ReviewOctober 27, 2009


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WaCoug’s Weekend Wrap-up for Week 7

By Michael Stephens

After a week to recharge the fantasy writing batteries and some time to fix this pile of garbage that the Mac ads keep telling me I need to replace before the world ends, WaCoug’s Weekend Wrap-up is back and better than ever this week! As you may have noticed, I’ve been playing with a lot of different forums for the piece lately – in both the interests of variety and probing the audience to see if there is a specific format they like the best, I’ve tried many things, but nothing seems to work any better than breaking down the weekend’s action game-by-game, so that’s what I’m here to do again this week. It was an eventful slate of games Sunday, and while many of them were merciless blowouts, there are many lessons to be learned and points to be made in fantasy land, so let’s look back at week seven of the NFL season so you can look forward to the all-important week eight already!

For more in-depth analysis of the coming week and all injury news/player updates, make sure to check out the Fantasy Football Cafe’s podcast, 4th and Goal by clicking THIS LINK or visiting the “podcasts” button on the left side of the page – the show also features the popular segments Cafe Talk, Locks and Flops and Would You Rather, and it goes “live” every Friday morning/early afternoon – we hope you’ll check it out! Also, take a gander at the Live Wire piece that’s also running today.

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans

TEXANS 24, 49ERS 21
Tell me you wouldn’t want to own anyone who’s a big part of the Texans offense, and you’d probably hear me say that you’re full of more crap than a Honey Bucket after a state fair. Matt Schaub continues to hang gaudy numbers on opposing defenses, posting his fifth game out of the last six where he’s thrown for at least 260 yards and multiple touchdowns. Add in the fact Owen Daniels might be the best tight end in fantasy (that’s what she said) and that Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson are playing up to their fantasy potential on a weekly basis and you have a tandem of pretty dominant fantasy tandems. Johnson’s injury status should be monitored closely during the week as he left the game with what looks to be a lung contusion (it’s not as bad as it sounds though, I promise) and could miss Week 8 if his recovery lags at all. People can complain all they want about Slaton, but he has five touchdowns in his last four games and has remained highly involved in Houston’s passing game even when he’s had trouble running the ball. With the Bills on the docket next, start all your healthy Texans with confidence.

Yay, it’s Alex Smith time … again. I might sound a bit jaded, but doesn’t this guy remind you of the Benjamin Bratt of fantasy football? It’s great to sit back and think of him starring in a show, but just not the show that you designed, right? Smith keeps popping his head in and out of the picture, but nothing ever seems to turn out in a positive light for either him or the team, yet they both just keep on trying. We all better get used to it, because Mike Singletary has already named Smith the starting quarterback for Week 8, and after his 206 yards and three touchdowns (in relief of Shaun Hill), why not? He looked similar to an NFL quarterback in the game, throwing early and often to both Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. Oh yeah, if you didn’t notice, Crabtree had five catches for 56 yards in his first career game, so if that’s the slow start many were predicting, you need to buy right now. Davis was a beast in this game, catching all three touchdown passes and amassing seven catches for 93 yards. If you have a shot at Davis, but don’t take it because you think he’s setting you up for failure again, don’t say I didn’t warn you – he has six touchdowns in the last four weeks (from two different quarterbacks) and is the best option to own in this passing game. Davis is further proof that the three-to-four-year rule applies to tight ends too.

Green Bay Packers v Cleveland Browns

PACKERS 31, BROWNS 3
Now this is more like it! Every Packer gets in on the fun in an easy romp over Cleveland, and all Green Bay fantasy owners rejoice. This is all true, of course, unless if you’re one of the many befuddled Greg Jennings owners out there (my sympathies). Jennings did manage five catches for 52 yards in this one (on a team-high eight targets), but still turned in his fourth performance of the year with six or fewer fantasy points. I still think there’s hope for Jennings in this offense, mostly because he is too talented and too important to the Pack’s long term success to be forgotten, so don’t go selling low just yet. Aaron Rodgers lit the Browns up for three touchdowns and 246 yards, and he made it look easy too! He hit Donald Driver on another long touchdown pass, as well as hitting fullback Spencer Havner and James Jones for TDs. Though he had only one catch, Jones scored for the second straight game and now faces more playing time with Jordy Nelson still out and injured rookie tight end Jermichael Finley looking like he’ll miss time – he makes for a sneaky start in deep leagues where you have nowhere else to turn. Ryan Grant turned in a great game in this one, topping 100 yards for the first time this season and finding the end zone. After Minnesota this week, Grant has a soft schedule (@TB, vs. DAL, vs. SF and @ DET) – you’d be best served to ride him out and trade him before his tough stretch run (vs. BAL, @ CHI, @ PIT).

