Winning Fantasy Calls for Week 2
Plenty of sleepers to consider with a week of action to dissect. Our Dave Richard shares his take on every fringe option that owners might be considering for Week 2.
Editor's note: Each week our Dave Richard will share his take on all of the players that you are on the fence about. He looks at each matchup to help you maximize the potential of your Fantasy lineups.
Cowboys at Chiefs, Sun., 1 p.m. ETA decidedly tougher matchup for the Cowboys than last week. Kansas City boasts three good cornerbacks along with strong safety Eric Berry patrolling the backfield. The run defense is pretty strong too, starting right up front with a heavy D-line. If Dez Bryant isn't running smoothly the Chiefs could pull off the upset. Fun fact: Andy Reid is 3-3 in his career calling plays against Monte Kiffin-coached defenses.
No-brainers: Tony Romo , DeMarco Murray , Dez Bryant , Jason Witten ; Jamaal Charles , Dwayne Bowe
, WR, Cowboys: My projection: 10 FPTS
The 7.2 receiving average he put up last week was gross but the 12 targets/10 catches were cool. Romo's not afraid to lean on him if he's in single coverage.
I'd start him over: Torrey Smith , Antonio Brown
Rams at Falcons, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Watch out for a high-scoring game here. The Falcons' loss last week can be pegged to a defense that slowed down Mark Ingram and no one else along with an offensive line that dragged its feet in pass protection. Matt Ryan struggles when the heat is on and the Rams will bring it, particularly if they're catching Roddy White with a bum ankle.
No-brainers: Jared Cook ; Matt Ryan , Steven Jackson , Julio Jones , Tony Gonzalez
, QB, St. Louis: My projection: 20 FPTS
Bradford should be optimistic after the Falcons couldn't slow down Drew Brees last week. Not that Bradford is Brees but the Rams' varied offense will force the Falcons to spread out, opening the door for Bradford to pick apart the youngsters in the Atlanta secondary. Only problem is that it's tough to find someone to sit for him.
Flow chart: Terrelle Pryor > Carson Palmer > Sam Bradford > Russell Wilson > Joe Flacco
, RB, St. Louis: My projection: 8 FPTS
Isaiah Pead , RB, St. Louis: My projection: 3 FPTS
Figure Richardson to see the most play time. I know his average last week was gross but he accelerates quickly and has good agility when he doesn't take too many steps to set up a cut or maneuver behind the line. Pead is a decent stash candidate for the long term.
I'd start Richardson over: Ryan Mathews , Giovani Bernard
I'd rather start over Pead: BenJarvus Green-Ellis , Ronnie Hillman
, WR, St. Louis: My projection: 9 FPTS
Tavon Austin , WR, St. Louis: My projection: 8 FPTS
Atlanta's defense will have its hands full with not only Cook quickly gaining attention, but these two lining up and challenging with speed. Just not sure either guy can be trusted at this point even with what looks like a good matchup for them both.
I'd rather start: Marlon Brown , Brian Hartline
, WR, Falcons: My projection: 8 FPTS
This one is either going to look really smart or really stupid. Normally when a player says he won't be himself for a few weeks, he's making excuses for shoddy play. White was thrown at twice last week, an admission by the Falcons offense that he's not ready to be a major contributor (he's had four targets per game twice in his last three seasons). Until he proves he's "back," Fantasy owners should hesitate.
I'd rather start: Rueben Randle , James Jones
Vikings at Bears, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Like any matchup for the Vikings, everything rests on Adrian Peterson . The Lions withstood three AP touchdowns last week and still won, an indictment on the rest of the Vikings on both sides of the ball. Assume the Bears will gear up to contain Peterson (they can't shut him down completely) but the rest of their defense is better than Detroit's. They should roll.
No-brainers: Adrian Peterson ; Matt Forte , Brandon Marshall
, WR, Vikings: My projection: 6 FPTS
Most of Simpson's damage last week came on busted coverage by the Lions. The Bears defense typically plays better. Simpson last posted back-to-back 100-yard games in late 2010 and totaled 14 yards in two games against Chicago in 2012.
