For the 2nd straight week I didn’t actually get previews done for all of the games. The ones I did get to are below. For the composite previews from all of the Grantland contestants you can see this link.
Chiefs at Saints
Through two games, the Saints defense has given up 573 passing yards on just 46 attempts. If they keep up that level of incompetence, they’re going to find themselves guarding the team’s Vicodin supply in no time.
It’s impossible not to like Dwayne Bowe heading into this matchup, which is likely to feature a lot of scoring by the Saints and a lot of garbage time scoring by the Chiefs. For this reason, Jamaal Charles owners might have reason to be cautious this week. The game could shape up much like last week’s contest against the Bills that saw Charles sitting for much of the game.
Strong fantasy plays: Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Dwayne Bowe, Darren Sproles
Fair to middling plays: Jamaal Charles
Patriots at Ravens
The Patriots have only allowed opposing running backs to gain 1.97 yards per carry, so on the surface this looks like a less than optimal matchup for Ravens running back Ray Rice. However, the running backs that the Patriots have faced thus far include Chris Johnson, Ryan Williams, and Beanie Wells. That’s a group of running backs that may force us to start measuring carries by feet instead of yards. Also, Ray Rice’s involvement in the Baltimore passing game means that no matter how the game shapes up, he can be productive. So while on the surface the matchup might look difficult, it’s probably not anything for Ray Rice owners to be afraid of.
Strong fantasy plays: Ray Rice, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker
Fair to middling plays: Torrey Smith, Joe Flacco, Dennis Pitta, Brandon Lloyd
Rams at Bears
Let me say that I am personally enjoying the amount of shock and surprise that people are having over the fact that Jay Cutler has thrown a bunch of interceptions through two games. Let’s see, let’s take a quarterback who doesn’t mind throwing interceptions and combine him with a wide receiver that doesn’t actually get any separation anymore (if you go back and watch the pick that Cutler threw to Tramon Williams on Thursday, you’ll see Williams run away from Brandon Marshall like Marshall is standing still). Only good things can happen when you ask your overconfident quarterback to throw into tight coverage on a regular basis.
Strong fantasy plays: Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall, Daryl Richardson
Fair to middling plays: Danny Amendola, Sam Bradford
Bills at Browns
It’s really tough to look at C.J. Spiller right now and not think of a young Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson. Going back to the start of last year, Spiller is averaging over six yards per carry, which is about what Jamaal Charles averaged over the 2009 and 2010 seasons. If you’re a Spiller owner, congratulations on having a guy that looks like one of the scariest players to face in a fantasy game this season. I’m going against Spiller in my matchup with Ramon this week and I am absolutely terrified. As a Fred Jackson owner, I’m just sick about what I consider to be the strong potential that Jackson never gets his job back.
Strong fantasy plays: C.J. Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Trent Richardson
Fair to middling plays: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Buccaneers at Cowboys
Near-suicidal Dez Bryant owners can probably step away from the ledge for at least this week. The Buccaneers defense has allowed the following yardages to the following wide receivers: Hakeem Nicks (109 yards), Victor Cruz (179 yards), Steve Smith (106 yards), Martellus Bennett (72 yards), Brandon LaFell (65 yards) and Louis Murphy (63 yards). If Bryant doesn’t manage to do more than Louis Murphy did against the Buccs, then it may be time to close the garage door, turn on the car, and look for a garden hose.
Strong fantasy plays: Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin
Fair to middling plays: DeMarco Murray
Lions at Titans
The Chris Johnson trade market is currently frozen, which is to say that no trades are actually happening. Fantasy owners trying to trade for Johnson are experiencing what you might call a “Bid-Ask Gap.” The problem is that sellers of Johnson are asking for more than buyers of Johnson are willing to bid. Both sides probably need a reality check. If you’re trying to trade for Johnson, you’re not going to get it done by offering the fantasy football equivalent of a near mint condition Yanni CD and a used Bowflex. You have to give the Johnson owner a reason to want to make the trade. If you own Johnson and you’re trying to sell him before his value totally bottoms out, you’re going to have to start looking seriously at offers that might include guys like Cedric Benson.
Strong fantasy plays: Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson
Fair to middling plays: Chris Johnson, Mikel Leshoure, Kevin Smith, Jared Cook, Brandon Pettigrew
Jaguars at Colts
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis might be a sneaky play in this game if you’re an Aaron Hernandez owner looking for a temporary solution. Lewis caught 52 yards and a touchdown in week one and then essentially disappeared last week in the team’s game against the stout Houston defense. However, the Colts defense has been much more forgiving to opposing pass catchers and Lewis can rebound from last week’s goose egg in this game.
Strong fantasy plays: Reggie Wayne, Andrew Luck, Maurice Jones-Drew
Fair to middling plays: Marcedes Lewis, Coby Fleener
Jets at Dolphins
It’s tough to know which Jets run defense to expect in this game. Should you expect the defense that allowed C.J. Spiller to run for 12 yards per carry, or the one that held every other running back to less than three yards per carry? Reggie Bush is probably a start no matter what, but it is always nice to be able to set your expectations going into the game. On the Jets side, Mark Sanchez looked more Sanchezian last week when he reverted to throwing incomplete passes to a perpetually diving Santonio Holmes.
Strong fantasy plays: Reggie Bush
Fair to middling plays: Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes
49ers at Vikings
Just in case the 49ers defense wasn’t scary enough last year, the team now has an offense that can put up points and force teams to pass the ball. That’s not a great combination if you have a running back going against the 49ers. You’re still starting Adrian Peterson this week, but be prepared for what could be an underwhelming fantasy day. Peterson has never been a great receiver out of the backfield, so it’s pretty important that the Vikings don’t get down early in this game.
Strong fantasy plays: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Vernon Davis
Fair to middling plays: Michael Crabtree
Bengals at Redskins
When Robert Griffin III gets taken as the 12th quarterback off the board in fantasy drafts, and then goes on to nearly double the production of Aaron Rodgers (the first quarterback taken in fantasy drafts) through two weeks, it puts a pretty big dent in the idea that you should draft a quarterback early in your fantasy draft. The inclusion of Griffin among the so called “elite” quarterbacks means that there are about eight guys that have the potential to put up really nice fantasy numbers each week. From a supply and demand standpoint, that has to devalue the quarterback position in fantasy drafts.
Strong fantasy plays: Robert Griffin III, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Alfred Morris, A.J. Green
Fair to middling plays: Andrew Hawkins
Eagles at Cardinals
Both of the defenses in this game look legitimate, so don’t be surprised if this is a low scoring game from a fantasy standpoint. The Cardinals offense is going to struggle against almost any defense and the Eagles are not just any defense. They’ve allowed less than five yards per pass attempt and less than four yards per rushing attempt through two games. Two games is a small sample, but it’s the only sample we have right now. You’re probably not going to be able to get away from starting Larry Fitzgerald, and he might do fine, but this is a difficult matchup.
Strong fantasy plays: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Larry Fitzgerald
Fair to middling plays: DeSean Jackson,
Packers at Seahawks
I am the not so proud owner of Russell Wilson in a few leagues where I got greedy and left Robert Griffin on the board for too long. Wilson looked better last week against the Cowboys, but I’m now pretty bearish on his outlook this season. He could still rush for enough yards to make him a decent start some weeks, but the Seattle offense is a run first conservative offense which means that Wilson probably isn’t going to win many fantasy games for people like me who were mistaken and thought he would be a sneaky play this year.
Strong fantasy plays: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Marshawn Lynch
Fair to middling plays: Randall Cobb, Cedric Benson, Jermichael Finley