Buffalo heads south for another divisional road game in Miami. Buffalo
let one get away last week, coming out flat in the second half after
dominating the Patriots in the first two quarters. Losman appears
better than last season, but that isn’t saying much. The Fins
allowed 143 yards rushing in Week 1 and the Bills will try to find
similar success on the ground first. But when they take to the air
they will pick on Miami cornerback Andre Goodman if Travis Daniels
remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Goodman committed multiple
pass interference penalties and was a defensive liability against
the Steelers last week.
Buffalo: The Bills ran the
ball on roughly half of their offensive plays. If they keep that
up they will continue to lose. The Bill’s shouldn’t
expect Losman to carry the load on the road against a divisional
rival. If they do, this will hurt all of Buffalo players’
fantasy numbers. If the Bills continue a balanced offensive attack
against the Dolphins, I would downgrade your fantasy expectations
for Bills players until this trend changes.
Consider: Defense, Lindell, and Evans
Sit: Price, Reed, Thomas and Royal
Miami: Daunte Culpepper looked
decent early but it turned ugly soon after. Although Culpepper
was inaccurate and missed Chambers for touchdown passes it is
noteworthy that Miami threw three times to Chambers inside the
ten-yard line. Also, when trying to mount a comeback, Daunte clearly
was looking Chamber’s way. This won’t matter if Culpepper
can’t get him the ball, but it’s nice to know Chambers
is getting the targets you expect from an elite fantasy WR, especially
in the red zone.
Start: Chambers, Brown and Defense
Consider: McMichael and Mare
Sit: Culpepper, Booker and Welker
Score: Miami 27 Buffalo 17
Coming off a huge opening night victory on Monday Night Football,
the Vikings host the Panthers in Week 2. Carolina let the Falcons
run all over their defense, which is exactly what the Vikings will
try to do behind the left side of their offensive line with Chester
Taylor. The Panthers offense must find a way to move the ball for
this team to be successful, however it won’t be easy against
the Vikings defense. John Fox is a great coach and should make the
necessary adjustments to give his team a chance to win.
Carolina: I’m not sure
how much credit should be given to the Falcons defense, but the
Carolina running game was flat-out ineffective last week. DeShaun
Foster should have better numbers this week, but the absence of
Steve Smith allows defenses to play the run more effectively.
Temper expectations for Panthers’ players until Smith is
healthy enough to open up the field and the offense. Brad Johnson’s
strength is avoiding mistakes that lead to turnovers so the Panthers
defense isn’t as good of a play this week either.
Consider: Foster, Delhomme Johnson, Smith and Defense
Minnesota: Birk, Hutchingson,
McKinnie and Richardson are names I’d like to hear blocking
for my fantasy running back. Taylor looked pretty good on Monday
and should make a fine #2 RB for your fantasy squad this week.
WR Troy Williamson was the primary receiver in the Vikings’
offense and for leagues that also score points for return yards,
he makes a fine #3 WR.
Start: Longwell and Taylor
Sit: Defense, Johnson, Taylor and Wiggins
Score: Minnesota 14 Carolina
Welcome to “The Jungle” Cleveland fans. The Bengals
are an exciting team to watch and are coming off a big win in
Kansas City; meanwhile the Brownies couldn’t find a way
to beat the Saints in their opener. This appears to be a huge
mismatch on paper but the in-state rivalry is always a source
of motivation when these two teams face-off.
Cleveland: Tony Gonzalez found
success against the Cincinnati safeties and linebackers and Winslow,
Jr. should build on last week’s strong performance with
another one in Week 2. The Bengals’ offense was disappointed
after scoring only 23 points in KC last week. Expect Frye to throw
the ball plenty in an attempt to keep up with Carson Palmer and
company. RB Jerome Harrison rocked the boat a bit after Week 1
wanting more carries. If Droughns doesn’t play well over
the next few weeks he might begin losing some opportunities for
Start: Winslow, Jr.
