Regular Season, Week 2 Recap

Regular Season, Week 2

By, Eric Hartvigson

 

Green Bay 23, Chicago 10

Packers

Who drew up the defensive battle? If you had this game pegged as a shootout, you weren’t alone as the Vegas Over / Under was set at 50.5 point. The best play of the night was a Packers fake field goal resulting in punter Tim Masthay throwing a 27 yard shovel pass to Tom Crabtree for a touchdown. On the downside it’s never good when one team’s punter matches each quarterback in touchdown passes.

As stated, this was a defensive battle from the word “go” as Aaron Rodgers was never comfortable in the pocket taking five sacks and throwing one interception. Rodgers was also hindered by receiver’s drops and the lack of favorite target Greg Jennings ruled inactive before the game. Better games are on the horizon.

It was clear the Packers put together a game plan relying heavy on the ground game as Cedric Benson racked up 81 yards on 20 carries. Fantasy owners should be high on Benson’s performance running hard and finding lanes. Just remember, this was the most carries by a Packers running back in a single game since the 2010 playoffs.

Randall Cobb was last week’s darling as coach McCarthy made open statements all week to get Cobb more involved.  Fantasy owners saw this as an opportunity to start Cobb with Jennings absence. However, we were duped as Cobb played just 20 of 69 offensive snaps. The preseason sleeper remains a high end WR5 until further notice.

Bears

Jay Cutler’s performance on Thursday was downright despicable including four interceptions and seven sacks. In the wake of this game the media came down hard on Jay Cutler calling him; “arrogant, a poor leader, childish, smug and quits when things are going his way”, and I can’t disagree. In his defense, which is very little, the offensive line play was horrible, the adjustments made by the Bears coaching staff were non-existent and Packers defense was ferocious all night long with exceptional coverage and constant pressure. What to make of Cutler going forward you ask? We’ll see this attitude again, but up next is the Rams in what should be a rebound performance.

Perhaps the bigger news coming out of this game was the high ankle sprain suffered by Matt Forte. Recovery time for high ankle sprains usually last four to six weeks. With a bye coming in week six, Forte likely won’t be on the field until week seven at the earliest. Also, this is yet another example of why we handcuff our studs. Hopefully you did so.

Brandon Marshall’s output mimicked that of Jay Cutler producing a meager 24 yards by games end.  Marshall has been plagued by drops his entire career.  This reoccurring issue reared it’s ugly head when Marshall missed an easy touchdown pass that would have salvaged his fantasy production and could have altered the outcome to this game.

Alshon Jefferey was getting much publicity after a solid week one performance, but fell to earth in week two being blanketed by the Packers elite corner backs.  Also hindering Jefferey’s value is a timeshare with Devin Hester as Jefferey should be viewed as a lower WR4 with upside as the season continues to progress.

 

Kansas City 17, Buffalo 35

Chiefs

The Chiefs were stymied much of the game by a suddenly improved Bills defense as the Kansas City running game never caught traction. In fact it was third string running back Shaun Droughn picking up big gains in junk time to lead his team in yards per carry. Hillis and Charles will have better days, but continue to limit each others fantasy value in one of the leagues most evenly balanced RBBC.

A conservative Kansas City coaching staff severely hinders the fantasy value of Matt Cassell. It was until the Chiefs fell down by four scores in the second half did Cassell start chucking the football. He quickly went after his primary wide receiver Dwayne Bowe who ended the game with 15 targets equaling 102 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners who saw Bowe’s upside in the sixth round of fantasy drafts should be in for “sleeper” season.

Bills

CJ Spiller’s speed is outright electric as defenders continue to take a poor angle, missing on tackle, allowing the third year running back to break long gains. So long as Fred Jackson remains absent Spiller can be considered an RB1.

The Bills defense must have been listening to the critics because they came to play constantly swarming Matt Cassell. Unfortunately the score does not reflect how awesome this team played as the Bills pulled a number of defensive starters late in the game while nursing a big lead.

