In all walks of life, everyone is sometimes in need of a good rebound week.
Be it a hard week on the job, multiple drinks thrown in your face at the bar, or boldly recommending Toby Gerhart for a huge game in week 1, sometimes you need a big week to just forget about the past.
I actually went 3-1 across my leagues in week 1, but of course my only loss was by 4 points in a deep roster PPR league (198-194) where I started Toby Gerhart with BenJarvus Green-Ellis on my bench. It’s my long-time dynasty league where my long-time friends and I have put the most of our wads into one kitty. OK, that sounds terrible. But at least I lived by my call and died by my call.
It was a pretty rough week with my week 1 start calls, with me getting “Gerharted” (a new term I’m using for getting screwed on a call the rest of the year), Russell Wilson not having the debut he wanted, Mario Manningham getting some looks but not enough to carry you and Devery Henderson getting hurt. At least Donald Brown churned out a respectable line even though he got fewer than 10 touches.
For my benches, MJD and Marshawn Lynch both had meh games, so those were a wash, but Peyton Manning really impressed, and he won’t be a bench for me the rest of the year. However, Trent Richardson and Vincent Jackson both really tanked, so there is a glimmer of hope my calls will improve in the rebound week.
Here’s five guys not started in enough leagues and five guys started in too many leagues that should be benched, along with their % started in ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues, respectively. And remember, these picks are not suggestions for direct 1-for-1 swaps if you own players in both sections, but merely picks for guys not started enough and started too often.
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh (10.6%, 7%): With so much turmoil going on in the NFL backfield ranks, I could see a lot of scenarios where you’d have to start Jonathan Dwyer, and I would feel really good about it. I don’t think the Jets are as good as their whomping over the Bills would make people assume, and even so, C.J. Spiller absolutely gashed their run defense. I know Dwyer isn’t Spiller, but he did look like the much better back over Isaac Redman in week 1, and I see the Steelers winning this game fairly easily and returning to their roots in the run game. I know their O-Line looks like a block of Swiss cheese, but in a game where the offense should be ahead and you’re getting, I’m going to guess, 65% of the carries, I think Dwyer is a solid flex this week. 70 yards and a score is my prediction.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis (18.7%, 33%): I usually don’t do this, picking the same guy in consecutive weeks, but when I saw how ridiculously low his %-started numbers were, I had to put him back on. In a game that was a blowout virtually right away, Brown was still able to pound out 9 carries for 48 yards and a score, and against a Vikings D that allowed MJD who had been sitting out all preseason to have a solid output (given it is MJD, he’s a vet, and I’m sure he kept himself in great shape), I think the Colts keep this game close and give Brown 20+ touches.
Randy Moss, WR, San Francisco (14.1%, 23%): You know, this one pains me a little bit. And I think if you’re starting Moss, you’re smart enough to feel that pain as well. It’s Randy Moss and it’s 2012, not 2002. But, in fantasy it’s all about the numbers and not the name on the back of the jersey. Which is why I am sticking with Moss as a possible starter and see him having another solid game. The Lions were flat (maybe sugar-coating it) against the Rams last week, and I see them really opening up their offense and trying to get a big lead early (easier said than done against the 49ers). In that respect, I see the 49ers also opening up their offense, and Moss showed he can still be a serviceable fantasy asset with 4 for 47 and a touch last week. In front of the home fans, against a tough NFC team, in a nationally televised game, I think Moss amps it up and is a solid WR 3 or flex.
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia (12.8%, 20%): As of this posting, both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are questionable, but I have a feeling both will play. Regardless, I see Brent Celek getting a lot of work this afternoon against the Ravens, with Vick needing his safety valve under a whirlwind of pressure. Vick got straight harassed by the Browns (probably an inappropriate comment – but I find it ironic that Vick had one of his worst games at Cleveland that features a Dawg Pound) in week 1, and I see him having trouble again this week. With Jackson and Maclin ailing, look for Celek to be the focal point. I like him a lot as a low-end TE starter this week.
