Coffin Corner: What, Me Worry?
This week I'll pump the breaks on the old worry meter for a few players while fanning the fire of others that just might not be able to live up to the hype this season.
I'M WORRIED ABOUT...
Joe Flacco. He's got as big an arm as anyone out there, but he's just not connecting with his less than exciting receiving corps, and nowhere is that more obvious that on the deep ball. Last postseason when he was a star he completed 13 of 26 passes of at least 20 yards. This season he's just 2-for-13 on such throws. For all the talk of improvement this season he's pretty much looked like the same old regular season Joe Flacco with three scores, two interceptions an a poor 58.9 completion percentage through two games. Hard to blame him completely when his O-line was mauled by the Browns and when he has so few targets to throw the ball to, but it is what it is.
DeSean Jackson. This one is a qualified worried. DJax has gone for 100-yards in back-to-back games for the first time since September of 2010. His total of 297 receiving yards through two weeks is the 12th most in the history of football through two weeks. He's also scored in back-to-back weeks for the first time since November 2010. In addition, he's already matched his TD total from last season and with two 100-yard games he's matched his total from each of the last two seasons. Not saying he isn't a weekly play, but even with the new offense in Philly there's just no way he keeps up this pace.
Eddie Royal. Hopefully this one is as obvious as it was to me (I almost hesitated to write about him cause I thought it was so obvious). Danario Alexander is gone, Malcom Floyd's health is up in the air (boy was that a scary collision), Keenan Allen is a rookie and Vincent Brown has looked very average through two games for the Chargers. Someone has to catch the ball though and so far it's been Royal who has scored five times. Five. He scored five touchdowns the last four seasons. I'm serious, look it up. The fact is it would be a surprise if he scored five more times this season. Let me say it another way. In his first 67 NFL games he averaged a TD every 6.7 games. This season he's averaging a TD every 1.6 quarters. He's also only gone for 114 yards in the two games, and his total of 10 receptions isn't exactly mind bending. He's also missed 10 games the past two seasons with injury. He's just not a stable/reliable option. Not saying you don't go pick him up if he's out there, you totally do add him, I just would advise against blowing your FAAB to add him. After all, the past four seasons he's only caught 40 balls once and only had one season of 350 receiving yards.
Ben Tate. Why is it that folks seem to think he's going to be a top-15 running back this season? Let me break this down for you. (1) Tate is an elite runner. (2) If given 20 touches a week he could be an RB1, no question. (3) Number #2 isn't going to happen unless Arian Foster is hurt. That means Tate is nothing more than a weekly flex option. What am I talking about? How about some other doses of reality. Tate averages 9.2 carries per game for his career. In two games this season he's carried the ball, what do you know, 18 times. He's averaging 8.2 yards a carry this season. He won't finish the season with a mark within two yards of that this season. Despite all his greatness he's touched the balls 23 times through two games. Foster touched the ball 24 times in Week 1 and 20 times in Week 2. Foster also appeared for 59 snaps in Week 2, Tate just 23 (Foster had a 35 snap advantage in Week 1). The fact is that Foster is the goal line back and the lead back in Houston. Period. Tate is an excellent hold, a Bye/Injury week star, but he's just not someone you should be pinning your hopes on as so many appear to be doing.
