It’s only Week 2 and there’s lots of new faces atop the stats and on the start list. Get out there on your waiver wire and make some moves as patience may be a virtue, but in fantasy football you need to react quickly or you’ll be left in the dust.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Giants
Tom Brady, New England at N.Y. Jets
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Jacksonville
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Chicago
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Buffalo
Drew Brees, New Orleans at San Francisco
Matt Schaub, Houston at Washington
Michael Vick, Philadelphia at Detroit: You can forget about seeing Kevin Kolb at quarterback this week. Even if Kolb didn’t suffer a concussion, there was a very good chance that Vick would be under center at the start of this week’s game against the Lions. Vick added a spark to the Eagles offense last week that Kolb just can’t do. Vick’s quickness was back which opens up the field for his receivers. The Lions pass defense is poor, so Vick will pad his already impressive numbers with more passing yards than rushing yards but plenty of both to warrant a start this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Arizona: Ryan had a decent game in Week 1 against the Steelers throwing for 252 yards, but he had no touchdowns and one interception. He didn’t get any help from the running game as Michael Turner was shut down rushing for only 42 yards on 19 carries. Look for both Ryan and Turner to have better stats this week against the Cardinals who had trouble stopping rookie Sam Bradford in Week 1.
Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Baltimore: Yes, Palmer did throw for 345 yards against the New England Patriots last week, but they had abandoned the running game since they were taking a beating. The Ravens defense is much better than the newbies in New England as Palmer will experience first hand this week. Palmer averaged 247 passing yards in two games against the Ravens last season with a total of two touchdowns and one interception. Look for less than those numbers this week as Ray Lewis and company stake their claim to be the beast of the AFC North.
David Garrard, Jacksonville at San Diego: Garrard sits near the top of the quarterbacks for points after throwing for 170 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos last week. You can’t expect those types of numbers this week against the Chargers who held the Chiefs to only 68 passing yards in a sloppy Monday night game. The Chargers are looking to get on the winning track and their defense will do their part shutting down Garrard this week.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. New Orleans
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville at San Diego
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Miami
Steven Jackson, St. Louis at Oakland
Ray Rice, Baltimore at Cincinnati
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
Michael Turner, Atlanta vs. Arizona
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City at Cleveland: I know Thomas Jones got the starting nod over Charles on Monday night, but before the first quarter was over, it was readily apparent who was the better back. While Jones plugged away (up the middle for two yards, to the left for three yards and to the right for two yards), Charles busted a 56-yard touchdown without much effort. While Jones will continue to steal some carries, Charles will be the guy who does the damage from a fantasy perspective especially against the Browns who allowed over 140 rushing yards per game last season.
Jerome Harrison, Cleveland vs. Kansas City: Don’t worry about Peyton Hillis. If there’s one thing head coaches can’t stand, it’s fumbles and Hillis had two of them in Week 1. Harrison will produce much better stats this week than the nine carries for 52 yards in Week 1 as his carries will likely double. With the potential absence of Jake Delhomme (ankle), the Browns will run often and Harrison will have some flashbacks to last season when he rushed for 286 yards against the Chiefs in Week 15.
Ahmad Bradshaw, N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis: After carrying the ball 20 times in the season opener, Bradshaw is the undisputed starter in the Giants’ backfield. The Colts not only saw Arian Foster run all over them last week, they also lost Bob Sanders for the season. It looks like their defensive weakness has been exposed. As much as younger brother Eli Manning would love to beat big brother Peyton Manning in a shootout, the best offense for the Giants this week starts and ends with Bradshaw.
Matt Forte, Chicago at Dallas: This may be an unpopular pick for you Forte owners who enjoyed his Week 1 performance as he rushed for 50 yards and caught seven passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, but give me a chance to explain. What you saw last week isn’t new to Forte. Last season, he caught eight passes for 120 yards in Week 10 only to come back the next week and rush for 34 yards and catch only four passes for 20 yards. Forte only cracked the 100-yard mark in rushing or receiving three times last season. The Bears faced the Lions last week who allowed a league-worst 265 yards passing per game last season. Expect a big dropoff this week from Forte against the Cowboys who held Clinton Portis to only 63 yards rushing on 18 carries with just one catch for one yard in Week 1. Believe it or not, this is the best time to sell high on Forte.
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans at San Francisco: Reggie Bush saw the majority of the action in the first half of last week’s game mostly catching passes out of the backfield. But by the second half, Thomas was chugging away eating up yards and even scored a touchdown. Look for the Saints to continue to emphasize the pass against a 49ers pass defense that struggled mightily in Week 1 containing the Seahawks … yes, those Seahawks. Thomas will get his fair share of carries, but the 49ers run defense is stingy and will keep him in check this week.
Ronnie Brown, Miami at Minnesota: The Dolphins defeated the Bills in Week 1 despite getting only 65 rushing yards from Ronnie Brown and two catches for 20 yards. Brown will be hard-pressed to gain more yards this week against a tough Vikings defense that is anxious to get their first win of the season. Chad Henne should have better success moving the ball in the air this week which means good things for Brandon Marshall, but not so much for Brown or Ricky Williams.
