Right now everybody is on the edge of either being 2-0 or 0-2. Obviously, one of those options is ideal and the other is a nightmare. No matter how good your team is, and it doesn't matter if you're the leagues high scorer, it's painful to start the season in a 2-game hole.
On the flipside it sure feels good to know you got out of the gates with a perfect 2-0 record. You can tell your friends to "suck it" and ignore the fact that you got incredibly lucky perhaps. But how you get there isn't as important as the fact that you are there. Either way, whether you are 2-0 or 0-2, its still very early in the season. There's plenty of time to dig yourself out of a hole or to dig yourself a 6-foot deep hole and jump. No need quite to panic, but let's see if we can't avoid getting in that hole in the first place.
Then there's the kissing your sister record of 1-1. Yeah, it's nice to get to 1-1 if you lost your first game but you'll still be wallowing on the fact that you lost your first game at all and "I SHOULD BE 2-0!!!" Well, stop screaming at your neighbors and pick yourself up Tonto. We are here to help, discuss, and debate.
It's Friday and we should all be in good moods as we prepare to have another full day of football on Sunday and a full day of drinking on Saturday. So take the good mood and that even keeled attitude and join me as I preview what to watch for in week 2 of the NFL. You'll never make as many good decisions on Sunday as you will on Friday. (Depending on the context of where you are making those decisions. We probably make the worst decisions of our lives on Saturday at 2 AM.)
After the jump check out The Fives Rankings for Week Two.
The Five Best Games for Fantasy
Last week San Francisco's defense was able to shutdown the Seahawks offense in the first half, but Seattles offense line played terribly in the first half and then Tarvaris Jackson was able to lead the team to a couple of scores in the 2nd half of the game. They'll have a much harder time shutting down Tony Romo and the Cowboys. While not a record by any means, Dallas was able to put up 384 yards of total offense against the Jets; perhaps the NFL's best defense if not top 5. Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense could create a couple of turnovers but they're also liable to give up some yards and points while doing so. It could be a good game for Vernon Davis and potentially a sleeper play like Braylon Edwards.
In week one the Texans put up 35 points against the Colts and the Dolphins gave up 38 points and all those passing yards to the Patriots. Houston was able to shut down the Indianapolis offense, but there's a good chance that shutting down the Colts won't be that difficult this season. Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall could repeat good performances this week, while I expect Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson to do very well. The sleeper of the game might be Jacoby Jones filling in for Kevin Walter. Arian Foster looks good to go.
All eyes on perhaps the most intriguing quarterback matchup of the week when Aaron Rodgers faces Cam Newton. The story of the week, up until Brady went crazy on Monday night, was Newton's 422 yard performance against the Cardinals. But last time I checked, the Cardinals defense sucks. The Packers defense, not so sucky. For everybody standing on one side of the Newton fence or the other regarding how good he really is, we'll get some sort of an answer against the defending champs. Meanwhile, the Panthers defense wasn't too hot against the Cardinals. Rodgers should have a field day, big ups to all Packers.
2. Chargers at Patriots
Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez. I don't know if the Patriots will give up 400 yards of passing again. I don't know if the Chargers will allow 39 yards passing again. (Okay, I probably know they won't do that.) But both of these fantasy powerhouses are meeting on Sunday and something good is going to happen.
Did you know this was coming? It's not just that Michael Vick is returning to Atlanta or whatever. That's not as relevant as the fact that you've got a lot of important fantasy names meeting in Hotlanta and yes there will be a lot (too much) media fanfare at the game. Somebody at some point will tell you Michael Vicks story of redemption. Actually, I can promise you this if you start watching the pre-game action Sunday morning, first ESPN will interview Vick during Countdown. Then Terry Bradshaw will interview him and some other people that know him on Fox at around 9:20. Then CBS and Shannon Sharpe will talk to his former coaches and current coaches and Vick at around 9:30. There's 16 games this weekend, but to the media there will only be 1 story. And just like anything Brett Favre-related for the last 20 years, let me tell the media this: I don't care. Stop beating dead horses, that's just cruel. I'm calling PETA. Which is ironic since we're talking about Michael Vick. I guess in this case I should say "STOP BEATING A DEAD DOG!"
The Five "Pawn Stars" Sleepers
5. Jacoby Jones
Now in his fifth season, Jones will never be a "special" NFL wide reciever. He does what he does and has enough talent to stick around for at least a couple more seasons, but he's not even as good as Kevin Walter. But Walter is out, Jones gets more targets, the Dolphins defense just got torched, and Jones returns punts as a bonus. He had 91 yards and a TD in last weeks game on punt returns, and he had 3 catches for 43 yards. If I was Rick from Pawn Stars I'd tell you that I want him in my shop.
