Week 1 Observations

I don't want to read too much into Week 1 as there's so much variance in 60 minutes of football, and teams are still just getting in sync. In fact, you might be better off approaching Week 2 as if Week 1 never happened. That said, there are a few things that struck me.

  • There's no quarterback who should even have been drafted in the same round as Drew Brees. Brees is the Steve Nash (in his prime) of the NFL, and Sean Payton is Mike D'Antoni. You can also start any Saints receiver with the reasonable expectation of a touchdown catch. And Jeremy Shockey could be a top-5 TE for as long as he's healthy. Pierre Thomas when healthy should be Shawn Marion - a decent player who could be a monster in that system. There's no Amar'e Stoudemire as none of the Saints skill players besides Brees is anything special.

  • Maurice Jones-Drew got all the carries Sunday - maybe he really will be the 300-carry, 50-catch guy that merited his No. 2 ADP.

  • Jones-Drew's solid game notwithstanding, Adrian Peterson is on another planet from the rest of the first-round running backs.

  • Willis McGahee is not washed up and will be in the mix for as long as he stays healthy, and Le'Ron McClain will vulture some goal-line carries.

  • LenDale White and Larry Johnson both slimmed down and look a lot quicker. Nevermind their meager stats as both faced terrible match-ups in Week 1.

  • Ahmad Bradshaw will see just as significant a role as Derrick Ward did for the Giants last year.

  • Jake Delhomme is the Brad Lidge of quarterbacks - still shellshocked from last year's playoffs, and capable of huge swings in performance.

  • This is why I was touting Tim Hightower so highly in PPR leagues (12 for 121). Seriously, it might not be a complete fluke if teams blanket Fitzgerald all year and leave the flat open.

  • Joe Flacco could be a Pro Bowl-level quarterback this year if the defense takes a step back. Of course, he'll never actually make the Pro Bowl with Manning, Brady, Rivers and Roethlisberger in his conference.

  • Brodie Croyle, who had a good camp, played very well in Baltimore. You have to wonder if the Chiefs are already regretting the Matt Cassel trade/signing.

  • Tony Romo can sling the ball downfield, with or without T.O. It remains to be seen whether Roy Williams emerges as a true No. 1, or Dallas spreads it around more or less unpredictably week to week.

  • Brady Quinn averaged less than 10 yards per completion and six per attempt. Braylon Edwards had just five targets - he should be getting closer to 10, though he did have a long TD called back. I'd prefer Derek Anderson to Quinn, but it's just one game, so I'll withhold judgment for now.

  • Tight end is incredibly deep this year with the usual suspects (Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Chris Cooley, Kellen Winslow) and rising stars (Dustin Keller - 94 yards, John Carlson - 95 yards, 2 TD, Zach Miller and Greg Olsen) as well as solid options like Visanthe Shiancoe, Kevin Boss, Brent Celek, Owen Daniels and Heath Miller. And it looks like Todd Heap and Shockey are back from the dead - at least for now.

  • Cadillac Williams had 13 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, but I'd still rather have Derrick Ward (12 carries, 62 yards, TD, two catches for 21 yards) as Williams is still a major risk to get hurt or wear down.

  • Leon Washington's 15 carries and four catches bode very well, as does Mark Sanchez's strong showing. Thomas Jones should still be the primary between the tackles guy - but he and not Washington could lose carries to Shonn Greene eventually. It remains to be seen how effective Washington will be when taking 20 hits a game instead of 10.

  • Most of the top backs did very little Sunday from Steven Jackson to DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, Brandon Jacobs, Matt Forte, Brian Westbrook, Frank Gore and Steve Slaton. Gore had two TDs, but he had very little room to run, and he's never been a reliable source of touchdowns before. Give it 2-3 more weeks before you panic, but at least three of these guys will disappoint you severely.

  • Comments

    By: Scott Pianowski
    On: 9/14/2009 1:16:00 PM
    I thought Croyle played well *late.* For the first 30-35 minutes, they couldn't do a thing.

    The thing people don't realize about Leon Washington is that he can run the entire playbook, inside and out. He's not a satellite player. He's someone they've grossly underused for a very long time, and it's always frustrating to see teams misjudge their talent.
    By: Bernie Pleskoff
    On: 9/14/2009 1:26:00 PM
    I remember it like it was yesterday. 2007 draft. The Browns are on the clock and Adrian Peterson is sitting there. Then it happened -----Joe Thomas. My worst fears realized. Again. (See Tim Couch---Ouch) I love Joe Thomas and linemen are crucial, but...Adrian Peterson! How many times do you get a crack at that? If I remember correctly, 6 teams blew it. My Browns were one. Guys like that change games. Period!--Bernie
    By: jtr5708
    On: 9/14/2009 1:40:00 PM
    Liss, I'm glad to see that you are still predicting big things from Pierre Thomas. I know it is way too premature to worry about one big game from Mike Bell against the worst team in the league. I am heavily invested in PT this year and I can't help but worry about a timeshare with Bell. What would you predct as far as the carry situation between the two when PT is healthy?

