Week 1 NFL Observations
Of course the big news of the opening weekend is Tom Brady’s knee injury. The Patriots are down, but not out. If it happened to any other team you could basically write the season off. The Patriots are different. Why? Because they can make adjustments on the fly better than any other team. They are going to sulk over losing their leader. They are going to find other ways to win. Namely with their ground attack. The Patriots are very versatile at the Running Back position with Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and LaMont Jordan. They can beat you in a variety of ways. Maroney is the speed guy. Morris is a more physical runner. Faulk is the unsung hero type that can catch passes out of the backfield or take a draw for just enough yardage to move the chains. LaMont Jordan can catch passes and run between the tackles. Obviously the Patriot Receivers take a hit in fantasy value. They aren’t going to pass it as often as with Brady. The one I feel will be hurt the most is Wes Welker. Randy Moss can go get a ball thrown from anyone (provided that he’s motivated). Welker relies on timing patterns. That doesn’t come as easy. The Pats will still win the division in my book, but I don’t see a deep run in the playoffs.
The AFC got shook up in Week 1. New England lost Brady. Indianapolis, San Diego, and Jacksonville lost. It appears Pittsburgh is the class of the AFC at this point.
Running Backs represented. This year, more than in previous years, Running Backs were sliding in fantasy drafts. Wide Receivers and QBs (Brady, Manning, Romo, Brees) were moving up. In Week 1 though the power of the RB was felt. Among the Big Name Backs Michael Turner and Willie Parker led the way. Also scoring 20 or more was Reggie Bush, Marion Barber, Brian Westbrook, and Frank Gore . Thomas Jones and Marshawn Lynch scored 15 or more. Contrast that with Big Name Wideouts and you see no WR topped 20, and only Hines Ward and Randy Moss topped 15. I’m not saying this is a trend since one week doesn’t make a trend, but it’s worth noting. Score Week 1 to the Running Back.
Donovan McNabb put on quite a show. He seems to alternate between getting ripped by the fans and ripping up the opposition.
Brady wasn’t the only stud QB to go dud for fantasy teams. Big Ben threw for 137 yards. Peyton Manning and Romo only threw 1 TD. Derek Anderson threw for 114. Kurt Warner threw for 197 and a score. Hasselbeck threw for 190 and a score. Bulger threw for 158 without a TD. Pretty ugly stuff.
Well, we have a double-feature tonight on Monday Night Football. To answer Hank in advance, I am ready for some football.