I'd rather start: Nate Burleson , Jermaine Kearse
, WR, Vikings: My projection: 5 FPTS
Sure, the Bears got whipped by A.J. Green last week. Means nothing here. Jennings doesn't have as much gas in the tank. He hasn't scored on the Bears since Sept., 2010. Who's his quarterback again?
I'd rather start: Jerome Simpson , Leonard Hankerson
, TE, Vikings: My projection: 7 FPTS
Scored on the Bears in the one game he played against them where he actually had a catch. Rudolph needs more targets on a week-to-week basis to be considered a quality tight end, especially a week after we saw 12 tight ends post double-digit Fantasy points.
I'd rather start: Dallas Clark , Tyler Eifert
, QB, Bears: My projection: 20 FPTS
Matthew Stafford turned the ball over once and had a touchdown called back following a review last week and still connected for over 350 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. Cutler had just one touchdown in each game vs. the Vikings last year but should come up bigger this time. Only problem: Who would you start him over?
Flow chart: Carson Palmer > Jay Cutler > Sam Bradford > Russell Wilson
, WR, Bears: My projection: 7 FPTS
I feel like we're just waiting for a breakout game from Jeffery before trusting him as a third receiver. If we're basing it on last week we could wait a while: Jeffery had two drops with one of eight targets in the red zone (he was mostly targeted on short-range passes).
I'd rather start: Vincent Brown , Doug Baldwin
, TE, Bears: My projection: 10 FPTS
Worth a shot after coming up with a nice touchdown last week. Six targets (same as Matt Forte ) suggests he's not too far down the pecking order from Brandon Marshall .
I'd start him over: Brent Celek , Owen Daniels
Chargers at Eagles, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
We saw enough from the Eagles to know they're going to put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses with their fast-break offense. We also saw how effective they were -- so long as Michael Vick got the ball out quickly and didn't have blitzers in his face. The Chargers pass rush is a one-man show in Dwight Freeney and the defense allowed 24 points in the fourth quarter last week.
No-brainers: Michael Vick , LeSean McCoy , DeSean Jackson
, QB, Chargers: My projection: 18 FPTS
Rivers' four scores last week were awesome but two came on a short field following a turnover and a missed field goal. Tough to buy him as a good Fantasy quarterback when none of his receivers had even 50 yards receiving last week.
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco , EJ Manuel
, RB, Chargers: My projection: 7 FPTS
Mathews' first touch of the season went for a touchdown last week. His remaining 14 touches were good for 41 yards total. Ronnie Brown ran more effectively. Philadelphia's run defense isn't anything outstanding but if the game gets one-sided then Mathews won't be in the mix. Heck, he was barely in the mix last week when the Chargers had a huge lead (three second-half carries)!
I'd rather start: Frank Gore , Giovani Bernard
, WR, Chargers: My projection: 8 FPTS
Nice touchdown for Brown last week but it was one of two catches he had on only four targets. Maybe he gets more work with the Bolts likely in a dogfight and the Eagles secondary banged up, but how much can you trust him?
I'd rather start: Chris Givens , Rueben Randle
, TE, Chargers: My projection: 8 FPTS
In a week where a dozen tight ends did great, Gates was targeted four times and caught two passes. A catch-and-run against the Texans left room to believe he can still be effective, just needs the opportunities. He has just six games in his last 20 with at least seven targets. Seems low.
I'd rather start: Brandon Myers , Greg Olsen
Eagles DST: My projection: 9 FPTS
So if the Chargers can't run the ball and have an offensive line with some weaknesses (it's a miracle Rivers was sacked just twice last week), chances are they'll have trouble playing at 1 p.m. ET in Philadelphia on a short week. I like this DST a lot.
I'd start them over: Panthers, Steelers
Dolphins at Colts, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Dolphins are starting to sound like a team so frustrated with the run game that they're going to pass more than they have in the past. They might not have much of a choice this week against the Colts, who will light up the scoreboard offensively but defensively won't have an answer for the Dolphins' trio of receiving threats.
