I actually had Jahvid Best (232 total yards, 3 TD) on my bench (behind Maurice Jones-Drew and Pierre Thomas, in my defense), figuring that the Eagles DT is generally pretty tough and even though the rookie scored twice in Week 1, the Lions running game struggled against Chicago. Well, I think the kid will be in my starting lineup next week. Not only did he average 4.6 ypc en route to 78 rushing yards, he posted 9-154-1 in the passing game. Let’s just hope he can hold up for the entire season. Brandon Pettigrew (7-108) had eight targets to Tony Scheffler‘s (1-5) four. The other lesson we can take from this game is to always start our key guys against the Lions. Michael Vick (284 yards, 2 TD), LeSean McCoy (16 carries, 120 yards, 3 TD), DeSean Jackson (4-135-1) and Jeremy Maclin (3-26-1) all had nice games.
Michael Turner owners were expecting a big week against a suspect Arizona rush defense, but all they got was 75 yards on nine carries and a groin injury. Jason Snelling picked up where Turner left off and racked up 186 yards and three TD on 29 touches. If Turner’s injury is serious (and it doesn’t sound like it is), Snelling becomes a great waiver wire pickup, but there’s a good chance that Turner’s injury is minor and the Falcons elected to shut him down since the blowout was on. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan bounced back from a rough performance in Week 1 to post 225 passing yards and three TDs. On the other side of the ball, Larry Fitzgerald (7-83) put up decent numbers despite dreadful play from Derek Anderson (161 yards, 2 INT), and Tim Hightower (124 total yards, TD) took advantage of another injury scratch by Chris Wells.
Fantasy-wise, the only truly surprising thing to come out of that Ravens/Bengals tilt was the poor game by Joe Flacco (154 yards, TD, 4 INT). The Patriots shredded the Bengals in Week 1 and Flacco looked pretty solid against a tough Jets’ defense, so everything lined up for a good game. At this point, Flacco is not an every-week starter and is better used as part of a QBBC.
I picked up the Chiefs DT due to the strong showing in Week 1 against the Chargers and a deadly return game, and was rewarded with a 33-yard INT return by Brandon Flowers, who took a break from fronting The Killers to play a little pass defense in Cleveland. Matt Cassel (176 yards, 2 INT) struggled again, but Tony Moeaki (5-58) had another good game and should probably be picked up in 12-team leagues. The Chiefs’ backfield situation is still something of a fantasy mess, as Thomas Jones (23 touches, 88 yards) continues to out-touch Jamaal Charles (12 touches, 76 yards). Jones has been productive enough to keep his job, and as long as the Chiefs keep winning, Todd Haley is unlikely to make any major changes in the backfield. Expect Charles to get complimentary duty going forward, making him more of a flex start than a solid RB2.
The Browns have a similar RBBC going. Jerome Harrison fumbled early, but finished with 68 yards on 19 touches, while Peyton Hillis produced 61 yards and a TD on 11 touches. There don’t appear to be any Brown receivers worth starting on a regular basis, though Josh Cribbs (3-74-1) had a nice game.
In Dallas, the Bears’ offense fired on all cylinders, and Jay Cutler (277 yards, 3 TD) spread the ball around to Johnny Knox (4-86), Devin Hester (4-77-1), Greg Olsen (1-39-1) and Matt Forte (5-37-1). Matthew Berry thought that Devin Aromashodu would be a top 10 WR this week and he failed to catch a pass, and has apparently been passed on the depth chart by Earl Bennett. Ouch. It appears that only Knox is a safe start amongst the Bears’ receivers, though Hester is worth a look if Aromashodu is still buried on the depth chart. For the Cowboys, the running game is ugly, but Tony Romo (374 yards, TD, 2 INT) put up some big numbers in catch-up mode. Miles Austin (10-142) was the main beneficiary. Jason Witten (5-51) was knocked out of the game with a concussion, so look for Martellus Bennett (7-45) to be a big pickup this week for those in need of short-term TE help.
What can we take from the Bills/Packers game? Well, after a so-so Week 1, Aaron Rodgers looked wonderful, throwing for 255 yards and two TDs, and rushing for another score. James Jones (3-32-1) was actually the most targeted Packer receiver (7), while Greg Jennings (3-36) had a quiet game. Brandon Jackson (12 touches, 39 yards, TD) didn’t run the ball all that well (2.6 ypc), but he did find the endzone. He had just one target in the passing game, which is worrisome. He’s out there on first and second down now, why not run a screen or two? As for the Bills, C.J. Spiller had just one rush and four catches for 26 total yards. He really needs that long-rumored Marshawn Lynch trade to clear the way for some more touches. It seemed like the Bills were featuring Lynch (17 carries, 64 yards) for an upcoming deal.
I’m not sure what the benching of Vince Young (66 yards, 2 INT, fumble) means for his long term prospects, but the Pittsburgh DT also shut down Chris Johnson (21 touches, 53 yards). Kenny Britt (5-41) showed some signs of life, but Nate Washington (4-34-1) was still the Titans’ most-targeted WR (9).
