THE FANTASY WEEK AHEAD
This article, which will come every Wednesday, goes game-by-game to tell you how I feel about the key fantasy players in each matchup. Enjoy.
Chiefs @ Lions
Matthew Stafford should light up the Chiefs in what should be a one sided affair, 300 yards and 2 touchdowns are easily in reach. He is a must start QB, which means you have to start Calvin Johnson and Jhavid Best with confidence. The Lions will put up points this week which means, you can do worse than Nate Burleson as a sneaky WR2 and Brandon Pettigrew is a good TE1. Jason Hanson will get a lot of looks and the Lions d=Defense should be a good start and stop Jamal Charles from having a big game.
Will Jamal Charles put up big numbers after a so-so week 1? Probably not, though you can’t bench him. Keep expectations limited as he is still a RB1. Dwayne Bowe should rebound after a poor 2 catches 17 yard performance. I would start him as a solid WR2, don’t be surprised to see Burleson put up a better game. Though the Chiefs will be so far behind that he could put up some cheap stats. No other KC player is worth playing.
Raiders @ Bills
Run DMC will take his show to Buffalo where he should have no problem electrifying his way through Buffalos front seven. He’s a must start. Janikowski should be good, in what could be a close game, I expect at least 2 FGs. Oaklands defense is best saved for the bench in this one after seeing Fitzpatrick and Jackson move the ball with ease last week.
Will Ryan Fitzpatrick continue his dominance over the AFC West? After 4 Touchdowns in week 1, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rack up a couple more. Leave him on the bench unless your other QB is Eli Manning or worse. Stevie Johnson is a good bet to put up a touchdown, I would start him as a solid WR2. Fred Jackson could have a decent game, but the Raiders run defense did send a message after week 1 against Moreno. I would leave F-Jax on my bench. Ryan Lindell could be a sleeper kicker this week.
Ravens @ Titans
Ray Rice should be the highest scoring fantasyRB this week. He’s a must start. So is Anquan Boldin, he should be one on one too often for him not to have a big game. Expect at least a touchdown. Joe Flacco is good, but you never know if you’re going to get 200 yard Flacco or 300 yard Flacco, I would lean towards 250 yard Flacco in what should be a blow out, QB2. Cundiff is a great start as well with the Ravens defense.
CJ2K will be grounded again this week. I know you have to play him, but expect RB2 production. If you have a solid RB3 like Jhavid Best, you have to play Best. Baltimore was too good last week to ignore their dominance. Bironas will be a non factor in the blowout, and Kenny Britt could find another touchdown this week as the Titans play from far behind. He is a solid WR2.
Jacksonville @ NYJ
Mark Sanchez will look to repeat his shocking 300+ yards and 2 touchdowns against a mediocre Jags defense. If Jacksonville’s run defense puts up a similar game from last week, then Shnnon Green would be a RB3 at best. Though I expect him to find the end zone this week, play him with confidence. Santonio Holmes is a good talent, I would play him as a WR2. As for Dustin Keller, role the dice and hope he can repeat the production, he is a solid TE1.
MJD is the only Jag worth playing this week. With that said I would be surprised to see him have a repeat performance from week 1. Expect a decent game, with the possibility of a game you want to forget. No other Jag should be active.
Cleveland @ Indianapolis
Peyton Hillis needs to get revenge for his owners, and the soft colts defense should be one of the easiest matchups he will have all season. He is a must start this week. If he disappoints again, then it is time to panic. I would not start any other Brown.
Kerry Collins and his dead arm will need to show some life in their offense in order to make people believe. The Browns should be that matchup after making Andy Dalton look like a real NFL QB. Start Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark with confidence. I would leave the other Colt WRs out of this, and play Joseph Addai at your own risk. They Colts should be able to move the ball, which would lead to a good game for Addai. Do not use any other Colt.
Arizona @ Washington
This is a must big game for Larry Fitzgerald. If he gets shut out by the Panthers and then the Redskins, I will be very disappointed in my top wideout in both leagues. With that being said, Beanie Wells should be decent with 70 yards and a touchdown, but I would not play Kevin Kolb, nor the Arizona Defense.
