The opening week of the NFL season offers a lot of uncertainty for fantasy owners. Who’s going to emerge as the surprise player this year? Who’s not going to live up to expectations? With Week 1 now behind us, many fantasy owners may have more questions than answers. Is Cam Newton going to be the fantasy darling this year? Is the Vikings passing offense going to be so inept as to warrant selling high on Percy Harvin right away in the season? I don’t have any of these answers. You can’t always make judgments based on a single game. Things usually don’t settle down in the realm of fantasy football until later in the season, and even then, there are surprises almost every week. That being said, I still have a product to put out, so time to cut to the chase.
Week 2 Weakling
Jamaal Charles didn’t have a great game in Week 1, but it wasn’t terrible either. He did find the end zone for the Chiefs only score and, had that not happened, it would have been a rather dismal game for the top-five running back. In his defense, the Chiefs found themselves in a rather large hole early on in the contest which led to a higher pass to run ratio than they probably would have liked. Charles only carried the ball 10 times but did average an impressive 5.6 yards/carry. Keep in mind that the Buffalo Bills have not had a stellar run defense the past couple of seasons. In 2010 they ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. In 2009 they were slightly better at 30th overall. With Paul Posluszny no longer in the mix, one would have expected the Bills rush defense to actually get worse even with the additions of Shawne Merriman and Nick Barnett. What made them look good in Week 1 was the ineptitude of the KC defense and their inability to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick. This put them into a position where the Chiefs had to take the ball out of the hands of Jamaal Charles and place it in the hands of Matt Cassel. Once this happened, the Bills didn’t need to stop Jamaal Charles; the Chiefs did that for them by not calling his number. Of course, Charles didn’t help his cause by coughing up the ball.
Kansas City’s Week 2 matchup isn’t looking very favorable. In fact, it looks to me that it could be a repeat of Week 1. Matthew Stafford put up impressive numbers in his 2011 debut and Calvin Johnson made the case that he may well be the most unstoppable WR in the game. If Kansas City cannot stop Ryan Fitzpatrick in their home stadium, what reason would we have to believe that they can stop the Lions’ pass attack on the road? To add insult to injury, or rather injury to insult, the Chiefs just lost starting safety Eric Berry for the season. Another consideration is that the Lions may have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. With the improvements that they’ve made on defense it would be assumed that they would improve their defensive ranking from last season. In 2010 they ranked 24th in rush defense. I’m expecting them to finish close to the top 10, and they’re off to a good start. They allowed a measly 56 total rushing yards to the Bucs in Week 1, and 28 of those were from QB scrambles. Tampa’s RBs averaged just over 2.5 yards/carry. I expect Jamaal Charles to do better than that, but I won’t be surprised if he only gets 3.5 yards/carry.
The bottom line is this: I expect the Chiefs to find themselves in a hole early, similar to what we just saw this past week. This will once again force the Chiefs to go to the air taking the ball out of the hands of their best player, much to the chagrin of fantasy players across the world who spent a first round pick on him. If KC’s defense doesn’t show drastic improvements soon, and if Cassel is bothered by the broken rib more than he is letting on, Charles may actually be a very good sell high candidate. He will have his games; he’s too talented not to. But I fear it may be a bumpy road in ’11 for Charles’ owners out there if his teammates don’t step it up a notch.
Projection: 15 carries, 53 yards; 5 receptions, 11 yards; No TDs.
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
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