September 15, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Week 2 Revelations
Brandon Marshall: Steve Dykes/ Getty Images
Denver 39, San Diego 38
  • If you were smart enough to grab Brandon Marshall in the 3rd or 4th round in fantasyland drafts last month (depending on how much you fretted over his one-game suspension -- served last week), say a prayer for your good fortune ... because just like Adrian Peterson in 2007, you'll never see the Broncos receiver as a sleeper pick again -- especially after his 18-catch, 166-yard, 1-TD day against the Chargers (the No. 1 defense/special teams in most fantasy drafts). What's more, IF the Broncos had gone the safe route and played for overtime in their wild-and-woolly victory, I am quite certain Marshall would have eclipsed Terrell Owens' NFL record for catches in one game (20). While Marshall had third-round draft value last month, he now has high RB2 trade value in standard-scoring leagues (Clinton Portis? Marshawn Lynch?) ... and RB1 value in PPR leagues (Steven Jackson? Joseph Addai?).

  • The other half of the Marshall plan (of 20-plus targets) was Broncos QB Jay Cutler, who torched the Chargers for 350 yards and four touchdowns (and the game-winning two-point conversion). In Year 3, Cutler has rocketed into the first tier of great fantasy QBs (Brady, Manning, Romo, Palmer, Roethlisberger, McNabb) and should be considered a must-handcuff with Marshall in all scoring leagues. In other words, if you have Cutler (but no Marshall) or Marshall (but no Cutler), I strongly recommend putting on your Creative Trading Hat come Tuesday ... and do whatever it takes to have Cutler AND Marshall on your roster by Wednesday.

  • San Francisco 33, Seattle 30 (OT)
  • Unless you live in Washington state or northern California (excluding Sunday Ticket subscribers), you missed a fantasy owner's dream game -- 66 total points, one Frank Gore touchdown, 29 touches for Julius Jones, a Seattle defensive score and certifiable proof that Niners playmakers J.T. O'Sullivan (321 passing yards, 1 TD), Bryant Johnson (6 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD) and Isaac Bruce (4 catches for 153 yards) should remain roster stashees, if not starters, for the entire season.

  • Regarding Jones' 141 total yards (127 rushing), I half-joked last week that he would see the ball between 25 and 60 times ... but I'll be darned if that's exactly what happened. Bewteen Maurice Morris, Bobby Engram, Deion Branch and Nate Burleson sidelined with various injuries and Matt Hasselbeck's bulging disk in his back (how he's even playing is beyond me), Julius is the only viable veteran option for the depleted Seahawks -- at least of those vets not signed off the street this week (I'm talking about you, Billy McMullen). Here's the deal: Unless you have Gore, Peterson, Portis, Brian Westbrook or Marshawn Lynch ahead of Julius on your fantasy depth chart, there is absolutely no reason to sit Jones in Week 3 against the sad-sack Rams -- otherwise known as the Detroit Lions west of the Mississippi River.

  • Green Bay 48, Detroit 25
  • The Lions may be comical to watch from a real-world perspective. But their playmakers are pure fantasy gold -- WRs Calvin Johnson (6 catches, 129 yards, 2 TDs) and Roy Williams, RB Kevin Smith and especially QB Jon Kitna (276 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs), who singlehandedly vaulted the Packers D/ST to the top of Week 2's rankings with a pair of game-clinching interception returns for TDs in the fourth quarter. For the fantasy owner who's reticent to start Kitna on a weekly basis, I'll counter with a little known fact: In his last five games, Kitna has averaged 37.8 attempts -- a stunningly high number that confirms the Lions as fantasyland's best Garbage Time team. But enough about the losers ...

  • The Packers are so deep and talented on offense that I fear none of the touted playmakers (like Ryan Grant or Greg Jennings) can possibly justify their high value in preseason drafts. The only one who may benefit from Aaron Rodgers' prodigious play at QB is ... Aaron Rodgers. The fourth-year vet (but first-year starter) shredded the Lions for 328 yards and three touchdowns -- all scores going to a different receiver (James Jones, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson). How good has Rodgers been so far? Well, if you have Carson Palmer as your entrenched fantasy starter, you might want to think about trading for the guy who essentially forced Brett Favre's exile to New Jersey.

