Week 2: PPR Watch
Year after year the PPR game continues to grow. More crusty old "standard" leagues convert over all the time, and new PPR owners are desperate for good advice. Let's hope I have some! Welcome to PPR Watch 2012.
Confident - Ellis isn't the sort of running back I champion a great deal in PPR. He has little pass catching ability and ultimately is probably only a matchup start. Still, how could you not be impressed by his performance against the Ravens? The Cincinnati feature back rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries against Baltimore, churning his legs and trying to make a statement on every carry. Most notable is that he averaged 5.1 per carry, and scored in the first half when the game was still close. This wasn't garbage yardage filling his box score in a game that was out of hand, he earned every bit of it. Cleveland was top ten in fantasy points allowed to RBs for PPR in 2011, and they didn't look much better against McCoy in week 1. This is a beautiful matchup at home, and with so few tier 3 RBs producing out of the gate, Green-Ellis is a no brainer in all formats based on volume alone.
Confident - The Colts proved week 1 what many predicted. They might not be a great team this season, but their offense is going to be capable of producing some quality fantasy numbers. Fleener caught 6 passes on 10 targets against a stout Chicago defense. Really, what's not to like here for fantasy? Luck had 45 attempts, and the Colts defense demonstrated that Indy's going to be passing and playing from behind all season long. In week 1, the Vikings gave up 5 catches for 52 yards and a TD to Mercedes Lewis. It pretty much would have been his best game of 2011. Minnesota gave up the third most receptions to TEs last year, and Indy is playing at home. This week seems like a great time to get Fleener in your lineup if you need help at TE. Hell, there's a good chance he's even still available for pickup.
Caution - First off, nothing about this caution means you shouldn't run out and grab Cobb off waivers. If you need depth on your team and a potential flex starter, Cobb looks like a nice player to own. Rodgers said Cobb would add some new wrinkles to their offense this season and that's good enough for me. That said, I wouldn't necessarily rush him into your starting lineup unless you really need the help, or your league scoring includes return yards. What we saw in week 1 was probably close to Cobb's ceiling. The Niners secondary was brilliant against Green Bay: shutting down all of the deep patterns that are usually the Packers' bread and butter, and forcing Mike McCarthy to try higher percentage pass plays. Most teams, including the Bears in week 2, are lacking the talent at corner to have the same success and I'm not sure I can trust Cobb to contribute like this on a regular basis.
Caution - He's a tough guy to sit, but it's hard to see Maclin having a big week against the Ravens. He was a solid contributor in week 1, with 7 catches for 96 yards and a TD; but several factors are working against him in week 2. To begin with, he's hurting. As was mentioned in the news section, he has a hip flexor and a hip pointer and won't be 100% Sunday (assuming he plays at all). The Eagles absolutely must be a more balanced offense against the Ravens. Vick had 56 attempts in week 1, and I'd be shocked if that number isn't 20 fewer against a Baltimore defense that looked fresh as ever against the Bengals. Yeah, I think Philly will play better, but I want no part of this matchup in week 2 if I can avoid it. Maclin may not feel like a guy you drafted to play matchups, but this is still a receiver that's never had a 1000 yard season or more than 70 catches. He's got to at least be healthy to get a start.
Caution - I wasn't on the Hillis bandwagon prior to the season and week 1 only strengthened that opinion. Shaun Draughn doesn't worry me too much (most of his action came in the 4th quarter when the game was out of hand), but with 6 catches for 82 yards it seems likely McCluster is going to have a significant role in the short passing game. Just how much can Hillis do with 8-10 carries and 2 or 3 catches? Charles had twice as many carries in the first half when the game was still close, and given he's a much stronger big play threat, that ratio seems about right. Hillis owners invested fairly heavily in the draft, and Buffalo may seem like a pretty tasty matchup after they were dismantled by the Jets. Just keep in mind, the Bills will be playing at home and they did do a pretty nice job against Shonne Greene, holding him to 3.5 yards a carry. To me, the Hillis situation in Kansas City seems pretty similar to the Bush situation in Chicago. He's a valuable player to own, but will be frustrating if you're counting on him as an every week starter.