Fantasy Football Week 3 Waiver Watch: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Welcome back for my next installment of Thing 1 and Thing 2. If you followed my advice last week you got comparable (and in some cases better) production from your lesser-owned fantasy players. The lone exception was due to Kellen Winslow’s breakout game and Robert Royal’s disappearing act. You can’t win them all I guess but four out of five ain’t bad. As the weeks go on it will get tougher and tougher to uncover those hidden gems so staying active on your league’s waiver wire early can really pay off as the season wears on. Who should you be paying attention to as week 3 approaches? … Let’s get after it.

Thing 1: A much-hyped rookie coming out of college, this kid has loads of talent but hasn’t looked ready for the NFL early in his career.  He is currently the sexier pick in a RBBC offensive scheme but his production has yet to match his 95% ownership in ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: A career backup that has had some injury troubles but has always done the most with the chances that have been given to him.  He is currently being overlooked as a fantasy contributor but his production on the field warrants much more consideration than his 38% ownership suggests.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Knowshon Moreno and Thing 2 is Correll Buckhalter.  The running back situation in Denver will likely be fluid all season long, but don’t miss out on the cheap production you can get from a guy like Buckhalter, especially early in the season.  Moreno will finish the season with more touches, but I think Buckhalter will score more TDs for the Broncos due to his big play ability and slightly larger build.

Thing 1: This QBs upside is marginal but he does have a talented group of wide receivers and young, imaginative offensive mind calling the shots.  That said, his decision-making has always been a huge question mark and I am amazed that he is currently owned in 78% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This QB came into the season undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues but is steadily making strides toward fantasy consideration.  He does turn the ball over more than he should but early in the season his yardage and TDs are more than making up for it.  He is currently owned in just 12% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Kyle Orton and Thing 2 is Byron Leftwich.  Orton is the prototypical “game manager” and has the potential to post more consistent stat-lines than Leftwich, but the upside of the sluggish-armed Tampa QB is intriguing.  He has shown a good rapport with TE Kellen Winslow early in the year and a defense on the decline could have him playing a lot of catchup.  Ask Jay Cutler how that worked out for his fantasy stats last year.

Thing 1: This WR is an extremely gifted route-runner and has some of surest hands in the NFL.  Due to some off-season changes to his supporting cast, his early-season production has taken a major hit.  I still like the kid a lot, and he is becoming a good buy-low candidate, but he is currently owned in 90% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This young WR has blazing speed and his big-play potential has caused his team to try and find more opportunities to get the ball in his hands.  A big jump in his ownership percentage this past week means owners are starting to take notice so this may be your last chance to go get him.  He is currently owned in 20% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Eddie Royal and Thing 2 is Johnny Knox.  Royal’s loss this past off-season has been Knox’s gain in the form of Jay Cutler.  A strong-armed QB with decent accuracy, Cutler is able to fit the ball into tight spots for Knox to work those shallow crosses and sideline routes that made Royal a household name last year.  As their chemistry grows expect to see more of the speed merchant from Abilene Christian.

Thing 1: This physical WR uses his body extremely well to make tough catches in traffic.  He has a rookie signal-caller tossing him the rock and over the first two weeks of the season they have shown decent chemistry.  He has yet to get into the end zone, but this productive wideout is currently owned in 96% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This second-year WR won a preseason battle for the #2 role on his team.  Although his play was inconsistent in his rookie season, he has shown flashes of big-play potential and has developed into a good route-runner.  He won’t produce as a fantasy starter every week, but there is value here and he is owned in just 12% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Jerricho Cotchery and Thing 2 is Chansi Stuckey.  I like what I have seen from Stuckey and his rookie QB thus far.  Mark Sanchez’s lightning-quick feet and superb vision mean he will be able to keep plays alive longer than his aging predecessor, allowing his receivers to work toward open space.  I think Stuckey has big-time sleeper potential in an offense that looks to be much more balanced than anyone thought heading into the season.

theRUNDOWN: Week 2

It’s Week 2, but don’t be caught up in the fantasy rush. This week there are some nice sleeper picks getting kicked off fantasy teams as we speak. We have two Monday Night games for the 2nd week in a row, and I can’t be more excited about the recent cast-offs littering my rosters. Here are my best, sneakiest, and worst plays of the week – enjoy!

QB: Peyton Manning vs. Minnesota: Ideally you want a quarterback to be very good, playing against a week secondary, but also going up against an offense that can put points on the board. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that his rushing attack will likely struggle. This is the case in Minnesota this weekend – the Manning show will be in full effect.

RB: LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Denver: Thanks for this. Unlike the Raiders, the Chargers won’t abandon the run, and LT will put up ridiculous points against the Broncos.

