Week Two Fantasy Love/Hate
By Jeff Falconio
Here's a look at the players/teams that I love and hate coming into Week 2. It's always important not to overreact to what happened the first week, so you won't find Jay Cutler or Joe Flacco here. However, these players appear poised to help or hurt your team based on what we've seen so far.
Reggie Wayne: Wayne had a monster game against Jacksonville and there should be some concern with the injury to #2 wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who will miss this game. Everyone think that because Gonzalez is out Wayne won't be effective because he'll be double teamed. However, Gonzalez went down in the first quarter last week and Wayne still went off (12 catches after Gonzalez got hurt.) Furthermore, Peyton Manning has become a master of the dink-and-dunk, spreading the ball to tight ends and slot receivers. If Miami focuses too much on Wayne, Manning will methodically pick apart the Dolphins.
Tony Romo: Don't expect Romo to light up secondaries the way Romo light up Tampa Bay last week but there are two factors in Romo's favor this week. First, the Cowboys will be officially unveiling the new stadium and it should be an electric atmosphere. More importantly, Romo is usually sharp against the Giants, throwing for 10 TDs in his last three regular season appearances against New York.
Darren McFadden: It seemed like without evening trying Baltimore's Ray Rice rushed for 108 yards against Kansas City. That would be a 5.7 yards per carry clip for Rice and Willis McGahee added 44 yards on only 10 carries. We know this much about Kansas City's defense: it's not very good. Oakland was inspired on Monday night against San Diego and McFadden should see plenty of big play opportunities. There is some concern with how the carries will be distributed in a crowded Raiders backfield but Oakland should have little trouble running the football.
Ronnie Brown: Yes Brown only got 10 carries last week (to go with 3 catches for you PPR players) but Miami was sluggish in the second half in a loss to Atlanta. There are two factors at play for the Dolphins. First, this is as close to a must-win situation as you can have for Week Two. Second, Colts safety Bob Sanders will be out again this week. Sanders missed the season opener against Jacksonville and it allowed the Jaguars to use Maurice Jones-Drew effectively. Look for the Dolphins to use Brown more.
Denver Defense: The Broncos were impressive defensively against Cincinnati and yes you do have to factor in that Carson Palmer was out of synch having missed the entire preseason. Nevertheless, Denver faces a Cleveland team that, like Cincinnati, is trying to get on the same page offensively. Against Cincinnati, the Broncos picked off Palmer twice and sacked him three times, a repeat performance is possible.
Carson Palmer: As stated above Palmer is not in synch with his receivers and it make take a few weeks for that to happen. Now the Bengals face a Green Bay defense that embarrassed Jay Cutler and can likely do the same thing against Cincinnati.
Calvin Johnson: Speaking of quarterbacks, it will take time for rookie Matthew Stafford to learn the ropes and there might be no steeper learning curve than facing Minnesota's pass rush. As such, even though the Vikings are weak in the secondary, the sharks of Minnesota's defensive line will smell blood in the water. That will make it difficult for Stafford to get into a rhythm which will in turn hurt the chances that Johnson puts up decent numbers.
Julius Jones: Seattle's new West Coast philosophy will open things up for Jones throughout the year but don't look for a repeat of 117 yards on 19 carries against San Francisco. To begin with, 62 of those yards came on one run, furthermore the 49ers come into this game with a good, young defense that shut down Arizona's running game.
Tim Hightower: Arizona wanted to focus on running the ball more and that certainly didn't happen against San Francisco. Hightower carried the ball eight times for only 15 yards and it appears he will yield carries to rookie Beanie Wells. Hightower did bring plenty of value to points per reception leagues but don't look for another 12 catch performance against Jacksonville.
New England Defense: Tedy Bruschi retired, Richard Seymour was traded and now Jerod Mayo is hurt. New England's secondary wasn't particularly strong coming in but the Pats were always able to bank on the front seven. Now you have to wonder who the defensive leaders are. Losing Mayo is huge and the Patriots will face a Jets offense that is thoroughly confident in rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.