Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football: Tuesday Takeaways

Every Tuesday The Source takes a look back at the weekend (and Monday night) that was in the NFL. Here are The Source's ten takeaways from week one.

1) Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton was spectacular in his debut, throwing for 422 yards and 3 TDs (2 passings, 1 rushing). But before we anoint him the next John Elway, let's see how he does against the Green Bay Packers this week. Fantasy impact: Unless you drafted Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning, David Garrard or Tarvaris Jackson - keep Newton on your radar, but don't move on him yet. Also, WR Steve Smith worked very well with Newton. Keep him in your line-up as a starting WR.

2) The Indianapolis Colts will be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes come April 2012. Fantasy impact: With QB Peyton Manning likely done for a significant amount of time this season, the only Colts player with any kind of fantasy value each week is WR Reggie Wayne.

3) Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will finish one-two in the MVP voting this season. The order still to be determined. Fantasy impact: If you drafted one of these guys, you're good. As for their offensive teammates, there are studs and duds. Studs: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, James Starks, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Duds: James Jones, Ryan Grant and Chad Ochocinco.

4) Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson got a nice payday, but it was Titans WR Kenny Britt who was money on Sunday. Britt's 5 catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs sure got my attention, especially considering Britt's offseason included an arrest for alluding police. Fantasy impact: As long as Britt can stay healthy (and out of trouble), he has the talent to be a WR1. As for Johnson, his 9 carries for 24 yards were about as uninspiring as possible. He'll get better, but be ready for more days like this from him.

5) My pick to be this year's "Arian Foster breakout fantasy star" Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB LeGarrette Blount, finished a frustrating day with just 15 yards rushing on five carries. Good news: Tampa Bay was facing a good Detroit front-seven, plus, the Bucs vows to get Blount more involved in week two against the Minnesota Vikings. Fantasy impact: I'm still buying Blount as a strong fantasy performer this year. However, Tampa Bay looks like a team that could take a step back this season. My high hopes for Blount have been tempered a little.

6) Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco looks like the real deal this year. He torched the Pittsburgh Steelers defense for three touchdown passes in a 35-7 blowout on Sunday. Fantasy impact: Flacco only threw the ball 29 times, but he's really good when he gets deep in opponents territory. Ravens RB Ray Rice looks like the front-runner for fantasy MVP and WR Anquan Boldin appears poised for a bounce-back season. Also, in leagues that require tight ends, take a look at Raven TE Ed Dickson (5 catches for 59 yards and 1 TD).

7) The St. Louis Rams offense is going to be a work in progress for much of the season. Josh McDaniels complex offense looked to baffle Rams QB Sam Bradford at times on Sunday in their 31-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Making things worse, the Rams schedule gets extremely difficult the next several weeks and now a handful of players are banged up. Bradford (finger), RB Steven Jackson (quad) and Danny Amendola (elbow) all suffered injuries. Fantasy Impact: I cannot recommend starting Bradford this week against the New York Giants on Monday night (Bradford my be droppable even). As for Jackson, he's likely out this week and will be replaced by RB Cadillac Williams. Williams ran well (and caught well) in relief of Jackson, pick-up Williams if you're desperate for a RB this week. I don't recommend starting any of the Rams WRs in week two.

8) The San Diego Chargers may have the best running back duo in the league. The Ryan Mathews/Mike Tolbert combo had its way with the Minnesota Vikings defense, combining for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns (all by Tolbert). Fantasy impact: Mathews will frustrate fantasy owners all season, but keep him in your line-up for now (preferably as a flex player). You know the minute you give up on him, he'll have a huge game. As for Tolbert, keep him in your starting line-up. He's a solid RB2.

9) The Atlanta Falcons gave up virtually their entire 2011 draft class to draft WR Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick. The move didn't yield much success in week one, in fact the Falcons offense looked like a mess. Sure QB Matt Ryan threw for 319 yards, but he also had zero TDs and failed to lead the Falcons on a single touchdown drive. Fantasy impact: Ryan's performance on Sunday concerned me, he looked uncomfortable, very un-Matty Ice-like. I still like the Falcons offense, but the 30 TDs I predicted for Ryan this year looks a long way off. Don't panic yet, but if the Falcons offense sputters again (I'm looking at you Roddy White, Jones and Michael Turner) this week, it's okay to be nervous.

10) I wrestled with this question last year, and I find myself doing the same this year, should I pick-up Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? I regretted not doing it last season, so this year I'm getting in the Fitzpatrick game. Fitzpatrick torched the Kansas City Chiefs for four TDs on Sunday and looked like a guy who's ready to overachieve again this season. Fantasy impact: Fitzpatrick is like Rodney Dangerfield, he gets no respect. But after 23 TDs in 13 games last year, Fitzpatrick is worthy of consideration. If you need a QB2, take a long look at Fitzpatrick. Yes he has a tough schedule and no he doesn't have a running game, but he throws TDs. Now serious am I? I'm dropping Sam Bradford as my QB2 and adding Fitzpatrick.

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