DEEPER THREATS - Week 3's Potential Pick-up Problems

**UPDATE: DeMarco Murray leaves practice early Wednesday with a hamstring injury. and is questionable against the Jets.  Severity of the injury is still unknown.  Murray to undergo and MRI.

BUYER BEWARE – Breaking Down Benjamin

Big-play Benjamin has the potential to hit a home run every time he sets foot on the field.  He runs a 4.3-4.35 40 (depending on who you ask), making him a speed demon that can take the top off of any defense and an electric returner that can smoke opponents’ special teams. 

Heard enough hype yet?  So have I.  You heard it here first, Benjamin will be boom or bust the rest of the season.  If you’re looking for a consistent, week-to-week flex play, you won’t find it with this player, and here’s why.  Benjamin will go up against tougher defenses this season, and will only be effective as long as Johnny Manziel is in the game.  So, defensive coordinators of the NFL, this is how you’ll shut him down.

Benjamin is fast, not elusive.  He cuts once, turns on the burners, and he’s gone.  The trick is not to let him get that first cut.  He’s 5’10”, 175lbs, avoids contact coming off the line, and tends to line up outside.  Benjamin will beat the defense every time he gets a free-release off the line of scrimmage.  Play bump and run against the undersized Benjamin.  Jam him first, and then give your DB some help over the top.  Second, put Johnny down on the spot.  Benjamin’s long, downfield routes take time to develop.  Bumping the undersized Benjamin will hold him up from getting downfield, and give the pass rush more time to get to the QB.  Manziel is elusive and buys time with his feet, so containing and bringing him down will be key.

This week, you’ll pay a premium for Benny the burner.  Will the returns justify the investment?  Only time will tell.  If Josh McCown returns under center though, you just wasted your money. 

BIRD FLU (flew?) – What’s wrong with the Eagles?

Green is an appropriate color for the Eagles.  They've looked sick in the worst possible way, much like their fantasy owners, and and here's why.  First, let's take a look at the fantasy perspective.  Through week 2, they're averaging 6.3 yards per pass (26th in NFL) and 2.1 yards per rush (32nd in NFL).  Sam Bradford has thrown twice as many picks (4) as he has TD’s (2).  HALF of those 2 TD's came in the last 2 minutes of the Cowboys game.  That ONE TD saved Bradford from turning in just 4 fantasy points.  Jordan Matthews is dropping the ball, literally, at key moments in the game.   I’ve saved the worst for last: DeMarco Murray.  Through 2 games, he’s totaled 11 yards on 21 totes, and his longest carry was 9.  So, let’s break it down like a fraction – If we don’t count Murray’s 9 yard carry, he totaled 2 yards, or 6 feet, or 72 inches on 20 carries.  In a game of inches, that’s 3.6 INCHES per carry!  Okay, yes, I know Philly uses an RB-by-committee approach, and they all catch out of the backfield.  The thing is, you live by the bubble screen and you die by the bubble screen. 

The real problem here is the offensive line.  Sam Bradford looked like he was is running for his life and the backs were buried in the backfield.  The playbook is extremely limited when there’s no time to throw the ball.  Therefore, a team becomes one-dimensional and predictable.  From a fundamental (NOT fantasy) football standpoint, these unsung heroes known as offensive linemen will make or break a team's season.  They protect the QB, open up running lanes, and get downfield to set up blocks.  Last year's offensive line did their job.  After releasing two key interior linemen from 2014 during the offseason, we watched Rod Marinelli's "Rush-Men" run stunts, blitzes, and tear it up between the tackles.  Newsflash, coach Kelly: they can't throw or run the ball if they're not standing up.  Chip needs to get the ball out of his QB's hands more quickly, whether it's slotting Sproles and Ertz and giving him a quick outlet pass, or Bradford might tear something up.

Sproles is the silver fantasy lining in an abysmal Eagles offense, even though he hasn’t found the endzone yet.  He’s averaged 7.7 yards per rush on 6 carries, and 9 yards per catch, and he is the player to own. 

For the sake of my season and sanity, I’m benching Bradford and Matthews against a probowl Jets secondary. 

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