I’ve said before that fantasy football is a cruel mistress. You can be as artful as you want with your drafting, but sometimes you’re just a victim of the schedule. I unfortunately ran into some buzzsaws in Week 1 having to play against Wes Welker and AJ Green in two different leagues. Other guys who slayed me included Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Colin Kapernick, Jason Witten, and Julius freakin’ Thomas (I was playing against a Broncos fan)! Meanwhile, I went all-in and busted on Zach Sudfeld in five of my six leagues, while Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron among others sat on the bench. In one of my money leagues, the simple decision to start Brandon Myers over Sudafed would have won me the matchup. The logic was sound…the Pats love to go to the tight end and he was the only game in town. Still, there will be no more gratifying feeling than dropping Sudfeld in all of those leagues this week.
I went 2-4 in my six leagues, 1-3 in my money leagues. In each of my money league losses, I either lost to the highest scoring team of the week or the second-highest scoring team of the week. In the one money league I did win, I had to score the second-highest point total to narrowly beat the third-highest. As the years go by and more people get wise to putting together a great team, it’s going to be just as hard getting a win each week in fantasy as it is getting a win each week in the real life game!
To top it all off, my Giants looked awful, and the freakin’ Jets knocked me out of a couple of Survivor pools. Thanks for nothing, Lavonte David.
Still, I have a job to do, and my job is to give you start/sit options so you can get a win in Week 2. Note that it’s still early in the season, and I’m being very conservative with my start/sit suggestions until I get more game tape on these teams. You’ll notice I’m not big on starting any backup running backs with the exception of Ben Tate, Joique Bell, Gio Bernard, Bryce Brown and other timeshare backs because running backs didn’t make a huge splash in Week 1.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Comfortables: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Tompkins, New England Defense
Cautions: All Jets Starters
Casualties: All Jets Backups, Brandon Bolden, Zach Sudfeld, New York Jets Defense
Sleeper: LeGarrette Blount
Settle down, Jets fans. Your team was one boneheaded play away from losing to a Tampa Bay team that grossly underperformed. Congratulations. Enjoy the tie for first place while you can, because it all comes crashing back down to reality this Thursday. I still won’t start any Jets, but at least I’ve moved guys like Jeremy Kerley, Kellen Winslow, and Santonio Holmes to the Caution level. Stevan Ridley owners should be thanking the fantasy gods that Shane Vereen is out for a few weeks with a broken wrist (not that you should be cheering for injuries, but circumstances are what they are), because otherwise Ridley would otherwise be riding the pine this week while Vereen gets the lion’s share of the work. Brandon Bolden and Legarrette Blount become intriguing deep flex options if Belichick doesn’t care and still benches Ridley, or at least lessens his workload. I’ve already said my piece on Sudfeld, and knowing Belichick, THIS is the week that Sudfeld goes off after I’ve dropped him in all leagues. I normally wouldn’t trust Julian Edelman to repeat his performance, nor would I say that Tompkins could make the most of his targets this week. However, with Danny Amendola already doubtful, and Sudfeld possibly not healthy enough to suit up Thursday, they’re all you have, so you should definitely roll with them.
Prediction: No matter who’s starting for the Pats, Brady and Belichick keep the foot on the gas pedal and embarrass the Jets in Foxboro.
Carolina Panthers vs. Buffalo Bills
Comfortables: Cam Newton, CJ Spiller, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Carolina Defense
Cautions: EJ Manuel, DeAngelo Williams, Brandon LaFell, Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Defense
Casualties: Mike Tolbert, Any Buffalo Pass Catchers Not Named Stevie Johnson
Sleeper: Fred Jackson
Buffalo damn near shocked the Patriots at home last week, and they face another prolific QB in Newton this week. Killa Cam didn’t wow anybody the week before against a stout Seattle Defense, and Buffalo is no Seattle, so you can feel safe starting Newton this week. I’m still not sold on EJ Manuel as a fantasy starter (definitely in 2-QB leagues, though). I’d say Spiller’s light workload last week was due to him being away from the team after his step-grandfather unfortunately was the perpetrator of a multiple murder-suicide a couple weeks ago. Although you can never get over that, every week helps, and it’s impossible to bench Spiller given his ability. Still, considering the situation, Fred Jackson remains an intriguing flex play for the bold people willing to start him. I still can’t trust any Buffalo pass-catchers considering Jackson was the leading receiver last week, and Carolina’s D is STAUNCH. Look what they did to Beast Mode last week! I’d certainly grab Carolina’s D if they’re on the waiver wire and you’re into streaming defenses.