The loss of slot receiver David Nelson has pushed tight end Scot Chandler the forefront of the Bills passing attack. Now acting as the underneath target and short yardage chain / red zone target, Chandler has climbed into becoming a mid / low TE1. He can safely be started in most leagues until further notice

 

Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 34

Browns

After entering the season with questions about his knee, Trent Richardson owners must be ecstatic watching his week two performance culminating into 23 touches, 145 yards and two touchdowns.  Carrying the load now in two straight games, T-Rich can safely be started with confidence moving forward.

Brandon Weeden had a coming out party amassing 322 yards and 2 touchdowns. Weedens’s decision making was much improved, but let’s be honest, it couldn’t get any worse. We should also remind ourselves that the Bengals secondary is hindered by injuries and poor play. Tougher matchups are upcoming.

Mohammed Massaquoi continues to pace all Browns receivers with 5 receptions for 90 yards. Greg Little also made his presence felt taking on 57 yards and touchdown. With no discernible number one, it’s still hard to recommend any Browns receivers at this juncture.

Bengals

In what should have been a plus matchup for the Bengals ended up being a close game. The Browns rush defense did a nice job bottling up Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis who was projected as a high end RB2 entering the game with heavy workload and touchdown potential. This game should have BJGE owners slightly concerned.

Andy Dalton had a stellar performance topping 300 yards passing including 3 touchdown passes, but also surrendered six sacks. Let us not forget that the normally staunch Browns pass defense was limited without shutdown cornerback Joe Haden who is currently serving suspension.

AJ Green feasted on the Browns secondary enjoying his first touchdown of the season on a nice fade pattern to the back corner of the endzone. The young man is a solid WR1.

The player to watch in the Bengals passing offense is yet again wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. A similar skill set to Antonio Brown, Hawkins explosive play making was put on full display catching a dump pass on a broken play turning it up field for a 50 yard touchdown. Hawkins has limited value until the coaching staff finds alternative ways to get him the football, but after watching this film it hard to keep the ball out of his hands.

 

Minnesota 20, Indianapolis 23

Vikings

Percy Harvin is the Vikings offense after being targeted 13 times producing 104 yards on 5 receptions. While watching every other game, Harvin’s explosion is eye popping. Harvin is obviously cemented into our lineups.

The Vikings offensive line had trouble opening holes for Adrian Peterson, but the evolution of the Colts defense is also evident. Under new head coach Chuck Pagano, Indy has undergone a rapid transformation moving to a 3-4 base unit. Even without all pro Dwight Freeney the Colts were able to contain Adrian Peterson while forcing Christian Ponder to hold the ball and progress through his reads.

Although quite in the first half, Kyle Rudolph is quickly becoming the Vikings primary red zone threat nearly missing one touchdown but later scoring. Rudolph remains a mid / low TE1.

Colts

Andrew Luck continues to impress with his mobility while keeping his focus downfield and moving through his reads and making good decisions. Hard to start on a weekly basis, but depending on your options Luck is very low end QB1 with matchup spot start potential.

This week Donnie Avery was the primary beneficiary of Luck’s performance as evident by his 9 receptions for 111 yards. This performance comes on the heels of an 8 target game in week one totaling 9.7 fantasy points. Avery is now planted firmly on the watch list as a higher WR5 on the rise.

Donald Brown found running lanes hard to come by averaging 2.8 yards per carry on 16 attempts. Backup Vick Ballard didn’t fare much better as the Colts run blocking looks to become the limiting factor in the running game. Brown remains an RB3 with matchup based starts.

 

Oakland 13, Miami 35

Raiders

Carson Palmer and the Raiders passing game is in flux as backup tight end Brandon Myer led all receivers with 86 yards. Palmer had a tough time finding a rhythm with any of the Raiders pass catchers unable to sustains drives and put points on the scoreboard.

