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Rock and a Hard Place – Week 2

Roddy White. David Wilson. Danny Amendola. Shane Vereen. These are just a few names with cloudy outlooks going forward. How healthy is White? Will he be a decoy again? Will Wilson’s ball security issues continue? Is Brandon Jacobs really a threat to his playing time? How long will Amendola be out? What about Vereen? Will Ridley get back on track or will this become a timeshare?

With a few key injuries already taking their toll, and more certainly on the way, what do you do if your team is already being held together by bubble gum and duct tape? Well, you start to dig a little deeper and look for guys with plus matchups that may be able to fill in for a week or two.

Below, I’ll list the player, their Week 2 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at


The hope is that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won’t help you come Sunday.

Let’s move on to this week’s targets, keeping in mind that these aren’t every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you’re in some kind of roster emergency.


E.J. Manuel vs. Carolina – 30 percent.

I mentioned Manuel in this space last week, and he went out and had a decent fantasy day. While he only threw for 150 yards, he threw two touchdowns and also added 23 yards on the ground. He was once again efficient with his throws, even though a good portion of those passes were short. Carolina held the Seattle offense in check for most of the day, but the Panthers gave up 320 yards through the air. While I think you should probably have better options, I do think he hits the 180 yards passing and two touchdowns that we’ve projected.

Terrelle Pryor vs. Jacksonville – 26 percent.
Like Manuel, he was mentioned here last week, albeit with much less confidence. But Pryor responded with 217 yards passing and a touchdown. He also ran for 112 yards on 13 carries. Most of those runs seemed to be on broken plays, but the Oakland Raiders may end up installing some more designed runs for him. Similar to Tim Tebow a few years back, Pryor is a much better fantasy quarterback than in real life. If you decide to start him, don’t watch the game. Then again, Alex Smith carved up the Jacksonville defense with ease last week. We’ve projected 190 passing yards and a score through the air to go with 65 yards on the ground and another score, making him our No. 11 quarterback this week!

Running Back

Knowshon Moreno at New York Giants – 37 percent.
Moreno is easily the best pass protector in the Denver backfield. This promises to be a closer game than last week’s season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, and he’ll need to keep Peyton Manning upright against the Giants’ physical defensive line. Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman may get a few touches, but I think Moreno will dominate playing time, making him a decent flex play. The site projects 35 rushing yards and another 25 receiving. I think he tops those numbers, and might even get in the end zone.

Jonathan Dwyer at Cincinnati – 23 percent.
After being released prior to Week 1, Dwyer got the call after Isaac Redman predictably failed to impress. Dwyer will step right back into a timeshare, and while Redman may get the first crack at it, I expect Dwyer to a get a good deal of work. Perhaps watching the Week 1 games from his couch will have an impact. Cincinnati’s defense will most likely key on Ben Roethlisberger, perhaps allowing Dwyer and Co. to have some running lanes. I do think Dwyer is the most talented in the committee, although that’s not much of a statement. 

Wide Receiver

Vincent Brown at Philadelphia – 52 percent.
If Vincent Brown is still available in your league, go get him. Granted, the San Diego Chargers’ receiving corps isn’t exactly bursting with Hall of Famers, but Brown is the “best” of the group. While it was Eddie Royal getting in the end zone twice last week, Brown is the guy I’d be trying to grab. He’s owned in most leagues, but that number really should be higher. The Eagles offense will put up points in this one, so the Chargers will be forced to throw the ball to keep up. Our projection for Brown is five catches for 60 yards and a score, and I think those are very realistic numbers.

Marlon Brown vs. Cleveland – 14 percent.
I’m a huge fan of Marlon Brown. The former University of Georgia product is not a burner, but he’s a dependable possession receiver for Joe Flacco. And think about it; Anquan Boldin is in San Francisco, and Dennis Pitta is on Injured Reserve. Flacco needs a dependable guy. Brandon Stokley is OK, but Brown is going to be a bigger target for him. And with Torrey Smith drawing Joe Haden and probably an additional defender on the other side and Jacoby Jones out with injury, he’s a major sleeper. We’ve projected five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. I think he surpasses those numbers this weekend against Cleveland.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Tennessee – 46 percent.
Hopkins had a nice debut for the Houston Texans last week, reeling in five catches for 66 yards. The asterisk on this one is that the Texans were down 21 points and started slinging it around. However, Matt Schaub clearly trusted the rookie, and he proved reliable. I like Hopkins opposite Andre Johnson, who will be double covered pretty much all year. With Owen Daniels running the middle of the field, it’s Hopkins who may be left in single coverage, and I think he can capitalize, especially this week against Tennessee. I think he tops last week’s game, surpassing our projection.

Good luck in Week 2.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at “What Did We Learn” will be posted each Tuesday morning during the season, and “Rock and a Hard Place” will be posted each Friday morning.

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