Writing blurbs about the Browns is so easy that a caveman could do it. As a matter of fact, I think a caveman with 20/40 vision and four working limbs could probably run this offense better than signal-callers Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson have done this season. Anderson turned in another abysmal game, throwing 29 times for 99 yards and an interception, but never fear, his job is still safe according to head coach Eric Mangini. There is literally nothing good to say about this team, either in this game or going forward. With D’Qwell Jackson out for the season with an injury, the only start-worth Browns player is on the shelf for the year as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t drop Jamal Lewis (yet), but I am finished with Jerome Harrison (unless he is officially named the starter, which will only happen by an act of God of if Lewis drops dead in his tracks), Mohamed Massaquoi and company until further notice. For those of you new to English, where we have many rules and they change all the time, “until further notice” means some time in 2011.

San Diego Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

CHARGERS 37, CHIEFS 7
I know that the Chargers were on the road, playing a divisional opponent in a must-win game, but I just can’t make myself come to grips with the fact that San Diego still has the ability to win games like this in a blowout fashion, without a significant contribution from LaDainian Tomlinson. LT had a nice big run (36 yards) in the game, but only turned his other 22 carries into 35 yards, cementing in my mind that this team is not committed to running the offense through their running game anymore and/or they can’t block for him. Tomlinson looks spry and has been close to breaking a lot of long runs, but the holes are basically non-existent for the pass-happy Chargers and I think it’s time to ship LT before he has no value left at all. Philip Rivers had a great fantasy day, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and he was able to get his main man Vincent Jackson involved early in the game before it got out of hand. Jackson finished with no catches in the second half, but considering he had five for 142 yards and a touchdown in the first half, no one is complaining. He has at least 10 fantasy points in five of six games this year, which sounds oddly like number one starting receiver numbers – I still think he can be had at a discount at this point, because many of his owners have failed to realize his value in this offense and his consistency. Don’t worry about Antonio Gates either, he still managed five catches for 55 yards in a quiet game.

You know who likes Larry Johnson’s off-color tweets more than anyone right now? Well, actually I can think of two people, so let’s start with Jamaal Charles. Johnson has likely talked his way out of his starting gig in Kansas City (it kind of seems like he doesn’t care anyway), and Charles is the most likely beneficiary of this eminent demotion. Charles has run the ball more effectively than Johnson all season and is a much more competent pass-catcher, so if this is the week he takes over the job in KC, this is the last week you MIGHT be able to pick him up on the cheap – do it, and you won’t regret owning him over Justin Fargas or Jerome Harrison. The other guy that stands to benefit from Johnson’s stealing of the spotlight is Matt Cassel. The Chiefs quarterback threw for a paltry 97 yards and three interceptions in this game, a game where they were behind early and often, yet Cassel just couldn’t get anything going. He did throw a lone touchdown (to Dwayne Bowe), but looked pretty horrible all game long. I think Bowe is still worth a start in almost all formats, but pending Charles’s audition in the coming weeks, I wouldn’t start any other Chiefs until further notice.

Indianapolis Colts v St. Louis Rams

COLTS 42, RAMS 6
We’ll strive to keep this one short, because it’s really hard to write that anything surprising happened when we all expected it! I mean, seriously, coming into this game the Rams reminded me of Wayne Knight in the first Jurassic Park. You know, when he runs to the outhouse to hide from the T-Rex, but it’s just a matter of time until the beast finds him and eats him off the pot? Peyton Manning surgically picked the Rams apart in this one, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns. This was the first time all season Manning hadn’t thrown for at least 300 yards – of course this time was because he didn’t have to. Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie caught a touchdown apiece and are all solid weekly starts going forward. Wayne’s injury status should be monitored, however, because he left the game with a strained groin that could sideline him in the coming week (depending on his recovery speed). Joseph Addai could be in line for more carries going forward, as rookie Donald Brown left the game with an injured shoulder and could miss a week or two, pending an MRI scheduled for Tuesday.

