Chris Johnson will continue to avg. 2.3 ypc., it’s time to sell — NOT!
Johnson didn’t even report to the Titans until just before the beginning of the season. Regardless of how much work he put in during the off-season and while training at home, it’s not the same thing as game shape. Furthermore, Johnson’s second game in which he garnered 24 carries came against a stout Baltimore defensive front seven. Looking at Johnson’s remaining schedule, only the Steelers in week five bring a particularly noteworthy defense. That leaves thirteen weeks of rushing goodness. One note of concern is in the fact that the typically superior Tennessee offensive line is looking not-so superior thus far. But an emerging passing game at the hands of Kenny Britt will likely begin to pay dividends. Look for Johnson to find ample running lanes in week three vs. Denver.
Cam Newton will continue to avg. 400 yards passing — NOT!
Okay, this one is a bit of a gimme. Newton has done nothing but impress with his arm in his first two starts, stunning most all observers. It’s not just that he was able to accomplish this two weeks in a row as much it was that his first game was against the Packers. Green Bay did force three interceptions but we’ll give the rookie a pass on that. I thought it was a given that he wouldn’t accomplish the 400 yard feat again for many weeks, if ever again this year. But at Arizona, Newton came through again and this time with only one turnover. It’s obvious that opposing defenses will continue to focus on stopping the run until Newton and the Panthers establish that they can win through the air rather than just rack up yards. Regardless of how you slice it, Newton has been impressive and looks exceptionally poised and confident in the pocket through two games. Just don’t expect the big passing numbers to continue, at least at the current pace.
The struggling Seahawks will find some offensive rhythm with Sidney Rice returning — NOT!
The Seahawks are bad, really bad! While their defense is mediocre, perhaps even passable, their offense is ridiculously poor. Ranking dead last in rushing and total yards and 28th in passing, Seattle simply doesn’t have enough play makers to pose any consistent scoring threat. At the heart of this is the offensive line play. Banged up and wholly under-performing, the offensive line has allowed ten sacks in two games and Seattle backs have only been able to produce an anemic 2.7 ypca. Marshawn Lynch remains a capable back but in this offense, capable is not going to get it done. Head coach Peter Caroll is sticking with Tarvaris Jackson as his starter and certainly hopes that the chemistry between Jackson and returning receiver Sidney Rice pays dividends. I expect only nominal increases in all offensive categories. It’s more than apparent that Seattle brass fully understands their plight and likely have box seat reservations at all Stanford home games in 2011. The race for Luck is on!
Kerry Collins will find his rhythm and reestablish the Colt’s offensive prowess — NOT!
As I said in my latest blog entry, just how good is Peyton Manning? The answer now is painfully obvious for all Colt faithful. No knock on Collins here directly as he came out of retirement in short order to take the reins when it was apparent that Manning would not be returning. He’s simply not dynamic and experienced enough in this offense to adequately take the reins from Manning. On top of that, the normally adept offensive line has been porous and the Colts haven’t kept games close enough to establish a strong running game. I do fully expect Collins to find some footing within the next two games but there remains too little hope that Collins will be a reliable fantasy starter again, even for the mighty Colts.
With Jamaal Charles out for the year, Dwayne Bowe will now be a consistent fantasy scorer — NOT!
First Tony Moeaki and now Jamaal Charles. What’s Dwayne Bowe really expected to do? Bowe has never been a picture of consistency in fantasy, always teasing coaches with his potential for big games, until you finally relent and give him the start only to see him disappear. Bowe is not without significant talent, far from in fact. But in an offense led by Matt Cassell and coached by the universally despised Tody Haley, the Chiefs simply aren’t built to win. One argument could be that without other play makers now to turn to, Bowe simply is the only choice. While this is true, defenses understand this as well and I can guarantee you that game planning will not be focused on the running back tandem of Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster. Expect Bowe to be bracketed on every down and every pass to be hotly contested. He may still be viable in PPR leagues but I’ll believe that when it’s shown to be the case. Here’s hoping that he proves me wrong.
The Falcons and Matt Ryan will continue to be mediocre — NOT!
