Welcome to this week’s edition of the “3M Report” – a weekly look back at the mayhem, magic and mishaps from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief.
Before we jump in and take a closer look at the action on the field from week number two, I’d like to touch base on the off field issues from this past week. No doubt it’s been a disheartening and troublesome week for anyone following the recent stories surrounding the NFL. As FF owners, we tend to lose ourselves in this hobby and use it as a brief escape from real life. I can only hope these troubling events, under the intense national spotlight which surrounds the NFL, have raised awareness across our country and will fuel an increased commitment to help prevent and educate as we move forward.
And now, a look back at the action from week two in the National Football League.
Let’s talk about Torrey Smith for a minute. In each of his three previous NFL seasons, Smith has improved his route running and receiving techniques to go along with his strengths – good long speed and short term balance, an ability to change direction without sacrificing much of that speed and exceptional ball tracking skills. That improvement is evident to everyone in Torrey’s dynasty fan club, but apparently not to the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens. I went back and looked at some target data form 2013, specifically focusing on Smith’s first half involvement. There were eight games last season in which he saw three targets or less before halftime. If I’m the Baltimore coaching staff, I’m focusing on scheming creative ways to get Torrey involved early AND often. As for dynasty value, Torrey Smith is still too talented to give up on – he’s a hold or even a buy low for me over the next few weeks.
On Friday morning, ESPN sports personality Colin Cowherd compared the recent inadequacies of the Steelers organization to that of the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams finished with 8-8 records the past two years and both teams failed to make the playoffs during that time period. Both teams are led by aging quarterbacks who take chances and are prone to mistakes. I can absolutely see the similarities, but the biggest difference for me (outside of one flamboyant owner) lies in the personalities and perception of the two coaches. Mike Tomlin is viewed as a competent, no nonsense, high character guy, while Jason Garrett is considered a puppet on a string, always a moment away from making a crucial mistake or losing his team. That’s a huge difference in perception and a big reason why most folks see these two teams in such different light.
This lighter, faster version of Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell reminds me of a young Curtis Martin. At 5’11, 210 lbs., Martin was the smaller, shiftier back with better long speed, but I see very similar running styles, specifically the high bounce steps, the quick, nimble feet & the fluidity through the hips on cut back moves. A ferociously effective stiff arm is also a similarity between the two backs.
If you had told me the New Orleans Saints would start the season 0-2 and the Buffalo Bills would be 2-0 after two weeks, I’d have probably called you certifiably insane. Go figure.
Week number two of the NFL season could be referred to as “triage Sunday.” One key player after another pulled up lame or was injured yesterday starting with the early games and continuing right through the entire afternoon. The frustration felt throughout the fantasy community was almost palpable as A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson, Jamaal Charles, Ryan Mathews, Knowshon Moreno, Allen Hurns, Eric Decker and RG3 all left the field due to injuries.
Speaking of RG3, I’m not sure if he is simply brittle, extremely unlucky or equal parts of both. He suffered an ugly ankle injury early in the game against the Jaguars and back up quarterback Kirk Cousins was called upon to lead the offense. Cousins displayed a mature pocket presence and was able to scan the entire field while reading through his progressions. Granted it was against Jacksonville, but the Washington offense exhibited much more continuity with Cousins under center. Cousins’ familiarity with second team players also helped turn tight end Niles Paul into the second coming of Jimmy Graham.
Just when we were all ready to write off the Dallas Cowboys, they go and put together a solid performance. The Cowboys have enough weapons on offense to be dangerous and their defense is capable IF quarterback Tony Romo doesn’t give the opposition an endless supply of free points.
The Arizona Cardinals traveled all the way across country…..on a short week …and started a back-up quarterback…..and somehow still won. Good thing they were playing the offensively challenged and self-destructing New York Giants.
Victor Cruz, welcome back to FF relevance. Too bad Saints wide receiver Marques Colston had to take your place on the side of the milk carton.