4. AJ Green
How can perhaps the leagues top rookie WR be a sleeper? Well, simply put, despite a 41-yard TD catch in week one, Green is still playing in only his 2nd NFL game and though Andy Dalton is "Probable" that's no guarantee. Expectations would have to be low, but I'd say Green is startable this weekend. Meanwhile, an already bad Denver defense could be without Champ Bailey. Green puts up 75 yards and a TD this week and I want him in my shop.
3. Rex Grossman
Screw you Rex Grossman for doing good last week and now facing a defense that just gave up 422 yards to a rookie, therefore making you less of a sleeper. However, how many teams will actually be starting Grossman this week? Could he outperform starters like Jay Cutler or even Drew Brees? Grossman went for 305 yards and 2 scores without a mistake last week and he's topped 300 in 3 of his last 4 starts. At home against the Cardinals he could be poised to top 300 again and maybe 3 scores. I want him in my shop, but I have got to get him for the right price or I can't make any money off of him.
2. Ben Tate
"He had 116 yards and a score last week, not a sleeper!" you may say. But I reply that though Arian Foster is apparently ready to return, the Texans probably won't want to rush him. With Derrick Ward less likely to play, Tate is going to be the full-time backup for Foster and I expect him to get 10-15 touches at the very least while Arian eases back into an NFL game. If you're league is deep or your skill players are shallow, Tate isn't a bad play. Let me call my friend who is an expert in backup running backs to Arian Foster and have him take a look at this and see if we can make a deal.
There's plenty of reasons to not like Thomas this week, but that's why we call them sleepers. To try and get past all the layers of the smelly onion to find out whats inside. (Hint: More onion) Thomas participated fully in practice this week and should be good to go. Tony Sparano says he expects Reggie Bush to be on the field "70-75% of the time" meaning Thomas will only be limited and it's not quite a 50/50 split yet. The Texans have a pretty good run defense, but Thomas seems a much more likely option for goal-line carries than Bush does. If you're desperate you could put Thomas in your shop and potentially get 50 yards and a TD. It's not much but it's better than nothing.
The Five Players I Don't Want in My Shop
5. Wes Welker, other Patriots WRs
I found out it would be sacrilige to say anything bad ever about Tom Brady, so I'll just stick to the wide receivers. Wes Welker rarely has a bad game and in PPR leagues he's almost always good for something. Last season against San Diego Welker had 4 catches for 25 yards. The Chargers also just held the Vikings to 39 yards passing and I don't care if you're Donovan McNabb or Jason Campbell, that's impressive. If I have other options with more intriguing matchups this week, I'm going to bench the Patriots wideouts. Thanks for bringing this in for me to look at though.
Last week I put LeGarrette Blount on this list because I love the Lions defense (and offense) and didn't believe Blount would be much of a factor. He had 15 yards. This week it seems likely that the Lions could jump out to a huge halftime lead and the Chiefs will be forced to throw, which just adds to the fact that Super Suh is going to be in Charles and Matt Cassel's faces all day. Don't get me wrong, I want Charles in my shop and you almost certainly can't bench him, but if you are cursing the stars at the end of Sunday because he only puts up 80 total yards remember I said so.
3. Kevin Kolb
Last week the Redskins kept Eli Manning and the Giants excellent WR core in check and held the passing game out of the end zone with an interception. Kolb won't have nearly as good a time against this very underrated defense as he had against the Panthers. You really shouldn't have brought Kolb into my shop and expected me to buy this week.
2. Roddy White
It pains me to do this as White is one my favorite players in the league and I rely heavily on him in fantasy, but with nobody interesting on Revis Island in week 2 (Mike Thomas? Bleh) it's White who gets to hang out on Nnamdi Peninsula. Sam Bradford and the rest of the Rams were held completely in check last week. The Falcons offense is better than the Rams offense however so don't expect a total shutdown. I absolutely have to have White in my shop every week, but his value is going to take a hit in week two. Let's hope for a TD to even things out.
1. Cam Newton and Steve Smith
Feeling good about starting the duo this week after they dominated in week one? You probably had them both on the bench and lost and felt like an idiot for not starting them both so now you'll never not start both again. I wonder what you'll do this week after Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews and company kind of shut Newton down for 190 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs and Smith grabs 3 balls for 44 yards. Will you be more pissed than you were for not starting them last week? Will you burn your shop down to the ground? You've had this Smith restored which lessens the value while the Newton is shiny and new so it's not really quite the antique that Smith is. I just don't want this in my shop right now.
