September 24, 2009

9/21/09 - Dear Diary,

For our game reviews this week, I was assigned the Oakland-Kansas City game. Unfortunately, this meant I had to watch it. I kept checking the guide on my TV, since it appeared that I was watching a JV game on local access. JaMarcus Russell was a trainwreck; I haven't seen that level of inaccuracy since I scored Vince Young's Wonderlic test. Anyway, here's who I like this week...

Eli Manning -- At this point, I'm recommending any quarterback (except Russell) versus the Tampa Bay secondary. Even Bucs coach Raheem Morris said it's "already out of hand." Eli picked apart the Cowboys, and his competition in the Double Stuf Racing League is more challenging than the Bucs defense. Diary, do you think Serena Williams threatened to shove an Oreo down his f*&%^#$ throat during their commercial shoot? Probably. She seems mean.

Matt Ryan -- I pegged Ryan as this year's breakout fantasy quarterback before the season, and so far he's holding up his end of the bargain with five touchdowns and a 68.3 percent completion rate. This week he faces a suspect Patriots defense, and with opponents loading up to stop Michael Turner, Ryan is making them pay.

Ronnie Brown -- The Dolphins' running game dominated the Colts defense Monday night, controlling the clock and keeping Indy's potent offense on the sidelines. Thanks to conservative play-calling and the worst 2-minute drill this side of Ohio State, it wasn't enough. Still, expect more of the same against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, whose defensive line looks weak and depleted without Jamal Williams.

Felix Jones --Marion Barber's injury is not as serious as the Cowboys initially feared, but his participation in Monday's game will be limited at best. That means increased snaps for the speedy Jones who ripped off a 56-yard run and also showed some power on his TD run. The Panthers are vulnerable on the ground, and running will keep Tony Romo from throwing picks. Speaking of Romo, how does a guy who's dating celebrities land his best endorsement deal with Starter? Was Zubaz unavailable? Is it 1991 again, diary?

Willis McGahee -- Diary, I hate this guy. I drafted him last year only to have his sporadic production lead to a weekly game of lineup Russian Roulette. Every time I started him he would barely play, and every time I didn't he would score. This year I picked Ray Rice, and now McGahee is vulturing TDs and had nearly twice as many carries last week. Against the woeful Browns, this jerk should find paydirt again.

Kevin Smith -- Consider me impressed after Smith racked up 83 yards against the stout Minnesota front. This week he faces a Washington D that surrendered 126 rushing yards to the lowly Rams. Albert Haynesworth is quickly moving up the list of Daniel Snyder free-agent buffoonery, although he's not in the Adam Archuleta/Brandon Lloyd/Jeff George tier yet. Smith continues to get virtually all the carries for Detroit while remaining involved in the passing game.

Vincent Jackson -- He's quickly becoming a lineup lock after his six-catch, 141-yard outburst versus the Ravens. With the Chargers struggling to establish a running game, Rivers will be chucking it early and often with Jackson the primary beneficiary. He'll also be facing Miami's two rookie corners who have to travel cross-country with a short week of preparation.

Mario Manningham -- Diary, maybe the Giants don't have a true No. 1 receiver; maybe they have two. Both Manningham and Steve Smith caught 10 passes against the Cowboys on Sunday night, with Manningham scoring a TD for the second straight week. Based on Tampa Bay's secondary, a third seems likely.

Derrick Mason -- Mason's low reception total this year isn't due to a lack of effort; he's clearly Joe Flacco's preferred option with 14 targets. Over his last four games against Cleveland, he's averaged seven catches and 85 yards, which at the very least makes him a terrific PPR option.

Hines Ward -- In 21 career contests versus the Bengals, Ward has scored 14 touchdowns, including five in their last four meetings. Cincinnati shut down Green Bay's top option Greg Jennings last week, but gave up 99 yards and a score to Donald Driver. This week's focus will be Santonio Holmes, opening things up for Pittsburgh's veteran wideout.

