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By Dan O'Shea
Week 1 in the NFL produced plenty of surprises, none more than the woeful performance by Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler: 1 TD, 4 INTs. This may cause you, along with the season-ending injury to Brian Urlacher, to lose faith in the Bears' post-season chances, but is this a reason to lose faith in Cutler as fantasy QB?
Not from where I'm sitting.
Cutler appears to have some major communication issues with his imperfect receiver corps. Also, he and/or Bears coaches didn't seem to have a Plan B when TE Greg Olsen was heavily covered. I think Cutler will still have a pretty good season, though my pre-season rank of Cutler as 7th among QBs may not hold up with Tony Romo and Joe Flacco, among others, getting off to very strong starts. He'll have a tough time bouncing back against a tough Pittsburgh defense this week, but his value will seek its anticipated level in the weeks ahead.
Cutler and some other surprise Week 1 performances make up this week's Fantasy Fix Action Ratings:
Player: Jay Cutler, QB
Comment: Pulling a panic trade would be unwise after a single botched game.
Player: Mike Bell, RB
Comment: FanHouse had the right call last week when they said he could be a break-out performer. Pierre Thomas should be back this week, so we'll see if Bell still gets some touches, but he's a good back-up RB in any case.
Player: Joe Flacco, QB
Comment: He's only 62% owned in Yahoo! leagues, which must mean there are a lot of 1-QB leagues out there. I figured him as a marginal start in 2-QB leagues last week, but 300+ yards passing and 3 TDs shows Baltimore is more confident letting him throw this year.
Player: Devery Henderson, WR
Comment: I know it's early to say this, and his QB, Drew Brees, already is looking like a TD-record breaker, but Henderson's Week 1 tally of 103 yards and 1 TD is probably the top of his game. He's pretty streaky, and the Saints have so many options.
Player: Julius Jones, RB
Comment: 117 yards and 1 TD made him the last week's choice amid an iffy RB bunch in Seattle, but Seattle probably will try different RB options in the coming weeks as the team's first choice will be the pass.
Player: Benjamin Watson, TE
Comment: He saved Tom Brady from having a shocking no-TD outing by catching both of Brady's late (very, very late) TD tosses on Monday Night Football. But he remains an emergency outlet, and Brady will be a lot better as the year progresses at hitting his main targets.
* RotoExperts notes in its extensive analysis of all the Week 1 games that Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker was terrible. Could it be a good time to start our sleeper Rashard Mendenhall?
* RotoArcade highlights the 180-yard, 3-TD business-as-usual performance by Adrian Peterson, You are not to trade Peterson under any circumstances, understand?
* Bleacher Report discusses the "uncertain" status of San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson for Week 2. LT was injured last week, and that's only the latest reason a lot of us thought it was a good idea to hand-cuff him to back-up and return man Darren Sproles going into this year.
Playoff time and more injuries are mucking up your best attempts to go from sixth place to first place with a better-late-than-never surge.
Player: Justin Morneau, 1B
Comment: That's right, he's done for the season with a back injury. Something always seems to come up come September with this guy.
Player: Grady Sizemore, OF
Comment: He's done, too, due to numerous injuries. He also will drop in my off-season rankings because a .248 average represents his fourth consecutive yearly decline and that makes him unworthy of the late first-round pick he was this year.
Player: B.J. Upton, OF
Comment: We all kept him for SBs, but his still woeful .237 average, an overall hugely disappointing season and now a sprained ankle slowing him down - it all suggests enough's enough.
Player: Tim Lincecum, SP
Comment: Let's not get too crazy with all the drops. He's injured and will have more days between starts, but he just went 7 innings with 11 Ks this week in a big win against the Rockies. He's worth what you can get.
The Expert Wire
The fantasy baseball expert wire is mostly old news at this point, but we'll be back next week with a few final recommendations for those of you still in the playoffs. And the week after that, our end-of-the-season awards and wrap-up.
Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like it's about.
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