Browns beat Palmer-less Bengals for first win

Jamal LewisThe Browns weren’t overly impressive, but they beat the Bengals 20-12 to notch their first victory of the year.

With the threat of being replaced by Brady Quinn as his motivation, Derek Anderson led Cleveland to the win but didn’t necessarily light up the stat sheet. He did complete 15 of 24 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an ugly interception. (Although hey, all interceptions are ugly.) Jamal Lewis rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown, while TE Kellen Winslow Jr. continues to be the Browns’ best offensive weapon, hauling in five catches for 54 yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick started in place for the injured Carson Palmer and played like a backup, tossing three interceptions in the loss. He did out-rush Chris Perry 41 to 28, but obviously that’s not a good thing. For a team that gave the defending champion Giants hell last week, the Bungles once again looked brutal.

What a nasty game. Both teams combined for seven turnovers and at one point, the Browns started fighting with each other on the sideline. Hopefully the players were arguing over how bad Braylon Edwards’ guitar-playing touchdown celebration was.

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You could have had this fantasy team…

We’re only two weeks into the NFL season and some fantasy owners are already lamenting their teams. Nobody – not a NFL team and certainly not a fantasy team – likes to start 0-2, and while some owners are furiously trying to improve their teams, others are no doubt wondering, what if?

As always, I’m here to help. Below you’ll find the team you could have had. The rules? Pretty simple. To ensure the player is available, we have to draft him a round early. That is, if the player has an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 3.02, we have to take him in the second round. The plan is to start one QB, two RB, two WR and a TE, and I’ll leave the K and DT to your imagination. I’ll mow through the first twelve rounds so that we have a starter and a sub at each position.

Keep in mind, this draft is for a 12-team, Points Per Reception (PPR) league, with the Antsports’ High Performance Scoring System.

Off we go…

Round 1 – Reggie Bush (2.07)
Drafted: RB12
Actual: RB3

Someone actually gave me grief about considering Bush in the second round of my Industry Insiders league, and while there are a lot of (Reggie) Bush haters out there, the simple fact of the matter is that in a PPR league, the guy produces. Through two games, he’s averaging 127 total yards, 7.5 receptions, and 0.5 TD per game. He’s on pace for a 120-catch, 2000-yard season.
Alternate: Tony Romo (2.09)


Read the rest after the jump...

NFL Week 2: 5 Things to Watch

Matt Cassel1. Matt Cassel’s performance. There’s been a lot of positive talk coming out of New England this week about how Cassel can more than hold his own replacing Tom Brady, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Watch for Jets’ head coach Eric Mangini to use different defensive fronts on Sunday in efforts to confuse Cassel and properly welcome him into the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see if Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick changes his offensive approach (i.e. relying on the run more and playing conservative), or if he’ll keep things the same now that Cassel is under center.

2. How Michael Turner, Matt Forte and Thomas Jones will fair against tougher defenses. All three of these backs were highly productive in Week 1, but they also faced suspect run defenses. This week, Turner takes on the Bucs, Forte faces the Panthers and Jones goes against the Patriots – all tough challenges. Which back(s) can be as productive as he was last week?

3. How the Chargers, Colts, Vikings, Jaguars, Seahawks and Browns fair. At the very least, all six of these teams were expected to make a run at the playoffs this year, if not the Super bowl in the cases of the Vikings, Colts and Jaguars. The Colts and Vikes square off in Minnesota, so one of those teams will still be winless on Monday. And the Chargers (Broncos), Jaguars (Bills) and Browns (Steelers) all have tough matchups this week, so one if not all of them could wind up 0-2 as well. The Seahawks catch a break by hosting the lowly 49ers, but even that game isn’t a guarantee with how banged up the Seattle offense is.

Jake Delhomme4. How the Bears, Panthers, Bills, Falcons, Broncos and Cardinals play. The reverse of No. 3; none of these six teams were supposed to do much this season, but all had impressive Week 1 performances. The Bears and Panthers play in Carolina, while the Bills (Jaguars), Falcons (Bucs) and Broncos (Chargers) all have tougher tests this week than they did last Sunday. Only the Cardinals have it easy with the Dolphins, who didn’t play that bad last week against the Jets.

5. Is the Bengals’ offense that bad? Last week Cincinnati put on one of the worst offensive performances of some time. Things don’t get easier this week, as Tennessee rolls into town after sacking Jaguars’ quarterback David Garrard seven times and completely stuffing Jacksonville’s potent running game. We could see a repeat performance of last week if Chris Perry and the running game can’t get going to help keep the Titans’ defense honest.

Fantasy Football Update: 8/27

I know many of you are heading into your drafts this weekend, so here are a few things that are going on in the world of fantasy football:

Peyton Manning returned to practice, but HC Tony Dungy said that he was “iffy” for the season opener. Apparently, he looked good, so plan on Peyton keeping his consecutive games streak alive in Week 1… HC Marvin Lewis says that even though Chris Perry is atop the depth chart at running back, Rudi Johnson could win his job back with a good performance on Thursday night. The vibe seems to be that Rudi is on the way out of Cincy, but you never know. Perry is a nice late-round pick, as is Kenny Watson, who was the team’s most productive back last season… Jeff Fisher says that he plans to split touches between LenDale White and rookie speedster Chris Johnson. “I would assume it would be close to 50-50, maybe 60-40,” he said. “We’re going to use them both depending on the game plans and it makes sense to take advantage of both of their abilities. I think we’ll have a better gauge once we get to the middle part of the season.” Johnson’s stock has risen of late and while White is pretty solid between the tackles, the rookie is more of a home run threat… The Packers plan to get Brandon Jackson more involved in the running game in an attempt to reduce the pounding that Ryan Grant takes over the course of the season. The idea is to limit Grant to 300 carries (which is still a lot) and use him more in the passing game, which means that Grant’s value is enhanced in PPR leagues.

Chris Perry to be Bengals’ starting running back?

Rotoworld.com is reporting that Chris Perry is now running with the Bengals’ first team offense.

Chris Perry ran as the Bengals’ No. 1 tailback at Thursday’s practice.
Coach Marvin Lewis said that Perry was playing for a starting spot before adding, “Everybody is gunning for a starting spot.” However, coaches don’t namecheck like that without purpose. Only Lewis knows if he was speaking the truth or just trying to motivate, but these developments support two notions we’ve thought about the Bengals: Some form of committee is likely and the team may prefer Perry’s upside over Kenny Watson’s dependability.

Somebody send up a warning flair to Rudi Johnson because he needs one. Johnson has been out with a hamstring injury since early August, but he was in trouble even more the bum hammy. He didn’t seem to run with much purpose last year and his stock (both real and fantasy) seems to be plummeting.

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