Prediction: Carolina rebounds from last week and puts up the points while the D shuts down Manuel and Spiller.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Comfortables: Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Chicago Defense
Cautions: Jay Cutler, Michael Bush, Greg Jennings, Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett, Minnesota Defense
Casualties: Christian Ponder, Cordarelle Patterson, Kellen Davis
The ugly truth behind Adrian Peterson’s huge three-touchdown day last week is that other than the two short scores, All Day didn’t really do much after the big breakout run to start the game. I don’t think Chicago will let him bust out a big one, but I think Peterson will grind out his yards better than he did last week. I’m really not high on the other Vikings at all considering they didn’t do that well against the Lions last week, and the Bears are much better on D than Detroit. Forte and Marshall should be good to go, and I went back and forth on deciding whether or not to list Jay Cutler as a Comfortable before settling on making him a borderline Caution. You’re not starting Christian Ponder…not even in a two-QB league.
Prediction: The Bears make it two in a row at home and shut down AP and the Vikes.
Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller, Ahmad Bradshaw, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Reggie Wayne
Cautions: Ryan Tannehill, Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Miami Defense, Indianapolis Defense
Casualties: Darius Heyward-Bey, Starting Miami TE, Coby Fleener
Sleeper: Daniel Thomas
It was maddening watching Lamar Miller’s work (or lack thereof) last week against Cleveland, who has an underrated defense. I’ve giving him one more chance as a Comfortable this week because I don’t believe too much in Indy’s run defense considering they made Terelle Pryor look like a star last week. Ryan Tannehill isn’t nearly that mobile, so I’m willing to roll the dice on Miller one more week before I start panicking. Thomas will be there to poach the goal-line scores, so he can certainly be seen as a sleeper flex. I’m also not panicking if I’m a Mike Wallace owner. Last week, dude was covered by Joe Haden, one of the best cover corners in the league. Even though Vontae Davis might be out looking for revenge on the Dolphins for cutting him last year, I don’t think he’s as good as Haden, and Wallace might be able to break free for a long score. Vick Ballard out-carried Ahmad Bradshaw last week, but the timeshare will swing in Bradshaw’s favor the longer the season goes by and Bradshaw stays healthy.
Prediction: Luck rallies the Colts to another victory at home.
Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Comfortables: Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Houston Defense
Cautions: Matt Schaub, Ben Tate, Kenny Britt, DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Defense
Casualties: Jake Locker, Jackie Battle, Nate Washington, Delaine Walker
Sleeper: Kendall Wright
It always seems that Tennessee is the hardest team to figure out. I’m not making too much of their win over Pittsburgh last week, and my Comfortables/Cuations seem to reflect that. Now that Shonn Greene has gone down, this is Chris Johnson’s backfield, although Jackie Battle is there to poach the goal line scores, and I’m not convinced he can break a big one against the Texans D. You’re all systems go on the Texans starters with the exception of Schaub. This game will be won on the ground.
Prediction: Houston rolls.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Comfortables: Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Jordan Cameron, Baltimore Defense
Cautions: Joe Flacco, Bernard Pierce, Dallas Clark, Cleveland Defense
Casualties: Brandon Weeden, All Cleveland Browns WRs, Tandon Doss, Ed Dickson
Sleeper: Marlon Moore
The defending champions make a not-so-triumphant return home after being embarrassed on national TV by the Broncos. On the bright side, I doubt most of Baltimore stayed up to watch the whole thing. I just don’t think Flacco has the weapons he needs to be an effective fantasy quarterback. Marlon Moore is interesting, and was a trendy preseason sleeper, but I’ll need to see him produce one more week before I upgrade him from such a position. I have no idea what the Browns were thinking by not feeding Richardson when he was healthy. But I hope they learned their lesson in not trying to put the game in Brandon Weeden’s hands, because bad things will happen. Jordan Cameron is a must-start, as in, I must start him over Zach Sudfeld (you can tell I’m really bitter).
Prediction: Baltimore rebounds and picks off Brandon Weeden multiple times for the home win.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Comfortables: Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Jamaal Charles, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Bowe, Jason Witten, Dallas Defense, Kansas City Defense
Cautions: Alex Smith
Casualties: All Backup Running Backs, All Chiefs Pass-Catchers not named Bowe
Sleeper: Dwayne Harris
I’m not buying the Cowboys’ performance from last week. Sorry. The Giants gave that game to Dallas, six times in fact. Meanwhile, the Chiefs D looks legit, and although Romo is a clear starter who will put up points, I expect him to throw an INT or Pick Six (or both!), and probably at the most inopportune time. Still, all the major options are in play. I’d hold off on Alex Smith if at all possible, and the only Chiefs pass catcher that should even have consideration is Dwayne Bowe. Are you really going to trust Donnie Avery in Week 2?
