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Start Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 2

Hello fantasy fans,
Wow was week one a spectacular high. Going so long without football and having so many good games in one day was just awesome! The question is, are you ready for week two and a whole new week of football? I think you and I can handle it, even though we might not be able to contain our excitement. Ahh, I’m so ready let’s just jump right into the new week with our Play Em’ and Bench Em’ list. Here we go!
***Obvious players like Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Travis Kelce and other players of that caliber will not be featured in these columns***

Play Em’

Quarterback:

-Russell Wilson v. San Francisco 49ers

  • It seems every year that people panic over the Seahawks because they have a slow start and don’t look like a contender. Well, this will be a nice bounce back game for one of the league’s best signal callers. It also doesn’t help the 49ers case when standout defensive rookie Reuben Foster was carted off the field in last week’s contest against the Panthers. Cam Newton was able to pick apart the 49ers defense and Wilson should have similar results this week at home. Look for a lot of the Seahawk’s offensive players to get back on track this week.

-Carson Palmer v. Indianapolis Colts

  • What a wild game for Carson Palmer and the Cardinals last week. After holding the lead much of the game, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions did what they do best; orchestrate a fourth quarter comeback. This week the opposing team isn’t as structurally sound as the Lions are at this point. With star running back David Johnson suffering a wrist injury and appears to be out two to three months, Palmer’s arm and the receiving core will be relied on more. Thankfully for Palmer and company they face a team that just let the Rams walk all over them. Oh and don’t forget that the Colts ultimately chose Chuck Pagano over Bruce Arians, so B.A. will drop the kitchen sink onto this free-falling Colts team this week if given the chance.

-Tom Brady v. New Orleans Saints

  • Normally I would never mention TB12 into this column, but after last week’s pitiful showing against the Chiefs, I felt that I needed to give Brady owners a boast of confidence going into week two. Bill Bilichick won’t let his team have back-to-back performances like that in his life. Who better to play the following week then one of the worst defenses in the league? The Patriots defense isn’t the greatest either and lack a pass rush, so Drew Brees will dissect their defense too. This game is going to be a shootout and you just might want to play all the offensive players in this game.

Running Back:

-CJ Anderson v. Dallas Cowboys

  • The Dallas Cowboys defense looked like a top unit last Sunday night against a spectacular New York Giants offense. Wait, Odell Beckham didn’t play in that game and they don’t have a good running game so the team had to be one dimensional? Oh, that makes sense. The Cowboys took advantage of an offense that came into the game flat lined and non-existent. This week they’ll have a Denver Broncos team that looked much improved in their win over the Chargers on Monday night. CJ Anderson had a solid game and had a touchdown overturned due to a silly flag. Anderson also dominated the backfield touches. Look for Anderson to run hard against this Cowboys team and find the end-zone at least once.

-Marshawn Lynch v. New York Jets

  • If you didn’t watch the Raiders-Titans game last week and just saw the stat line from Lynch, you probably weren’t impressed. Well, I did watch it and I’ll tell you that Beast Mode is back. Sure he didn’t have 100 yards or a touchdown, but he ran through people and carried the ball with a purpose. This week he’ll have a date with a rebuilding New York Jets defense that let LeSean McCoy rack up over 150 total yards against them last week. Lynch isn’t shifty like McCoy, but he’ll show his old man strength to these young bucks on the other side on the way to the end-zone. The Raiders will get up early in this one and will run a lot in the second half to run out the clock ,so that means they’ll feed their guy. Start Lynch this week.

-Lamar Miller v. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson, it doesn’t matter. Bill O’Brien knows that in order to get points on the board he has to run the ball to open up the passing game for his quarterbacks. Miller had a sneaky solid game last week against a stout Sacksonville Jaguars team that went unnoticed due to the upset, but now he’ll play a defense that let Terrance West gain 80 yards on the ground. Lamar Miller will get his touches while racking up yardage both on the ground and through the air for your team. He’ll be a good option this week, but if he can get into the end-zone that’ll just put your team over the top.

Wide Receiver:

-Larry Fitzgerald v. Indianapolis Colts

  • As I mentioned with Carson Palmer, David Johnson is out with an injury for some time. So, the Cardinals are going to look elsewhere for an offensive spark and who better to look than the franchises best play-maker. Larry Fitzgerald might retire after the season, but he’s going to give everything to this team this year in what could be his final attempt at a Lombardi trophy. Fitzgerald is as reliable as they come and his volume of targets are going to see an uptick as long as David Johnson is absent. Add in the fact that the Cardinals are playing a sup-par Colts secondary and Larry Fitzgerald should have a good afternoon.

-Brandin Cooks v. New Orleans Saints

  • Revenge game anyone? Cooks is going to play one of his best games of his career in this game just to get back at his former team for trading him away this past off-season. This game is going to be a shootout as neither defense can stop a thing. Tom Brady’s favorite target in Julian Edelman is hurt for the year and no one else besides Cooks stepped up last week in the receiving core. Brady is going to use and abuse his newest weapon a lot this Sunday.

