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Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:52

Fantasy Football Week 2 Preview

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It’s Week 2 of the Fantasy Football season. Don’t panic if you lost Week 1, you have plenty of time to make up for it and I’m here to help. 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers played some great offense last week and I think that continues here against their biggest rivals. The Ravens gave up 301 receiving yards last Sunday, so Markus Wheaton gets a Flex nod from me. Le’Veon Bell should do well against the Ravens, especially due to his involvement in the passing game. I didn’t expect a big game from Steve Smith, but he tied for the lead in targets last week at 15 with Dennis Pitta. I highly doubt Joe Flacco throws the ball 62 times again, but you aren’t crazy for thinking Smith will be a huge part of this offense now. Torrey Smith owners probably didn’t want to read that, but the younger Smith still has big play potential and is a viable Flex play for his owners. Can’t say for sure who the better back is between Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett, but the latter sure did look a lot better, making him my leading candidate for the starting spot. Forsett is a Flex in my eyes.

New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings

Week 1 for the Pats offense didn’t go too well. The Vikings performed well on defense last week, but I’ll attribute that more to the Rams being really bad than the Vikings being really good. I think the Pats should do fine, especially Brady, Edelman, Vereen, and Gronk, but outside of them I wouldn’t look at anyone else on the roster. The Pats DST should be a solid play, but I’m a little hesitant to promote them after seeing what Cordarrelle Patterson did on the ground last week, let alone the fact that they’re playing against Adrian Peterson and they just gave up 134 rushing yards to Knowshon Moreno. Speaking of Cordarrelle, I’m surprised he didn’t get more action in the passing game. He’s a WR2 for me this week, with hopes he’ll get some more targets and in general more opportunities to showcase his talent. Kyle Rudolph only had 2 catches, but 1 was for a TD, and I think that’s what his season will be like. He’s a TE2 due to his red zone utilization, with TE1 upside if he can get more involved on offense. Sleeper Selection here is Greg Jennings, who led the team in receiving last week and continues to be Matt Cassel’s favorite target.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

This divisional battle will be interesting. The Dolphins’ offense looked good last week and the Bills don’t really have the defense to make them look worse. I think this year is somewhat of a revival for Mike Wallace and he started off strong last week. Against the Bills, he’s a WR2 for me. Charles Clay didn’t do anything against the Pats, but that was expected as he never plays well against them. You may not have noticed, but Clay had 6 targets last week, so he’s definitely going to be involved here. I think Clay is a TE1 here, don’t let last week’s game make you give up on him. Knowshon Moreno should be the starter, and if he doesn’t start I’m very sure he’ll finish the game. You don’t bench a guy who had the season he did last year and then follows that up with 24 carries for 134 yards and a TD in his first game with a new team. I haven’t left much room for the Bills here because I don’t have much to say. I’m not going to put much faith in this offense outside of the running game. CJ Spiller got 18 touches, but Fred Jackson (10 touches) did much more with less (64 total yards vs 74for FJax). Sure Spiller got the TD, but I still think FJax is the better of the two for now. Both are Flex plays.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Football Franchise

I want to say the Jaguars’ good start last week was due to Nick Foles getting some rust off, but the Jaguars actually did play well in the first half. The issue is that they went back to the Jags we know in the second half, and did absolutely nothing. I’m not going to overreact to Allen Hurns’ game, but he did receive 9 targets, so you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that he’ll be a part of this offense going forward. Not only did Toby Gerhart do very little with his 18 carries, but he got injured as well. I’m not very confident putting him in my starting lineup this week, especially since the Washington surprisingly held Arian Foster to 3.8 yards per carry. My honest opinion is: don’t start any Jags other than Hurns (Flex) this week. I think Robert Griffin III can have a good year, and I think the lack of TDs last week was due to the Texans defense. RG3 is a QB2 for me this week, with his teammates Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson being RB1, WR1, and WR2 respectively. Garcon didn’t score, but he had 10 catches for 77 yards. If you’re in a PPR league you’re going to love this Garcon, and Jackson wasn’t too far behind with 8 catches for 62 yards. This offense has room for all four players to shine, and I think they show off their skills this Sunday. Niles Paul played well last week, and with Jordan Reed likely out due to injury, I have to make Paul my Sleeper Selection. He wasn’t targeted much, but he has some potential.

Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans

Great defensive display by the Cowboys huh? Add that to how Romo played last week, and it’s hard not to think the Titans have a chance at putting up some numbers here. The Titans did just score 26 points against one of last year’s top defenses didn’t they? I’d like to rank Romo higher than Locker here, but after seeing how both players (and defenses) did last week, I have to give the edge to Locker. Both are QB2 anyway, but I like Locker a bit more than Romo this week. DeMarco Murray played like the elite back that I think he can be, and he should have another good game here. Sure the Titans limited Jamaal Charles to 19 rushing yards, but I can’t say the Titans’ defense is really that legit so soon. To finish up with the Boys, you’re starting Dez and Witten every week of the year unless they’re injured or on a Bye. Can’t forget about Terrance Williams either, he’s a Flex with WR2 upside. Getting back to the Titans, I’m surprised Bishop Sankey only had 6 carries last week. I wouldn’t start him until we see more, so Shonn Greene gets the RB2 honors here (Cowboys defense people). Kendall Wright would normally be a Flex for me, but against the Cowboys (yes, they are that bad) he gets a WR2 spot, with his teammate Justin Hunter not too far behind as a Flex. To spread the “he’s playing against the Cowboys” joy, Delanie Walker is worth a look as your starting TE if you don’t have a surefire guy at the position.

Arizona Cardinals at NY Giants

I like what I saw from the Cardinals on Monday night. Larry Fitzgerald owners didn’t like it, but overall I like this team. The defense did a good job against what was one of the best offenses in the league last season, and the Carson Palmer-led offense played admirably as well. Going against the Giants this week, I expect big things from Palmer, Fitz, Malcolm Floyd, and the injured, but apparently not-so-injured Andre Ellington. I think Fitz’ game was simply due to what the Chargers chose to take away (Fitz) and what they chose to give (Floyd). The Giants didn’t look like they were capable of taking away anything on Monday, so I can’t see why Palmer would have any problems getting both guys the ball. When it comes to the Giants, I’m not playing anyone other than Rashad Jennings. As bad as Eli has been, I’ve always at least given Victor Cruz a chance, but maybe that isn’t warranted anymore. The Giants are trying to learn a new offense, and Eli looked so bad on Monday (combined with how badly he looked last year) that I have no reason to trust him. It’s Jennings (Flex) or nothing for me in regard to the Giants for now. Start the Cardinals DST people, they’re better than the Lions and you saw what the latter did.

New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns

In Brandin Cooks’ first game he finished with 7 catches for 77 yards and a TD.  It looks like the preseason hype was well deserved. The threat of Joe Haden isn’t enough to make you bench your Saints players, especially with Brees coming off of a loss and taking the blame for said loss because the offense (as he said) didn’t score enough.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Ingram leads the team in carries again, but I doubt he’ll score 2 TDs again. Ingram and Pierre Thomas are Flex players, with the latter having RB2 upside in PPR leagues. I like Khiry Robinson, but I wouldn’t risk starting him yet. The Browns got into a shootout with the Steelers, and I was shocked their offense did so well. Even more shocking is that the only people that scored are the ones no one expected: Isaiah Crowell and Travis Benjamin. If anyone should’ve scored, it should’ve been Terrance West, who I think can get a score this week. With Ben Tate out, I have West ranked as a Flex. The Saints secondary should be able to limit Brian Hoyer, and if Jordan Cameron can’t make it on the field then Andrew Hawkins looks like the best play in regard to receiving options. I’m not suggesting you start Hawkins, but he has Flex potential this week.

Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals

Outside from giving up an 80 yard TD to Steve Smith, I think the Bengals defense played great. Unfortunately they’ll now face a Falcons team that just put up 568 yards on offense. Matt Ryan looked better than he did all of last year, and that’s owed to a healthy Julio Jones (WR1) and Roddy White (WR2). It looks like the Falcons are using Devin Hester as a WR and not just a return man, and that makes him my Sleeper Selection. We’re used to seeing Hester return kicks, but the speedy veteran can certainly be lethal in the passing game if used properly. Steven Jackson didn’t do horribly on the ground, but it was barely even Flex-level production and I don’t think he’ll do much better against the Bengals. For the Bengals it looks like things will be what I suspected, the offense is all about A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. Tyler Eifert has been placed on IR, so Jermaine Gresham will solely get the TE duties. I’m not a big fan of his play, and I wouldn’t risk using his this week.

Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers

The Giants were way too easy for the Lions offense, so they’ll encounter a great challenge this Sunday vs the Panthers. Reggie Bush surprisingly got far more targets than Joique Bell in Week 1, but Bell ended up getting more carries and rushing yards, so owners don’t have to worry about his touches. Against the Panthers I think both are Flex plays, with Bell ranked a bit higher. Matt Stafford should still be able to put up some starter worthy numbers, but I don’t think he’ll be as efficient and composed as he was versus the Giants. The Panthers know how to apply pressure on the opposing QB. Speaking of pressure, Cam Newton will start this game, and he will have no excuse not to play as well as Derek Anderson did last week. Kelvin Benjamin (WR2) and Greg Olsen (TE1) should both have good games, and for what will be a common trend this season, I’d stay away from the Panthers RBs. If you’re really thin on RB then DeAngelo Williams is your best bet from this committee, but Cam Newton is the true primary rusher when it comes to this team. I think both defenses can cause turnovers and attack the QB, so both units get starts from me.

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Both of these teams didn’t do too much on offense last week, and I don’t know if that really changes this week. The Bucs have a good defense, so Shaun Hill having a much better week is out the window for me. I do this Zac Stacy should have fantasy relevant game, but I’ll tentatively place him as an RB2 here. Josh McCown didn’t do too bad, but isn’t worth a starting spot yet. I was surprised he wasn’t able to connect with Vincent Jackson more, but I was even more surprised by Brandon Myers’ usage. Since VJax and Mike Evans tied for the team lead in targets I think they are definitely the options in the passing game worth using. I’ll wait another week before I say Myers is worth a starting spot. Doug Martin played horribly and also suffered a leg injury. No word on if he’s out for Sunday’s game, but even if he does play he’s a Flex for me. Martin just hasn’t looked good since his rookie season, and he’s been outplayed by Bobby Rainey. If Martin doesn’t play I think Rainey is an RB2.

Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers

The Chargers did a great job taking away the Cardinals’ top WR, but I doubt they can do the same versus Percy Harvin. Percy took some good hits in Week 1 and bounced back up, so he successfully survived Week 1. His owners will cringe every time he gets hit, but I think you have to start him if you have him. He’s a WR2 with WR1 upside every week. Marshawn Lynch isn’t letting anyone take him down, and he shouldn’t have any issues against the Chargers. Doug Baldwin was a bust last week, but I’d be shocked if he isn’t involved more this week. Russell Wilson isn’t going to ignore him again will he? I think Baldwin should be benched to be safe, but he could have a Flex worthy performance. It had to suck seeing Keenan Allen do so little, but in his defense he was 2nd in targets. The Chargers would be smart to keep him off of Richard Sherman’s side of the field, if they do then Allen should be able to shell out a WR2 week. Antonio Gates is still trucking along, and he’s a TE2 for me, mainly because I have to bump him down a bit going against the Seahawks. The Donald Brown experiment didn’t go well on Monday, and Ryan Mathews is still the lead back, so the former should be benched and the latter is a Flex. The Chargers may have looked solid on defense last week, but the Seahawks were firing on all cylinders last Thursday and I can’t see the Chargers slowing them down. Keep the Chargers defense away from your starting lineup.

Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders

The Texans offense wasn’t bad, but they had issues scoring. Fitzpatrick only throwing 22 times was a surprise, but he was able to get the ball to his best two options. Garrett Graham should be back this week, so we’ll have to see who Fitzpatrick focuses on other than Andre Johnson. DeAndre Hopkins had a great 76 TD, but outside of that he didn’t do much. I think he’s a Flex play this week, but hopefully he can follow up last week with another good performance (throw him the ball Fitzpatrick!!). Arian Foster only had 3.8 ypc last week, but we just witnessed the Raiders give up 212 rushing yards so don’t hesitate on making Foster your RB1. I would also give the Texans DST a spot this week since the Raiders didn’t look very good last week. Derek Carr had a decent game thanks to his 2 TDs, but only 151 passing yards is too low for a starting QB in the NFL. Add that to the complete lack of rushing game (25 total yards for the team) and I’m not starting anyone from the Raiders. Rod Streater and James Jones both scored, which put them in Flex territory, so that’s where they are for me this week.

NY Jets at Green Bay Packers

The Seahawks ran all over the Packers last week, and the Jets just might do the same. While Chris Johnson is the starting RB, I think Chris Ivory is the better player. Since this is a RB committee, I have to give them both Flex designations. I don’t trust Geno Smith at QB yet, so Eric Decker is a Flex for me, but every other WR is benched. Aaron Rodgers can’t be happy with his performance last week and will look to get the offense back on track against the Jets. The latter didn’t have much of a challenge against the Raiders, but the Packers will be a tough test. I like the Packers WRs (Nelson and Cobb) this week, and if Eddie Lacy plays he’s an RB1. If Lacy doesn’t play then James Starks will get the start, and he’ll be ranked as a safe Flex with RB2 upside.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

The Chiefs played horribly last week, and it truly showed how bad this offense is if Jamaal Charles isn’t having a great game. The Broncos defense will likely place all of its focus on Charles and force Alex Smith to beat them by other means. I doubt Smith will veer far off from trying to force Charles the ball, and he’s such a pivotal part of this offense that I can’t rank Charles less than an RB1 here. Aside from him, feel free to stay away from the Chiefs roster, that’s including the defense. Not much needs to be said about the Broncos. Peyton has a ton of options so it’s hard to know who he’ll get the ball to each week. Play your guy(s) and hope he’ll be Peyton’s favorite target this week.

Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers

The Bears did just about what I expected. Jay Cutler is the same old Cutler, and he’ll force the ball to his guys whether he should or not. The 49ers have a good defense, and Cutler plays similar to Romo, so be wary of starting him this week. I think Forte, Marshall, and Jeffery are fine to start, but I’m hesitant on Bennett this week. He may need to block more to help Cutler have more time in the pocket. Colin Kaepernick had a great first half, but cooled down in the second. The Bears defense isn’t good, but it isn’t as bad as the Cowboys. Colin needs to do more to deserve a starting spot, his lack of pass attempts is going to keep one of his three guys (Boldin, Davis, Crabtree) looking bad each week. Feel good about starting Gore here, and Carlos Hyde is my Sleeper Selection even though he probably isn’t much of a sleeper at this point. The Bills RBs did a pretty good job against the Bears and I think the 49ers duo is better.

Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts

The Colts didn’t survive the shootout last week, but they should have a better time this week. The Eagles defense isn’t nearly as good as the Broncos. I’m starting all the main guys here. Foles, McCoy, Maclin (WR2), Sproles (Flex), Luck, Wayne (WR2), and Hilton (Flex) should be good to go. Trent Richardson didn’t do well in Week 1 so he’s still a bench play. Ahmad Bradshaw outplayed him, and if Trent continues to play poorly he won’t have the starter spot for long. Bradshaw is my Sleeper Selection, and Trent has 2 weeks to get a good game going before I think he’s droppable. Leave the defenses at home kids, they won’t be making too many appearances Monday night.

Thanks for reading, and follow me @CLNS_Marc for further coverage.