No-brainers: Andrew Luck , Reggie Wayne
, RB, Dolphins: My projection: 7 FPTS
The preseason excitement over Miller has fizzled out thanks to a coaching staff that never gave him the credit he deserved and a run game that didn't get much of a chance last week. The matchup isn't necessarily horrible but the prospect of Miller getting only a decent workload sharing with Daniel Thomas kills any upside.
I'd rather start: Giovani Bernard , Ryan Mathews
, WR, Dolphins: My projection: 13 FPTS
Last week, Joe Haden stuck to Wallace like glue and the receiver was more decoy than dominator. Wallace groused about it after the game but can't complain about the deep targets he had even with Haden on him. The Colts' cornerbacks are fundamentally sound but beatable. I expect Wallace to get going in the right direction on the fast turf in Indy. In six career games indoors Wallace has 21 catches for 529 yards (25.1 avg.) and three touchdowns.
I'd start him over: Reggie Wayne , Hakeem Nicks
, WR, Dolphins: My projection: 9 FPTS
Hartline did great last week beating up on weaker cornerbacks while defensive coverage tilted toward Mike Wallace . Expect it to continue as the Dolphins keep the passing game at the forefront. He's a good one for PPR league owners.
Flow chart: Cardinals WRs > Marlon Brown > Brian Hartline > Rams WRs > James Jones
, RB, Colts: My projection: 7 FPTS
I doubt the Colts will ramp up Bradshaw's workload after he played on just 15 of 55 snaps last week. He'll play more for sure -- maybe even something like 35 or 40 snaps, and that could give him nominal totals. But Indy has to think long-term with him now that they've lost Vick Ballard . Donald Brown (3.9 rush avg. for three of four seasons) will probably help the most on passing downs.
I'd rather start: Joique Bell, DeAngelo Williams
, WR, Colts: My projection: 10 FPTS
Roll the dice on Hilton another week. The Colts took a few shots at him deep last week and coach Chuck Pagano said this week the staff wants to get him more touches. The Dolphins secondary had some fortuitous interceptions last week on Brandon Weeden -- Andrew Luck is worlds better.
I'd start him over: Cecil Shorts , Steve Johnson
Redskins at Packers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Should be a high scoring game with the Packers specifically aiming for one-on-one matchups against the Redskins cornerbacks and safeties. The Packers probably will use a little no-huddle themselves, pushing Washington's defensive front with Eddie Lacy and going over the top through the air. If the Pack put 28 points on the Niners on the road they should eclipse that at home against the Redskins.
No-brainers: Alfred Morris , Pierre Garcon ; Aaron Rodgers , Randall Cobb , Jordy Nelson , Jermichael Finley
Robert Griffin III
, QB, Redskins: My projection: 22 FPTS
If RG3 is your only starter, don't fret. But it's clear that strong pass rushes could rattle him a little bit as his footwork isn't all the way back following an offseason of rehab. The Packers pass defense looked sloppy last week and Griffin should end up throwing a bunch in this game. Could lead to modest success.
Flow chart: Cam Newton > Robert Griffin III > Colin Kaepernick > Terrelle Pryor
, WR, Redskins: My projection: 7 FPTS
Hankerson barely played over half the Redskins snaps last week but made them count. Problem is, he's never been a consistent stat producer in three years. Maybe that changes this year but it'll probably take more playing time and certainly more results before most would start him. Helping him this week is the reality that the Redskins should end up passing a good amount.
I'd rather start: Doug Baldwin , Golden Tate
, RB, Packers: My projection: 12 FPTS
Lacy's Week 1 highlights included rumbling 31 yards on a short pass and barreling for a 2-yard touchdown against one of the league's toughest defenses. That's a nice warmup for a matchup against a Redskins defense that was overwhelmed by the Eagles' up-tempo ground game on Monday.
I'd start him over: Maurice Jones-Drew , Chris Johnson
, WR, Packers: My projection: 8 FPTS
Jones didn't miss a snap in Week 1 and still only got two targets with zero catches. Aaron Rodgers threw 37 passes! Fantasy owners might be scared to trust Jones again so soon but the matchup is just too nice and Rodgers told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that he will try to get Jones more involved.
