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DOWN ON MARK INGRAM, PATIENCE FOR MIKE WALLACE

George Kurtz September 10, 2013 3:07PM EST
Week 1 is almost in the books with just two games remaining. Each week we will look back at the games that have been completed and discuss what happened. Now, I’m not talking about who did well and who didn’t; it’s more along the lines of what surprised us and the reactions Fantasy owners should have. One basic rule of thumb is not to overreact to one game. Teams and players are still getting their feet wet. Sure, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant only had four receptions for 22 yards, but that doesn’t mean you should trade him. The Giants game plan was to take Bryant away and they were successful in that regard. But every team the ‘Boys play will employ a different strategy, and you can be assured that then next time a team tries to deny Bryant, Dallas will come up with a way to combat it. That’s life in the NFL, and Fantasy owners need to be patient. Let’s see what else happened around the league.

Peyton Manning proved on Thursday that you definitely don’t need your best fastball to have success. Manning throws plenty of floaters these days, but his accuracy is still top notch. I do worry, however, that by the end of the long season he may have even less zip on his passes. Eric Decker had a bad game, no doubt about it. He dropped a couple of passes, including an easy touchdown. I’m not giving up on him, he will be just fine. If Julius Thomas isn’t the most added player from the waiver wire this week, I will be shocked. He has always had talent but injuries have kept him from showing up on game days.

Jacoby Jones is going to be lost for four to six weeks with a sprained knee. Jones was supposed to start opposite Torrey Smith but those plans are now on hold. If you’re looking for a sleeper target, Marlon Brown will now step into the starting role. The Ravens may have to throw the ball more than usual if their pass defense continues to be as inept as it was on Thursday.

I have already received several queries about whether or not Kenbrell Thompkins should be dropped. While it’s true that he didn’t have a good game, it was only the first game of his career. Yeah, he looked lost out there, made mistakes and didn’t know where he was supposed to be at times, but this isn’t all that unusual for a rookie. The bright side is that he had 14 targets. Zach Sudfeld, however, was a complete dud, receiving only one target and was, for the most part, invisible. The Pats have a quick turnaround this week, as they have the Thursday game, so they may not have enough time to work these problems out. As for Stevan Ridley, yeah, two fumbles, including one when he wasn’t touched. In general, play like that is going to get you planted firmly on the bench. We just found out that Shane Vereen will miss time with a broken wrist. This is good news for Ridley owners, as he may get out of his lease on the doghouse by default.

I wouldn’t want EJ Manuel starting for me in a standard league, but wouldn’t mind him as my second signal caller.

I’m sure we will be fielding questions about Giovani Bernard also, this week. Once again, it was not the greatest of debuts, as it looks like he wasn’t in the Bengals game plan. That will happen; offensive coordinators look at the opposing team’s weaknesses and in this instance they felt that Benjarvus Green-Ellis was the better fit.

Mark Ingram has done nothing to take snaps away from Pierre Thomas. Photo Credit: Football Schedule

Mark Ingram has done nothing to take snaps away from Pierre Thomas. Photo Credit: Football Schedule

Perhaps the Dolphins weren’t kidding when they were talking all summer long about how good Daniel Thomas looked and how he might share carries with Lamar Miller. Miller was horrendous Sunday, as he gained only three yards on 10 carries. Fantasy owners are right to worry. Miller wasn’t all that impressive during the pre-season and that Miami offensive line still leaves plenty to be desired. Miller wasn’t the only problem on offense. New toy, Mike Wallace, had a whopping one reception for 15 yards. Once again, I’m not panicking here, as he was being shadowed by one of the best in the game in Joe Haden. Wallace did have five targets and he will certainly get better. Brian Hartline, much like Miles Austin, was the beneficiary of all the defensive coverage sent Wallace’s way.

Miller wasn’t the only back to have problems Sunday; Mark Ingram was also terrible, rushing for 11 yards on nine carries. Ingram has been a perennial tease, with Fantasy owners believing a back with his talent should do well. Opposing defenses are much more worried about Drew Brees and the passing offense than they are about stopping the rushing attack. Well, it hasn’t worked out that way… yet. What makes matters even worse for Fantasy owners is that Ingram has done next to nothing to stop Pierre Thomas from getting touches.

