In Week 2, Andrew Luck had a case of the Mondays.
The Jets tormented Luck every way possible on Monday night, forcing three interceptions and a fumble in a 20-7 win. All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis led the way with two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Revis wasn’t the only offseason acquisition to come up big for the Jets. The Harvard-educated Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 244 yards on 22-of-34 passing with two touchdowns and just one interception. Seven of those completions went to another newcomer, Brandon Marshall, who finished with 101 yards on 10 targets. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell split the backfield work right down the middle with 16 touches each.
Dating back to last year, the Colts have now lost three consecutive games. All three have come at the hands of AFC East opponents. Indianapolis left to join the AFC South when the Texans entered the league in 2002, but the division still seems to hold a grudge against them.
Turnovers have played a key role in those defeats. The Colts have given the ball up 10 times in their last three games.
Give first-year head coach Todd Bowles credit. His team came ready to play. But as usual, the Colts shot themselves in the foot with a slew of unforced errors. Frank Gore’s fumble at the one-yard-line came on a botched exchange while Luck’s second interception to Revis was the result of poor pass protection.
T.Y. Hilton’s 45-yard effort would be considered a disappointment most weeks, but coming off a knee injury the week before, our expectations were lower than usual. Hilton’s status was still up in the air just a few hours before kickoff. Most owners probably did the safe thing and benched him.
With Hilton’s health in question and Andre Johnson showing very little chemistry with Luck in the opener, Donte Moncrief was a popular DFS play this week. There was mild concern that Moncrief would be shadowed by Revis just as he was during last year’s AFC championship, but that didn’t pan out. Moncrief took advantage of a hobbled Antonio Cromartie for the Colts’ only touchdown of the night and finished with a game-high 122 yards. Johnson was invisible again (three catches, 27 yards) while rookie Phillip Dorsett caught just one of six targets. With nobody else clicking, Moncrief could be in for another big game against the Titans in Week 3.
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Tough Times in the Big Easy
Grab a life jacket. The Saints are sinking.
That’s not to say last season was smooth sailing. Far from it—the Saints struggled to stay afloat (last nautical pun, I swear) in the league’s worst division, finishing the year at 7-9. But last year they had hope and a healthy Drew Brees. This year’s team has neither.
Saints coach (maybe not for long) Sean Payton admitted that Brees was “hindered” by a shoulder issue after taking a big hit in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay. Brees never came off the field, but it’s clear his effectiveness was compromised. A week after getting torched by Marcus Mariota in his first career start, the Bucs held Brees to just 255 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It wasn’t a disaster but it definitely wasn’t the Brees we’re used to seeing.
There have been conflicting reports on Brees’ status. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested Brees, who underwent an MRI on Monday, could miss several games. Meanwhile, sources told ESPN’s Ed Werder the injury isn’t serious.
If it’s minor, you can bet Brees will be out there next week against the Panthers. He hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2003. But is Brees, particularly at less than full strength, worthy of a start in fantasy? For the first time in years, it’s an actual debate.
Brees has been anything but a sure thing this season. Through two games, he holds a pedestrian 82.0 passer rating with two touchdowns, two fumbles and two interceptions. He owns Pro Football Focus’ 24th highest grade out of 35 qualified quarterbacks, putting him right between Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Tannehill. That’s strange company for Brees, who is usually mentioned in the same breath as future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
If you have the panic button handy, don’t press it just yet. It’s only Week 2 and Brees has a history of overcoming slow starts. In 2012, he posted a dreadful 71.2 passer rating in his first two contests only to finish the year with 43 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards.
Of course, his supporting cast was much stronger in those days. Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills were both traded this offseason. Marques Colston stayed, but is looking long in the tooth. Brandin Cooks has been among this year’s biggest fantasy disappointments. Touted as the Saints’ new go-to receiver after a promising, albeit injury-shortened rookie year, Cooks has failed to take the next step. He’s yet to find the end zone while averaging a meager 55.5 yards per game. That’s not what you’d expect from a player with a third-round ADP.
