It was a great week one, wasn’t it?? Here are 13 early impressions I have after watching the games this weekend.
1. Where the heck did Cam Newton come from? I know Arizona’s defense is not stout, but dude is a rookie quarterback on a bad team, and he looked downright polished out there today. Either Rivera and the new coaching staff did an amazing job getting him ready for week 1 (and he will come back to earth next week), or this kid is Michael Vick but bigger. And he showed some legit touch on those touchdown throws to Smith, didn’t he? Sure wish I had taken a flier on him!
2. I am similarly flabbergasted by the Bengals win today, and that another rookie quarterback did not look terrible. Dalton certainly wasn’t fantastic, but he threw his first TD, and Gradkowski helped finish what he started and threw the first TD pass of A.J. Green’s career. I know it was the Browns, but I really expected the Browns to drub them today.
3. What on earth was up with the Falcons? I started Julio Jones in a couple leagues (and since they were PPR it wasn’t too terrible), but it appeared like Matt Ryan just wasn’t himself. Perhaps the Bears defense is legit, but Michael Turner did have 10 yards per carry, so I think it was either that Ryan just didn’t show up or they got down early and the Bears were sitting back in prevent mode. Either way, it’s concerning for those of us who invested early picks in Falcons.
4. The Steelers looked downright terrible. Being in the Baltimore area, I watched the whole game and was shocked by how poor Roethlisberger’s decisions were. He was not forced into his picks; he just made bad reads. With his history, I am sure he can turn it around, but the run game looked similarly terrible. I own several Steelers so I have serious concern this may be an 8-8 type of year. However, they will certainly face softer defenses than the Ravens and will get it going at some point offensively, even if they don’t win too many games. It was just an ugly start.
5. The Colts and Chiefs stink. At least the Colts have the Peyton Manning excuse (although it doesn’t say too much for their overall talent that they were that terrible without him). The Chiefs have no excuse. They were terrible in the preseason, and they were terrible on Sunday. They got SMOKED-by the Bills! I’m now glad I only own Jamaal Charles on two teams, and no other Chiefs. I think this team will be playing from behind all year, so maybe Dwayne Bowe gets some catches in comeback mode, but I don’t think Matt Cassel is good enough to throw even when he needs to, at least not on this team. He was able to do it in the Pats system, but there is something about the Chiefs offensive scheme that makes him look like Derek Anderson-or worse.
6. The 49ers can win the division, without breaking a sweat. You saw the impact of a good coach immediately in San Fran. Harbaugh got those guys to play, and even though offensively they didn’t do much, the special teams and defense came through. Harbaugh is an offensive mastermind, so eventually these guys could get going on that side of the ball, and it doesn’t hurt that Seattle and St. Louis looked pretty bad. Arizona got a win, but they were playing a bad team with a rookie QB and barely squeaked it out. I think San Francisco, based on what I saw today, wins the division by two games.
7. Houston is the real deal. I heard Mel Kiper Jr. say the other day he had Houston ranked as the # 3 team on his preseason power rankings, and he got all sorts of negative feedback. These guys held back against the Colts and started eating clock early, and they still won 34-7. If they need to score points, they will. Stock up on your Houston offensive players now.
8. I wasted an early pick on Shonn Greene AGAIN. I swear this is the last time. The Jets just don’t use him except to run straight ahead into the line, and the guy is very talented and quick laterally. He could be a top back in this league if not fettered by the Jets offensive system.
9. I was right about Chad Henne. He had a couple bad-looking throws, but he looked far superior to Kyle Orton Monday night. He was accurate, zipped his passes in there, and even pulled it down and ran effectively several times. I think he could be a very good replacement for Peyton Manning this year. .Likewise, his teammate Reggie Bush had an understated Dolphins debut, but in PPR leagues he still had a nice night, and he got into the end zone. He should be a solid starter all year long, as he will catch plenty of passes even when he doesn’t score.
10. Tom Brady is amazing. Always finds the open guy, always accurate. If you have him, don’t trade him. If you don’t have him, you aren’t getting him. I think he’s worth a first round pick as much as Aaron Rodgers and more than Michael Vick, because he probably won’t get hurt and is incredibly consistent.
11. Brandon Marshall is a beast. It looked like he might have hyperextended his knee at the end of the night, so listen for any injury reports.
12. Kyle Orton was not very good Monday. The crowd was chanting for Tebow; that is never a good thing.
13. However, Eric Decker is going to make some noise this year if Orton stays the QB. He looked good out there, and in my opinion brings better physical tools than either Brandon Lloyd or Eddie Royal. Grab him off the waiver if he’s available in your league, because if he establishes a close connection with Orton he could really explode (a la Lloyd last year).
Kevin Bobrow is the leading author at My Daily Fantasy Football, a daily fantasy football blog that gives insights into every aspect of fantasy football, helping you toward your league title.