“Words of Ingram” 21: Top QB and TE Plays Week 2
Oh week 1, what a fickle and cruel mistress you are. The first week of the NFL season wasn’t kind to a multitude of favorites in the fantasy world. Big name QB’s such as Aaron Rodgers , RG3, Tom Brady and Tony Romo had absolutely terrible weeks. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to mention Romo and Rodgers without also giving credit to the defenses they played against (SF and Sea respectively), however we’ve always been trained to start our studs in week 1 as long as they’re healthy. I understand that some will argue with that logic, however we generally will roll with the elites. Instead of the superstars mentioned above, we saw exceptional performances from Jake Locker, Derek Anderson and Chad Henne.
At the tight end position, we had a few let down’s as well. Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron and Ladarius Green all left their owners wondering why their star players did not show up. I understand that it’s hard to complain about 8 points from a tight end, however when you’re drafting Jimmy Graham in the top 10 or top 15, you’re expecting a bit more. Cameron was expected to have a huge day, but he re-aggravated a shoulder injury and road the pine for the majority of the game. Green was poised to be the breakout star, because, Antonio Gates is old and useless. We saw Julius Thomas owners everywhere channeling their inner “Nintendo 64 kid” as he caught 7 of 8 for 104 yards and 3 touchdowns. Good lord Peyton, spread the ball around! Zach Ertz quickly silenced any critics by producing 3 of 4, 77 yards and a touchdown. Lest we fail to mention the underdog players, a healthy Dwayne Allen showed some upside and Larry Donnell (did anyone talk about this guy ever) had a fine day for the NYG by scoring 11 fantasy points.
What I would like to do, is to say this, “Relax. Take a break. ” We’re working with a very small sample size, and one of the biggest fantasy “no-no’s” to abandon hope early. The studs will be studs, there will always be a few breakout players, and you should anticipate a few rough games here or there. There were plenty of players at each position who just seemed to miss the boat, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to drop a star who had a rough week. For example, I saw one player drop Jordan Cameron! Woa crazy, crazy (Nate Ravitz).
It’s a little easier to not overreact when discussing the TE and QB positions. Let’s be real here, we’re not going to drop Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron or Kyle Rudolph for not scoring touchdowns. We will still start these players until they go on IR or have a major injury, and even then we’ll most assuredly use an IR spot. The QB position is mostly the same as TE. We’re not going to drop our elite guys, we’re going to continue playing match-up if we went mid-tier QB’s, and we’re going to keep streaming if that was our strategy. Which, speaking of, that’s a strategy I wish I would have tried in one of my leagues. For those who don’t know, “streaming QB’s” is a strategy that has the most success in smaller leagues, as you’re essentially playing the QB with the hot hand. You’ll take a QB in one of the last two rounds (because kicker is last) and then each week grab a guy off waivers. The assumption is that QB is deep enough that you’ll always be able to grab a value player off waivers while having a very strong remainder of your team. I can’t honestly speak on the success of such strategy, as I’ve never employed it, but it does seem like a lot of fun.
I digress as always. I want people to step off any possible ledge when it comes to your quarterback and tight end. Remember, it’s only been one week and, as stated above, players are ranked highly for a reason. What’s that old saying, “A season one game doesn’t make.”
With the monologue out-of-the-way, let’s dive into five great QB’s and five great TE’s for week 2.
Jake Locker – Yes, I am jumping on the Jake Locker bandwagon (and look at that dudes arms). In the off-season, there was a healthy amount of ballyhoo (ya like that one?) in regards to Mr. Locker. He’s always been a fine QB, but notoriously fragile. I, myself, even bagged on Locker in my pre-season rankings and ranked him as QB29. To make my proclamation even more embarrassing, I had Matt Schaub ranked higher than Locker. Yes, you read that correctly and please don’t close this article immediately on principal. It was the pre-pre-season! Anyway, my assessment of Locker couldn’t have been more incorrect, as he made a very strong statement in week 1 by finishing 6th in fantasy points. The Titans have a very dynamic set of receivers in Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Nate Washington. I, to be honest, don’t believe in Dexter McCluster too much YET, and need to see what he’s doing in 4 weeks. We do know the team was fairly soft running the ball, so I would anticipate plenty of Jake. I absolutely love the home match-up against a Dallas defense that wasn’t terrible in week 1, but still unimpressive. This is one pick that I could regret, but for now, I’m liking Locker as a value play in week 2.
