The start of week 1 in the NFL season offers the promise, the potential and the hope for a glorious fantasy football year. The end of week 1 can you leave you analyzing everything you thought you knew about football.
Whether it was the first-round pick that didn’t produce or that you guy you passed on in the 5th round that exploded onto the scene, chances are you have some concerns going forward.
Before addressing some of the key lineup decisions for week 2 let’s remember one thing. IT’S WEEK 2!! Do not abandon the players you drafted high in the draft just because they had a poor outing in week 1. Have some patience and realize that the season is young. With that, let’s break down some troubling lineup issues via the week two fantasy versus:
Sam Bradford (Eagles) vs. Philip Rivers (Chargers)
It all comes down to the matchup. Rivers, who threw for 400+ yards and 2 TDs last week will now head out to Cincinnati to face a stingy Bengal’s defense. The last time Rivers played against the Bengals was 2013 in San Diego and the Chargers were held to just 10 points with Rivers limited to just 250 yards 1 TD and 1 INT.
Bradford, meanwhile, will head back to Philadelphia to have his first regular season home game. The Eagles offense was a bit shaky to start week 1 and couldn’t seem to get
on the same page. However, by the second half the Chip Kelly led team started to find it’s groove. Even though Dallas had a strong defensive showing against Eli Manning,
let’s face it. It was Eli Manning. Expect Bradford and the Eagles to get a better start this week against the Cowboys as they look to jump out early to force Dallas away from their running game.
Carlos Hyde (49ers) vs. Chris Ivory (Jets)
Anybody watching the Monday night game was quickly introduced to the capable replacement of Frank Gore in San Francisco. Despite a tumultuous off-season that led many to believe the team to be in complete disarray, the Niners came out with a plan to ram the ball down the Vikings throat.
And ram they did. Carlos Hyde led all running backs week 1 with 26 attempts and 168 yards rushing. Not too mention adding two touchdowns. However, do not be surprised if Chris Ivory has the better week THIS week. Ivory did not disappoint in his season debut either with 91 yards rushing and 2 TDs as well. The matchup is really what it comes down too.
The Niners, who just played Monday night, head cross country to play a Pittsburgh team that has 10 days rest and preparation. Outside of the running game, the San Francisco offense was anemic at best. Look for Pittsburgh to jump out early and load the box on defense in attempt to force the Niners into passing more situations. Ivory, on the other hand, heads to Indianapolis to face the Colts who were one of the worst teams against the run last season and didn’t seem to improve much week 1 against Buffalo giving up 97 yards and 2 TDs to the running backs.
Ideally it would be nice to start both but if you are forced to chose, Ivory is the smarter play this week.
Lamar Miller (Dolphins) vs. LeSean McCoy (Bills)
McCoy had 41 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving in his Bills debut last week. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, it was the Bill’s backup Karlos Williams who was the one who found the end zone. With McCoy leaving practice early Thursday with a hamstring issue (one that is likely to be a problem all season), it wouldn’t be shocking to see Williams get even more opportunities this week limiting Shady’s fantasy upside.
Enter Lamar Miller. Even though the Redskins are likely to have a terrible season, one of their strengths is their run defense. Miller learned this first hand week 1 as he was held to just 50 yards rushing and 70 yards total. However, a week 2 matchup against the Jaguars defense brings plenty of opportunity. Despite the improvements the Jags have made on defense they are still a far cry from intimidating. Look for Miller to break out this week.
Terrance Williams (Cowboys) vs. Steve Smith (Ravens)
Even with Dez Bryant expected to miss a few weeks do not expect Williams to immediately (or ever) produce like Dez. Williams has a decent matchup against an Eagles team whose secondary has definitely improved but is still likely to struggle early on this season. However, look for the Cowboys to lean even more heavily on the running attack and Jason Witten this week as they try to keep the Eagles offense off the field.
Steve Smith only had only 13 yards receiving last week against the Broncos. However, that state line says more of the Broncos D and matchup with Aqib Talib than it does about Smith’s capability. Look for the Ravens and Smith to bounce back this week against a more pass-friendly opponent in the Raiders.
Jason Witten vs. Martellus Bennett
With Dez Bryant out, the number of reliable receiving options for the Cowboys becomes very limited. It starts with Jason Witten. Unfortunately, every team (including the Eagles this week) know that. As Romo’s security blanket, Witten is likely to draw a lot of attention from the Eagle’s defense this week.
Conversely, the Bears have Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffrey to spread the field leaving plenty of opportunity for Bennett to shine. His size and speed (something which Witten lacks) allows for Bennett to create space in the middle of the field and become even more deadly near the goal line. Bennett is the play this week.
Saints Defense vs. Any Other Defense
Two Words. Jameis Winston. Until this guy looks like he has any clue what he is doing at quarterback start any defense playing against him.