Ever since Bill Romanowski shattered Kerry Collins jaw, effectively shattering the Panthers winning ways for a few years in the late 90s, I haven’t been the biggest Collins fan. He subsequently quit on the team, drank like he was on Jersey Shore, and dropped racial slurs on his teammates that would have made Strom Thurmond proud. Now I’m in no place to judge as there’s an infinite amount of NFL players and run-ins with the law or questionable actions (just ask the Bengals), but I just don’t like Kerry Collins.
So here comes week 2 of the NFL season, and I roll the dice starting Austin Collie in a bunch of leagues and recommended him to all you Razzball faithful. Collie comes out with only 3 catches for 24 yards, and you’ve all got to be like, “what a moron that JB is!” While that can certainly be debated, Collie had 10 targets! 10! Friggin’ Kerry Collins. If anything, I’m just hoping you can have a little less hatred of me, a little less hatred of Collie, and hate everything about Kerry Collins. At least my call of benching Reggie Wayne was somewhat helpful, and I’ve even gone as far as dropping Dallas Clark in a shallow league. What a rough year for Colts fans…
But hey, as a Panthers fan, I know all too well what that’s like. Which is why fantasy football is a saving grace for everyone with real football trepidations.
For the rest of my calls last week, McGahee had a great game, Fitzpatrick is legit, and Malcolm Floyd had two huge catches before leaving early in the first quarter after tweaking his groin. On the flip side, Johnny Knox didn’t do much and Fasano didn’t have a catch, but that was a shot in the dark. For guys to bench, there were a lot of OK-to-good games (screw you Beanie Wells!), with the one dud from DeAngelo Williams. I guess I was wrong about the Panthers not using check downs (Jonathan Stewart had 8 catches for 100 yards), but they didn’t go to D-Will, so there you go. All in all, the guys I said to bench did a little better than I thought, but no one had a huge game.
Here are the guys not predominantly started that I like for this week, and guys to think about benching that are started more often than not:
(The percentage numbers listed are players’ percent started in ESPN then percent started in Yahoo)
Daniel Thomas (15.9%, 20%) – After all signs indicated Reggie Bush might actually be capable of being the lead back in Miami, Daniel Thomas gets the bulk of the work last week and ran all over the Texans with 18 carries for 107 yards. The Fins get Cleveland this Sunday, who were gashed by Cedric Benson in week 1 and allowed over 100 yards on the ground to the anemic Colts last week. I also think the Browns passing D is better than people might think (see Brandon Marshall below). This will be another big opportunity for Thomas as Miami will actually have a lead for once (they’ve had the lead for all of 10 minutes and 46 seconds this year), and Reggie Bush won’t be needed as much, with fewer passing formations. Another 100-yard game, along with a TD this week, is what I see for Thomas. I wish I had picked him up more often this year.
David Nelson (5.6%, 21%) – What a big game last week for Nelson, especially in PPR, as he racked up 10 catches for 83 yards and a game-winning score. Not bad for a Bills WR3. But remember, Steve Johnson began as the WR3 for the Bills last year, and we all know how that went. With Johnson a bit gimpy and mystery man Donald Jones the other main target, now is the time for Nelson. First off, go and check if he’s available in your league, I mean right now, because he won’t last long on the wire if he’s still there. Second, the Bills/Pats game might be another redonk 800-yard passing game and 80 points scored type of affair. The Patriots boast the second-worst passing defense, and while the Pats should be able to win this one, Fitzpatrick and the Bills won’t go down quietly. Another 7+ catch, 80ish yard game with a score is more than plausible.
Nate Burleson (13.7%, 34%) – Antoine Winfield had a huge game last week, containing Bucs receiver Mike Williams to one catch for -4 yards. I didn’t see it, but that must’ve been one awful WR screen. The point is with the Lions facing Minnesota this week, Calvin Johnson is going to get a full dose of Winfield this Sunday. Now Calvin Johnson is in a class of his own talent-wise and there’s no way you’re benching him, but I think so much effort will go into slowing down Megatron that Burleson will have a nice game on the other side. He’s already putting together a solid season, and had 6 catches for 83 yards against the Vikes in week 17 last year. Something comparable to that with a good shot for a TD has me excited.
