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East Coast Offense: 2008 East Coast Offense-Week 3

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

East Coast Offense

By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor

God Bless Mike Shanahan

So what if fantasy owners hate the guy? Yes, he lies about which running back he'll use, and he also lied about injuries before it was cool - (now even God-fearing Tony Dungy does it, so you know it's no big deal). And I don't care what Brad Evans says every Sunday on Fantasy Football Live - "Lucifer Shanahan this, Lucifer Shanahan that - the man (Shanahan, not Evans) is a genius because he went for the two-point conversion, down one in a game where the Broncos were getting 1.5 points! Please understand what that means for those who bet the Broncos. If they miss, the game's over - Broncos lose by 1. If they make it, the game's over, Broncos are up by 1. Either way, they cover! If he kicks the extra point, it goes into overtime, and that 1.5 becomes a pick 'em. It's a 50/50 game. So God bless Mike Shanahan - I'll defend him to grave from Evans' calumny.

As for the actual decision from a football standpoint, I like it for a number of reasons. This was a high scoring game, and both teams were moving the ball. The Broncos had control of the ball, and if they play for the tie, it's up to a coin flip. Moreover, the two-point conversion rate is 49 percent in the NFL over the last 14 seasons, so there's nothing wrong with putting the game on the line then and there rather than risking a slower death. And that 49 percent includes a lot of bad teams down 16 points with a minute to go, going for two out of desperation. If you took teams that scored more than 25 points, it would probably be even higher than 50 percent. Also, San Diego had Darren Sproles back to return the kickoff, and Nate Kaeding kicking in the thin mile high air, so a bad coin flip was more than likely going to be a loss. Finally, a decision like that is a huge vote of confidence in his young quarterback and offensive unit.

Honorable mention to Romeo Crennel whose decision to kick a field goal on 4th and 7, down seven with three minutes left, virtually ensured a cover as well for those of us who backed the Browns.

Things to Take Away From Week 2

  • It's the Year of the Quarterback - we said this about 2004 when Peyton Manning threw 49 TDs, Daunte Culpepper outscored him in some formats and Trent Green had the 11th most passing yards ever. (He's now 12th thanks to Tom Brady, 2007). But this year, we could have more big passing seasons with Jay Cutler, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers and Donovan McNabb having huge starts. And Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tony Romo aren't dropping off the map. Even J.T. O'Sullivan and Jason Campbell had big games Sunday.

  • Speaking of which, O'Sullivan's for real - despite eight sacks, he had no turnovers and 321 yards in Seattle where you can't hear anything. His YPA was 9.8 in Week 1 and 10.0 in Week 2. And he put up those numbers last week without getting Frank Gore or Vernon Davis heavily involved in the passing game.

  • The stars are aligned in Denver - forget about the two-point conversion for a moment, Denver's developing its passing game in perfect unison as Cutler, Brandon Marshall (decent play in a PPR league) and Tony Scheffler all came into the league in 2006. In other words, these guys are peaking together, and while you'd expect individual breakouts in Year 2 or 3, the collective breakout should boost each player's numbers beyond what you'd normally expect. And that's a scary thought considering that Marshall was already a borderline star last year, Cutler was playing while sick and Eddie Royal wasn't even on the team.

  • Wes Welker was less affected by Tom Brady's absence than Randy Moss - I had assumed the exact opposite and was wrong, and now I have to admit I have no idea how this will play out going forward. Even so, I'd be patient with Moss, and still think Welker's upside is very limited.

  • Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Terrell Owens are the top-3 wideouts in fantasy football - not sure of the exact order. We have to dock Braylon Edwards a bit, Moss is dealing with life post-Brady, and Reggie Wayne has more competition this year for targets. Steve Smith and Plaxico Burress are in the top tier as well.

  • Darren McFadden and Jonathan Stewart joined Chris Johnson and Matt Forte as the top rookie backs. McFadden's got a toe injury, though.

  • The Eagles looked better than Dallas on Monday night as Philly drove down the field repeatedly, and Dallas relied mostly on big plays. Dallas' defense was badly exposed.

  • Apparently Chris Cooley took coach Jim Zorn's exhortation to the players to prove their manhood a bit too literally.

Don't Jump to Conclusions

I've been reading articles and blogs saying "stick a fork in Derek Anderson," "Carson Palmer's washed up," or "Larry Johnson's toast". Maybe. And maybe not. While it makes for entertaining reading to bury a guy who's still alive and starting, it's better to stay agnostic and keep an open mind. Sure, the Chiefs look terrible, and they're spelling Johnson with Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles, but the team is likely to adapt, and we're not sure what will happen. I'd be more tempted to jump ship on Laurence Maroney or Selvin Young, because those guys didn't sign massive contracts, and neither has a history of being the man. But for proven producers who are healthy, have the job and have done it for years, don't jump to conclusions. In fact, I'd see what their owner is asking for them and try to buy low. The same goes for Braylon Edwards, Joseph Addai, Randy Moss and LaDainian Tomlinson, though I doubt the discount will be as big on those latter four.

Things to watch for in Week 3

  • Will Steve Smith be up to speed for the Panthers, and will Minnesota be able to generate a pass rush against a healthy offensive line and stop them? If not, the widely-hyped Vikings will be 0-3.

  • Jay Cutler and J.T. O'Sullivan have nowhere to go but down - except that the former is facing the Saints at home, and the latter has a home game against the Lions.

  • Will the Jaguars and the Colts have to use backup defensive tackles on the offensive line before the game's end? Will Koren Robinson or Keary Colbert get hurt, now that they're playing the most hazardous position in all of professional sports, Seattle WR?

  • Will San Diego lose on the last play of the game for the third week in a row?

Beating the Book

The Bucs covered last week, which puts us at 2-0 in this forum so far this season. We're 20-10 overall.

Cardinals +3 at Redskins

It's odd for us to take favorites two weeks in a row, but Arizona faced the 49ers in O'Sullivan's first game and then had an easy home game against the Dolphins. The Skins played the Giants to a scoreless draw in the second half and then beat the Saints. We think the Redskins are the better team, and they're only laying the obligatory home-field three. Take Washington.

Redskins 27 - 19

We were 6-10 in this forum last year, but 127-120 on the season overall. From 1999-2007 we're 1184-1018 (53.8%, not including ties).

The full article comes out on Thursday morning.

Surviving Week 3

We picked the Giants last week and sailed through pretty easily. If you haven't used them, we'd take them again this week. Our second choice would be the Pats, but we recommended them as well in Week 1, so we're down to our third choice.

It's a close call between the Chargers, Seahawks and Bills, and preliminarily, we're going with the Chargers, though we reserve to change our minds when the full article comes out on Thursday. Despite being 0-2, the Chargers haven't played poorly, losing on last second plays to two quality teams. And they would have won in Denver were it not for Ed Hochuli's bad call on Jay Cutler's fumble. The Jets look good on paper, but they were beaten easily by the Matt Cassel-led Patriots at home. We give the Chargers a 76 percent chance to win this game.

Article first appeared 9/17/08