Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 4: Good calls, bad calls

I’ve had my moments this year, both good and bad, with my fantasy football predictions. Week 4 was filled with good calls, including a ridiculously close prediction involving Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski. However, the week wasn’t without its misses. A certain RB in Seattle let me down again and now he’s second string to a guy who was in his wedding. It’s all covered in this week’s ‘good calls, bad calls’.

Bad Calls:

Justin Forsett – RB Seattle
Week 4 was the perfect opportunity for Forsett to solidify his status as Seattle’s top RB. Instead, he ran for just 65 yards on 19 carries. While Forsett didn’t appear in this week’s column, I have predicted big things from him in recent posts and on Twitter. I was clearly wrong because the Seahawks went and traded for Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, who was a groomsman in Forsett’s wedding, will now take over the starting role. Forsett meanwhile, will now go from feature back to 3-5 carries a game. It was clear Sunday against the St. Louis Rams that Seattle needed a more physical RB. They got it now in Lynch and he should be a good starting option in most leagues.

Malcom Floyd – WR San Diego
I expected a big game from Floyd against the Arizona Cardinals. However, it turns out the Chargers didn’t need him. He caught two balls for 45 yards and San Diego still won 41-10. Antonio Gates, the running game and San Diego’s defense were the reasons for the big win. I will take credit for recognizing that the Chargers would have an offensive explosion against the Cardinals, but I guess anyone could have seen that coming.

Mike Tolbert / Ryan Mathews – RBs San Diego
I would have bet you that Ryan Mathews would get more carries than Tolbert against Arizona. And I would have lost. Tolbert nearly doubled the number of Mathews’ carries (16 vs. 9) and it showed up in the stats. Tolbert ended with 100 yards rushing and a TD, while Mathews finished with 55 yard and a score. On Twitter, I recommended fantasy football owners sit Tolbert in week 4 with Mathews back returning. Hopefully on this occasion you didn’t listen.

Good Calls:

Bruce Gradkowski - QB Oakland
I’m sure my Gradkowski call had some people checking the time stamp of the blog post. I proclaimed Gradkowski a solid fantasy football starting QB in week 4, going so far as to recommend benching Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning and Kyle Orton in favor of Gradkowski. It turns out the Raiders QB was better than McNabb and Manning, and almost as good as Orton. Also in the article, I said Gradkowski would throw for 275+ yards and 2 TDs – he ended with 278 yards and 2 TDs. Now, even though Gradkowski didn’t out-perform Orton, that’s still a pretty darn good call.

Brandon Lloyd – WR Denver
My prediction that Lloyd would lead the current quartet of Denver WRs in receiving yards this season took another step towards reality on Sunday. Lloyd’s ability to stretch the field for the Broncos has made him the most valuable WR on their roster. Lloyd finished week 4 with 11 catches for 115 yards against a very good Tennessee Titians defense. Lloyd has three 100-yard games and leads the NFL in receiving yards with 454. We should learn a lot about Lloyd and the Broncos passing game when they face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, followed by the NY Jets in week 6.

Greg Jennings – WR Green Bay
The Packers looked to be cruising along Sunday against the Detroit Lions, with 3 first half TD tosses by QB Aaron Rodgers. One of those TD passes ended up in the hands Jennings, but that was about it. Jennings is a frustrating WR for fantasy football owners. His 2 catches for 25 yards are not what you want to see from a WR1. It’s not just the lack of catches by Jennings (12 recs.) that’s concerning, it’s the lack of targets. Through 4 games, Jennings has 26 targets, nearly half as many as WR Roddy White (50 targets). With that said, as long as Jennings keeps scoring TDs, the yards aren’t as critical and fantasy football owners will be happy.

Jahvid Best/Matt Forte
Both RBs were non-factors in their games on Sunday. You have likely seen the best of Best and Forte in the first three weeks of the season. Both the Lions and Bears have disastrous OLs and that is having an impact on Best and Forte’s numbers. Sell both these guys if you can find a buyer. (BTW-Todd Collins is starting in place of Jay Cutler on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Forte will find it even more difficult to run against the Panthers defense).

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