Not only did the Steelers lose yesterday, they looked inept doing so. The team also lost their best offensive lineman for the season in Maurkice Pouncey. This is a team that has had OL problems for years. It’s a big part of the reason the team switched offensive coordinators last year and hired Todd Haley. Haley prefers the short passing game, which doesn’t require the OL to sustain their blocks for long. This won’t help the running game, but it will protect Ben Roethlisberger…in theory. As for that running game, Le’Veon Bell may return this week, which won’t be a minute to soon, as Isaac Redman had nine yards on eight carries. As mentioned earlier, though, with that OL, Franco Harris would have a tough time finding daylight.

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid players can be at times. Lavonte David literally cost his team the game Sunday with a late hit on Geno Smith. There was no reason to hit him, as he wasn’t trying to gain extra yardage and had to get out of bounds to stop the clock. David allowed Nick Folk to attempt a 48-yard field goal rather than a 63 yarder; of course he made it. There’s one more thing about the Bucs – doesn’t it seem to be just a matter of time until Josh Freeman is replaced at QB? It wasn’t his fault they lost yesterday, but it wouldn’t have been because of him had they won either.

How can Christian Ponder not be a better QB with Adrian Peterson behind him? I mean, really, every receiver is facing one-on-one coverage; it should be just pitch and catch.

Good to see the Lions overcome their tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. Sure, they won yesterday; but they also took 11 penalties for 88 yards. One penalty, on Ndamukong Suh for a low block, negated a Lions touchdown. The NFL has already announced that there will be an additional punishment for Suh, probably a fine, but a suspension is not out of the question. Stop the insanity.

Reggie Bush proved yesterday what we already knew; he is going to put up huge numbers in this offense. What we didn’t know was how valuable Joique Bell would be. Not only did Bell start, but Mikel Leshoure was a healthy scratch. Bell’s Fantasy value is touchdown dependent but he’s still going to be a decent Flex play each week.

Could Terrelle Pryor be the Raiders QB of the future? He wasn’t playing against the best of defenses in xthe Colts, but he was still impressive in his first NFL start. Poor Matt Flynn; first it was Russell Wilson, now Pryor. Pryor’s effectiveness will hopefully make Denarius Moore useful again. It could even open up some running lanes for Darren McFadden.

Jacksonville may very well be the worst team in football. Blaine Gabbert is not the answer at quarterback, but I have no problem with the team giving him one last chance to prove them wrong. It’s not like Chad Henne is the answer either. Assuming this season is a train wreck, they should trade Maurice Jones-Drew while he still has value.

The Chiefs played it close to the vest Sunday, as they didn’t need to do much to beat the Jags. Jamaal Charles showed us why his owners might want to go out and grab Knile Davis. Charles is really good, but he seems to get hurt each week. The thigh injury he suffered was really no big deal, but still, does anyone really believe he’ll play 16 games this season? Joe Staley retaliates, thus off-setting penalties are called. By rule, this means the down counts. What do the refs do? They replay third down, and the 49ers score a touchdown. This just can’t happen. How many officials are on the field? None of them know this rule? What about the guys in the replay booth? They couldn’t buzz down to say, “Hey, you might want to consult the rule book.” Really? Just a joke.

Thank you, James Jones, for having as many receptions as I did yesterday, zero.

What to say about the Cowboy-Giants game? The Cowboys rarely threw the ball deeper than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. Romo had 263 yards passing on 49 attempts. That comes out to 5.4 yards per pass play, which is just not very good. Part of the reason for this could be that the Giants decided to double cover Bryant on just about every play. They weren’t going to let him beat them. This is not a surprise and Miles Austin reaped the benefits. Romo didn’t force the ball to Bryant but rather threw to Austin over and over again. If teams continue to double cover Bryant and Austin stays healthy, he will have a big season.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.

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