This whole Steve Smith and Mike Williams thing has gone on long enough. It’s time to give them identifiable names and be done with it. Here’s my suggestion: Steve Smith of the Panthers becomes Steve Carolina-Smith. It rolls off the tongue, and would really piss Smith off because it makes him sound like he hyphenated his name for some chick. I like it. Steve Smith of the Giants becomes, simply, Steve Smith. As for the Mike Williams‘, I propose Seattle’s version becomes Hawk Williams. It’s obvious, and its badass. Easy. The Tampa guy could remain Mike Williams, but if we really wanted to spice things up, we could call him Buc Williams. So to recap, we now have Steve Smith and Steve Carolina-Smith, and Hawk Williams and Buc Williams – who now that I think about it, kinda sound like they could have been a popular brother tag-team duo in the 80’s (and no, I’m not talking about pro wrestling).
So can we agree? Good. Let’s get jiggy with Week 3
-Jahvid Best suffered a right turf toe injury against the Vikings, and exited after just one carry in the second half. He was already nursing an injury to the large digit on his left foot, which according to my math, leaves him with exactly zero healthy big toes. We actually don’t have to go too far back in annals to find a similar case of a rookie runner suffering from dual-toe injuries.
After rushing for 164 yards in his second career game (sound familiar?), Darren McFadden injured one toe, hobbled around for a few games, and then injured the other. He concluded the season by rushing for 158 yards over his final 10 outings. Not saying Best is headed for a similar fate, but precedent is precedent. In other words, there’s cause for concern. His status for Sunday is unknown, but I wouldn’t count on him even if does play against the Packers stingy run defense (same goes for Kevin Smith or Maurice Morris, whoever gets the call to replace Best)
-In other Detroit news: Shaun Hill continues to show mad love to his tight ends. Against the Vikings, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler each had nine targets (Calvin Johnson had seven), and combined for 13 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Both are worth grabbing speculatively, but it’s Pettigrew who could become a legitimate low-end TE1.
-Continuing with the crappy city/mediocre tight end theme, Benjamin Watson is quietly having a decent year. After catching four passes for 62 yards in Week 2, he had five grabs for 47 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 3, and is clearly Seneca Wallace‘s preferred target. In two starts Wallace has completed 20 passes to non-running backs, with nine going to Watson. It appears that Jake Delhomme will remain benched due to injury, age, lack of arm strength, and general incompetence this week against the Bengals, and considering the blanket job the Cincy corners are capable of on the outside, Watson looks poised to deliver healthy numbers for a third straight week.
-The Patriots defense is surrendering over 27 points a game, and has allowed opposing QBs to average 22.3 fantasy points against them. That would be fine if said opponents were Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, but they haven’t been. Instead, it’s been the likes of Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick who have provided the embarrassment. That sound you hear in the background is me tripping over my desk chair as I rush to get Chad Henne into my starting lineup for next Monday’s matchup.
-C.J. Spiller grabbed the headlines with two touchdowns on Sunday, but with just eight total offensive touches, I’m not ready to buy. I am ready to ask the sales clerk about the availability of Marshawn Lynch though. If the price is cheap enough, as in free or slightly above, Lynch is worth pursuing. He gained 79 yards on 13 rushes against the Patriots, good for 6.0 yards per carry, and now has 30 totes for 143 yards in the past two weeks.
Buffalo is finally listening to trade offers, and if he lands in a better situation before the October 19 trade deadline – and really, anything short of being dealt to the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL would be an upgrade – it’s clear Lynch is still capable of breaking into Beastmode.
Random Side Rant: I don’t know who decided to put six feet of plastic laminate in between the stands and the sidelines, but they need to be taken out back and tickled mercilessly. When a player is pushed way out of bounds and his metal tipped cleats come into contact with the laminate, a skating rink is immediately created. Lynch almost tore his sack when he jogged onto it, and I’ve noticed numerous other players slip and fall recently. If Adrian Peterson sprains his knee because he couldn’t slow down after a 60-yard run, I’m suing somebody.
-Don’t get your boxer-briefs in a bunch about Dwayne Bowe‘s 61 yard, one touchdown performance against San Francisco. He caught a 16-yard pass on the opening play of the game, and then a 45-yard touchdown that featured a direct snap to Thomas Jones, a hand-off to a reversing Dexter McCluster, and a then a pitch-back to Matt Cassel, who had been split out wide. Needless to say, the defense was a bit confused, and Bowe found himself wide open in the end zone.
Through three games, he now has six catches for 74 yards on plays that weren’t drawn up in Charlie Weiss’ lunchtime serving of mashed potatoes. I like him slightly better than Mike Sims-Walker, but slightly less than Mario Manningham. I also like Pizza Hut better than Domino’s, but not quite as much as I enjoy a nice, home-cooked Papa Murphy’s. Just in case you were wondering.
-Anyone else worried about Chris Johnson‘s workload? Nah? Just me? Okay. Then I won’t even bother mentioning his 32 carries this week, or that he’s on pace for 400 rushes this season. Or that the NFL record is 416, set by Larry Johnson in the last year he played more than 12 games. And I certainly won’t bring up that since the Titans 0-6 start in 2009 Johnson is averaging over 29 touches per game. Since I’m not mentioning those other things, I’m definitely not going to remind you that CJ measures 5’11” in heels, and weights 190 pounds. He might hold up the entire year, and if he does, he’ll be a Top 2 back. But don’t pretend you’re not silently shopping him.
-Kevin Walter was a real jerk-around this week. As of the two-minute warning he had zero catches for zero yards, but within a 51-second span – with Andre Johnson sitting out – Walter caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a useable nine fantasy points. If you played against him, I’m sorry – fantasy football can be a real bitch sometimes. If you own him, you might as well give him another go. With a slightly hobbled Johnson trying to escape from Nnamdi’s Closet all afternoon, Walter should have enough opportunities to completely screw over your opponent for a second week in a row.