Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NFL Homage: Week 1

Peter King, long-time Sports Illustrated writer, has a column titled Monday Morning Quarterback or MMQB. This is speculative hearsay as I have never read it. But that is the rumor. Similarly, Gregg Easterbrook, short-time ESPN.com author, has a column titled Tuesday Morning Quarterback or TMQ. This is factual, as I have seen the links to it, but have never read it. Supposedly TMQ is an homage to MMQB where, in both, the author summarizes the goings-on of the previous NFL week of games. Well, in the Sports Pinata, each week I will be writing a post about the previous slab of games, call it an homage to an homage as I am copying the idea, but as I have never read either man's work, don't know if I will be copying ideas. Let's hope not. On to week one.

The term legend gets thrown around too often these days. Sure, a regular man can perform something legendary, but that does not necessarily make him a legend. Well, in this instance, the term is appropriate. I am of course referring to unanimously selected, number one fantasy kicker Nate Kaeding. Oh, he only scored two points you say? Only idiots draft a kicker for more than $1 you say? John Kasay, owned in less than 5% of all ESPN fantasy leagues, was the high scorer in week one? Alright, let's move on.

The real fantasy story of week one was Mike Vick. Yeah, Arian Foster went off. It happens. It's impossible to predict. He won't rush for over 200 in a game again, so hopefully you had him on your roster. He is the starting running back for a team with a good offense. He should score well the rest of the season. But the owners who won their head to head match-ups this week because of his 40 points, like the guy I faced, should be embarrassed is all. Take a cheap win. Go ahead.

Mike Vick, on the other hand, turned that Green Bay game into a dogfight. ... Kevin Kolb will probably sit next week with a concussion, but if Vick is running like he was in week one, Kolb might not get his job back and the Eagles can blame it on his concussion 'lingering.' He threw for 175 yards and ran for over 100 in one half, against a pretty good defense. That team has weapons too. As a Giants fan, I was satisfied with the Eagles being down this year. Yet with Vick behind center, it will never be a comfortable time playing them. As for fantasy implications, he has to be the best add after one week. Even if you're not sure how many weeks he'll start, wasn't one enough to show you he can still bring it?

On the other side of the coin, as always, there were many highly touted fantasy 'stars' who, frankly, sucked. I believe one of our aforementioned Morning Quarterback writers does a selection about the no-names who go off. Well, this will be the opposite: the stars who sucked lineup.

Quarterback - Matt Schaub. Has to be. For a team that put up that many points, how could the QB score so few? Schaub barely cleared 100 yards passing, threw 1 touchdown and 1 pick. That was good for 6 measly points (depending on league settings and scoring of course). For a guy who was supposed to have finally reached fantasy stardom, week one wasn't a good opening act. I blame Arian Foster really. Share the wealth next time jerk.

Running Back - Shonn Greene and Michael Turner. There were so many good choices for our running back slots but Greene and Turner take the cake. Ryan Mathews had a poor first showing in his NFL debut. Ray Rice, a unanimous top five pick, was very bad as well but that had more to do with his opponent, the New York "85 Bears" Jets. Michael Tuner ran for 40 yards. That's it. He too was a unanimous first round pick in all fantasy leagues, yet scored 4 points in the first week of action. Shonn Greene, who lined up against Ray Rice's team, faired even worse. Greene actually scored negative points. He ran for less than 20 yards and fumbled. Throw that in with the fact that he dropped a pass and pretty much got benched for most of the game for the 'ageless' LaDainian Tomlinson.

Wide Receiver - Andre Johnson and Mike Walker. Wide receiver is the hardest position to predict week to week. Touchdown grabs are almost random. The only thing that can stay consistent is how often a certain receiver is targeted. Eventually those numbers will result in stats. Well Andre Johnson is the number one guy. He is the best receiver in football. Thanks again to teammate Arian Foster, like Schaub, Johnson was nearly shut out of fantasy relevance. 33 yards is all he ended with. And yet, that was 33 yards more than Jags receiver and supposed 'next step taker' Mike Walker had, who ended with no catches.

Tight End - Jason Witten. Even more so than wide receiver, tight end stats tend to sway greatly one week to the next. Besides Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates, there isn't another tight end I'm positive will perform each time out. Jason Witten used to be on that level as well. Though for some reason, he's not anymore. Ending with only 2 fantasy points in a week where the Cowboys struggled to keep any offensive consistency is not a good sign. It seems Witten has fallen from the weekly tight end performer to just another question mark in the pack.

D/ST - 49ers. I would have given this distinction to the Bengals defense, but they at least faced an offense everyone knew would be able to put points on the board. Starting the Bengals week one was a semi-crap shoot to begin with. The 49ers, on the other hand, were facing what many expected to be the worst team in the NFC. Rather than dominate, they got shredded, ending with a negative fantasy score for the week. In other words, you would have been better off starting no defense at all. And this was against the Seahawks!

Kicker - Nate Kaeding. Just because.

That's week one in a large nutshell. There will always be a surprise breakout performance that wins a fantasy match-up. The key, however, is to avoid having any of your players make this lowly lineup.

In other news, the Kansas City Chiefs are 1-0. They were mentioned here (http://ts-sportsandmore.blogspot.com/2010/07/making-leap.html) as being the Sports Pinata's pick as this year's sleeper team. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I am going to anyway. Did you SEE Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster?! And don't even get me started on Jamaal Charles!

This has been week one's NFL homage to an homage.

(Image taken from soundbiteblog.com)

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