Consider: Edwards and Northcutt
Sit: Defense, Frye, Droughns, Dawson, Jurevicius and Harrison
Cincinnati: Palmer and the
passing game were not the primary focus of Cincinnati’s
offensive game plan last week, but were still very productive
with Palmer completing 13 of 19 passes. They will open it up more
now that Palmer has a game under his belt. If WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
is healthy for Week 2 get him in the lineup. Cleveland is hurting
at the CB position so start your Bengals receivers and enjoy.
Start: Defense, Palmer, Graham, R. Johnson, C. Johnson, and Houshmandzadeh
Consider: T. Perry
Score: Cincinnati 35 Cleveland
This one might get muddy as rain is in the forecast for this NFC
North showdown with the Lions and Bears. Da Bears almost knocked
Favre into retirement last week with a mental blow to the head,
leaving the Packer legend with doubts about his team and his decision
to come back. Meanwhile, Detroit gave Seattle all they could handle,
holding the Seahawks to 9 points and losing on a game-ending field
goal. Lion’s WR Roy Williams has guaranteed a Detroit victory
earlier this week…I like the boldness and confidence…but
I’m not so sure making guarantees in Week 2 is a good idea
Detroit: I’m not starting
any Detroit players if possible. The Bears are good and motivated
to make another statement within their division. Kitna will be
throwing and Williams should be his first look, but I just don’t
see the Lions doing much. Throw in the possibility of rain and
a wet pigskin to the overall equation and it just doesn’t
seem to add up to many points being scored.
Sit: everyone else
Chicago: Detroit shut down
Shaun Alexander last week and will be tested again. Running backs
Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson will combine for over 30 carries
in this game. There seems to be a 2:1 split which should make
Jones the better choice to start between the two. Although the
Lions had success stopping Seattle’s running game, I doubt
that can hold down the Bears in Soldiers Field Sunday.
Start: Jones and Defense
Consider: Benson and Muhammad
Sit: Gould, Grossman and Berrian
Score: Buffalo Chicago 13 Lions
The reason Texas chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in the
draft was partly because of Peyton Manning and the Colts offense.
Houston management will see if Houston has any luck containing
the Colts, which scored 30 and 31 points on them in last season’s
two meetings, this week in Indianapolis. Texans QB David Carr
did fairly well last week and showed if the pass protection holds
up he is capable of finding the open receiver downfield.
Houston: Houston’s running
attack wasn’t very good against the Eagles but Carr completed
two thirds of his passes, including a touchdown to their new WR
Eric Moulds. Moulds was not given much attention in many fantasy
football drafts but he is still a very productive NFL receiver,
especially with Andre Johnson on the other side of the field.
Moulds and Johnson are in a great situation to produce for your
fantasy team this week: QB can throw the ball downfield, team
often trails in the second half and is playing a top tier offense,
and a running game that is mediocre at best. I’m willing
to gamble with Moulds and Johnson this week if my other options
are playing tough defenses.
Start: Johnson and Moulds
Consider: Carr and Brown
Sit: Lundy, Gado, Defense, and Putzier
Indianapolis: We finally got
our first glimpse of the RBBC we had anticipated from the Colts.
Addai finished the game with 10 touches, Rhodes with 19. Rhodes’
19 touches were more than the 18 Ronnie Brown, Julius Jones, and
Jamal Lewis received. Rhodes also scored a touchdown from the
1-yard line. I’m viewing Rhodes a #3 RB and keeping Addai
benched until this ratio changes or one of them is injured.
Start: Manning, Wayne, Harrison, Clark and Vinatieri
Consider: Rhodes and Defense
Score: Indianapolis 30 Houston
A win against the Packers Sunday would give the Saints their first
winning streak since the end of the 2004 season. The Reggie Bush
era officially began as the Saints used the speedy playmaker in
a multitude of ways on their way to earning a win on the road.
