“Off the Matt” Ca$h vs. Crash, Week 2 Quarterback/Tight End Plays
Week 1 Recap
Ryan Tannehill: 226/1/0
Sam Bradford: 336/1/2
Martellus Bennett: 5/55/1
Larry Donnell: 3/21/0
Matt Stafford: 246/2/2
Cam Newton: 175/1/1
Greg Olsen: 1/11/0
Owen Daniels: 2/5/0
Year to Date Totals:
Fantasy Ca$h Quarterbacks: 562/3/2
Fantasy Ca$h Tight Ends: 8/76/1
Fantasy Crash Quarterbacks: 421/3/2
Fantasy Crash Tight Ends: 3/16/0
Each week this article will focus on start/sit quarterback and tight end plays. Don’t expect to see obvious names like Luck, Rodgers, or Gronkowski…unless they are mentioned in the ‘crash’ section.
Joe Flacco @ OAK
GULP…I swallowed real hard as I typed that name in. After all, coming off a game where he barely completed 55% of his passes for a grand total of 117 yards and two picks doesn’t exactly breed confidence. What I am confident in however is the matchup. As mentioned above we saw what Andy Dalton was able to do to this defense and I see no reason why Flacco wouldn’t do the same. The entire offense was off last week, and after seeing Denver’s defense look strong again last night, some credit should be given to them. The matchup against the Raiders will get Smokin’ Joe and the rest of the Raven offense on track.
Carson Palmer @ CHI
Could it be that Carson Palmer might actually be really good in this offense? I realize the six games that he played last season is a small sample size. However, if you would extrapolate the numbers he put up in the first six over an entire season it would have worked out to 4,300/29/8. That is a borderline top 10 fantasy quarterback.
Palmer picked up right where he left off as he torched the Saints for 307/3/0. This week Palmer heads to Chicago where the Bears were only able to force five incomplete passes in Week 1. They also allowed four touchdown passes, but were fortunate enough to have one wiped away by penalty. For someone just scrolling the box score they might consider that the Bears defense played well only allowing 322 yards. However, the box score doesn’t always tell the full story. Another concerning issue for the Bears was their inability to get off the field on 3rd down, allowing the Packers to convert at a 60% clip.
With the Cardinals running game being a big question mark entering this week, I would expect the Cardinals brass to lean more on the passing game this week. Rodgers was able to score 20+ fantasy points on just 23 attempts last week. I will be interested to see what Palmer can do with 35+ attempts.
Jordan Reed vs STL (Questionable, expected to play)
Ready for a shocker?
Jordan Reed is questionable.
Only nine players in the league got more targets last week than Reed’s 11. At 6’3” 240 he is a tough matchup for defenses. When they put a linebacker on him, Reed’s quickness would get him open. When they would elect to put a defensive back on him he would use his size to go get the ball like he did on his touchdown reception. The tools are obviously there and the chemistry is developing between he and Cousins.
Now, after seeing the Rams defense unleash fury last week, I made a deal to not start any players against them in marginal spots. However, I think Reed could be in line for a strong game. With the amount of pressure the Rams front will get, Cousins will not have time to go through his reads thus making the ball come out quick. Judging by the 11 targets last week, Reed is Cousins first look more often than not. I expect him to lead the team in targets again this week and reward the fantasy owners who were willing to gamble on him.
Vernon Davis vs PIT
This is all about the matchup. I don’t know about you, but I watched last Thursday and saw what Rob Gronkowski did to the Steeler’s secondary. I understand that Vernon Davis isn’t Gronk; however, any tight end would have torched that secondary the way they were playing. With the emergence of Carlos Hyde fresh in everyone’s memory the Steelers will likely be committing another body to stop the run game which could lead to some big plays down the seam for Davis who was one of main contributors in a quiet night for the 49er’s passing game.
