually the Broncos are going to run the ball near the goal line and Ball's fantasy owners will be rewarded.

Matt Forte
- We said to start Forte, who we ranked as our #8 RB, and he christened the 49ers new stadium by laying a turd on the field, producing only 3.6 fantasy points for fantasy owners. The 49ers shut down the Bears running game and did a masterful job in holding Forte to less than 2 yards a carry and only 3 yards per reception.



Wide Receivers

Where We Got It Right:
Jordy Nelson/ Randall Cobb
- We recommended that you start both Packer receivers against the Jets suspect secondary and if you followed our advice, you were rewarded with great production from both players. Nelson, who we ranked 4th this week, had a career day with 209 yards receiving and a TD, while Cobb wasn't far behind with 45 all-purpose yards, 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion.

Brandon Marshall
- We ranked Marshall 7th this week and favored him over Jeffery due to the latter's hamstring and Cutler's long-standing rapport with the WR. He was on the receiving end of 3 Cutler TDs, including a spectacular one-handed grab in the end zone. He ended up the day scoring 22.8 fantasy points, which was second to only Jordy Nelson.

Eric Decker
- We named Eric Decker as one of our sleepers this week and he rewarded owners who took a gamble on him with 63 yards and a TD. It could have been even more but he injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter of the contest.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Calvin Johnson
- We believed Megatron was match-up proof and made him our #3 pick at WR this week but the Panthers' secondary did a great job sticking to the star receiver and, as a result, he ended up with a fairly pedestrian outing, hauling in just 6 catches on a whopping 13 targets for 83 yards and no TDs.

Larry Fitzgerald
- We named Fitz a sleeper and then Carson Palmer was unexpectedly de-activated for this game and all the Cardinals receivers suffered. We're confident he'll bounce back once Palmer's healthy but in the meantime, he delivered only 5 fantasy points to owners who heeded our advice.



Tight Ends

Where We Got It Right:
Antonio Gates
- We felt Philip Rivers and the Chargers would be extra-motivated this week after a disappointing last-minute loss to Arizona and ranked Gates #8 among TEs in spite of a very tough match-up against the Seahawks. He ended up having a career game, as Rivers hooked up with him for 3 scores and he nearly reached 100 receiving yards.

Niles Paul
- We named Niles Paul as a sleeper and he rewarded fantasy owners who followed our advice by producing 99 yards and a TD in a 41-10 rout of the Jaguars.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Delanie Walker
- We told you to ignore Walker, who's never produced more than 85 yards in his entire career, in spite of an attractive match-up with the Cowboys horrendous pass defense. The Titans offense struggled most of the game but Jake Locker, who threw for just 234 yards, was zeroed-in all game on his TE. Walker ended up having a career game with 142 yards and a TD.





Defenses

Where We Got It Right:
Arizona Cardinals
- We ranked the Cardinals as our top defense based on a match-up with a mistake-prone Giants team and if you started them, you were rewarded with 4 turnovers and a spectacular punt return TD by Ted Ginn Jr.

Buffalo Bills
- We made the Bills our 4th-ranked defense based on their play in Week 1 and an attractive match-up with a Dolphins offense that gave up 9 fantasy points a game to opposing defenses last year. They delivered the goods with 4 sacks, 2 turnovers, a TD and only 10 points allowed.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- We made the Bucs a sleeper pick and ranked them as our #2 DST based on their off-season additions and a nice match-up against a Rams team missing their starting quarterback but Tampa Bay entered the game banged up and things got worse when start DT Gerald McCoy and LB Mason Foster went down. They ended up producing only 2 sacks and a fumble recovery.

Jacksonville Jaguars
- We liked what we saw from the Jaguars D-line and secondary in Week 1 and named them a sleeper pick this week, ranking them in the middle of the pack at #16. However, they laid an egg against a Redskins team that started their back-up QB for most of the game, allowing 41 points and recording just 3 sacks. If you started them you actually lost a point in most leagues. We won't make the same mistake twice so drop them immediately from your roster.



Kickers

Where We Got It Right:
Mason Crosby
- We made Crosby our 2nd-ranked kicker, as we felt the Packers would lay a lot of points on the Jets at home. Crosby delivered, scoring 13 fantasy points on 3 field goals, including a 55 yarder that looked like it would have been good from 60, and 2 PATs.

Dan Carpenter
- We ranked "Dan the Man" highly again in a home match-up with his former team the Dolphins and he rewarded fantasy owners who followed the advice by leading all kickers with 5 field goalds and 2 PATs.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Matt Bryant
- We were confident the Bengals-Falcons gave would feature some offensive fireworks and made Bryant our #3 pick among kickers. However, Atlanta couldn't figure out the Bengals' fierce pass rush so it ended up being more like a firing squad than fireworks. Bryant's production suffered and he managed just 4 fantasy points on a field goal and a PAT after a meaningless TD late in the game.