Flow chart: Rueben Randle > James Jones > Tavon Austin > DeAndre Hopkins
Browns at Ravens, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Whereas this game has been a laugher in the past ( Joe Flacco is 10-0 all-time vs. the Browns), the Browns have ammo on both sides of the ball to give the Ravens a game. Expect Flacco to follow the Dolphins' lead from the week before and throw in the opposite direction of cornerback Joe Haden . It could mean for some good stats for the non-obvious Ravens receivers and tight ends.
No-brainers: Trent Richardson ; Ray Rice
, TE, Browns: My projection: 11 FPTS
The matchup is tricky: While the Ravens did allow two touchdowns to a tight end last week, it was in part because of how they schemed. Baltimore can key in a little more on Cameron, though it doesn't mean he won't be force-fed targets or get garbage time stats. You probably have to start him.
I'd start him over: Jason Witten , Vernon Davis
, QB, Ravens: My projection: 19 FPTS
Flacco might be 10-0 lifetime against the Browns but he's thrown multiple touchdowns against them just four times (and none last year). Cleveland's defense isn't dominant but it'll take some no-huddle magic from Flacco to be productive.
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer , Jay Cutler
, WR, Ravens: My projection: 10 FPTS
Maybe it's that the Ravens lost last week or that this is their home opener, but something tells me Smith will show up in this game and score despite the presence of Haden. He did well in both games against the Browns last year, including the one matchup where Haden played. Smith even scored on Haden in that meeting.
Flow chart: Steve Johnson > Miles Austin > Torrey Smith > Antonio Brown
, TE, Ravens: My projection: 8 FPTS
There isn't anything exciting about starting Clark ... except that it's clear Flacco loves to lean on his tight end and Clark is filling that role. He's a low-end starter, particularly in PPR leagues.
Flow chart: Brandon Myers > Greg Olsen > Dallas Clark > Antonio Gates
Panthers at Bills, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
Last week Cam Newton faced a difficult matchup and couldn't put together decent stats. This week he'll play in a difficult atmosphere but should have a much better time. The Bills' secondary is still beleaguered and the pass rush could have some trouble getting to Cam. It should lead to better results.
No-brainers: Cam Newton , Steve Smith ; C.J. Spiller
, RB, Panthers: My projection: 8 FPTS
I like Williams this week. We saw the Panthers commit to him last week with 17 carries against a dangerous Seattle defense and save for a fumble he had a nice game. The Bills' run defense was in midseason form against the Patriots last week. Williams is a sneaky play.
I'd start him over: Frank Gore , Colts RBs
, TE, Panthers: My projection: 8 FPTS
Olsen led the Panthers in targets last week, a sign that he's not a forgotten man in the Carolina offense. He should have a favorable matchup against the Bills defense.
Flow chart: Owen Daniels > Brandon Myers > Greg Olsen > Dallas Clark > Kellen Winslow
, RB, Bills: My projection: 7 FPTS
The Bills had no problem giving Jackson the ball last week in part because he was more effective with it than Spiller. The Panthers stout run defense will be a challenge for both Jackson and Spiller this week. Spiller at least has the wheels to maneuver past the bigger Carolina defenders.
I'd rather start: Ahmad Bradshaw , Lamar Miller
, WR, Bills: My projection: 10 FPTS
The weakness of the Panthers defense is in the secondary and Johnson can get open and make plays deep. Johnson also will play in the slot and should emulate what Doug Baldwin did last week against the Panthers. I don't mind Johnson this week.
Flow chart: T.Y. Hilton > Cecil Shorts > Steve Johnson > Miles Austin > Torrey Smith
Titans at Texans, Sun., 1 p.m. ET
The Texans are playing games with their running backs again: After touting Ben Tate hard work through the summer, coach Gary Kubiak promised a split workload last week and then gave Arian Foster most of the reps, even though Tate looked better. Now Kubiak is promising more work for Tate. Can we trust him? Even if we could, would we start him knowing Foster looms large? By the way, Foster did not look great last week -- maybe he needs another game to get into the perfect game shape.
