Friday’s NFL Baba Ghanoush: Peyton Manning, Darren McFadden, Wes Welker and More
Ooh, la la! She is back ladies and gentlemen. The 2013 NFL season is officially underway after an exciting rematch of the 2012 playoffs between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. This time we saw a slightly different outcome that featured an historical evening and several breakout performances.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the latest news in this week’s NFL Baba Ghanoush:
–Peyton Manning has once again answered the meandering questions about his arm strength/age by throwing himself into the record book.. again. Throwing for 462 yards and 7 TDs, he has officially set the bar for himself and the Broncos this season. Look for him to utilize his new found weapons, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas (who you need to pick up, by the way).
Fantasy Implications: Those people who took an early draft pick on Manning are being rewarded already. Look for him to keep up this momentum throughout the season, but do not expect to see this outing every week.
–Wes Welker did not miss a beat after transition from the Patriots to the Broncos. I guess it helps to go from one MVP Quarterback to another. He caught 9-of-11 targets and scored two touchdowns. He did have a special teams mishap by fumbling a punt that ultimately led to a Ravens touchdown, but I’d be hard-pressed to find a Denver fan that is not on the Welker bandwagon (or on the Welker commercial bandwagon) after week one.
Fantasy Implications: I was skeptical to how the wide outs would fair in Denver with so many mouths to feed this season. However, my worries were eased after this performance. Welker and Manning had an uncanny chemistry and Peyton seemed to be looking to Welker as his go-to guy. As long as he is healthy, Welker should have a solid season.
–Jacoby Jones was knocked by his own teammate after trying to get out of the way of a punt early in the game. This was the last thing the Ravens needed with an already depleted aerial game. An explosive and play-making Jones was unable to return and could be out for an extended period with a sprained right knee.
Fantasy Implications: Uh oh, Joe Flacco. First you lose Anquan Boldin, next Dennis Pitta, and now Jacoby Jones. This does not look good for the Ravens moving forward. It will mean a much heavier reliance on Ray Rice and Torrey Smith. This could be a rough season for the Raven’s offense.
–Santonio Holmes is expected to be active for Sunday’s game against the Bucs. The Jets are in need of some offensive spark and even though Holmes is active I would not expect to see a big game from him.
Fantasy Implications: It is good news that Holmes will see playing time Sunday, but there is very little upside. He will likely be going up against his form teammate and arguably the best corner in the league, Darrelle Revis. Look for a quiet game from Holmes and all of the Jets.
–Blaine Gabbert hurt his thumb early in the preseason and has had a limited role since then. Reports are that there is about a 60% chance that he will play Sunday. If the Jags are without their starting quarterback look for it to be a long game in Jacksonville.
Fantasy Implications: Blaine Gabbert is not likely to be on many of your fantasy teams. However, his wide receiver Cecil Shorts could very well be. If Gabbert is out, do not expect much from Shorts. On the other hand, if Gabbert sits, expect a big game from MJD.
–Jordy Nelson is completely fine and a full go against the 49ers this week. He sat out the entire preseason due to a knee surgery, but is back at practice in full and will start in week one.
Fantasy Implications: Nelson is being over-looked and could get you WR1 production out of the WR2 or WR3 spot this week. The 49ers are a tough defense, but they aren’t elite against the pass.
You better start me:
Darren McFadden: That’s right I said it! Darren McFadden! Run DMC will have a monster game against one of 2012’s worst rushing defenses. Coming into the game healthy (at least DMC kind of healthy) the Raiders will look to feature their all-star early and often.
You better stay away:
Roddy White: Although this will be a shootout Sunday against the Saints, I am not expecting a monster performance from the 31 year old WR who is coming off an ankle injury. With the addition of Steven Jackson the Falcons will look to maintain more of a balance than they did in 2012. Look for White to underperform his current projections.