The Miami Dolphins apparently left all of their synergy in South Beach when they traveled to Buffalo this week. The Miami interior line play on both sides of the ball bordered on dysfunctional and the play calling rhythm (which was so impressive in week one) was completely nonexistent in week two. On a side note – Knowshon Moreno is out for a few weeks due to a forearm injury so get familiar with Miami running back Damien Williams.
Ryan Tannehill‘s weak deep ball really limits Mike Wallace‘s effectiveness as a field stretcher.
New England wide receiver Julian Edelman had a nice day (6/88/1) and actually hauled in one reception for 44 yards. Usually it takes twelve receptions for Edelman to total 44 yards.
In what seemed like the perfect match up on paper, Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter totaled just two receptions for 26 yards. Sometimes the FF gods are just cruel.
When did tight end Delanie Walker become Lance Alworth? You youngsters can Google Lance Alworth….go ahead, I’ll wait.
Cincinnati running back Gio Bernard is so much fun to watch. He has such a nice combination of balance, vision and acceleration. I expect the Bengals to rely heavily on Bernard and fellow rookie running back/bulldozer Jeremy Hill over the next few weeks if A.J. Green misses any time with his foot injury.
Figuring out the New England running back situation week-to-week is nearly impossible.
Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins did a great job of generating space on Sunday. He may not be the prototypical tall receiver we all love so much in dynasty FF, but he’s super smooth through his breaks and creates separation with ease.
The window to buy low on Jacksonville wide receiver Allen Robinson may be closing quickly. The rookie wide out finished with a stat line of four catches for 75 yards and Chad Henne‘s days at quarterback are numbered. Once Blake Bortles takes over under center for the Jaguars, “ARob” should see plenty of targets. Robinson only needs to learn to take full advantage of his 6’3”, 210 lb. frame at the NFL level in order to become a weekly threat. I’m sorry, but Jacksonville also has the ugliest helmets in the entire NFL.
Yes, fantasy football is different from real football, but the object of both is to score more points than the opposition. How the Vikings can be so comfortable forcing the action through a lumbering running back like Matt Asiata is beyond my comprehension.
The Cincinnati Bengals defense did a tremendous job taking away the Atlanta short passing game in their win Sunday. The defensive backs and linebackers spent all afternoon driving on the quick underneath routes normally run by the Falcons receivers causing confusion and frustration for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan.
Can somebody please tell Jason Avant that Kelvin Benjamin is the only Carolina wide receiver who can haul in touchdowns from Cam Newton?
JJ Watt as a TE? That just isn’t fair.
Knile Davis not only has size and speed, he also has good vision, patience and follows blockers extremely well. If Jamaal Charles misses any significant time, Davis is in line for some serious production.
Phillip Rivers‘ gun slinging bravado was on full display against the Seahawks. Rivers tested Seattle’s reputable defense over and over again with solid results. As a team, the Chargers stood toe to toe with Seattle and “out toughed” them for all four quarters. Well played.
It may have been Green Bay receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb who made the most noise for the Packers on Sunday, but it was rookie wide out Davante Adams who grew up right before our very eyes. Adams’ athleticism was clearly evident as he stepped into the role of WR#3 for the Packers. Next up on the wish list – fellow rookie wide out Jeff Janis.
The most painful dynasty stat line through two weeks? Antonio Gates with 13/177/3 and dynasty darling and breakout candidate Ladarius Green mustering only 2/24/0.
That wraps up this edition of the 3M Report and a look back at week number two of the NFL season. Until next Monday, here’s hoping all your fantasy starters perform well and avoid those nasty injuries. Follow Leo Paciga on Twitter – @FFhoudini
- Training Camp and the Dreaded Season-Ending Injury - July 30, 2018
- Off-Season Musings of a Fantasy Football Curmudgeon - June 3, 2017
- The NFL Combine from my Couch - February 16, 2016