There’s something to be said for having fantasy players with games on Thursday night on your team. If they do well (see the Cowboys last week), then you’re already ahead before your opponent can even set his lineup on Sunday, and how far you’re ahead might affect the decisions your opponent makes when setting his Sunday lineup. If you’re really ahead, your opponent might start a risky player with a better upside than a safe bet with a high floor. So anybody with a Packer or Bear on their team must have been salivating yesterday before the game. Look at the names! Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley! Even with Greg Jennings scratched, a lot of people (myself included) were really pumped up at the extra looks for Randall Cobb. This was going to be an offensive bonanza!
What we got instead was an entirely different story. The only fantasy players who truly benefitted were the defenses. Even when giving up 23 points, the Bears D put in a nice final line of five sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Green Bay’s D, toward the bottom of the league last year, went nuts on poor Jay Cutler to the tune of seven sacks and four interceptions. That’s 15 points alone in standard leagues before you even get to the 10 points allowed score. Thankfully I didn’t play anybody who had Green Bay’s defense, and you can bet that if the D is lying there in the waiver pool, they’ll get scooped up with the quickness.
Now onto the dreadful offenses. We have to start with the quarterback play. I don’t know about you guys, but I drafted Aaron Rodgers in my two money leagues with the intention of reaping the benefits of his touchdowns. After a career year last year, I expected some regression, but I figured that his floor was too good to pass up. One of my leagues gives 1 point for every 50 passing yards (as opposed to the standard 25 yards), but gives 6 points for every passing TD (as opposed to the standard 4 points), so touchdowns matter. So Rodgers’s stat sheet last night was…how to put this?...depressing. It wasn’t really his fault either. I can’t tell you how many catchable balls I saw his receivers (especially Jermichael Finley) drop. Even without Greg Jennings, this passing offense should have clicked. Rodgers was zipping the passes into tight windows, and the receivers looked like they weren’t even ready for them. Earth to the Pack pass-catchers: the regular season started last week! It’s week 2 now! Wake the hell up!
It did, however, bring a smile to my face to see Jay Cutler manhandled the way he was last night, about as much joy as it brought me watching the Giants do pretty much the same thing to Mr. Cavalari two years ago in prime time. There’s certainly something about Jay Cutler that annoys the hell out of me. Maybe I haven’t gotten over his childish tantrum after Josh McDaniels dared to try and acquire a quarterback he was comfortable with. Maybe it’s the Droopy Dog expression or the general air of superiority when he hasn’t won a damn thing in the NFL yet. I’m sure he’ll blame his offensive line for not holding their blocks enough, but the Packers D was prime, and he wasn’t getting the ball out fast enough, bottom line. So while I don’t feel bad for Cutler, I do feel bad for his owners (my brother included) who were better off starting nobody at QB than Cutler, who netted them negative points. It happens like that sometimes. Shake the dust off and roll again next week. Which Cutler are we going to get this season? The one who posted impressive numbers last week against the Bears, or the cannon fodder for defenses this week? The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between.
Matt Forte owners must be going grey with stress. First, they realized last week that they’re going to be dealing with Michael Bush vulturing goal-line touchdowns all season long, and now they hear the news that Forte’s got a high ankle sprain. I have one of those. You wake up every morning in pain, and I don’t even play professional sports. Forte might not miss any time, but enjoy seeing him on the injury report every single week.
Those who had the cojones to start Cedric Benson this week after last week’s paltry showing were rewarded to the tune of 81 yards on the ground and 35 yards catching passes. It’s nice to see Green Bay has some semblance of a run game.
So much for Brandon Marshall being a sure thing, eh? He wasn’t targeted, but even when he was (in the end zone, no less), he couldn’t come up with the pass. I have no shares of Marshall stock, and I played against him this week (and was scared out of my mind), so thankfully he picked the right time to go quiet. I don’t expect this trend to continue, but Marshall hardly has the floor that say, Calvin Johnson has.
That’s it for my early game reactions this week. See you all Sunday! Good luck, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull!