Just like those seriously annoying Maxwell the Pig commercials from Geico, I’m baaaack. For another edition of TGIFFF, or Thank God It’s Fantasy Football Friday. (Yes, we eliminated an “F” from the Week 1 column. Budget cuts.)
I experienced mediocrity at its finest last week; my teams finished with a .500 record. They say a tie is like kissing a pig. Hope it’s not Maxwell. I scored the most points in one league. Thank you, Matt Ryan and AJ Green. I also nearly brought up the bottom of the proverbial barrel in another. NO thank you, DeMaryius Thomas and Andre Ellington.
Week 1 certainly had its share of surprises; here’s looking at you, kids. And by kids, of course I mean the rookies, covered here. But we’re not looking back anymore; we’re crystal-balling it, watching for the following:
- Trouble in Big D?
Yeah, I know. I think I could just ‘cut n paste’ that title (Trouble in Big D?) several times per year into my fantasy columns, referencing America’s Team. Jerry Jones is in trouble with ex- strippers, that defense looks to be historically awful and Tony Romo is officially to blame for the conflict in the Gaza Strip. But—from a fantasy perspective—I’m not throwing in the towel. They’ll give up points. In droves. Which means their offense will have to continue trying to put up points. I think I’m in the minority, but I’m buying low on their weapons: Dez, Witten and even Romo. If you can steal them at value from an already weary owner, snatch away. Real on-the-field football trash often translates to fake on-the-field football treasures.
- Give ‘Em the Damn Ball!
As an homage to Keyshawn Johnson, some big name WR’s didn’t see many touches in Week 1. You may have heard about Larry Fitzgerald’s dad taking to social media to educate The Twitter on the politics of who does and who does not get passes thrown their way (and why). I just love it when parents, wives (remember Brenda Warner, anyone?) and even siblings (Michael Vick’s brother Marcus) feel compelled to stand up publicly for their boyzzz.
And the salsa king Victor Cruz is saying that the Giants success depends on him getting more targets. I think there’s juuuuust a bit more to it than that, Vic. [Insert Eli Manning joke du jour here. Oh that’s right. The entire 2013 season WAS an Eli Manning joke? My bad.]
By the way, if you’re unaware of Keyshawn’s marquee phrase, he even wrote a book on how to increase increment of receiving said damn balls.
- Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?
The NFC East has the highest name recognition per divisional starting QB in the entire NFL. There’s a Manning (granted, not the elder Manning, but this one has two Super Bowls), a Romo (Cowboys’ QBs who date pop singers and don’t win playoff games will always be polarizing), RG III (whose Subway endorsements, smile and dreads are unmistakable) and Nick Foles (last year’s golden child who threw only two INTs, and Napoleon Dynamite’s twin). Yet, get this stat. None of them surpassed 10 fantasy points in Week 1. Foles’ 9.88, the highest among the bunch, was good for 25th in the league, behind the likes of Derek Anderson, EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel and Derek Carr.
I’m watching to see who will answer the bell this week. Anyone? Anyone? My money is on Romo, he types with shaking hands.
- The Patriot Way
You called it, didn’t you? The entire AFC East is undefeated! Oh. Wait. Hoodie and his boys from Foxboro lost Sunday. I think Brady’s grizzly beard threw their entire team’s timing off. Gronk is day-to-day—what else is new?—and, other than Gronk and Vereen, they still have an otherwise unimpressive corps of backs and receivers to throw out there, and Belichick plays matchups as well as anyone on a weekly basis. This, obviously, equals a crapshoot from week to week on who gets to carry Tom’s Uggs bag. Having said that, I smell bounceback. If one can actually smell such a thing. Brady, Gronk and [YOU insert your favorite Patriot here] will put up numbers.