Russell Wilson. My 14th ranked QB this season, and yes I believe that is lower than just about anyone else predicted, I'm not surprised at the slow start from Wilson. Here's what I see. This is a run first team in Seattle. They have a back in Marshawn Lynch that has proven he can handle 25 touches a week. It works. The Seahawks grind out wins by controlling the clock and hammering fools with their defense. To prove this point note that Russell Wilson threw a total of 393 passes. That's 56 fewer passes than Ben Roethlisberger who missed three full games with injury. Moreover, Wilson's total of 393 passes thrown was 190 fewer than Peyton Manning. Additionally, and yes I'm trying to drive the point home, there were six quarterbacks last season who completed more passes than Russell Wilson threw (Stafford, Romo, Brees, Ryan, Brady, P. Manning). The 'Hawks added Percy Harvin to bolster their offense, but we all know he's out for at least another month as he works his way back from hip surgery. That limits the upside of Wilson a bit. Sure he threw for 320 yards in Week 1, but the Niners substantially muffled him Sunday allowing him to complete only eight passes for 142 yards. There will likely be a few more duds this season for Wilson as well. One last point. Wilson is athletic, and he'll run here and there for sure. But don't overlook a couple of salient points. (1) He's fumbled the ball eight times, losing four of them, through 18 games. That's not good. (2) Though he ran for 489 yards last season his weekly average was 5.9 carries for 30.6 yards. That's not exactly world beating stuff. 'But Ray, he had four rushing scores last season.' Fair point. Fair point #2 – though he has four career rushing scores they've come in two games meaning he's been held without a rushing score 16 times in 18 games or 89 percent of the time on the field he's failed to cross the goal line as a runner.
A WEEKLY FANTASY BATTLE
I’m going to let you in on a way you can play fantasy football – against me. Thanks to Fanduel.com you will be able to take me on each week in fantasy football in a salary cap game. Chose your team and take me down. Simple as that, beat me, getting bragging rights, win some cash along the way. Why wouldn't you be interested? Here's the link to play in Week 2.
I'M NOT WORRIED ABOUT...
Jared Cook. Superstar in Week 1 (7-141-2) to abject failure in Week 2 (1-10-0). So is the life of many a tight end. The good news is that Cook is a great talent, he has a role in the Rams' offense, and he will have many strong games in 2013. This might also make you feel better. Through two weeks he's on a 16 pace for 64 receptions, 1,208 yards and 16 touchdowns. Yeah, he'll be fine, even though he won't hit those numbers.
Frank Gore. The Niners lead back has run for three fewer yards than Vick Ballard who is done for the year with a knee injury. Through two games the guy who ran for 1,200 the last two years has a total of 60 yards on 30 carries. The numbers look brutal. Four things. (1) Colin Kaepernick threw for 420 yards in Week 1 so the running game wasn't really needed. (2) The Niners were thrashed by the elite defense of the Seahawks in Week 2. That will happen to many clubs this season when they face the club from Seattle. (3) The Niners still boast a great scheme with one of the best offensive lines in football. (4) Runners have down games. Last season Gore ran for 1,214 yards but he had games of 28 and 36 yards. He also had other games of 55, 58, 63 and 64. He'll find his spots and the production will pick up.
Colin Kaepernick. Of course, I also wasn't among the group of folks talking about him being a top-5 QB this season. As amazing as he looked in Week 1 (420 yards, three scores), he was equally brutal in Week 2 (127 yards, no scores, three interceptions) as the Seahawks manhandled the Niners. Still, Colin K is a dynamic talent, and we saw that Sunday night when he ran nine times for 87 yards. At his current two game pace he'd throw for 4,300 yards, 24 touchdowns and run for 872 yards. That's still an elite fantasy season.
Adrian Peterson. Can't believe some folks are griping. He's not running for 2,000 yards again, but he's still on pace for better than 1,500 rushing yards right now. He'll be fine. I mean seriously folks. By the way, he's rushed for 193 yards through two weeks, 49 more yards than he had through two games last season.
Trent Richardson was supposed to be a three-down beast. Through two weeks he hasn't been. The Browns, inexplicably, only gave him 13 carries in Week 1. That total was pushed to 18 in Week 2 but he's still got a mere 31 carries for 105 yards through two games. The schedule did Richardson no favors, the Dolphins and Ravens are no pushovers, so a slow start was to be expected. That should chance in Week 3 against the Vikings. Through two games the Vikes are giving up the 7th most yards on the ground and they've also allowed two rushing scores in the two games.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.