-DeVante Parker v. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Jay Cutler is going to be Jay Cutler. Cutler loves his deep ball and likes to give his big tall receivers plenty of 50/50 opportunities. I like the Chargers corners, think they’re one of the best in the league, but they’re both about 5’10. Compare that to Parker’s 6’3 frame and they stand no chance on the jump balls. Parker is going to amass a lot of yards and/or touchdowns over these smaller corners. As fantasy owners, you’ll have to love hearing that.

Tight End:

-Delanie Walker v. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Do you know a player that just completely dominates a team? Against all odds and how good the opposing team is, you know this player will show up and produce. That’s what Delanie Walker does when he plays the Jaguars. This is Walker’s fifth season as a Titan, so he’s played the Jaguars eight times heading into this matchup. He’s gained more than 50 yards in every contest except two and has just as many 100 yard performances. He averages about five receptions and has gotten a touchdown on the team at least once every year. After watching Marcus Mariota struggle to get the ball to his new receivers last week against the Raiders, I believe he’ll look Walker’s way often in this contest.

-Jimmy Graham v. San Francisco 49ers

  • Jimmy Graham had three receptions for eight yards. EIGHT! That’s mind blowing to see. Anything would be an improvement for Graham this week, but I envision him putting up monster numbers this week. The Seahawks team is going to be angry and they’re going to come out punching. Thomas Rawls is returning from injury in this game and that’ll open up some end-zone opportunities for Graham if the team elects to run off the play-action. Don’t fret owners and give Graham another try this weekend. I promise he’ll reward you.

-Zach Ertz v. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Jordan Matthews is gone. Alshon Jeffery will be shadowed by Marcus Peters all game. Eric Berry is out. That all ads up to another big game by Zach Ertz people. Ertz is the new security blanket for Carson Wentz and whenever he’s in trouble Wentz will chuck it towards his general direction and he knows Ertz will come up with the ball one way or another. Eric Berry did a great job on Rob Gronkowski on opening night, but sadly suffered an Achilles injury. The Chiefs will mask the absence left by Berry eventually, but not a week later against a tight end on the rise. Look for Ertz and teammate Nelson Agholor to have another solid performance in week two.

Defense:

-Oakland Raiders v. New York Jets

  • The Raiders defense surprisingly held the Tennessee Titans to 16 points in what expected to be a high scoring affair. This week they’ll square off against a New York Jets offense that struggled mightily to generate a drive last week. This might be one of the few times you’ll be able to start the Raiders defense this year, so take advantage while you can. I can see Khalil Mack getting to Josh McCown often in this game. Hope you like turnover points!

-Arizona Cardinals v. Indianapolis Colts

  • You all saw what the Rams did to the Colts last week right? Yeah, it was pretty much pure dominance. Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett, it won’t matter much as the results will be almost identical against a defense that’s just as tough. Oh and if it weren’t enough, Bruce Arians will have a fire burning under his players’ bums after letting Stafford and the Lions complete a masterful comeback late in the fourth quarter. The Colts should have chosen Arians over Pagano a few years ago and they’ll be reminded of that this weekend in another horrible defeat to a NFC West.

-Baltimore Ravens v. Cleveland Browns

  • The Ravens shutout the Cincinnati Bengals in week one in Cincinnati! Amazing. Chatter around the team is that it could be better than the early 2000’s Raven’s defense and that could be scary for opposing offenses. The Steeler’s defense held its’ own against the Cleveland Browns and this Ravens unit is vastly more skilled. Could we see back-to-back shutouts for the Ravens? That’d be astounding, but unlikely. However, I can see the Ravens making rookie DeShone Kizer’s life miserable on Sunday and terrorize him all afternoon.

Bench Em’

Quarterback:

-Blake Bortles v. Tennessee Titans

  • Many people will see the score of last week’s big win over the Texans and think that Blake Bortles must’ve had a good game. That’s not quite the story here. Bortles was decent, but Leonard Fournette was the offensive MVP against the Texans on Sunday. With Allen Robinson tearing his ACL and out for the season, that only hurts Bortles. Robinson was the team’s best downfield target and now he’s gone. The team will rely more on the running game and put less on the shoulders of the passing game. I wouldn’t trust many Jaguars in this game, but Blake Borltes is definitely one to stay away from.

-Ben Roethlisberger v. Minnesota Vikings

  • Ben Roethlisberger didn’t quite light up the score board like many anticipated against the Browns. Well, if you didn’t like last weeks’ stats, don’t expect a better performance or bigger stat line this week against this Viking defense. On Monday night the purple people eaters made Drew Brees look silly at times. This defense also gave Aaron Rodgers one of his worst career games last season. No matter the quarterback, this defense should make you look elsewhere for a week.

-Kirk Cousins v. Los Angeles Rams

  • Kirk Cousins was consistently pressured against the Eagles front seven. Wade Phillips brought the heat against the Colts last week and it delivered. Aaron Donald will also be in the mix this week and that’ll give this already confident defense an edge. The front seven of the Rams are similar to the Eagles, but the Ram’s secondary is better than the Eagles. Kirk Cousins will start to think he should’ve signed the last contract offer after this game.