Steven Jackson is, always was, and always will be a beast. Other than that fact, the only other Rams-related truth might be that Scott Linehan is the happiest guy on Earth, because he got off a sinking ship before it killed him and everyone on it. The Rams are a dreadfully bad football team (they aren’t the only one, but they may well be the worst), and other than the aforementioned Jackson, it would be hard to recommend anyone on this team as an every-week starter in any format. This week, the Rams draw the Lions in a game that should be dubbed “The Most Pathetic Game Ever Held on Turf”, so Marc Bulger and Donnie Avery could be worth looks if you are desperate. I mean REALLY desperate though. With Will Witherspoon out of town (he was traded to the Eagles; more on him later), the tackles are going to have to come from somewhere on this team, but I fear they will just be spread out amongst the other terrible Rams defensive players, so Oshiomogho Atogwe is probably the only guy you can start on this defense.

Minnesota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers

STEELERS 27, VIKINGS 17
This one was really a lot closer than the scoreboard indicates, but as we have become accustomed to watching, the Steelers pulled out a big game at home, largely on the merits of solid defensive play and a couple of touchdowns on the wrong side of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger posted his smallest output of the season with 175 yards and one touchdown, and though Rashard Mendenhall ran the ball admirably on limited carries (10 for 69 yards), the only Steeler that was worth a darn in this one was rookie receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace caught a 40 yard touchdown in the second quarter and added two other catches for 32 more yards, making him the only Steeler to top 12 fantasy points in this one. Willie Parker got one carry for one yard in this game, and while I won’t go so far as to say you should drop him (again, yet), it’s clear who you want to own in this backfield. On a side note: if you think Santonio Holmes is more than a WR3 this season, you are nuttier than my neighbor’s pet squirrel. James Farrior had a monster game (15 tackles, 9 solo, sack, pass defensed) and both Keyaron Fox and James Harrison returned turnovers for touchdowns, so the Steelers’ defenders far out-performed their offensive “stars” in this one.

The Vikings really played well enough to win this game if not for an ill-timed Brett Favre interception on a tipped screen pass. Sidney Rice had a monster game with 11 catches for 136 yards (on a team-high 14 targets), further cementing himself as the number one receiver on this team after Bernard Berrian left with another injury. I don’t trust Berrian going forward, nor do I trust Percy Harvin. Harvin returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and while he has had a very nice season in reality football, it’s only kind of translated into the realm of fantasy. He’s still probably a WR4/flex option in deep leagues, but unless you get some form of points for return yardage, he’s just an incredibly poor man’s version of DeSean Jackson, circa 2008. Adrian Peterson ran the ball well against the Steelers, managing 69 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. He also added 60 yards on four receptions and absolutely dump-trucked William Gay after a reception on what looked to be a game-saving drive by the Vikings late in the fourth quarter.

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PATRIOTS 35, BUCCANEERS 7
Remember that Jurassic Park reference in the Colts-Rams capsule? This was another one of those games. The Patriots won this game (in London) easily, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first half and not looking back. Tom Brady mostly looked like his old self again, throwing for 308 yards and three touchdowns (one each to Wes Welker, Sam Aiken and Ben Watson). He did throw two interceptions, but you can’t fault Brady for taking some risks, as he’s going to get you way more touchdowns than interceptions when he does that. Randy Moss had a rather pedestrian game, but no one will complain about five catches for 69 yards when the Pats throw it into cruise control early in the third quarter. Welker had a workmanlike 107 yards on 10 catches, catching every ball that was thrown his way. He is obviously healthy enough to be a threat on every play, and is back to being a top-10 receiver in almost all formats. Laurence Maroney turned in decent numbers with 43 yards and a score in garbage time, but this game should serve as further proof that the Patriots backs are not to be trusted with anything other than flex plays and desperation bye-week covers, as nine of the 10 points Maroney scored came in absolute garbage time in the last 12 minutes of the game.

Not a lot of positives to highlight here unless you are a Buccaneers fan looking far into the future, and I only say that because you finally got to see the future of your quarterback position in Josh Freeman. Freeman took a handful of snaps and completed two passes for 16 yards in relief of Josh Johnson. Johnson threw for 156 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions and might or might not have a job going forward. He was unable to find Kellen Winslow (2 catches, 9 yards) in this game, but it’s highly likely Winslow was the target of Bill Belichick’s much-publicized ability to take away an opponent’s strength. Antonio Bryant caught two passes for 51 yards and a touchdown, but was targeted nine times by Johnson and Freeman. He had a lot of poorly thrown balls coming his way, which could be a good or bad sign going forward (I’ll let you figure out why, but it has something to do with accuracy). Derrick Ward out-carried and out-gained Carnell Williams in this game, further proving that neither can be trusted as more than flex plays as the Bucs have no idea what they are doing at this point in time.