No-brainers: Arian Foster , Andre Johnson , Texans DST
, RB, Titans: My projection: 9 FPTS
This is another tough test for Johnson, who hasn't scored on the Texans in two years (four games). The Texans typically aim to slow down Johnson and force Jake Locker into some mistakes. It's a smart game plan. Even with his mammoth offensive line Johnson is barely a Top-20 running back.
Flow chart: DeMarco Murray > Darren Sproles > Chris Johnson > Stevan Ridley > David Wilson
, WR, Titans: My projection: 10 FPTS
The Titans' early lead made it easy for them to lean on the run to kill the clock last week. Jake Locker attempted just 14 passes in the last three quarters of the game. The Titans probably won't be as lucky this week, which should open up Britt for some targets. Would you believe Britt has posted at least 10 Fantasy points in each of his last three against the Texans?
I'd start him over: Mike Williams , Michael Floyd
, QB, Texans: My projection: 21 FPTS
Schaub's track record against the Titans is exceptional: He has at least 200 yards and two touchdowns in each of his last four against them (five straight with two or more scores). This year his O-line and receiving corps is improved. Only problem: Who are you going to start him over?!
Flow chart: Robert Griffin III > Colin Kaepernick > Matt Schaub > Terrelle Pryor
, RB, Texans: My projection: 5 FPTS
Tate looks like the fresher, better back in Houston these days. He had a real nice rushing average against the Chargers after working on a limited basis in the preseason. He just doesn't have as much upside as last week.
I'd rather start: Bilal Powell , Pierre Thomas
, WR, Texans: My projection: 8 FPTS
Matchup isn't particularly bad for Hopkins but how much will the Texans actually need him? On the plus side, he's entrenched as the No. 2 receiver and Matt Schaub history against the Titans gives him a chance to score.
I'd rather start: Chris Givens , Rueben Randle
Lions at Cardinals, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET
This should be a high-scoring game. The Cardinals showed last week they were willing to sling it 40 times in a game. That might end up being the norm for them considering their run game and coach Bruce Arians' preference to chuck the ball. Andre Roberts is quickly becoming one of my favorite PPR sleepers.
No-brainers: Matthew Stafford , Reggie Bush , Calvin Johnson ; Larry Fitzgerald
, RB, Lions: My projection: 8 FPTS
Bell has turned Mikel Leshoure into an extraneous piece of the team, taking over goal-line work as well as spelling Bush throughout the game. Bell had over a third of the snaps last week along with five catches and six carries. That could be the norm for him. He's in the Flex conversation.
Flow chart: David Wilson > DeAngelo Williams > Joique Bell > Frank Gore > Giovani Bernard
, WR, Lions: My projection: 7 FPTS
Look, if we're calling for a lot of passing then Burleson has to be in the mix. He had better stats than Calvin Johnson last week and probably won't see much of top cornerback Patrick Peterson . Maybe Burleson could be a PPR Flex option.
Flow chart: Golden Tate > Nate Burleson > Leonard Hankerson > Alshon Jeffery
, QB, Cardinals: My projection: 20 FPTS
The issue with Palmer isn't that he won't be effective. The issue is whether or not he'll be as effective as other quarterbacks. Palmer threw for over 327 yards and two scores with two turnovers last week and it still wasn't enough to finish as a Top 12 option. Even if he was mistake free he would have finished ninth-best.
I'd rather start: Matt Schaub , Terrelle Pryor
, RB, Cardinals: My projection: 6 FPTS
Mendenhall still has some moves to his game but the combination of a bad offensive line, a good Lions defensive line and a Cardinals coach who loves to call pass plays makes Mendenhall a risk.
I'd rather start: Ahmad Bradshaw , Lamar Miller
, WR, Cardinals: My projection: 9 FPTS
Andre Roberts , WR, Cardinals: My projection: 9 FPTS
These guys are going to be effective week in and week out. Detroit has some cornerback problems: Their top guy, Chris Houston , isn't anything to write home about. Rashean Mathis wound up playing in place of rookie Darius Slay last week after Slay got lit up. The Lions don't have an answer for either guy.