Projection – 301 yards, 2 TD
Carson Palmer – People don’t’ seem to talk about it, but in the final few weeks of the 2013 season, Palmer was one of the best quarterbacks in all of fantasy football. He came into the 2014 season with low expectations, but a very high ceiling. The Bruce Arians offense is going to throw the ball a lot, and Palmer will benefit from having two incredible wide receivers (Fitz and Floyd) catching anything thrown in their vicinity. Palmer looked really accurate against a very respectable San Diego defense, and Michael Floyd exploded for a great game. What’s troubling was the under utilization of Larry Fitzgerald, as he only saw 4 balls thrown his way and only caught 1 for 22 yards). I love the match-up this week against a terrible NYG defense, and see Palmer comfortably entering the top 10. This is a great match-up, and again continues to show the depth at the QB position in 2014. In fact, I like all players on the Cardinals offense this week. They are must play at all positions, and Fitz will have a really great week. Also, is Carson Palmer worth considering in the HoF?
Projection – 345 yards, 3 TD
Matt Ryan – Why Matt Ryan was disrespected so much going into the 2014 season, I’ll never understand. This is a quarterback who has regularly put up near elite numbers, and that was with a multitude of injured players. Now, you’re see what Matty Ice can do with a healthy set of weapons and a solid offensive line. Playing at home against the division rival surely gave him a little boost, but ultimately it was ability and health that allowed him to finish the week as the top fantasy QB. Simply put, Matt Ryan looked elite against a highly touted Saints defense. Roddy White, Julio Jones and Devin Hester (sleeper?) had big weeks; and I don’t expect to see any change when they head to Cincinnati for their Sunday match-up. Yes, the Bengals have a really good defense, but Joe Flacco was able to torch the Bengals for 345 yards and a TD. I know it may seem silly to even mention Ryan, as I want to discuss players who aren’t obvious, but in almost every league I’m in; Ryan was drafted to be an option at QB and not the clear-cut starter. However, if his team stays healthy, Ryan could have a truly elite year in 2014.
Projection – 372 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int.
Robert Griffin III – Alright, alright, I’ll admit it; I got scared of RG3 following a pre-season riddled with doubt, questions and lacking statistics. He has certainly done nothing to justify my, potentially Ludacris (auto correct capitalizes the “L” for the rapper, how about that), ranking of 6th overall fantasy QB. Some justification comes when you look at his week 1 road match-up against the frightening Texans defense. The Texans put a huge amount of pressure on RG3, and the result was a somewhat pedestrian stat line (267 yards passing, 2 yards rushing). I like to think he was shedding that final bit of rust and playing it a little safe during the first week. In week 2, he’ll be presented with a much softer defense in the confusing Jacksonville squad in the Redskins home debut. Jax looked fantastic in the first half of week 1 and contained the poster boy for “break-out” Nick Foles. However, the second half proved to be a different story. I’m just not certain whether the story was Jacksonville folding, or Foles flourishing. Maybe a combination of both? Regardless, I’m willing to roll the dice on RG3 against Jacksonville. I have to imagine Gruden will want to make a statement at home, and as a result we should see Griffin airing the ball out even more. It’s crazy to call RG3 a sleeper, but I think he’s a bit of a sleeper play this week.
Projection – 310 Yards, 2 TD, 68 yards rushing
Levine Toilolo – I’m going to jump on this guy early and say that he should be owned in any fantasy league in which you’re needing a tight end. So many people I’ve talked to have said, “Well he’s no Tony Gonzalez!” No shit people, no one is comparing him to Gonzo, so relax with that nonsense! Really, it blows my mind that people immediately go there. It’s ridiculous. No one can compare to the greatest TE to ever play the game, so we can’t hold any predecessor to the same standard. Alright, back to the point at hand. The Falcons are riddled with red zone options, so why do I like this guy? Simple, he’s a big TE and Matt Ryan has shown that he engages his tight ends when in the red zone. Hell, in week 1 he was targeted 6 times, had 3 catches for 19 yards and a touchdown. The problem with Toilolo is that he’ll be very touchdown dependent for the next couple of weeks until the Falcons begin to utilize him more in the offensive scheme. Because of this, I consider him my sleeper of the week (hmmm, the ideas on improving this article are formulating!) and if playing in a 2 TE league, I would absolutely start him!