Miles Austin, Dallas vs. Chicago
Roddy White, Atlanta vs. Arizona
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Giants
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Atlanta
Randy Moss, New England at N.Y. Jets
Steve Smith, N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis
Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Philadelphia
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia at Detroit
Andre Johnson, Houston at Washington
Legedu Naanee, San Diego vs. Jacksonville: Vincent who? Naanee caught five passes for 110 yards and a touchdown last week in lousy conditions on Monday night. This week, Naanee and the Chargers’ offense have the pleasure of facing the Jaguars who were ranked 27th in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season including allowing 28 touchdowns. Ryan Mathews proved he can run the ball effectively last week, but it’ll be Naanee and the San Diego passing attack that steals the headlines this week. Go get Naanee off of waivers before it’s too late.
Eddie Royal, Denver vs. Seattle: Ah, the mystery that is Royal. Like some other owners out there in fantasyland, I drafted Royal in the sixth round in one of my leagues last season expecting him to build on the solid 2008 season when he posted 91 catches for 980 yards and five touchdowns. Instead of improving in his sophomore season, he fell off the map catching only 37 passes for 345 yards and no touchdowns all season. Now here he is catching eight passes for 98 yards in Week 1. What’s up Eddie?!?!?!? Not having Brandon Marshall around makes Royal a bonafide threat once again in the Broncos offense. A running game in flux with Laurence Maroney coming over from New England is all the more reason to believe that Royal will continue his success early on in the season and this week against the Seahawks.
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh at Tennessee: It looks like Dennis Dixon has found his security blanket in Ward. Ward caught six passes for 108 yards in Week 1 to lead the Steelers in a win over the Atlanta Falcons. This week, Ward faces the same Titans defense that he torched for eight catches and 103 yards back in Week 1 last season. Look for similar numbers from Ward this week as the Steelers don’t miss Ben Roethlisberger yet.
Steve Breaston, Arizona at Atlanta: Breaston proved last week that he can fill the void left by Anquan Boldin quite nicely as the No. 2 WR in Arizona as he caught seven passes for 132 yards against the Rams. Arizona faces the Falcons this week who had difficulty stopping Hines Ward in Week 1. Look for Breaston to run similar passing routes as Ward and experience the same success. Larry Fitzgerald will certainly get his chances, but Breaston will be targeted enough to warrant a start.
Mike Williams, Seattle at Denver: Whatever. Don’t believe the hype that Williams will somehow return to the form that made him a first round pick out of USC. Look elsewhere.
Terrell Owens, Cincinnati vs. Baltimore: Owens saw first-hand that it’s Ochocinco’s show in Cincinnati, everyone else is just watching as Ochocinco posted big numbers against the Patriots while they were dominating the Bengals last week on the scoreboard. Owens won’t find much room this week against a Ravens defense that completely shut down the Jets passing attack last week.
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Tampa Bay: Smith had a nice Week 1 performance with five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. However with Matt Moore unlikely to play this week, look for Carolina to emphasize the running game minimizing the pressure on rookie Jimmy Claussen. Smith won’t see enough action this week to be in you starting lineup as the Panthers could run the ball 50 times against Tampa Bay and have success doing so.
Nate Washington, Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh: Don’t get too crazy with your waiver wire pickups. Washington had a nice Week 1 catching three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown but if you think you’ll get those numbers on a regular basis, you’ve got another thing coming. Hold off on making Washington your sleeper pickup that will lead your team to the promised land. You’ll be glad you did after this week.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Giants
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Jacksonville
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota vs. Miami
Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. New Orleans
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay vs. Buffalo
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Chicago
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta vs. Arizona
Brent Celek, Philadelphia at Detroit
Owen Daniels, Houston at Washington: The most Daniels had to do last week was to high-five Arian Foster as he ran into the end zone time after time. Look for Daniels to re-emerge as a threat in the passing attack this week against the Redskins who held Jason Witten to only three catches for 27 yards week, but they didn’t have to face Foster. The newly established Texans running attack will open things up for Daniels, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson as all three are primed for a big game this week.
Chris Cooley, Washington vs. Houston: If there’s one thing Donovan McNabb likes, it’s throwing to his tight ends. Cooley caught six passes for 80 yards in Week 1 and should find similar success against the Texans who allowed Dallas Clark to go wild against them last week catching 11 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Bo Scaife, Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh: Scaife had a touchdown catch last week which inflated his numbers to someone that you may be considering starting this week. The Titans face the Steelers defense which is much better than that mess of a Raiders defense they faced last week. Keep Scaife out of your lineup.
Greg Olsen, Chicago at Dallas: Olsen caught four passes for 37 yards last week which may end up being a season-high when all is said and done. The Bears offense will struggle this week compared to their numbers against the Lions. Look for Olsen to be used in blocking schemes as Dallas will be blitzing Jay Cutler early and often.