Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 2

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Snapdraft is a weekly game in which you select a team that fits under a $27 million salary cap. There’s a wide variety of league sizes, and while each league costs at least $1, the reward is a cash prize. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups and the salaries and put together a winning combination. Since there’s a salary cap, you can’t just stack your team with a bunch of studs, so finding some bargains will be key. Here’s the Week 2 squad.

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Matthew Stafford, Lions, $3,740,000, vs. Chiefs
Stafford’s talent has never been questioned. It’s always been a matter of staying healthy. Well, he made it through Week 1 unscathed and put up 305 yards and three touchdowns against the Bucs. That was with Calvin Johnson having to deal with Aquib Talib. Meanwhile, the Bills put up 41 points against the Chiefs. Not to knock Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he’s no Matthew Stafford.

Other value picks
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $5,100,000, vs. Seahawks – While $5.1 million may not seem like a bargain, Big Ben should be in line for a monster day as he tries to erase the memory of last week’s shellacking at the hands of the Ravens.

Jay Cutler, Bears, $3,710,000, at Saints – Aaron Rodgers had a monster day against the Saints in Week 1, and while New Orleans should be able to make some adjustments, Cutler could be in line for a nice day in Week 2 as well.

Running back

Peyton Hillis, Browns, $4,000,000, at Colts
The Browns got off to a disastrous start against the Bengals in Week 1. Look for Cleveland to rebound in a big way against the Peyton Manning-less Colts. The Texans absolutely annihilated Indy in Week 1, and while the Browns are a much less explosive offense, they should be able to ride Hillis to a big day. The bruising back only tallied 57 yards on the ground in Week 1, but look for him to top the century mark here, making him a nice value pick.

Fred Jackson, Bills, $3,330,000, vs. Raiders
Speaking of value picks, Jackson could be a steal at $3.3 million. He rushed for 112 yards against the Chiefs, but did not find the end zone. Look for him to put up similar rushing numbers against the Raiders, but this time he should hit paydirt. While the Bills likely won’t tally 41 points for a second consecutive week, Jackson should still be able to pay out a nice return on this gamble.

Other value picks
Tim Hightower, Redskins, $2,870,000, vs. Cardinals – There was a lot of preseason buzz about Hightower, but his Week 1 performance didn’t stack up. Now he’ll have extra motivation of facing his old team so look for a nice rebound performance.

Jahvid Best, Lions, $3,520,000, vs. Chiefs – Best is a good bet to break down at some point, so you might as well ride him now while he’s healthy. He’s a big play waiting to happen.

Wide receiver

Calvin Johnson, Lions, $4,000,000, vs. Chiefs
Megatron was a beast in Week 1 against the Bucs, and although he had to deal with stud CB Aquib Talib all day, he still put up 88 yards and two touchdowns. With an even more favorable matchup this week against the Chiefs, there’s no telling what Johnson can do. The Chiefs secondary took a big hit with Eric Berry’s season-ending injury, so that could help here as well. Johnson will be well-worth the $4 million investment.

Robert Meachem, Saints, $2,030,000, vs. Bears
In order to take guys like Calvin Johnson, you also have to seek out some bargains, and Meachem could be a big one. Lance Moore is already banged up for New Orleans, and now Marques Colston will also be out for a while. Someone is going to have to step up in the high octane offense, and Meachem seems to be the best bet. The Bears were impressive last week against Matt Ryan, but Drew Brees is a whole other animal. Look for Meachem to be the steal of Week 2.

Other value picks
Anquan Boldin, Ravens, $2,850,000, at Titans – With deep threat Lee Evans on the team now, the field is opening up more for Boldin. Look for Boldin to find the end zone for a second straight week against the Titans.

Jacoby Jones, Texans, $1,410,000, at Dolphins – It sounds pretty likely that Kevin Walter will be out with a collarbone injury this week, and Jacoby Jones should be the beneficiary. There’s plenty of risk involved here, but the reward could be huge.

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Tight end

Jermichael Finley, Packers, $2,400,000, at Panthers
Finley flashed some signs of brilliance in Week 1 against the Saints, and he’s already shown in the past that he’s a physical freak. With Jon Beason out for the season, the Panthers linebackers will already be trying to patch things together. Having to deal with Finley will be a nightmare for them. Rodgers will always get his numbers, and this week Finley should be a main beneficiary.

Other value picks
Lance Kendricks, Rams, $1,230,000, at Giants – Kendricks laid a giant egg in Week 1 against the Eagles, but with Danny Amendola’s injury, the Rams are going to have to stick with the promising young tight end. His low salary makes him a nice gamble.

Fred Davis, Redskins, $1,180,000, vs. Cardinals – Davis took advantage of fellow TE Chris Cooley not being 100% and went off for five receptions, 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. It’s no guarantee he’ll do it again, but at that price it could be worth the risk.


Team defense/special teams

Houston Texans, $1,180,000, at Dolphins
Here’s another value pick. While the Texans may not be able to dominate the Dolphins like they did the Manning-less Colts, Houston’s D isn’t the pushover it has been in year’s past. The additions of Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning make this a much-improved unit. If the defense can put some pressure on Chad Henne, it could be a long day for the ‘Fins.

Other value picks
Detroit Lions, $1,700,000, vs. Chiefs – The Lions defensive line is about as tough as they come, and the Chiefs were already stifled by a far less impressive Bills defense.

New Orleans Saints, $1,550,000, vs. Bears – The Packers were able to move the ball at will against the Saints, but they’ll be able to do that to just about any defense. Look for the Saints to bounce back and force Jay Cutler into some turnovers.


Neil Rackers, Texans, $2,460,000, at Dolphins
And we’ll stick with the Texans and go with Neil Rackers at kicker. Tom Brady proved that putting up points against Miami won’t be a problem. Look for Matt Schaub to have the offense humming and getting into scoring range early and often, setting up Rackers for plenty of scoring opportunities.

Other value picks
Jason Hanson, Lions, $2,390,000, vs. Chiefs - If you couldn’t tell by now, I like the Lions a lot this week. I’m predicting big things from Stafford and Johnson, so Hanson should benefit from that.

Nick Folk, Jets, $2,550,000, vs. jaguars – Folk was the hero for the Jets in Week 1, so maybe he’ll ride that momentum to a big Week 2.

Flex (RB/WR)

Mike Wallace, Steelers, $3,800,000, vs. Seahawks
The Steelers were flat-out embarrassed by the Ravens in Week 1, and Pittsburgh will be out to make a statement. Wallace was the lone bright spot in last week’s loss, so look for Ben Roethlisberger to target his star wideout all afternoon. Even if the Steelers jump out to an early lead, they may leave the petal to the metal all game long to try and get over last week’s debacle.

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