With Week 2 fully digested, Rex barfs-up what he learned out of his fingertips and onto your computer screen. Sorry about the splash. Nothing a little Clorox and toothpaste can’t get out.
-Turns out Devin Aromashodu’s Harry Houdini on Sunday wasn’t a result of an injury, and he didn’t pull a late-night Mike Sims-Walker either. Seems he was just plain old-fashion benched. Could have been because Mike Martz was trying to send a message after he dropped four passes and very reluctantly crossed the middle against the Lions. Could be it was simply a matchup call. Could have been benching him for Earl Bennett was the plan the whole time – Sunday was the first time Bennett had been active all year, and he did catch 54 balls for 717 yards in ’09. Whatever the case, the fallout seems to be fairly obvious: Bennett is worth a speculative add, Aromapoopoo should be firmly entrenched on your bench, and Hester and Knox are flex plays rolled in upside.
-Quick, guess who leads the AFC in targets…nope. It’s Terrell Owens. Sure, he’s only caught 10 of the 24 passes thrown his way (3 of 11 this week), but you have to appreciate the commitment Carson Palmer is showing. Eventually these two will get on the same side of the street and start delivering as promised. Or Owens will make a homoerotic accusation aimed at the Palmer brothers, and this whole thing will go down in flames. Personally, I’m buying low.
-Sooooo…anyone still excited for the Brandon Jackson Era? Me either. Jackson was just as mediocre as he’s always been, totaling 29 yards on 11 carries against a weak Buffalo front seven. He was quite clearly outperformed by John Kuuuuhhhhnn, who gained 36 yards on nine attempts, and did what Jackson is incapable of; running hard between the tackles. Mike McCarthy showed some faux sympathy by telling reporters:
“It’s a little difficult when you use running back by committee, it’s a little harder for those guys to get into the flow and I understand that.”
He then added, “So we’ll continue to go that way and try to spread the ball around.”
Psych! McCarthy’s such a teaser.
On a completely related side note: The Marshawn Lynch audition had to have piqued the Packers interest considerably. He wasn’t quite Beastmode, but he looked like a healthy, productive runner in gaining 64 yards on 17 attempts, and showed a flash of his old self on a nifty 14-yard run. Trade speculation between the two teams is ongoing. Someone on Twitter will keep you updated. In the meantime, patience CJ Spiller owners. Patience. The prized rookie who you wildly overpaid for on draft day will eventually be a hit-or-miss RB3 at some point this season.
-Somebody better check the freshness date on Bernard Berrian because judging by how he looks, I think his fantasy goodness has expired. For the second straight week, Berrian essentially took a giant dump on the field and then rolled around in it. He’s obviously droppable, and hopefully his inability to perform like an NFL wideout will prompt the Vikings to acquire Vincent Jackson. If they don’t, and Granddad Brett somehow makes it through the entire season, Visanthe Shiancoe will easily be a top three tight end.
Under the radar fantasy implication: Adrian Peterson had five catches for 41 yards against the Lions, and he now has eight for 55 on the season, putting him on pace for 64 catches. I understand giving “on-pace” stats two weeks into the season can be more misleading than a craigslist personal ad, but in this case, I’m buying it. Consider: Chester Taylor had 44 catches for 389 yards in ’09, and significantly cut into AP’s playing time on passing downs. He’s now gone, and Toby Gearhart ain’t making that kind of impact, meaning all those dump-offs and shovel passes will be headed Peterson’s way. Chris Johnson who?
-For the first time in his career Darrius Heyard-Bey caught more than two passes in a game, finishing with a surprising six receptions for 80 yards. It was against the Rams, and DHB only caught six of the 13 passes thrown his way, but still, sometimes baby steps are worth applauding. Or at least mentioning. Only one of those catches came with Jason Campbell under center, with five for 74 yards coming after Bruce Gradkowski took over. With the startlingly tanned Gradkowski set to start against the Cardinals this weekend, we’ll find out soon enough if that was pure coincidence, or if there’s a real spark between the two.
-You’d think with last week’s trade of Laurence Maroney, and this past Sunday’s tearing of Kevin Faulk‘s ACL, the running back situation in New England would be easy to figure out. Nope. Instead, it’s cloudier than ever. Against the Jets, Faulk was on the field for 23 plays, BenJarvus Green-Ellis saw 16 snaps and Fred Taylor, the assumed starter, was on the field for just 12. Apparently Taylor is/was dealing with a toe injury, the severity of which could range from a broken nail, to a possible amputation. No way to tell. That would seem to point to Green-Ellis as the main beneficiary, until you look and see that stupid Sammy Morris is still around. Throw in the recent signing of Danny Woodhead, and fantasy owners are facing the same frustration and uncertainty that’s always present in New England. Same situation, different names.
–Martellus Bennett is maturing nicely. After watching him act like a stoned eight-year old on Hard Knocks a few years back, and considering his relative no-show through his first two years, I didn’t hold out much hope. Playing in place of the slightly-concussed, and very angry Jason Witten, Bennett looked cured of the sloppy route-running that’s plagued him in the past, catching five balls in the last eight minutes of the game (he finished with seven receptions for 45 yards). Unfortunately, Witten might actually knife the Cowboys trainers if he’s not cleared to play on Sunday, so Bennett’s value remains pretty much the same as it was last week. But now we know. If something goes awry with Witten, Bennett could be this year’s Jermichael Finley.
-Tough break for Reggie Bush. Kid does all the right things, epitomizes the “old-school” mentality, yet for some reason, the football Gods still hate him. Doesn’t make sense. Fortunately for fantasy owners, Bush’s absence opens up a chance for legitimate production for whoever ends up playing alongside Pierre Thomas.
You can go ahead and cross DeShawn Wynn off the list – the Saints cut him on Wednesday. To take his place, they re-signed Ladell Betts, who was with the team in training camp, and may or may not be washed-up. He’ll probably get a few looks this week, but the guy to know, and potentially own, is Christopher Ivory. He’s a between-the-tackles runner with the ability catch the ball and create in space. We may not see him for another week or two because of a preseason knee sprain, but it might be wise to beat the crowd and stash him on your bench now.
– Don’t be misled by the 335-yards against the Eagles, Shaun Hill has the potential to supplant Chad Pennington as the go-to comparison for weak-armed quarterbacks. His two longest passes came on a screen-pass and a dump-off, and he only completed one pass more than 20 yards down the field. Hill’s presence could vault Brandon Pettigrew into fringe starter status in 12-team leagues. As if his seven catches for 108 yards wasn’t enticing enough, the Lions will be using a double-tight end set a majority of the time with Nate Burleson sidelined with an ankle injury. That means a full-slate of work for Pettigrew, and there’s nobody more equipped, or willing, to dump the ball off to him than Hill.