Tom Brady @ NYJ
Brady came out on fire to start the year completing 78% of his passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns against a mediocre Pittsburgh Steeler’s defense. The numbers will not come as easy this week. The Patriots will travel to Buffalo, who are coming off an A+ performance against Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Rex Ryan has always found ways to frustrate Tom Brady, and I expect this Sunday to be no different.
Armed with fearsome pass rush, and sure to be raucous crowd I could envision Rex finding ways to make it a long day for Tom Brady. Curtail expectations if you are rolling with Brady this week.
Andy Dalton vs SD
I can already see the look of disappointment that fantasy owners will have on their face when the clock hits zero in the Chargers vs. Bengals game this Sunday. The range of emotions will go something along the lines of:
12:59 pm: Ok, Andy lets go! Just like last week.
2:30 pm: Geez, slow first half. Why are you always overthrowing A.J. Green? Why are you always leaving the pocket early? Why can’t you make a play outside of the pocket? Why can’t you convert a 3rd and medium? Why do you only rack stats up when you have a two touchdown lead?
4:00 pm: Why did I start Andy Dalton!?!?
Don’t be fooled by the smooth taste of last week. Andy Dalton, much like any quarterback in the NFL can look effective when playing with a three-score lead. The defense continuously loads the box expecting run, and the quarterback can play pitch-and-catch with his receivers who are working in single coverage.
It is likely that Dalton won’t have that same luxury this week as the Bengals will host the Chargers who will look to ride the momentum of the comeback Week 1 win against the Lions. As for how this game is going to play out, I look for the Bengals to come out run-heavy, attacking the San Diego front that allowed 4.3 yards per carry on the ground last week. Also, time of possession will play a big factor in this game. Last week the Chargers held the ball over 16 minutes longer than Detroit. For the Bengals to establish a solid running game will be the first step in assuring they don’t suffer the same fate as the Lions.
Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to insert Dalton into your lineup. I expect the “Red Rifle” to fire a few strays this week and shoot down any chance of winning your head-to-head matchup.
Heath Miller vs SF
Heath Miller churned out a useful line of 8/84/0 in Week 1. A good portion of those numbers came in “garbage time,” where the Patriots were willing to give Ben anything he wanted underneath. This week, playing at home against the 49ers the opportunity for garbage statistics seems less likely.
The 11 targets that Miller received in last week represent only the third time in the last 44 games that he has got double-digit targets in a game. Don’t fall in love with the Week 1 numbers. With his targets likely to be cut in half, Miller will be better served on your bench this week.
To sum Miller up, he is like the LeRoy Hoard of tight ends. If you need 30 yards, he will get you 40 yards. If you need 80 yards, he will get you 40 yards.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ NO
Speaking of not falling in love with Week 1 numbers, lets talk about ASJ. With [9:30] left in the 4th quarter and the score 42-7, ASJ had a line of 3/34/1. At that point he got a slant and ran through what appeared to be two junior varsity kids who snuck on the field and tried to make a tackle. That popped his statistics to 4/75/2. In the final nine minutes he tacked on a few more catches to finish with 5/110/2. The final product sure was pretty, but it should be focused on how he got there. While there is a chance they could be playing catch up again this week, one cannot bank on it. While the return of Mike Evans could provide better matchup opportunities for ASJ, it is also likely to cut into his target rate. While I expect ASJ to be a trusted contributor in the red zone, I would be surprised if he posted another 100 yard game all year.
COMBO PLAY: 5-85
I could just take the easy route and run out the old 12-87 or maybe even the 3-88, but that is just too easy. For this week I am putting my trust in the combination of Tyrod Taylor and Charles Clay. Last week, Taylor was ultra-efficient through the air, and as expected made some contributions on the ground. He also connected on all four of his attempts to Charles Clay to the tune of 43 yards.
While I don’t expect Tom Brady to have a great game, if the Bills want to keep up they are going to have to take the reigns off the passing game and put it up more than 19 times this week. With a healthy Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins they have as much speed outside as anyone. This should back the safeties off, which will create a layer behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties for the 38 million dollar man to go to work.
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