Trick or Treat?: Week 2 Fantasy Football Analysis

Welcome to Red Red Ryan’s weekly “Trick or Treat” section, where I, Red Red Ryan will break down some of the performances from the previous week and tell you whether or not you are being tricked or you can expect the same treat the rest of the way.

Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal:
Does a quarterback make the wide receivers? Or do the wide receivers make the quarterback? In my opinion the quarterback make the wide receiver, and that spells trouble for Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. I’m not saying that they are bad receivers, I think they are elite receivers, however they have a terrible quarterback throwing them the ball. In 2008 with Jay Cutler locking in on them Marshall caught 104 passes for 1265 yards and 6 TD’s and Royal caught 91 passes for 980 yards and 5 TD’s. After two weeks in the 2009 season Marshall and Royal are on pace for less than half of their stats from 2008. Marshall is on pace for just 56 receptions and Royal for only 40. These numbers are very close to Devin Hester’s 51 receptions for 665 and 3 TD’s, who was Orton’s number 1 receiving target from 2008. Meanwhile in Chicago; Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester all have more receptions than Marshall and Royal. You are going to get what you’re getting, no trick here.
Verdict: Treat

Matt Forte:
Tough going so far in 2009 for second year running back Matt Forte. In Week 1 he rushed for 55 yards on 25 carries and for the first time in his career he went without a catch. Matt had a bit of a bounce back game in week 2 catching 5 passes for 33 yards while rushing 13 times for 29 yards. It was nice to see Forte getting some touches in the passing game after the Week 1 loss. I think we will see Lovie Smith’s influence by seeing more passes to their playmaker out of the backfield. As for Forte’s lack of rushing yards, I think we see a big change in the Week 3 match-up versus the Seahawks. I expect Forte to get back on track this week against a beat up and generally soft run defense, and carry that momentum with him for the rest of the season.
Verdict: Trick

Eli Manning:
Which quarterback has the 5th most passing yards in the NFL? That’s right, it’s Eli Manning. Thus far in 2009 Eli has sliced and diced his way through 2 top 7 passing defenses from the 2008 season. I know it’s early, and history shows he’s bound to have a 3 INT game in the next 2 weeks, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen this year. And now, I couldn’t find any crazy red headed stats to back me up, because the truth is he usually goes interception happy. But if you look at the Giants schedule coming up they play against some pretty bad pass defenses, and unless the “G-men” can get the ground game going Eli will be throwing early and often to his underrated group of young wide outs.
Verdict: Treat

Cedric Benson:
Woo Hoo!! Cedric Benson is 6th in the league in rushing. Nice middle round pick taking the last starting running back available. Time to get some return from Cedric while his value is at his highest. Yes, his highest. So far Cedric has rushed for 76 yards against the Broncos and 141 yards against the Packers. Both teams in the bottom 6 rush defense from a year ago. The real test will be over the next 7 weeks when he faces the Steelers and Ravens twice, with the Bears in between. I believe Benson is a #3 RB and should only be started in a good match up. So if you can sell high on him, and buy low on a guy like Steve Slaton, I think you will be better off at seasons end.
Verdict: Trick

NFL Week 2 Expert Picks Review: Football Handicapping

It would be easy to say that I should have won 11 for my Week 2 football picks for week too, because, honestly, I have to feel I picked that Monday Night game right on the button. But that’s just looking at what went wrong. If I was doing the what if business, or the should have business, I would have to admit the Giants probably shouldn’t have won on Sunday Night either… But I won 10 more games this week, starting out with double digit douzies in each of the first two weeks. Can’t ask for much more than that. This is how the cookie crumbled…

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Carolina Panthers (+6) @ Atlanta Falcons: (LOSS) This game was very close. I’m not saying I should have won, but I’m not saying I look like a dope for making this pick either. The Panthers had their chances, that’s for sure, and were driving the ball late in this game, going for a tie. Two times in the red-zone with no points ended things for Carolina, a team that I think should be a nice underdog going forward.

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-9.5): (LOSS)  “At first glance this one is tough for me to stomach. Take the Rams, a team I have claimed to be the worst in football, or the Redskins, a team favored by 10 that has shown very little ability to put the ball in the end zone with Jason Campbell at the point.” I followed this by saying some things that I wish I wouldn’t have. Things I may never say again like, “I believe in the Redskins’ offense”. Washington won, sure, but they didn’t even score enough to cover if they had shut out the Rams. The play calling in Washington is very dull, lacks any sort of creativity, and basically gives Jason Campbell no chance to succeed. I don’t know why coaches insist on doing this for quarterbacks that are struggling. Making a QB easier to defend is no way to help him out, to help him improve. Both of these teams were pathetic on Sunday, but the Rams are still the worst team in football.

