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Fantasy Fix: Reality Intrudes

I'm beginning to think that there are so many criminals, degenerates and questionable characters in the NFL that perhaps teams should just go with the flow and start drafting guys who are already in prison. All the games could be played within the confines of various "yards," and at the end of the games, we could all rest assured for another week that pro football stars wouldn't be running around among the rest of us committing their crimes.

As it is, however, we seem to be getting fresh news every week of another player who has gotten himself into trouble, and will miss games, and in general become a major distraction. For fantasy football gamers, trying to predict who will have a breakout year and who will stay healthy is no longer enough - we need to start studying police reports and rap sheets, too. Our Week 2 review discusses the latest troublemaker, and more:

* Maybe it's time for a Fantasy Felon of the Week feature. For last week, it would have been Adrian Peterson, one-man team, superstar and alleged child abuser. Peterson was deactivated last week amid his arrest and indictment. It's looking like he may play this week, though don't be surprised if the Vikings or possibly the league rules him out for Week 3 at the last minute. I guess the good thing about owning your own fantasy team is that you don't have to wait for anyone else. Bench him.

* Antonio Gates is not dead yet. The veteran TE for San Diego hauled in three TDs in Week 2 against the vaunted Seattle defense. Coming into the season, hype around teammate Ladarius Green and Gates's own ongoing decay made him a backup pick for many fantasy teams. After two weeks, it's clear he's holding off Green, and the Chargers' lack of top-tier WR talent means we may see more of Gates in the end zone.

* Dallas is running a lot more than expected - great news for owners of DeMarco Murray, though less great for owners of Tony Romo. Through two weeks, Murray has the league's second-most rushing attempts (51) and the most rushing yards (285), while Romo has turned in two lackluster games. Maybe Romo won't wear his arm out after all. Too bad his fantasy value pretty much relies on him doing just that.

* Can you guess who has the most completed passes of any NFL QB through Week 2? Peyton Manning? Aaron Rodgers maybe? No. Try Jay Cutler. His 57 completions (out of 83 attempts) is one more than even Drew Brees has mustered. Cutler's owners can thank his absolute flurry of activity during Chicago's shocking second half comeback against the 49ers last week. Is this a sign of things to come? We've all been burned too often by Cutler to believe that, but ESPN currently is forecasting him as one of the top five fantasy QBs for Week 3. So we'll take this thing one week at a time.

* Should fantasy owners of the Seahawks defense panic yet? Seattle, as noted above, was scalded by San Diego in Week 2, and now have a Super Bowl rematch against Denver set for Week 3. In these kinds of games, I almost always like the Super Bowl losers to earn some payback against the winners, and it's worth noting that Seattle's secondary is a little thinner of talent than last year. Sounds like something Peyton Manning can exploit? In any case, several defenses - Houston, New England, Buffalo, for example - are looking like the fantasy defenses to own in 2014.

Expert Wire
* SB Nation has advice on replacements for the growing list of injured stars.

* Bleacher Report is predicting 325 yards passing and two TDs for Cutler this week.

* Yahoo! Big Board is buying into DeMarco Murray's big year - if he stays healthy, which for Murray is a big if.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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