Welcome back, Brandon Marshall.
Marshall returned from his one-game suspension Sunday to nearly earn himself an NFL record. He had 18 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown against San Diego, falling two catches short of Terrell Owens' record of 20 receptions set in 2000 with San Francisco.
It's fitting that Marshall challenged one of Owens' marks since Marshall has been called "Baby T.O." because of his size, speed and playmaking ability. Well, Marshall could challenge Owens and Randy Moss as the best receiver in the NFL this year if he keeps up this pace.
|Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler could form a lethal combination for the rest of 2008. (AP)|
If you took a chance on drafting Marshall this year, pat yourself on the back. And if you own Jay Cutler, thank Marshall as well.
Cutler opened the season with 300 yards passing and two touchdowns in Week 1 at Oakland, and that was without Marshall. On Sunday, Cutler had 350 yards passing, four touchdowns and an interception -- including a two-point conversion on a gutsy call from coach Mike Shanahan to win the game 39-38 -- and is ready to become the next great quarterback in the NFL.
Cutler is entering his third year with Shanahan, which is typically when Shanahan's quarterbacks fully grasp his system. John Elway won a Super Bowl in his third year with Shanahan in 1997, and Jake Plummer went to the AFC Championship Game in his third year with Shanahan in 2005.
Cutler might not have similar team success, but he appears to have a newfound comfort level with the offense. And playing with Marshall for the next 14 games should only make things that much better.
It's going to be a great year offensively in Denver -- and another big game should be in the works in Week 3 against New Orleans. So don't be surprised when Marshall finishes as the No. 1 wide receiver and Cutler finishes as the No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy leagues in 2008.
After watching what happened against the Chargers, they have my vote already.
McFadden, rookies running wild
Welcome to the NFL, Darren McFadden.
Justin Fargas went down with a groin injury at Kansas City, and McFadden took over. The rookie had 21 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown and also caught one pass for nine yards.
It's unknown how long Fargas will be out, but it could open the door for more opportunities for McFadden, who played like the top rookie we all expected and should be considered a starting Fantasy option in Week 3 at Buffalo. But McFadden wasn't alone as a rookie star in Week 2.
Jonathan Stewart had his first breakout game with 14 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago. Stewart outplayed DeAngelo Williams (11 carries for 31 yards), so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Stewart has a tough matchup in Week 3 at Minnesota, but if he continues to play better than Williams he should get more carries.
Chris Johnson had another good week with 19 carries for 109 yards and two catches for 12 yards at Cincinnati. He again outplayed LenDale White (18 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown) and should be in line for a big game in Week 3 against Houston. In two games, Johnson has 248 total yards.
And Matt Forte played well with 23 carries for 92 yards and three catches for 21 yards. Forte has now reached must-start status as a No. 2 option even heading into Week 3 against Tampa Bay. Forte has 254 total yards in two games.
This is going to be a great year for rookie running backs, so hopefully you have at least one on your Fantasy team.
Cassel, Patriots struggle
Welcome to reality, Matt Cassel.
While Cassel may turn into a decent Fantasy option with Tom Brady (knee) out, he had a rough debut at the Jets. Granted, it was a tough division opponent on the road in his first start since high school, but you wanted to see more from him.
Cassel was 16-of-23 passing for 165 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, and he struggled to connect with Randy Moss, who only had two catches for 22 yards. Wes Welker played well with seven catches for 72 yards, but this could be a bad sign for the Patriots passing game.
We'll find out how the Patriots should fare against weaker opponents when they face Miami in Week 3. The Dolphins allowed Kurt Warner to pass for 361 yards and three touchdowns Sunday, so Cassel could be in line for a good outing.
If you're worried about Cassel and looking for a quarterback, some passers drafted as backups played well this week. Along with Warner, Philip Rivers (377 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception), Aaron Rodgers (328 passing yards and three touchdowns), Jason Campbell (321 passing yards and one touchdown) and J.T. O'Sullivan (321 passing yards and one touchdown) all had big games and could be available in a trade.
As for the Patriots running game, it was a mess against the Jets. LaMont Jordan was the leading rusher with 11 carries for 62 yards, Sammy Morris scored the touchdown but had no rushing yards on eight carries and Laurence Maroney had eight carries for 16 yards. Kevin Faulk also returned with three carries for 16 yards and four catches for 50 yards.
For now, keep all these players reserved and hope someone emerges as a good Fantasy option against the Dolphins.
Bench the Bengals
Welcome to Fantasy purgatory, Cincinnati Bengals.
After a dismal performance in Week 1 at Baltimore, the Bengals looked equally as bad in Week 2 against Tennessee. Palmer had 134 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, Houshmandzadeh had three catches for 26 yards and Johnson had four catches for 37 yards.
The Bengals are going to struggle again in Week 3 at the Giants, so if you can avoid using them, that's the safe play at this point. It could be a long year in Cincinnati.
Some other observations from Week 2: Anthony Gonzalez had nine catches for 137 yards and could continue to shine if Dallas Clark (knee) remains out. Clark missed the game at Minnesota. ... If Fargas is out, pick up Michael Bush. Bush had 16 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in tandem with McFadden. ... Julius Jones had 26 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers. It's his first 100-yard game since Dec. 10, 2006 and first touchdown in 10 games. Hopefully for Jones owners, Maurice Morris (knee) will stay out another couple of weeks. ... Calvin Johnson had six catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns and is ready to challenge Marshall for the top wide receiver title.
What are your four downs from this week? See anything that jumped off the screen? Let us know -- email us at email@example.com. Be sure to put Attn: Four Downs in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state.