Football Sunday is rapidly approaching and what fun would a weekend of football be without a couple of tricky decisions to make heading into Week 2. Craig and Bretsky split their Week 1 debates, but are now back with three more timely topics. Let’s get to it!
Week 2 Decisions
Tony Gonzalez vs. Stl or Jordan Cameron vs. Bal in a PPR?
Cameron. But it’s close. Cameron was a sleeper darling this offseason and justified the hype in Week 1 by putting up a 9-108-1 line. Gonzalez has been great forever, but after a long offseason vacation, he didn’t look particularly great in the opener, perhaps showing his age just a little bit. The veteran finished his day with a so-so 3-36-1 performance, with the touchdown absolutely saving him. Cameron is going against the Ravens who were absolutely torched by Julius Thomas and Peyton Manning in Week 1 and is in an offense that wants to feature the tight end. Gonzalez faces the Rams who figure to bring plenty of pass rush Matt Ryan’s way. Of course, that could translate into a get rid of the ball quick offense, in which case Gonzalez would stand to benefit. Reliable Roddy White can’t cut on his injured ankle, so Matt Ryan is likely to turn to Gonzalez as a security blanket this week, however, Cameron finds himself in a pretty comfortable spot in the Browns offense as well with the suspension of Josh Gordon. Expect Cameron to see plenty of targets and in a PPR league that pushes him over the steady veteran Tony Gonzalez.
It seems slightly ludicrous that we are doubting the best tight end of all time for a player who has put together just one notable fantasy performance in his career but this is, in fact, closer than it would first appear. Gonzalez, remarkably, remains at the top of his game even at age 37 and though he has clearly lost a step in the open field, Tony G remains an elite red zone threat. Gonzalez’ touchdown potential gets a slight boost with Roddy White at something less than 100% this week and the tight end figures to be Matt Ryan’s primary target when they get in close. Cameron is in a fantastic situation this season with an offensive staff that will concentrate on getting him the rock, but I need to see more before I’ll bench a player of Gonzalez’ caliber and consistency. Roll with the best and start Gonzalez.
Do you see Eli Manning throw for more than 2 or more touchdowns and going over 350 passing yards against Denver?
Yes. In fact, I see him accomplishing both of these feats. Look, we saw what the Broncos did to the Ravens last week. Eli’s big brother hung 7 (…seven!) touchdowns against them and the opposing defense, and Baltimore was forced to play from behind all night long. That resulted in Ol’ Jumpin’ Joe Flacco putting up 2 touchdowns and 362 yards,making fantasy owners smile. I don’t expect the Giants defensive unit slowing this high-octane Broncos offense down, and if CB Prince Amukamara has any lingering effects from his concussion last Sunday, it could get ugly fast. In fact, it probably will get ugly fast. But what’s bad for the Giants as a team, is good for your fantasy squad. Champ Bailey has already been ruled out for the matchup, and you must think Eli is going to put up great numbers, including two or more touchdowns and over 350 passing yards.
I do, in fact, think that Manning can hit those numbers — the Giants are going to chuck it — but I’ll take the under on the yardage just to keep things interesting here in Week 2. Eli remains inside my top-10 this week and belongs in your lineup in a standard-sized league, but 350 yards is an awful lot! In fact, Eli reached that total just one time in all of 2012. Give him the scores for sure, but betting on a yardage outburst like that is a bold step that I am unwilling to take.
Would you rather play Ben Tate vs. Tenn or Knowshon Moreno vs. NYG in a flex spot?
Tate got nine carries last week, and with those nine carries he averaged over six yards per rush. He also caught two passes for 7 yards. He looked good, and ran well. Appearing to most people to outplay his battery-mate, vegan-friendly Arian Foster. Moreno, on the other hand, looked nothing like the running back that carried fantasy teams through the playoffs last season, save for the fact that he was once again on the field. He rushed just 9 times for just 28 yards but did catch three passes for 37 yards and really did not look particularly spry. Despite the log-jam in Denver, Moreno remains the best pass-protector in that backfield and will maintain a regular role in that offense. In Houston, Arian Foster spent the time since last Monday being sullen, kind oof whining-by-not-really-whining-but-by-saying-he’s-ok-with-what-the-coaches-want-to-do-even-if-doesn’t-understand-it. Forget Mike Wallace down in Miami, the squeaky wheel that I expect to get greased this weekend is Foster. I’m not buying Kubiak’s assertions about a 50-50 time split between foster and Ben Tate and you need to leave Tate on the bench in favor of Moreno, or a similar talent.
Both players remain mired in frustrating timeshares at this point and it is a bit difficult to grab any player who is likely to be on the short side of the platoon… which Ben Tate obviously is. Moreno looked as close to a workhorse as Denver could roll out there last week, but what he did with the football was largely unimpressive. Ronnie Hillman showed some flashes and Montee Ball remains the favorite for goal line touches in Denver. The fact is, Moreno just isn’t going to be of huge value if he only plays between the 20s. The Texans have noted during the week that they want to get Tate more touches and while I doubt that he gets anywhere near a 50-50 split with starter Arian Foster, I do think that Tate can do enough with 12-15 touches to finish as a top-30 back this week.Neither player has an attractive path to carries–and in all honesty, I don’t own either Moreno or Tate in any leagues–but if forced to choose, Ben Tate is the way to go in Week 2.