This is a big week for Fantasy Football Owners. Fantasy teams that won are looking to jump out to a fast 2-0 start. Teams that lost are hoping to avoid a 0-2 start to the season.
The key this week is not to panic because one of your players had a bad game. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the most talented players are still poised to have a big season, even if they came up short in Week One.
My best advice is that good players have bad games every once in a while and bad players have good games occasionally. Over the course of a 16-game season, things even out.
Since it would be impossible to list every player, if you do not see the players that are causing you a headache this week, please leave a comment and one of our experts will respond to you within 24 hours.
Start of the Week
Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy – McCoy fell victim to a slow start by his team in Week One. His starting quarterback Kevin Kolb looked lost early in the game and really prevented McCoy from showing his full potential in a game the Eagles trailed 27-10. McCoy only had seven rushes for 35 yards and five receptions for 47 yards against one of the better defenses in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers.
This week he plays a much more favorable matchup in the Detroit Lions. Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte had 17 rushes for 50 yards against the Lions last week but caught seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. McCoy is also an accomplished receiver and should be able to put up yards in both the rushing and receiving game.
Factor in that the Detroit Lions should not be explosive on offense with QB Matthew Stafford injured and that McCoy should see a lot of touches throughout the game, and it is a recipe for a big game.
Two backup running backs that should be great plays this week are the Green Bay Packers' Brandon Jackson and Oakland Raiders' Darren McFadden. The Bills gave up 132 yards rushing at home to the Miami Dolphins and travel to face the Green Bay Packers. Starting RB Ryan Grant has already been ruled out for the season, and Jackson had 63 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving filling in for him last week. It is a good matchup for Jackson.
As for McFadden, starting RB Michael Bush did not play last week, and his status is up in the air for Week Two with a broken thumb. McFadden had 18 rushes for 95 yards and six receptions for 55 yards, including a receiving touchdown. At home against the St. Louis Rams, McFadden is a good play, especially if he earns another start with Bush on the mend.
Finally, you have to like New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw for a second straight week. The Indianapolis Colts surrendered 231 yards rushing and three touchdowns to Houston Texans RB Arian Foster in the season opener. You have to bet the Giants will test that Colts run defense with a heavy dose of Bradshaw.
Speaking of Foster, he has to be in your lineup this week, even though the Washington Redskins kept a potent Dallas Cowboys running game in check. We have not yet added him to our Can’t Sit List, but if he strings together a couple of more good games and shows that Week One was not a fluke, he will be there the rest of the season.
At quarterback, many people had given up on Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck because of his subpar 2008 and 2009 seasons. He opened against a tough 49ers pass defense with 170 yards passing, two touchdowns and only one interception. He faces a Denver defense that allowed 170 yards passing and three touchdowns to Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard. I would not start Hasselbeck for some of the premier quarterbacks, even ones with tough matchups. He is worth a flier this week if you are stuck without a good backup to an injured Stafford or Kolb.
If you need another lesser name, do not sleep on Oakland Raiders QB Jason Campbell this week. He had a rough opener in Tennessee but could be poised for a rebound week against a questionable St. Louis defense.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan has a much better matchup this week against the Arizona Cardinals in Atlanta. Expect a rebound week and some more points from the Atlanta offense that was shut down in Pittsburgh. St. Louis rookie QB Sam Bradford had 253 yards passing last week against Arizona with a touchdown and three picks; Ryan is in a better position to make the big plays without the costly mistakes.
Finally, I like Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb to have a much better week now that he has a game under his belt. Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning had 433 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Texans last week; there are plays for McNabb to make against this Texans secondary.
At wide receiver, I also like McNabb’s teammate Santana Moss. Manning’s 433 yards passing showed that teams can move the ball on the Houston secondary, and with a week of action under their belts, McNabb is going to be even more comfortable with Moss than he was last week. Moss had six receptions for 77 yards, and I can see some big plays for the Washington duo.
Don’t give up on San Diego WR Malcom Floyd, even though he did not live up to expectations against Kansas City with just three receptions for 48 yards. The weather was not very good, and the rain dampened the San Diego passing game. Jacksonville is still a good matchup, and I look for him to rebound this week. One slow game is too early to write this talented receiver off your fantasy radar.
You have to like the way that Mark Clayton performed against Arizona last week. Despite being traded after the preseason with less than a week to prepare for the opener with his new team, he had a career-high 10 receptions for 119 yards. He is a decent third fantasy receiver this week, and hopefully this chemistry with rookie QB Sam Bradford is a sign of big things to come.
New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks is not going to catch three touchdown passes every week, but he seems to be emerging as a good red zone target for QB Eli Manning. Nicks is 6’1” and 216 lbs., which is not Plaxico Burress’ height and size but is bigger than the 5’11” and 195-lb. Steve Smith. Look for Nicks to put up a nice game in Indianapolis and possibly score another touchdown this week.
At tight end, most of the top tight ends are playing at home and should be in your lineups this week, but a player that had some unexpected success was Jacksonville Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis. He had only two receptions for 31 yards, but both went for touchdowns. He is still not a big yardage play, but he has a chance to find the end zone this week against the Chargers.
