This is going to be a good football weekend. First, let me say that it was about time the NFL knuckled down and finished the deal with the regular referees. The speed at which they got this done confirms in my mind that there is no reason they couldn’t have done this before the season if they had prioritized it. I am familiar with negotiations so I get that it is a long process, and I’m sure there was needed jockeying back and forth, but it says something when it takes 2 days after an impacting call that literally decided a game to finish a deal.
Anyway, I am excited for 2 reasons for this week’s football slate. First, my Browns enjoy their only prime time game of the season this week with our biggest rivals. Sure, I think we’ll lose to the Ravens, but I always get an extra bit of energy from the game and this time the whole country will be watching. We have managed to be in every game so far so I don’t expect blowout. Second, I leave tomorrow for Morgantown for West Virginia’s homecoming game and their first Big 12 conference game against Baylor. For as big a WVU fan as I am, I have no idea what Morgantown, the campus, the stadium or the atmosphere of gameday looks like. The last time I was there I was 1 or 2 so I have no memory of it. One thing about our move to the Big 12 is that I have no idea what to expect. With the Big East, I always knew what games I needed to watch, and which ones I could skip and just check the final score. It became insanely boring, but with the Big 12 there is a great excitement. Who will we begin rivalries with? Will Iowa State be a tough opponent year-to-year? Will Geno Smith continue to look like a Heisman candidate with tougher opponents? It should be a great weekend of fun.
That being said, let’s get to this week’s picks. Remember, this is the first week of byes with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis sitting so articles like this gain more importance as you look for fill-ins for starters who won’t be playing.
Alex Smith: The Jets lost Darelle Revis for the season last week. Their answer? Oh….backup RB Joe McNight is gonna play some CB. This defense too a huge hit in losing Revis.
Christian Ponder: Ponder is actually starting to look like an NFL QB, and the Lions defense is not very good. They just got shredded by Jake Locker.
Bonus: I’m throwing out a bonus QB selection this week. This is contingent upon Matt Stafford sitting, but if he does feel free to slide Shaun Hill into your lineup. There will be a slight dropoff from Stafford, but he should still be startable.
Ryan Williams: For owners who stuck with Williams, this is the week you will be rewarded. He finally had a decent showing against the Eagles and Beane Wells will be out for at least a month and a half. Couple this with a nice matchup against Miami and he should be a good play.
Ben Tate: It will be difficult for Tate owners to know when to start him and sit him as long as Arian Foster is healthy. I expect Houston to go up early this week, leaving lot of garbage time running for Tate. The Titans defense should be generous vs the run this week to say the least.
Stevan Ridley: I think last week was a bump in the road for Ridley, and he should get back on track vs the Bills. If he gets the same touches as last week though, I might not be buying the “gameplan” defense for last week.
Torrey Smith: Same as the reasoning for placing Stevie Johnson here last week, the Browns secondary has struggled without Joe Haden. The trickle down makes whatever number 1 receiver facing the Browns a start.
Percy Harvin: How is he only projected for 8 points this week against the Lions? I’m expecting more than that including his first offensive TD of the season.
Vincent Jackson: He’s been very much all or nothing so far this season. Owners might be hesitant to start him after a 2 point output last week, but if he follows his every other week patter he should be due for a good game. If the Bucs can’t throw on Washington and Jackson can’t produce against the most generous defense for WRs then it might be time to worry.
Kyle Rudolph: If you can’t tell I’m all in on the Vikings passing game this week.
Owen Daniels: Daniels has quietly been very good this year and should get targeted a lot this week against a bad Titans defense.
49ers D/ST: The real life great defense in San Francisco has yet to make much of a fantasy impact, but I think this is the week they make it worth a start against the Jets.
Cam Newton: Averaging 2 turnovers per game and facing a fast defense on the road in Atlanta…no thanks. Even his legs aren’t enticing me to play him this week.
Jake Locker: He was phenomenal last week. Snap back to reality, he’s got San Fran this week.
Ahmad Bradshaw/Andre Brown: Bradshaw is back and is expected to start this week. Brown will still play. I’m not sure how this looks for the weeks ahead, but this week against the Eagles I don’t think either break off.
Steven Jackson: Seattle is another defense to be nervous about if your RB is facing them. Benson made it worthwhile last week by scoring a TD, but Jackson is coming off an injury.
Shonn Greene: Bilal Powell has looked much better. Greene’s days of being startable because there was noone to challenge for carries is over. His stock is starting to slip. Oh yeah, and he faces the 49ers…..ugh.
Steve Smith: It makes sense that if I think Newton will struggle, his WR1 would also struggle. Smith has yet to break into the endzone, making the yardage important. I just don’t think he goes for over 100 this week.
Kenny Britt: Britt looked decent last week and there have been nothing but positive reports on the surgically repaired knee, but I think it’ll be one more week before we start seeing Britt making an impact for fantasy owners.
Brent Celek: Most of his production comes from his crazy week 2 performance. It’s just not real people.
Jermichael Finley: The one position New Orleans actually defends well? Tight End…. They are the best defense against TEs and with with Rodgers struggling so far this season, I think Finley is the one left out this week.
Bears D/ST: The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense to be bottled up two weeks in a row.
Last Week’s Results: Season totals in parentheses
Starts: 8-3, .727 (16-17, .484)
Rober Griffin III: 26pts = W, Ben Roethlisberger: 39pts = W, Alfred Morris: 13 pts = W, Trent Richardson: 10pts = W, Peyton Hillis: 1pt (injured) = L, Steve Johnson: 12 pts = W, Brandon LaFell: 2pts = L, Wes Welker: 14pts = W, Martellus Bennett: 13pts = W, Brandon Pettigrew: 4pts = L, Arizona D/ST: 21pts = W
Sits: 8-3, .727 (22-11, .666)
Peyton Manning: 25pts = L, Phillip Rivers: 2pts = W, Chris Johnson: 2pts =W, Beanie Wells: 1pt = W, Darren McFadden: 17pts = L, Brian Hartline: 4pts = W, Percy Harvin: 8pts = W, DeSean Jackson: 4pts = W, Jacob Tamme: 3pts = W, Brent Celek: 3pts = W, Giants D/ST: 15pts = L
That brings my season total to 38-28 (.575).