New York Jets v Oakland Raiders

JETS 38, RAIDERS 0
See Patriots-Bucs and Colts-Rams. This game was another absolute wood-shedding by the victor, as the Jets ran for four touchdowns on the hapless Raiders. Thomas Jones ran for 121 yards and a touchdown, while his new backfield partner Shonn Greene toted the rock 19 times for 144 yards and two scores. Greene is likely one of the top pickups going into Week 8, because he is now the official handcuff for Jones thanks to a season-ending injury to spark-plug Leon Washington. Greene is a must-pickup in all leagues, and while he won’t be getting 20 garbage-time touches every week, he will pose more value and more of a threat to Jones’s workload than Washington did. Mark Sanchez accounted for 150 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing), but is still nothing more than a fringe QB2 in 2009 – his time will come, but for now he’s just barely a deep league fantasy factor. Jerricho Cotchery missed his second straight game with an injury, but hopefully will be able to play Sunday against the Dolphins, who you might remember let the Jets pass all over them a few weeks ago. Now that the hype-factory has shut down on Braylon Edwards, we can see him for who he really is again: a physically talented head case with consistency issues and a knack for the dropsies. He should still be owned, but don’t go starting him like a WR1 anymore (I know some of you did this after Week 5, don’t lie).

I’m going to stick to my guns on this one and refuse to go into detail about a team with only two guys you can even stomach owning. Kirk Morrison led the Raiders with 9 tackles (6 solo) and is still the only must-start guy in silver and black. Justin Fargas should definitely be owned, but only started in situations of desperation or some other form of extreme need. He is the “featured” back until the return of Darren McFadden, and thus the only other guy that should be on your roster right now. From this point forward, I move that all league constitutions should have a section regarding how to handle league members getting caught with Darrius Heyward-Bey or Bruce Gradkowski on your roster – as far as I’m concerned, it should lead to the disbandment of your team and the revocation of your Internet privileges until the 2010 season. I’m just sayin’…

Buffalo Bills v Carolina Panthers

BILLS 20, PANTHERS 9
Another ugly game? Man, I can’t take much more of this! Lee Evans highlighted a lackluster performance by Buffalo in this one, catching five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, and other than that, only Marshawn Lynch’s 10-point performance is worth mentioning in this one. One more thing: it’s time to dump Terrell Owens. Do whatever you can to jettison him into the fantasy atmosphere, whether that be suckering someone into trading you Michael Crabtree or just dropping him outright. Anything and everything that is wrong with your fantasy team can likely be attributed to the new-found cancer they call “T.O.”. By the way, I’m officially one game away from recommending you drop Fred Jackson, so feel free to jump the gun on that one too!

Even though the Panthers played worse than they have at home in years, they actually had as many standouts as the winning team. DeAngelo Williams notched his second-straight game with at least 19 fantasy points, and while I know much of this was because they played a Bills defense on which a peg-legged pirate could run, it’s still worth noting since he is the only bright spot on this offense right now. Don’t expect this level of production to continue, but there will be plenty of double-digit games out there for Williams, whether or not Jonathan Stewart decided to show up and take some of his glory. After his best game of the season in Week 6, Stewart only mustered four fantasy points – I might be in the minority here, but I recommend you sell Stewart for as much as you can get for him, especially if you can get a low-maintenance, more consistent option going forward. Steve Smith caught six balls for 99 yards in this game, but I am willing to count this as a sort of fantasy mirage if you are. It’s going to take a lot more games like this for me to recommend Smith as anything more than a flex play this season. Either quarterback Jake Delhomme or Smith need to leave town before I’ll likely change my mind on this one.

Chicago Bears v Cincinnati Bengals

BENGALS 45, BEARS 10
What an absolute blowout this was! This game was different from the other Jurassic Park matchups though, because nobody saw this one coming. Many pegged the favored Bengals to win at home, but not by a whopping five touchdowns! Carson Palmer accounted for that difference throwing for 233 yards and five TDs in this game, while completing a silly 20 out of 24 passes in his most dominant and effortless game as a Bengal. Chad Ochocinco led the way with 10 catches, 118 yards and two touchdowns, while Laveranues Coles, Chris Henry and J.P. Foschi all got in on the fun with touchdowns of their own. “85” is back to top-eight wide receiver status as far as I’m concerned, and you can argue if you want to, but I believe you would be wrong to do so. With at least eight fantasy points in five of seven games, and two multiple-touchdown games to boot, there aren’t many guys out there I’d rather own than the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson. Cedric Benson turned in another massive performance in this game as well, going off for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown. He’s a top-eight back in non-PPR leagues, and his schedule in Weeks 11-16 makes him worthy of a pretty high offer on the trading block.

If Alex Smith is Benjamin Bratt, then I’m starting to fear that makes Matt Forte Ms. Congeniality. He is nice to talk to and promises solid production over the long haul, but in reality he’s nothing pretty to look at and seems to disappoint at every turn. Forte managed just 49 yards on 10 touches in this drubbing, and while I’m not ready to give up on him yet, it’s unlikely he’ll give you RB1-type numbers more than a couple more times this season. With Cleveland on the slate next, Forte will get another relatively soft matchup against a team that just allowed 140-plus rushing yards to Ryan Grant in Week 7, so hopefully he can find some sort of a groove and the Bears can get on track. Much of the Bears’ problems are coming from their lack of balance and over-reliance on the “brilliance” of Jay Cutler, and I think the one and only ticket out of their funk is Forte (which is why I haven’t given up yet). Lovie Smith is a smart guy, and he’s going to have to figure out how to turn things around soon, or the fantasy and reality owners of the Bears are going to be severely disappointed. Devin Hester turned in the only other performance of note in this game for the Bears, catching eight Cutler-thrown passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Cutler turned in his most disappointing game since Week 1, throwing three interceptions and barely topping 250 yards in a game in which he was throwing constantly – there’ll be greener pastures if, and when the Bears find some balance; just pray that happens and it happens soon.

Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys

COWBOYS 37, FALCONS 21
I don’t think a lot of people saw this one coming, but with the surprising play of Miles Austin and Tony Romo, it’s not hard to imagine the Cowboys doing this to a lot of teams down the stretch. Romo seems to have found his new favorite target in Austin, and he spread a majority of his 311 yards and three touchdowns Austin’s way once again. Austin caught six balls for 171 yards and two more touchdowns, posting his second straight game of at least 29 fantasy points (no, that’s not a typo). He’s a top-12 receiver in my books going forward, and I think he’s proved he’s really the only Cowboy that should find your lineup on Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday, or even Saturday). Partick Crayton scored two touchdowns in this tilt (one receiving and one punt return), but I still think he’s only even worth a roster spot in very deep leagues. As for the running game, there were some reports that Tashard Choice would receive the majority of carries in this game, so what did he do? He touched the ball one time (a 23 yard reception) while Marion Barber and Felix Jones carried 22 times between them (14 to Barber, 8 to Jones). Neither ran the ball that well, but with Romo slinging it all over the place they didn’t have to. I would roster Barber, Jones and Choice in that order going forward, but as I’ve been saying for weeks now, all they really do is kill each other’s value – I like Barber the most purely for his touchdown-scoring abilities.

Most of the Falcons’ stars turned in useful performances in this game, but it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been in a game billed as a good ol’ Texas shootout. Matt Ryan threw two touchdowns (but also turned the ball over three times), while Michael Turner and Roddy White were both held to pedestrian (really quiet) 11-point days. Each found the end zone and totaled 50 yards, but there were no real big plays out of either as they were neutralized by the Cowboys surprisingly stingy defense. Speaking of neutralized, Tony Gonzalez only caught four passes for 37 yards in this game. There’s no cause for worry, but I just thought you should know – he’s still easily a top-five tight end going forward. Eric Coleman gets a game ball here on the defensive side, not because he grew up right up the street from me (though that certainly doesn’t hurt), but because he notched 13 total tackles in this game (9 solo), his fourth week out of six with at least 9 tackles. He should be owned in more IDP leagues than he is right now.