Rex Grossman could be considered a low-end QB1 for this matchup. Yes, I said it. Rex Grossman and QB1, you could do a lot worse than him coming off a 308 yard 2 touchdown performance. Play Santana Moss also, look what Steve Smith just did to this Arizona secondary. He is a high-end WR2. Tim Hightower is a solid RB2 and should find the end zone, I would leave Fred Davis on my bench for this one.
Tampa Bay @ Minnesota
Both teams were terrible offensively in week 1. Minnesota will have to show they can throw the ball so Adrian Peterson won’t have 10 stacked in the box. I like Percy Harvin to have a good game as he will have a lot of open space to run around with everyone focusing on AP. You have to start AP, that goes without saying, though I only see 80 yards and a touchdown to be honest. No other Viking is worth playing.
This is going to be a low scoring terrible offensive football game. This means LaGarette Blount should dominate. I might be being biased, but if both offenses struggle, which they should, Blount will pound it up the middle over and over again like David Banner would to a fresh video vixen model. Start him with confidence. Josh Freeman had inflated stats last week after not running a run play all second half. I wouldn’t play him, but Mike Williams should start on your team, while Winslow should top 60 yards again. He’s about as low risk/medium reward as it gets. Connor Barth, you got to pick him up at some point this season, let this be the warning game.
Green Bay @ Carolina
Aaron Rodgers could top Bradys 511 yards this game. Start Greg Jennings and Finley with confidence, Jordy Nelson is a sneaky pick, he should find the end zone and 80+ yards. I would stay away from Starks and Ryan Grant, they will eat up eachothers production faster than a DJ can scratch a record. Ya, think about that one while you decide if you want to risk them. Start Mason Crosby, though it could be a repeat of extra points only. Green BayDefense is not as good as you think they are in this matchup. Cam Newton is good, though it’s your choice if you think he will make a mistake.
Cam Newton is a QB1 this week. Yes, I said it, a QB1. Start him, the Panthers are going to give up a lot of points this game, which means Newton will have to run the offense with his arms and legs. Steve Smith is a high-end WR2 for now, while Greg Olsen is about as high risk/high reward as it get, in fantasy that means start him. Deanglo Williams has not broken into RB2 quality yet in my eyes. You can do a lot worse than him, but you might want to keep him on your bench as the Panthers look to be throwing from behind in this one.
Chicago @ New Orleans
Jay Cutler, despite having a good game last week 300+ yards 2 touchdowns, and now playing a defense that gave up 42 points to Green Bay. He is still a QB2, yes the high reward factor is there, but the Saints defense should have been better against Aaron Rodgers. It will be high scoring but if you have a safer option I would stay away from this tempting apple. Matt Forte should have a good game, I would bump him to must start status for this one. No other Bear is worth playing besides Robbie Gould. Bears defense might get out ran in this one, as the Saints are really fast this year.
Drew Brees has a tough matchup, but he’s matchup proof and so is Jimmy Graham for the time being. I would stay away from all of the RB’s and WR’s in this one. It should be very spread out with Graham coming away as the consistent option. John Kasay should have a good week as the Bears red zone defense will be very tough.
Seattle @ Pittsburgh
This is simple. Start Big Ben, start Rashard Mendenhall, start Mike Wallace, and start the Pittsburgh Defense. The Steelers should easily score 35 points this week and control the entire game as Seattle will not move the ball at all. We saw how Tavaris Jackson and company fared against a far less superior 49ers defense, and they are also in Pittsburgh. Do not start any Seahawks.
Dallas @ San Francisco
San Francisco almost lost to the Seahawks in week 1. Their offense looked awful and were saved by Ted Ginn on special teams. Frank Gore is a weak play against a good Dallas run defense that shut down Shnnon Green last week, and will dare Alex Smith to throw the ball. Start Vernon Davis, but Vernon Davis is not the Vernon Davis from last year, he was far more effective when Frank Gore was out. Though the good news is, it should be a huge blow out which means he could get garbage yards.
Dallas will look to come back from a tough Sunday night loss against a 49ers defense that let Tavaris Jackson and his no WR corpse drive down the field consistently in the second half. You have to start Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten this week. All could find the end zone in this easy matchup. Also if Dallas Defense is available snatch them up, they could easily be a top 3 option this week.
