With Week 1 of the NFL season in the books, it’s time for fantasy owners to turn their attention to Week 2.
The first week of gameplay saw stellar performances from quarterbacks Matt Ryan (448 yards, 3TDs), Matthew Stafford (346 yards, 3TDs, 1 Rush TD), and Andrew Luck (370 yards, 2TDs, 1 Rush TD). Denver TE Julius Thomas went nuts for 104 yards and 3 touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch proved Beast Mode is still activated, and Jacksonville rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns came out of nowhere to deliver a 110-yard 2-touchdown performance.
Week 2 kicks off tonight with a matchup between the Steelers and the Ravens. Here’s a few fantasy studs and duds that could make or break your team this week.
Week 2 Studs
— Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina (Matchup: vs. DET) — Benjamin caught 6 of 8 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ Week 1 win over the Buccaneers. With Cam Newton set to return this week and few reliable options on the Panthers’ receiving corps, Benjamin could have a big day against an unstable Lions secondary. He’s currently owned in 84% of Yahoo fantasy leagues, so if your league hasn’t figured it out yet, go get him quick.
— Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona (Matchup: @ NYG) — Larry Fitzgerald was a non-factor in Arizona’s win over the Chargers on Monday night, catching just one pass on four targets for 22 yards. Fitzgerald’s dad even got involved, calling out the Cardinals and quarterback Carson Palmer for not throwing to his son. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd secured 5 of 7 targets for 119 yards, including a clutch fourth-quarter reception that helped put the game away. Floyd ranks as the #14 receiver in Week 2 by both ESPN and Yahoo; he could do much better than that against a Giants pass defense that looked utterly lost against the Lions in Week 1.
— Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis (Matchup: vs. PHI) — Luck is easily a top-5 quarterback play this week, coming off a monstrous 370-yard, 3-touchdown performance in Week 1. Indianapolis matches up against Chip Kelly’s fast-paced Philadelphia offense, so this game could be a shootout. With the lack of a run game to support the Colts offense, Luck will be forced to throw the ball early and often. Chad Henne put up 266 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Eagles defense in Week 1; Luck should be able to surpass those numbers.
Week 2 Duds
— Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego (Matchup: vs. SEA) — Allen had a rough start in the Chargers’ Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, securing 5 of 10 targets for just 37 yards. I’m anticipating Richard Sherman and the Seattle defense will shut down Allen in Week 2, but hopefully things get easier for Allen starting with San Diego’s Week 3 matchup against the Bills.
— Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants (Matchup: vs. ARI) — Cruz looked frustrated during the Giants’ season-opening loss in Detroit on Monday, after catching just two passes for 24 yards. “I think in order for us to be successful, there needs to be an increased number of targets in my direction,” Cruz told the New York Daily News on Tuesday. With the Giants going up against Patrick Peterson and a stout Arizona defense, Cruz better hope Eli Manning can figure out the Giants’ “new offense” relatively quickly.
Don’t Believe the Hype (Week 2)
— Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore (Matchup: vs. PIT) — With Ray Rice’s career seemingly over in the wake of the now infamous video scandal, Justin Forsett looks like the running back to own in Baltimore. A lot of fantasy owners jumped on the chance to snag Forsett; he’s now owned in 55% of Yahoo leagues after being virtually ignored before Week 1. I’m not rushing to add him. Baltimore’s backfield is too messy; even though Forsett will start this week, Lorenzo Taliaferro will take snaps from him, and Bernard Pierce could still be involved despite being benched for a fumble last week. If I were bold, I’d predict Taliaferro could be the starter by Week 6. I’m not that bold, though.
Scattered Thoughts and Predictions (Week 2)
— Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns put the fantasy world on notice in Week 1. Filling in for an injured Cecil Shorts, Hurns dominated in the first quarter of Sunday’s Week 1 loss to the Eagles, ultimately finishing with 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. While Hurns’ production will almost certainly drop off with Cecil Shorts’ return in Week 2, he could be a player to watch moving forward, especially if Marqise Lee’s hamstring injury is worse than expected.
— ESPN has Jamaal Charles at #3 among this week’s running backs. That’s too high. While coach Andy Reid admitted to underutilizing Charles in Week 1, Kansas City faces a tough matchup this week in Denver’s DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Plus, if Kansas City falls behind early, Alex Smith will be forced to put the ball in the air. Charles should bounce back against the Dolphins in Week 3.
— Frank Gore owners everywhere heaved a collective, widely heard groan after Carlos Hyde vultured a 4-yard touchdown late in the second quarter of the 49ers-Cowboys game. As a Gore owner, I’m picking up Hyde as a handcuff/RB 4 because I have a feeling he’s going to be doing this all season. Gore remains locked in as the 49ers’ number one running back for now, but Hyde could be a touchdown machine in red zone situations.
For any last-minute lineup questions, tweet me at @NussBB.