This week was something of a low water mark for me in terms of finishing my Grantland previews. I had a bunch of crazy stuff come up mid-week and I only got to eight previews. Two are printed on Grantland and you can read them here. The other six are below.
Arizona at St. Louis
I could really give a crap about this game so I’m going to take my space here to complain about something I do care about – the Fantasy Football Oldtimers. Dear Oldtimers – I get it. You used to have go through the box scores in USA Today in the 90’s, or 80’s or whatever. Congratulations. You’ve been a dork for longer than I have. But enough already. The next time someone tells me how long they’ve been playing fantasy football, I’m going to say “Oh yeah, I’ve been playing since before the printing press was invented. Yeah, we had to have monks update the box scores… wait, no… I’ve been playing since before the adoption of the Arabic numerals… the number zero hadn’t even been invented yet… yeah, we had no way to even conceptualize Felix Jones’ box score!”
Atlanta at Washington
Matt Ryan would be a start this week even if you played in a two team league and you also had Aaron Rodgers on your squad. The Washington defense is three for three in terms of making pretty borderline quarterbacks look like Dan Marino. Here are the yardages that the Redskins have given up to the likes of Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton, and Josh Freeman: 301, 385, 293.
This should also be a great game if you’re an RGIII owner because the Falcons won’t give the Redskins a chance to take the air out of the ball. The final score might look like a West Virginia game when it’s all said and done.
Strong fantasy plays: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Tony Gonzalez
Fair to middling plays: Leonard Hankerson, Michael Turner
Miami at Cincinnati
Brian Hartline has now become an every week start in all of your PPSRD (Point Per Subtly Racist Description) leagues. The scrappy/heady/cerebral/overachieving/workmanlike/crafty/gym-rat receiver should be good for 80 yards, a touchdown, and about eight backhanded compliments during Sunday’s game against the Bengals. The only reason I could see to sit Hartline in that format is if you have a combination of Jordy Nelson, Danny Amendola or Wes Welker and you just don’t have enough roster spots for all of those crafty overachievers who somehow get open through sheer guile.
Strong fantasy plays: Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, A.J. Green
Fair to middling plays: Andrew Hawkins
Tennessee at Minnesota
Chris Johnson’s 150 yards against Houston last week was a garbage time performance that would have made Ricky Davis proud. Not since Davis was throwing rebounds to himself, have we seen such a nonsensical end of game performance. At least when Dwayne Bowe rolls up his garbage time receiving yards, the Chiefs are trying to get back into the game. The Titans letting Johnson run the ball in garbage time last week is akin to the parents who get their kid the personalized baseball card that says “All-Star” when that kid really deserves a participant ribbon.
Strong fantasy plays: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin
Fair to middling plays: Kyle Rudolph, Jared Cook
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Overrated offense, meet overrated defense! On the surface it might look like the Steelers have the same stout defense they’ve always had, except that the Steelers defensive stats are influenced by matchups against Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez. The only legitimate quarterback the Steelers have faced is Peyton Manning and they made him look about as good at the Raider defense made Peyton look. As a sign of the Steelers newly found defensive mediocrity, they’re third in their division in points allowed per game.
Strong fantasy plays: DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick
Fair to middling plays: Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, Antonio Brown
Houston at New York Jets
I would say to sit all your Jets and start all of your Texans, but that would be an insult to your intelligence. I’ll just assume that if you took the time to navigate to this website and you have the ability to read English, that you also probably have an IQ above 76 and you know that you shouldn’t be starting Mark Sanchez in any of your leagues. I mean, I guess I can understand if you play in a 32 team league that doesn’t subtract points for interceptions – that in that case you might think about starting Sanchez as sort of a “What the hell, can’t hurt” move.
Strong fantasy plays: The Texans, The Texan Defense
Fair to middling plays: Shonn Greene… yuck.