I thnk it’s safe to say that Brett Favre (225 yards, 3 INT) has not had a good start to the season. He really misses Sidney Rice, so I’d be surprised if the Vikings don’t swing a trade for Vincent Jackson next week to try to get him some help. Visanthe Shiancoe (6-86) continues to thrive as Favre’s main target over the middle, but Percy Harvin (5-32) was knocked out of the game after being targeted heavily early on. On the flip side, the Dolphins DT looked strong. After a nice first week, Davone Bess (1-12) was only targeted once. Brian Hartline (3-28-1) scored so the position battle to be Miami’s WR2 continues.
Down in Charlotte, I’m officially starting to get worried about DeAngelo Williams (17 carries, 52 yards), who has failed to crack 4.0 ypc in the first two weeks after looking great in the preseason. For the Bucs, Josh Freeman (178 yards, 2 TD, 43 yards rushing) looked solid and both Kellen Winslow (4-83) and Mike Williams (2-53-1) had nice games. Carnell Williams (27 carries, 51 yards) was a disappointment, to say the least.
Over in Denver, I’m sure the Broncos are happy to have Demaryius Thomas (8-97-1) back from injury. The rookie’s nice game may end the fantasy relevancy of Jabar Gaffney (2-15 on five targets) and Brandon Lloyd (3-53, four targets) though Josh McDaniels’ philosophy is to not force feed anyone the ball and to take what the defense is giving. Eddie Royal (5-65-1) does look like the real deal now that he’s working out of the slot. On the other side of the ball Deon Butler (5-50 on eight targets) was the most targeted Seattle WR. John Carlson (5-48) had 10 targets and was heavily involved as the Seahawks tried to play catch up.
In that Rams/Raiders barnburner, Bruce Gradkowski (162 yards, TD, INT) replaced an ineffective Jason Campbell (87 yards, INT) and played pretty well. Louis Murphy (6-91-1) was the biggest beneficiary, but Darius Heyward-Bey (6-80) saw the most targets (13). For the Rams, Mark Clayton caught just two passes for 27 yards, but they both were for TDs. Fantasy owners may want to see what they can get for Clayton this week as his stock has never been higher.
On the heels of an ugly loss at Kansas City, the Chargers drilled the Jags in every phase of the game. Ryan Mathews (7 touches, 55 yards) looked good before leaving the game with a pretty ugly ankle injury, though the Chargers are saying that it’s not serious. Mike Tolbert (17 touches, 95 yards, 2 TD) and Darren Sproles (9 touches, 100 yards) picked up the slack. If Mathews is going to miss any time, Tolbert will be a hot pickup. Both Malcom Floyd (3-95-1) and Mike Sims-Walker (10-105-1) had bounce-back games after poor performances in Week 1. Maurice Jones-Drew (13 touches, 48 yards) was inexplicably shelved once the Jags got down big. You’d think that if you’re trying to make a comeback, you might want to get the ball to your feature back in the passing game.
Heading back to the Meadowlands in the “game of the week” in the AFC, Mark Sanchez (220 yards, 3 TD) and the Jets’ offense looked a lot better against the Pats. There was a Braylon Edwards (5-45-1) sighting, while Dustin Keller (7-115-1) flashed his potential once again by dominating the seams. For the Pats, Tom Brady struggled in the second half but finished with 248 yards passing, 2 TD and two picks. Aaron Hernandez (6-101) looked great and appears to have the edge on fellow rookie Rob Gronkowski (1-14) in terms of viability as a fantasy TE. It’s not clear what’s going on with the New England RBBC. Fred Taylor (5), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (10) and Kevin Faulk (7) split the touches. It looks like it’s going to be tough to find a fantasy gem in the Patriot backfield this season.
In the best 1 PM game, Washington and Houston battled back and forth with the Texans winning in OT. Matt Schaub (497 yards, 3 TD, INT) and Donovan McNabb (426 yards, TD) posted huge numbers, while the running games for both teams were relatively quiet (though Clinton Portis did manage to find the endzone twice). After a quiet Week 1, the Texans’ passing game showed that it was just fine, as Andre Johnson (12-158-1), Kevin Walter (11-144-1) and Jacoby Jones (6-53-1) all had nice games, while Owen Daniels (2-24) is still M.I.A. Keep him benched until he proves that he’s getting close to 100%.
In the snoozer that was the much-hyped Manning Bowl, we learned that the Giants’ pass rush isn’t as good as advertised, which allowed Peyton Manning (255 yards, 3 TD) to surgically move the ball down the field at will. For some reason, the Giants elected not to run the ball early even though Ahmad Bradshaw found plenty of running lanes throughout the game. Hakeem Nicks (2-38-1) started but was nearly shut out and Steve Smith 2.0 (4-35) had a quiet game. On the other side of the ball, Pierre Garcon (1-11) was the odd man out this week, as Reggie Wayne (7-96-1), Dallas Clark (5-83-1) and Austin Collie (4-25-1) all had pretty good games. Even with Peyton pulling the trigger, it’s not often that a passing attack can support four viable fantasy starters so Garcon and Collie are probably going to occasionally have a clunker like Garcon had tonight. I wouldn’t read too much into how many touches Donald Brown got tonight (17 touches, 88 yards, TD), the Colts were planning to rotate their RBs, especially early on, but Joseph Addai (22 touches, 113 yards) is still the feature back.
But really, the big question coming out of the Sunday night game is how the hell did Brandon Jacobs‘ helmet end up in the stands?