Projection – 30 yards, 1 TD, 4 receptions
Antonio Gates – Welcome back to the fold sir. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen you, and in your absence Ladarius Green has been dubbed the wunderkid in San Diego. Oh the dismay the prognosticators must have felt when Gates became a favored target again and Green’s value plummeted. I’m not saying this as if I called it, because I didn’t, and I happen to be a guy who thought Green was going to be a big piece of the puzzle in San Diego. Here is what I believe to be the most telling statistic: Gates was targeted more than any other receiver on the Chargers. I have absolutely no reason to think his targets will decrease significantly enough to reduce his value. Gates went undrafted in a number of leagues and must be owned now. This week will be a really, really tough situation as they’ll be faced against the Seahawks. Regardless, I still like Gates as a top 10 TE this week.
Projection – 89 yards, 1 TD, 8 receptions
Jordan Cameron (I would be smiling too) – Dear fantasy god, Hello there, it’s me Ryan. I see that you took Jordan Cameron from me last week, and am writing to ask that you please return him. I understand that you act in strange ways sometimes (no TD for Graham), but I’m not one to question your collective logic. However it’s not just about fantasy for Mr. Cameron, it’s about maintaining hope in the city of Cleveland. He’s a great player, and a really good person (I guess?); and each Cleveland loss brings us closer to the Manziel experiment being launched. Yes gods, I remember being a big fan of Manziel, but I’d like Hoyer to get a fair shake. This week, Jordan (how is that not a godly name anyway) will be visited by a Saints defense which was embarrassed last week in Atlanta. I understand that you, for some reason hate New Orleans (Katrina) but go easy on Brees would you. Anyway, I know the Saints are soft to tight ends, I know Cameron has a lot to live up to, and more than anything, I would like to be right about what is written. So please bless him with health and success. Thanks God – Your biggest supporter, Ryan.
Cameron returns healthy and gives the city hope. Top 5 TE this week. Put it on the board. (Yes, I’m shamelessly stealing)
Projection – 110 yards, 1 TD, 11 receptions
Kyle Rudolph – I’m a big believer in Kyle Rudolph in week 2. The Vikings will be at home against an angry Patriots secondary. I’d love to say, “Hey, if Tannehill can torch them, why can’t we?” And you know what…I think I will. If Ryan Tannehill can torch the Patriots defense, then why can’t we? I think the Vikings collectively slapped the NFL and said, “Hey, do NOT sleep on us.” It’s a bit of a homer pick, but I’m comfortable being a homer. The Vikings looked very impressive against a top 5 Rams defense and I anticipate that trend continuing. This will be the Vikes first game at home, and the stadium will be thumping. Rudolph continues to be touchdown dependent, though I expect the Pats to shut down Jennings which will open up the opportunities for Rudolph. I believe and so should you.
Projection – 75 yards, 1 TD, 5 receptions
Zach Ertz – Alright, alright. I’ll eat crow when deserving and I believe the crow is freshly prepared. Ertz had a pretty decent day against Jacksonville. He was targeted 4 times, caught 3, 77 yards and a touchdown. I do believe that, as with some other tight ends, Ertz is very touchdown dependent. The Eagles will travel to Indy where they’ll beat up on a shoddy Colts defense to the tune of 38 points and Ertz should be a good call for a touchdown. I would love to see his targets increase, but until then, he’s still a cusp top 10 play. So yes, I think if I have Ertz I’m starting him this week, of course, but I’m not completely happy about it yet.
Projection – 68 yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions
Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts Sunday September 14th from 11am-12pm EST for another episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio on the Sports Palooza Radio Network. This week Ryan Ingram will be joining us to discuss this weeks great QB and TE plays along with some games that we see providing a lot of fantasy points. Be sure and check out Ryan’s articles that come out every Friday that are about QB and TE plays for the week. You can listen to us online or anywhere you can get an internet connection. Also, we will be taking live callers so if you have any questions that you want answered you can get us at 646.915.8596. You can also call in and listen to the show from that number. If you decide you want to ask a question on air just press the number 1 on your phone and that will put you in the host’s queue. Also, if you are a dynasty league player be sure and check out Real Deal Dynasty Sports that is run by one of the MLFS writers Bryan Luhrs.