Under the Numbers: Week 3
Alessandro Miglio
September 18, 2012
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I told you not to blow your wad on Kevin Ogletree. The fifth option in Dallas followed up his huge first week with one catch and 26 yards.

Week 2 has come and gone. Here are some of the more compelling statistics from it and beyond.

1. Carson Palmer: 24/48, 373 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception at Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins were tough at home, but Palmer had a rather good fantasy day despite throwing just one touchdown.

His Week 2 yardage is second only to Eli Manning’s. Denarius Moore’s return helped, as did the emergence of tight end Brandon Myers. The inability to run the ball for the second week in a row contributed a bit.

2. Pierre Thomas: 9 carries, 110 yards; 4 receptions, 33 yards

Mark Ingram got the only touchdown in the Saints’ backfield, all three members of which had fine fantasy days, but Thomas is the most forgotten back of the three. He is also the most complete.

Darren Sproles is the pass-catching phenom while Mark Ingram is the hammer. Thomas can be a hammer too, but he is good in the passing game as well.

He remains the least-owned fantasy back in that backfield despite the most potential. Can you trust him?

3. Brent Celek: 8 receptions, 157 yards vs. Baltimore Ravens

He can block. He can catch. He can hurdle safeties in a single bound.

He is no bird, plane or Superman—well, actually he is an Eagle—but Brent Celek could be your fantasy savior at tight end. Clay Harbor vultured a touchdown away from Celek in Week 1, but the big tight end went nuts against the Ravens.

It is only a matter of time before he puts together a monster fantasy day or two.

4. Donnie Avery and Brian Hartline: 9 receptions, 111 yards vs. Minnesota Vikings vs. Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, respectively

The twin lines come from players in quite different situations.

Avery currently resides as the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart in Indianapolis. That can change any day now with Austin Collie making his way back onto the field.

Hartline, meanwhile, has regained his spot atop Miami’s receiver depth chart. Barring injury—an ever-present threat for Hartline more so than others—he will stay there and get the most opportunity to score fantasy points on a weekly basis.

5. Andre Brown: 13 carries, 71 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 receptions, 19 yards vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is a highly interesting development in New York, and not the kind that Donald Trump erects along the Hudson.

David Wilson earned himself a spot in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse in Week 1 after an early fumble. He appears to have booked an extended stay there considering the events that transpired in Week 2.

Ahmad Bradshaw was knocked out of the game with an apparent neck injury. Instead of Wilson taking the load, Andre Brown came in and accumulated 90 total yards to go with his touchdown. Wilson barely played.

If Bradshaw misses time, Brown could be a great spot starter.

6. Shaun Draughn: 11 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD

Jamaal Charles has a balky knee. Everyone panic!

Alright, so the injury is minor and Romeo Crennel pulled him out of the game because Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn were performing “well.” The problem here—at least for fantasy owners—is that the Chiefs are obviously protecting Charles. Not only will they pull him at any sign of discomfort, they can rest easy knowing Draughn will come in and do his best impression of Charles.

7. Darren McFadden: 26 carries, 54 yards

Have the alarm bells begun ringing for McFadden yet?

These are his rushing totals through the first two weeks of the season. He is barely averaging two yards per carry as the Raiders have not been able to establish the run whatsoever.

Some of that can be attributed to the Chargers and Dolphins defenses, both of which look stout against the run. (The Dolphins allowed two touchdowns to Arian Foster in Week 1, but he averaged just 3.0 YPC and scored both touchdowns after bad turnovers by the Miami offense.)

8. Cincinnati Bengals Defense: 617 passing yards, 4 touchdowns

These numbers are not the worst in the league—take a gander at Tampa Bay’s passing defense numbers thanks to Eli’s 510 yards this week—but they are particularly bad for two reasons: Joe Flacco and Brandon Weeden. That they have not intercepted a pass is also troubling.

They get Robert Griffin III next before providing some medicine for Blaine Gabbert and possibly Ryan Tannehill.

