NFL Real Talk: Week Two

He’s about to pinch off a Big Ben.
Photo Credit: Steel City Hobbies

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That’s NFL Real Talk.

More after the jump:

Ben Roethlisberger threw two ugly picks and fumbled the ball twice in his season debut. He also got roughed up by the Ravens, which is ironic considering… well, you know (I’ll give you a hint, it starts with an “R,” and ends with “ape accusation”). In all seriousness, Big Ben is someone who might be more trouble than they are worth. His already weak offensive line will be without right tackle Willie Colon for the rest of the season and the Steelers receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired after Mike Wallace. Roethlisberger is also a pretty big injury risk considering his health history, porous O-line, and penchant for holding onto the football too long. There’s no denying that Roethlisberger will have his big games and he’s honestly been a pretty underrated fantasy QB the last couple of years. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh’s line and the injury risk factor make Big Ben a player you should try to move.

Just because Hakeem Nicks might be out for Week Two doesn’t mean that Mario Manningham gets a huge fantasy boost. All that attention Nicks normally gets allows Manningham to get in ideal single coverage situations where he can make plays. Without Nicks, Manningham becomes the chief receiving target of opposing defenses. Sure he’ll see more passes, but his damage per touch will be compromised if Nicks misses a significant amount of time.

Why people continue to believe Matt Ryan is on the cusp of fantasy superstardom is beyond me. He threw for over 300 yards, but had no TDs, a pick, and was sacked five times. After all the hype of a more explosive Falcons passing attack, the team played it pretty safe (even with 47 pass attempts). To be fair, the Bears defense played very well. Even so, fantasy owners expecting Ryan to catapult to the upper echelon of fantasy QBs are in for a rude awakening so powerful even “Ravishing” Rick will marvel in awe.

Anquan Boldin and Joe Flacco got off to good starts, but don’t be fooled. Flacco is still leading a run-first offense and, though obviously talented, is limited in Baltimore. Boldin? He remains a low-end WR2/ideal WR3. I love how people said Lee Evans would be a boost to both of their values. For some reason, Lee Evans was getting confused with someone who is actually a reliable field stretcher and a deep threat opposing Ds are afraid of. This is still the same ole’ Ravens offense and the Boldin/Flacco connection is simply “aight.”

Jordy Nelson looked like a potential breakout star last Thursday, but looks can be deceiving. As good as Nelson’s day was (six catches, eight targets, 77 yards, TD), we have to realize that the Saint’s defense was abysmal. I still firmly believe that Nelson can be the no. 2 WR (and no. 3 target) on Green Bay, but because Rodgers spreads it around more than Jenna Jameson, he will not be a consistent option. While there is obvious upside here, Nelson makes more sense as a sell-high candidate. While we’re on the topic of GB players worth selling high on, please go ahead and bid adieu to Randall Cobb. He’s dynamic as hell, but the touches just will not be there to justify ownership in a 12-team standard PPR league.

If you want to make Rex Grossman your backup QB, be my guest. Me? I’d probably have another backup to go along with Rex because at any moment, he can fumble away his NFL career.

Even though most of Reggie Wayne’s production came in garbage time (six catches, 105 yards, TD) it was still encouraging that he saw 11 targets from Kerry Collins. Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon? Not so encouraging. Collie owners in particular are in for a rough season. He required being taken as a top 30-35 WR in most leagues, and dude was only on the field for 33 of the Colts’ 57 snaps. Couple in the fact that he’s one concussion away from Terri Schiavo territory, and he’s got bust written all over him. Garcon was on the field all day, but with Collins under center, a history of drop issues, and questionable route-running, there’s not much to get excited about. I wouldn’t blame any fantasy owner for cutting ties with both Collie and Garcon in 12-team leagues.

Your boy owns Kenny Britt in virtually all the leagues he’s in, and Sunday is a perfect example of why I’m so high on him. When the ball is in his hands, great things happen. Though he only caught five of the 10 passes thrown his way, Britt totaled 136 yards and two TDs (almost all of it in the second half as Matt Hasselbeck began feeding him the ball). As the season wears on and Hasselbeck becomes more comfortable in the Titans offense, expect the rapport between he and Britt to grow.

Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker were both avoided by many fantasy owners on draft/auction day. Marshall for his drama issues, Welker for… well, I guess people thought Chad Ochocinco and New England’s TEs were due to take a lot of attention away from the tiny warrior. Both Welker and Marshall were heavily targeted and each of them look like top 16 WRs, which is conveniently where I had both ranked.

Speaking of Ocho, he’s already looking like someone who should get cut in 12-team fantasy leagues. Shit, with his annoying shenanigans, he should get cut period, be it from a shank or otherwise.