    Hey Bernie! Great to see you on the football side of things. The only team I am willing to give a pass to for not taking AP is the Lions (remarkably). Calvin Johnson is proving to be a complete and utter monster who can dominate an entire game. All Day AP has a great supporting cast and I can only imagine what kind of numbers Megatron would put up if he had more complementary parts around him. That said, I am ecstatic that they are both so young and hopefully have long careers ahead of them.
    By: jtr5708
    On: 9/14/2009 1:50:00 PM
    That's not to say I'd definitely take Megatron over AP, though I would think about it. I just think that CJ has a chance to be Randy Moss-like for a long time. Plus at the RB spot I worry about mileage and injuries more than at WR.
    By: Mark Stopa
    On: 9/14/2009 2:20:00 PM
    I sort of agree about the Saints, but they were at home and the Lions are a *historically* bad defense. Last year they gave up 8.8 YPA. They made every QB, for the entire season, look like Peyton Manning in his 49-TD season and Kurt Warner in his Rams heyday (as those are the only two active QBs who have ever averaged 8.8 YPA for an entire season). So I sort of think there's a chance people will overreact to the Saints based on one game. Bell will definitely be overrated now - that's Thomas' job, and even if it weren't, he won't get to face the Lions every week.
    By: Nether
    On: 9/14/2009 2:36:00 PM

    As a life long Browns fan, and more importantly a fan of football, I was glad that we didn't draft AP. With his injury history, it was asking for bad things if the Browns grabbed him. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have contracted staph infection at some point in time over the past two years. At the time of the draft I thought at best on the Browns AP could have been Larry Johnson (remember at the time LJ was entering in the good year and a half he had) and more likely becoming Kijana Carter.
    By: nayfel
    On: 9/14/2009 2:39:00 PM
    Stopa- that is one incredible stat.
    By: Bernie Pleskoff
    On: 9/14/2009 5:41:00 PM
    Nether-I remember the injuries as the reason teams backed off him. You gave me a good laugh and I appreciate it. But you're right-he would have been in Cleveland Clinic with a staph infection or some other career ending issue. Yesterday was very tough to listen to my friend. It was a game the Browns should have won easily. I went 0-3 with the Browns, Ohio State and the Arizona Cardinals. Yikes!--Bernie
    By: jintman
    On: 9/14/2009 6:30:00 PM
    Hey Chris,Giants D looked great. DL rotation worked well. How much was Great D and how much was bad WAS Offence?
    By: Mark Stopa
    On: 9/14/2009 8:59:00 PM
    Saying you'd rather have Ward than Cadillac is fine, but not when you factor in their acquisition costs.
    By: Erickson
    On: 9/14/2009 9:55:00 PM
    But acquisition cost doesn't matter any longer, at least not in a non-keeper league. Right now it's a matter of which back are you going to trade for? I'd still trade for Ward first.
    By: Mark Stopa
    On: 9/14/2009 10:23:00 PM
    Well, Chris said he'd "still" rather have Ward. Maybe Ward is more valuable today. But guys who drafted Cadillac (in a late round) are sitting much better right now than guys who drafted Ward (with an early pick).
    By: Chris Liss
    On: 9/14/2009 10:45:00 PM
    There was nothing wrong with drafting Ward in the sixth round two weeks ago - Cadillac looks like a decent flyer after one week, but so do a bunch of other guys - Robert Meachem, Dustin Keller, John Carlson, Jeremy Shockey. So as Jeff says, whether you got Cadillac or some other promising late round pick, it's not really relevant to who you'd rather have going forward on the Bucs.
    By: Chris Liss
    On: 9/14/2009 10:46:00 PM
    I also think the Giants D looked great. Just have to keep those guys reasonably healthy. As for Bell/Thomas, I think Thomas will get most of the carries - the only worry is that Bell sees some at the goal line, but even then is there any evidence that Bell is particularly good at that role?
    By: Mark Stopa
    On: 9/15/2009 5:42:00 AM
    If you're in a deep league and need an every-week starter at RB, I prefer Ward. He's safer. But if you're in a shallow league and have Ward or Cadillac on your bench, I'm not so sure.
    By: Erik Siegrist
    On: 9/15/2009 7:26:00 AM
    The problem is, we don't have a book on Raheem Morris. Is he a "ride the hot hand" kind of coach (in which case, Cadillac is looking very good unless/until he breaks down again)? Or is he a "keep everyone involved" kind of coach (in which case I'd almost be tempted to start Earnest Graham as a flex play next week in a deeper league)?

    Any Tampa RB is going to be a risky play for a couple of weeks until we get some idea of his tendencies.

    On a side note, how long until we start calling Tampa's coach Radio Raheem?
    By: Charlie Zegers
    On: 9/15/2009 7:34:00 AM
    Pretty sure "Radio Raheem" just became his official nickname. Well done, Erik.
    By: kennruby
    On: 9/15/2009 1:11:00 PM
    Put some extra MF-moosarella on that nickname.

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