Halfway through the season and there have been tons of surprises…..Doug Martin, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston have not been what owners expected. Vincent Jackson has thrived under the new QB in Mike Glennon. Cam Newton started slow again and has had a great last few weeks (some things never change). Let’s get into it!
New Orleans at New York Jets
So Brees had 5 TDs…..he’s still great and water is still wet. The Jets have the 14th best pass defense in terms of yardage, however they’ve given up 15 pass TDs this year through 8 games. Not much to be said here, start Brees and he will put up top 5 QB numbers. Hey, Andy Dalton smashed this defense last week, I think Brees will be even better.
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So the New Orleans running game is pretty ugly…..and the only reliable RB in that group has been awful the past few games. Sproles had just 4 receptions last week and 0 carries for a total of ZERO yards. Not exactly what you would expect when Brees throws 5 TDs. He isn’t getting the work to be really effective other than a PPR league. I think this game was an exception and he will get more involved again going forward. Pierre Thomas is getting most of the carries in the ugly running game as well as some receptions. In a PPR league he’s worth a look if you’re desperate (have to be reeeeealllllyyyy desperate) but the Jets are the #1 ranked rush defense in the league. Robinson is a guy to monitor going forward, but with Ingram’s return looming, he won’t be around much longer. I think PT loses some value once Ingram returns, because of Sean Payton’s Ingram man crush, which nobody can figure out. Maybe when he was drafted he gave Payton 4 years worth of Juicy Fruit. That’s my only theory and I’m sticking to it.
So Colston……again 5 TDs from Brees and Colston does nothing. I’m sitting him this week, and moving forward until he produces again. There’s much better options out there, so sit him. He might see some Cromartie which would hurt. I think that Brees spreads it around a lot – and I don’t think Colston is the guy anymore. He will still make some plays, but Jimmy Graham is a beast even with 1 foot, and Kenny Stills is slowly emerging as a deep threat. Kenny Stills looks like a boom or bust play, mainly a guy you’d play in deeper leagues. Don’t expect 2 TDs a game from him going forward. Lance Moore finally did something last week; he’s a guy I would pick up and see what happens going forward, given Colston’s struggles and Graham being sort of hobbled. Oh ya, start Jimmy Graham if he’s active, he’s still a great TE even with 1 foot.
Atlanta at Carolina
Matt Ryan SUCKED last week…..straight up he was bad. He’s clearly going to miss Roddy/Julio the rest of the season, even if Harry Douglas has been solid. Carolina is currently 9th against the pass and they have only given up 6 passing TDs through 7 games this season. I wouldn’t expect much from Matty Ice this week and if there’s a better option out there I’m taking that. On the flip side, Cam Newton was awesome on Thursday night. He lit up the Tampa defense and expect that to continue against a Falcons secondary that is 22nd against the pass and have given up 16 passing TDs in 7 games this season. I think Cam Newton could be the highest scoring QB this week (or at worst in the top 3).
Moving to running backs, Steven Jackson finally returned…..and made his owners wish he was just inactive again. He had the most carries, and somehow the least yards. If that’s not talent I don’t know what is. The Atlanta running game is probably one of the worst in the league. I’m passing on Steven Jackson this week, especially since Carolina has only given up 2 rushing TDs this year and they are 2nd against the run. Looking to Carolina, DeAngelo FINALLY found the endzone last week. I actually like him a little bit in this game; Atlanta is 22nd against the run. The only thing holding him back, is Tolbert getting a lot of work and a lot of the goal line work. Oh ya, and Newton runs the ball sometimes too. I think DeAngelo is an RB2 this week.
Harry Douglas has no doubt been the #1 target for Atlanta in the past two weeks. Unfortunately for him, he’s going against a solid pass defense this week. I don’t think he will continue to have weeks like the past 2 weeks, but I still think he’s a low end WR2 this week. I think Atlanta is going to pass a lot, but the Carolina pass rush is solid and the Falcons offensive line is not; which is something to be aware of. Chances are if you have Douglas, you need to start him. Tony Gonzalez has been bad the past 2 weeks – it looks like teams are trying to just shut him down like the Patriots did a few weeks back after he had a huge first half. I think Carolina will continue to do that and Tony G may have yet another down week. Going to Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, they had solid games last week. Olsen’s was salvaged by a short TD but did nothing much otherwise. Steve Smith is still the #1 guy on this team, leading the team in targets last week. Both guys you’re starting against a weak Falcons pass defense. LaFell fell back to Earth (did you catch the pun there, haha!) and I think that is going to be his norm except for a handful of huge plays the rest of the season. Ted Ginn had a decent game last week, leading the team in receptions and yards – but the 2 weeks before that he didn’t do much. I’m not buying him and neither should you.
Tampa Bay at Seattle
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Mike Glennon……good lord. I guess Carolina’s defense is very solid, but still. I’ll say it again, you’re not starting him. I think he will slowly improve over the rest of the season, which is good for Vincent Jackson owners, but he’s clearly not useful as a fantasy QB. Plus he’s going to be playing IN Seattle, which isn’t easy for the league’s best QBs.
Mike James only had 10 carries last week but I think that was due to Tampa being behind most of the game, not to mention they were facing the 2nd best rushing defense in the league. It doesn’t get easier for Mr. James this week going into Seattle. I think Tampa is going to be behind in this game (by a lot) so I don’t think Mike James gets a ton of carries. However, he does have potential to catch a lot of passes, so if you’re in a PPR league and are desperate, he could be a sneaky RB2 with all the byes this week.
Before I get into anything, monitor the injury updates for Mike Williams, there was a report of a torn hamstring and probably his season being over. If he’s out, obviously Vincent Jackson’s value bumps, as well as Tim Wright going forward. Nobody else on this team is really worth owning in terms of a pass catcher. I think Vincent Jackson is going to see A LOT of Richard Sherman, so I don’t like his chances this week. I mean, I’m starting him, but I don’t think he will do that well. Mainly starting him because he is likely your best WR, plus there’s a ton of bye weeks. Tim Wright has been solid the past couple of weeks since Glennon took over. 2 of the past 3 games have been good in terms of TEs. He found the end zone last week, and I think he could be a sneaky TE1 this week. If you’re in a deeper league and find your team without a tight end, he could be a decent waiver pick up.