Green Bay has to be happy about Ahman Green’s 120+ total
yards against the Bears in his first game back from injury. However,
Mike McCarthy can’t be pleased with anything else. The Packers
should have success moving the ball against the Saints utilizing
Green and the running game. Green Bay held Chicago to 3.0 yards
per carry and should be in contention late in this game if they
can contain the Saints’ running game.
New Orleans: Reggie Bush and
Duece McAllister were utilized enough (22 touches apiece) to warrant
a weekly spot in your starting lineup. Brees was less than spectacular
and Joe Horn owners are tempted to panic after seeing only 2 catches
on 7 targets and some guy named Marques Colston from Hofstra catch
the lone touchdown pass. Welcome to the annual overreaction that
follows Week 1. This offense doesn’t know what it is just
yet and I suspect it will produce inconsistent fantasy production
during the first half of the season. They have a decent match
up against the Packers this week and should score points, making
them worthy of consideration in Week 2.
Start: Bush and McAllister
Consider: Brees, Horn, Carney and Colston
Sit: Defense, Morency and Henderson
Green Bay: I’m starting
my Packers this week and hoping this game turns into a blowout
between two below average defenses. Last week Cleveland’s
passing game had some success using the TE against the Saints…possibly
making this Bubba Franks’ big return to the fantasy scene.
Start: Green, Driver and Favre
Consider: Franks and Rayner
Sit: Defense, Ferguson, and Jennings
Score: Green Bay 33 New Orleans
The Eagles home opener brings the Giants into town for one of
the day’s two NFC East divisional games. The Giants played
well offensively and should be up for the task against the aggressive
Eagles defense. Defensively, the Giants need to do a better job
rushing the passer to keep McNabb off balance. The Eagles QB seemed
to find his receivers with ease against Houston. Expect Andy Reid
to continue to use Brian Westbrook in a variety of ways, including
the short passing routes. The Giants defense will decide this
game. If New York can stay alert to the screens and not over pursue
on defense, Eli and the offense should score enough points to
New York: The Giants running
game looked great, but Brandon Jacobs got the touchdown. Fantasy
owners need to realize this will happen a lot this season. The
Giants have enough faith in Jacobs to make him a part of the mix
and spell Barber often throughout the game. This isn’t a
true RBBC but may seem like one at points during the season. The
Eagles shut down Houston’s running game, but that isn’t
saying much. Last season Philadelphia allowed over 117 yards/game
and 15 rushing touchdowns. Coughlin should run against the blitz
so I’m starting Barber and Jacobs.
Start: Barber, Jacobs, Manning, Feeley, Shockey and Burress
Philadelphia: This is a great
offense for fantasy production but temper expectations this week.
Stallworth’s performance last week is promising, but it
was against the Texans and it was only one game. I want to see
him produce this week before I consider him a weekly starter.
Akers could be awfully busy this week as well.
Start: Akers, McNabb, Westbrook and Smith
Consider: Defense, Brown and Stallworth
Sit: Lewis and Buckhalter
Score: New York 21 Philadelphia
Baltimore defense should be salivating with Oakland coming to
town. There isn’t much to say about this game other than
look for more of the same from each team. Oakland is horrible
and a trip to the east coast is not the kind of medicine Art Shell’s
team needs. If you are a Raiders fan do yourself a favor and sleep
in. On the other hand, Baltimore has a legitimate shot at posting
back-to-back shutouts. The city needs something to cheer about
and the Ravens should answer the call with a decisive victory
in Week 2.
Oakland: Usually you don’t
want to downplay or over hype one week’s performance, but
in this case I’m placing every Raider on probation until
they show something on offense. Baltimore’s defense provides
further reason to bench this team’s players. This game represents
the exception to the “don’t bench your studs”
fantasy proverb. Although, if your IDP league awards points for
return yards DB Chris Carr might be a nice sleeper.
Baltimore: Most Ravens should
be a decent play this week but I wouldn’t expect big things
out anyone other than RB Jamal Lewis. If he can’t produce
a 100-yards and a touchdown in this game, I am severely concerned.
I’m not saying he won’t produce, just something of
interest in a game that lacks interest.
