Robert Griffin III could be the real deal
We're going to cover fantasy football all season long here at Bird's Nest by answering five questions every week about various fantasy-related topics. Let's roll.
1. Can Robert Griffin III keep it up? Eagles fans have to be sweating a bit after the Redskins' rookie signal-caller went wild in the Big Easy. We can't put too much stock in one performance but it's hard not to be blown away by what RG3 did to the Saints (in New Orleans, no less). He looked like, well, a real live NFL quarterback. By the time he was done, Griffin had completed 19-of-26 passes for 320 yards and two TDs, and added another 42 yards on the ground. The hype machine could pick up momentum and passengers this week, too, when the Skins face the Rams. (Also known as: "The team that traded with us so we could take RG3.") After that, it's the home opener against the Bengals.
So, yeah, for now there are plenty of reasons to be bullish on Griffin. Just remember this, though: Washington started 3-1 a year ago. When the dust settled, they were 5-11. It's probably worth keeping this in perspective -- RG3 is a great story but he's also a rookie. There's a long way to go.
2. Pick one: Brandon Marshall or Matt Forte against the Packers on Thursday? This is tough because if Week 1 is any indication, Green Bay's defense will again be its biggest liability. The unit struggled against the 49ers Sunday and Alex Smith -- the waking embodiment of a game manager -- completed 76 percent of his throws for 211 yards and two TDs. So maybe that has you leaning towards Marshall, who is reunited with Jay Cutler. The two promptly went off against the Colts (Cutler had 333 passing yards, Marshall had 119 receiving yards on nine catches). Then you see that San Francisco's Frank Gore ran all over the Packs' D to the tune of 112 rushing yards on 16 carries. (Forte, on the other hands, had 80 yards on 16 carries.) Your first reaction might be to go with Marshall but we're guessing the Packers will sell out to shut him down. Forte is more versatile -- he's obviously a great running but he's also dangerous catching passes coming out of the backfield (three catches, 40 yards in Week 1) -- so we like him more this Thursday night against the Packers.
3. Mark Sanchez looked legit. Should I start him against Pittsburgh? Only if he's the only quarterback on your roster and every other quarterback in your league has already been snatched up. Look, Sanchez had one of the best games of his career against the Bills but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. This is still the same team that managed just one touchdown in the preseason. It's also the outfit that says it has grand designs on using Tim Tebow. And if Tebow's playing some version of quarterback that means that Sanchez isn't. Give it another week. If Sanchez has another strong effort against the Steelers then we'll talk. Until then, we'd suggest fantasy owners give him the week off.
4. Should I be worried about Cam Newton? Nope. the guy had a bad game. Plus, he's just 17 starts into his NFL career. Clunkers happen. Before you jump ship, just remember everything he managed to do as a rookie, and that was without an offseason to learn a new offense for a new team in a new league. We still expect big things from Cam this year because even if he's struggling with the passing game he happens to be one of the league's best rushers.
5. Which Eagles should I start in Week 2? We don't want to be that guy, the one who said "See, we told you!" but, well, we're gonna be that guy. Last week, we said Jeremy Maclin could have a big game for the Eagles and he led the team with seven catches for 96 yards and a TD. That was against the Browns. This week, the challenge gets infinitely tougher: the Ravens are coming to the Linc.
A year ago, Baltimore was the league's best pass defense, and No. 7 against the run, according to Football Outsiders. And unlike most teams, they had very few weaknesses in the secondary. Which means that their No. 1 cornerback will blanket DeSean Jackson as well as their nickel back covers Jason Avant or Brent Celek, or a linebacker shadows (in theory, anyway) LeSean McCoy. Still, we have to choose someone and we're going with McCoy because he can beat you a couple ways. The Bengals had some success in the rushing game Monday night and if the Eagles can get McCoy the ball in open space a lot of good things can happen.