Another week has nearly come to a close here in the NFL, and, with it, as per usual, has come another batch of story lines to examine.
In Whooley’s Weekly Words, I, Bruno Boys Whooley, tackle just a few of the more interesting items to catch my eye from the weekend. This week, I’ll be discussing bounce-back players, Matt Hasselbeck’s injury, and the J-E-T-S defense.
Week Two Bounce-Backs
A common theme evident in the Bruno Boys advice heading into Week Two was “DON’T PANIC!”
Thanks to the invention of things like Twitter and On-Demand Television, we, as a society, have become accustomed to immediate gratification. As such, we want to see our fantasy football team enjoy immediate success.
Should this not happen, we panic, and we get stupid.
We offer up Steve Smith (Car) to another owner for Devin Hester straight up (sadly, this was an actual trade offered to a member of Bruno Boys Nation last week). We drop Jay Cutler because it’s obvious he’s just not going to succeed in Chicago. We overmanage and destroy any hope we may have at a fantasy title.
Yes, patience is indeed a lost virtue.
But, for those of you out there in Bruno Boys Nation that heeded our words of wisdom, that played it cool and kept your roster intact, chances are your studs awarded you with bigtime bounce-back performances in Week Two. After all, there were plenty of them to go around. In fact, too many to list here, though, I will mention the big ones.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson followed a Week One outing that yielded six fantasy points with a monstrous Week Two of 45 fantasy points, thanks to 197 rushing yards, 87 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns.
Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson made up for his three-point stinker in Week One by amassing 149 receiving yards and two scores in Week Two for 26 fantasy points. Johnson’s performance also helped Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub make up for a disappointing Week One, as he jumped from four fantasy points to 30.
Carson Palmer also improved in Week Two, going from five fantasy points to 21.
You know those measly 21 yards Steve Smith (Car) had in Week One, leading owners like the one mentioned above to dump him off to another poor sap in their league? Well, those poor saps that didn’t lose faith in Smith were awarded with 131 receiving yards in Week Two.
Oh yeah, and Jay Cutler, who threw four interceptions in his debut as a Bear? He kept pretty good care of the ball in Week Two, not throwing a single pick while tallying 236 pass yards and two scores.
If anything, I point this out to reaffirm a lesson that many fantasy owners seem to forget year in and year out—the football season, though just 17 weeks, is still a marathon and not a sprint. By the end of the year, the studs, for the most part, will get their numbers, so be patient.
Something to remember if you own the likes of, say, Steve Slaton or Matt Forte.
With a strong preseason under his belt and a solid Week One outing consisting of 279 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, it appeared Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was set to put his miserable, injury-riddled 2008 season behind him and once again become a solid fantasy option.
Then, on Sunday, in the Seahawks matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, Hasselbeck mimicked Donovan McNabb’s Week One scramble with similar results, as Hasselbeck left the game with a rib injury (sadly, Hasselbeck didn’t get the six fantasy points McNabb got, as he was stopped at the 1-yard line).
As of yet, the exact nature of the injury is up in the air; however, many sources are reporting that Hasselbeck suffered a fracture, leaving him questionable for Week Three.
Seahawk fans and those fantasy owners with a Seahawk on their roster have to be holding their breath. If 2008 taught us anything, it’s that Seattle’s offense just doesn’t click as well when Hasselbeck is not under center.
In fact, the Seahawks are miserable when their starting QB is not on the field. Last season, a season that saw Hasselbeck play in just seven games, Seattle finished 28th in total yards per game among the 32 NFL teams and 25th when it came to points per game.
Hasselbeck tweeted that everything is “alright,” but we’d be weary. Monitor this situation closely because an injured Hasselbeck just doesn’t mean bad things for those owners of the QB; it also affects WRs T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson, TE John Carlson, and RB Julius Jones, who is nursing a forearm injury himself and lost carries to Justin Forsett in Week Two.
Defensively Minded Jets for Real
After the New York Jets held the Houston Texans’ up-and-coming offense in check in Week One, many wondered if the Jets’ defense was for real or if the Texans’ offense was simply overrated. Based upon Week Two, a week that saw New York hold Tom Brady and Co. to just three field goals while the Houston Texans lit up the Tennessee Titans for 34 points, it’s safe to say we have our answer—these guys are legit.
A shift to a more defensively minded game plan was obvious when the Jets brought in Rex Ryan to be their head coach after firing Eric Mangini in the offseason. Ryan, who had spent most of his career helping to groom one of the best defenses in the league in the Baltimore Ravens, is all about attacking, attacking, attacking.
And, while the Jets may only have two sacks on the year, they are getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Just ask Brady, who looked as uncomfortable in the pocket on Sunday as we’ve seen.
With a first-year defensively minded coach and a rookie QB, the Jets look awfully familiar to the 2008 Atlanta Falcons, and we all know how that turned out.
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