After an underwhelming first two weeks of the season that resulted in just over 10 total fantasy points in standard scoring leagues, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles went nuclear on Sunday at New Orleans. On the fast carpet of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Charles racked up 233 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries against the Saints, a team that is now proving to be the worst defense in the league.
While this development may result in frustration, cursing, and a run on razor blades at French Quarter hardware stores, it means fantasy gold for owners whose players have the privilege of facing the Saints every Sunday. With teams converting almost 40% of their third down opportunities against New Orleans, the defense is exhausted early on. Pressure from the front four that makes the quarterback scurry out of the pocket – but rarely results in a sack – brings broken plays that leave gaping holes in the secondary. It all adds up to teams piling on the yardage and, more importantly, the points.
(The negative side effect to this poor defense, besides losing, is that it also means Drew Brees is on the field less. When fantasy owners have to worry about Brees, you know a team is in trouble.)
Suffice to say, if you are having one of those “Should I sit him or start him?” moments and you see New Orleans as the opponent, start him.
New Orleans isn’t the only pushover opponent in the fantasy world right now, though. Tennessee made Detroit’s offense look otherworldly under the direction of backup Shaun Hill yesterday, and a previously floundering Cincinnati offense made Washington look like a fat kid in dodgeball. The ‘Skins, Titans, and Saints are the three worst defenses in the league right now, which means owners of anyone on the Packers, Texans, and Buccaneers in Week 4 should be licking their chops.
Other thoughts from yesterday…
Injuries keep hitting the RBs. With Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee, and C.J. Spiller all getting dinged up Sunday, it shows just how endangered the running back position is in the fantasy ecosystem. While Bush’s injury does not appear to be serious, Spiller may miss at least Week 4 with a separated shoulder. Keep an eye on his status throughout the week, and don’t be afraid to look at the Waiver Watch below for someone to take his spot. Same goes for McGahee.
Revis injury has fantasy effects. Speaking of injuries, with the news that New York Jets shutdown corner Darelle Revis will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, the Jets just became a lot easier of a fantasy matchup. Before, if your stud wide receiver was going for a weekend on Revis Island, it meant time to sit him. With half of the field back in play, owners should no longer fear their players going up against New York.
Coming-out party for Ponder. What a massive day for Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. While he didn’t pile up the yards, he did throw two touchdowns and run in a third, displaying the elusiveness and athleticism that was on display during his college years at Florida State. Oh, and did I mention that he did this all against the 49ers defense, who allegedly was the best in the league? Give Ponder another year or two, and he will be talked about with the league’s elite.
Torrey Smith is an inspiration. Playing less than 24 hours after his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident, Smith somehow suited up and brought in two touchdowns and 127 yards in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, and Smith truly has been humbled by the outpouring of support he has received in the wake of this tragedy. It’s hard not to root for him, no matter your allegiances.
Rodgers is no lock tonight. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are counting on Aaron Rodgers to drop a 30-burger on Seattle to lead your team to victory tonight, it just isn’t going to happen. Seattle is playing Top 5 defense, and Rodgers leads an inconsistent attack into the notoriously hostile CentruyLink Field, one of the loudest venues in the league. Fifteen to 20 points is a more reasonable estimate for the discount double checker. Fear not, though: Rodgers will certainly rebound next week against the aforementioned Saints sieve.
As the season wears on and players’ roles become more defined, it proves more and more difficult to find those hidden gems dwelling in anonymity on the waiver wire. I’ll do my best here to give you a couple names each week, but we’re getting to the point where we have to depend on injuries and obscure backups to emerge. But that’s what makes it fun, right?
WR Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens Jones has developed into a legitimate third receiver in Baltimore’s uptempo scheme, using his speed to stretch the field. While he has only been targeted nine times by Lord Flacco, he has caught seven of those for 153 yards, making for a whopping 21.9 YPC average. He isn’t consistent yet, but he can be useful as a bye week plug-and-play add.
WR Ramses Barden, New York Giants Here’s my candidate for most waiver wire adds this week. After stepping up in Hakeem Nicks’ absence Thursday night, Barden is on most fantasy players’ radar now. Don’t get too excited, though: Nicks is indicating he will play this weekend, which relegates Barden to insurance policy status yet again.
RB Lance Ball, Denver Broncos For some reason, Knowshon Moreno was a healthy scratch from yesterday’s game against Houston, and when McGahee went down with an injury, Ball received the bulk of the work out of the backfield. While Moreno will likely be back in action if McGahee is out this week, Denver still needs to move the ball on the ground to take some of the pressure off Peyton Manning, making Ball an intriguing play this week against a weak Oakland defense.
TE Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings Really, Rudolph should never have been on your league’s waiver wire to begin with. But, if he is still there, snatch him up. He won’t remain anonymous after hauling in two touchdowns against San Francisco, as that tends to draw some attention. He’s also second on the Vikings with 18 targets so far this season, meaning he is going to get the ball.
Check back later this week for more suggestions as we embark on this season’s first bye week.