RB: Adrian Peterson vs. Indianapolis: Think the Colts were worried about Kyle Orton last week? Nope. Did it stop rookie Matt Forte from running all over the Colts defense? Nope. Think AP will have a week to remember in his home opener this season? I sure do.

WR: Randy Moss vs. Jets: I think Randy steps up huge now that Tom’s out for the season – it all starts in this game where the Pats are an underdog – nobody on New York’s defense is stopping Randy, and Cassel, if he’s smart, will give him a few chances to make plays.

WR: Reggie Wayne vs. Minnesota: The Vikes will put up enough points to make Peyton throw it around. Wayne can torch the Vikes secondary. This should be a good play.

TE: Heath Miller vs. Cleveland: I know Jason Witten was wide open all day against the Browns- it could have been just the game, but I’m willing to bet Heath will find his spaces as well.

K: Rod Bironas vs. Cincinnati: I feel bad taking any kickers, but Rod looks like he should have a big day. I may have jinxed the guy, and he seems like a good fella, oh well – that’s my job, kicker icer.

D: Giants vs. St. Louis: Sacks and then interceptions – seems like a Giant recipe for success.


JaMarcus Russell: 220+ and 2 scores… Doubt me? We’ll see who is right. I’d say Russell outscores Favre, Brees, or Carson Palmer.

Aaron Rodgers: You believe yet? Rodgers plays even better this week, keeps the high percentage but throws for more yards in a big Packers’ win.

Chris Johnson: Is he still a sleeper starter? He’s going to kill the Bengals.

Julius Jones: #1 and really the only option for Seattle’s rushing attack. They didn’t look great, but they get the 49ers in Week 2, I like that match-up for the former Giant.

Laurence Maroney: Laurence Maroney will be a nice play this week. He’s a good runner, but can’t seem to get his hands on more than 15 carries – this week he will and 100+ and a TD is what I see from him.

Antwaan Randel El: The Redskins may look out of sync, but Twaan looks like he belongs in this offense, like he was made for it I guess. Against a Saints defense that isn’t known for stopping much, I like him as a sleeper in Week 2.

Anthony Gonzalez: He’s the number three, but he’ll be going up against a safety duo in Minnesota that can’t keep up with him. If he’s open, Manning will find him. He will be open, so, you get it right?

Robert Meachem: The kid didn’t play last week, but if you need help, somebody probably dropped him and he’s on the free agent list right now. Pick him up and at least see what he does. I think he’ll do some nice things.

Dustin Keller: He’s a nice mis-match problem with New England’s secondary – seems like a nice sleeper to me if you are in a Todd Heap bind.

Cardinals: The Cards are better than advertised and they have Miami this week in Arizona. I like my chances with them as my defensive pick-up of the week. Houston against Baltimore also gets consideration.

Papa’S Week 1 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)

Chris Perry: Another tough team for Perry – he has lots of tough match-ups to begin his starting career – this is one of them.

Steven Jackson: If you have a nice #3, don’t feel shamed to sit your 1st round pick – that’s why you drafted running backs high. Jackson won’t do much against the Giants defense.

Chris Chambers: Not this week for the former Dolphin, Champ has him on lockdown.

Devery Henderson: I know Colston is out, and Henderson looks like a nice option, but he won’t get as many looks as you think, and his 80 yard touchdown probably won’t come this week.

NFL Pre-Season Free Picks: Week 4

It’s the final week of the pre-season and the real stuff can’t come soon enough. Injuries are ruining more than a few seasons, including the super-bowl champs… This week we get a Super Bowl re-match, but don’t get ahead of yourself, it’s just the pre-season. A couple teams have been good and a few have been bad, lets see if I can’t pick the winners and shed the losers in my last week of pre-season picks…. As it seems I’m rootin’ hard for the underdog in 4 of 5 contests. Go dogs!

New York Jets @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3) (8-28): I like the Eagles to take this one. The Jets first team has looked solid this pre-season, but after that it’s more of a free-for-all. The defense isn’t stellar and 2nd year QB Kevin Kolb is a nice player that should take advantage of the Jets secondary. Wide open spaces, no doubt. I also like Ryan Moats, Tony Hunt, and Correll Buckhalter to find some running room against Jets 2nd teamers. Take the Eagles in this one.

Detroit Lions (+3) @ Buffalo Bills (8-28): Dan Orlovsky is a solid back-up that should have plenty of room to throw it around while visiting Buffalo. The Lions have had the attitude of a winning team all pre-season, and I’m sure coach Rod Marinelli doesn’t want to lose that momentum in their last exhibition game. I like the Lions young defense to get some big turnovers early while the offense will capitalize. It doesn’t hurt that Trent Edwards will likely be out again for the Bills.