9.  Lamar Miller: 10 carries, 65 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Oakland Raiders

Lost in the hoopla around Reggie Bush going super nova at Sun Life Stadium are the numbers from his backup that day, Lamar Miller.

He did much of his damage when the Raiders were on their heels, but Miller had a good fantasy day in its own right. This does not make him a viable fantasy player just yet—Daniel Thomas and Miami’s possible stubbornness could short-circuit Miller’s surge to the No. 2 position.

But they wouldn’t be that stupid, right? Right?

10. Cedric Benson: 20 carries, 81 yards; 4 receptions, 35 yards vs. Chicago Bears         

The skies were falling in Green Bay after Benson’s woeful performance against the stingy 49ers defense. Mike McCarthy was lamenting Benson’s 2.0 YPC and the scary Bears were coming to town.

We got to see what Benson can bring to the table this week, sans touchdown at any rate. His 4.1 YPC was not  Not only can Benson pound defenses for the Packers, something they have been lacking since Ryan Grant was healthy, but apparently he can catch passes. This is behavior rarely recorded for Benson in the wild.

11. Danny Amendola: 15 receptions, 160 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Washington Redskins

It appears we have a favorite receiver in St. Louis.

That Amendola would be Bradford’s favorite receiver is unsurprising, but his offensive explosion was a pleasant surprise. Of course, if you had him in your lineup you are either in a deep league or you are Biff from Back to the Future 2 with an almanac for 2012. (That would mean you’ve traveled back a whole three years from when the movie took place, congratulations.)

12. Matt Cassel: 44/75, 559 yards, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions

This does not seem particularly impressive considering Eli Manning was just 49 yards shy of this line in one game.

Garbage time comes early for Kansas City, and Cassel has done a pretty good job driving the garbage truck.

13. Julian Edelman: 5 receptions, 56 yards vs. Arizona Cardinals

It was a forgettable New England Sunday as the Patriots lost Aaron Hernandez to injury and the game to the Cardinals.

With Hernandez possibly gone into mid-October, who will pick up the slack? Wes Welker figures to be the biggest beneficiary, but Julian Edelman actually had more offensive snaps than Welker in Week 2—75 to 63.

The Patriots would not be silly enough to limit Welker’s snaps because of a potential future contract brouhaha; there is something else going on there.

Police Plodder

Here are some bonus statistics from Week 2:

Shonn Greene: 11 carries, 21 yards at Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week we talked about how Greene’s fine fantasy day was a mirage. Not that the Steelers on the road are a particularly palatable matchup, nor is a pseudo-concussion.

Greene gets the Dolphins defense next. They only lead the league in YAC-against at 2.2 after facing Arian Foster and Darren McFadden in the first two weeks.

Chris Johnson: 8 carries, 17 yards; 2 receptions, 11 yards at San Diego Chargers

The good news: Johnson improved from 0.4 YPC to 2.1 in Week 2. The bad news: well, you know.

Johnson is not really a “plodder,” but his offensive line has turned him into one. Thus far in two games Johnson’s yards before contact sits at -0.1. He gets hit behind the line on average.

Michael Turner: 17 carries, 42 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Denver Broncos

An early touchdown salvaged Turner’s fantasy day, and it looks like the Falcons will ride Turner until his legs fall off. That makes him a viable flex play on a weekly basis, but he is liable to put up Shonn Greene-like numbers on any given Sunday/Thursday/Monday/Saturday.

Mark Ingram: 16 carries, 53 yards, 1 touchdown at Carolina Panthers

Much like Turner, Ingram’s touchdown saved is fantasy day. Unlike Turner, Ingram actually has some upside.

Unfortunately, he is the third-best running back in his own backfield. Pierre Thomas has proven time and again to be a better, more complete back than Ingram—presumably the Saints do not play him more to keep him healthy—and Darren Sproles is far more dynamic.

There will be days like this for Ingram, but there will be more like his first game against the Redskins, when he toted the rock just six times for 15 yards.

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