I am pleased to present you with the first installment of a new weekly column here on the FakePigskin.com. My name is Andy Singleton, and as a NYC Firefighter it is a strange coincidence that my debut just happens to fall on September 11th. As such, I wish to dedicate this article to the memory of all those lost on 9/11, and I hope you take your own moment of silence at some point today to honor them as well. The concept of this column is to recap the past weeks most notable Fantasy performances from the most influential positions (Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, and Tight End). I will identify a player whom you would generally rely on as one of your starters that you Coulda started, but due to their lackluster performance should not have. Next will be a player who more than likely is on your bench or waiver wire that you Woulda started, and had you done so would have been rewarded with Starter-like numbers. And finally, I will list a player that if you could have had your pick of the entire NFL you Shoulda started, essentially the top performer at his position. Easy enough to follow, I hope. The second part of the column gets a little trickier though. It is where I will attempt to advise you on one player I think will have a big week, and one who will leave a lot to be desired. That is the formula, so on to the results for Week 1 of the 2013 NFL Season. If you are on Twitter do not be afraid to add me to your timeline. I have been accused of occasionally being entertaining.
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Coulda started Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. You know, the guy you drafted as a Top 5 Quarterback to put up prolific numbers. The Russell KaeperGriffin III before there was such a thing. Unfortunately for his owners the Seattle Seahawks owe you an apology you won’t soon receive. Cam was held to 16-23 passing, for a whopping 125 yards, and 1 TD. The rushing totals that were supposed to be the bonus to his game only got you a total of 38 yards and zero scores. You started Newton because you drafted him as such, but Week 1 was forgettable. Very forgettable.
Woulda started Tyrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders. When he was named the Raiders starter over Matt Flynn, you raced out and scooped him off waivers to stash him on your bench. The “take a flyer” on him pick up you were hoping would pay dividends at some point this season. That point was in the Raiders opening game. 19-29 passing was good for 217 yards through the air. He threw one touchdown against two interceptions, but one of those picks was on a last chance drive that was forced in to coverage. Pretty good right? HE ALSO RUSHED FOR 112 yards, although he did not score. This was the performance Cam Newton was supposed to give.
Shoulda started Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos. The Broncos offense, led by the eldest Manning, was predicted to be a juggernaut this season. By going out on Thursday night, to open the year in front of a football starved national audience, anything positive would have been enough. Peyton went out and threw 27-42 for 462 yards passing, accompanied by an NFL record tying 7 TD’s and no interceptions. Needless to say, he left many salivating with his performance.
Coulda started Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins. Many questions surrounded Miller entering the year, but he was still considered to be a strong RB2 with plus potential. 10 carries for 3 yards, with no scores is enough to prepare the white flag for deployment. He added 1 reception for 7 yards. Yes I know, Reggie Bush he is not.
Woulda started Shane Vereen, New England Patriots. He has a lot of appeal for his pass catching ability, but his position on the depth chart probably left him on your bench. After a shaky performance by starter Stevan Ridley, Vereen took the ball and ran with it, literally. He set a career high with his first 100 yard rushing performance carrying 13 times for a total of 101 yards, but no scores. His hands were still great as he added 7 catches for 58 yards, also with no scores.
Shoulda started Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions. I promise I did not mention him earlier because he was set to appear here. It was because he is no longer in Miami and now in Detroit, where he got off to an electric start. 21 rushing attempts totaling 90 yards, and 4 receptions for an additional 101 yards to his day. He did not find the end zone but did provide a glimpse of how dangerous he can be in the Lions attack.
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Coulda started Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons. His quest for a 7th straight 1,000 yard receiving season got off to a rough start. Going into the day you felt great about starting him at one of your two Wide Receiver openings. When the day was over, his 2 receptions for 19 yards, with no scores, more than likely created an insurmountable deficit for you to overcome.
Woulda started Julian Edleman, New England Patriots. Savvy owners took the Wes Welker look alike as a late round stash, but none probably had the guts to start him. If you had, Tom Brady’s new security blanket would have given your lineup a tremendous boost with his 7 receptions for 79 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
Shoulda started AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals. The more I see the Bengals play, the more Green and Andy Dalton remind me of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. The two always seem to be in sync, and the quarterback looks for his favorite target quite often. This week it was good for 9 catches totaling 162 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
*Honorable Mention: Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (5-161-2)
Coulda started Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings. Last year, Rudolph emerged and earned himself a trip to the Pro Bowl. A lot is expected this season as a follow up to that, and he is many peoples starting Tight End. His Week 1 performance will cause a lot of concern as he was only able to produce 2 catches for 27 yards, and zero touchdowns.
Woulda started Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns. He was on the fringe of being considered a Top 12 fantasy Tight End, but his opening act to the 2013 season should be enough to silence all doubt. While his quarterback Brandon Weeden was incredibly shaky, Cameron was still able to finish with 9 receptions good for 108 yards, and 1 score.
Shoulda started Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos. For all the articles that tabbed him a “Super Sleeper” and the “Next Best Thing”, one fact remained – he had 1 career reception entering the year. The secret is now out, and he will remain hidden in obscurity no longer. 5 catches for 110 yards, add 2 touchdowns, have Peyton Manning as your quarterback, and surround yourself with a plethora of talented receivers, and you will be a potential fantasy stud on a weekly basis.
Part two of this column brings us to the Play ‘Em/Pass ‘Em segment: one guy I like, and one I do not, for the upcoming week. Here are my picks for Week 2 of the 2013 NFL Season.
Play ‘Em: Eli Manning, NYG (vs DEN) The Manning Bowl will be a shoot out, and despite throwing 3 Int’s Eli can still sling it with the best of them and has Cruz/Nicks.
Pass ‘Em: Sam Bradford, STL (@ ATL) The Falcons have Super Bowl aspirations and the Georgia Dome will be a nightmare environment as they try to avoid going 0-2.
Play ‘Em: Eddie Lacy, GB (vs WAS) The Packers will look to increase the work load of the running game, and the ‘Skins just gave up 184 yards to LeSean McCoy.
Pass ‘Em: Stevan Ridley, NE (vs NYJ) Shane Vereen’s injury allows him to reclaim the featured back role, but will be facing one of the youngest and toughest D-Lines.
Play ‘Em: TY Hilton, IND (vs MIA) Too talented to go two weeks in anonymity. Last year vs the Fish had 6 catches for 102 yards and 1 touchdown.
Pass ‘Em: Kenbrell Thompkins, NE (vs NYJ) The rookie looked lost in the Patriots offense. Until he sharpens up his route running, Brady will avoid looking his way.
Play ‘Em: Julius Thomas, DEN (@ NYG) The hype is real, and Peyton loves his ends tight. The Giants secondary/linebackers will have their hands full in MetLife Stadium
Pass ‘Em: Kellen Winslow, NYJ (@ NE) The rapport he is building with Geno Smith is nice, but he is still a rookie QB and it is still the Pats. Expect some regression.
There were many other exceptional performances in Week 1, as well as some very disappointing ones. Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, Colin Kaepernick, Jared Cook, LeSean McCoy, David Wilson, Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley, Dwayne Bowe, Calvin Johnson, and Zach Sudfeld are among the most notable. The focus of the column though will continue to be on the mid level guys typically found on benches and the waiver wire. That will wrap it up for the first installment, I hope you enjoyed reading it and I thank you for taking a look. Any and all comments are welcome, and appreciated. Hope to have you back next week, and don’t be shy about telling a friend. Have a great week, and good luck in your games!
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Special Thanks to Thomas LaFace for posing for the logo. He is an aspiring child actor/model, if anyone does castings for that sort of thing.