I'd start them over: Marlon Brown , James Jones , Roddy White
Saints at Buccaneers, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET
Darren Sproles has been a killer against the Bucs, scoring a touchdown in three straight against them. He's a safe bet again in Week 2 if only because the Bucs can use Darrelle Revis to cordon off one side of the field but open themselves up to damage underneath by Sproles.
No-brainers: Drew Brees , Darren Sproles , Jimmy Graham ; Doug Martin , Vincent Jackson
, RB, Saints: My projection: 6 FPTS
Mark Ingram , RB, Saints: My projection: 5 FPTS
The Bucs run defense remains a stiff matchup, one that Thomas and Ingram should be benched for. If I had to pick one it would be Thomas since he can still make some plays as a receiver.
I'd rather start: Rashard Mendenhall , Fred Jackson
, WR, Saints: My projection: 11 FPTS
Colston has a pretty good track record against the Buccaneers, but that was before Darrelle Revis and his island came to town. Revis will likely play on one side of the field the whole game, the left side (Drew Brees' right side), which means we could see Colston on Brees' left a lot. That's familiar territory for him. He's fine as a No. 2 receiver.
Flow chart: Hakeem Nicks > Dwayne Bowe > Marques Colston > Eric Decker
, WR, Buccaneers: My projection: 10 FPTS
History says Williams will struggle -- he's scored once on the Saints in six tries (2010) and has never had more than 63 yards against them. But he'll be needed to help keep up with the Saints on the scoreboard, which means he should be in the No. 3 receiver conversation.
Flow chart: Kenny Britt > Mike Williams > Cardinals WRs not named Fitzgerald
Broncos at Giants, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
Safe to say there's going to be a lot of passing. The last time they played each other big brother Peyton had three scores to little brother Eli's two. Expect big numbers from both but I think Peyton's taste of being dominant last week could stick in his brain for a while. If he averages just three scores per game for the rest of the season he'll break Tom Brady's single-season touchdown record.
No-brainers: Peyton Manning , Demaryius Thomas , Wes Welker ; Eli Manning , Victor Cruz , Hakeem Nicks
, RB, Broncos: My projection: 5 FPTS
Ronnie Hillman , RB, Broncos: My projection: 4 FPTS
Montee Ball , RB, Broncos: My projection: 3 FPTS
Coach John Fox took to the airwaves this week and said the main reason why Moreno was hogging playing time was because he was the most experienced. No one's expecting big stats from him this game. Fox recognizes Hillman's explosiveness and Ball's physical play but neither one of the younger backs will take over for Moreno until they prove they can handle the pass protection. So it's hands off all of these guys.
I'd rather start: Pierre Thomas , Ahmad Bradshaw
, WR, Broncos: My projection: 10 FPTS
Decker has to redeem himself quickly after a rocky Week 1 where he had three costly drops, an offensive pass interference call and a fumbled ball that went out of bounds. Last year we saw Decker lose targets because he struggled to catch what Peyton was throwing at him. He still has plenty of potential playing in this offense but the other weapons the Broncos' passing game has are more appealing.
Flow chart: Dwayne Bowe > Marques Colston > Eric Decker > T.Y. Hilton
, TE, Broncos: My projection: 11 FPTS
Thomas might not be a one-week wonder. It was in this space last week where we said he'd have a nice game and the feeling remains this week. Jason Witten just torched the Giants for two scores last week -- the Giants will have a hard time covering all of the Broncos' threats.
I'd start him over: Jordan Cameron , Jason Witten
, RB, Giants: My projection: 8 FPTS
In a game like this Wilson will either get lost in the shuffle as it becomes a passing frenzy or will dominate in a big way. The Broncos' defense isn't stellar and Wilson should get at least a dozen opportunities to make some plays.
I'd start him over: Joique Bell , Frank Gore
, WR, Giants: My projection: 8 FPTS
Randle averaged 20 yards per catch last week with a max catch for 26 yards. That screams consistency. He also played two-thirds of the snaps because the Giants were playing from behind. I don't know if he can bring in 100 yards again but he's looked good as the Giants' third receiver.
