Fantasy Insights and Stray Observations from The NFL’s Kickoff Weekend 2010

Arian Foster and ADP

Arian Foster photo credit: Icon SMI

By: Andrew Thell

Arian Foster’s massive showing was the fantasy story of Week One. The man broke out for 231 yards and 3 TDs on 33 carries (7.0 YPC). You can read hyperbole about the performance on any other site, but I’m more interested in the lesson we can take from this going forward. That lesson for me is to never get too caught up in average draft position or “round value” for any player. I loved Arian Foster going into drafts this year, and so did just about everybody else I talked too. It didn’t take a genius to see his situation was ideal. And like just about everybody else, for some reason I got it in my head that Foster was a fourth-round value because in mocks all summer I was able to nab him in the fourth or later, and as a result I didn’t get him in several of my “real” drafts.

If I was playing against the chuckleheads you see in mocks drafts maybe I would have gotten him in the fourth on my real teams too, but I’m not playing against them, I’m playing in competitive leagues against other owners who know their shit and he went a few picks before me in the third in almost every draft. If I really wanted Foster, and I did, I should have been willing to do what it took to get him – take him in the first or second round where the other workhorse backs on good offenses were going. You might have gotten some “reach” criticism on draft day, but nobody would be questioning the move today. Next year make an effort to forget about ADP and draft value and draft the players you want and you believe in.

– Depth on a fantasy football squad is like toilet paper: you can never have too much. In the next five months you’re going to use it, and when disaster (i.e. injury, the zombie apocalypse) strikes it can always be bartered for something you need.

– Philip Rivers clearly looked comfortable throwing to Legedu Naanee early and often. That’s a promising sign for the big (6’2”, 220 lbs.), talented receiver who could emerge as the biggest beneficiary of the Vincent Jackson holdout. He finished with a team-high 5 receptions, 110 yards and 1 TD. Is there a reason Naanee can’t emerge as the top wideout here, outside of Antonio Gates? We all assumed it will be Floyd because of his experience, but that’s far from set in stone. Floyd isn’t exactly known for his route-running or hands. In any event, between Naanee, Floyd and Gates, I’m not sure the Chargers are going to miss V-Jax all that much in the long run.

– Did Trent Dilfer call Mike Vrabel a “saucy” veteran prior to the last play in the Chiefs-Chargers game? I’ve always found Vrabel quite saucy myself, but I thought I was the only one.

– What a shitshow in New York on Monday night. Ugly, ugly football. I love Rex “Dress Sweats” Ryan, but after putting himself and his team out there all offseason Ryan and the Jets deserve a lot of criticism for that performance. Poor execution, terrible discipline. We saw a lot of good things on Hard Knocks, but I came away thinking Brian Schottenheimer was the weak link in the coaching staff and Mark Sanchez was the Achilles’ Heel of this extremely talented team. I’m even more convinced today as the QB and the gameplan came up woefully short against a Ravens secondary that is no longer an above-average unit. Maybe Sanchez will be a good player someday, but I don’t think he’s NFL-starter caliber yet. And I know Shonn Greene had two disconcerting fumbles in the first half, but I do not agree with benching the guy Ryan tabbed as their “bell cow” back so soon. Tomlinson acquitted himself well, but he’ll break down if he continues to see that kind of workload and I firmly believe Greene gives the Jets the best chance to break big plays and win games. I’m not panicking on Greene yet, but as somebody who is heavily invested I am very concerned.

– On the other side I loved what I saw from Joe Flacco and his new toy Anquan Boldin. Flacco shredded the Jets nickel defense on third down (11-19 conversions as a team). He took some shots, including a brutal hit on the first snap that led to a fumble, but Flacco stood his ground and delivered, often to Boldin, who finished with an extremely solid 7 receptions for 110 yards. Boldin showed off his trademark hands, toughness and ability to work in traffic. The Ravens managed just 10 points against a stout, albiet mistake-prone, Jets D, but this offense has cemented itself as a throwing team and better days are ahead.

More analysis of Week One of 2010 after the jump …

Brett Favre had as bad a performance as we’ve seen him put up in a purple uniform. Or did he? It’s easy to forget after #4 posted the finest statistical season of his career, but 2009 started almost the exact same way for Favre. Expectations were lower as Favre was being drafted as a low-end QB2 or not drafted at all in some leagues, but in Week One 2009 he posted a meager 110 yards with 1 TD – and that was against the Browns. Skipping the offseason will have an effect on timing and chemistry in the passing game, so let’s not be too quick to write off the Vikes passing attack.

That said, the Minnesota wideouts played about as bad as any group in the NFL on Thursday. Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian were particularly bad, with Harvin failing to run out two crucial routes that could have been big plays and Berrian committing multiple drops. Berrian is a bum, a fast bum, and he’ll always be hit-or-miss. But Harvin has elite talent and once he gets on the same page with Favre he could be the NFL’s breakout WR of the year. Smart owners are holding steady on Percy, but it couldn’t hurt to float some offers. Also add Greg Camarillo to your watch list, and maybe to your roster in deeper leagues. Camarillo’s sure hands (0 drops in 2009) and professionalism figure to earn him a bigger role in this offense as the season wears on. Favre is going to go with the guys he can trust, and Camarillo may not be great but he is reliable.

C.J. Spiller and the Buffalo offense looked about as bad as imaginable in Week One as the rookie posted a pitiful 7 carries for 6 yards and 4 receptions for 8 more yards (1.3 yards per touch). Spiller is talented, but that Bills offense drove his draft stock into the fifth or sixth round in most leagues. Talent can overcome a bad supporting cast though, just ask Steven Jackson, so there might still be value here. Buying low and selling high is the name of the game, but as with Harvin, you’re not going to convince too many savvy owners to sell low on Spiller one week into the season. Your better bet might be to wait until next week’s brutal matchup at Green Bay and then pounce.

Carson Palmer put up numbers on Sunday (34-50, 345 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), but let’s keep in mind it was playing from behind against a slow and old Pats D devoid of playmakers and playing in a soft shell D all game. I’m still not sold.

– How about Mike Tolbert, eh? Fun player to watch. Shades of Natrone Means.

– Get used to seeing those commercials, NFL fans. Embrace them. Learn to love them. You’re going to see each of them about 300 more times over the next five months.

Hakeem Nicks breakout game against the Panthers (4 receptions, 75 yards, 3 TDs) may have come on just 8 targets, but it was no fluke. Steve Smith might be Eli Manning’s go-to guy between the 20s and likely to lead the Giants in targets and receptions, but Nicks will be the Giants receiver to lead the team in fantasy points. Smith is an afterthought in the red zone, Nicks is a primary target. Nicks is no burner, but he’s big, he’s athletic and he’s got great hands.

– I didn’t expect such a dismal performance from Kevin Kolb, but I didn’t expect the big things a lot of people were forecasting either. The projections kind of confused me. Sure, he could have a decent year, but what exactly were people basing that on? I certainly hadn’t seen enough to be convinced. Suffice it to say my opinion hasn’t changed.

– I was higher on Roddy White going into this season than most. I went so far as to take him with the 16th-overall pick in the ETB league, which raised a few eyebrows. My confidence came from a belief in his talent, a favorable outlook for Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense, and a fondness for Atlanta’s friendly fantasy schedule. In 2009 White started slow and dealt with injuries and growing pains from his young QB and still managed 85 receptions for 1,153 yards and 11 TDs. If he stays healthy this year I see that as a floor for 2010. Sunday was a good start: 13 receptions for 111 yards in a tough matchup in Pittsburgh.

– Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending Now

To Top