Chad Pennington is out for the season and in comes the youngster Chad Henne to show everyone he’s better than he played in relief last week. Henne has a better arm and can throw the deep ball better than Chad, but will he play mistake free enough to keep the starting gig? Tyler Thigpen was sent to Miami to be Henne’s back-up, and I truly think that was the Dolphins’ intentions. I think Henne keeps the job and ends up helping out a guy like Ted Ginn Jr…. Darren McFadden fumbled the ball three times, doesn’t see the hole that well, and has 11 guys focused on trying to tackle him as soon as he gets the ball. I’m not saying dump McFadden, in fact, I think you could get the guy for next to nothing and he’s worth the risk, but I don’t think I’d start him unless you are desperate or he does some actual damage (though this week he has a pretty decent match-up if you want to gamble)…. Speaking of JaMarcus Russell, can a guy be any less confident throwing a football than he is? He can’t even seem to connect with Zach Miller anymore. After ending the season on a very high note, winning a couple games, completing a respectable percentage, and throwing 6-2 TD to INT, many thought Russell would take the next step. If the next step was all rotten and dropped off into a hot lava pit, that was right on the button….. Eli Manning has been very good. That’s hard for me to write down, but what more can I say? I thought teams would be able to stack up against the run, but you just can’t do that to Eli anymore. His receivers are better than anyone thought, and maybe he’s worth all that money the Giants invested into him after all. That makes me sick to my stomach, or maybe that’s just the burgers…… Jake Delhomme may be just about done, but I have to blame the play calling for the Panthers’ complete demise. DeAngelo Williams had 11 carries for the love of god. 11. And the Panthers were on top and or tied for quite some time. Not only did he not get the ball enough, but in 11 carries he totaled over 60 yards. That looks good to me. Seems like if you did a lot more of handing him the ball you’d win a game or two….. Aaron Rodgers has not looked good through the first three games. He still has decent fantasy numbers, but for the majority of game time he’s been overthrowing receivers, picking the wrong guy, and just flat out looking rusty. He’ll be fine, don’t worry, but how often does this kind of thing happen? A guy walks through the pre-season completing every pass he throws only to struggle out of the gates. It’s weird….. Game smarts: where have you gone? Seneca Wallace, special teams players, NFL coaches – I feel like the first three games have been an interview for new reality show titled “Dumb is the new Fun”. How can quarterbacks run out of bounds 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage when all you have to do is throw the ball into the freaking stands? How can a kick return guy run out of bounds only to sprint in front of his teammates on a rolling punt and be the first to touch it? How can Jim Mora call a 2 yard out to Julius Jones on 4th and 3 with 29 seconds to go? How can Chad Pennington run a QB sneak for a first down on 3rd and 1 with a minute left in the game when he needs a touchdown to score? These first few weeks have been crazy, but somebody needs to teach these guys some rules. Good lord!….. Matt Forte, ugh. 21 carries for 66 yards, against the Hawks? At least Jay Cutler checked it down to him a couple times, but this was supposed to be the game that Forte stepped up his production. Needless to say, that wasn’t really the case….. LenDale White might not be getting enough carries to be fantasy worthy, but Chris Johnson won’t hold up with 25 touches a game all season. As much as I love Chris’s game, White is going to get an opportunity, and he’s going to run with it. He’s run well despite limited looks. Keep your eye on the big guy….. How does Tampa bench Byron Leftwich? I know they are struggling and 0-3 and young and maybe want to see what one of their young guys can do, but Byron was only good through the first two weeks. The Giants were in his face every snap last Sunday, but Byron’s numbers were goo prior to that. I don’t think Josh Johnson will be as good as Lefty, and Josh Freeman is not ready either. Interesting move, not a good sign if you own Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant, or even a running back. Not good if you own Byron either.
I missed Three for Thursday, but what can you do? Heck, I missed this one too, but figured there was enough important business that went down that I should throw up 5 big ones for you to ponder before your picks and fantasy starts this Sunday. Here goes something.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for a Bengals team that I was looking at as a possible upset this weekend. Unfortunately that hope is squashed. There’s no way Brett Favre lets Ryan Fitzpatrick beat his Jets this weekend. That said, I think Thomas Jones becomes an even better bet as a start in Week 6. He’ll get over 20 carries for sure, as the Jets will go more to a “don’t lose” way of offense. With Fitz starting I still think Housh and Chad Johnson are decent starts. I expect them to be behind and throwing more often than not. A bad turnover day through the air can still be quite beneficial for starting receivers on that team.
2. Matt Hasselbeck is out this week. He’s a real penguin clubber. But don’t be crushed quite yet – Julius Jones owners get ready for another 20 carries, and Seneca Wallace is a solid starting option in this league, so that opens up some doors for owners looking at a bye week fix randomly. But I wouldn’t be betting on the Hawks here. Leave them alone as a -2.5 bet please. They’ll play better defensively and they’ll keep going on offense. I like the Pack!
3. With Brian Westbrook out for the Eagles I actually really like Correll Buckhalter. San Francisco has played better defensively this season but they aren’t a top notch group yet, and while I will never like the Eagles’ rushing schemes, CB runs hard and should be good for close to 80 yards against the Niners. Eagle receivers are a better bet too. I like LJ Smith as a guy you can likely pick up off waivers and DeSean Jackson and Hank Baskett both look like they can be counted on for some fantasy points.
4. I like me some Jason Campbell against the Rams. I think St. Louis will do everything they can to make Jason be the one beating them this weekend, and I think he’ll do exactly that. Santana Moss should have a big game and I actually like Randel El to have his highest yardage output of the season. As far as the Rams??? Your guess is as good as mine. I like Tory Holt to have a nice day, but that’s about it.
5. Off of fantasy football for a second, I have a couple fantasy basketball sleepers for you lovely readers. Give me some Al Thornton, David Lee, Carlos Vilenueva, Jose Calderon and I’ll go win me a championship. All four of those guys will vastly outproduce their draft slot and should have huge years. David Lee is my favorite of that bunch, but Calderon is going to be special with full starter’s minutes. Dream big!