What a terrible week this was. On Sunday a lot of top players got hurt during games, and it's not like they had played well into the game before the injuries occurred. Those of you with Jamaal Charles who was hurt after three total touches, Knowshon Moreno who got hurt after only getting one carry, or even the zero catches for A.J. Green who left with a toe injury, left fantasy owners devastated. While that was the downside of week two, with the exception of the Monday night game to be played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each positon, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let's take a look at those who performed well in week 2.
QB - Aaron Rodgers 346 Passing Yards, 28 Rushing Yards, 3 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
Just forget about what he did last week against the Seahawks. They have a tough defense, and going into Seattle and playing is the harder task to give to an opposing QB. The reason Seattle always wins at home is because the game enivorment given off by the fans, along with one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, make for a subpar performance. Rodgers is back to his old ways, and I have a feeling will be a staple of this article for weeks to come.
QB - Jay Cutler 176 Passing Yards, 28 Rushing Yards, 4 TD's, 25 Fantasy Points
After what looked like could be a shaky game for Cutler on Sunday morning after reports of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall not playing, they both suit up and allow Cutler to give a great fantasy performance. I was not a fan of Cutler before the season as I believe there is a good chance he doesn't play in all 16 games with his injury history, and suspect offensive line. As long as Cutler is healthy though, he is a borderline top 10 QB, and one that fantasy owners should be confident in starting.
QB - Philip Rivers 284 Passing Yards, 17 Rushing Yards, 3 TD's, 24 Fantasy Points
A great gameplan run by the San Diego Chargers this week against the Seattle Seahawks. It was incredible to see the Chargers methodically move the football on Seattle, and it all starts with Philip Rivers. He was given a gameplan to work the clock as much as possible against the defending Super Bowl champs, and executed it perfectly. Last season was a surprise for Rivers, and while it is unlikely he can repeat that performance, he is a guy who is a serviceable starter for those in need after the Robert Griffin III injury, or ineffective Tom Brady (more below on that.)
RB - Giovani Bernard 27 Carries for 90 Yards and 1 TD, 5 Catches for 79 Yards, 22 Fantasy Points
What Bernard just did in week two is why he is capable of taking on a heavy workload. 32 combined touches for Giovani allowed him to rack up the yards, and even score a TD along the way. Once Green got hurt, the Bengals knew that Bernard was the only option left to be a consistent source of gaining chunks of yards on each touch. Whether or not Green is healthy next week, Bernard will still have the same value as a high end RB2 for most teams.
RB - Knile Davis 22 Carries for 79 Yards and 2 TD's, 6 Catches for 26 Yards, 21 Fantasy Points
Hopefully Jamaal Charles owners drafted Knile Davis as a handcuff for him, as there is uncertainty as to how long Charles will be out for. Charles may be back next week, with a minor ankle sprain, or he could be out closer to 4 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Charles owners should rush to the waiver wire when it opens up to grab Davis, as he just showed in week two what he can do with the starting job. A good athlete, Davis possess a good size and speed combo. The six catches is the stat that stands out the most to me. Charles was a guy last year they tried to heavily involved in the passing game, and it looks like that will still be the case if Davis is the guy at RB. His yards per carry may have been less than stellar, but don't worry about that, as he has the ability to break one loose if given a hole to run through.
WR - Jordy Nelson 16 Targets, 9 Receptions for 209 Yards and 1 TD, 26 Fantasy Points
Now that Aaron Rodgers is back on track, Nelson can start to reap the benefits. Him and Cobb will see plenty of targets and scoring opportunities this season, so expect more weeks where one or both of these guys are listed here for having a top level performance
WR - Brandon Marshall 8 Targets, 5 Receptions for 48 Yards and 3 TD's, 22 Fantasy Points
After looking like he wasn't going to play, Marshall gave those fantasy owners who decided to risk it and wait for him a real treat. He was limited for the most part outside of the redzone, but boy did Marshall make the most out of his opportunities. Three TD catches is remarkable, and goes to show that him and Cutler are still on the same page, and will give Marshall owners more great performances for that early draft pick it took to take him.
WR - Randall Cobb 6 Targets, 5 Receptions for 39 Yards and 2 TD's, Two Point Conversion Catch, 17 Fantasy Points
See Nelson, Jordy. No real surprises from the top three guys at the WR position this week.
TE - Antonio Gates 7 Targets, 7 Receptions for 96 Yards and 3 TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
Clearly I wrote off Antonio Gates too early this preseason. I loved Ladarius Green and thought that this was the year he takes away the starting role from Gates, but that just isn't happening. Gates has solidified himself as the Chargers go-to-guy now for big catches and redzone work. The injury risk is still there, but until that happens feel free to start him as your TE each week, as he gives you a good shot at 60+ Yards and a TD.
TE - Jimmy Graham 13 Targets, 10 Receptions for 118 Yards and 2 TD's, 23 Fantasy Points
Graham will be on this list many more times, which is what will be needed for him to justify that first or second round selection it took to get him. Brees looked shaky in the first half, but picked up his play and looked for Graham constantly. More games like this are on the horizon.
TE - Delanie Walker 14 Targets, 10 Receptions for 142 Yards and 1 TD, 20 Fantasy Points
We knew one of the Titans pass catchers would be able to have a big game against that Cowboys defense, and it was Walker. A long TD helped propel that value, but even without it he would have still had about 80 receiving yards. An interesting guy to keep tabs on going forward, and could continue to be a good play for those in 12 team leagues or deeper.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Tom Brady 149 Passing Yards, 1 TD, 9 Fantasy Points
Second straight week of Brady only managing 9 fantasy points. I am beginning to worry that the Brady we saw in 2013 may be the guy we will see again in 2014. Gronk wasn't used to his full potential in this game, so he had to rely on Julian Edelman again. Edelman looked to get shaken up a few times after taking some big hits, which worries me about his ability to go the entire season and stay healthy. If Edelman goes down due to injury, Brady will lose a lot of his value.
RB - Chris Ivory 13 Carries for 43 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Catch for 3 Yards, 10 Fantasy Points
Chris Johnson was completely ineffective in week two, which continues to leave the door open for Chris Ivory. As I said last week, as long as Ivory is still healthy, and Johnson underperforms, Ivory will continue to receive more and more work. Wouldn't be surprised if by week five Ivory was getting close to 20 carries per game if he can continue to be effective.
RB - Matt Asiata 13 Carries for 36 Yards, 5 Catches for 48 Yards and 1 TD, 13 Fantasy Points
It is unclear what will happen with the Adrian Peterson situation, so for the time being Matt Asiata will be the starter. He had an unspectacular day running the ball, but he was used as a pass catcher effectively. His 25 yard TD catch showed off his soft hands, and the ability to turn up the field and get in the endzone. Asiata is going to be a hot guy to get off the waiver wire this week, but don't pick him up over Knile Davis if Charles is going to miss time. Asiata will be a good goaline back who will add to the receiving game, but I worry about the time when Jerick McKinnon starts to take over more work as the more explosive back.
WR - Mike Wallace 8 Targets, 5 Receptions for 56 Yards and 1 TD, 11 Fantasy Points
The Dolphins have already started to use Wallace more effectively than last season. Bill Lazor has clearly made an impact on how the Miami offense is run, and I see the performances Wallace gave in the first two weeks to be the real deal. With Knowshon Moreno out for 4-8 Weeks, The Dolphins may try to find ways to get the ball to Wallace in space more to help alleviate the burden on Lamar Miller.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy's performance and where he stands going forward.