Denarius Moore owners were relieved seeing the dynamic receiver on the field for a whole game. Hopefully his presence can provide the consistent passing game lacking from the Oakland arsenal.

It’s clear that teams are game planning to eliminate Darren McFadden as the Fins limited the dual threat to a total of 41 yards on 12 touches. McFadden will continue facing eight in the box until Oakland finds some semblance of a passing attack.

Dolphins

The growth of Ryan Tannehill was evident as he spread the ball around effectively hooking with Brian Hartline for nine reception and 111 yards. Garnering 20 targets over the past two games, Hartline is now a player of intrigue.  However, the lack of touchdowns still has him pegged at the WR5 status.

Looks like the Fins have figured out how to utilize Reggie Bush running him between the tackles for an astounding 172 yards and two touchdowns. Coming off two solid games against excellent defensive lines should have Bush permanently implanted on our starting lineup.  Side note; Lamar Miller also looked impressive and may pass Daniel Thomas as the primary handcuff to Bush.

 

Tampa Bay 34, New York 41

Buccaneers

Doug Martin is the center piece of the Bucs attack as Tampa Bay looks to have all but written off Legerette Blount. Managing only 3.3 yards per carry Martin was able to squeeze in an eight yard touchdown putting together another solid fantasy outing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin led the league in touches when it’s all said and done.

The offensive line of the Bucs flexed their muscle producing a clean pocket against one of the leagues strongest pass rushing defensive lines. This allowed quarterback Josh Freeman plenty of time to connect with his newest weapon Vincent Jackson for 128 yards and a touchdown. Also included in the aerial assault was Mike Williams for 59 yards which included a 41 yard bomb for a touchdown. Based on the Bucs run heavy offensive system, Williams is a borderline low end WR3 meaning he’s startable when the Bucs play better offensive teams. Jackson is a low end WR2 and should remain in our lineup.

Giants

Eli Manning put his world class arm on display topping 500 yards passing for the first time in his career along with 3 touchdowns.  This game is more a testament to the Giants poor defensive play as New York fell behind 27 – 13 just after halftime. Needing to climb back, Eli took to the air rewarding his fantasy owners.

Of course a monster game for the quarterback also equals a huge game for the receivers as Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks accounted for 378 yards. Nicks totaled 199 yards but was seen limping after the being tackled around the foot on a late pass. After returning from offseason foot surgery, this is an injury worth closely monitoring.

Tight end Martellus Bennett also got into the mix with 72 yards receiving and one touchdown. We should also note that Bennett was heavily targeted in the red zone and now climbing to mid TE1.

Ahmad Bradshaw was running hard gutting out tough yardage before going down with an apparent neck injury. In stepped Andre Brown. At 6’ 0“ 227 Brown ran like a man possessed getting downhill in a hurry averaging 5.5 yards per while tacking on a late touchdown to give the Giants a lead. Brown will most certainly be a hot waiver pickup this week, but his projected value hinges on Bradshaw’s status.

 

Baltimore 23, Philadelphia 24

Ravens

Totaling six turnovers between the two teams, this game was more of a defensive battle with two teams locking horns.

Coming off a steller week on performance, the sign on Joe Flacco’s fantasy value should read; objects in the mirror may seem closer than they appear. Flacco owners must have been ecstatic after watching their quarterback torch the Bengals weak secondary in week one.  However, the Eagles defense applied the brakes limiting the Ravens passing game to 232 yards while forcing Flacco into check down passes at Dennis Pitta and Ray Rice all game long.

Even more confusing is the limited use of projected WR1 Torrey Smith. Through two games Smith has accumulated a measly 8 targets with four receptions. The only saving grace is Smith’s use as the downfield threat. Impossible to sit we can only hope that Flacco returns to find the second year player before too long.

How the heck does Ed Reed always find himself in the perfect position? I swear the guy is ball magnet. Every time the ball is tipped guess who’s there?

