So for the first time this season I am displaced from my Carolina stomping ground for my weekly piece, surrounded by Redskins fans pumped up for this afternoon’s romp with the Bengals. Unfortunately I’m not going to the game (I came up to see my beloved Brewers play the Nationals Friday and yesterday), but I have learned that saying anything negative about RGIII results in you looking foolish. He’s the Chuck Norris of sports right now (sorry Matt Wieters, but you just couldn’t crack it).
Even at Nationals Park, where the Nats look like the team to beat in the NL, the RGIII spirit was in the air as I saw multiple jerseys and heard people talking about today’s game. Luckily no one recognized me from Razzball nation or I would have been hounded for my call of benching him last week. But hey, that’s what the internet is for.
Alas we look at last weeks’ picks starting with the benchers this time, where RGIII and Trent Richardson burned me with big games. Don’t bet against the hype rookies anymore. At least Brandon Lloyd didn’t deliver big numbers (although he was decent in a PPR with 8 catches for 60) and Jason Witten and Chris Johnson both had slow weeks as well.
On the flip side, Jonathan Dwyer was awful and cost me some ribbing on this week’s podcast, Donald Brown has yet to arrive (although I’m sticking with my love for him), and Randy Moss is on his blue moon more often than not and I got suckered in. Curtis Brinkley didn’t have a huge game but helped you if you needed him and Brent Celek went absolutely off.
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.
I’ll be heading back towards NC before kickoff, so Sky will be answering most of your questions and might disagree with some of these picks…
Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Cleveland (0.5%, 1%) With all the injuries to big name wideouts across the NFL, I actually had to scour the wire for a deep play and in two leagues I have Massaquoi in as my WR #3 and WR #4 (just so you know my teams aren’t that bad). With Maclin out in both I am left picking a deep option, and I really like the Charlotte native (I grew up in Davidson, a suburb – he crushed my high school’s secondary) to put up solid numbers for a second straight week. At home against a Buffalo secondary that has given up big numbers (remember Shaun Hill going off week 1 then disappearing?) with a running game looking solid behind T-Rich to keep the Browns multi-dimensional, I think Massaquoi leads the Browns in the passing game and scores his first TD on the year. Solid last-gasp WR play that I’m relying on myself.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit (2.8%, 8%) A running back I wasn’t as high on as my podcast co-host Nick Capozzi, has now got me reconsidering weighing his early practice reps and a great matchup. The Titans look absolutely terrible, and got gashed by a similar runner in week 1 by Stevan Ridley. With Kevin Smith being the son of Samuel L. Jackson from Unbreakable, yet still an important part of that offense, I don’t see the Lions giving him multiple carries late in a game that should be a blowout. The second half should see a lot of Leshoure as the Lions will want to see what they have. Definitely flex play this week.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore (20.5%, 39%) Reportedly one of Joe Flacco’s best friends off the field, Pitta is becoming Flacco’s best friend on the field as well. With two huge weeks to start the season, I like him to continue his successful breakout season with a big day against the Patriots. The Patriots haven’t given too much up to Tight Ends, but the Titans are terrible even with a talent like Jared Cook and the Cardinals don’t boast a threatening TE either. With the saddening news of Torrey Smith losing a family member and Smith possibly sitting this one out, I like Pitta to embrace a pass-heavy approach I see the Ravens taking and get 80 yards and a score.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore (15.7%, 39%) As above, with Torrey Smith possibly out, Anquan Boldin looks like a strong play this week. Even if Smith does play, I like the Ravens to really amp up their passing game against a Patriots team that I think does the same and spreads out their offense like their glory years. I expect a shootout in this one, and even if Smith is in there, Boldin getting a lot of work. Definite starter for me as your last WR or flexer.
Super Deep: Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia (0.0%, 1%) Injuries are plaguing the Eagles receiving core with both Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper out this week. Jason Avant has always been that supplemental receiver in that offense and I see him getting a lot of looks against the Cardinals. The matchup is intimidating with the Eagles constantly staring into “The Red Zone,” but Vick has got to throw to someone, and with Jackson and Celek sure to bring a lot of attention, I like Avant for 6-7 catches and a super deep PPR-play this week.
Son of a Bench
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay (70.6%, 50%) A lingering groin issue has got him questionable heading into Monday Night, but I wouldn’t want to be in the position of waiting until the last minute and starting a scrubbish Seahawks receiver if he’s a late inactive. Add into the mix a tougher than I expected Seattle defense playing at home, and I think this could end up being a pretty low-scoring affair. I would leave Jennings out and go with someone for sure playing in today’s games.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota (94.5%, 83%) It’s tough to bet against a guy like AP, but against the league’s best run defense and coming off a lackluster game against the Colts and I’m not too sure Peterson is a for sure start. Don’t forget Jamaal Charles got his knee dinged and was taken out early last week, and Charles’ replaced ACL is 2 months further along than AP’s. I have a feeling either it’s a low slow grind and Peterson has another 16 for 60-type day or he comes out early in a blowout and we see a lot of Gerhart getting garbage carries. Either way, I’m not sold AP should be in every lineup.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans (73.9%, 71%) Colston is looking like he’ll be active today, but his foot issue is really eating into his performance. I watched parts of week 1 and all of week 2’s game against my Panthers, and Colston just isn’t the same receiver right now. The Saints are having all sorts of problems stretching the field, and against the Chiefs, I don’t think they necessarily will need to. I see a lot of Graham and Sproles working the passing game and Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram pounding it out on the ground. I would leave Colston out.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis (59.2%, 49%) A bum groin has got Jackson questionable heading into today’s action, and even if he’s active, it’s looking like Daryl Richardson is going to see a lot of work. Jackson’s groin has been an issue before (I’m not sure if it’s the same side, but that would require me searching “groin” way too often), but I don’t see the Rams, who look like they might surprise and push for a playoff spot, taxing Jackson’s man-region too much at Chicago. I would go with a different option like Leshoure.
Sky’s Shocker (JB semi-agrees): Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay (97.4%, 96%) Sky is adamant in his rankings that Aaron Rodgers is outside of the top-10 this week, and I don’t really disagree. Listen, you’re not benching Aaron Rodgers for Carson Palmer or Brandon Weeden or anything like that, but say you picked Rodgers and got a solid backup like Matt Ryan or RGIII, and I’d go with either one of those guys. It’s a tough, tough Seahawks defense playing at home with a lot to prove on Monday Night against a Packers offense that hasn’t really gelled yet this year. A lot of teams that drafted Rodgers probably don’t even have a backup yet, so you’re sticking with him and not picking up a scrub on your wire. But if you did draft another QB high, this would be the week to bench Rodgers. A special PS from co-author Sky: Any and all hate for this pick can be directed at Sky. All hugs and kisses can be given to JB. Unless you’re this girl. You know what I’m sayin’. Go ‘hawks indeed.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below (that Sky will be primarily fielding), or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone today in week 3!