Approximately 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water. The other 29 percent is covered by … well, it's definitely not covered by Jason David.
Marvin Harrison and Wayne took turns abusing the Saints cornerback on Thursday. They smoked David for 27-, 29-, and 46-yard touchdown receptions on absurdly similar routes, the first two of them off play-action. Late in the game, NBC put a fine point on just how badly David's night had gone: He was targeted nine times, allowing seven catches for 147 yards and three touchdowns. You'll rarely see anyone beaten so badly, so often.
And David had a spectacular night in IDP leagues.
In fact, in my Individual Defensive Player league, Jason David outscored everyone except Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, and Wayne. He actually had more fantasy points (15) than the combination of Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister (13). David obviously earned most of these points on a single play in the second quarter when he forced a fumble, recovered it, and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. That's not exactly the sort of thing you can forecast in a fantasy league.
Still, David's rather awesome fantasy night– and his abysmal real-life night– can tell you something valuable about IDP formats. It's really not so bad to own a player who's going to be targeted frequently. That's where the stats are.
In the post-Jim Everett fantasy era, it's possible that we haven't seen a game in which a player's fantasy stats and his actual on-field performance were so completely incongruent. The Saints have a rich heritage in this area.
• At this very moment, there are tens of thousands of owners just itching to overreact to the Thursday night game. This is a great week to buy-low on Bush, Drew Brees, and Marques Colston. In one-for-one Yahoo! trades on Friday, Brees has been dealt straight-up for Kellen Winslow and Julius Jones. Colston was traded for Charles Woodson.
Bush was really a huge disappointment on Thursday. His first half was especially miserable: 21 rushing yards and two receptions for -3 yards. Rob Morris arm-tackled him in the second quarter, making him look like a plush toy. That could very well be the worst game Bush has all year. If ever there was a time to package a lesser RB and a replaceable WR for him, it's now.
• Here's the best possible test of whether your league is truly competitive: Was Indianapolis running back Kenton Keith added to a roster before 7:45 p.m. on Thursday night? If he was, then he'd either been handcuffed to Joseph Addai already, or someone reacted immediately to the fact that Addai was injured on the first play from scrimmage.
In the How to Lose a League league, Keith was added at 7:42 p.m., basically seconds after Addai went down. (It turned out to be a non-injury). Keith looked alright, too, gaining seven yards on a stretch play in his first rush attempt. If you're an Addai owner, it's worth stashing Keith on your bench. That system can't help but produce an ownable fantasy running back.
• If we've learned nothing else about Eric Johnson, we now know that he can take a beating. He was pummeled after every catch on Thursday by a surprisingly tough Colts' D. Johnson is listed as the Saints' "Top Performer" in the Yahoo! box score, which is sort of amusing. His numbers, while fine for a tight end, are most definitely not OK by Top Performer standards: eight receptions, 57 yards, zero TDs. Brees has enjoyed a very good relationship with his TEs in prior years, though. As long as he stays healthy, Johnson looks like an roster-worthy player.
• One last note from Thursday's game: the Colts apparently still can't cover kickoff and punt returns. They were the NFL's most user-friendly coverage team last season. This is meaningful to those of you in leagues that award a point for every 10 or 20 return yards.
• The best add of the day, without question, is Patrick Crayton. Dallas receiver Terry Glenn (knee) is expected to miss at least two weeks, and might miss the entire season. Crayton caught 75 percent of the passes thrown to him in 2006. That was the best reception percentage of any WR who was targeted 40 or more times. The Week 1 match-up against the Giants is spectacular. He's a top-30 WR this week, ownable in all public leagues.
• Brandon Jackson is looking more like a solid flex start in Week 1. He'll face a Philadelphia defense that was not particularly good against the run in 2006, allowing 4.5 yards per carry and 136.4 per game. Due mostly to the effects of auto-picking, Jackson entered the week owned in only 54.8 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• I'm facing a DeShaun Foster versus DeAngelo Williams decision in two leagues this weekend. And I'm hedging. I'm starting Foster in the league that uses standard scoring, and Williams in the PPR league. The Rams are an inviting run defense, so both of the Carolina De's are reasonable plays. There have been some extremely encouraging (if vague) reports on the Panthers' new offense.
• There's a terrific war of words going on between Chad Johnson and basically every Raven this week. Here's the best line so far, offered by Bart Scott: "(Chad) wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight." Ocho Cinco had eight catches for 91 yards against Baltimore in Week 13 last year, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 10 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Those are not players I'd sit, regardless of the opponent.
• The Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure reports that not only is rookie TE Greg Olsen doubtful for Sunday, he's "highly doubtful." This hasn't really dimmed my long-term G-Reg enthusiasm at all. Olsen is going to enter 2008 as a top-five fantasy TE. He's still worth a roster spot. The Bears disclosed details of Olsen's injury with typical coded rhetoric.
• On Monday, we'll recap Week 1 in the Yahoo! Tank Johnson Desert Classic and sift through the weekend wreckage. I'll be writing the Sunday Scene this year, too, so I'm open to suggestions on decent Chicago bars to view games and engage in general geekery.
- Jason David
- Joseph Addai