History is made every week, every year, every decade in the National Football League and it is with that knowledge that I am happy to bring you Historically Speaking for Week Two!
Now you’ll want to bear in mind due to many factors, teams change year after year. Just because it happened last season or back in 2009 doesn’t necessarily mean that is what you’ll see in 2012. The insertion of new players via the NFL Draft, free agency or trades can have either a positive or negative impact on all involved. For instance, adding a high profile #1 wide receiver could very well have an impact on the incumbent second tier receiver. You may very well see this in Tampa Bay with WR’s Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. In my opinion, Williams will benefit greatly with a big, high-profile, attention grabbing talent in Jackson on the field. Also, an increase or decrease in quarterback talent will have a huge impact. For instance, QB Peyton Manning in Denver this season and the effect his absence had on Indianapolis in 2011. Even quieter moves, ones off the fantasy radar like additions or subtractions to offensive or defensive lines can have a dramatic effect on the fantasy game.
That said, it is interesting to look back a season or more and see how things panned out while at the same time giving fantasy owners something to think about just before clicking “SUBMIT ROSTER”.
Let’s open the book for Week Two!
Coming off an impressive week one victory over divisional rival and Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has the pleasure of playing a team that he’s had a decent amount of success against in the past. In 2009, Romo threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, while last season he passed for 279 yards and another two scores. The Seattle defense is vastly improved in 2012, but with all his weapons healthy and at his disposal, Romo is in all likelihood looking at another quality outing this weekend.
New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez had himself a solid week one, but the going will get much more difficult in Week Two as the Jets face off in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. The last time Sanchez went up against the Steelers, he managed a robust 170 yards through the air and no passing touchdowns. He did run one in, kind of like his new teammate Tim Tebow. Actually that scoring line is too much like his new teammate Tim Tebow. Yikes. Either way, my guess is the Sanchez carriage turns back into a pumpkin this week.
Going way back in the archives, the last time QB Peyton Manning faced the Falcons was in 2007 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. In that game, Manning threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He’s got a new start with a new team, and if you consider his week one performance against the Steelers, I would look for similar numbers against the Falcons without question. Welcome back, Peyton!
Taking a look at the running backs, you have to be excited about the match up Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles has against the Buffalo Bills. Back in 2009 Charles gained 64 yards and scored a touchdown. In 2010 he cranked it up a notch against the Bills, averaging 137 total yards and scoring yet another touchdown. Charles seems to be completely recovered from last years ACL injury, so look for him to be in line for another quality performance.
The knock on St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson is his lack of touchdown production. Week one didn’t do much to dispel that feeling in fantasy owners as he finished with 84 total yards and a big void in the TD department. However, I have a strange feeling that changes in week two as the Washington Redskins come to town. When these two teams battled last season, Jackson gained 64 total yards and yes, scored that elusive touchdown. I would look for Jackson to come closer to his 2009 yardage total of over 100 yards and add the touchdown. Dare to dream, right?
If you are looking for some production from any of the Arizona Cardinals running backs this week against the New England Patriots, I’d temper your enthusiasm. These two teams squared off back in 2008 and in that game, no Arizona RB managed to gain over 20 yards on the ground. The faces have changed somewhat, but with an improved New England defense that held Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson to a few more yards rushing than I had this past week…. Just in case you were wondering, Andre Roberts leads the team in rushing yards this season with 15. Yep, that Andre Roberts, the wide receiver. Good Lord.
I’ll bang this one out with a modicum of hilarity. The last time Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice played the Philadelphia Eagles was back in 2008. On that day, Rice carried the ball eight times for an awe-inspiring 7 yards. Now I wouldn’t worry too much as 2008 was Rice’s rookie season in the NFL. I mean it’s not like he’ll become the consensus #1 overall fantasy pick a few years later or something… Yes indeed, the Rutgers product has come quite a long way.
So you watched the game or at the very least watched the ticker in amazement as it seemed as though Titans RB Chris Johnson was running backwards. It wasn’t exactly a banner day for him or his fantasy owners to say the least as he finished with a robust 4 yards on 11 carries. However if history is an indication, Johnson could be in for a much better week as the Titans head to San Diego to face the San Diego Chargers. In 2009, Johnson carried the ball 21 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. In 2010, he gained a total of 83 yards and scored yet another touchdown. At its best, Johnson will compile similar numbers – at its worst, he has to better last week’s disastrous outcome.
