Another week is here and you know what that means! Here is week three’s installment of Take it to the Bank:
Take a Chance(llor)
After weeks of frustration in Seattle, strong safety Kam Chancellor ended his holdout and returned to practice this week. The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 headed into their home opener on Sunday, and with Chancellor back in the mix, look for this defense to return to being one of the league’s best.
While we’re on the topic of the Seahawks, tight end Jimmy Graham made headlines this week when it came out that Graham was frustrated with his reduced role. Now as I pointed out a few weeks back, we knew that this would happen. With an elite running back like Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks are destined to run the ball. Graham is being utilized as a blocker right now, but don’t expect him to NOT make an impact. Graham has the second most red zone targets (four) out of all of the league’s tight ends (New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has the most with five). Expect Graham to catch some for touchdowns. Now is the time to buy low on Graham.
Fitz and the Tantrums
I think we were all shocked by the three touchdown performance by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Now, this was against a weak Chicago Bears defense, but the hype is real. I believe that Larry Fitzgerald proved that he is not done yet. Expect a healthy dose of Larry Fitz as he takes on a weak San Francisco 49ers defense.
With news that New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is out this week, the number-two receiver slot is up for the taking. With Chris Owusu also out this week, timing couldn’t be better for second round pick Devin Smith to make his NFL debut. Smith was a long ball threat and speed receiver at Ohio State, and I’m expecting him to channel that with the Jets. You probably won’t see a big impact immediately, but with the possibility that Decker might miss multiple weeks, Smith could be a sneaky addition to your fantasy team in deeper leagues.
Matthews, Matthews, Matthews
With news of the Philadelphia Eagles setting DeMarco Murray inactive for week three, running back Ryan Matthews will get the start against the Jets. This is where I stay away, as the Jets have the fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Then we head to the other Matthews for the Eagles at wide receiver with Jordan Matthews. This is my “buyers beware” player of the week. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will likely be on Matthews for the entire game. This matchup would essentially take Matthews out of the game and out of your lineup.
Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By: Dan Lagnado
It pains me to say it as much as it pains you to read it but it’s probably about time to wave the playoffs goodbye for this season. The Jets have now lost three in a row and four of their last five games, and now sit at 5-7 on the season. “But wait”, those few remaining loyalists will say, “there’s still a chance to go 8-8 or even 9-7.” Mathematically that is correct, but is it realistic?
In this writer’s (and fan’s) opinion, no. I haven’t seen anything to make me believe that this team can beat even the lowliest teams in the NFL. The chunk of schedule after the bye was not considered to be the hardest of this season, yet the Bills, Ravens, and Dolphins have given the Jets fits. The same team that beat the Patriots and the Saints in three weeks now have lost to three straight teams who had come in to the game with losing records and lost embarrassingly. Geno Smith’s offense scored only three points against the Ravens, and the only points scored against Miami came on a drive led by Matt Simms. That offensive production is not going to get anyone into the postseason. I don’t think that the problem is only Geno Smith, as many people claim that it is, however it is true that the rookie’s performance has not been up-to-par of late. I believe that part of the issue lies in the wide receivers.
To begin the season, the Jets had Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley penciled in as starters and Kellen Winslow as the starting tight end with Jeff Cumberland as support. However, it’s never that easy. Holmes has been plagued by foot and hamstring injuries that have caused him to miss five games and rendered him ineffective in a few games as well. Hill has played quite the disappearing act. Despite being active in every game this season, Hill has been held without a catch four different times, most notably in three consecutive games against New Orleans, Buffalo and Baltimore. Since his 108-yard performance against Buffalo in week three, his stats have dropped drastically as he managed the same yardage in nine games combined. Jeremy Kerley is the Jets’ leading receiver this season, but he has missed time as well of late because of the injury he suffered against the Saints. Winslow missed games for both injuries and a suspension and even Cumberland was held out of a game due to a concussion. As a result the Jets have had to rotate other players in to fill the empty spots. And so for this season we have seen the likes of Clyde Gates, Greg Salas, Josh Cribbs, Zach Sudfeld, Konrad Reuland and David Nelson. Though David Nelson did provide a bit of a spark in a few games, this rotation of receivers could be reason for lack of chemistry between Geno and the wide receivers.
This is not an excuse for the poor play of the offense, nor is it an excuse for the poor decisions and play of the rookie quarterback. It is simply the idea that not all the blame belongs to Geno Smith.
Another issue that is facing the Jets is that of their secondary. The departure of Darrelle Revis certainly has been felt. Antonio Cromartie has been playing hurt most of the season and as a result has not played his best, despite leading the team with three of their six interceptions. Rookie Dee Milliner has now been benched three times and has not quite lived up to the expectations of a top-10 overall pick and there isn’t really anyone else in the secondary able to effectively cover a number two receiver. This has been an Achilles heel all season for what has been a very good defense otherwise and Ed Reed has not been the solution.
And while it is true that the Jets are only 2 games out of the final playoff spot, it is important to note the teams that are ahead or tied with them: Ravens, Dolphins, Chargers, Titans and the Steelers. Four out of those five teams own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Jets. Basically, the Jets have to be alone in the 6th Wild Card spot to get to the playoffs.
But I will state again, unless something changes drastically with the offense, this team will be lucky to come away with two wins in their last four games.
So what comes next? It’s impossible to determine anything draft-related at this point in time. There are too many variables that would determine draft order or even who will be free agents at the end of the season. But we can consider the areas that most likely will be addressed in the offseason. In my personal opinion, I would expect to see a new coach first and foremost. John Idzik began his rebuilding of this team last season and surprised many by keeping Rex Ryan on as coach. However, Rex may not get a second chance again after this season. Look for Idzik to bring in a new face to lead the team to the future. With a new coach at the helm and a GM looking to be a contender look for the Jets to fill the holes right away this offseason. As for the quarterback situation…your guess is as good as mine.
Dan Lagnado is studying communications, law economics and government at American University. He’s a fan of both the Mets and Jets and has been writing about sports for four years. You can follow him on twitter at @dlag1995