Eagles

Good thing Michael Vick’s fantasy production doesn’t mimic his actual performance because he nearly cost the Eagles a win. Late game heroics saved the day yet again for his team and fantasy owners after rushing in last minute touchdown. That’s two straight week of mediocre production.  He’s impossible to sit unless you have amazing options.

Jeremy Maclin was limited to one reception after reaggravating a hip point suffered last week. Fortunately that one reception resulted in a 23 yard touchdown pass. Maclin’s injury status should be monitored closely while losing value with a high propensity for in-game injuries.

DeSean Jackson had an awesome game getting open deep including a 49 yard reception down the sidelines. With D-Jax lifting the lid off the defense is was tight end Brent Celek working underneath finding great success. Celek was targeted a team high 11 times with eight receptions equalling 157 yards.  With 19 targets over two games Celek is an excellent mid level TE1.

 

New Orleans 27, Carolina 35

Saints

Brees played the role of check-down Charlie all game long with 27 pass attempts going the way of Jimmy Graham or Darren Sproles. Both feasted as Graham scored the team’s lone passing touchdown while Sproles managed 128 yards receiving.

The struggles for Drew Brees are becoming evident. Many will cite the loss of play caller Sean Peyton as the reason, and I couldn’t argue, but poor play from the New Orleans defense along with a lack of pass protection are also contributing factors as Brees was under constant pressure from an mediocre Panthers pass rush.

Pierre Thomas showed up in a big way running like a mad man ripping through the Carolina defense for 110 yards highlighted by a 48 yard scamper. Thomas’ downside is loss of significant touches to fellow running back Mark Ingram, including goal line opportunities. The far less explosive Ingram also managed a productive fantasy day with 53 yards rushing and 1 short yardage touchdown. As we expected, this backfield is messy for fantasy owners as Sproles is the only week-in, week-out starter

With only 13 pass attempts aimed at wide receivers, Marques Colston and Lance Moore were relatively quiet. Colston is a must start and I would expect Moore to reenter the game plan sooner rather than later.

Panthers

Speaking of Messy backfields, the Panthers managed to have four different players score a rushing touchdown (Mike Tolbert, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton). To further exacerbate this quandary we find a timeshare of carries divided evenly between not only Williams and Stewart, but also Cam Newton vulturing 13 carries to lead the team in rushing. This is going to be an ongoing issue making it hard to recommend either Stewart or Williams in a four headed RBBC

Steve Smith gave fantasy owners a scare after being carted off the field in a “oh bleep” moment. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your position, it was just a leg cramp requiring fluids administered in the locker room.  Smitty returned to the field catching a quick 66 yard pass to resurrect his day.

The development of fellow Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell continued with 7 touches for 115 yards. A member of our preseason “watch list”, LaFell is not yet startable but could be added a player with upside should you have roster room or lacking in wide receiver depth.

*This may have been the only game in NFL history whereby 6 running backs proved to be “startable”.

 

Arizona 20, New England 18

Cardinals

Vegas had this game pegged as a blowout with the Patriots a 14 point favorite. The Cardinals had other ideas rolling into Foxboro and shocking the high flying team from New England.

I hate to say this, but in my offseason observation I uncovered a trend whereby Larry Fitzgerald suffers a heavy reduction in fantasy value with Kevin Kolb is under center. Unlike John Skelton, Kolb doesn’t stare down Fitz forcing feeing him the football. This could also be attributed to the patented Bill Belichick defense taking away the other team’s best player, but history substantiates my findings. Either way, Fitz managed a miserable 1 catch totaling 4 yards.

Beanie Wells was the preferred runner to open the game, but Ryan Williams saw plenty of action starting in the 2nd quarter. Both suffered from poor blocking constantly caught in the backfield along with the presence of LaRod Stephens-Howling. Williams would take the late game carries to salt away the match but coughed up the football nearly causing Arizona to lose the game. Likely in the doghouse, neither Wells or Williams is anything more than a RB4, barely rosterable.