Start: Defense, Lewis, McNair, Mason and Heap
Consider: Clayton and Stover
Score: Baltimore 28 Oakland
Things don’t get any easier for Jon Gruden and the Bucs
facing the Flacons in Week 2. When your head coach apologizes
to the fans for being so bad, your team has some holes. Tampa
Bay wasn’t ready for Baltimore last week and I’m guessing
a week isn’t enough time to fix everything to beat Atlanta.
The Falcons are poised to win another key divisional game with
their running game. The best rushing team in 2005 started the
season with over 200 yards gained on the ground. If they do the
same thing to the Buccaneers defense on Sunday, this team will
be tough to beat.
Tampa Bay: I couldn’t
have been more wrong on a game last week then I was with Tampa
Bay. I knew they had a tough schedule and played tough defenses,
but I wasn’t expecting them to roll over in Week 1. If their
offense doesn’t show they can move the ball against another
tough defense this week I’m putting my Bucs on the trading
block. Simms’ play controls the fate of Galloway and Clayton
and right now it doesn’t look promising. Carnell Williams’
13 touches a game won’t justify his draft position, either.
Sit: everyone else
Atlanta: The Falcons defense
showed they are for real, holding the Panthers to only 6 points,
albeit without Steve Smith. They should be able to force more
turnovers this week against young QB Chris Simms. If the defense
continues to play well, the offense will benefit with shorter
fields and more opportunities to score. Alge Crumpler remains
a lock to start each week after another solid performance last
Start: Crumpler, Vick, Dunn, Defense and Koenen
Sit: Lelie and White
Score: Atlanta 20 Tampa Bay
Seattle just faced one team that likes to throw the ball, now
they get another in the Arizona Cardinals. Dennis Green’s
team comes into Seattle with a new sense of confidence after upgrading
their running game and winning their season opener in a new building.
Detroit proved it is possible to slow down Shaun Alexander, but
Arizona hasn’t had much luck doing so in recent years. Seattle
hopes to get Darrell Jackson back for this game. Seattle has run
the ball very well against the Cardinals and should help Seattle
win this game to stay atop the NFC West. Matt Hasselbeck also
gets an early Christmas present with Deion Branch coming over
from New England in a trade.
Arizona: Kurt Warner and company
will be playing a much better defense in Week 2, but should still
post quality fantasy totals. With all the speculation about Edge,
he ended up with 29 touches. His yards/carry isn’t great,
but Edge will be a factor near the goal line as he was last week.
Start: James, Warner, Fitgerald, Boldin, and Rackers
Sit: Defense and Pope
Seattle: If Shaun Alexander
is held under 100 yards in this game it will give the Madden Curse
new meaning. Although the Cardinals defense is better than last
season, they are better at defending the pass than the run, leaving
the door open for Alexander to have another monster game. Hasselbeck
can match Warner in a shootout as well, and should post respectable
Start: Alexander, Hasselbeck, Jackson and Brown
Sit: Defense, Branch, Stevens and Mili
Score: Seattle 37 Arizona 27
The 49ers showed marked improvement from a year ago in Week 1’s
loss to the Cardinals. They host the Rams in Week 2 and will have
their hands full stopping Steven Jackson. Offensively, the 49ers
showed they have more talent surrounding QB Alex Smith with WR
Antonio Bryant, RB Frank Gore and TE Vernon Davis all contributing
last week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Niners put
a little scare into the Rams this week at home. Should they contain
the running game, they may stay in this game.
St. Louis: Bulger didn’t
throw a TD last week much to the chagrin of fantasy owners. But
the San Francisco secondary is one of the weaker aspects of the
team and Scott Linehan’s offense should incorporate more
passing into the game plan this week. This is a run first offense,
but is more than capable attacking through the air as well.
Start: Jackson, Bulger, Holt, Bruce and Wilkins
Sit: Defense and Klopfinstein
San Francisco: The 49ers’
Frank Gore is not a one-week wonder. Those who think they are
selling high on Gore should wait. Gore isn’t about break
into fantasy’s elite but he could be a consistent #2 RB
all season long with the improvement of the 49er offense under
QB Alex Smith. Only ten other running backs had more touches last
week, making Gore a formidable #2 fantasy RB.
