It’s Week 3 and as a good advisor I need to remind you there
is an early Sunday game from London. Make sure you are prepared.
Also, despite the hurricanes still in the Caribbean, weather doesn’t
appear to be a factor this Sunday. OK, it might drizzle in Seattle,
but when doesn’t it?
Now let’s get to the heart of my advice.
The emergence of Tarik Cohen and a nagging
shoulder injury are draining Jordan Howard's value.
"Telling the truth is a beautiful act even if the truth
itself is ugly.” Glen Duncan, the Last Werewolf
Ugly truth No. 1. Russell Wilson has,
through two games, been sub par, failing to capitalize on an early
In a previous analysis, Wilson’s Seattle schedule was supposed
to be advantageous over the first five games, but the Seahawks’
quarterback has not made use of it, causing all phases of the
passing offense to disappoint fantasy owners. Wilson ranks 26th
among quarterbacks (14.6 FPts/G) which is barely viable in two-quarterback
leagues. In turn, wideout Doug
Baldwin is averaging just 5.2 FPts/G (54th-best), Tyler
Lockett (3.6, 74th-best) and Jimmy
Graham (0.5, 70th-best). Only Paul
Richardson (6.9) has been better than expected. Wilson still
holds a favorable schedule over the next few games, and given
his current mediocre trade value, you should continue to play
him and hope he returns to form and value.
2) Ugly truth No. 2. Those who were
sure Brian Hoyer’s career would be resurrected by “offensive guru”
and head coach Kyle Shanahan, are staring at some ugly numbers.
He’s 39-of-62 for 292 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions
and 7.1 FPts/G. That’s a 60.7 QB rating. The only good news I
can give you is he’s played two very good defensive teams in Carolina
(with the return of Luke
Kuechly) and Seattle, so perhaps some improvement can be expected,
but it may not be enough to get Pierre
Garcon owners where they hoped to be … top-30.
3) Ugly truth No. 3. Jordan Howard
is not going to repeat 2016 totals.
Chicago Bears rookie running back Tarik
Cohen has taken the wind from the sails of the floundering
S.S. Howard. Through two games, both losses, Howard is averaging
just 2.7 ypc on 22 carries. Meanwhile, with the Bears in “catch
up mode” most of the time, Cohen has been used on 51-percent of
the plays (68-of-131), leading the team in targets (21), receptions
(16) and he’s second to Kendall
Wright in yards (103 vs. 102). Because the team is so thin
at wideout, having already lost Cameron
Meredith and Kevin
White, Cohen figures to continue seeing heavy usage. Howard’s
fantasy owners must hope OC Dowell Loggains finds a way to get
both men on the field at the same time, because if he can’t, it’s
the expensive S.S. Howard that could sink your championship hopes
4) Ugly Truth No. 4. Christian McCaffrey
is definitely in a 50/50 timeshare with Jonathon Stewart.
Those who thought “old soldier” Stewart would just fade into the
sidelines while eighth-overall pick McCaffrey took over workhorse
duties are struggling with the fact that Stewart has 35 touches
and McCaffrey 30. Barring injury, it looks like both backs are
limited to low-end RB2 status.
5) Ugly Truth No. 5. There is a danger
that even when he returns to full health, Odell Beckham Jr. might
not be able to produce as in the past three seasons.
What I saw on Monday night, with Beckham in the lineup (though
about 80%) was horrifying. The New York Giants offensive line
was just that … offensive. Eli Manning looked old and afraid
of taking hits. Their running game is non-existent. Brandon Marshall
couldn’t take advantage of the attention paid to Beckham
on the other side of the field. The Giants have scored one touchdown
in two games, managed just 503 total yards, yielded eight sacks
and a pair of turnovers. Until this team straightens out the offensive
line issues, the offense is going nowhere … including Beckham.
“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they
infect the soul with evil.” Plato, Phaedo
1) Don’t let Le’Veon Bell’s 6.9 FPts/G
through two games infect your soul.
As a Bell owner I’m not frustrated. Hey, he’s still
healthy. In Week 1, I said he’d struggle early based on
how he was used last season after returning from a four-game suspension
(16.7 rushing attempts over the first six-game span versus 26.9
attempts over the next six games). He touched the ball just 13
times in Week 1 but was already up to 31 touches last weekend.
Sure, he didn’t produce much from all those touches, just
91 yards and no touchdowns, but my advice is stay on course. The
best is in front of him and you, if you stick with the plan.
2) Bilal Powell is still a viable fantasy option.
I certainly thought he was all offseason and preseason right up
until last weekend. Unless his ribs are still bothering him, I’m
at a loss for this precipitous drop. He finished 2016 with 556
combined yards and three scores over the final four games. Yet
here we are in Week 3 and last week he saw just 18 snaps (six
rushing attempts, two targets) while Matt Forte saw 27 snaps and
Elijah McGuire 11. As Vince Lombardi bellowed more than once,
"What the hell’s going on out there?!”
3) Traded to New England in 2017,
more than a few experts thought Brandin Cooks could be Tom Brady’s
“next” Randy Moss.
It was a bit of a dream, that Brady-to-Cooks, who averaged 81-1156-8
the past two seasons in New Orleans, could be like Brady-to-Moss
(83-1255-16 from 2007-09). It’s not like Cooks’ old
quarterback was Ryan Leaf, it was future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees. While both guys had small quick receivers across from them,
Cooks has to share targets with Rob Gronkowski while Moss had
Ben Watson. Our preseason ranking had him at No. 10 among receivers
and our “Rest-of-the-Way” is ranking him one spot
lower - No. 11.
4) The struggles in Cincinnati make
A.J. Green an immediate “sell” candidate.
Not unless you want to sell at the lowest possible price! Yes,
the Bengals offense has struggled. Yes, Andy Dalton has looked
bad. But based on their schedule he wasn’t going to get
off to a hot start playing Baltimore and Houston, both top pass
defenses from a year ago. Take a deep breath, sit back and watch
the next two games before making a decision. I promise you, against
Green Bay and Cleveland the next two weekends, Green and the entire
Bengals offense will perk up (OK, they couldn’t really go
much lower could they?). Green is still getting his targets (18
over two games) and his tirade after Game No. 2 assures he’ll
be the focus of the passing game against the Packers.
5) Jay Cutler can’t start for a fantasy
I’m starting to believe this statement to be false. Cutler can
be viable under Adam Gase’s direction. Cutler proved it in the
Dolphins season opener with a respectable 230 yards and a touchdown
in a 19-17 win at the Chargers. Although his 15.4 fantasy points
has him at No. 23 among quarterbacks, call me in three weeks after
he plays the Jets, Saints and Titans’ defenses. DeVante
Parker is developing into a stud right before our eyes and
Landry continues to be the volume underneath guy. They also
Thomas and a running threat in Jay
Ajayi that keeps defenses honest. He’s not going to be elite
option because of this balance, but pick and choose your spots
and Cutler should be able to help you.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.