Let’s get it out of the way first. Will Darren Sproles outscore LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles put together every week? Can Matt Ryan duplicate his all-world effort, but this time against one of the toughest defenses in the league playing its home opener? What about Chicago’s run defense or the injuries to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery?
Every week the biggest questions are answered on the football field, but we can use educated guesses to figure out ahead of time some possible trends that will continue or that won’t. Week 2 is decision time for all those teams that are 0-1. They will likely come out focused, but what will that do to the fantasy value of their pieces and parts?
Let’s see. Time for Setting Your Lineup…
Colin Kaepernick, SF. Kaepernick was serviceable last week, but the way the game worked out he didn’t have to be amazing. That hurt his fantasy production. But this week, at home, against that Bears defense, he should have his way through the air and on the ground.
Jake Locker, TEN. A popular waiver wire pickup this week, can Locker continue to produce? Well, against what passes as a defense in Dallas, I think the answer is a resounding yes. If he’s still available in your league and you have someone like RGIII or Romo in your lineup already, grab Locker and get him active.
Andy Dalton, CIN. Did you even watch that Atlanta game last week? It wasn’t just that Matt Ryan was dynamic. He had to be because the defense just kept giving up points. Dalton can also expose that defense with A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. I think he goes for three passing touchdowns and over 300 yards through the air.
Josh McCown, TB. At times McCown looked pitiful last week, but remember that was against the tough front line of Carolina. Against St. Louis that will be a different story. They looked lost last week and I don’t think that changes here. McCown has a day worthy of his stretch last year that got him this job in the first place.
AVOID: Russell Wilson, SEA. Wilson has never been a good fantasy quarterback; he’s on par with someone like an Alex Smith or a Joe Flacco. And even after an adequate performance last week against Green Bay, he’s still not. That San Diego defense is tougher than you think, and I’d rather have a baker’s dozen of other quarterbacks in a week when Seattle will just lean on their run game anyway.
Lamar Miller, MIA. You know by now that I’m all in on Knowshon Moreno this year, but I think against the Buffalo run defense that Matt Forte just shredded, both Miami running backs will get it going this weekend. Miller will get the goal-line carries, which gives him relevance in fantasy.
Chris Ivory, NYJ. Did you see what Marshawn Lynch did to that Green Bay defense last week? And did you see how well the Chris’s played last week against Oakland? That’s a recipe for starting, starting, and more starting this week. I think Johnson gets the yardage this week, and Ivory scores the touchdowns. Get both active.
Darren Sproles, PHI. Don’t look now, but I think I see a beast rising out of Philadelphia. Sproles and McCoy on the field at the same time creates havoc for defenses. Chip Kelly hit on pure gold in the second half against Jacksonville and he’ll keep it rolling against an Indianapolis defense that couldn’t contain Montee Ball last week.
Matt Asiata, MIN. This may be the only time I get to suggest playing this guy, but Cordarelle Patterson can’t do everything in that Minnesota running attack, and they’ll need to run against New England, who is weaker against the run than against the pass. Asiata is a really solid play this week.
AVOID: Doug Martin, TB. You likely drafted him in the first or second round but there are too many conflicting reports coming out of Tampa Bay, so you can’t trust Martin. I’d rather put Stevan Ridley in my lineup at the moment.
Allen Hurns, JAC. Who says you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice? I sure don’t. I saw enough of Hurns to see that he has some good potential, and against a Washington defense that isn’t dynamic he should once again shine. Besides, who else does Chad Henne have to throw it to? Marqise Lee? Marcedes Lewis? Yeah.
Michael Floyd, ARI. Carson Palmer’s status is up in the air on this one, but I think he plays, and I think Floyd has a monster game. Coming off a good effort last week against San Diego he keeps showing why he’s the better option than Fitzgerald at this point against a New York Giants defense that is reeling.
Malcolm Floyd, SD. Go with the Floyds this week. No, seriously. Philip Rivers is not afraid of Richard Sherman or that incredible Seattle defense, and he’s playing with the home crowd behind him. Someone will have to get going besides Keenan Allen, and I think Floyd fits the bill.
Greg Jennings, MIN. Can you tell I’m all in on the Minnesota offense this week against New England? Besides, Jennings plays very well when Matt Cassel is his quarterback, including last week in the win against St. Louis. I think Jennings gets vertical in this one and goes over 100 yards.
AVOID: Golden Tate, DET. The Carolina defense provided proof last week that they can still be pretty dominant in stretches, so I see Matt Stafford throwing into tough coverages in this one. When he does that usually the only receiver who can still be counted on to grab the ball is Johnson. Leave Tate on the bench this week.
Delanie Walker, TEN. I have absolutely no faith in that Dallas defense, which bodes well for the weapons in Tennessee’s arsenal. Walker is a solid weapon, and definitely a bonus for you in PPR leagues.
Charles Clay, MIA. That Buffalo defense wasn’t great against Martellus Bennett last week, and I see similar success for Clay this week in a Miami offense that now stretches the field with Mike Wallace, which should open up lanes underneath for Clay to thrive.
Jermaine Gresham, CIN. Now that Eifert is out for an extended period of time, Gresham gets room to shine, and against that suspect Atlanta pass defense I think he starts the year of Gresham sooner rather than later. He should be the biggest improvement in the category over his week one total.
Anthony Fasano, KC. After a drubbing last week, I don’t see Alex Smith having as poor an effort against division rival, Denver. He won’t be impressive, but he will have to lean on Fasano at key moments. I see the tight end getting another score to add to the one he had last week against Tennessee.
AVOID: Kyle Rudolph, MIN. Okay, so maybe I’m not all in on Minnesota’s players this week. New England has been relatively good at limiting tight ends for the past few games, including last week, and Rudolph himself didn’t play well against a suspect St. Louis defense last week. There are far better options at the position for this week.
As for defenses, it’s incredibly hard to figure out from week to week which ones will perform best. If you don’t have either the Seattle or Carolina defenses, I would consider streaming this week from the selection of Tennessee (against turnover prone Dallas), Denver (against the surprisingly inept Chiefs), or Tampa Bay (facing a depleted St. Louis offensive unit).
Good luck setting your lineups.
The Fantasy Ace