Start: Gore and Bryant
Consider: Smith, Davis, and Nedney
Sit: Defense, Battle
Score: St. Louis 32 San Francisco
The team that runs the ball better and controls the clock will
win this AFC West battle. The Chiefs will be without QB Trent
Green, leaving Herm Edwards with more incentive to establish Larry
Johnson in the running game. The Broncos will also try to run,
something the Bengals were able to do a week ago as well. Running
the ball at Mile High isn’t easy: Priest Holmes and Larry
Johnson combined for 74 yards on 22 carries in last year’s
visit to Denver.
Kansas City: Huard wasted no
time getting the ball into Tony Gonzalez last week, targeting
him 12 times, all in the 4th quarter! However, don’t go
overboard thinking Gonzo is a lock this week. KC and Denver have
a fairly lengthy history and I am sure Mike Shanahan and Larry
Coyer will have an effective coverage scheme to limit him. In
18 career games against the Broncos, Gonzalez has only 4 touchdowns
on 70 receptions.
Consider: Gonzalez and Kennison
Sit: Huard, Parker, Hall, Defense and Tynes
Denver: As far as the RB situation
is concerned, your guess is as good as mine. Tatum got the yards
(and fumbled) and Mike got the score. Consider them both a #3
RB until an injury makes one the featured back. Plummer didn’t
look so good last week, but I’m not writing him off just
yet. I’d still consider starting him this week if my other
option wasn’t significantly better. He did a good job spreading
the ball around and I think he bounces back at home this week.
Start: M. Bell, T. Bell, Walker and Elam
Consider: Plummer, Smith
Sit: Defense and Alexander
Score: Denver 17 Kansas City
Eric Mangini hosts his former team on Sunday fresh off a road
victory in Tennessee that saw Pennington throw for over 300 yards.
Ok so it was against the Titans, but it is still a positive for
a team that rivaled Chicago in quarterback ineffectiveness a year
ago. The Patriots made the proper halftime adjustments and came
back to win against the Bills in Week 1. I’d really like
to see the Jets knock off New England, but the Patriots ground
attack should be enough to overpower the Jets defensive front.
Without a running game, QB Chad Pennington will have a tough day
throwing the ball, resulting in a busy day for punter Ben Graham.
New England: I’m guessing
Brady breaks out the play-action against the Jets’ aggressive
linebackers. The Patriots relied on their running game last week
and I see no reason why they wouldn’t continue to attack
the defense with Maroney and Dillon this week. Watson is a must
start at TE with limited WR options.
Start: Dillon, Maroney, Brady, Watson and Defense
Consider: Brown, Caldwell, Gabriel, Graham and Gostowski
New York: With Pennington back
in the saddle again, Coles flourished. The two won’t have
as much success this week, but Coles should still see plenty of
balls thrown his way, making him a decent start again this week.
Barlow isn’t the best play, but he should receive more carries
after outplaying Derrick Blaylock last week. Keep an eye on Cotchery
as well, the Pats are aware of Coles and could double-team him,
leaving Cotchery more room to work the other side of the field.
Consider: Barlow and Cotchery
Sit: Defense Pennington, and Nugent
Score: New England 28 New York
It is gloomy in Tennessee these days, but Jeff Fisher’s
squad find themselves in sunny San Diego for a Week 2 rumble with
the Chargers. The Titans couldn’t handle the Jets at home,
and face a San Diego team that trounced the Oakland Raiders on
Monday Night Football. I have a feeling San Diego will make Tennessee
look just as bad offensively. The Titans defense surrendered 393
yards last week and should give up at least that amount again
on the road.
