If there’s one thing about fantasy prognostication I learned last week, it is this: I am the Nostradamus of losers.
OK, so maybe my picks weren’t quite that accurate, but the Deuces came in a lot better than the Aces for Week 1.
Sure, DeMarco Murray (14 points) had a couple garbage time scrambles that put him a few points over my prediction, but other than that, I am calling five out of my six Deuces picks as correct last week. A big thanks to Jamaal Charles, who with 8.7 points gained only about half of what I thought he would. The Seattle D also deserves credit for holding Larry Fitzgerald to just 6.3 fantasy points.
On that note, let’s see if I make the right choices this week.
Is it too late to add Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler to this list? Oy.
Deuces – Week 2
QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (@ Philadelphia Eagles) Flacco is this week’s quarterback media darling, and deservedly so. After all of the preseason talk that Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron (yes, that’s really his name) was ready to finally remove Flacco’s training wheels, the fifth year pro delivered an impressive 299 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 of 29 completions. Reigning in AFC offensive player of the week honors only helped fuel the “Is Flacco finally elite?” conversation that has persisted for a good three seasons now, it seems. As a result, Flacco was added to more than 29,000 teams in Yahoo! fantasy leagues in this week’s waiver frenzy, but don’t go plugging him in as your fantasy starter just yet. Sure, Flacco is a good leader, throws a nice ball, and has better weapons in the passing game as Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta have matured. But a deeper look at Monday’s statistics against a generous Cincinnati defense give reason for pause: Baltimore converted only 33% of the time on third down, and Flacco took 3 sacks for a total loss of 21 yards. Both of those numbers will not be enough to keep the Ravens’ offense on the field enough against a voracious Philadelphia defense, and don’t forget two names that Flacco is throwing against on Sunday: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. Prediction: 215 yards passing + 1 TD = 12.6 fantasy points
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Houston Texans) Most MJD owners are likely giddy at the news that Rashad Jennings (aka one of my handcuffs to own this preseason, ugh) hasn’t practiced this week due to a knee injury, thrusting their coveted rusher back into the number one spot atop Jacksonville’s depth chart. But with Jones-Drew set to face a Houston defense that allowed only 79 yards rushing last week, he is no sure bet to lead your team to victory this weekend. He’ll catch a few balls out of the backfield, so his value remains even if Jacksonville plays catchup and takes to the air, but the makings for a disappointment are in place. Prediction: 52 yards rushing + 13 yards receiving + 1 TD = 12.5 fantasy points
RB Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Denver Broncos) The clock is ticking on Turner’s tenure as a reliable fantasy option. As Atlanta becomes more comfortable in Dirk Koetter’s speed ’em up, spread ’em out offense, Turner’s value slumps. He just doesn’t have the burst necessary to contribute much more than three yards and a cloud of dust, and he is extremely limited as a pass catcher. Case in point: last week’s 32 yards on 11 carries. Put him up against Denver’s swarming front, and I would sit him in favor of a younger back with high upside like Stevan Ridley or Doug Martin. Prediction: 46 yards rushing = 4.6 fantasy points
WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Baltimore Ravens) Both of Michael Vick’s main targets have been hobbled by injuries in practice this week, Jackson with a hamstring and Maclin with a hip pointer. This actually means more trouble for Jackson, who uses his game-breaking speed to stretch the field; last time I checked, that was tough to do with a bum hammy. Baltimore DBs Ed Reed and Ladarius Webb feasted on Andy Dalton’s passes this week, and Vick threw four picks of his own against Cleveland in a squeaker. Put it all together and it means a huge day for LeSean McCoy, but not for the receiver corps. Prediction: Maclin – 65 yards = 6.5 fantasy points; Jackson – 73 yards + 1 TD = 13.3 fantasy points
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (vs. Arizona Cardinals) On 34 passing plays last week, Seattle’s tight ends were only targeted four times against a surprisingly stingy Arizona defense. New England’s offense, without a doubt, is better than Seattle’s, but a similar game plan to take away the middle of the field against the Patriots’ tight end tandem of Gronk and Hernandez should leave fewer points for them to collect against the Cardinals. Prediction: 54 yards receiving + 1 TD = 11.4 fantasy points
WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (@ San Francisco 49ers) I’ve saved my boldest pick for last. Since appearing on the Wednesday injury report with a mysterious foot injury, Megatron’s owners have been shaking in their Uggs at the prospect of missing a week of their centerpiece’s output. While I expect him to play, his matchup is less than desirable. The San Francisco defense, who I underestimated last week against Green Bay, should have plenty of pressure in store for Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. Carlos Rogers and the 49er secondary battened down the hatches against a plethora of Packer weapons last week, and with fewer headaches to defend against Detroit, they can concentrate their efforts on Johnson. Does that mean he is going to tank this week? No. I am predicting a game more along the lines of, you know, regular receivers. Put up against his usual numbers, he will be a disappointment, but no slouch. Prediction: 105 yards receiving + 1 TD = 16.5 fantasy points