As a New England fan, last week’s Thursday night game was… underwhelming. On one side of the ball, you have a quarterback who has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns in his young career, and only started because his arrogant coach threw the “Sanchize” out there in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game. On the other, you have a championship-level QB whose receiving corps represents a who’s-who from the practice squad. Julian Edelman? Aaron Dobson? Kembrell Thompkins? Say what you will about Gisele and Uggs, but he deserved better.
I felt the same way watching some of the “feature films” released the last few weeks. They were good but not spectacular. I deserved something better to watch; Robert De Niro (or Bob, as someone referred to him) deserved better than The Family. So, here are my potential adds for the week, for those who deserve better than what they’re getting, with some cinematic flair…
QB: Philip Rivers. Your #3 QB scorer in ESPN standard, he’s dropped 22 and 29 points, but like Jed Cooper in Hang’Em High, the average fan has left him for dead (Eric Karabell certainly has). Is it time to admit that Norv Turner lost it in SD and that maybe, just maybe, this Wolfpack QB’s arm isn’t dead just yet?
RB: James Starks, Bernard Pierce, Andre Ellington. We knew coming into the season that Mike McCarthy wanted to have a mix of RBs for the Green Bay Packers, but when Eddie Lacy went down with a concussion in the 2013 version of the NFL, it became the Starks show (22 points, 26 in PPR). Pierce had a decent game with 11 points, but he’s the speculative add if Ray Rice misses any time (and given his size, it’d be no surprise). But in the “where did he come from department,” meet Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals who looks to be the rookie of choice there over Stephan Taylor. His four carriers weren’t spectacular but he caught the ball twice (including a TD) and looks like the third-down back in a mix where Rashard Mendenhall is no iron man…
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Aaron Dobson, Eddie Royal. If the first two guys (both rookies) are still available in your league, you should be giving them a long look, especially in a keeper or PPR league. Hopkins had 17 points (24 PPR), and scored the game winner when the Texans’ Andre Johnson left with a concussion. Dobson had some serious drops in the rain in Foxboro and earned Tom Brady’s wrath, but he caught the game’s only TD and went for 11 points (14 PPR). But there’s the annual Royal sighting, who jumped from 14 to 27 points (34 PPR!) The way that Rivers is playing and the obvious chemistry he has with Royal mean you should be giving him a good long look. He doesn’t play a solid D/ST until week 10, even if he’s turned into a pumpkin every season since 2009.
TE: Charles Clay. I’m still snagging last week’s picks (see below) ahead of him, but he went from 5 (10 PPR) to 16 (21 PPR) points in a week, and the Dolphins are playing like it’s 1972 and Al Pacino is coaching instead of Don Shula. The next two weeks, against the NFC South, feature games that would rather outscore you than stop you, and I think there are enough balls to go around with Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace, and Clay. Give it a shot.
K: With apologies to Allen Iverson: “Kickers? Kickers? Are we really talking about kickers?!” I’m rarely one to care about kickers, but after Randy Bullock cost me points this week, it seems relevant to point out a “sleeper kicker” (I think I invented the term). San Diego is playing every way but loose (thank you, Ryan Matthews) but doesn’t have the punch to put it in from close, so their kicker, Nick Novak, is getting plenty of work. His 23 points last week beat most kickers’ two-week total for 2013.
D/ST: And my sneaky defensive pickup is… the Buffalo Bills! The Bills have done well-enough causing fumbles and taking interceptions away, and this week, they get Geno Smith and the N.Y. Jets. Remember Smith? He’s the one that kept the Jets close, but gifted the win with his three INTs to the Pats…
Bounce Back Candidate From The Obvious Name Department: Pick an RB not named Marshawn “Skittles” Lynch, and you have an option. The Muscle Hamster, Doug Martin, of the Mighty Mouse size and the Rock-size biceps? Plenty of carries but underwhelming points with no TDs (see also: AP, Alfred Morris; these guys are disadvantaged because they don’t catch the ball). LeSean McCoy? Plenty of opportunities (receptions helped out his total in PPR) but no TDs last week (see also: Matt Forte, the perpetual Ben Affleck to Jay Cutler’s Matt Damon… could this be the year for Argo?)
Sell High Candidate: DeSean Jackson. With 16 (23 PPR) and 25 (34 PPR) points in the first two weeks, Jackson’s value is as high as it’s ever been. But he’s not exactly the most durable guy or the biggest, and he’s playing in a run-heavy offense that leaves him susceptible to plenty of hits. D-Jax wants to rap; I’m sure he’d be all over the movies. But can you trust a guy to carry your team when he thinks playing in the NFL is comparable to life for Boyz in the Hood? Get some perspective.
Trade Target: Chris Johnson. Yes, there’s a scary back-to-back with Seattle and SanFran in weeks 6 and 7, but other than that, it looks like this offensive line could assemble like the Avengers and start throwing down defensive linemen like puny gods.
Let’s look at last week’s “add” suggestions and other relevant comments…
TE-Julian Thomas/Jordan Cameron/Jared Cook: In standard ESPN scoring, Thomas had 10 points and Cameron had 9 points, but Cook had… 1 point. So Thomas and Cameron carried Cook like he was Bernie for the weekend.
WR-Julius Edelman/Jerome Simpson: In standard ESPN scoring, Edelman had 7 and Simpson had 4. But if you were looking hard at Edelman last week, you either had Danny Amendola and had to have a replacement, or you play in PPR (point per reception). In a PPR league, Edelman went for a fat 20 fantasy points. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Brady has replaced one Smurf (Wes Welker) with another (Edelman).
RB- Joique Bell/Fred Jackson: Bell rolled out 7 points, and Jackson rolled for 11. But honestly, if you’ve picked up Bell, then you’re ahead of the Reggie-Bush-is-Mr. Glass movement that will be sweeping the nation soon. Jackson is getting plenty of run in Doug Marrone’s run-heavy play calling, and C.J. Spiller isn’t actually “unbreakable” himself.
Last Week’s Bounce-back Candidates From The “Obvious Name” Department: Chris Johnson (I had a typo… going against HOU not SD): only 7 points. His owners have to be wondering. Calvin Johnson vs. ARI: From 3 to… 23. What a week it was. And that’s not even in PPR.; Stevan Ridley vs. NYJ: He got plenty of carries, but the offense couldn’t get going. I’m still willing to cut him a break… for now. Johnson played like he could leap tall buildings with a single bound, but Ridley is going to start avoiding The Hoodie like he’s the guy from Scream.
Last Week’s Trade Target: Marshawn Lynch. Doesn’t look like owners will be hot to unload him after he went for three total touchdowns against one of the league’s toughest defenses. There still hasn’t been as dynamic a run since Lynch broke off eight Saints in the playoffs, but he’s soon going to be hanging out with Machete while he carves people up.
Last Week’s Sell High: Peyton Manning. Owners are probably still happy with 20 points, but that’s more than a 50% drop-off from 46 against the listless Baltimore Ravens. Wait until that gets cut in half… Sell him for a top-rated RB or WR to fill your needs, and pick up a QB like Rivers off the waiver wire to increase your productivity at one position and maintain the output at QB. I’m not saying Manning is terrible, but he’s going to tire/get rested and they’re going to run more. It’s like going to The Escape Plan and expecting that Sly Stallone is going to be Oscar-worthy again or expecting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to suddenly have learned how to act! His fantasy production won’t be 46 points every week…
They’re Dead To Me (Almost…): Chris Ivory (Powell got equivalent carries and the TD), Maurice Jones-Drew (sprained ankle, horrible team), and (is it too soon?) Roddy White.