Friday Fantasy Focus
Wait. Wait. Friday’s Fantasy Focus? On a Saturday? How lazy are you, Wes? Waiting to the last minute will get you no where.
There may be a point somewhere in there — I haven’t quite found it yet — but I think there is one. Maybe. Look, I have four (okay four and a half) years of college experience specializing in procrastination and I turned out alright. Right?
When it comes to fantasy football the “never late is better” attitude takes a back seat to the “better late than never” approach. Seriously, corny Drake references aside, procrastination is sometimes the best way to go in taking down a victory. And there’s no better time to focus on procrastination than Week 2.
Take the Darrelle Revis situation for example. The Jets waited as long as they could regarding his “mild” concussion before making a decision for two reasons: 1. Holding out hope that the fog surrounding his head would clear and 2. providing a week’s worth of frustration to those fantasy owners who drafted Antonio Brown. Will he or won’t he get an all expenses paid trip to Revis Island? Of course, as we all know now, Revis won’t play — with Brown drawing coverage against cornerback Kyle Wilson.
Translation: Start Brown this week.
Not having Revis in the game opens up the passing offense for the Big Ben and the Steelers, moving Brown from your bench to your starting wideout. Additionally, Emmanuel Sanders gets bumped up to a solid play for your third WR slot or flex position — who will mostly draw Isaiah Trufant or Ellis Lankster (who?) from the Jets. That’s assuming, though, that you didn’t play Randall Cobb in your flex spot, like I did, on Thursday. See what I get for taking a pro-active approach to my fantasy line-up?
Exactly the reason why I like to avoid Thursday games all together. In fact, if I can, I try to avoid 1 o’clock games as well. Again my knack for procrastination kicking in to high gear. I can’t explain why, but it always seems the team with more late games always seem to be a winner. Personally, I — a master procrastinator — feel more comfortable going into the Sunday night/Monday night games being down with a few players to go.
And after last week’s debauchery in Friday’s Fantasy Focus — which I posted early! — I made some ridiculous calls (starting Titus Young and Jared Cook — ouch). Stevie Johnson proved to be effective on Revis Island, scoring a touchdown and hauling in five receptions. And Peyton Manning? Let’s just say I won’t be doubting him for the rest of the season. He surgically picked apart the Steelers defense like the doctor who surgically repaired the four-time MVP’s neck.
The lone bright spot? My call on C.J. Spiller, who totaled the second-highest rushing yards against a Rex Ryan-led Jets defense and the best performance from a running back last week. And like my fourth runner up performance in the eighth grade free throw knock-out contest, no one can take that away from me.
But without further adieu, let’s put a stop to delaying the inevitable and get right in to Week 2’s Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em.
- Alex Smith, QB, 49ers – Who would’ve thought I’d lead off Alex Smith — yes, that Alex Smith — as a guy to start this week. Hey, the guy was a former number one overall pick. Draft status aside, I can see Smith having a a field day against a lacking Lions defense — Louis Delmas and Chris Houston are nursing injuries — and playing under the lights in front of a crazed Bay Area crowd in their home opener will only help. On the road against Green Bay, Smith spread the ball around to six different receivers — something that we didn’t see a lot of in 2011. Factoid: The Lions defense allowed the 7th fewest fantasy points to QBs last week, according to Yahoo! Sports. Don’t let this throw you off, as they were facing a stagnant Rams offense … led by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (I know Jets fans are smiling at that one).
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals — Here’s a guy who was able to find 10 TDs in 2011 and 13 TDs in 2010 in a passing-oriented Patriots offense. This year? Ninety-one rushing yards and a touchdown against a stout Ravens defense. Not too shabby, if you ask me. He should look to build on is performance last week against the Cleveland Browns as he continues to put the foot injury that caused him to miss three preseason games in his review. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Law Firm is the 11th best fantasy back this week over guys like Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew and CJ0K (see what I did there?). FACTOID: In his eight seasons as head coach, Marvin Lewis has never failed to produce a running back who didn’t put out 1,100 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Now that’s consistency folks.
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers — I mentioned him earlier and I like the potential mismatch he brings in this game. Not having Revis this week has a serious ripple effect in the Jets secondary. Wilson moves out of the nickel, where he would have covered Sanders, and on Brown (who is also a solid play this week). That means Trufant or Lankster must step up in the All-Pro’s absence. FACTOID: These aren’t your parents’ Steelers. The Steelers used three wide receivers on 52-of-71 offensive snaps in Week 1. Out of the 71 plays, only 25 were designed runs. Sanders tied for the team lead with eight targets, hauling in four catches for 55 yards.
- Coby Fleener, TE, Colts — I mentioned him last week as an “in a pinch” play and, in a pinch, he provided some production (6 receptions — 3 for first downs & 82 yards). Andrew Luck loves his collegiate safety valve and this week won’t be any different against a Vikings defense who allowed Marcedes Lewis average 10 yards per reception and a touchdown last week. Dustin Keller owners take notice. FACTOID: In Yahoo! Sports leagues, Fleener has been added by over 5,000 teams in the past two days — truly paying homage to procrastination. Available in most leagues, don’t be the last to jump the bandwagon.
- Michael Vick, QB, Eagles – This, to me, is a near no-brainer. Bad offensive line. Bad game against a bad team last week. Facing bad ass defense this week. Vick through FOUR interceptions last week in a game that should’ve been an easy Week 1 victory. Instead the Eagles were forced to play from behind and put the fate of the game on Vick’s left shoulder — which turned out be a bad idea. Add in to the mix that receiver Jeremy Maclin is iffy for Sunday and it’s a recipe for some pine in Week 2. FACTOID: Last week the Ravens defense gave up the third fewest fantasy points to a quarterback in Yahoo! Sports leagues, while Vick was the 70th ranked player following his disappointing Week 1 performance.
- Stephen Jackson, RB, Rams — It wasn’t that long ago where I would have done almost anything to have him on my team — real or fantasy. But now? Eehh. I don’t know what it is about him, but he just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s the injuries. Maybe it’s the fact he was overworked for a couple of years. Maybe it has to do with Schottenheimer misusing his ground game all too often (see Greene, Shonn). Take your pick, but don’t take Jackson as your starter this week. FACTOID: Jackson averaged only 2.5 YPC last week which is problematic because he averaged 2.6 against the Redskins last year.
- Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens — This is the Rodgers-Cromartie/Asomugha effect here. But more than that, it is his hit-or-miss style of play that would scare me the most as a fantasy owner. Smith has huge upside and can offer the big play at any moment. Against an aggressive Eagles defensive front, Joe Flacco may not have the time to stretch the field to Smith. FACTOID: Eagles have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers last week. But I dare you to name the receivers on the Cleveland Browns.
- Fred Davis, TE, Redskins — Only four targets last week from Robert Griffin III. The reason? Mike Shanahan was running a college-style offense with his rookie QB. The Redskins focused a lot on bubble screens and option-fakes to the outside to speedy receivers like Pierre Garcon. Not a bad play if you’re in a pinch, but there are definitely other options available that could be more productive this week. FACTOID: Rams did allow the third most fantasy sports on Yahoo! Sports leagues last week, but that was against Brandon Pettigrew — a reception machine.