Some vintage Reggie Bush, some Michael Vick regret with the usual dose of teasing, and Mike Goodson? Your early game observations complete with crow eating and shame.
Oh hello again, 2011 Reggie Bush
Last week, Bush was just good, and sort of OK with his 69 yards on 14 carries. Yes, that’s nearly five yards per carry, and yes, he added 46 more yards through the air against a strong Texans rush defense. All solid, all terrific, all wonderful, but yet he still left us wanting. Maybe that was a reflection of inflated, unsustainable expectations after he averaged 129 yards per game over his final four games last year. Or maybe instead that was a true reflection of what Bush can do when he’s given a high volume of carries and the majority of a backfield workload.
Today, the answer was definitely the latter.
Bush had the top-rated matchup of the week according to some Internet hack who was fed delectable crow by Michael Vick, and he quickly exploited a Raiders defense that allowed a league worst 5.1 yards per carry last year with 172 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns, while adding 25 yards on two receptions. He returned to being the USC Reggie Bush instead of also-ran New Orleans Reggie Bush, and that other Reggie is a guy who’s a lot easier to love.
One of his touchdowns was a 65-yard run that was vintage Bush as he beat everyone to the outside to get the corner, and then he just continued to run faster than anyone on the field. It’s moments like this that remind you what he’s capable of when he’s given enough touches, so here’s to hoping that the combination of younger and fresher legs behind him (Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas) doesn’t eat into his carries too heavily, and he’s able to avoid breaking as he did late last year.
On a day when he averaged 6.6 yards per carry, that TD was the second longest run of Bush’s career. Suddenly and finally during his seventh NFL season, we’re seeing consistent versatility from Bush, and with the Cardinals, Bengals, and Rams lined up next (the Rams had the worst run defense in the league a year ago), Bush could quickly ascend to RB1 status. That’s especially true with Fred Jackson and Matt Forte out, and fantasy RB depth charts already scattered.
Vick: Still dangerous, still taking way too many hits
Those who befriended caution and looked away from Vick and to another option after he threw four INTs last week are now wishing that they had the flexibility to kick themselves in tender places. That extreme caution which was advocated here earlier was warranted and justifiable since DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were heavily hobbled (despite his touchdown Maclin was held back, while Jackson wasn’t…at all), and since Vick was opposing a Ravens defense that sacked Andy Dalton four times a week ago.
Vick thrived because this week we saw a much different Vick than the one who had a passer rating of 51.0 last week. This Vick was the creative and mobile Vick, and not just the scrambling Vick. And there’s a difference, since the scrambling Vick is far more frantic and more apt to force throws, while the mobile Vick has much better vision while he uses his legs to access areas of the field that would result in sacks for most other QBs.
The question for you now, Vick owner, is which Vick shows up next week. Despite his brilliance and about 31 fantasy points depending on your scoring format powered by his 371 passing yards and two touchdowns, Vick still threw two picks that were the result of forced throws into tight areas. That means he now has six INTs already through two games, and it seemed like he finished nearly every play with his eyes staring straight up into the sky.
Last year we all pitched pants tents over Vick’s 416 passing yards on nine yards per attempt and 75 rushing yards during a Week 5 loss to San Francisco. He followed that up with a season-high four interceptions the next week against the Bills.
Donnie Avery is your new early-season waiver wire gem
Andrew Luck is very good. This I am sure of, but what isn’t clear is who his favorite target will be.
Actually, Andrew, if you could just never use any favoritism whatsoever that would be agreeable. The continued rejuvenation of Reggie Wayne at an age when he was supposed to whither and die is giving his owners great value for the late-round draft real estate he occupied (Wayne had 71 receiving yards today, which included a 30-yard TD). But the real emerging gem is Avery, who was a point-per-reception league stud this week with nine catches for 111 yards.
Avery is owned in only two percent of Yahoo leagues, a number that should rise by, oh, at least 25 percent or so by early Wednesday morning.
Mike Goodson, receiving fiend
There were welcome returns to normalcy throughout the early games, which proved once again that while panicking and taking bounding leaps to conclusions is our favorite pastime, serenity now is still always better than insanity later.
Hair was set on fire after Cam Newton inexplicably had four rushing yards on five attempts last week, and today he had 71 yards. Trent Richardson seems to be recovering from his knee surgery swiftly, and had his first 100-yard rushing effort (109 yards) in just his second game. Wes Welker had 14 receiving yards last week and that prompted multiple bridge jumps, and he rebounded with 95 yards on five receptions as he was the usual target in the slot who played dink to Tom Brady’s dunk. Welker’s increased role was likely a product of Aaron Hernandez’s injury, but the level of shits given by his owners about how his numbers arrived in his stat line is exceedingly low.
Then there was Mike Goodson. Prior to today the Raiders’ running back had 329 receiving yards over four seasons and 29 career games (11 yards per game). So of course he would show great breakaway speed after a screen pass from Carson Palmer today and score on a 64-yard touchdown catch and run, and he had 83 receiving yards overall for easily a career single-game high.
Goodson’s fantasy value is, of course, still nearly non-existent. But if you own the notoriously brittle Darren McFadden and were waiting to see who ascends as a handcuff candidate between Goodson and Taiwan Jones, give this point to the former Panther and act accordingly with a low value free agent flier if you’re in a deep league.