Week 1: PPR Watch
For too long PPR leagues have been fantasy football second-class citizens. We hear "Thomas Jones has more value than Jamal Charles" and "Wes Welker's not worth taking till the late fourth round". PPR is an after thought, a quick mention at the end of the column, as though it were unworthy of sound research and a singular focus. Well no more brother. PPR honors the role players of the NFL, the first down makers, the guy that goes over the middle, and even occasionally, the wise running back that catches a pass for negative yardage. PPR is here and our time is now.
Sure Thing - Get excited Foster owners, his PPR potential this week is off the charts and should be celebrated. In two games against Indy last season, Schaub completed 21 passes to running backs. With Slaton nursing his toe, Foster should see the majority of those opportunities. Make no mistake, Foster didn't default his way into the starting role. His week 3 performance against Dallas rightfully skyrocketed his stock. His 18/110/1 line is well documented, but also notable are the four catches in three quarters of work. This is a fantastic matchup to start the season, and 6-7 catches seems more like a forgone conclusion than a reach. He's a top 5 PPR running back this week without question--make sure he's in your lineup.
Confident - What McCoy may lack in TD potential he will more than make up for in PPR value. Remember, this a team that completed over 80 passes to running backs just last season. With McCoy the clear starter and Kolb expected to hit 40+ attempts a game, it's not unlikely McCoy could be near that number by himself at season's end. In a week two '09 start against New Orleans (a game that could look very similar to week 1 versus Green Bay) Kolb checked down 7 times to running backs, tossing 4 balls to LeSean McCoy. Kolb may be inexperienced, but he knows where to look when he's in trouble. McCoy should prove to be a nice safety valve against Green Bay, and all season.
Confident - While Ward owners were probably hoping Roger Goodell would find it in his heart to reduce Big Ben's suspension even further, Dixon should do little to lower your early season expectations. Pittsburgh's pass protection is suspect and Heath Miller will probably spend a lot of time blocking. Wallace is mainly a downfield threat and Mendenhall has shown little to indicate that he's a major check down option. Coming off his best year since 2003, Ward is the safest option in the passing game, and even if Dixon doesn't have the history with Ward that Charlie Batch would have, he's still as likely to lean on his veteran receiver.
Confident - While Fitzgerald had good games against the Rams in '09, it was Anquan Boldin that really shined, grabbing 16 catches for over 200 yards and a score. Breaston inherits that role, and even with no Kurt Warner throwing the ball, the Rams' focus on keeping Fitz away from the big play should open up the field. This is a ridiculously good matchup right out of the gate, and if you spent a pick on Breaston this isn't the time to get scared of Derek Anderson; he's a really good flex play this week and plenty worthy as a third wide receiver.
Confident - A healthy Reggie Bush should be good for 5 catches a game. Though he was nowhere near that last year, he missed three games (11,12, and most of 15) and entered the season nursing injuries that already caused him to miss the pre-season. He had only 15 of his catches in the first 5 games. In the 8 games where he was "healthy", he had the other 32. If you're going to use him, now is the time. He looked good in the pre-season -- rushing well in week 2, and pulling in 7 catches against San Diego in week 3. Bear in mind, Reggie had only 2 catches for 33 yards against Minnesota in last year's playoff, but one was a touchdown. With the New Orleans offense firing on all cylinders it's just too risky to leave a healthy Bush on your bench.
Confident - With so many options in the Indy passing game, Garcon will have weeks where his PPR value is diminished. Week 1 isn't one of them. Last season in two games against the Texans he managed 10 catches for 123 yards and a TD; Not explosive fantasy numbers, but not bad for a Rookie. This year he's established himself as the #2, and if Manning's 86 attempts in those same two games is any indication, there should be plenty of balls to go around. Garcon is a high end #3 receiver, and may prove to be a solid #2 if he can continue to get more consistent looks.