Fantasy Football Sleepers and Creepers, Week 2
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Brandon Jackson ,RB
Ok, this one is easy: Drop everything you are doing, tell the wife you need to log in for an hour or so to research some mutual funds and energy-efficient appliances, and submit a waiver claim for Brandon Jackson in any of your fantasy leagues where he is available.
Obviously, in light of Ryan Grant's unfortunate season-ending ankle injury, Jackson is Green Bay's new feature back. Moreover, it's a job he's had four years to prepare for, which should mean he shouldn't be making the same kind of mistakes that landed him on the bench back in 2007.
Although there is a slight drop-off in speed going from Grant to Jackson, the former second round pick in 2007 is arguably a better receiver, and should be a solid fantasy starter for the remainder of the season.
Dwayne Bowe ,WR
Make no mistake, Kansas City QB Matt Cassel is not very good, and probably should be playing for the Ontario Maple Sissies or whatever teams they have up there in Canada. Nonetheless, Dwayne Bowe is still the Chiefs' best receiver, and with Chris Chambers, Dexter McCluster, and Tony Moeaki, he has a much better group of supporting cohorts to divert attention from him then he had at any time in 2009.
Cassel threw for only 68 yards this past week, but when you subject a klutzy quarterback to the type of nasty weather they had in Kansas City this past week, aerial inertia is bound to prevail. It's too early to give up on Bowe, and he probably has some very productive games in his immediate future.
Dez Bryant/Felix Jones ,WR/RB
Not much went as planned for the Cowboys offense this past weekend, unless of course the plan was to appear inexplicably impotent against a seemingly beatable Washington defense en route to an embarrassing opening week loss.
On the upside, the Cowboys have too many weapons to stay sidetracked for too long, and if Week 1 is an indication, they are wasting little time integrating their talented rookie receiver Dez Bryant into their gameplan. Bryant only ended up with 8 catches for 56 yards, but was surprisingly targeted a team-high 13 times this past week.
Also noteworthy in this game was the fact that RBs Felix Jones and Marion Barber evenly split carries at eight a piece. If this trend continues, Jones's upside makes him a potentially intriguing No. 2 fantasy running back.
Eddie Royal ,WR
Great Poseidon's Tequila glass! Was Josh McDaniel's stupidity rehab really successful, and is it time to remove Eddie Royal's face from the milk carton?
Unlike what we saw for the entirety of the 2009 season, when Royal was engulfed by Brandon Marshall's shadow and running "lost in the woods" routes, the third year receiver was clearly a big part of the Broncos offense in Week 1. Kyle Orton's wet noodle arm is still going to make it difficult for Royal to break the long plays he is capable of, but it's encouraging that he played the slot and was targeted a team-high 10 times this past weekend.
Jermaine Gresham ,TE
If there is any advantage to having the two most annoyingly flamboyant receivers in the league on your roster, it's that they surely can deflect enough attention from the middle of the field that you could probably send an eligible offensive lineman out on a few routes each game and come away with some first downs.
Promising rookie TE Jermaine Gresham is arguably the most competent and physically imposing TE the Bengals have had on their roster in quite some time, maybe since the 1980s when Kirstie Alley was under 200 lbs and everybody was wearing pastel "Miami Vice" blazers.
Except for the getting pummeled by the Patriots 38-24 part, the "Two Peacocks and the Roadgrader" passing offense worked pretty well in the opening week, with Gresham getting nine looks in the passing game and coming away with his first NFL score.
After lasting about 10 seconds of the 2009 season before falling to a knee injury, and then having the luxury of one full year to recover, there was some speculation that Anthony Gonzalez was going to slip right back into the starting lineup in 2010. Well, scrap that plan, as Gonzalez has already managed to hurt himself (high ankle sprain), and is out this week, and probably useless for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps the Colts can design some kind of protective plastic bubble for Gonzalez so we can at least see him on the field for a few plays each week. In any event, it's probably time for the fourth year receiver to consider boosting his insurance coverage to whatever policy that rodeo clowns typically require.
It's good to see that the Jets finally perfected one of the more overlooked aspects of the game, a relentless campaign of offseason hype which bombards every available media outlet with the compulsory message that your team is an "invincible team of destiny."
Without question, hiring the publicity firm of Ochocinco/Owens & Gaga has done wonders for their public image, now all they have to do is focus on fixing their dysfunctional offense.
Speaking of the insidious Jets offense, 2010 fantasy draft darling Shonn Greene has apparently earned himself a 50/50 platoon situation with LaDainian Tomlinson with his sporadic play this past week, so expect a dropoff in fantasy production in the near term.
Could this finally be the year where 36-year-old Derrick Mason gets to take it easy and not have to carry the entire Baltimore passing game as Joe Flacco's only reliable receiver?
Mason has certainly earned the privilege of a reduced workload as he enters an amazing 14th year in the league. Now with Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandazeh on board, it may be time for Mason to spend more time on the sidelines calling the grandkids and making some well-deserved vacation plans.
Fred Jackson/Marshawn Lynch,RB
You wouldn't know it from the boxscore, but the Buffalo Bills did try to run the ball a few times this past Sunday. Unfortunately, they spread the futility three ways between CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson, and Marshawn Lynch, who combined for a grand total of 38 yards on the day. In fact, Trent Edwards might have been the Bills most effective rusher on Sunday, managing 6 yards per carry as he was running for his life from the Miami defense.
In all likelihood, Edwards goes back to being just a bad quarterback this week, while Marshawn Lynch maybe gets picked up by the Denver Broncos who are seemingly in the market for more washed-up running backs. This should leave Fred Jackson backing up C.J. Spiller, who remains Buffalo's best hope in their quest to create a running game this year.
Mike Williams/Deion Branch,WR
It's just a hunch, but not even Pete Carroll's inexhaustible and occasionally irrational enthusiasm is going to be enough to revive the damaged careers of draft-bust Mike Williams and the habitually injured Deion Branch. In fact, word is that Branch has finally accumulated enough training room rewards points, he can finally get his own personal MRI machine. As soon as rookie Golden Tate gets a clue, Branch will probably be summarily relieved of his starting role.
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