Friday, September 10, 2010

Playmakers and Benchwarmers - Week 1 Monday Night Madness

Well week 1 of the NFL season is officially underway. Let’s take a quick look at my predictions for the season opener between the Saints and the Vikings before I jump into the Monday Night Football doubleheader.

I singled out 4 individuals for Thursday nights game. For those of you that played Berrian, unfortunately I only batted .750 for this game and he was my miss. I nailed Shiancoe 100% and he would have had an even more monstrous night if the Saints hadn’t made the adjustments to fix the hole in their coverage. I’ll admit after the first half my P. Thomas prediction was looking grim, but the Saints changed their tune in the 2nd half and Thomas paid off as a solid RB2.

Now onto the Monday night matchups –

New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens


There has been A LOT of trash talking going on with these two teams. You would think this was a matchup of teams that were 12-4 or better last season and not a couple of 9-7 playoff squeakers. Both of these teams have tremendous defenses so I don’t think it’s too much of a risk to say both defenses will shine.

Playmakers :

Joe Flacco – QB – BAL – Look for Flacco to have an outstanding year this season. It’s obvious the management in Baltimore knew if they wanted their young QB to continue to grow, they needed to add offensive weapons around him. Flacco already shares the offensive backfield with one of the most dynamic backs in the NFL in Ray Rice but his WR corps needed a lot of improvement. What happens this off season? They go out and get Anquan Boldin and then this week they sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Derrick Mason is an average WR at best at this point in his career so I am sure Joe is smiling ear to ear with Anquan and T.J. split out wide. I know all about Revis island, but Revis can’t cover the whole field and I personally think we will see some erosion on Revis Island early in the season.

Projection – 225 Yards passing and 2 TDs

Play them if you don’t have a better option:

Todd Heap - TE – BAL – Heap is no longer a top TE in the NFL and really hasn’t been since 2006. However, last season Flacco and Heap made quite the connection which allowed Heap to catch 50 some passes and 6 TDs. He isn’t the best play as far as fantasy TEs go, but if he is on your team and you need a W/T or are in a 2 TE league, put him in the lineup.

Projection – 4 rec. – 45 yards - 1 TD

Shonn Greene – RB – NYJ – Greene is the #1 back in the Jets system this season. Thomas Jones is gone and will be playing in the late game tonight so that puts Greene in the spotlight in this game. However, take his status with a grain of salt especially for this game. Baltimore is a top 5 rushing defense so keep that in mind when deciding on your RBs this week. The other thing to keep in mind, the Jets are a committee rushing team, so expect Tomlinson to steal some carries on a weekly basis.

Projection – 17 Carries – 93 yards – 1 TD – 3 Rec. – 22 yards

Bench Them :

Willis McGahee – RB – BAL - Let me just put it this way, and hopefully this is clear and concise. DO NOT EXPECT ANOTHER 15 TDs from McGahee in 2010. Ray Rice is coming into his own as a STUD RB in the NFL. I expect Rice to get closer to 300 touches this season and those touches will come out of McGahee’s pocket.

Projection – 6 Carries – 34 yards – 0 TDs – 1 Rec. – 7 yards

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers


On paper this looks to be an easier starting game for San Diego, but the Bolts better be careful going to K.C.  The Chiefs have added alot of offensive weapons and will be looking to make some noise in the AFC West.

Playmakers :

Jamaal Charles - RB - KC - I understand the starting RB might be Thomas Jones. But the simple and easy fact is Charles is a complete game breaker. San Diego allowed over 115 yards rushing a game a year ago, so look for Todd Haley to take to the ground with his version of the 2 headed monster but look for Charles to be the big play guy while T.J. wears down the Bolts.

Projection - 19 Carries - 121 yards - 1 TD - 4 Rec. - 41 yards

Antonio Gates - TE - SD - Phillip Rivers is still one of the 10 best QBs in the NFL. He'll continue to be that this season. So what is a QB to do when his #1 WR isn't in the game? Easy, turn to the big play making TE, Antonio Gates. The Chiefs aren't known for their defense so look for Rivers (I have him as my #5 QB to start this week thus why I am leaving him off these projections as he is a MUST start )and company to have a big game through the air and his #1 target this week (and many others I presume) will be Gates.

Projection - 7 Rec. - 98 yards - 1 TD

Play them if you don’t have a better option:

Legedu Naanee / Malcolm Floyd - WR - SD - Again we focus on the Chargers passing attack. Now I do think coach Turner will want to establish the run with the rookie Matthews, but Rivers is going to get his yards through the air as well. The question is, other than Gates, who will get the touches? Floyd has shown that he has the skills to fill in as #1 WR but does he have River's trust as the #1 option? There will be balls to go around, but keep in mind, Gates will get his, as will Sproles out of the backfield on third downs so keep the expectations low. For Floyd think high WR2 and Naanee think low WR3 / W/T.

Projections - Floyd - 4 Rec. - 71 yards - 1 TD ; Naanee - 3 Rec. - 41 yards - 0 TD

Bench them :

Matt Cassel - QB - KC - There are so many questions around Cassel. He has a flurry of weapons around him in the KC offense now with the likes of Charles and Jones in the backfield and Bowe and newcomer McCluster at WR. However, he is still Matt Cassel. I am a firm believer that the season he had in New England was a fluke based more on the system and other players around him rather than his talent. Last season was what he can really do. He is an average NFL QB. Problem is, that puts him ranked around 15 or so amongst QBs. So unless you are in a 16 or 20 team league, I would hope you have better options than Cassel. Save him for your bye week.

Projection - 187 yards passing- 1 TD - 2 INTs - 1 lost Fumble - Sacked 3 times

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