It’s Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season, which means it’s all about feast or famine. Right now your fantasy team is either tied for first place or languishing in last. There’s no in-between.
Hopefully your squad is one of the former, and with any luck my recommendations last week had a little to do with that. I came out of the gate pretty strong in Week 1. St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn exploded for three sacks against Arizona, and Washington linebacker Perry Riley had a huge night against Philadelphia.
In fact, even when I was wrong I was right. I wrote while calling San Diego linebacker Donald Butler that “now that I’ve called him out Butler will rack up 15 tackles, because he’s out to destroy me.”
His night wasn’t quite that good, but sure enough …
There’s no time to rest on my laurels, however, as it’s time to put the past in the past and look toward the future with this week’s picks.
Every week during the 2013 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (studs) and some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than usual (duds).
That isn’t necessarily to say that every “stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
Let’s do this!
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit (at Arizona):
Arizona offensive tackle Levi Brown must have spent the offseason in Spain, because he was using the matador blocking technique last week against Robert Quinn. This week the beneficiary of Brown being a turnstile is Ansah, who has an excellent chance of building on the three tackles and half a sack he notched in his NFL debut.
Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh):
Atkins’ IDP owners were no doubt disappointed by the big man’s Week 1 goose-egg. However, the NFL’s best defensive tackle will redeem himself Monday night against a Pittsburgh offensive line that lost center Maurkice Pouncey for the season in last week’s loss to Tennessee.
LaMarr Houston, DE, Oakland (vs. Jacksonville):
Sunday’s matchup between the Jaguars and Raiders has all the makings of a very ugly football game. However, Houston should be able to make it two games in a row with a sack to start the year against a Jacksonville front that surrendered six sacks to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.
Donald Butler, ILB, San Diego (at Philadelphia):
As I mentioned earlier, Butler had a huge night against Houston, tallying 13 tackles and pitching in half a sack. The good times should keep rolling in Week 2, given that the Chargers face an Eagles team that looks like a potential goldmine for IDP opponents in 2013.
Moise Fokou, MLB, Tennessee (at Houston):
One of the bigger IDP surprises of Week 1 was Fokou playing all three downs in the middle of the Tennessee defense. Granted, his statline against Pittsburgh wasn’t eye-popping, but that should change against a Texans squad that allowed the second-most tackle opportunities in the NFL in 2012.
Erin Henderson, MLB, Minnesota (at Chicago):
The sixth-year pro had a stellar debut at middle linebacker for the Vikings last week, amassing 11 total tackles and intercepting a pass. There’s little reason to think that Henderson can’t keep the good times rolling this week against Chicago, who surrendered the second-most fantasy points to linebackers last year.
Duke Ihenacho, SS, Denver (at New York Giants):
Ihenacho’s play was one of the big IDP stories of opening night, with the youngster notching double-digit tackles against Baltimore. It isn’t reasonable to expect 12 tackles every week, but Ihenacho has a second straight favorable IDP matchup Sunday against the Giants.
Tyrann Mathieu, FS, Arizona (vs. Detroit):
“The Honey Badger,” shined in his first NFL game last week, recording seven total stops and forcing a fumble against St. Louis. This week’s tilt with the pass-happy Lions gives Mathieu a great opportunity to make it two strong games in a row.
Baccari Rambo, FS, Washington (at Green Bay):
Youth is being served in the Week 2 edition of “IDP Studs and Duds,” with the rookie from Georgia the third first-year player included on the list. The reason is simple; a matchup with a prolific Green Bay offense which propelled fellow newcomer Eric Reid to a robust stat line in Week 1.