In the Books: Week 1
By: Chase Wheetley
Young Backs Take Charge- There are a handful of running backs with monster potential that are surrounded by questions, and a couple of them separated themselves from the pack this week.
Shane Vereen was ruled out for Week 1, but with the way Stevan Ridley looked, Vereen is not a threat to Ridley’s workload. Ridley averaged nearly 6.0 YPC with a 21-125-1 rushing line along with a couple of catches for 25 yards. Ridley will be a strong RB2 as long as he receives most of the touches for the Patriots.
CJ Spiller filled in for Fred Jackson after Jackson suffered what appears to be a sprained LCL (we’ll hear more about that after an MRI on Monday), and Spiller ran for a pedestrian 169 yards. If Jackson misses time, Spiller will have RB1 numbers, but my big concern as a Jackson owner is that if Jackson is limited Spiller may cut into his share of the carries and earn an increased role.
Old Dogs Show Old Tricks-There were several veterans worth watching that were coming off major injuries or holdouts on Sunday, and they were overwhelmingly impressive.
Peyton Manning looked like the Peyton of old, carving up last year’s top passing defense and proving me wrong, recent holdout Maurice Jones-Drew reclaimed his starting job in Jacksonville after a 77 yard day, and Adrian Peterson may have been the most impressive of all, rumbling for 84 yards and two touchdowns just 9 months after tearing his ACL. All three are must starts for the rest of the year if you own them.
Worried Vick- If you just look at his fantasy score you have no reason to be concerned with Michael Vick, but there is major cause for concern as a dynasty owner. The Browns defense looked more like the Baltimore Ravens, who Vick faces next week, as he threw for four interceptions. Vick stared his receivers down and made bad decisions while throwing on the run. If Vick doesn’t improve, the Eagles may be at a crossroads at the end of 2012, and Vick may not land in such a desirable situation.
RGIII Impressive- The first games of the starting rookie quarterbacks ranged from spectacular to ugly, and Robert Griffin III set the measuring stick. Griffin passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 42 yards, and the Redskins looked like instant playoff contenders. Griffin’s connection with Pierre Garcon is very strong. Garcon had 4-109-1 in just one quarter of play before leaving with a foot injury that will allow him to play next week. Until I’m proven wrong, if I own Griffin I’m comfortable with him as my starting quarterback regardless of matchup in his rookie year.
Doug Martin: Workhorse- I get a lot of things wrong, but Doug Martin appears to be performing as I expected, and even sooner than I could’ve hoped. Martin received 24 carries to LeGarrette Blount’s 3 in Tampa’s win over Carolina. Martin is a workhorse back and will be a RB1 for the foreseeable future. He didn’t punch it in today, but the touchdowns will come.
Two Games on Monday Night
CIN-BAL- Andy Dalton gets an early chance to prove last year was no fluke, but Torrey Smith and AJ Green are the two players I’m most excited about seeing. We know Green is elite, but where exactly is Smith going to land among the echelon of young wide receivers? We’ll also learn more about BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ workload, and see how he holds up against a tough Baltimore defense.
OAK-SDC- I have a feeling we are going to see an explosion from Darren McFadden late tomorrow night. I’ve become very bullish on him the past month or so, and he’s my pick to lead RB’s in scoring if he plays a full season, although you should never expect a full season from McFadden. Robert Meachem is the only player I’m very interested in for San Diego. I’m not predicting a huge game for Meachem like I am McFadden, but I’d like to see him at least top 60 yards in his Chargers debut.
Early Waiver Candidates
Kevin Ogletree- Everyone else is going to tell you not to touch him, but he’s available almost everywhere, and he just had a 100+ yard game and two touchdowns. No, he probably won’t replicate that, but don’t let popular opinion prevent you from rolling the dice on a player that could rival Laurent Robinson’s numbers from 2011.
Blaine Gabbert- The quarterback that spent more time running from defenses in 2011 than making throws look competent, throwing for 260 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. In shallow leagues he may be a QB2 candidate, and if you need one he’s worth a flier.
Bilal Powell- Powell is owned in most leagues, but keep an eye out to see if he’s dropped anywhere this week. At face value Shonn Greene delivered decent fantasy value this week, but he was the same plodder as usual. Powell could get a shot at that job this season, and if he gets a chance he should outperform Greene.
Aldrick Robinson- This is a deep league add, but when Pierre Garcon left the game, it was Robinson that filled in, catching four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Robinson was a sixth round draft pick in 2011 that was on Washington’s practice squad last year. Robinson saw time ahead of Leonard Hankerson. Josh Morgan, the WR2, only caught one pass for 21 yards. There may be a path to playing time for Robinson.
DeJon Gomes- Gomes has been one of my favorite IDP stashes since he landed in Washington. He looked good last year, and on Sunday he got the last minute start over Madieu Williams. Gomes had 2 solos, 3 assists, and interception, and a pass defensed. You have to grab IDP prospects before they blow up on waivers, and Gomes is a prime opportunity to land a starting IDP for little to no investment.
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