Of course, it depends on your definition of mediocre. Through two games, Ryan has averaged 257 yards per game and two scores, but has four turnovers as well. Roddy White has been mediocre, Julio Jones arguably non-existent and Tony Gonzalez looks 25 again. Do not expect this to continue. Ryan has weapons at every turn and once offensive consistency is found, usually taking three to four games, the Falcons are poised to be one of the elite offenses in 2011. Stick with all Falcon offensive starters, save Julio Jones if you’ve got a better flex play, at least until he becomes more consistent.
The Raiders have over-performed and will begin their typical slide — NOT!
Welcome to the new look Raiders, even though not THAT much has changed year over year. The loss of Nnamdi Asomugha has hurt, but not nearly as much as expected on the defensive side of the ball. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves in that the Raiders have only played two games, one of those against the Broncos and they have a tough slog of games over the next three weeks (Jets, Patriots, Texans). But in those games, the pedestrian wide receivers have looked anything but, Darren McFadden continues to look like a top five fantasy back and Jason Campbell has been a good steward of the offense. The changes that have taken place from last year have obviously been in the chemistry dept. as the Raiders are finally looking like a team and not a collection of individuals.
The Carolina running game will find their legs soon — NOT!
I don’t see it. I don’t know what made DeAngelo see it either, other than the money. DeAngelo Williams resigning with the Panthers stuck a stake in the heart of many fantasy owners, mine included. Whether you had Williams, Jonathan Stewart or the emerging Mike Goodson, Williams’ return was poison for all. The Panthers haven’t convinced anyone that they can win through the air and, thus, opposing defenses will continue to focus on stopping the run. Hope does spring eternal here, but I don’t see any true hope for a resurgent running game until after their bye week (week 9). Again, here’s hoping that I’m very wrong.
Rashard Mendenhall will continue to struggle in the Pittsburgh backfield — NOT!
Make no mistake, I’m not a big Mendenhall fan. At least not as much as I was when he was playing at Illinois. He’s just a bit one dimensional for my taste. That said, Mendenhall is uber important to the Steeler’s offense and must be a focal point for defenses on game day. Mike Wallace continues to produce and Pittsburgh’s passing game has been performing well. Continued success in this area will open up holes for the tough running Mendenhall. This week’s match-up is one made in heaven as Mendy is certain to be north of 100 yards when it’s all over. One downside is the continued development of Isaac Redman who has proven himself capable and is garnering more carries to ensure that Mendenhall stays fresh. Fret not, Mendenhall will perform better going forward than he has shown thus far in 2011.
Shonn Greene will finally emerge as a capable fantasy running back — NOT!
Greene continues to be unimpressive and I fully expect that he’ll be no more than an emergency fantasy fill-in for the remainder of the year. For bigger backs that don’t play a role in the passing game, red zone and goal line touches are key to fantasy performance. In Greene’s case, not only does he sport some of the worst hands at the position, touchdowns are few and far between. As a two down back with a questionable offensive line, Greene just isn’t dynamic enough to regularly start in fantasy. Owners have to hope for the best as his value is too low currently to trade him away. As key members of his offensive line return to health, perhaps a small increase in productivity could be expected.
Jermichael Finley and Vernon Davis will continue to under-perform — NOT!
I’ve seen some discussion percolating that these two high flying TEs are bust worthy for 2011. Don’t believe that for a second. Both Finley and Davis have elite talent, speed and hands and should be bought low if you can get either. For Finley, eight receptions on ten targets is fair through two games and defenses will be hard pressed to stop him as they turn their attention to Jennings on the outside and Nelson underneathe or over the top. Finley should remain an every week starter in all formats. Davis, with 7 catches on eight targets is more questionable going forward due to the lack of established receivers in San Francisco but after having a talk with the coaching staff this past week, look for Davis to be heavily involved on Sundays going forward. Crabtree’s return, once up to full speed, will ultimately help Davis.
C.J. Spiller is about to emerge — NOT!
Double NOT! I don’t think I’ve ever been so down on a back that so many are still high on. There’s just no light on here at all, nothing to hold onto and no reason to expect that Spiller is going to find something that he hasn’t yet displayed. He was a great college back but his best years will have been played while wearing orange.
Have some of your own to share? Let’s hear them!
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff