Week 2 Early Games
Redskins @ Packers
This game was an absolute blowout. The final score made it seem much closer than it actually was. Aaron Rodgers absolutely shredded what is becoming an atrocious Washington secondary. He finished the day with 480 yards passing and 4 TDs. He basically had a perfect day, although if you wanted to nitpick, he was sacked four times, so the o-line continues to be fairly shaky. James Jones went from being shut out last week to having over 175 yards receiving on 11 catches. The window to buy low on him is gone already. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson continued their torrid starts to the season, and Jermichael Finley shook off a nagging toe injury to score as well. After Eddie Lacy left with a concussion, James Starks picked up the slack and had over 100 yards rushing and a score. He will definitely be a waiver wire pickup if Lacy isn’t cleared to play next week.
For Washington, there isn’t much to be happy about. RG3 again looked tentative and made poor decisions. It is clearly obvious he isn’t 100% yet. If you look at the stats, he did throw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs, but it was all in glorified garbage time, as the game was over by the middle of the third quarter. Alfred Morris managed 107 yards rushing on only 13 carries, and I expect better days ahead if the Redskins can actually not go down by 20+ points and establish a run game. Pierre Garcon was the best Washington receiver and is the only one I would start on a consistent basis. He had 8 catches for 143 yards and a score.
Browns @ Ravens
They say a win is a win, but boy was this ugly. Baltimore struggled mightily against an improved Browns defense. Ray Rice was ineffective yet again, and to make matters worse, he left with a strained hip flexor. It’s worth monitoring over the course of the week, although I don’t expect him to miss any time. Bernard Pierce picked up the slack and may have a higher workload moving forward. Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown had solid receiving days, but everyone else had a forgettable day. Brown is going to be a good play throughout the year as defenses focus on Torrey Smith.
The Browns offense wasn’t that great. Trent Richardson had another average game, and I’m sure his owners are getting impatient. On the bright side, Jordan Cameron continued his torrid start to the season with 5 catches for 95 yards. No other Cleveland receiving option is consistent enough to be worth consideration in fantasy.
Rams @ Falcons
The Rams looked like they were about to get blown out, but Sam Bradford was able to engineer a comeback to keep it close. He ended his day with 352 yards passing and three TDs. Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Tavon Austin all had good games. Austin had his first two touchdowns of his career and Givens was as usual a big play threat. Both of them are solid WR3s or flex options on a weekly basis. The Rams running game was again non-existent. Part of this was because of how badly they were losing, but Daryl Richardson has looked just average, so I wonder if Isaiah Pead will start getting more work moving forward.
Matt Ryan had what is almost becoming a typical day at the office for him. It seems like every week he throws for 350+ yards and at least two TDs, and this week was no different. Coming into the game, Julio Jones was questionable with a knee injury. He looked no worse for the wear on his 81 yard scoring run, and also piled up another 100 yards and 10 catches in addition to that long TD. I will never bench him, regardless of matchup. He has moved into the elite WR1 category. Roddy White was again used as a decoy, and this may continue for another week or two. Put him on your bench until further notice. Tony Gonzalez had a quiet game as well, so it will be interesting to see how his numbers are moving forward. Ryan’s other TD was to Steven Jackson, who ended up leaving the game with a thigh injury. His owners are lucky his lone catch went for a TD, because he had 0 yards rushing at the time of the injury. I don’t think it’s a serious injury, but it could linger so keep an eye on it over the course of the week and have a contingency plan in place just in case.
Chargers @ Eagles
This game was an offensive shootout. The Eagles defense can’t stop anyone, although they did cause a few turnovers that kept them in the game. Philip Rivers torched them through the air with over 400 yards passing and 3 TDs. All three went to Eddie Royal, who continues to make plays. Raise your hands if you thought he would have five TDs in the first two games of the season. Antonio Gates had a game where it made you think it was 2009 all over again, and he almost had a TD before he was stripped inside the five yard line. Malcolm Floyd had over 100 yards receiving before he left the game on a stretcher because of a scary hit. All indications are that he will be fine, but it was still scary nonetheless. His injury allowed Keenan Allen to get on the field and he had his first two catches of his career. Allen is in line for more playing time if Floyd is out for a game or two. Ryan Mathews had a respectable 73 yards rushing, but also had a costly fumble. His fumbling problems are well-documented, although I was surprised to see that he wasn’t benched because of the turnover.
The Eagles offense is becoming a fantasy juggernaut, so it helps that their defense is horrible. Michael Vick was electric again, although he took a few crushing hits and even missed a play. Start him while you can because he won’t last another 3-4 games at this rate. He threw for 428 yards and 2 TDs and also had another TD rushing. LeSean McCoy was held in check in the run game, but he was an animal in the passing game. He turned 5 receptions into 114 yards, which included one 70 yard catch. He makes moves on defenders that nobody else can-it’s almost like watching video game at times. DeSean Jackson almost had 200 yards receiving, as he finished with 9 catches for 193 yards and a score. He had a few other long plays that just missed, so his numbers could have been even better. I was skeptical of him coming into this year, but he’s changed my opinion and is quickly moving into the top tier of WR1 options. Start him until Vick gets hurt and you will be rewarded handsomely.
Vikings @ Bears
This game had a little bit of everything. A pick six, an opening kickoff returned for a TD, a fumble recovery for a TD and even the almighty Adrian Peterson coughing up the ball. It’s hard to really takeaway too much from this game, although Christian Ponder continues to show that he’s not a starting-caliber QB in the NFL. Peterson had a respectable 100 yard day, but his owners were surely expecting more. Greg Jennings had a decent day with 5 catches for 84 yards. Kyle Rudolph had his first TD of the year, but he’s still too inconsistent to start on a weekly basis. For the most part, if he doesn’t score, he’s not really a factor in the passing game.
Jay Cutler had one of his patented games where he looked brilliant for stretches and then looked awful for awhile. Luckily for the Bears, he ended the game with a brilliant drive for the winning TD to Martellus Bennett, who is quickly become a force in that offense. Brandon Marshall had his usual productive day with 7 catches for 113 yards and a score. Matt Forte also had a very good game, with 90 yards rushing and 11 catches for 71 more yards. Marshall, Bennett and Forte are all must starts each week in Marc Trestman’s offense.
Panthers @ Bills
The Panthers had yet another late game collapse, which isn’t surprising at all given their past. Cam Newton has yet to look like the fantasy stud he was in his first two years, as he was very inaccurate with his throws, but was able to save two passing TDs so that his day wasn’t a complete disaster. Greg Olsen was the primary beneficiary with 7 catches for 84 yards and a TD. Even Ted Ginn Jr. got into the action with a 40 yard TD from Newton. Steve Smith was surprisingly held in check with 5 catches for 52 yards. I expected more from him against a depleted Bills secondary. DeAngelo Williams had another solid day running the ball, as he was able to grind out 85 yards against a solid Bills defensive line.
The story for Buffalo was the first comeback win for EJ Manuel in his brief NFL career. He finished just under 300 yards passing and was having a bad day fantasy-wise with two turnovers until his last second scoring pass to Stevie Johnson. Johnson had an outstanding game with 8 catches for 111 yards and a TD and is clearly the top option in the passing game. Robert Woods was serviceable, but he is too risky to rely on weekly. CJ Spiller owners must be wondering when he will get into the end zone, as he had 103 yards rushing on 16 carries, but old nemesis Fred Jackson had the lone rushing TD and 12 carries of his own. If this turns into a true time share, Spiller’s value may decrease.
Titans @ Texans
The Texans are turning into the cardiac kids, with thrilling wins that have come down to the wire in each of their two games so far. I figured that they were doomed once Matt Schaub threw a backbreaking pick six, but they came right back and Arian Foster scored his first TD of the year and then converted on the ensuing two point conversion. Foster finished the day with 79 yards on 19 carries. His backfield mate Ben Tate had 93 yards on 9 carries. Even though Tate had more yards, there really isn’t much of a time share, as it is clearly Foster’s job unless he gets hurt. He is still looking a little rusty, but is slowly rounding into form and should be back in the top tier of RBs shortly. DeAndre Hopkins had two absurd catches and showed how talented he is. He scored the game-winning TD in overtime and should be a focal point of the offense, especially if Andre Johnson misses any time with a concussion. Before he was concussed, Andre had another solid game with 8 catches for 76 yards.
