Take Two: Carson Palmer vs Jay Cutler
September 12, 2013 | Joe Siniscalchi
With week one in the books, there was a clear cut winner between the battle of Joe Flacco vs Josh Freeman. Josh Freeman struggled in finding a rhythm against the Jets, completing just 48.4% of his passes for a paltry 210 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Joe Flacco, on the other hand, put up solid numbers for owners who had him in their lineups, going 34-62 for 362 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. While the game wasn’t ideal for the Ravens, Flacco was forced to throw from behind, causing smiles for fantasy owners. So for those counting at home, I’m 0-1, while @AnthonyOlivetti starts off with the win. With that, let’s kick off this week’s showdown.
JS: My Candidate for Week 2: Carson Palmer (vs DET)
In week two, there are a lot of quarterbacks I like (especially the other guy who will be discussed here), but this week, I’m picking Carson Palmer as a guy who needs to be your QB2 if you don’t have a stud penciled in.
Palmer and the Cardinals go up against the Detroit Lions. This game should be a passing frenzy for Palmer and the Cardinals. Consider first that the Lions have one of the nastiest interior line pairings in the NFL, with forces Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley clogging up the running lanes. Aside from AP’s 78 yard touchdown, the Lions held him to 15 yards on 17 carries. Imagine what they’ll do to the Cardinal’s line. Palmer will be forced to throw all game if the Cardinals have any shot, but fortunately for him a trio of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and Andre Roberts can pose problems for lions defensive backfield. The Rams got to Palmer for 4 sacks and 5 total QB hits, and he still was able to throw for 300 plus yards, 2 TDs, and garner a 96.6 QB Rating.
With the Lions’ high octane offense, expect this game to be a potential shootout, with the strong possibility that Palmer will need to use his arm to keep the Cardinals in the game. Fitzgerald and Palmer have clearly developed a rapport, and it’s going to show on the stat sheets. Look for a similar scenario for when Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall were reunited last year to emerge in the desert this year. Palmer is a strong start this week, and I expect him to throw for 290 plus yards and 3 TDs along with a pair of his typical INTs.
AO: Winner, winner! In our Week 1 matchup between @Joe_Siniscalchi and myself, Joe Flacco managed to drag me to victory but it certainly wasn’t pretty. From a real football standpoint Flacco had a pretty bad day, he only completed 54.8 percent of his passes but when you throw the ball 62 times you’re going to have a lot of yards at the end of the day. Luckily I only promised that he’d have a good fake football day. His 362/2/2 line was good enough for 20 points under just about any scoring format – and more if you’re league has yardage bonuses or scores passing touchdowns as six points – which is a solid day for your second QB.
AO: My Candidate For Week 2: Jay Cutler (vs MIN)
Now that my gloating is out of the way it’s time to move on to my pick for your Week 2 matchup. This week I’ve got Jay Cutler, coming off of a solid first week and with a favorable matchup coming up against the Minnesota Vikings it’s a no brainer in my book. I want to start off by saying that for me Cutler is an every week option in two QB formats, his offensive line (which has been atrocious the last few seasons) has been upgraded and the addition of Marc Trestman certainly helps. Beyond that he has a Top 5 wideout in Brandon Marshall, a talented young receiver in Alshon Jeffery, a capable pass catching tight end in Martellus Bennett, and a stud pass catching back in Matt Forte.
When you combine his weapons, with his improved offensive line, and new head coach it sets him up for an excellent 2013 campaign on the whole. Frankly I can’t believe that he’s owned in less than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues and started in only six percent. Factor in a Vikings team whose defense is more adept at stopping the run than the pass and it makes this week’s matchup especially juicy. Cutler won’t need to pass the ball 60+ times like Flacco did last week but, he will throw the ball 30-40 times and complete somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 percent of those passes, both good enough to end up with a solid fantasy stat line.
We know that Cutler is going to use Brandon Marshall’s playmaking ability to his advantage (as always), while also dumping the ball off to Forte plenty in open space. What makes this so effective, this season especially, is that he has more weapons to throw to now. Last week four Bears players were targeted at least six times or more, the more the Vikings need to worry about containing multiple players the more dangerous Marshall and Forte become. I’m looking for Cutler to throw for 275 yards to go along with 3 touchdowns and 2 turnovers, certainly not eye popping numbers but enough to get the job done. Don’t forget that Cutler usually averages about 10-15 rushing yards per game as well, an extra point here or there may not seem like much but it adds up.
JS: It’s hard for me to criticize this pick, as I absolutely love Jay Cutler. Having said that, I think the Bears may gameplan similar to what the Lions did a week ago and focus the matchup around Matt Forte. Forte didn’t have a stellar game last week, so look for a rebound performance here. In week one, the Vikings managed to contain Calvin Johnson to an abysmal 4 catches for 37 yards, so it’s not out of the question that they keep a lid on Marshall here. I expect plenty of passes for Forte as well, but that will benefit the back’s owners more than Cutler owners most likely. At the expense of containing Megatron, Reggie Bush carved up the Vikings D for 190 total yards on only 25 touches. With Forte being the superior runner and just as good as a receiver, look for Forte to be the guy to erupt, not Cutler.
AO: I don’t hate the pick, I really don’t. Carson Palmer has ample targets around him and has a very good arm, but he’s going up against a Lions defense that has a scary good line. Last week against the St. Louis Rams, Palmer’s O-line showed that they are vulnerable, very vulnerable. The Rams’ D-line put pressure on Palmer all day, forcing him to fumble twice. With the Lions’ more talented line on the docket this week I’m nervous about whether Palmer will have enough time to let his receivers’ routes develop. Bruce Arians’ vertical passing attack requires time in the pocket, with the Lions coming hard all day I just don’t see this working out in his favor. I expect him to have to force passes all game which is never good. Like I said, I don’t hate him, but there are much better options out there this week.