Week one. It’s hard to imagine to what I’d feel like right now if the NFL was still suffering through the lockout. I was excited to watch the games today, was excited to get back into fantasy football, and it would have been a much different afternoon if I was just sitting around watching the Phils try to find any motivation for their game in Milwaukee.
In the days leading up to this week’s games I heard several warnings about low scores. The new kick-off rules were going to make 80-yard drives the norm. The offenses didn’t have time to get into sync, and a team with a rookie QB? Forget about it. As I write this, with 2 games still on the slate, 13 teams have already put up at least 27 points. There were countless long returns (punt and kickoff) with several going for touchdowns, and Cam Newton pretty much rewrote the 1st start record book. Of course, the worst thing you could do would be to get ahead of yourself, anoint Newton (pick Steve Smith off waivers), start betting overs, etc. But, even taking into account the fluke factor, I think we can go ahead and speak with some conviction. First, let’s cancel some seasons. (*Note, no NFC West seasons can be cancelled, because it is the NFC West).
1. Kansas City—I wish this wasn’t the case. I was trying to sound genuine there. Could you tell? I do feel for K.C. as a sports city. They’re good fans without much to get behind since Joe Montana was doing a flickering impression of himself, but I’m never going to feel too sorry for Todd Haley. The Chiefs were a surprise last year, but it’s right back to a cold dose of reality. For fantasy people, let’s just hope that they can stay within 4 scores and actually get Charles some touches.
2. Minnesota—Or maybe I should just cancel Donovan McNabb’s career? How much trouble lurks in their own division? Green Bay is a juggernaut, the Bears looked far better than I thought they would, and the Lions are on the climb. Nice extension for Adrian Peterson, but they’re going to have to figure out how to get him the ball more, and how to throw for more than 37 yards. The Chargers should have blown them off the field.
3. Indianapolis—I’m not sure how long Peyton is out, but I hear “fused” and “neck” in the same sentence and I assume it’s going to be a while. Things might get so bad on the field the Colts could say, see you in 2012, Pey-Pey. This was an absolute embarrassment. Let’s not confuse the Texans with a great team. Halfway through this I asked, “If the Colts go 0-16 could Peyton Manning win the MVP without playing a down?”
4. Cleveland—So, maybe not on Colt McCoy? McCoy is 2nd on my list of QBs who I am patiently waiting on to come crashing back down to Earth. The Browns played the Bengals. They were nearly a TD favorite. They were at home. And, it all went wrong. Again, this seems like unnecessary piling on for Cleveland, but I’m still pretty sure they haven’t found their QB. And, how about a wide receiver? Anyone?
How about we rate 5 teams that lost on the 5-star panic scale? One-star means you’re as panicky as Braves’ fans when Kimbrel comes in for a save. Three-stars means you are a Red Sox fan looking over your shoulder at Tampa Bay. And, Five-Stars means you’re with Jodie Foster in the actual Panic Room.
1-Star—Pittsburgh. There’s no way the Steelers can be that bad. Is there? Regardless, this will be written off, for now, as an anomaly in Pittsburgh.
2-Stars—Atlanta. The Falcons got throttled by the Bears, which if you read the picks post came as a big surprise to me. In the preview I said, big year for Atlanta. That, “Is Matt Ryan the new Don McNabb,” fear suddenly has some legs.
3-Stars—New York Giants. I find Giants fans are split into two groups. Some are your typical die-hards that expect the Giants to be great every year. The others are also die-hards, but seem more pessimistic than your usual fan base. Again, this is just my observation. But, after that game against a mediocre Washington team, it could be a long year in NY.
4-Stars—St. Louis. Couple prongs here, first being that I imagine most St. Louis fans assumed they were going to take the NFC West. Add that to Sam Bradford’s shaky day and St. Louis’ staggering incompetence at the receiver position and you have to wonder if there is any improvement from 7-9 to be had.
5-Stars—Dallas. Dallas fans seem a bit prone to panic, I think. Because unlike the Giants fans I mentioned, the Cowboys contingent always think they’re headed to a Super Bowl. Losing to the Jets isn’t a disaster, but it was the manner of the loss. The inability to close, the epic Romo errors. Familiar? The Jets should have been dead, but when you’re playing Romo, there’s always a chance.
How about some deep breaths, let’s slow the enthusiasm on the following. As an aside, was I only one who was disappointed that Bart Scott didn’t say he was from, “Can’t Wait University?”
1. Cam Newton. The Cardinals game might be his softest spot all year, especially considering I assume the Cardinals thought the Panthers would just pound the ball on the ground all day.
2. Randall Cobb. Cobb has now been compared to DeSean Jackson 1.5 million times in the last 4 days. I picked Cobb up in fantasy for a hot minute, but then read he was on the field for only 7 offensive plays. We’re going to have to be patient here, especially with Green Bay’s deep receiving corps.
3. Rex Grossman. When you are the homeless man’s Jay Cutler, that’s what you’ll always be. Rex addressed “his haters,” on the field after the game, so I just want to make sure that population is still burgeoning.
4. Mike Vick. Vick really is like having two players in one. He ran for 98 yards Sunday, and the Eagles exploited a sloppy Rams team, but you’ve still got to have some concerns. First, because he was 14/32 passing, but also because the Eagles offensive line does seem to be a joke.
And, I’ll close with my, “I can’t Believe I didn’t take him in Fantasy Top-5.”
1. Dez Bryant—LeBron playing wide out?
2. Mike Tolbert—Not 3 TDs a week, but I bet he scores 15 this year.
3. Steve Smith—Wasn’t he worth a flier? The answer is yes, especially considering I took Roy Williams
4. Ben Tate—My poor man’s version, Derrick Ward, was kind of bleh and turned an ankle in week one, likely benched in week 2.
5. A.J. Green—Only 1 catch, but for 41 yards! I love WRs with upside.