Patriots

By his standards, Tom Brady had a poor fantasy performance salvaging a late game touchdown to Rob Gronkowski. Last week the Cardinals pass defense played exceptionally well against a subpar Seattle passing offense. I shrugged it off as “it’s the Seahawks with a rookie third round quarterback”. Apparently I was wrong as the Cards matched up and shut down one of the league most dynamic group of receivers.

Aaron Hernandez suffered the awful high ankle sprain as fellow Patriots player Julian Edelman rolled up his ankle. The typical recovery time for high ankle sprain is 4-6 weeks depending on severity. Hernanadez owners need to start making alternate plans.

Oddly Wes Welker was replaced in the starting lineup by Julian Edelman. This is the Bellichick way after Welker’s threat to hold out during the offseason. Welker managed to have a solid game with 95 yards. In a quirky turn of events, with the injury to Hernandez it appears the Patriots will need Welker more than Welker needs the Patriots. Look for Wes Welker to be interjected back into the offense and return to WR2 form.

Brandon Lloyd emerged as the team leader in targets at 13, but only managed to haul in 8 for 60 yards.  It’s worth mentioning that Lloyd made some amazing snags, so much so that Arizona wasted a challenge on a tippy to catch along the sidelines that invoked the reaction “no way that was a catch”. It’s worth looking up on youtube.com if you missed it.

Gronkowski got his thanks to a late game final drive capped off by a five yard touchdown.

Steven Ridely also had another efficient game with 18 carries for 71 yards. The best news we can report is the Pats have yet to install the dreaded RBBC. You can safely keep Ridley in your lineup for one more week.

 

Houston 27, Jacksonville 7

Texans

Another hum drum game for the Texans facing an inferior opponent while controlling the game with solid running, excellent defense and intermediate passing. Although this formula works well for winning football games, it kills the fantasy value of the Houston passing game as Matt Schaub “game managed” his way to 195 yards and zero touchdown passes. A high end QB2, Schuab is more of a matchup start when facing team capable of putting points on the scoreboard.

Games of this nature may be bad for quarterbacks, but they are excellent for running backs as Arian Foster continues living up to his number one fantasy draft status. Also benefiting was backup Ben Tate punching in two touchdowns on the way to rolling over the Jaguars.

Jaguars

Finding anything positive for the Jacksonville offensive production is nearly impossible as the Jags passing attack only managed 76 yards total. Early season breakout quarterback Blaine Gabbert played through an apparent toe and hamstring injury which could explain the poor performance. He eventually left the game after declaring no joy and throwing up the white flag. This game should be further reminder of the Texans stalwart defense.

Hindered by the scoreboard and the inability to sustain drives, Maurice Jones-Drew was only afforded 15 total touches but still produced 67 yards and a touchdown. Even in limited action the guy is rock.

 

Washington 28, St. Louis 31

Redskins

This matchup saw the continuation of the RGIII variety show as the Shanahans did a great job of utilizing Griffin’s natural athleticism with designed runs and deep passing keeping the defense off balance. The highlight of the evening for fantasy owners was two rushing touchdowns followed closely by a 68 yard bomb that found a wide open Leonard Hankerson resulting in a giant touchdown. Coming into the season Griffin was being compared to Cam Newton, but not able to rush in touchdowns. That notion has been destroyed as Newton’s rookie record of 14 rushing touchdowns could be in danger.

What do you know, the Shanahans actually started Alfred Morris again in the backfield who continued to shine gaining 89 yards on 16 carries.  In fact, backup Evan Royster was only awarded one carry on the day further substantiating our belief that Morris is the man. He is quickly becoming a high end RB2, worthy of starter status until the Shanahans prove otherwise.

Rams

Like a good roller coaster ride Sam Bradford’s up and down play continued putting together a solid performance after a miserable outing last week. Tossing 3 touchdowns en route to a 310 yard day Bradford made it a point to find his favorite wide receiver Danny Amendola. The shifty wide receiver atoned for 15 receptions, 160 yards and one yard touchdown. Amendola performance should excite confidence in fantasy owners coming off a solid week one. Now in the echelons of the high end WR3, Amendola is a near must start.