Houston Texans (+8) @ Tennessee Titans: (WINNER) “From what I saw from the Titans last week, they have a very good run defense. But they have holes in that secondary if the offensive line withstands that immediate surge. I think the Texans were terrible last week, but not a terrible football team. So things have to even out. The Titans should have won against Pittsburgh, but some missed field goals kept the Steelers in the game. The Titans are solid, and should run the ball well against Houston, but the Texans are closer to the Titans than 8 points. This is a divisional game, and both teams should come in with a lot to prove. That usually keeps the outcome closer, I’ll take the points.” I’m glad I got this one. Lots of points early, and Chris Johnson’s very own highlight film had me on the ropes. But just like I expected, Houston’s offense came to play, and this game was tied late. With a certain cover in the cards, I loved seeing Houston come out and upset Tennessee at home. I think Houston has this kind of offense, and will continue to give good teams trouble all season long.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (-1): (LOSS) “I don’t think this is a safe bet, but I’m taking the Eagles.” Hopefully you took my warning to heart, unlike myself, and didn’t wager on this game. I liked the Eagles, thought they’d be tougher defensively for Drew, but the 6 foot wonder kid torched his second straight opponent. It’s going to take a down game from Brees for his Saints to lose, and I’m not sure how easy that’s going to be to predict. The Eagles secondary is pretty solid, but Brees made them look like junior varsity most improved players… The Eagles put up lots of yards, but the Saints D made some big plays putting this one on the top shelf early.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets (+5): (WINNER)  “I don’t like taking a team that played poorly, should have lost, and won last week. So I’m not going to do it. The Jets do lots of little things right, and their defense is stout. I’m not sure the Patriots will be able to stop the run with Seymour stuffing the line of scrimmage in Oakland and Jarrod Mayo out for a few weeks. The Jets have a very solid offensive line, and I think they’ll be coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder.” You could see the chip on the Jets’ shoulders all game long. New York is too good defensively to be a 5 point dog, and their offensive line is too good for that as well. They do the little things right, they should have won this game, and they did.

Oakland Raiders (+4) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (WINNER) Well, JaMarcus Russell was brutal, the Raiders didn’t run all that well, but KC’s offense couldn’t put up points either, and the Raiders pulled out a win in KC. I liked the Raiders to win this one, and they did just enough to make that happen. I wouldn’t say the beat up on the Chiefs, but as a four point dog against a bad offense, you don’t need to kill to be an easy cover. I thought the Raiders were exactly that.

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3): (LOSS)  Kurt Warner was amazingly accurate, and the Cardinals, never a good team playing on the East Coast, got to 1-1 on the season by smashing a Jaguars team that doesn’t look that good. Jacksonville needs something, and I’m not sure it’s players… Just saying.

Cincinnati Bengals (+9) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER)  “I hate to do this, because I think the Packers are a lot better than they played last week, but I can’t take a team that played poorly last week, pulled out a win anyway, and is now favored by 9 over a defense that looks much improved. I think the Bengals offense will improve every week, and from Week 1 to Week 2 will be no difference. People will look at this game and say, the Bengals suck, they lost to the terrible Broncos, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t think the Broncos are bad, they just aren’t great. And it took a pretty big fluke for the Bengals to get ousted in Week 1. Nine is a lot of points, and an improved Bengals defense should keep it closer than that. A couple big plays from Palmer and Chad, and this could be a big upset in Week 1. Survivor players, steer clear!” Please tell me you listened up and didn’t go with the Packers in your survivor games… I know I stayed away, and for good reason. That first part of what I said, never take a team that played poorly and just slipped by and is now a big favorite – write that down, put it in a safe, and look in that safe every week before making your picks.