I thought the Titans were going to steal this game, and their defense is proving to be no joke. The offense, however, leaves a little to be desired. Jake Locker is still as inconsistent as ever. His stats were pretty good I this game, as he had 2 TD passes, but only 148 yards passing. There isn’t much of a big play threat, but Kendall Wright and Nate Washington both had serviceable games. However, because of Locker’s inconsistency, it’s hard to lock on to one Titans WR and have faith in them on a weekly basis. You’re basically flipping a coin each week. With Shonn Greene out due to a knee injury, Chris Johnson had most of the workload to himself and had a very respectable 96 yards on 25 carries. His owners surely wish he will score one of these days, but he looks good so far.
Dolphins @ Colts
Miami is the surprise team in the NFL so far, as they were able to hang on and beat the Colts in Indy. A week after complaining about his role in the offense, Mike Wallace was the focal point of the passing game, which really isn’t a big surprise. You’ll usually see a bump in receptions the week after a WR whines about not getting enough passes thrown his way. Wallace ended the day with 9 catches for 115 yards and a score. It does make me wonder if he will be featured this much moving forward, as the other receiving options don’t scare opponents. Sure, Brian Hartline is a solid receiver who had a typically solid game, but Wallace is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Charles Clay had his first 100 yard receiving game of his career, and he may end up being an adequate replacement for Dustin Keller. If he is available in your league, keep an eye on him. Lamar Miller rewarded his owners who suspected that his poor opener last week was an aberration, as he had 69 yards on the ground along with a score. He should be fine moving forward.
Andrew Luck almost led the Colts to another come from behind win, but his final drive ended in a turnover on downs. He had 321 yards passing, but only 1 TD along with an interception, so it wasn’t the best day for the former #1 overall pick. The main beneficiaries of his passes were T.Y. Hilton and Stanford teammate Coby Fleener. Hilton had 6 catches for 124 yards and Fleener had 4 catches for 69 yards and a score, and also had another TD called back due to a penalty. Ahmad Bradsahw’s first game as the unquestioned starter due to Vick Ballard’s torn ACL went fairly well. He had 15 carries for 65 yards and a score. Bradshaw should see his workload increase over the next few weeks and his owners should be rewarded with a solid season, health permitting of course.
Cowboys @ Chiefs
The Chiefs are now a surprising 2-0, and Dallas has a lot of questions after this game. Alex Smith had his typically efficient game, with 223 yards passing and 2 TDs with no turnovers. That’s basically what he tries to do each week. You won’t see him air it out 50 times a game because he is cautious with the ball. But, he is able to move the chains effectively and sprinkle in a few key scrambles at opportune times. He hit both Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe on his scoring passes. Bowe had 4 catches for 56 yards to go along with that TD and Charles had 8 catches for 48 yards. He is a PPR monster and showed no ill effects from the thigh injury he sustained last week. He only had 55 yards rushing on 16 carries, but the 8 receptions made up for that.
Tony Romo had a decent game if you look at the stats, but he didn’t play very well. He had 298 yards passing and a TD to Dez Bryant, but wasn’t able to move the ball when it mattered. I’ve always said he’s a better fantasy QB than real-life QB, and that was the case in this game. Bryant was a monster and eclipsed 100 yards receiving in the first half. He ended his day with 9 catches for 141 yards and a TD. Some of the catches he made were ridiculous and showed exactly why he is one of the most talented receivers in the game. Miles Austin and Jason Witten weren’t able to sustain their solid opening games, as each of them were quiet yesterday. Witten had 3 catches for only 12 yards and Austin had 3 receptions for 31 yards. The second leading receiver was DeMarco Murray, who had 5 catches for 49 yards. Murray was not a factor in the running game, as he had only 25 yards rushing on 12 carries. All in all, a forgettable day for what should be a much more explosive Dallas offense.