Tennessee: Kerry Collins clearly
favored Drew Bennett in the passing game last week, but I am not
sure that will continue in Week 2. Bennett was targeted 17 times
but caught only 8 of the balls thrown to him. David Givens was
questionable all week, and played sparingly in last week’s
contest. He was paid an awful lot of money by the Titans and with
the speedy pass rush of the Chargers, Bennett won’t have
time to get deep. Look for Givens to produce after a full week
of practice with Collins.
Sit: everyone else
San Diego: Rivers didn’t
have to do much, but he did hit Antonio Gates for a touchdown
pass inside the five-yard line. We know LT will get his, but Gates
owners should feel good about the touchdown even if he didn’t
catch that many passes. One of these days, Rivers will face a
decent team with a decent defense and will need to throw the ball.
Early indications would suggest Gates should be all right with
Rivers taking over for Brees this season.
Start: Defense, Tomlinson, Kaeding and Gates
Consider: Rivers, McCardell and Parker
Score: San Diego 31 Tennessee
Two teams with disappointing losses meet in Dallas Sunday Night.
Two coaching legends, Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells, will roam the
sidelines with plenty of veteran leadership on both teams. Clinton
Portis should be more involved this week and help the team convert
on more than the four third down conversions they had last week.
Dallas’ running game averaged over 4 yards per carry last
week while Washington held Chester Taylor to less than 3 yards
per carry. If Washington can prevent the Cowboys from running
well on first and second downs I like their chances with Bledsoe
forced to throw against their secondary..
Washington: Clinton Portis
is the best fantasy player on the Redskins and will get his first
start of the season. What remains to be seen is if Gibbs will
utilize T.J. Duckett in goal-to-go situations. So many owners
passed on Portis after his injury, now we get to see if he can
be the fantasy monster he was believed to be before the injury.
Start: Defense, Moss and Portis
Consider: Hall and Cooley
Sit: Brunell, Lloyd, and Randle El
Dallas: Many people drafted
Drew Bledsoe with high expectations this season. It only took
one game against one of the best defenses in the league to warm
up the QB controversy talk. Bledsoe has always thrown interceptions,
and has lost many a football games doing so. Bledsoe should still
wind up in the upper twenties of touchdowns thrown with Glenn
and TO around. Don’t overreact after one bad week. If you
play in a league that deducts points for interceptions, you should
have realized this and dropped him in your rankings prior to your
draft. For those who don’t count interceptions in their
league, Bledsoe will be fine.
Start: Bledsoe, Jones, Glenn, Defense and Owens
Consider: Witten and Vanderjagt (if healthy)
Score: Washington 17 Dallas
This game should be exciting with or without Ben Roethlisberger.
In a possible preview of an AFC playoff game, the Jaguars host
the defending champs. Jacksonville and its young receivers gutted
out a win against Dallas last week and will need the same kind
of determination if they want to win this week. The Steelers go
from playing Thursday night to Monday night and the extra days
might help Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger come back sooner that
expected from emergency surgery. The Jaguars defense will not
allow Willie Park much room to run so the Steelers will need to
throw the ball effectively to win this game.
Pittsburgh: The Steelers signed
Najeh Davenport this week and Cowher has already indicated he
might be given the goal line and short yardage carries in this
game. This doesn’t mean Davenport will be money in this
role, but if he is, you will want him. Remember, Bettis scored
9 touchdowns as the short yardage back in 2005.
Start: Ward and Defense
Consider: Miller, Reed and Roethlisberger (if he starts)
Sit: Parker, Wilson, Batch and Holmes
Jacksonville: Byron Leftwich
stepped up last week and had a decent day. With the Steelers likely
to shut down the running game, Leftwich will need to make the
proper reads if the Jaguars are going to have hope moving the
ball on offense. Leftwich is the type of QB who is more than willing
to wait the extra second and combined with his windmill throwing
motion, we could see some forced fumbles and sacks. This game
is a test for the Jaguars QB. Should Leftwich be able to move
the ball through the air in this game, he should be considered
as a possible #1 fantasy QB this season.
Sit: everyone else
Score: Jacksonville 7 Pittsburgh