With the decline of LaDainian Tomlinson, is there a more sure bet in fantasy football than Manning? Yes, fantasy football is all about the running backs, but no owner will ever regret drafting Peyton. The stats he put up last night - 380 passing, four touchdowns to one interception - would be a career day for anyone else, but for Manning it only qualifies as "good".
Don't think of this as a 'sit or start' post. Of course you are going to start Brandon Jacobs. He's really good, and he's either your RB1 or RB2. But he hasn't been good through two weeks. Jacobs has yet to find the end zone, and has just 104 yards combined in the first two games. I'm smelling a break out this week, though.
Tampa Bay can't stop the run. Fred Jackson tore them apart last week, just as I predicted (hey, even a dead clock is correct twice a day, right?). Marion Barber - a big, power back similar to Jacobs - did well against the Bucs' D in game one.
We could be looking at 100 yards from Jacobs. We could be looking at a two-score day. Either way, I think he'll find success in Tampa.
I wish I could tell you how long rookie receiver Julian Edelman will be in the Patriots' lineup. Can't do it, though. Do you really expect New England coach Bill Belichick to give the world a hint on how much time Wes Welker is going to miss? Of course not. Bill Belichick hates everyone, fantasy football owners included.
What we know is this: if Welker can't go, Edelman proved last week he can be a nice, little replacement. He caught eight passes for 98 yards against the Jets. In my point per reception Yahoo! league, that would have earned him 17 points. A very nice day for any wide receiver, and not bad for a quarterback, either. Yes, quarterback. Because, at least in Yahoo! leagues, Edelman qualifies as such.
Edelman played quarterback in college at Kent State. Though New England made him a receiver after they drafted him in the seventh round this year, Edelman still qualifies as a quarterback in Yahoo! leagues. Unfortunately, the trick doesn't work in ESPN leagues.
Use this to your advantage, fantasy football owners of the world. Do you play in a league that requires you to start two quarterbacks a week? Do you get points for every reception? If so, Edelman could be a great pickup.
That performance was purely LaDainian Tomlinson-ian. 197 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Nine catches, 87 yards and a touchdown through the air. It's still very early, but it'll take a Herculean effort for a running back to top what Johnson did yesterday this season.
Johnson's Johnson counterpart on Sunday - the Texans' Andre Johnson - also had a huge day full of highlight reel plays. Is it any coincidence Gus Johnson announced the game on CBS?
Grant didn't light the world on fire in Week 1, but 60 yards and a touchdown out of your (likely) No. 2 back won't kill any fantasy team. Grant should find more running room in Week 2. The Bengals' run D isn't exactly the Bears' run D.
Cincinnati actually did a decent job against Broncos runners last week, holding them 75 yards on 20 rushes. But the Packers are very tough up front, and Ryan Grant is twice the runner Cornell Buckhalter will ever be. Same goes for Knowshon Moreno, at least in his first professional game.
100 yards and a touchdown seems like a safe bet for Grant.
The stars seemed to be aligning for Colts wideout Anthony Gonzalez this season. He was entering his third season, a year many a wide receiver has broken out. With Marvin Harrison riding off into the sunset (or something like that), Gonzalez was set for increased playing time. Hey, somebody has to be on the other end of all those Peyton Manning touchdown passes, right? Gonzalez seemed like a perfect fantasy football sleeper candidate.
And then Week 1 happened. Gonzalez went down with a knee injury before he could catch a pass. He wouldn't return. Some feared it was season ending, but Colts prez Bill Polian quickly shot down those reports. Still, Gonzalez is going to miss significant time.
Now what? Who's catching the Manning touchdowns that don't go to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark?
For the answer, I turned to Sports Illustrated's NFL preview. In it, Gonzalez says this:
"People come up to me and say 'Hey, have a big year. I've got you in my fantasy league,'" said Gonzalez. "I tell them, 'trade me for Pierre, you'll be a lot happier.'"
The Pierre he's talking about is Pierre Garcon, a second year receiver out of Division III powerhouse Mount Union. As a rookie, Garcon caught just four passes for 23 yards. He basically equaled that in Week 1.
Against the Jags, Garcon caught three passes for 24 yards. If some had him ticketed to break out before Gonzalez's injury, he should be on everyone's radar now.
At the beginning of every week, we'll look at some of the fantasy standouts from the weekend.
1. QB Drew Brees - Saints
NFL football seems to be one part talent, one part scheme. With Brees and Sean Payton, New Orleans has both in place. It was on full display on Sunday.
The fact that Brees tore up the Lions' defense is no surprise. After all, Brees is quite awesome, and, you know, everyone tears up the Lions' defense. But six touchdowns passes and a 50 point fantasy day? Few saw that coming on Week 1.
If a Hall of Fame existed for fantasy football, Tomlinson would go in on the first ballot. There is no denying that he is beginning to slip, however. Tomlinson is still a first round pick, but this is the first year in recent memory LDT wasn't selected in the top two in every league.
Still, it's hard not to like this matchup.
The Raiders were second to only the Lions last year when it came to futility in stopping the run. Oakland allowed 160 yards a game on the ground in 2008, allowing runners to gain 4.7 yards a carry.
Tomlinson, even at the wrong side of 30, is still good enough to take advantage.
Larry Fitzgerald is going late in the first round in nearly all fantasy drafts. It makes sense. All of the available running backs are likely to carry asterisks. Why not grab the consensus best receiver available?
The problem is that though Fitzergerald is one of the three best real life receivers in the NFL - Andre Johnson and Randy Moss are in that group, too - to be the great fantasy receiver, he needs double digit touchdowns. Last year he had 12. That's good enough. But remember Kurt Warner has lots of other options. And opponents should be more geared in on Fitzgerald than ever before. It wouldn't be a big surprise to see his numbers take a bit of a hit.
As I mentioned in my 100 facts column, six of Fitz's 12 touchdowns last season came in the four games Anquan Boldin missed. If you look at Fitzgerald's production of the past three years in games in which Boldin played, they are statistically the same player. And Boldin is being drafted two rounds later.
Right now, the only person taking Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall in a fantasy league is the guy who forgot what time the draft was at and has his team set on auto pick.
There are countless reasons for this.
Marshall went from catching passes from Jay Cutler to catching passes from Kyle Orton. With Orton sporting a dislocated finger, perhaps he'll even be catching passes from Tom Brandstater.
Then there was that pesky offseason hip surgery. And those legal issues. And the fact that Marshall has demanded a trade. And the fact that he's just sort of an idiot. Oh yeah, he's also suspended right now.
Marshall does not have a lot going for him at this point.