Fantasy owner of Steven Jackson are waiting on pins and needles to hear the results of the Monday MRI on the balky hamstring that held S-Jax out of the entire second half.  As a replacement, Daryl Richardson stepped in with an impressive performance totaling 83 yards on 15 carries including a two point conversion late in the game. We should be aware that 53 of his yard came on one run, meaning the other 14 touches averaged 2.1 yards per carry. He also had a fumble with 2:40 left in the game giving the Skins a chance to come back and win the game. A must handcuff for Jackson owners.

Dallas 7, Seattle 27

Cowboys

Anybody who watched this game witnessed the underrated Seattle defense asserts their dominance on the Cowboys with constant pressure while limiting Demarco Murray to a meager 44 yards on 12 carries.

The Cowboys passing attack didn’t fare any better as Tony Romo threw just one touchdown finding Miles Austin. Romo was able to complete 23 passes, but yards after the catch were hard to come by as the sure tackling of Hawks secondary was imposing. Take note for future matchups.

The normally sure handed Jason Witten didn’t help his quarterback as the lone Cowboys receiver finding space to work in the Seattle secondary had multiple drops. Fantasy owners should be excited by Witten’s team high 10 targets hoping this is the norm rather than a game plan niche.

Seahawks

Seattle was carried primarily by their defensive and special teams play highlighted by a block punt for a touchdown. This was most evident in stat line from quarterback Russell Wilson who totaled 151 yards and one touchdown. Wilson will be asked to be more a “game manager” than a “gun slinger” and should be dropped in nearly every leagues.

In a game under control the Hawks gave running back Marshawn Lynch 26 totes culminating into 122 yards and a goal line touchdown. With the defensive unit playing at a high level Lynch is valuable commodity closing out games moving forward.

 

New York 10, Pittsburgh 27

Jets

These are the Jets we know and love. Coming off the best game of his career (I’m guessing) Gravity grabbed hold of Mark Sanchez crashing him back to reality. Sanchez was met headlong by the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers who grounded the Jets aerial offense for much of the game. After a first quarter touchdown pass to Santonio Holme, Sanchez was unable to complete a pass to any wide receiver until the final drive. Sanchez is at best a mid QB2 only to be relied upon in the best of matchups.

Considering the quarterback play, you can only image the how the wide receivers fared. Santonio Holmes day was salvaged by a first quarter touchdown, but otherwise pictured on the back of milk carton.

Week one’s rising star Stephan Hill recorded zero catches for zero yards. As the Jets deep threat, with poor quarterback play, these past two games should serve as a synapses of what to expect from Hill this season.

Guess who else was unimpressive?  That’s right, Shonn Greene. This game was made worse for Greene owners after the running back sustained a concussion in the mid 2nd quarter. More of a matchup based start Greene should have been on your bench for this game, but does have a plus matchup with Miami next on the schedule. After that it’s downhill.

Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger played well in this game managing his team to a win and fantasy owners to 275 yards and two touchdowns.  His fantasy production continues to fall in the mid / low QB1 variety.

The problem we find limiting Big Ben is the Steelers incessant nature to deny who they really are. What they want to be is “a run based football team who plays good defense”. This was most evident with the balanced rushing attack giving both Jonaathan Dwyer and Issac Redman 12 carries each. However, averaging 2.2 yards per carry won’t cut it against better football teams. I’m just saying.

Speaking of the rushing game, Dwyer was slightly more impressive but it was Redman scoring the short yardage touchdown. Neither is a recommended starter, and will lose value when Rashard Mendenhall returns.

As for the wide receievers, nothing has really changed. Antonio Brown is the target monster with 10 in this game equating to 79 yards. Wallace is the deep threat gaining the quarterbacks confidence down near the goal line as evident by the touchdown. Both are a must start, but as mentioned the change in offensive mentality will hinder production.

