Take Two: Chad Henne vs Joe Flacco
October 12, 2013 | Joe Siniscalchi
We saw quite the turn of events for quarterbacks in Week 5 that most likely affected your league. The inept Blaine Gabbert was hurt and replaced with Chad Henne, Matt Ryan lost his top weapon, Matt Schaub threw his last strike to yet another opposing defender who took it to the house, EJ Manuel and Brian Hoyer were victims of knee injuries, and Josh Freeman went to the Vikings. All this quarterback commotion means new vacancies and guys to grab as possible options for your second quarterback spot (hopefully not first). Keep your eyes on TJ Yates and Josh Freeman in the coming weeks as guys who can emerge as the starters for their teams.
Last week, Take Two pitted Sam Bradford against Eli Manning, and my pick of Bradford came out on top. While it wasn’t the prettiest game for Bradford, he managed 222 passing yards and a trio of scores while playing mistake free football. Eli, on the other hand, single handedly brought the Giants back in a game vs the Eagles and just as quickly took them out of it. Right on cue, he threw the typical Eli statline this season of 300 plus yards, two touchdowns and three picks. Manning made some great passes early in the game, including several deep strikes to Reuben Randle, but in the fourth quarter threw the game (and valuable points for fantasy owners) away. If you happened to own Bradford, I’d sell high on him now before he hits a brutal stretch over the next few games.
JS: My Candidate For Week Six: Chad Henne (at Den)
Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts are probably doing backflips right now (too soon David Wilson apologists?) that Chad Henne is back. He is a clear upgrade over Blaine Gabbert and played decent over 10 games last season in which he replaced Gabbert, tossing 11 touchdowns with 11 picks to match. I think going forward Henne might be a decent matchup play as a QB2 while owners are forced to deal with byes.
It’s not that I think Henne will be great in this game, but there are factors going for him here which fantasy players would be dumb to ignore. The first thing here is that Henne actually has weapons. Justin Blackmon burst back onto the scene last week with a 67 yard touchdown (albeit from blown coverage), Cecil Shorts has proven he was no fluke, and MJD at least still captures attention from opposing defenses. The second is that Henne will be forced to throw all day. From the second the ball is in the offense’s hands, the only chance that they have of even covering the spread is if they stay aggressive passing the ball. The Jags will have no shot at stopping Peyton, who may be resting at the start of the second half, which brings me to my third point. The Broncos can very well jump to such a commanding lead they are forced to sit their key starters to protect them from injury. Throw that on top of a defense allowing over 300 yards and two scores in the air to opposing quarterbacks, and it’s easy to see Henne can rack up garbage time points.
The Broncos also have the number one ranked run defense in the NFL. MJD will have zero running lanes and will be almost surely stuffed. It doesn’t help that he clearly doesn’t look like the same player he used to be. When If the game is a blowout, the Jaguars will have no choice but to put the ball in Henne’s hands. There’s a very good chance all the throwing will mean turnovers, but not enough to hinder his performance a la Eli in Week 5. In a game where the offense will be playing from behind as soon as the clock starts, expect Henne to post a rewarding garbage time for owners, leading to 340/3/1.
AO: My Candidate For Week Six: Joe Flacco (vs GB)
Everything was going well for my pick and I last week, then the fourth quarter happened. Eli was right on track to hit the numbers I expected, he had over 300 yards, two touchdowns, and had yet to throw a pick. Then he threw three in the final quarter. That sunk my ship, and a lot of fantasy owners’ as well. @Joe_Siniscalchi’s pick, Sam Bradford, did what he needed to do and posted a solid fantasy day. His matchup was about as enticing as can be, I just thought Eli’s was a little better. For the majority of the day it seemed I’d be right. But, it’s the final score and stat line that counts, not the first three quarters of it.
I rode Joe Flacco to victory in Week 1 and I plan to do the same this week. Besides that week, he has had a rough start to his fantasy season. This week, all signs point to him turning it around.
Let’s start with the obvious, he’s going against a high-scoring offense (just like in Week 1), with a defense that gives up a ton of points (just like in Week 1). That defense is without top pass-rusher Clay Matthews. And he’s playing at home. All positives.
The biggest positive – and the reason I’m picking him – is because of the matchup against the Packers, and it’s similarity to Week 1. Since Week 1 the Ravens have played largely mediocre opponents, in not particularly high scoring games (Cle, Hou, Buf, Mia). The necessity to throw wasn’t there, and neither was the passing volume that’s necessary to allow a mid-level quarterback like Flacco to have a big day.The Packers will score a ton, forcing Flacco to play from behind and throw the ball a lot. Another 50 pass night is highly likely. Whenever you have a competent quarterback in a position like that, an inflated stat line is inevitable. Let’s not forget that he threw for 362 yards against the Broncos. Volume is the key to his success, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball this week. I expect another 350 yard day with three touchdowns and a pair interceptions. In standard scoring that’s 22 points, more than enough for your matchup-dependent QB2.
JS: Even with a matchup as good as the Packers, I am not wacko for Flacco. Look what the Buffalo Bills did to him in Week 4. In a great setup versus an injury ravaged secondary, Flacco tossed FIVE interceptions. While the Packers have a sub par defense, I don’t see Flacco exploiting it. With Ray Rice back, look for the Ravens to focus more on the running game. In fact, I saw a stat on TV that said when the Ravens give Rice at least 25 touches they have won 20 straight.
I think Rice and even a decent amount of Pierce (as he will probably be limited) will be the primary game plan for the Ravens here, using check downs and runs to open up the play action and a few deep strikes for Torrey Smith. As a result, Flacco will throw a few shots downfield, but not as much as you think he would given the matchup. Tramon Williams is also a very good corner, so if Smith is beginning to get taken out of the game, it’s possible the Ravens will look to pound it from the ground even more.
I like the matchup for the Ravens and Flacco here, but I think Rice is the Raven who will go off, not Flacco. In what will be a close and exciting game, look for the Ravens to be conservative unless it turns into a shootout in the fourth quarter. Flacco should have a good game, but ultimately he will be capped by Rice. A 260/2/1 day will be just another day in the office and a disappointment for those expecting a monster day.
AO: It’s hard to argue against picking anyone playing the Broncos. They’re going to put up a massive amount of points against a good opponent, and for Jacksonville, this week it’s going to be ugly from the start. Henne is a clear upgrade over Gabbert, I can’t argue that either. What I can argue is that Flacco > Henne.
They have largely similar matchups, they’re playing top teams, and they’ll be playing from behind. If I’m a fantasy owner, I want to have the more competent of the two quarterbacks in juicy matchups. It’s common sense. Even with Blackmon and Shorts the Jags simply don’t have enough offensive weapons to keep this game competitive. They haven’t managed more than 20 points in a game so far this season, and they’ve scored less than 10 in three out of five. Henne is an upgrade, but that’s just because anyone is an upgrade over Blaine Gabbert. He’s never managed to finish a season with a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio. It’s one game that we’re concerned with so that’s not overly important, but it’s still not good.
Let’s not forget that an already pitiful offensive line just lost 2nd overall pick Luke Joeckel for the season. Joeckel was less than spectacular so far but don’t underestimate the impact that his loss will have. Expect 250 yards, two scores, and three turnovers out of Henne. With the exception of Shorts, I don’t trust anyone on the Jaguars. Flacco just has more upside.