Running Back:

-Frank Gore v. Arizona Cardinals

  • Frank Gore has been moved to strictly running duties in part of the emergence of Marlon Mack. The game script will go similar to last week where Gore will get abandoned after an early deficit, the Colts will pass more and then Mack will get more touches than Gore. Oh and the Cardinals defense is really good against the run. Hopefully you didn’t do a zero running back draft strategy with Gore as your RB1. Avoid at all cost.

-Carlos Hyde v. Seattle Seahawks

  • The Seahawks held their own against the Packers running attack for majority of the game. If not for a turnover on the wrong side of the field, Ty Montgomery probably doesn’t score that touchdown. Hyde also isn’t the pass catcher Montgomery is either. Carlos Hyde is going to have a long day trying to find a running lane versus this angry front.

-Isaiah Crowell v. Baltimore Ravens

  • I like Crowell, I do. I also think Kizer is going to have a good season and give Cleveland Brown fans a glimmer of hope moving forward. However, week two in the 2017 season is not going to be a good week for the Browns. The Ravens defense shutout a talented Bengals offense with some talented players in their own stadium. Now the Browns travel to Baltimore for their season home opener. Yikes. Browns will feel smothered and be forced to pass and Duke Johnson will get more snaps as the receiving back in this game.

Wide Receiver:

-Alshon Jeffery v. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Alshon Jeffery had Josh Norman follow him last week and had a few catches along with a two point conversion. This week he’ll have a date with Marcus Peters. I’m sure Jeffery doesn’t enjoy being a decoy to start the season and Wentz really wants to get him the ball downfield, but it just won’t happen in this match up. Be patient Jeffery owners, his time will come and you’ll be rewarded greatly.

-TY Hilton v. Arizona Cardinals

  • As long as a quarterback not named Andrew Luck is starting for the Indianapolis Colts I encourage you to stay away from their players. Hilton carries some potential in PPR formats, but even still he won’t generate enough receptions to get you that many points in this game. Your best bet is some garbage time stats, but do you really want to rely on that to win a game?

-Dez Bryant v. Denver Broncos

  • Janoris Jenkins did a good job against Dez Bryant yet again. This week Bryant will go up versus the #NoFlyZone this week. Dak Prescott doesn’t force the ball to Bryant like Tony Romo once did and Prescott will take the safe check down to Cole Beasley if need. If you were disappointed with Dez Bryant’s performance last week, I’d sit him this week and find a better alternative.

Tight End:

-Jesse James v. Minnesota Vikings

  • Jesse James was a pleasant surprise with two touchdowns last week. I wouldn’t count on that again this week as he faces a secondary on a completely different level. Vance McDonald is also in the picture and will look to get some type of production at some point this season. Hope you can trade Jesse James away as it’ll be the highest his stock will be all season.

-Charles Clay v. Carolina Panthers

  • Charles Clay was another good option for owners last week being Tyrod Taylor’s favorite option. This week he’ll have a much more difficult time creating space against the rejuvenated Carolina Panthers defense. Last year Clay would have a monster game then have zero receptions, it could be a trend again this season, or the very least a poor outing.

-Eric Ebron v. New York Giants

  • Last week I said Eric Ebron would be a good start, but failed to perform, my bad. This week the Lions face another good secondary and could give Ebron fits. With the breakout game from Kenny Golladay, it appears Eric Ebron is being pushed down the pecking order in the receiving core. Stafford has a lot of options to throw to and could be a flip of the coin on which pass catcher will perform each week. I’m flipping to the side that’ll say Ebron will disappoint again this week.

Defense:

-Chicago Bears v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • The Chicago Bears defense impressed in the home opener almost upsetting Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. This week they’ll have another high powered NFC South team. However, I don’t think they’ll catch this team by surprise as the Buccaneers had a bye week and an extra week to prepare. This season’s hard knocks team is going to come out with purpose. The Mike Glennon revenge train won’t happen this time around.

-Buffalo Bills v. Carolina Panthers

  • The Panthers showed flashes of their Super Bowl squad in Sunday’s game versus the 49ers. Hard to believe they hardly used their best two play-makers in Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. I think that’ll change this week and that’s scary considering the offense could look even better. Sean McDermott, former Panthers defensive coordinator, won’t spoil his “homecoming”. If anything he’ll gift the Panthers a win with a poor defensive showing against his former team.

-Dallas Cowboys v. Denver Broncos

  • This defense looked a lot better than what it really is. The Giants offense was just horrible and that led the Cowboys to take advantage of the situation. I don’t expect that type of showing from the Cowboys defense on a weekly basis and neither should you. The Broncos offense is no juggernaut, but they’ll have more play-makers in the game than the Giants did on Sunday night.
***Until I get a request to add kickers into the column, I’ll continue to leave them out***
Let’s have a better week two and continue to have a wonderful fantasy season. Good luck in all of your match ups and hope your players stay healthy. Until next time, have a great day!
-Austin Thomas

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