- The More, The Merrier
Again, who saw this coming? Oh wait, I did. As if on cue to demonstrate the textbook display of the RBBC model, the Titans employed the following RB touches in Week 1. Shonn Greene: 15; Dexter McCluster: 10; Bishop Sankey: 6; Leon Washington: 4. Will this continue? Will the good Bishop slowly take some footing on the job, or simply continue being a pawn in this situation? See what I did there? Or will still more names—plodding vet Jackie Battle?—be added to the committee mix? I think I heard the crowd at LP Field (Titans homefield) chanting, “We want Jackie! We want Jackie!”
- The Hit Man
I’m not sure who gave him the nickname [feel free to contact me, so that proper credit can be appropriated], but Allen ‘Hit Man’ Hurns just rocks. For those unaware, Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns was a beast-mode boxer, who made his name back in the 1980s. The dude was the first fighter in history to win five world titles in five different divisions. But I digress …
Here’s the question for me. Does our 2014 Jaguars version of Hit Man have any sustainability? Sure, he was the first rookie WR since Anquan Boldin in 2003—and fifth overall—to have 100 receiving yards and 2 TD’s in his debut. And as you can see, he’s in rare company, catching TD’s on his first two NFL catches.
So the question remains … will he be another Anquan Boldin, with a long and productive career? Or will he flame out, in line with the legendary Mike Siana and Bobby Johnson? Personally, I hope this Man becomes a Hit.
- The New York Two-step
I’m anxious to see how the backfields for both New York teams play out. The Jets essentially displayed a 50/50 split between the Chris’s (Johnson played 34 snaps, while Ivory played 30). Meanwhile, in a somewhat surprising development, the newest Giant tailback Rashad Jennings got 20 touches, versus only five for Andre Williams. Trend-worthy? Or one-week situations?
- Rams Retreat
Even before Sam Bradford was lost for the year via injury (do I need to simply rename this entire column Déjà Vu?), no one confused the Rams offense with the Broncos. But now, that injury combined with Jeff Fisher’s proclamation that a committee approach will be used going forward—Benny Cunningham actually was on the field for more plays than Stacy Week 1 (33 to 31)—is there anyone fake football owners can depend on? Are you starting Jared Cook or Tevon Austin or Brian Quick? Heck, right now, I’m hesitant to confidently start Stacy OR Cunningham.
- Big Boys Are Back
Some of the consensus top 10 fantasy draft picks didn’t make much of a Week 1 fantasy splash. Charles, Peterson, Lacy, Demaryius, Graham, Ball and Dez had less-than-expected weeks. Specifically, I am watching for JC Superstar, AP, DThomas and Dez to bust out.
10. Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater
Anyone else find this expression just a bit creepy? Yeah, I get the whole intrinsic meaning—suggesting an action is an avoidable error when something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, but when you think about it literally versus literarily … Morbid Much? But back to our regularly scheduled program here:
Too many fantasy football players have a microwave mentality, wanting their draft picks to heat up immediately, and not demonstrating patience. I heard even expert @DaveRichard from CBS recall giving up on Zac Stacy after one week last season, when he started slowly but finished strongly. Stacy owners are hoping it’s déjà vu all over again this year, where he’ll rebound to have a solid season.
But I’m watching to see how 2014’s slow starters respond after a slow Week 1. And how fantasy footballers respond to their responses. For the record, I don’t think anyone’s dropping guys like Jamaal Charles, Aaron Rodgers, Demaryius Thomas or Jimmy Graham because they had down first weeks. But what about guys like Michael Crabtree, and the aforementioned Fitzgerald, Cruz and Witten?
Patience is a virtue, people. Of course, so is chastity. And continence. And cleanliness. Those never stopped any of us from playing fantasy football. So … your call here. Pick a virtue, any virtue.
And now your Week 2 food and drink recommendations. The season is just beginning, we’re barely into September, and it’s still warm out. So that sweet tea vodka I teased you with last week? Go for it this time. The weather’s nice, but pace yourselves. Therefore, the BBQ grill should be in full use – burgers, dogs, the works.
Until next TGIFFF—yes, the grammar police double and triple-checked our use of the “F’s” … hey, get your mind out of the gutter—don’t forget … stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS.
Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.