Two weeks into the 2012 season and I feel as if I am in Bizarro World. It seems as if half the players considered to be consensus can’t-miss studs at their positions have been huge disappointments thus far. meanwhile players deemed not worthy of being drafted are outscoring them – often by a wide margin.
Heading into the draft there was virtually a unanimous agreement that the top quarterbacks were Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, with Matthew Stafford close behind; supposedly you couldn’t go wrong selecting any of those three. In a s0-called ‘standard’ scoring league (is there even such a thing as a ‘standard’ scoring league anymore?) among quarterbacks Rodgers ranks 14th, Brady is 15th, and Stafford is 22nd. Above them are Alex Smith, Matt Cassel, Sam Bradford, and depending on your league’s settings they may also be behind Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and even Andy Dalton. Brees ranks 4th on espn, but if you use more advanced stats (e.g., plus one point for completions and minus one for incompletions, or more of a penalty for interceptions) then Brees – who has thrown 46 incomplete passes and four interceptions already – quickly slides down in the rankings.
So if you have one of those four highly rated QBs, what do you do? Trade him? Pick up Sam Bradford off waivers and start him till they get better? I think it’s way too early for that; at this point you’re probably better off rolling the dice with what you have.
For all of you with C.J. Spiller or Reggie Bush, congratulations on your foresight. Those are the top two running backs and they rank 2nd and 4th overall right now. Two of the ‘big three’ pre-season RBs are right behind them (Arian Foster and Ray Rice), while LeSean McCoy 16th. I wouldn’t worry about McCoy though; his stats are skewed because Andy Reid inexplicably decided to throw the ball on nearly every down in week one. The bigger surprise at RB is the emergence of two players currently tied for 7th in points at the position: Steven Ridley (preseason rank 26th) and Alfred Morris (preseason rank 55th). The other surprise that stands out to me is Adrian Peterson; I didn’t believe the hype that he would be ready to go at the start of the season.
The underachievers are somewhat predictable: player with an injury history or those that have been over used. Ryan Mathews and Fred Jackson are once again out with injuries, though Mathews is expected back this week. Cedric Benson, Michael Turner and Chris Johnson have all been over used in the recent past, and their performance so far this year shows it. Peterson and Frank Gore are two players I put into that category that have proved me wrong so far; Steven Jackson is another that has underachieved, though that is due more to lack of touchdowns (zero) than yardage (142 yards from scrimmage). Jamaal Charles‘ lack of production is a surprise to me because he had a full year to recover from his injury. If you need a RB you might want to look at Mikel Leshore; I have no faith in Kevin Smith lasting more than half a season. If you drafted Isiah Pead to handcuff Steven Jackson dump him; Daryl Richardson is the Rams’ top backup. Andre Brown is another RB to consider depending on the size of your league and roster; he has apparently moved ahead of David Wilson (fumbling issue) and Giants’ starter Ahmad Bradshaw is injured once again.
Similar to Rodgers and Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Wes Welker have been disappointments so far – but are still guys who are an automatic start every week. Greg Jennings is in the next tier, and I would be inclined to bench him until he proves that he’s back from his groin injury. Danny Amendola leads some league in scoring at WR, but he is most likely gone at this point. Brandon Lafell (180 yards from scrimmage) and Donnie Avery (155 yards from scrimmage) are two guys to consider if you need a WR; another is Miami’s Brian Hartline. The Dolphins will be behind often and need to throw the ball to somebody; Hartline has 161 yards on 12 receptions, and his 20 targets is the 9th most in the league after two games.
If your league or strategy for a TE is to focus on touchdowns, take a look at Dante Rosario; his three touchdown receptions is the most among tight ends after two games. If you’re looking for a little more consistency then check out Martellus Bennett (9 receptions, 112 yards, 2 TD) or Dennis Pitta (13 receptions for 138 yards and a league-high 24 targets). Another TE worth checking out is Scott Chandler; with David Nelson out for Buffalo he is going to get that many more balls thrown his way.
What if you have Antonio Gates or Aaron Hernandez? If you’re in a league with 12 or more teams you probably want to hold onto them, but if you’re in a league with ten or fewer teams, or in a league with a limited bench you may want to consider dropping them. It really depends on your league and roster size.
September 19, 1993:
Pearl Jam releases their second album, Vs. The album set what was then the record for the most copies of an album sold in its first week, a record it held for five years, despite the fact that the group declined to produce music videos for any of the album’s singles.
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