San Diego @ New England
This is the fantasy game of the week. It will be high scoring only because the Patriots defense can’t stop the pass, and New England will throw the ball because they have Tom Brady. Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates are must starts. I would play Ryan Tolbert as a low RB2 this week and keep Ryan Matthews on my bench. The same goes for Novak, Malcolm Floyd, and San Diego Defense, find alternative options.
Tom Brady will have a big game, every game which makes Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez must starts. The law firm BJE, should find the end zone again, he’s going to be a great weapon to own only because their offense will score Touchdowns on every drive. I wouldn’t play another other Patriot except for Stephen Gostowski, I like him to have a big game. Leave Ochocinco on your bench until he can put up a big game.
Cincinati @ Denver
No word yet of a QB switch for Denver. Kyle Orton is a QB2 in this matchup, while Brandon Lloyd should be played as solid WR2. He should find a way to have a good game especially with a banged up running game, Knowshon Moreno is a RB2 this week only because of the matchup. Though I would play a lot more people instead of him.
Cedric Benson, should continue his success against against a soft Denver Defense. I would start him as a solid RB2. Jermaine Gresham will get a lot of looks as the go-to-guy especially with Andy Dalton playing, he’s a high TE2 with the chance of scoring. If Gresham puts up another big game, he becomes must add.
Houston @ Miami
Arian Foster should be back, and he is entering in what will be a great matchup for him. Him and Andre Johnson are must starts, Matt Schaub should also be in line for a good game against a Dolphin defense that is coming off a Tom Brady shellacking. I would give Matt Shaub low-end QB1 status, while Owen Daniels is a solid TE1 this week. Start Rackers, and bench Houston’s defense after watching Henne throw for 400 yards.
Chad Henne will look to keep his momentum against a tough Texans defense, though this should be a high scoring game. Chad Henne is a solid QB2 this week, while Reggie Bush is going to be bumped to a RB2 since he see’s the ball so many times. He really only needs a handful of plays to have a monster game. Brandon Marshall is a must start in this one also. Did I mention this should be a high scoring game, go ahead and start Dan Carpenter.
Philidelphia @ Atlanta
Michael Turner will need to have a good game in order to make sure Matt Ryan will have space to throw against all these ball hawks. I would not play Ryan this week, and Michael Turner gets bumped up to RB1 status, Roddy White is in for a rough matchup against Nnamdi Asomugah. You kind of have to play him, though if Anquan Boldin is your WR3, go with him. Tony Gonzales should find room in the middle of the field, play him as a TE1 and bench Julio Jones. Matt Bryant will continue his great season.
Michael Vick and Lesean McCoy will run all over this dome, start them along with Desean Jackson as #1 options. Jeremy Maclin should have a bounce back game in this one and end up with a touchdown in what should be a high scoring affair, he’s a low-end WR2. I would bench Celek and the Eagles defense in this one if you have better matchups. Alex Henery is solid, and indoors for this one.
St. Louis @ NYG
St.Louis could really struggle against this banged up Giants defense. Sam Bradford will need a big game out of Mike Sims-Walker with Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola injured. I would put Sims-Walker at high risk WR2 status in this one. Throw the dice if you’re feeling lucky. Carnell Williams, yes no nick name is a RB3 this week while Bradford should stay on your bench with lack of weapons. Lance Kendrick could be a sleeper at TE after watching Fred Davis get 106 yards on the Giants Linebackers.
Ahmad Bradshaw should be able to tear through this Rams defense. Look for him to have a big game and show everyone why it’s his back field over Brandon Jacobs. Hakeem Nicks, if he can play should have a big game. if he doesn’t, Mario Mannigham is a High-end WR2 in a game where he will be force fed all night from Eli Manning. If Nicks plays I would put Mannigham at a WR3 with the chance of a touchdown. If Nicks plays then I would rank Eli Manning as a QB2, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a safer option than Manning. Do not start the Giants defense or Lawerence Tynes.
Good Luck in week 2 and come back tomorrow for my Start’em/Sit’em column.