Danny Woodhead (10.4%, 21%) – What could be the wildest game on Sunday, I like Woodhead to get the majority of the snaps over BJGE with passing set after passing set. Even when he does run the ball, I’m expecting big things. In his last game against the Bills, Woodhead gained 93 yards on 13 carries for a 7.2 YPC to go along with 32 yards through the air and a TD. He was a little quiet last week against the Chargers, but I see the little guy being the big guy this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (21.6%, 35%) – I didn’t want to use one of the same guys as last week, but c’mon! Why is no one starting him! He’s only got 7 TDs through the first two weeks, and as mentioned with Nelson, the Pats have the second worst passing D in the NFL. Pair that with the Patriots knowing they can’t joke around with Buffalo anymore and this is going to be a preposterous game for us fantasy folk. It’s a little disconcerting that Fitzpatrick’s last game vs. New England was his only game as the Bills starter without a TD, and his only with 3 INTs, but New England’s secondary isn’t what it was last year. Another multi-TD game is on tap and 250+ yards is a lock.
Son of a Bench:
Tony Romo (72.1%, 62%) – The red flags are endless, with Romo trying to play through fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and the inability to laugh and sleep in a bed. Even though he’s slated to play, I’m absolutely shocked at these percentages. Start Fitzpatrick people! The Cowboys play on Monday night, so you’re stuck with either Rex Grossman (if he’s available or on your bench) or Jon Kitna if Romo is a surprise inactive. If Romo is active, the Redskins will waste no time with blitz after blitz hoping to puncture that other lung. He’s just way too much of a risk for re-injury or surprise inactiveness. There’s absolutely no scenario where I’d want to keep Romo in my line-up.
Dallas Clark (74.9%, 64%) – As stated my Kerry Collins hatred diatribe, I have gone as far as cutting Dallas Clark in a shallow league. Not only is Collins terrible, but Clark is questionable with a foot injury and is going against the Steelers, who are not going to spot the horrendous Colts offense any leniency. There’s literally about 30 TEs I would play over Clark, but if you needed one name that’s still out there in a ton of leagues, Fred Davis is a worthy addition and start this week.
Brandon Marshall (72.8%, 91%)– Cleveland CB Joe Haden is becoming quite the cover corner. He had 5 pass deflections in week 1 against the Bengals, and held Reggie Wayne to 66 yards even with the Colts down the whole game (albeit with –sorry to be a broken record – Collins at QB). #1 WRs have combined for just over 100 yards against the Browns so far, and I think Miami will take a lead early, heavily utilizing their ground game with Daniel Thomas (see above). Marshall will get lost in the shuffle early and won’t have a big game this week.
Dez Bryant (70.5%, 58%) – With all the question marks about Bryant’s health, along with the same health concerns with Romo, I have no idea why Bryant is still on so many starting line-ups. When healthy, Dez is a beast, but he really crashed hard after straining his quad in week 1 and missed last week with the injury. Even if he guts it out and plays, his beast-mode will be severely limited, and with Miles Austin out, he will draw all the attention anyway. Bryant should stay on your bench until both he and Romo look healthy again.
Cedric Benson (63.7%, 58%) – If you’re thinking, “wait, I thought Benson got suspended,” you’re right, but the whole appeal process is now in effect, and Benson will get the start on Sunday. Even so, the 49ers run-D is legit, currently the best in the league, and I don’t see any of that changing this week. Benson is the epitome of off-field distraction, and with Bernard Scott looking to be the lead back (once Benson’s ridiculous notion that he could get out of his suspension with an appeal) in week 4, I think Scott gets a lot of work this week. I don’t think I have ever drafted Benson at any point in his career, but if I did have him, he wouldn’t be near my starting line-up.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone in week 3!