  • New England 19, N.Y. Jets 10
  • I'm contractually obligated to mention Tom Brady and Brett Favre in the same sentence at least once in every Fantasy Clicks ... and I just did that. Now, let's rap about Patriots QB Matt Cassel: What to make of his 165-yard, zero-TD, zero-INT performance against the Jets? Does he really have the potential for 225 yards and 1.75 TDs per game -- as I stated last week? Or can we expect a bevy of mistake-free, yet unspectacular outings from the guy who didn't start one game in college (USC)? I counted four long throws for Cassel on Sunday, with four incompletions. That's a major red flag there -- one so alarming that now says I must mention Cassel and Brodie Croyle in the same sentence at least once in every Fantasy Clicks. Yikes! Oh, how the mighty have fallen ... (maybe)

  • Revelations, Book II
    Larry Fitzgerald: Lisa Blumenfield/Getty Images
    Arizona 31, Miami 10
  • So, I guess we can end that debate about which team has the better receiving stars -- the Bengals' Chad John, er, Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh or the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Led by the Rasputin-like Kurt Warner, Fitzgerald (6 catches, 153 yards) and Boldin (6 catches, 140 yards, 3 TDs) routinely carved up the Dolphins secondary like nobody's business. Warner, as a result, finished with 361 passing yards and 3 TDs, while strengthening his hold on the starting gig (over Matt Leinart).

  • On the flip side, we have the Dolphins offense, otherwise known as fantasy roadkill. From QB Chad Pennington (112 yards) to Ricky Williams (28 rushing yards) to WR Derek Hagan (51 yards), the numbers were really bad -- but strangely, not surprising. The only ray of light was Ronnie Brown's 44 total yards and one touchdown; but I sincerely doubt anyone outside Brown's family had him plugged into a Week 2 starting lineup.

  • N.Y. Giants 41, St. Louis 13
  • I am done dismissing Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress as top-notch fantasy options. After watching Burress leave Rams cornerback O.J. Atogwe on Planet Clown (thank you, Randy Moss) during the 33-yard TD catch in the first quarter, I concluded that Elaxico (Eli and Plaxico combined) no longer play "down" to their competition. They're Super Bowl champs. They've won 11 straight games on the road (12 away from home, if you count Super Bowl XLII). And now, in yet another stage in their development, they always make quick work of teams -- like the sorry Rams -- which have no business beating playoff contenders.

  • As for the Rams, did you see where Marc Bulger (177 passing yards, 1 TD) and Steven Jackson banged knees while attempting a simple off-tackle, a play that could have easily ended either player's season? (Thankfully, no one was hurt) How about a few minutes earlier ... when Jackson would have scored on a power sweep left at midfield, if he didn't trip over his own two feet in the process? These tiny lapses in concentration -- or blooper-reel material -- may have been incidental, by nature; but to me, it's a telltale sign of just how out of sync the offense has become. I never thought I'd say that about an Al Saunders offense ... and I never thought I'd say the following: Maybe it's time to sell reasonably high on Jackson (90 total yards on Sunday) -- unless you still think he's a lock for 1,800 total yards and 11 TDs, projections that could only justify his top-5 selection.

  • Washington 29, New Orleans 24
  • If your fantasy league credits a player for punt-return TDs (like the one Reggie Bush had on Sunday), you're loving life! But if your league credited Bush for only 91 yards from scrimmage, you're left to wonder: Why didn't I have the foresight to start Jonathan Stewart???!!! At first blush, the Saints' come-from-ahead loss seemed like a fantasy dream; but there were few thrills in the numbers for Drew Brees (216 yards, 1 TD), Jeremy Shockey (22 receiving yards) and WR David Patten (55 yards). And if you rode that gut feeling of embattled WR Robert Meachem scoring his first pro TD, I say 'Congratulations ... on those seven measly points' (Meachem, a first-round pick in the '07 draft, tallied one catch for 19 yards).

  • As for the Redskins, the victors, Jason Campbell can have all the 321-yard, 1-TD days he wants at home, but until he posts stud-like numbers on the road (inside or outside), I cannot endorse him as a No. 2 QB in 10-team leagues. In 10 career starts away from FedEx Field, he's thrown two touchdowns only twice -- where Brian Griese -- yes, Brian Griese! -- has accomplished the feat three times in that span.

  • Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 16
  • What's not to like about the Bills' stable of playmakers against the typically stout Jags defense ... while playing in that stifling Florida heat and humidity? From QB Trent Edwards (239 yards, 1 TD) to RBs Marshawn Lynch (67 total yards, 1 TD) and Fred Jackson (100 total yards) to WR Lee Evans (4 catches for 77 yards), Buffalo had just enough juice to escape Jacksonville with a hard-fought win, while keeping pace with the Pats in the AFC East. And now, as their reward for a 2-0 start, Edwards, Lynch and Co. get three easy-cheesy chances against pedestrian defenses -- the Raiders, Rams and Cardinals. With only 135 rushing yards to date, Lynch may fall short of the projected 1,300-yard mark this season but could score 12-14 times to compensate for it.