Super Deep: Curtis Brinkley, RB, San Diego (0.0%, 0%): Started in literally no leagues, if you have some sort of desperation or hail-mary situation in a deep, deep league, I see Curtis Brinkley being a surprise running back this week. As reiterated below with Chris Johnson, I don’t see the Titans making this much of a game this afternoon, giving the Chargers plenty of time to see what they have in Brinkley with Ryan Mathews probably out again this week (that’s the prevailing feeling at the time of this post). Listen, we all know who Ronnie Brown is, so if the Chargers do indeed get a comfortable lead, I see Brinkley getting more work than people would expect, and he got twice as many carries as Ronnie Brown in week 1 (given they didn’t yield any results). He also nabbed three catches out of the backfield against the Raiders. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 17-18 touches with maybe 60 total yards and a possible score.
Son of a Bench
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee (92.8%, 88%): I’m not exactly breaking ground here by exclaiming just how bad he looked in week 1 vs. New England, but I am going as drastic as saying I’d rather start Malcolm Floyd this week over Chris Johnson as I told Nick on the Razzball Fantasy Football podcast. Jake Locker is banged up, Britt will be limited, and just the entire Titans team feels like a fantasy black hole right now. The Chargers were able to contain Darren McFadden in the running game (he did still rack up the yards through the air, and while Johnson could as well, I don’t see him getting more than three catches) and I see them running up the score and keeping Johnson from too many touches.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland (74.4%, 65%): Just like I did above with Donald Brown, I’m plagiarizing my picks from last week and sticking with one that worked with Trent Richardson. I know he’s a great talent and the minor knee surgery he received about a month ago isn’t keeping him from his workload. However, Brandon Weeden looked terrible in his first game as a pro, and with the Bengals getting embarrassed on Monday Night Football last week, I expect them to come back hungry against the young Browns offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Richardson with another stat line similar to week 1:20 touches for 50ish yards and no scores. You could do worse, but you could also go with a lot more upside on your bench.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England (86.8%, 78%): Lloyd got the most targets of any Patriots receiver in week 1, and with everyone overreacting to Welker’s slow debut, I can completely envision Lloyd has the slow week 2 and Welker has a huge day. The Patriots will be on cruise control against the Cardinals in this game, and with the Cardinals’ familiarity with Lloyd from his days on the Rams, I have a feeling the targets go to Welker and the big boys (the Tight Ends). Not to mention, he had a huge touchdown last week bounce off his fingertips when he started backpedalling rather than finish his route. Just a little tidbit Brady might remember while he spreads it around. I would be fine starting a backup.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington (52.0%, 49%): I wouldn’t be surprised if I got the most flack of my calls this week by saying RGIII is a bench. The only scenarios I would see starting RGIII right now is in a 2-QB league or if you somehow had so much faith in him that you picked him as your starting QB in your draft. Otherwise, you probably have another top-10 QB option and picked RGIII as a backup, all of whom I would take over RGIII. I think the comparisons to Cam Newton are a little unfounded, and while RGIII had the huge debut, the Rams defense, who I’m not totally believing in (but I was impressed), did limit Stafford somewhat in the passing game and I think will limit RGIII and the Redskins as well. Another huge factor is Pierre Garcon is looking like he’ll be out. I think this game stays a lot closer than people imagine and RGIII disappoints owners who roll the dice on him.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas (63.7%, 50%): A surprise active in the NFL’s opener a week and a half ago after suffering a spleen injury, I think Witten is going to need at least one more outing of game action to really get back into his groove. Only two catches in the opener for 10 yards, plus some uncharacteristic penalties, Witten just wasn’t himself against the Giants. I know he’s got some extra practice time under his belt with the extended time between games, but there’s nothing like a full-on NFL game to get you back into your rhythm. I think the Seahawks limit Witten, and if you’ve got him, you drafted a TE to start for you week 1. I would use another replacement this week before trusting Witten again.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone today in the rebound week!