The Five Players that I Have to Have in My Shop
Last week Benson rushed for 121 yards and a TD against the Browns defense. Last week the Broncos gave up the biggest rushing performance of week one against Darren McFadden (150 yards) This week, they meet. Broncos are already a bad defense. They've got five important players on defense questionable this week including Elvis Dumervil and Bailey. This could get really ugly. I just talked to my guy who is an expert on games that could get ugly and he said this is one of the ugliest matchups he's ever seen.
4. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson
I put Schaub on this last week and while the Texans offense rolled, he didn't put up the kind of numbers I was hoping for. The Dolphins just gave up 517 yards to Tom Brady and a comparable explosive offense. Things might be perfectly setup for the Texans to throw the ball 35-40 times this week and I could see Schaub approaching 350 yards and for Andre to get at least 150 of those. Yes. In my shop. 1000 times yes. If this doesn't get in my shop I'm blaming Chumlee.
3. Mike Wallace
I believe in the Seahawks ability to stop the run and that's why I don't think Rashard Mendenhall is going to have a big game. That doesn't mean I think it's going to be a close game by any means and the Hawks could get burned deep by Wallace several times. I called my grampa over to take a look and he says that Wallace could get 8 catches for 150 yards and 2 TDs.
Lost in the fact that every Ram was taken home in an ambulance last week was that Cadillac Williams and Steven Jackson pretty much did whatever they wanted against the Eagles run defense. The Burner could get a 30-carry game this week and put up one of his big games. He rushed for 10 yards per carry last week against the Bears. They started making Michael Turners back in 1982 and let me tell you that they don't make them like they used to. I want him in my shop.
1. Cadillac Williams
I'm going out on a limb with my #1 pick but why not a player that was barely drafted and one of the biggest pickups of week one? Williams is all setup to have his biggest game in a long time. He had 19 carries for 91 yards and 5 catches for 49 yards against the Eagles. This week he faces a Giants defense on Monday night that could be without their starting DE's again and Sam Bradford could be in full checkdown mode. The Giants gave up 72 yards and a TD to Tim Hightower last week. On the big stage I expect Cadillac to get 25-30 touches, 150 total yards and 2 scores. I want that restored Cadillac in my shop and I'm going to make a huge, huge profit.
Other notes to look out for in week two:
- Matt Forte had a big week one game against the Falcons, but can he match that against the Saints defense? Probably. I like Forte for 120 total yards and a score. On the other side of the game expect Mark Ingram to struggle to gain fantasy points again this week against the Bears defense. The Saints will be throwing... a lot.
- Peyton Hillis shows why he got his face on Madden this year and rebounds with a nice game against the Colts. Joseph Addai is also a solid play this week against the Browns.
- McNabb gets to safe a softer defense this week than he did last week, but the Bucs are still above-average. This is one of those situations where you keep saying "We wont play the rookie until he's ready" and then McNabb gets pulled three weeks earlier than you expected. He has to play well this week but I'm staying away from all non-AP Vikings until further notice. Blount could be in for another tough stretch against the Vikings D, but Josh Freeman and Mike Williams should be okay.
- Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford put a big smile on my face again this week against the Chiefs. Jahvid Best has 100 total yards.
- As said before, Mike Thomas gets Revis Island. But what were you really expecting from the Jags this week? Maurice Jones-Drew is probable but it's getting really paramount that you handcuff him to Deji Karim.
- Darren McFadden continues to lead the NFL in rushing yards after week 2 I predict, when he goes for 135 yards on the Bills. Jason Campbell continues to not lead the NFL in anything.
- The Ravens and Titans meet in a matchup that could either be really ugly or really boring. Could the Ravens possibly be as good as they looked last week? Chris Johnson is a must-start but could be in for a world of pain.
- The Steelers got dominated by the Ravens last week. Seems like they'll return the favor this week to the Seahawks. Why the Hawks gotta get the return favor man? Marshawn Lynch will stink. Tarvaris will stink. Ugh. Sidney Rice is still questionable but Robert Gallery should return for the Hawks, as well as David Hawthorne.
- In case you didn't hear, Michael Vick is returning to Atlanta. A bigger story would be him returning to prison. But okay.
Yesterday my threat to harm myself if I didn't get 100 new twitter followers and it backfired. So instead I'll say don't follow me on twitter @casetines because I have heard about this thing called "reverse psychology" and I must try it out. I've even made my link above open in a new window so it won't be annoying if you click it just to see what it's all about. But seriously, don't follow me. It won't be the best time of your life. It won't make you double-over with laughter. I don't want you in my shop. You won't get up-to-the-second NFL fantasy coverage. #Reversepsychology.