 

Tennessee 10, San Diego 38

Titans

It’s hard to find any semblance of positivity as the Titans held the football for a grand total of 16 minutes and 21 seconds (you read that right). Untimely penalties on both the offense and defense were the culprit giving the Chargers extended possession, while thwarting the Titans drives. San Diego also did a good job of playing keep away.

Chris Johnson had yet another piss poor showing, continually being hit in the backfield. The score also hindered his performance as the titans fell behind 17-0 with 12:15 still remaining in the second quarter. This forced the Titans into a one dimensional offense abandoning the running game as evident by Johnson’s 8 carries.

Jake Locker also found himself the victim of poor pass protection under constant duress, but mad matters worse throwing inaccurate passes missing open wide receivers that would have moved the football. Until this offensive line starts blocking better all Titans offensive players will have limited value.

So much for Kenny Britt’s big 2012 debut that fizzled out resulting in 1 reception for 5 yards. As expected, Britt was used sparingly with Titans easing him back into the offense while coming off injury. Keep him on the bench until he proves himself worthy on the field.

Chargers

While watching the games it seemed every time I looked up the Chargers had the football and they were throwing a touchdown pass to Dante Rosario. With Antonio Gates a late scratch it was the former Panthers and Broncos tight end filling in nicely as the red zone threat. Rosario will return to obscurity once Gates returns.

Speaking of good games, Malcolm Floyd had another solid outing topping 100 yards, nearly scoring a touchdown that went under officials review. Floyd has earned a spot in our starting lineup as an upper WR3, borderline WR2.

As for Robert Meachem, he was non-existent yet again which has carried over from the preseason, through week one and again this week. I would find it hard even rostering Meachem with the likes of Donnie Avery, Brian Hartline and Danny Amendola currently on the waiver wire.

The Chargers continued the utilization of Curtis Brinkley as the primary ball carrier in the backfield with Ryan Mathew still recovering from a broken collar bone. Brinkely carried the load much of the game until the Chargers turned to free agent acquisition Jackie Battle to grind out the clock in the fourth quater. A straight line with bruising power Battle found himself on the receiving end of 14 carries totaling 69 yards including two goal line carries that resulted in touchdowns. With Ronnie Brown fading and Brinkley ineffective Battle could emerge as the Mathews handcuff. Stay tuned.

 

Detroit 19, San Francisco 27

Lions

The Lions looked more like the gazelles as the San Francisco defense was the hunter. Able to snuff out the run with six in the box the 9ers limited Detroit running back Kevin Smith to 53 yards on 16 carries. Smith remains a solid play in plus matchups, this however was not the case.

Mathew Stafford also struggled throwing errant passes and unable to utilize his favorite weapon Calvin Johnson. Speaking of Megatron, it was odd to see the Lions working Calvin out of the slot on underneath passing patterns, similar to the way the Vikings use Percy Harvin. If San Fran can shut down the big man, we should be thinking twice about starting lesser talented wide receivers facing San Fran in the future.

49ers

The 49ers continue to install the same game plan; run the ball with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, while playing pitch-and-catch between Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree or Vernon Davis. Obviously Davis is a must start, but Crabtee is creeping into a lower WR3. Alex Smith game manager style and the staunch 9ers defense severely hinders his fantasy value. Smith is mid QB2, at best.

Normally it’s tough to rely on running backs inside an RBBC, but the 9ers run the ball with such regularity and efficiency that Frank Gore has solid value (much to my surprise). Gore punched in a touchdown on his way to an 89 yard night. Dude is a stud

Randy Moss is definitely the San Fran red zone threat. However, his limited snaps and targets means he can never be safely started, and therefore not worth a roster spot.

 

 

Hope that helps. Enjoy the week ahead.

 

 

 

 

About Eric Hartvigson