Prediction: The Cowboys are exposed for the frauds they are, and the Chiefs win big at home.
St. Louis Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Daryl Richardson, Steven Jackson, Chris Givens, Tavon Austin, Julio Jones, Roddy White (if he practices this week), Jared Cook, Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Sam Bradford, Roddy White (if he doesn’t practice this week), St. Louis Defense
Casualties: All Backup Running Backs, Austin Pettis, Harry Douglas
Sleeper: Isiah Pead
Isn’t it nice of Roddy White to give us fantasy advice? So I’ll take it. If Roddy practices this week, start him. If not, use caution. Thanks Roddy! St. Louis is better than you think they are, but I worry about them in this matchup. I expect Atlanta to come out with guns blazing early. All offensive starters (with the possible exception of Rowdy Roddy) are in play. I also like Atlanta’s Defense. They did a good job of limiting Drew Brees (somewhat), and Sam Bradford is no Drew Brees.
Prediction: Pissed at their tough loss to the Saints, the Falcons whoop on the Rams at home.
Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers
Comfortables: Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers, Alfred Morris, Eddie Lacy, Pierre Garcon, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Fred Davis, Jermichael Finley
Cautions: Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Washington Defense, Green Bay Defense
Casualties: Josh Morgan, Aldrick Robinson
Sleeper: Jordan Reed
The Redskins unfortunately drew the short straw of having to prepare for an offense they’ve never seen before, and they were burned for it. This week, they get a more traditional style offense, and they know what they’re going to get. Rodgers is going to throw, throw, throw. I’m not too worried about RG3’s performance last week either, because Philly’s D was ferocious. I think the ship gets righted. I was interested to see backup tight end Jordan Reed get targeted so much, so he’s at least on my radar. You can start the backup Skins WRs to Pierre Garcon if you want to, but as far as I’m concerned, despite not scoring or doing much of anything last week, Garcon is the only WR to start. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. I’m also not worried about Morris or Lacy despite their fumbles last week. Both are good to start.
Prediction: The Pack rebounds from a tough road loss to bring RG3 to 0-2.
San Diego Chargers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Comfortables: Michael Vick, Ryan Mathews, LeSean McCoy, Vincent Brown, DeSean Jackson, Antonio Gates, Brent Celek, Philadelphia Defense
Cautions: Philip Rivers, Bryce Brown, Malcom Floyd, Riley Cooper, San Diego Defense
Casualties: Jason Avant, Zach Ertz
Sleeper: Danny Woodhead
I was excited to see Chip Kelly’s blur offense implemented in Philly, but I wasn’t expecting THAT. The show the Eagles put on last Monday was truly a sight to behold. Sadly, I think they may have maxed out their potential in game 1. I don’t think this kind of pace is sustainable across 16 games, and I think a big part of their success lay in the element of surprise. Now coaches have game film on them. Don’t be expecting Shady McCoy to run for 189 yards every week. Still, I’ve upgraded all starting Eagles to Comfortables, including Brent Celek. I’ve also upgraded Bryce Brown to a Caution, as he might be useful in a Flex capacity. Philip Rivers shocked the world (well, those in the world who stayed up past 1 am) with four TDs, but I think Philly’s D won’t let him make the plays. I’m not sold on Rivers after one good performance (a losing performance, I might add).
Prediction: The Eagles continue to amaze, and get the win at home.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comfortables: Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Doug Martin, Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Defense
Cautions: Josh Freeman, Lance Moore
Casualties: Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Robert Meachem, Tampa Bay Defense
Sleeper: Kenny Stills
Tampa’s in my doghouse for crapping the bed against the Jets last week. This week, they play a much more prolific scoring offense. Drew Brees can score at will. What surprised me (and everybody else) was how well the Saints Defense under Rob Ryan performed. They bent, but they didn’t break. With all due respect to Josh Freeman (though not really), he’s no Matt Ryan, and the Saints should be able to handle the Bucs with ease. You still must start Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson, and I’ve upgraded Mike Williams from Caution to Comfortable due to his ability to score. It won’t be enough, however.
Prediction: New Orleans scores early and often, bewildering the Bucs.
Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals
Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Detroit Defense
Cautions: Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Brandon Pettigrew, Arizona Defense
Casualties: All Cardinals Backup RBs, Nate Burleson, Starting Cardinals TE
Sleeper: Joique Bell
As a Reggie Bush owner, you’d think I’d be satisfied with his totals from last week right? Wrong. Had Bush not had his TDs overruled, I would have won my fantasy matchup. Still though, I like what I saw, and I don’t think Joique Bell vultures the touchdowns like he did last week, hence why I have him as a sleeper (he should be rostered in all leagues, though). The string of bad luck of Detroit receivers getting tackled at the 1 yard line should hopefully end this week, and Megatron might be able to get a score. I like both QBs a lot this week, and I’m also happy to see the return of the dominant Larry Fitzgerald. I think he’ll hit paydirt again this week.
Prediction: Detroit rides Reggie again for another big win.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Oakland Raiders
Comfortables: Terrelle Pryor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Cecil Shorts, Denarius Moore, Oakland Defense
Cautions: Chad Henne, Rod Streater, Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Defense
Casualties: All Backup RBs, Richard Gordon, Oakland Defense
He won’t make it look pretty, but Terrelle Pryor is a must start in fantasy. I expect him to get a rushing score on top of any passing scores he accumulates. Blaine Gabbert has already been ruled out, which actually means good news for the Jags, especially Cecil Shorts. Henne and Shorts were a great tandem last year, and any Shorts owners (ahem) should throw away last week’s aberration and look forward to a big game. MJD has to get it going, however. Much like with Lamar Miller, I’ll give MJD one more week before I start panicking.
Prediction: Pryor leads Oakland to a win at home over a terrible Jaguars team.
Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Demariyus Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Julius Thomas, Brandon Myers, Denver Defense
Cautions: Knowshown Moreno
Casualties: Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, David Wilson, DaRell Scott, Mike Cox, New York Defense
Sleeper: Giants Starting RB
You can’t drop David Wilson (he’s doing enough dropping as it is), but you can’t start him either. Wilson fumbled once in Week 1 last year and we didn’t see him again until Week 5. While I don’t think this benching may last as long (mostly because they don’t have anybody else), it wouldn’t surprise me if Tom Coughlin tells Wilson to take a seat this week. I’m monitoring my Twitter feed to see who the Giants are going to sign this week, be it Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee or Joe McKnight. If it’s Jacobs or McGahee, they become an interesting flex play this week against Denver. I’m not worried about Eli and the receivers not putting up any points against Denver’s D. I expect them to be behind early and throwing often. We’re all systems go for all passing options. Stay away from the Broncos running game as well. Montee Ball could be a flex if the Broncos are ahead and running out the clock on the ground. It depends how confident you are that the Broncos will blow out the Giants. I think the G-Men will keep it competitive, so Ball won’t be involved as much.
Prediction: Manning wins! Kidding…it’s Peyton and the Broncos, regrettably.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Comfortables: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense
Cautions: Any Backup 49er Pass-catcher, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Seattle Defense
Casualties: All Backup RBs
Sleeper: Doug Baldwin
Kaep looked dominant against Green Bay last week, and I expect him to do the same to Seattle, good defense be damned. Boldin and Davis are no-brainers, but everybody behind the two of them might have to be started with caution. I also toiled with downgrading Russell Wilson to a caution, but I’ll trust the talent over the tough matchup. Marshawn Lynch also has a tough road ahead of him, but it would take serious cajones to sit Beast Mode.
Prediction: Kaepernick powers the Niners past their division rivals.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comfortables: Andy Dalton, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Cincinnati Defense
Cautions: Ben Roethlisberger, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert, Pittsburgh Defense
Casualties: All Steelers Running Backs (except Bell if starting), Matt Spaeth, Jermaine Gresham
Sleeper: Le’Veon Bell (if starting)
To those of you who drafted Le’Veon Bell in an early draft before he got hurt (cough cough), you might get a reprieve as there’s been some buzz that he’ll be ready for Week 2. He’s the only Pittsburgh RB I would even consider starting. The already weak offensive line lost its best player in Maurkice Pouncey for the year. As a matter of fact, with the exception of Antonio Brown in a PPR league, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting any Steelers against a Bengals D that’s rightfully pissed off about their performance against Chicago. Gio Bernard will be slow and steady easing into the season, but right now, The Law Firm is getting the touches.
Prediction: Pittsburgh can’t mount any offense, and Cincinnati rolls at home.
That’s it for this week. I hope you all don’t run into any buzzsaws this week. Good luck in Week 2!