The Saints boast an impressive pair of running backs (Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller) but even that tandem looks a bit suspect in the wake of the team’s recent struggles. Teams usually abandon the run when they fall behind, though Ingram and Spiller are competent enough receivers to make that a null point. Regardless, the Saints are in need of a breakthrough and that’s going to be difficult with Brees at less than 100 percent.
Quick Hits: Tony Romo has opted not to have surgery on his broken collarbone and will miss about eight weeks. Brandon Weeden will start in his place … The Cowboys are casting a wide net in their search for a backup quarterback. Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson and Christian Ponder are all scheduled to work out this week. Dallas has also contacted Jason Campbell and Kyle Orton … According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle were the Cowboys’ emergency quarterbacks on Sunday. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that … Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Todd Gurley (knee) will be a game-time decision Sunday against Pittsburgh. Gurley was a full participant at practice last week … When asked if Matthew Stafford will play against the Broncos in Week 3, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said “we’ll see.” Stafford needed chest X-rays after Sunday’s loss to Minnesota … Golden Tate said the Vikings took “cheap shots” on Sunday. Things could get heated when the Lions face Minnesota again in Week 7 … The Vikings have decided to part ways with Ragnar, their mascot of 21 years … Broncos beat writer Troy Renck thinks next week’s game against the Lions might be C.J. Anderson’s last chance to remain the starter. If things go poorly, Anderson could be moved into a timeshare with Ronnie Hillman … Eddie Lacy is hoping he can play against the Chiefs next week. He was carted off with an ankle injury on Sunday night … After beating the Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers took a jab at Russell Wilson by saying “I think God was a Packer fan tonight” … The Niners are closely monitoring Carlos Hyde’s bruised thigh. If Hyde can’t go against the Cardinals next week, either Reggie Bush (calf) or Mike Davis would get the start … Browns coach Mike Pettine hasn’t decided if Josh McCown will retain the starting job when he comes back from his concussion. Johnny Manziel completed 8-of-15 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over Tennessee … Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo said there’s a “possibility” Eagles LB Kiko Alonso (knee) will miss the rest of the season. Alonso missed all of last year with a torn ACL … Denard Robinson suffered an MCL sprain in Jacksonville’s win against the Dolphins. He’ll be on the shelf for a few weeks … Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he needs to see more from Jaelen Strong at practice. The rookie receiver has yet to see a regular season snap … The Redskins released former second-round pick David Amerson on Monday … You may have missed it among Sunday’s endless buffet of injuries, but Jay Cutler (hamstring) got hurt too. Adam Schefter said he’ll miss a minimum of two weeks … Falcons rookie Tevin Coleman suffered a broken rib Sunday and won’t play until he can tolerate the pain. Devonta Freeman is expected to start in his place next week against the Cowboys … It looks like Jeremy Hill will keep his job after getting benched for fumbling on Sunday … Robert Mathis made his season debut Monday against the Jets. He hadn’t played since 2013 after missing last season with a torn Achilles … Here’s a milestone to keep an eye on. Brandon Marshall is now just 105 yards away from 10,000 for his career. Only 44 players have reached that threshold … Dolphins coach Joe Philbin denied a report that Ndamukong Suh was freelancing on Sunday. “I didn’t see anything of the sort,” he said … Aaron Williams (neck) left Sunday’s game in an ambulance after a scary collision with Julian Edelman but it doesn’t look like he’ll miss much time. The Bills are calling him “week to week” … Mike Iupati should be ready for Week 3. He missed the Cardinals’ first two games with a torn meniscus … Chris Johnson will draw another start at running back for the Cardinals in Week 3. He’s filling in for Andre Ellington, who is out with a PCL sprain … A signed jersey and shoes from David Johnson’s game Sunday will be sent to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The rookie’s 108-yard kickoff return was the second longest in NFL history … We have a verdict. Donald Trump says Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. Here’s his reasoning: “He won a Super Bowl. He did it really to a certain extent with that great arm of his.”