I also would not give up on Chicago Bears TE Greg Olsen, who goes up against a Dallas defense that gave up 80 yards receiving to tight ends. Olsen is still a threat in the Chicago passing game and had four receptions for 37 yards last week. He might be able to put up bigger numbers this week against a Cowboys offense that gave up big yards to the tight end position in Week One.
Sit of the Week
Some players have a slow first game and you have to keep them on your bench in Week Two because they draw an even tougher matchup. RB Ronnie Brown had a decent game with 13 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown against the Buffalo Bills, but it was not all that I had hoped for against a poor Buffalo run defense.
Now he goes up against a Minnesota Vikings run defense that finished first in rushing yards allowed from 2006 to 2008 and was second in 2009. He is a borderline flex play this week and should not be starting in two-back leagues. Brown’s teammate Ricky Williams is also a poor play this week against that run defense.
Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart was projected to have a big year, but clearly the carries went DeAngelo Williams’ way in Week One. Williams had only 16 carries for 62 yards and no rushing touchdowns last week, but Stewart had only five carries for 12 yards. Tampa Bay has a poor run defense, but I would not start Stewart until the Panthers show that he will receive a healthy number of carries to deserve playing. Do not drop Stewart, of course, but keep him on your bench.
Buffalo Bills rookie RB C.J. Spiller had a rough debut with just seven rushes for six yards and four receptions for eight yards. Again, not a reason to cut him, as Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton had eight carries for zero yards in his first NFL game with the Chicago Bears. Just do not start Spiller against the best run defense in the NFL from 2009.
Finally, I am not a big fan of the Dallas trio this week, including RB Marion Barber and Felix Jones. The Cowboys rushed 22 times for 107 yards, and neither back had over 40 yards rushing or scored a touchdown. The Chicago Bears held the Detroit Lions to 20 carries for 21 yards. Barber is an average flex play this week, and Jones is probably one to hold out of the lineup.
At quarterback, I thought San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith had the potential to be a sleeper this year, and I still believe he will bounce back from a very poor game in Seattle. Just do not expect the bounce-back to happen this week against a New Orleans Saints defense that is great at forcing turnovers. Keep him on your bench for another week and see how he responds to a terrible start.
New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez was supposed to make strides in his second season but was held to 74 yards passing and no touchdowns or picks on opening week. He will improve this year and will help somebody that has a quarterback on bye or has an injury problem. I just do not see it this week against the New England Patriots. I think the Jets coaching staff will go with a similar conservative passing plan like they did against the tough Baltimore Ravens defense.
Two bigger name quarterbacks in the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco and Cincinnati Bengals' Carson Palmer will have big 2010 seasons, but they play each other in an early divisional matchup. Last year the scores were 17-14 and 17-7 with the Bengals winning both games. This is probably a good week to leave these quarterbacks on the bench.
At wide receiver, it is time for the 49ers to hit the bench. WR Michael Crabtree should be on the bench against the New Orleans Saints. TE Vernon Davis is too good to sit, regardless of matchup, but I would not have any of the other 49ers targets in your lineup against an opportunistic Saints defense that frustrated the Minnesota passing game last week.
The same can be said in the Cincinnati game. I think Anquan Boldin and Chad Ochocinco are too good as No. 1 receivers to sit, but I would not start the No. 2 receivers in those games: Cincinnati’s Terrell Owens or Baltimore’s Derrick Mason. Last year the ground game and defenses controlled the tempo; I do not think there are enough balls to go around to everyone in this game.
Finally, Arizona Cardinals WR Steve Breaston had seven receptions for 131 yards last week against a weak St. Louis defense. I would be surprised if he does that in Atlanta against a tougher Atlanta secondary that did allow 236 yards passing to backup Steelers QB Dennis Dixon but did not allow a touchdown pass. The Falcons are tougher at home and should be poised to slow down the Arizona passing game.
At tight end, Detroit Lions TE Tony Scheffler has a very nice start to the season with six receptions for 43 yards. He will have a much tougher time with Stafford out of the lineup. Other than WR Calvin Johnson, the Detroit passing game is something to avoid until we see if backup QB Shaun Hill can move this offense.
I am also not a big Bo Scaife fan this week. The Tennessee Titans tight end had three receptions for 37 yards and one touchdown but goes against a Steelers defense that held future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez to two receptions for 35 yards. That will be a ground war with points through the air being held to a minimum.
Sleeper of the Week: Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Camarillo – There is something about playing your old team that traded you away, and Camarillo earns that opportunity in the Minnesota home opener against the Miami Dolphins. I can see Camarillo and Brett Favre being on the same page this week with over an extra week of preparation and could see Camarillo going for 75 yards and possibly a touchdown.
Super Sleeper of the Week: Green Bay Packers RB John Kuhn – With Grant lost for the season, Jackson takes over, but he will need someone to spell him, and Kuhn will see the short yards and goal line carries for the Packers. It is not inconceivable that Kuhn could rush for 30 to 50 yards and reach the end zone this week.
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