Sure Tony Romo lost it at the end with a bad interception and fumble, but when you throw for 352 yards on the road against a defense as good as the Rex Ryan’s, that’s pretty damn great. I had Romo ranked ahead of Tom Brady on my QB rankings and while Brady’s 500-plus yard effort has him out in front, Romo should comfortably finish as one of the elite QBs in fantasy football. In fact, he’s so good and this offense is so dynamic, I’m expecting huge seasons from Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant. Normally the “too many mouths to feed” theory limits receiving options, but all three stars should get theirs in an offense primed to put up diesel numbers.

I decided to hail a cab as the Felix Jones bandwagon flew past me this preseason, but it’s admittedly good to see that he’s at least getting GL reps. We’ll have to see if his body can handle the rigors of being a feature NFL back, but the Cowboys seem intent on giving him the opportunity to prove them right.

Julio Jones certainly looks like he could be a thorn in the side of Roddy White’s fantasy value. Though White had 13 targets, keep in mind that Ryan threw the ball 47 times. Jones was effective with his touches, showing some of the athletic ability we’ve all heard so much about. White is still a clear cut WR1, but don’t expect him to be a serious contender for top fantasy player at the position.

God Broncos fans are dumb. Yeah Kyle Orton didn’t have his sharpest game, but he still threw for over 300 yards and can still spread the ball around. Why Tim Tebow gets his name chanted when he was the fourth best QB in Denver during training camp is beyond me. If only his mom had aborted him, then we wouldn’t have to worry about this mess.

Wait, a Seahawks TE is rendered useless in fantasy because he has to help out and block on a terrible offensive line? Welcome to Seattle Zach Miller. And fantasy owners, welcome to John Carlson 2.0.

Prior to Week One, Jared Cook looked like a TE on the brink of a breakout. He’s got tremendous talent and Tennessee plans to give him some snaps at wideout. Unfortunately, he saw just two targets on Sunday. You have to hold onto Cook for the time being because of the outrageous upside, but if Hasselbeck isn’t looking his way, there’s not much he can do. Put him on the bench for Week Two and hope the Titans pay more attention to Cook soon.

Speaking of two-target TEs, what’s good with Owen Daniels? He was supposed to be “back” after being further removed knee surgery. While he didn’t look as slow as he did early last year, it’s pretty disconcerting that a guy who people talk up as a “favorite” of QB Matt Schaub is barely getting thrown to out of the gate.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well Marques Colston’s fantasy career is worth one: disappointing.

Ed “I Don’t Suck Any” Dickson is worth a flierif you are looking for a TE. He caught all five passes Flacco threw to him and has the skill set to put up very good fantasy numbers if given enough targets. Problem is, his blocking in pass protection leaves a lot to be desired and he’s splitting time with Dennis Pitta. If Dickson were to get consistent targets, he’d be a very intriguing fantasy option, even at a position as deep as TE.

Jermaine Gresham looked good against the Browns, but don’t get too excited yet. Like Dickson, he’s still very raw in a lot of facets of his game (route-running, blocking, etc.) so it remains to be seen how he will be used in the Bengals game plan. That said, if the team  sends him out consistently as a receiver for Andy Dalton (who looked very comfortable with Gresham), he could definitely be a TE1.

Regardless of what you think about Cam Newton, the bottom line is that he’s good for Steve Smith. Newton targeted Smith 11 times against the Cardinals. The pair took advantage of a weak Arizona defense (eight catches, 178 yards, two TDs), but Smith still looks like a Starbone-licious WR2 (pause) this season if the targets are there.

Fellow SoR contributor Jesse Potes pointed out Doug Baldwin as a deep sleeper, noting that Tavaris Jackson’s ineptitude downfield should lead to a lot of short passes to slot man Baldwin. With his speed, he can turn an otherwise dead play into a biggie. Yeah the Seattle offense sucks, but Baldwin is worth paying attention to in case he has another good game in Week Two.

Me and Million Dollar Sleeper liked Mark Sanchez as a backup QB coming into the season, but that doesn’t mean I believe he’s breaking out. Yes he threw for over 300 yards and the acquisition of Plaxico Burress should help him out immensely in the red zone, but the Jets only threw the ball 44 times because they were playing from behind for most of the game and had to combat the heavy blitzing of the Cowboys. Sanchez will still be a solid QB, but this is a run-first team to the fullest and Sanchez is no better than a platoon fantasy signal-caller.

Speaking of Plaxico, it’s looking like he’s a lock to score at least eight TDs (health permitting). The Jets have been lacking a big target like him in the end zone for a while and he will make Sanchez’s job a whole lot easier since all he has to do is put it high in the air for Burress to do work.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.