Brent Celek -- Celek's solid late-season performance expedited the departure of L.J. Smith, and his value took another bump with Kevin Kolb under center. Taking a page from the Romo-Witten book, Kolb and Celek are roommates on the road, which may have contributed to his eight-catch, 104-yard outing. The Chiefs shut down Zach Miller last week, but they had the luxury of doubling him with no other viable receiving options on the field. That won't be the case against the Eagles.

Dustin Keller -- He made up for fewer receptions with a nice TD grab in the back of the end zone. Tennessee allowed eight catches and 64 yards to Heath Miller in Week 1 and 72 yards with a score to Owen Daniels in Week 2. Diary, in case it's unclear, they don't defend the tight end well.

Until tomorrow...

9/22/09 - Dear Diary,

With a potential uncapped year in 2010, don't look for many free agents to end up in Buffalo. It's not exactly paradise to begin with, so add in the potential for lawn defacing and jewelry theft and you have a place no one wants to go. Here are this week's sits:

Matt Cassel -- Don't be fooled by his decent numbers versus Oakland or Philly's struggles against the pass last week. The Chiefs' O-Line is awful, so the Eagles will pressure him relentlessly, leading to plenty of checkdowns and a few turnovers.

Brett Favre -- Diary, do you think it's telling that Brad Childress (with his job on the line) is asking Favre to manage the game instead of taking shots downfield? Me, too. That, along with an underrated 49ers defense, will keep his yardage total down again.

Byron Leftwich -- Most of his 296 yards came in garbage time, and he was erratic at best. Tampa's line has not handled inside pressure well, and there's a legit chance Leftwich gets hurt against the Giants.

Thomas Jones -- Tennessee may be getting torched against the pass, but they've been stingy against the run, yielding just 49.5 yards per game. Jones managed just 3.9 yards per carry against the Pats last week, and he's not a factor in the passing game.

Jamal Lewis -- Another Mangini secret is out: Jamal Lewis can't hack it as a starting running back. He mustered just 38 yards on 14 carries against Denver, and he faces Baltimore this week. Bonus secret: Mangini is not a good coach. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, diary.

Derrick Ward -- Expect to see Ward staring longingly across the field at his old teammates on Sunday. He may be richer, but he's firmly entrenched in a platoon for a team with a bad O-Line. Cadillac Williams was more involved in the passing game last week, making PPR-leaguers even more concerned about Ward.

LenDale White -- With just 14 carries and 53 yards so far, White may as well start hitting the tequila again. The Titans lack playmakers and need Chris Johnson on the field as much as possible (see tape of Sunday's game). Don't expect much from White versus a stout Jets defense this week.

Earl Bennett --Jay Cutler peppered Bennett (and Green Bay defenders) with targets in Week 1, but by the end of Week 2, rookie Johnny Knox was getting the nod in two-receiver sets. Lovie Smith said both will remain in the rotation, but leave Bennett on your bench for now. I've been impressed with Knox and his adjustment to the NFL after graduating from Division II Abilene Christian.

Josh Morgan -- One of this season's trendy sleepers at wide receiver failed to record a catch last week. In fact, Shaun Hill never even attempted to throw in Morgan's direction, and Father Time (a.k.a. Isaac Bruce) was the only wideout to catch more than one pass. At this point, Morgan is borderline droppable.

Eddie Royal -- When they said Royal had a chance to be the next Wes Welker in Josh McDaniels' offense, I assumed they meant the New England version. Didn't you, diary? Royal has just five catches on the year and is struggling in his new role. No Broncos receivers are safe starts right now.

Roy Williams -- The Tampa secondary masked it in Week 1, but you didn't need the Jerry Jones Overcompensate-atron to see the general lack of timing and chemistry between Williams and Tony Romo on Sunday night. With the heat on Romo, expect him to turn to security blanket and BFF Jason Witten this week.

Anthony Fasano -- What better way to follow up a two-catch, two-fumble performance than by catching a one-yard pass and dropping a TD? Chad Pennington is rarely looking Fasano's way, and San Diego limited Todd Heap last week.

Marcedes Lewis -- Lewis is this week's "don't be a sucker" tight end. Sure, he had 62 yards and a score, but the Jags won't throw it 43 times too often. Not to mention he makes Braylon Edwards look sure-handed.

Nighty night, diary...

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