The first week of the 2008 NFL season is in the books, with no dearth of surprise performances and not a few unfortunate tales of woe. While some of last week's questions went left unanswered, some of the murk did clear a bit.
Chris Johnson and Jonathan Stewart definitely have Lendale White and DeAngelo Williams looking over their respective shoulders. Jerricho Cotchery is fantasy gold. Leryn Franco is not married, and doesn't even know who the Buccaneers are. I'm saddened but not surprised. That's an early season fantasy loss which I'll be regretting for some time.
On to the issues worth pondering for this week ...
Can Matt Cassel morph into the latest iteration of Tom Brady, or will he be more representative of Jamie Martin? Brady ended all speculation on whether he could repeat last year's performance when he left the game against lowly Kansas City in the second quarter with a season-ending knee injury. What does this mean for the Patriots faithful?
Will Chris Simms really get a shot or was he simply salve for the wounded Tennessee pride? If you are a member of the Titans faithful, Vince Young's saga with mom calling the shots can't be good. I wouldn't want the season in Kerry Collins' hands at this point. For Chris' sake, I hope he catches on. He is definitely in line for a karma swing to the positive.
Braylon Edwards, where are you man? It's almost as if Koren Robinson's hands were surgically attached to your body.
How much do we worry about Marion Barber III, and can Felix Jones really get the job done if Barber misses serious time? I'm not willing to bank on it.
Willie Parker, why couldn't you do that last year? Sitting on my bench is no place to be with weeks like that. Could you just drop me a text next week and let me know how you are feeling?
Is Carolina Panthers second-string TE Dante Rosario a flash in the pan or a flash of light that will energize a moribund offense? Jake Delhomme looks fully recovered, but Carolina has not previously been a good place for tight end stats in the fantasy world.
The "Uh-Oh" game of the week ... Jacksonville can't be happy playing against former Jaguar Marcus Stroud, especially after losing Vince Manuwai and Mo Williams, their two starting guards. The Jaguars surrendered seven sacks to Tennessee last week. Is the defensive line that good? I'm thinking it is. Stroud was a beast against a supposedly decent Seahawks line. I smell big trouble brewing in J-Town with David Garrard shrouded by Stroud all day.
With no running game and no wide receivers, can Lofa Tatupu and crew seal the deal at home? I'm thinking not, and that makes this my upset special this week. The Seahawks, played more like the Sea-Gals in Game 1. While the 49ers come a callin' this week, which is normally good for what ails the Seattle faithful, even the cushy confines of Qwest Stadium and the fabled 12th man may not be enough to salvage Mike Holmgren's going away party.
Last week I pondered the question of who would be the best rookie wide receiver; Denver Bronco Eddie Royal or Philadelphia Eagle DeSean Jackson. Both went up against inferior secondaries, but Royal stole the show. This week, Brandon Marshall returns from a one-game suspension, meaning he'll draw the double teams. Royal is scary in single coverage. I hope you grabbed him while you can.
Will Bill Belichick's magic suddenly fail? This week the Jets host New England, and the line has dropped a point from 2.5 to 1.5. Cooler heads seem to be prevailing, but that line doesn't deserve to be in favor of the Jets. They played Miami for goodness sakes!
Was anyone else not convinced with Tatum Bell's lame luggage lament?
With a little more than two weeks to go, can the Rays achieve the impossible dream? Halfway through September, the Tampa Bay Rays have faltered, but pulling off a series win in Boston put them two and a half games on top of the Red Sox for the AL East crown. The Yankees? They can't even hold off Toronto.
Even Chad Javon Ocho Cinco (nee Johnson) can't be crazy enough to pony up the reported $4.6 million to buy out the remaining stock of jerseys can he?
I'm guessing the NFL won't cut him a deal either. I'm thinking ... it isn't his fault they printed so many jerseys. Publicly, they chided and fined him for his on field antics, but privately they must have been tossing up some high fives; don't you think. Just how much money has the NFL made on him anyway?
Jamie Moyer is 14-7 this year? Seriously?
Hurricane Ike isn't the only disaster blowing into the Houston area. Willis McGahee will play. I'm not convinced he can stay healthy or return to form on those knees. It may not matter if Houston can't find someone to carry the rock, much less pound it.
Please say a prayer, light a candle or do the chicken dance for the displaced Texans. I mean the people, of course. I'm not sure any of that will help the team. Which begs the final question -- who will be the first coach fired this year? I'm split between Gary Kubiak and Scott Linehan.