Flow chart: Marlon Brown > Brian Hartline > Rueben Randle > James Jones > Vincent Brown
, TE, Giants: My projection: 9 FPTS
Myers ate up the middle of the field last week and has seemingly settled in as this year's tight end fixture for the Giants. We saw Dallas Clark pick up yardage last week on the Broncos -- Myers could follow suit.
I'd start him over: Greg Olsen , Dallas Clark
Jaguars at Raiders, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET
Darren McFadden should have himself a nice home game. The Jaguars' run defense couldn't quite contain Jamaal Charles , who totaled 100 yards even though he basically played three quarters. The Raiders need to do everything and anything to keep Terrelle Pryor from making mistakes -- handing off to McFadden would keep the rest of his workload pretty easy.
No-brainers: Maurice Jones-Drew ; Darren McFadden
, WR, Jaguars: My projection: 10 FPTS
A mid-week injury in practice could limit Shorts' availability, but if he's healthy he should pick up a good amount of work from Jaguars' starter (for now) Chad Henne . Last year Shorts had 10-plus Fantasy points in five of six games with Henne. Oakland's pass defense is sloppy.
I'd start him over: Steve Johnson , Miles Austin
, QB, Raiders: My projection: 20 FPTS
If Pryor had a better arm then he'd be in the conversation to be this year's Colin Kaepernick . But his arm is just so-so. He needs to make better decisions with the football and it wouldn't hurt if he had better receivers. Starting Pryor isn't worth the risk at this point unless you're real thin at quarterback or play in two-quarterback formats.
Flow chart: Matt Schaub > Terrelle Pryor > Carson Palmer > Jay Cutler
, WR, Raiders: My projection: 10 FPTS
This is going to be Pryor's guy. He led the Raiders in targets last week with eight and has posted at least 70 yards in every game Pryor has started. Not a bad No. 3 receiver this week.
I'd start him over: Antonio Brown , Kenny Britt , Vikings WRs
49ers at Seahawks, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET
This has become the must-see rivalry game in the NFL. Home teams usually dominate in the series. Marshawn Lynch has managed to stomp the Niners for 100 rush yards in three straight. Quarterbacks typically struggle in Seattle -- including Colin Kaepernick last season -- but it's hard to write Kap off even with the tough task ahead.
No-brainers: Vernon Davis ; Marshawn Lynch
, QB, 49ers: My projection: 22 FPTS
Kaepernick completed 19 of 36 passes for 244 yards with a score, a pick and 31 rush yards last year in Seattle. The guy is a sensational player, one I had no problem talking up before the season, but this is pretty much the toughest matchup a quarterback can have in 2013. I don't know if Anquan Boldin is bailing him out to the degree he did in Week 1.
Flow chart: Cam Newton > Robert Griffin III > Colin Kaepernick > Matt Schaub > Terrelle Pryor
, RB, 49ers: My projection: 7 FPTS
Gore will get his attempts but he had them last week and plodded for a weak rushing average (he had 65 total yards on 23 touches; a touchdown saved his stat line). I'm not sure I'd trust Gore as anything more than a low-end No. 2 running back.
I'd rather start: Joique Bell , Daryl Richardson
, WR, 49ers: My projection: 10 FPTS
Boldin was masterful last week, getting most of his production out of the slot. If he's there and Richard Sherman doesn't line up against him, that could be trouble for the Seahawks. The Seahawks usually stick Sherman at left corner, Brandon Browner at right corner and Walter Thurmond in the slot. Boldin can cause some havoc there, particularly if a safety takes responsibility for Vernon Davis and leaves Boldin in single coverage. I think Boldin's resurgence is for real.
I'd start him over: Eric Decker , T.Y. Hilton , Cecil Shorts
, QB, Seahawks: My projection: 19 FPTS
Wilson got his mojo working late last week against the Panthers and will need to string together some drives in this one. The Packers exposed a lot of the 49ers secondary but Wilson's receiving corps still doesn't quite have as much talent as Aaron Rodgers .
I'd rather start: Jay Cutler , Sam Bradford
, WR, Seahawks: My projection: 8 FPTS
The Packers connected on three deep passes (30-plus yards) on the Niners last week. That's right up Tate's alley, though the Niners have contained Tate throughout his career (six Fantasy points or fewer in five career meetings).
