Friday, September 18, 2009
Starters & Benchwarmers -- Week 2
You don’t need me advising you to start Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson, or to bench Tarvaris Jackson and Anthony Gonzalez. So I’ll spare you the obvious recommendations, focusing instead on the players typically on the bubble of most fantasy lineups. Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 2.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons vs. Panthers. After a decent start against Miami, Ryan faces a team that denied him a scoring pass in both contests during his rookie season. But Carolina is a team in disarray, and the more seasoned passer will have no problem picking them apart with his talented receiving corps.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders at Chiefs. He romped over the Chiefs for 164 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 last season. Though he’s sharing the backfield with the equally impressive Michael Bush, McFadden will get plenty of chances to rack up the yards, and scores, again.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins vs. Colts. Miami’s strength (running game) matches up favorably with Indy’s weakness (rush defense). Expect a healthy dose of Brown on the ground, as well as in the short passing game, even if the Dolphins fall behind early.
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings at Lions. Nearly lost in the noise surrounding Peterson’s romp were the multi-talented rookie’s contributions. Harvin was the team’s leading receiver in Week 1 (36 yards, 1 TD), and he added 22 yards as a rusher. He’s clearly a major weapon in Minnesota’s arsenal, especially with Bernard Berrian still gimpy. You’ve gotta love his chances against Detroit.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins vs. Rams. Moss has a well-deserved reputation for inconsistency, so it follows that he should excel this week after a meager effort against the Giants. The Rams have a knack for helping their opponents rebound.
Other thumbs up: QBs Brett Favre, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Ahmad Bradshaw; WRs Derrick Mason, Eddie Royal, Justin Gage.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans at Titans. You can never bench Andre Johnson, but Schaub is a different story. His offensive line barely gave him time to breathe against the Jets’ relentless pass rush, and now he’s facing a team that held him to just 472 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs in two meetings last season.
Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers vs. Ravens. I like his chances better if LaDainian Tomlinson doesn’t suit up, but with the injuries along San Diego’s line and Baltimore’s outstanding run defense in town, Sproles will still have trouble excelling in this matchup.
Willie Parker, RB, Steelers at Bears. Parker has been dealing with a sore hamstring, and Mewelde Moore over-shadowed him in the opener. Chicago’s run defense takes a hit with the loss of Brian Urlacher, but they can still put the clamps down on the Steelers backs.
Laveranues Coles, WR, Bengals at Packers. Facing Green Bay’s ball-hawking secondary after a disastrous opener, Cincinnati’s aerial attack is a huge risk. Coles should be nowhere near your starting lineup until he shows some kind of a spark.
Ted Ginn, WR, Dolphins vs. Colts. Indy’s secondary is among the league’s stingiest, and Ginn has given no indication that he is finally ready to break out. He should be on your bench until further notice.
Other thumbs down: QBs Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Jay Cutler; RBs Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Pierre Thomas, Felix Jones, Julius Jones; WRs Bernard Berrian, Patrick Crayton, Devery Henderson, Devin Hester, Donnie Avery.
TAKING A FLIER
Trent Edwards, QB, Bills vs. Buccaneers. Returning home after a bitter loss to the Patriots, the Bills will seek revenge on the next available opponent. Tampa Bay’s secondary broke down against Dallas, and Edwards – who performed well in the opener – should find similar success. Look for strong outings for Terrell Owens and Lee Evans as well.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…gets discouraged after a tough defeat on opening weekend and starts mailing it in. In my leagues, some of the owners who drafted worst are 1-0 and getting cocky. Their time will come. If you keep on plugging, so will yours.