  • Now, for the hardest part of any fantasy owners' week -- the cuts. It may be time to give David Garrard (165 yards, zero TDs) his outright release, along with Fred Taylor (54 total yards). But not Maurice Jones-Drew ... at least yet. Give him three more weeks before cutting (or trading) bait.

  • Quick-Hitting Revelations
    Darren McFadden: AP
  • Oakland 23, Kansas City 8: Congratulations, Darren McFadden (164 yards rushing, 1 TD), it looks like you're the first and second option in the Raiders' rushing attack -- even if the emerging Michael Bush (90 yards, 1 TD) keeps, uh, emerging ... and Justin Fargas stays nicked up. Would it be too much to ask for five catches in Week 3 at Buffalo?

  • Carolina 20, Chicago 17: Hey, rookie extraordinaire Jonathan Stewart (77 rushing yards, 2 TDs), how does it feel in Blue Heaven today? Along those lines ... hey, tight end Dante Rosario (96 yards, 1 TD in Week 1; one catch for six yards in Week 2), how do you break your fall in the crash back to earth?

  • Pittsburgh 10, Cleveland 6: It's now fair to ask the following rhetorical question: Who is the real Derek Anderson -- the one who tossed 25 TDs from Weeks 2-14 last year ... or the one who's thrown only four TDs and seven INTs since then?

  • Tampa Bay 24, Atlanta 9: Call me crazy ... but I think Falcons fans would settle for Michael Turner averaging 220 yards and 2 TDs for home games but just 42 on the road this season.

  • Tennessee 24, Cincinnati 7: What planet did you come from, Chris Johnson (121 total yards, 109 rushing; 4.2 40) ... and where will you be going into hiding soon, Carson?

  • Indianapolis 18, Minnesota 15: When will Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell next hit five field goals in a game? Hmmm ... about the same time some random Colts receiver named Tom Santi registers five times the catches of surefire Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.

  • Celebrity Fantasy League

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    Trivia Time

    Can you name two of the four NFL QBs to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games? Scroll down for the answer.

    How'd We Do?

    Last week, I offered specific predictions for Week 2 -- some pure gold and others that flopped worse than the Happy Days spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi. Here's a rundown of things so far:

    QB Locks For 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs
    1. Carson Palmer (134 yards -- way off!)
    2. Tony Romo (TBD on Monday night)
    3. Ben Roethlisberger (186 yards -- way off!)
    4. Jon Kitna (276 yards -- correct!)
    5. Kurt Warner (361 yards and 3 TDs -- correct!)
    6. Marc Bulger vs. N.Y. Giants (177 yards -- way off!)
    7. Peyton Manning (311 yards -- correct!)

    RB Locks For 120 Yards and/or 2 TDs
    1. Maurice Jones-Drew (42 total yards -- wayyy off!)
    2. Brian Westbrook (TBD on Monday)
    3. Frank Gore (9 total yards, 1 TD -- incorrect)
    4. LaDainian Tomlinson (40 total yards -- wayyy off!)
    5. Marion Barber (TBD on Monday)
    6. Julius Jones (141 total yards -- correct!)
    7. Clinton Portis (2 TDs -- correct!)
    8. Adrian Peterson (180 total yards -- correct!)
    9. Thomas Jones (75 total yards -- incorrect)
    10. Larry Johnson (22 total yards -- wayyyy off!)
    11. Steven Jackson (90 total yards -- incorrect)

    Trivia Answer

    Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Dan Fouts, along with Phil Simms and Billy Volek are the only four quarterbacks in NFL history to eclipse 400 yards passing in consecutive games.

    I Cannot Leave Without Wondering ...

    What will be the fantasy impact of the Texans playing three straight road games (@ PIT, @ TEN, @ JAX) before four straight home games (IND, MIA, DET, CIN) -- as a scheduling adjustment after Hurricane Ike? Are NFL teams really that hindered by extended road trips (for weekends only) -- as NBA, NHL or MLB teams might be? And why wasn't the Astrodome -- the Houston Oilers' home for 28 seasons -- ever considered as the site for Ravens-Texans on Monday (before its postponement)? It's right next door! After all, IF the Astrodome was good enough for "Bad News Bears: Breaking Training" ... then it should be good enough for the NFL -- again.

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