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Minnesota Vikings (-10) @ Detroit Lions: (WINNER) Like everyone else, I liked the Vikings here. For all the obvious reasons that made them one of the more popular picks in Week 2 – so I don’t need to go into much detail. All I know is that Stafford still isn’t ready as his two more interceptions in Week 2 show. If the Lions want to win, Culpepper is their guy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5) @ Buffalo Bills: (LOSS) This was a tough one. Buffalo jumped out early, and honestly if it weren’t for some big dropped passes by TO, this game would have been an even bigger blowout. I really expected good things from the Bucs run game in this one, but like many running teams, if you start off way behind it’s tough to get the run game started. A swing and a miss no doubt.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-1.5): (WINNER)  “I think the 49ers just play a tougher brand of football that makes a tough match-up for the Hawks. Frank Gore’s running style seems to eat up the smallish Hawks front 7, and especially with Leroy Hill out, Seattle should have trouble preventing Gore from averaging less than 5 yards a carry. I think San Fran will feed the man the ball, and that should be enough to pull a home win in Week 2.” My buddy, and fantasy writer on my site, Red Red Ryan, told me that I was nuts for taking the 49ers here, and when I told him that Frank Gore would dominate the Hawks, he asked me when the last time he had 100 yards against the Hawks was…. Well, needless to say, when I got a text midway through the 1st quarter, I was happy to see a reply saying: “Well that didn’t take long.” Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re right and your friend is wrong. Like my buddy Josh says, anything worth playing is worth beating your friends at.

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos (-3) : (WINNER) I liked the Broncos at home, but I didn’t expect them to blow Cleveland out. Now it was just 13-6 going into the 4th quarter, but Denver really ran this game. I liked them a lot more than most people did, coming into the season, but their defensive prowess has been even better than I expected.

Baltimore Ravens (+4) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) This game was pretty interesting. A couple huge plays defensively got Baltimore the win, but contrary to what I expected, it was offense that dominated this box score, but it wasn’t the offensive numbers that won the game. Phillip Rivers put up 436 passing yards against the Ravens, that’s nuts. But SD couldn’t run the ball at all, and the Ravens ended up eating up the clock and being more physical up front. Willis McGahee had a big day, but it was Ray Lewis that shut the Chargers down on 4th down in the 4th quarter, ending the game. The Ravens were going to cover either way, but the win felt nice.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears (+3): (WINNER) “The Steelers’ offensive line is pretty bad, just ask Willie Parker and his 19 yards on 13 carries last week… They played a poor game and should have lost last week against the Titans, but Tennessee kept pooping the bed every time they got into the red-zone area. …Cutler also has the ability to make some big plays too, and a couple big plays could be enough points to beat the Steel City. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cutler will be better in his second outing, and while the Steelers are very tough defensively, their offense isn’t strong enough to blow a solid team out. Chicago is a good team. I think this one is close, but I’m going against the defending champs here.” There you go. The Steelers’ O-line wasn’t good enough to beat up the Bears defense as Pitt’s run game never got on track. Ben threw the ball all over the field again, but like I said, that’s no way to get a sure win. Chicago took advantage, hung in, and used some big throws to get the win in a game nobody thought they had a chance in. I like to win, don’t get me wrong, but I love to win when I have readers writing in and telling me how wrong I am about said pick. Guys, I’m not mailing you back and telling you I told you so, because you know what’s up.

New York Giants (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys: (WINNER) So, when I pick a game wrong I admit it. And I’ve always been one to tell you if I pick a game wrong, win or lose. This is one of those cases. If I had to do it again, I’d probably go with the Cowboys in this situation. They played better. They were the better team, and they smashed the Giants around. New York needed some freak stuff to happen and a terrible game from Mr. Romo to win this game – and that’s what they got. In most instances, Tony doesn’t throw the ball around like Ryan Leaf, but thank goodness for me, and all those other Giant backers, that’s exactly what he did on Sunday Night. Don’t worry though, I took some Karma on Monday Night.

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins (+3): (LOSS) “I think they’ll run the ball very effectively, and upset Indy. The Colts had a lot of big numbers last week, but just barely snuck by the Jaguars. Now, that’s what the Colts do from time to time, but I think it’s because Indy just isn’t as powerful as they once were. Basically, I expect the same Colts I saw last week and a much better Dolphins team than the one that lost a pushover to the Falcons.” What more can I say? Did I or did I not have this game right on the freaking button? The Dolphins ran the show on Monday Night, and all signs point to them winning the game. However, some pretty poor coaching, some terrible calls on their last field goal drive and on the final drive of the game, Ted Ginn Jr. dropping the game winner in the end zone, and this guy name Peyton Manning and his Colts barely sneaking by just happened to do me in by a single point. You win most of these, you lose some. That’s just the way it goes.

When all is edited and rephrased, I took ten this week. I’ll take 10 Wins every week for the rest of my life and smile from ear to ear. Until next week!