Before all you Kendall Hunter lovers out there send San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore out to pasture, let’s see if Frank can keep it going against the Detroit Lions. In 2009, Gore carried the ball for 71 yards and a touchdown and added four receptions for 81 more yards. This past season, he rushed for 141 on fifteen carries and again hit pay dirt. The planets seem to be aligned for Gore in this match up so don’t fight it people, just start him and enjoy.
Not sure how mush history comes into play with Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner against the Denver Broncos, as he lasted faced them in 2008 with a much different team than you see in 2012. That said, it will be interesting to see how Turner performs when all is said and done. In 2008, he gained 81 yards on the ground and punched in two touchdowns. With the new balanced attack, it’s entirely possible.
The contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks might be a solid one for running backs, if you look at their game last season. Cowboys RB Demarco Murray and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch combined for 329 yards and a touchdown. Lynch did the damage in the end zone, but look for Murray to join him this week. Should be a solid game from both for sure.
Looking at the wide receivers, I’ll start with the head-shaking side of things. Surprisingly one player is Kansas City Chiefs standout WR Dwyane Bowe. Looking at the match up against Buffalo, you would think Bowe would thrive. Well he did manage a touchdown in 2010, but only three receptions for 16 yards overall. The touchdown was a life line, but the 16 yards is a little disconcerting. Even more was his performance last season. Bowe got them out of their seats, grabbing two passes for 17 yards. From the looks of things there should be improvement, but history says something entirely different. On the other side of the field, Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson has been a consistent performer over the past few seasons against the Chiefs, averaging over 50 yards receiving and a touchdown since 2009.
Now let’s preface this by saying History is not always kind. Even the most heralded sometime have their moment of shame, their moment of disappointment. Yes, I am being sarcastically dramatic. Consider this more of a COME ON, NOW moment. However, if you disagree with me, you are either lying, delusional, or in a bizarro yardage-only league. In his last two games against the 49ers, Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson has put up yardage stats like you’d expect. He’s delivered quality outings with 96 receiving yards in 2009 and 113 yards in 2011. However despite these numbers, one thing sticks out like a sore hamstring. Zero touchdowns. Let’s see if he tosses this trend out the window on Sunday night.
The hilarity I employed with Rice and his rookie season I am not quite sure I can use the same line of thinking here. In 2008, Philadelphia Eagles WR Desean Jackson caught five passes for 47 yards and was held without a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens. Now if you consider that he was a rookie, his stat line is not all that terrible. The fact that I sadly expect a duplication of this 2008 performance in 2012 is. Truth is he will have to be involved and successful for the Eagles to soar at home to a victory. We shall see. Another wide receiver I hope bucks the trend is Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin. Last season against the Seahawks he managed only two receptions for 53 yards. With his past injury woes seemingly behind him, I hope he comes closer to his 2009 performance of 72 combined yards and a touchdown reception.
You will recall I mentioned above how an upgrade or downgrade at a position can affect a team and the fantasy viability of their various skill players. Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith is a perfect example. In 2010, the talented Smith was basically rendered an afterthought. In his two games against the New Orleans Saints, Smith averaged just over one reception and 10 yards receiving with no touchdowns. Enter rookie sensation QB Cam Newton. The change instantly vaulted Smith back into prominence and back into the hearts of fantasy owners who drafted a late round steal. Against the Saints in 2011, Smith averaged over 80 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns. Speaking of the Saints, look for WR Marques Colston to make some noise if his foot injury isn’t an issue. In 2011, Colston averaged over 100 yards and scored a touchdown last season against the Panthers.
To close out the receivers this is a testament as to what can happen when Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson is actually in the lineup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a testament to when he is in the lineup, period. Now follow me here. Last season, Johnson missed the week 8 match up then was limited against them in week 12. In that game he was a non-factor with 22 yards receiving. In 2010 he missed the Week 17 matchup, but when Houston played Jacksonville in Week 10, a healthy Andre Johnson delighted with 9 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. To truly be a viable fantasy asset, you have to display consistency and the ability to stay in the lineup. Despite failing in both categories, Johnson is continually mentioned in upper echelon of receivers. No, I don’t get it either.
At the tight end position, a few names of note. Last season against the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham put up two quality performances, averaging over 60 receiving yards and scoring a touchdown in each game. Look for San Diego Charger TE Antonio Gates to continue to dominate the Tennessee Titans. In 2009 he grabbed three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and then in 2010 Gates caught five passes for 123 yards and another touchdown.
Two closing tidbits – not surprisingly, New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham has done some damage against the Panthers, averaging just under 90 yards and a touchdown over the past two seasons. In his last three games against the Rams, Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis has yet to gain over 35 yards let alone score a touchdown.
See you next week as we add more pages to the book!
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