I'd rather start: Vincent Brown , Tavon Austin
Steelers at Bengals, Sun., 8:40 p.m. ET
Forget history in this series -- the Bengals have the better offensive and defensive lines and aren't battling injuries like the Steelers are. Andy Dalton had two turnovers at Chicago last week but he wasn't the reason why the Bengals lost the game. Expect the Bengals to be balanced offensively and make the Steelers offense self-destruct thanks to Geno Atkins & Co.
No-brainers: Antonio Brown ; A.J. Green
, QB, Steelers: My projection: 15 FPTS
Big Ben is in big trouble. The team did a nice job getting Fernando Velasco to replace Maurkice Pouncey at center, but there's still going to be a swarm of Bengals defenders breathing down his neck on every play. That's what happens when the run game is dysfunctional.
I'd rather start: Philip Rivers , Andy Dalton
, WR, Steelers: My projection: 6 FPTS
Sanders was heavily targeted last week and came up with seven grabs, the most for him since his rookie season. But the receiving average (8.1) left a lot to be desired. The new playing time he's found should keep him in the deep Flex conversation in PPR leagues only.
I'd rather start: Nate Burleson , Malcom Floyd
, QB, Bengals: My projection: 17 FPTS
Throwing under pressure isn't Dalton's specialty but at least he showed off enough arm strength to keep the critics at bay. Last week, A.J. Green had a pair of catches for 40-plus yards. If he has time to set up and throw, he could add more long passes to his stat sheets. I just don't know if you can trust him.
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco , EJ Manuel
, RB, Bengals: My projection: 7 FPTS
BenJarvus Green-Ellis , RB, Bengals: My projection: 4 FPTS
Bernard had over 20 yards of offense called back because of penalties. That wouldn't have made him any more prolific of a stat producer in Week 1 but it probably did show the coaches what they already know: Bernard has slick moves, Green-Ellis doesn't. However, this doesn't seem like the week the changing of the guard takes place in the Bengals backfield.
I'd rather start: DeAngelo Williams , Joique Bell
Jets at Patriots, Thu., 8:25 p.m. ET
Because of injuries, this could be one of those rare moments where the Patriots use the run to set up the pass. With the top receivers being Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins , the Pats might choose to lean on the ground game first, then attack with the pass. Wouldn't be a radical change of game plans for them: They've had 30-plus carries from running backs in three of their last four against the Jets.
No-brainers: Tom Brady
, RB, Jets: My projection: 6 FPTS
Chris Ivory , RB, Jets: My projection: 6 FPTS
Another week where the going will be tough for these two. The Patriots struggled with the Bills backs but they logged 30 total carries. There's no chance the Jets will let Powell and Ivory get that much work.
I'd rather start: Lamar Miller , Fred Jackson
, TE, Jets: My projection: 7 FPTS
K2 has become fast friends with Geno Smith as evidenced by his eight targets last week. If you're desperate at tight end or PPR Flex then Winslow could be a candidate for 7-10 Fantasy points thanks to his reps and targets.
I'd rather start: Dallas Clark , Brent Celek
, RB, Patriots: My projection: 9 FPTS
The Jets had mixed results vs. Ridley last year (4.3 rush avg., one TD). It will be interesting to see just how many defenders they throw at him. So long as he doesn't fumble he'll play a minimum of 35 snaps.
Flow chart: Darren Sproles > Chris Johnson > Stevan Ridley > David Wilson > Frank Gore
, WR, Patriots: My projection: 13 FPTS
Kenbrell Thompkins , WR, Patriots: My projection: 11 FPTS
Figure both receivers to rotate all over the field and provide some single coverage matchups against linebackers, safeties and pretty much any cornerback not named Cromartie. Edelman was very productive on nine targets last week; Thompkins was given lots of chances last week (two targets into the end zone, three deep targets) and the Pats don't have much of a choice but to keep him involved with so many others hurt.
I'd start them over: Eric Decker , Anquan Boldin
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