Atlanta Falcons (+3) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-28): Look for Matt Ryan to outshine Joe Flacco in this one. It should be interesting, both rookies could easily be starting during Week 1 for their respective teams, yet both will likely play into the second half. That’s rare in Week 4 of the pre-season. I’ve decided to like the Falcons more than most, and Ryan has impressed me. I also love Jerious Norwood, Harry Douglas, and Laurent Robinson – all young playmakers that will see time on Thursday. Look for the Falcons to pass it around on a suspect Ravens secondary.

Carolina Panthers (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-28): I expect the Steel-show to sit Big Ben for this entire game, and that leaves Byron Leftwich to get major playing time. I’ve always liked Byron, but he’s looked bad lately. Look for the Panthers to run the ball well against the Steelers – that will kill Pittsburgh and give the Panthers a nice 1st half lead. Carolina’s rushing attack has been very efficient this pre-season.

Minnesota Vikings (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-28): The Cowboys 2nd team, offensively and defensively, is brutal. I like the Vikings – they have some nice youngsters that will get time in this one. Gus Frerotte is a good back-up that will get some meaningful snaps and Booty isn’t a bad option at #3. Dallas is the better team in this one, no doubt, but after a couple series it’s who has the better 2nd and 3rd team, and that’s surely the Vikings. Take Minnesota to beat the Boys.

Fantasy Football: 10 Pre-Season Observations

You can look at the pre-season a couple of different ways. Pure numbers is one way, but that is probably the most misleading way you can view the exhibition season. Just because a 3rd string running back finishes the pre-season with 350 yards and a couple touchdowns doesn’t mean he’s a must have sleeper or even worth a pick. And just because Marc Bulger has a few interceptions doesn’t mean he should go undrafted. Watching one or two games a week is another way to fall in love with guys, but remember, going heads up against a 3rd string defense can make a lot of fantasy nones look like number ones. But, the pre-season shouldn’t be completely ignored. I don’t know what this all means, but here are some observations that could be helpful on draft day.

  1. Josh Morgan – usually you can’t trust rookie receivers, and usually I wouldn’t care about Morgan’s back to back games as the leading receiver in his pre-season games. However, Martz has done this before and I’m on board the Morgan bandwagon. Azahir Hakim. Mike Furrey. Shaun McDonald. Josh Morgan? Maybe. In fact, in my dynasty leagues I already have Morgan locked up. Seasonal formats should at least keep an eye on the young former Hokie.
  2. Brett Favre went 5-6 for about 50 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins. Yes, Brett has a cannon and more than enough weapons in Jet-land.
  3. Speaking of offenses that might flourish under a new leader, how about the Dolphins? Yes, Pennington. The Fins has an improved offensive line, two good running backs, and two young receivers that have great speed (Ted Ginn Jr.) and hands (Derek Hagan). Pennington is accurate and has the confidence of Miami’s brass – I guarantee nothing, but maybe.
  4. Speaking of Dolphins, Ricky Williams anyone? It’s the pre-season, but the bell cow in Miami looks to be and old ex-NFL-er, ex-CFL-er, and ex-Pro Bowl-er. Do you believe? He’s got 15 carries for 74 yards and a score so far this pre-season.
  5. DeAngelo Williams has back to back games with 4+ yards per carry and 2 touchdowns this pre-season. He also has skills.
  6. DeSean Jackson is just a rookie and he’s not a starter in Philly yet, but he is faster than lightning, has McNabb as a quarterback, looked good in pre-season games 1 and 2, and has no real dominant receiving threat in front of him. Could he be the guy?
  7. Brandon Coutu (rookie kicker) should get picked in fantasy leagues. He pumped 5 gield goals against the Bears in the teams’ 2nd pre-season game including 46 and 48 yarders, and an overtime winner. The Hawks can move the ball and play in the NFC West. Remember Mason Crosby?
  8. Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman both look brutal. Word on the street is the Bears might bring Daunte Culpepper or Randall Cunningham in for a tryout. Stay away from this danger – look at their terrible pre-season numbers.
  9. Chris Johnson, a poor man’s Reggie Bush or is Bush a poorman’s Chris Johnson? I’ll tell you this, the game may have gotten faster for Chris but Chris is still faster than the game.
  10. Darren McFadden is going to be good. You heard it, don’t let the “value makers” trick you by saying he’s no better than a 4th round pick. Don’t let them tell you he’s like Reggie Bush because he’s not big. Ha. He runs like a man and he’s going to be really good.