New Orleans Saints v Miami Dolphins

SAINTS 46, DOLPHINS 34
Now this is what I’m talkin’ about! With 80 combined points, a huge comeback in the fourth quarter and solid fantasy performances all around, what’s not to like about this game? Nothing, as long as you’re not a Pierre Thomas owner that is. Drew Brees led a furious comeback by the visiting Saints, accounting for 298 passing yards and three touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 passing). He did turn the ball over three times, but nobody is going to complain about 23 points out of their quarterback on a given week – I agree you could expect more in a 46-point effort, but I’ll still take it. Marques Colston caught five passes for 72 yards and score, and Jeremy Shockey got in on the fun with four grabs for 105 yards. Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem all proved their volatility in this offense by posting one, seven and zero fantasy points respectively. Colston really is the only receiver you can trust in this offense on a weekly basis. I keep telling people that, but they just won’t listen! There were points to be had in the Saints running game, but they are just so hard to predict. Mike Bell made the most of his 12 carries (80 yards), Reggie Bush round the end zone on a 10-yard scamper in this one, far overshadowing the four-point day of Thomas, the supposed feature back.

Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown continue to amaze me with their ability to score double-digit points each week, but what is more surprising is that Williams is coming out on top of that contest more than you would think. Williams scored three touchdowns in this one and added 92 total yards on 11 carries, far out-shining the 10-point fantasy day turned in by Brown (48 yards, touchdown). In general, I treat each back as more of an equal partner in this offense because they can both score multiple touchdowns on any given day and are both pretty involved in the passing game as well as all of the Wildcat wrinkles, but there is no question that they somewhat limit each other’s value from week to week. Williams makes for a great sell-high if you have a buyer, but you could do worse than him, so don’t just sell him to sell him. At this point, nobody in the passing game (Chad Henne included) is worth rostering in all but the deepest of leagues, but I still have faith that the prolific rushing attack in Miami will open up the passing game at some point. If only we knew how to find out when that was going to happen…

Arizona Cardinals v New York Giants

CARDINALS 24, GIANTS 17
Well I’ll be darned, the Cardinals can win a game without their fantasy stars in the passing game going bonkers! While this wasn’t a terribly exciting game from a fantasy standpoint, it was certainly interesting as a football fan to watch the Cardinals play timely defense and run the ball effectively (when they had to) en route to the victory in this matchup of the past two NFC champions. Kurt Warner only managed 13 fantasy points in this one, and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin were held to eight and seven respectively. You probably didn’t go into this game thinking explosion against the Giants’ formidable defense (at least by reputation), so this was all to be expected. What wasn’t to be expected in this game though, was the majority of carries going to Chris “Beanie” Wells, or the fact that he would actually do anything with them. Wells ran the ball 14 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, adding three catches for 10 yards as well. As far as I am concerned, he should be your pickup of the week, as his ascent to the position of feature back in this offense could be a solid and sneaky RB2 down the stretch considering Arizona’s soft schedule. Tim Hightower certainly must still be owned, but I think his star in Arizona is fading, whether or not Ken Whisenhunt is willing to admit it.

Ah, the time has come for the Eli Manning second-half swoon, and it has even come a bit early! I’m partly being facetious, but Manning’s second-half struggles in the past have been well documented, and with all the talk about his great first half of the season and soft matchup against Arizona, we all thought it wouldn’t start for at least another week. Manning threw three interceptions and only one touchdown in this game and couldn’t get over 250 passing yards even though the Giants were down much of the second half and the threw the ball 37 times. Brandon Jacobs ran the ball effectively, even showing his old form from time to time, but he still only managed 87 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches. Ahmad Bradshaw had his first disappointing game in over a month, carrying 12 times for 32 yards and losing a crucial fumble for a whopping total of one fantasy point. I wouldn’t worry about him too much going forward, as the Giants seem committed to giving him double digit carries and a few passes per game, but this should be notice to help you remember he is not much more than a RB3 or flex play most weeks. Hakeem Nicks caught a fluky tipped pass for a 62-yard touchdown, but didn’t contribute much for the rest of the game, finishing with four catches for 80 yards. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham both turned in pedestrian games again, with six and four points respectively. There will be some big games for this passing attack in the future, but there are bound to be some clunkers too – I still think you should sell high on almost all Giants offensive players while you still can.

That almost wraps up an eventful and exciting first week of NFL action! Make sure to come back for a quick look at the Eagles-Redskins game before you move on to next week! I hope you will join me each and every week throughout the season as we break down the games and their fantasy impacts, while always making sure to keep the clunkers of the week on their toes as well!

 
Michael Stephens is an avid fantasy sports enthusiast who writes for the Cafe. He hails from the Pacific Northwest and is a die-hard Seahawk and Mariner fan to the core! You can find Michael in the Cafe's forums where he actively posts under the name of WaCougMBS.
 
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